Strategy quote - wrong (and amount of wrongness)

I have in my mind a quote that goes something like

"it doesn't matter that your strategy is wrong, it is how wrong it is that matters"

It basically points out that on day 1 everything will change, and your strategy needs to be able to cope with that change. I think it is by Hew Strachan or Colin Gray, but for the life on me I can't find it on the internet.

Help?!
 

Drivers_lag

On ROPS
On ROPs
I have in my mind a quote that goes something like

"it doesn't matter that your strategy is wrong, it is how wrong it is that matters"

It basically points out that on day 1 everything will change, and your strategy needs to be able to cope with that change. I think it is by Hew Strachan or Colin Gray, but for the life on me I can't find it on the internet.

Help?!
Your Google-Fu is shite.

I simply Googled "it doesn't matter that your strategy is wrong"

Here.

100% match, first hit.
 
I suspect you're thinking of Professor Sir Michael Howard?

I am inclined to declare dogmatically that whatever doctrine the armed forces are working on now, they have got it wrong, what matters is their capacity to get it right quickly when the moment arrives
An idea he's also expressed more generally as.

No matter how clearly one thinks, it is impossible to anticipate precisely the character of future conflict.

The key is to not be so far off the mark that it becomes impossible to adjust once that character is revealed.
 
Wasn't it also a key argument of Nagl's in "Eating Soup With a Knife"?

Lots of juicy quotes in there if you're preparing an essay...
 
................which is why I've always had a sneaking respect for Rumsfeld's tortuous observation, "......................... because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."
 
Wasn't it also a key argument of Nagl's in "Eating Soup With a Knife"?

Lots of juicy quotes in there if you're preparing an essay...
Probably tangential to Naval Warfare; getting Naval Officers to think about doctrine is hard enough as it is!
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Probably tangential to Naval Warfare; getting Naval Officers to think is hard enough as it is!
courtesy of Vibrating Rabbit Proofreading and Editing Services
 
"No plan survives contact with the enemy" Helmut von Moltke the Elder probably about 1860
He also said "Strategy is a system of expedients." Clever bloke in my opinion.
 

HarryBosch

War Hero
Have a like. I was about to say that the quotation about strategy is merely a variation of 'No plan survives... blah blah". '
 

HarryBosch

War Hero
The how of any plan succeeding or how it was successful is always a matter of retrospective accounts of its success. In my opinion.


Edited to add further detail.
 
................which is why I've always had a sneaking respect for Rumsfeld's tortuous observation, "......................... because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things that we know that we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."
That knob took a complex idea expressed simply, and expressed it as a stoopid idea expressed with needless complexity.

He is to be congratulated for displaying before the world's gaze, the true nature of The Shrub's administration.

Manned by people who never knowingly misunderestimated their own capabilities.
 
The how of any plan succeeding or how it was successful is always a matter of retrospective accounts of its success. In my opinion.
Patton took the view that 'a good plan now, violently executed, is better than an excellent plan in a week's time'.

If the plan is 'good enough' it will move you - at a cost you can afford - towards the objective.

That only leaves to be discussed the questions of metrics and affordability.

Historians have the luxury of hindsight, and they're not pressed by the same issues of time and resource as the man commanding the fight.
 

Guns

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
My fav is "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face". Mike Tyson.
 
"No plan survives contact with the enemy" Helmut von Moltke the Elder probably about 1860
He also said "Strategy is a system of expedients." Clever bloke in my opinion.
Don't forget Charlie von Clausewitz:

Nobody starts a war, if they are in their right mind, without knowing what they aim to achieve, and how they plan to achieve it​

The 'system of expedients' idea is a recognition of the fact that 'no plan survives . . etc.' but still sits within Charlie's notion that you need, from the get-go, to be crystal-clear about the goal.

And not just in war.
 
My fav is "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face". Mike Tyson.
28 June. Anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand of Austria; of the signing of the Versailles Treaty, and of that ignorant thug biting off Evander Holyfield's ear. . . . and IIRC, subsequently going (back?) to jail.

I'd as soon buy his latest self-improvement book, as buy one of these:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001KHDHZ2/?tag=armrumser-21
 

HarryBosch

War Hero
Patton took the view that 'a good plan now, violently executed, is better than an excellent plan in a week's time'.

If the plan is 'good enough' it will move you - at a cost you can afford - towards the objective.
Historians have the luxury of hindsight, and they're not pressed by the same issues of time and resource as the man commanding the fight.
Hindsight is available to both historians and former military commanders. But my retrospective comment was not about hindsight.

The plan 'is good enough' is nearer my point.

No description of an event or situation can ever be complete. A description of 'What's happening now' can always be extended... Indefinitely.

Add to that, no rule dictates it's own application.

In other words, no matter the rule order, plan to do X ... one can posit myriad events as following THE rule or plan.

Which of those actions are deemed, for all practical purposes (Patton), as having followed THIS rule or plan CAN ONLY be decided in retrospect.

For example, the decision 'the plan was a success' is only one decision among many that could have been made at the time. Claiming the plan did not not succeed because people did not follow the plan is subject to the same consideration .

The plan was a success because the events and actions, seen in retrospect, constituted 'following the plan' .

Lesson: That what commanders and leaders do... right now... will come to be seen as having followed the plan all along. Or not. But they can't say 'I followed the plan!' as though it dictated what they did.

HB
 
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[Snip]Lesson: That what commanders and leaders do... right now... will come to be seen as having followed the plan all along. Or not. But they can't say 'I followed the plan!' as though it dictated what they did.

HB
So - you're not impressed by Monty's presentation of events in Normandy, in 1944, I take it.
 

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