Throughout this week's lectures, we examined reasons why various organizations incorporate strategic planning. Strategic planning can result in many advantages to organizations, such as emphasizing speed and reducing the overall time to achieve a goal or set of goals. Strategic planning in the military differs from organizations and businesses but ultimately have common goals, such as succeeding in the mission, whatever the mission may be. As a junior officer in the United States Navy, I initially reacted to the Chief of Naval Operation's decision on April 7th, 2015, to dissolve the Chief of Naval Operation's Strategic Studies Group (SSG) with shock. Strategic plans help guide commanders in their battle plans. We observed this in our class lecture on Hannibal's successful strategy in the Battle of Cannae. Hannibal was able to defeat the Roman army without having a special group of soldiers spending a year away from their duties to brainstorm tactics to use. Admiral John Richarson, the current CNO, wants to decrease the amount of time and personnel resources in maintaining this strategy group. The admiral believes the return of these high-ranking naval officers may be of better benefit to the Navy in the fleet, than sitting around brainstorming strategies in a schoolhouse for a year (Cavas, 2016).
The CNO's decision supports Kaplan and Beinhocker's, "The Real Value of Strategic Planning" argument of organizations not needing to create formalized meetings to come up with strategies. The CNO feels the strategies brainstormed by the SSG takes too long and does not meet the changing battle environment. Although the SSG was instrumental in the Navy's adoption of cyber power, sea power, and adoption of synthetic fuels, Admiral Richardson believes the future of the Navy relies on innovative ways of strategically planning against the emerging threats of nuclear weapons and terrorist groups (Cavas, 2016).
When evaluating the efficiency of the CNO's SSG with Kalplan and Beinhocker's recommendations for strategy planning, the SSG did not have the ideal structure. I'm not sure how the members prepare their minds for the SSG assignment, but it seems as though everyone came into the group with just their experiences rather than having any review material to help guide their one year assignment. The one year review can create for periods of downtime and decrease the sense of urgency in formulating strategies meeting the fleet’s requirements. The CNO's SSG had 18 high ranking members compared to the 3 to 10 people recommended by the article authors, which possibly results in group think. When there are too many members in a group, it is easy for one to just sit back and let the person with the most boisterous voice talk, resulting in suppression or criticism of new ideas.
After reviewing Kaplan and Beinhocker’s article, I agree with Admiral Richardson’s decision to dissolve the Strategic Studies Group. The CNO can identify other avenues and take the advice of the article writers to create strategic plans without holding 18 naval leaders hostage in a one year meeting.
Cavas, C. (2016, April 7). US Navy Study Group Being Dissolved. Retrieved from DefenseNews: www.defensenews.com/story/defense-news/2016/04/07/navy-cno-richardson-ssg-strategic-studies-group-newport-naval-war-college-wise/82731738/