June 15, 2011


I will be traveling for the next few weeks, attending weddings, climbing, and generally not spending much time working. Here's a question to keep you busy while I'm gone:

Assumptions are necessary for strategic planning. One of the planning assumptions the U.S. government embraced while forming its strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009 was that we would be able to build a partnership with the government of Pakistan that would allow us to degrade insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan. Obviously, this assumption needs to change*, and we might even be better off considering elements within the Pakistani military and security services the enemy of U.S. and allied interests. What, though, would the new planning assumption be, and how would changing our assumption then force us to change our strategy?

*The assumption that we will be able to build a partnership with Pakistan's military and security services actually remains an assumption within the U.S. government, though of course many believe it should be amended.