Author: Dr Richard M Meinhart
The Joint Strategic Planning System has been considered the primary formal means by which the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff executed his statutory responsibilities specified by Congress in Title 10 of the U.S. Code. Yet little has been written about this strategic planning system itself, although some of its products such as the varied National Military Strategies and Joint Visions have been thoroughly reviewed. One can gain great insight into the Chairman’s formal leadership since the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act by understanding how this system evolved, reviewing its processes, and examining all of its products. The author examines how three Chairmen–Generals Powell, Shalikashvili, and Shelton–adapted and used strategic planning to provide direction and shape the military in the rapidly changing strategic environment of the 1990s. He identifies five broad recommendations relevant to future leaders on how to use a strategic planning system to transform their organizations. These historic-based recommendations evolve around enduring strategic leadership competencies such as revolutionary versus evolutionary change, vision, flexibility versus bureaucracy, interpersonal relationships, and moral courage.