Author: Prof Douglas C Lovelace Jr, Dr Thomas-Durell Young
This is the second in an analytical series on joint issues. It follows the authors’ U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Planning: The Missing Nexus, in which they articulated the need for more formal joint strategic plans. This essay examines the effect such plans would have on joint doctrine development and illustrates the potential benefits evident in Australian defense planning. Doctrine and planning share an iterative development process. The common view is that doctrine persists over a broader time frame than planning and that the latter draws on the former for context, syntax, even format. In truth the very process of planning shapes new ways of military action. As the environment for that action changes, planners address new challenges, and create the demand for better methods of organizing, employing and supporting forces. Evolutionary, occasionally revolutionary, doctrinal changes result. The authors explore the relationship between strategic planning and doctrine at the joint level. They enter the current debate over the scope and authority of joint doctrine from a joint strategic planning perspective. In their view, joint doctrine must have roots, and those roots have to be planted firmly in the strategic concepts and plans developed to carry out the National Military Strategy. Without the fertile groundwork of strategic plans, the body of joint doctrine will struggle for viability.