September 2nd 2014 - 11:02

As the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan draws to an end, the ‘West’ is starting to take a hard look back at two decades of global stabilization efforts. The ‘lessons learned’ literature on these efforts is exploding. One of the dominant themes in this literature is the need to embed the specifically military toolkit into a much more comprehensive, integrated approach towards planning and executing such operations.

In this forward-looking report, HCSS goes a step further by focusing not on the operational but on the strategic level of decision-making. Today, this strategic layer is driven much more by domestic and international ‘politicking’ than by creative strategic thinking. This report advocates a new approach to strategic decision-making which we label ‘strategic design’. It summarizes and borrows some key insights from the ‘design thinking’ literature in the business and public management literature and applies those to the security challenges surrounding stabilization efforts. The report then illustrates this approach by developing and evaluating a few ‘design sketches’ for new capability elements that even a small force provider like The Netherlands could start developing.

The report might be of interest to strategic planners and decision-makers on both the military and civilians side.

The report can be downloaded with the button on the right. 

Stephan De Spiegeleire is senior scientist at HCSS. He has Master’s degrees from the Graduate Institute in Geneva and Columbia University in New York, as well as a C.Phil. degree in Political Science from UCLA. He worked for the RAND Corporation for nearly ten years, interrupted by stints at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the WEU’s Institute for Security Studies. Mr. De Spiegeleire started out as a Soviet specialist, but has since branched out into several fields of international security and defense policy.

Tim Sweijs is a Senior Strategist. He is the initiator, creator, and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for research projects in horizon scanning, conflict analysis, international and national security risk assessment, and capability development. He has led multicenter research projects for both private and public sector organizations – including the European Commission and various European governments.

As an air force officer he has an extensive operational background in air & missile defence, serving as battery control officer with Hawk and Patriot systems, commander of 119 Active Air Defence Squadron at Air Base Leeuwarden and commander of the Guided Missile Group at Air Base De Peel.