SEST-629 Force Planning
Fall for 2017-2018
Force planning is the art and science of determining what military capabilities, forces, and posture are most appropriate for a nation. It is an inherently multi-disciplinary activity, encompassing, inter alia, international relations, intelligence assessment, military operations, budgeting, operations research, and an understanding of technology and the performance characteristics of complex systems. Integrating information and analyses from all of these disciplines is, inescapably, a complex task. The challenge of force planning is magnified by very substantial levels of uncertainty about many of the factors involved. For example, a decision to develop and procure a certain type of platform (for example, a new fighter aircraft or a ship) will affect the capabilities of one's force for thirty or more years into the future. Yet our ability to foresee the nature of the international system, the capabilities and intentions of potential adversaries, or even our own security strategy and priorities that far into the future is quite limited. The beginning of wisdom with regard to force planning, then, is to approach the subject with a certain amount of modesty and a measure of respect for its complexity.
The aim of this course is threefold:
. To show students what force planning encompasses, how it has been done in the United States, and how it should be done
. To help students who wish to engage professionally in one or more aspects of force planning to do so effectively
. To allow all students become more sophisticated observers and critics of defense strategy and planning efforts, products, and decisions.
Students who participate in this course should expect to learn about the following:
. What force planning is and is not, and what its relationship is to other aspects of defense and national security policy making
. A coherent conceptual framework that integrates all of the major factors that must be considered in determining the nation's defense program
. Primary intellectual and analytical techniques used in applying that framework
. Key issues facing defense policy makers today and how those issues likely will shape U.S. military forces and U.S. national security in the future.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Fall '17: Ochmanek D (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
Other academic years
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