Strategy

In order to reach a definition of security that has utility for policy analysis, we need to pay attention to the way the various emotions, instincts, agendas and other subjective elements (described in the pages on ‘fear’, ‘honour’ and ‘interest’) inform the processes that determine security action. To put it another way, if the main drivers for security action are fear, honour and interest, ‘strategy’ as the term is used here, describes how you go about putting that action into practice. The two dimensions of this – means-ends rationalisation and prioritisation by relative value – describe the two dimensions of the process that represents the fourth and final security resource field of ‘strategy’. Other features of this process are outlined below. However, this represents a rather idealised, formal picture of how strategy works. The actual picture is both more dense and, due to the oddities of a particular history, culture and tradition, much more varied. The purpose of this section is to sketch out the framework of strategy on which to hang the particularities of a given strategic process (in this case that of Japan), which constitute the medium through which security is put into practice.

The first dimension of strategy is expressed in its definition as ‘the art or science of shaping means so as to promote ends in any field of conflict’ (Bull, 1968, 593). Following this logic, Betts defines strategic studies as being principally concerned with the Clausewitzian problem of ‘how to integrate politics and war’. Strategy as the ‘interdisciplinary joining of military grammar and political logic’, (1997, 8), or the integration of political ends and military means. The second dimension of strategy is in resolving ‘problems involving economy of means, i.e., the most efficient utilization of potential and available resources’, (Brodie, 1949, 475).

In his 1949 article ‘Strategy as science’, Bernard Brodie explains that ‘security is, after all, a derivative value, being meaningful only in so far as it promotes and maintains other values which have been or are being realized and are thought worth securing, though in proportion to the magnitude of the threat it may displace all others in primacy’ (italics added, Brodie, 1949, 477). The identification of referent objects as security objectives should therefore be contingent on a judgement of the relative importance of the values in question, in proportion to the cost of confronting that which threatens them. The comparative evaluation (via calculations according to cost/benefit and opportunity-cost functions) of referent objects that informs the ultimate judgement on the appropriate cost and mix of action to make them free of fear, doubt, and anxiety (i.e. to gain security), is the prime function of strategy.

Strategic studies: how political ends and military means interact under social, economic, and other constraints

Military Science: how technology, organization, and tactics combine to deliver victory in battle

Security studies: (‘potentially boundless’) Everything that bears on the safety of the polity

‘To clarify where strategic studies should fit, think of a subfield of three concentric circles: at the core is military science (how technology, organization, and tactics combine to win battles); the outer, most inclusive ring is security studies (everything that bears on the safety of a polity); and in the middle lies strategic studies (how political ends and military means interact under social, economic, and other constraints’ (Betts, 1997, 9).

Strategy also includes the preparation, balancing and combining of the means for achieving a security objective, and exploiting its political value (Betts, 1997). The military (including offensive and defensive capacity, now also ‘operations other than war’) is one set of means, the others being economic, diplomatic, etc.27 It follows, therefore, that because security is a derivative value its relationship to globalisation will not be direct; rather it will be mediated through its referent objects and the various factors informing strategy.

Finally, it is important to emphasise that while they may be separated and broken down into a series of subsets for the analytical purpose of appreciating a more detailed anatomy of security policy, these four dimensions in which ‘security’ is constructed – interest, culture, fear and strategy – are never isolated from one-another. Rather they constantly interact, shaping one another as their influence combines to form security policy.

 

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