Grand strategy

Grand strategy or high strategy is the long-term strategy pursued at the highest levels by a nation to further its interests.[1][2][3] Issues of grand strategy typically include the choice of primary versus secondary theaters in war, distribution of resources among the various services, the general types of armaments manufacturing to favor, and which international alliances best suit national goals. With considerable overlap with foreign policy, grand strategy focuses primarily on the military implications of policy. A country's political leadership typically directs grand strategy with input from the most senior military officials. Development of a nation's grand strategy may extend across many years or even multiple generations.

The concept of grand strategy has been extended to describe multi-tiered strategies in general, including strategic thinking at the level of corporations and political parties. In business, a grand strategy is a general term for a broad statement of strategic action. A grand strategy states the means that will be used to achieve long-term objectives. Examples of business grand strategies that can be customized for a specific firm include: market concentration, market development, product development, innovation, horizontal integration, divestiture, and liquidation.[4]

In defining Grand Strategy, military historian B. H. Liddell Hart states:

[T]he role of grand strategy – higher strategy – is to co-ordinate and direct all the resources of a nation, or band of nations, towards the attainment of the political object of the war – the goal defined by fundamental policy.

Grand strategy should both calculate and develop the economic resources and man-power of nations in order to sustain the fighting services. Also the moral resources – for to foster the people's willing spirit is often as important as to possess the more concrete forms of power. Grand strategy, too, should regulate the distribution of power between the several services, and between the services and industry. Moreover, fighting power is but one of the instruments of grand strategy – which should take account of and apply the power of financial pressure, and, not least of ethical pressure, to weaken the opponent's will. ...

Furthermore, while the horizons of strategy is bounded by the war, grand strategy looks beyond the war to the subsequent peace. It should not only combine the various instruments, but so regulate their use as to avoid damage to the future state of peace – for its security and prosperity.[5]

Grand strategy expands on the traditional idea of strategy in three ways:[6]

  1. expanding strategy beyond military means to include diplomatic, financial, economic, informational, etc. means
  2. examining internal in addition to external forces – taking into account both the various instruments of power and the internal policies necessary for their implementation (conscription, for example)
  3. including consideration of periods of peacetime in addition to wartime