1988 C-SPAN Video on Ikle-Wohlstetter Panel’s Strategy Report

On January 12, 1988, President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy, a high-level panel chaired by outgoing Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Fred C. Iklé and strategist Albert Wohlstetter, assembled to publicly unveil their final report, Discriminate Deterrence. The report outline a new military strategy for meeting the future security environment’s changing dangers, with the aim of increasing (in the report’s own words) American and allied ability “to bring force to bear effectively, with discrimination and in time, to thwart any of a wide range of plausible aggressions against their major common interest–and in that way to deter such aggression.” The Iklé-Wohlstetter panel’s other members were Ambassador Anne L. Armstrong, Counselor to Presidents Nixon and Ford; Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter; Judge William P. Clark, former Deputy Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to President Reagan; W. Graham Claytor, Jr., Deputy Secretary of Defense under the Carter Administration; General Andrew J. Goodpaster, Jr. (USA, ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and Commander of U.S. European Command; Admiral James L. Holloway, III (USN, Ret.), former Chief of Naval Operations; Dr. Samuel P. Huntington, an influential political scientist at Harvard University; Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to Presidents Ford and Nixon; Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist; General Bernard A. Schriever (USAF, Ret.), who oversaw the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in the 1950s and 1960s; and General John W. Vessey (USA, Ret.), former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Most of them were in attendance at the press conference that C-SPAN filmed.

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“Strategy as a Profession in the Future Security Environment” (2009) by Andrew W. Marshall

Strategy as a Profession in the Future Security Environment

By Andrew W. Marshall

Recently published as one of several commentaries in Robert Zarate and Henry Sokolski, Nuclear Heuristics:  Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (Strategic Studies Institute, 2009), pp. 625-636.  Mr. Marshall’s commentary is a revised and updated version of his essay, “Strategy as a Profession for Future Generations,” in Marshall, J. J. Martin and Henry S. Rowen, eds., On Not Confusing Ourselves: Essays on National Security Strategy in Honor of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991), pp. 302-311.

The future is always full of uncertainties. A common error is to underestimate the scale and multiplicity of the uncertainties. This is a general failing that Nassim Taleb in his book, The Black Swan, explores in detail. (1) Here we are concerned with the national security area. In this case, as elsewhere, some aspects of the future are more predictable than others, and good assessments and strategies take whatever advantage they can of this. Demographic trends, relative rates of economic growth are some examples of relatively more predictable aspects of the future. Also cultural beliefs in different societies are more stable than other aspects of the future.

But big changes are also common, indeed major shocks can occur, and tend to be under-represented in forecasts of the future not only for the reasons that psychologists tell us about, but in the national security area because of the pressures of political correctness. Some topics, some future scenarios, may tend to be avoided, almost as taboo for a variety of reasons.

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Update

Welcome back to AlbertWohlstetter.com!  We’re in the process of upgrading the website, so pardon us if you find any dead hyperlinks or what not.  We’re working out the kinks as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, check out the following posts:

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Book Excerpt: Albert Wohlstetter’s Approach to Strategic Analysis and Design

This week’s excerpt from “Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter on Nuclear-Age Strategy,” Robert Zarate’s introductory essay to Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (2009), looks at Albert’s approach to the analysis and design of strategic policy. For more, see the earlier Wohlstetter book excerpts on:

Excerpts exclude the supporting endnotes, but you can get them — and much, much more — if you view or download the PDF version of the book at www.albertwohlstetter.com/book.

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EXCERPT: ALBERT WOHLSTETTER’S APPROACH TO THE ANALYSIS AND DESIGN OF STRATEGIC POLICY

By Robert Zarate

Albert Wohlstetter first entered the world of strategy in 1951, when at the age of thirty he began working at the RAND Corporation, a defense-oriented research organization based in Santa Monica, California. So new and so singular a place was RAND that the U.S. press would have to coin new terms–neologisms like think factory and the more familiar think tank–just to describe more succinctly, if not accurately, what this organization was.

RAND–the name is a contraction of the phrase research and development–was very much a product of the political, economic, military, and technological “cold war” competition between the West and the Soviet Union that began as World War II was ending. Recognizing the crucial roles that science and technology had played in the Allied victory over the Axis, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) in October 1945 formed Project RAND, the think tank’s institutional predecessor, as an experimental organization to retain wartime scientific and technological expertise. Written at a time when the American military services were struggling to comprehend how the atomic bomb might affect the future character of war and peace, Project RAND’s mandate was framed to encompass “study and research on the broad subject of intercontinental warfare, other than surface, with the objective of recommending to the Army Air Forces preferred techniques and instrumentalities for this purpose.” This broad mandate enabled a well-funded, cutting-edge, and extremely flexible research agenda that helped to attract some of America’s brightest minds in economics, physics, engineering, mathematics, and the social sciences. Although RAND would gain institutional independence from the USAAF’s successor, the U.S. Air Force (USAF), after incorporating itself as a private not-for-profit entity in 1948, the USAF would remain RAND’s main client for many years to come.

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Excerpt on limiting and managing new risks in the post-Cold War world and beyond from Wohlstetter book’s introduction

This week’s excerpt from “Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter on Nuclear-Age Strategy,” Robert Zarate’s introductory essay to Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (2009), looks at Albert and Roberta’s efforts to limit and manage new risks in the post-Cold War world and beyond. For more, see the earlier Wohlstetter book excerpts on:

Excerpts exclude the supporting endnotes, but you can get them — and much, much more — if you view or download the PDF version of the book at www.albertwohlstetter.com/book.

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EXCERPT: THE WOHLSTETTERS ON LIMITING AND MANAGING NEW RISKS.

By Robert Zarate

In the late 1980s, especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dramatic Soviet decline was leading some to foresee a pacific post-Cold War world. However, Albert Wohlstetter, now a Medal of Freedom-winning strategist in his mid-70s, was already thinking about the next set of strategic challenges. “Does [the Cold War’s potential end] mean there are no latent long term dangers demanding prudence?” he wrote in the conclusion of a June 1989 outline for his memoir. “[T]he political and economic futures of the heavily armed Communist states and of the increasingly lethally armed Third World countries are, to say the least, rather cloudy,” he observed apprehensively, adding:

Even if, implausibly, the Second and Third Worlds change rapidly to the market economies of the First World, nice though this would be, we are likely to discover once again that, contrary to Cobden and the Manchester School, trade and investment–good things though they are–are not all that pacifying. Trading partners have found a good many reasons to go to war. We haven’t seen the end of fanaticism, mortal national and racial rivalries, and expansionist ambitions. It is conceivable that all the variously sized lions and lambs will lie down together, that there will be the kind of moral revolution that many hoped for at the end of World War II when they thought it, in any case, the only alternative to nuclear destruction. But, as Jacob Viner [a University of Chicago economist] wrote at the time, “It is a long, long time between moral revolutions.” We should not count on it.

In the years following, Wohlstetter’s apprehensions would prove well-founded as the end of the Cold War–a global competitive order that his work in strategy had helped in some ways to sustain and in other ways to end–gave way to growing international disorder.

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Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (2009)

Re-upping this content. — ed.

Robert Zarate and Henry Sokolski, eds, Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (Strategic Studies Institute, 2009). | Book review in Foreign Affairs magazine.

ABOUT THE BOOK

(Jump down to the Table of Contents)

Pioneers of nuclear-age policy analysis, Albert Wohlstetter (1913-1997) and Roberta Wohlstetter (1912-2007) emerged as two of America’s most controversial, innovative and consequential strategists. Through the clarity of their thinking, the rigor of their research, and the persistence of their personalities, they were able to shape the views and aid the decisions of Democratic and Republican policy makers both during and after the Cold War. Although the Wohlstetters’ strategic concepts and analytical methods continue to be highly influential, no book has brought together their most important essays–until now.

Edited by Robert Zarate, former Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) research fellow (2006-2009), and NPEC executive director Henry Sokolski, Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (2009) demonstrates not only the historical importance, but also the continuing relevance of the Wohlstetters’ work in national security strategy and nuclear policy. It is the first book to make widely available over twenty of Albert and Roberta’s most influential published–and unpublished–writings on:

  • methods of policy analysis and design;
  • nuclear deterrence through survivable, controllable and therefore credible strategic forces;
  • nuclear proliferation and the military potential of civil nuclear energy;
  • spiraling arms-race myths versus the real, observable dynamics of strategic competition;
  • the revolutionary potential of non-nuclear technologies of precision, control, and information; and
  • the continuing need for prudence and pragmatism in the face of changing dangers.

In addition, Nuclear Heuristics provides readers with an introduction to the Wohlstetters’ work by editor Robert Zarate; and short commentaries on Wohlstetter writings by Henry S. Rowen (2005 WMD Commissioner and former Assistant Secretary of Defense), Alain C. Enthoven (former Assistant Secretary of Defense), Henry Sokolski (2008 WMD Proliferation and Terrorism Commissioner and former Pentagon official), Richard Perle (former Assistant Secretary of Defense and emeritus Defense Policy Board chairman), Stephen J. Lukasik (former Director of the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, now DARPA), and Andrew W. Marshall (Director of the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment).

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More Iklé-Wohlstetter Commission Working Group Reports (1988)

Albert Wohlstetter Dot Com is making available PDFs for three additional working group reports that were completed in 1988 as part of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy, also known as the Iklé-Wohlstetter Commission.

  • The Future of Containment, report of the Offense-Defense Working Group, submitted to the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, October1988).

The Offense-Defense Working Group was chaired by Fred S. Hoffman and Henry S. Rowen. Members included: Marcy Agmon (PAN Heuristics), Richard Brody (Pan Heuristics), Gregory Canavan (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Robert Chandler (PAN Heuristics), David Cotter (Center for Strategic Concepts), James Digby (PAN Heuristics), George Donohue (RAND Corporation), Thomas Evans (APL, Johns Hopkins University), Theodore S. Gold (Hicks & Associates), Dennis Gormley (Pacific Sierra Research Corp.), Craig Hartsell (Consultant), Roland Herbst (R&D Associates), ADM Staser Holcomb (U.S. NAVY, Ret.), Albert Latter (R&D Associates), GEN Edward C. Meyer (U.S. ARMY, Ret.), Leon Sloss (Leon Sloss Associates), GEN John Vogt (U.S. AIR FORCE, Ret.), James Wade (Systems Planning Corps.), Richard Wagner (Kaman Sciences Corp.), and Michael Yarymovych (Strategic Defense Center).

The Working Group on Technology was chaired by Charles Herzfeld. Members included Paul Baran, Richard Brody, Thomas Evans, Robert Frosch, Robert Hermann, Donald Hicks, Anthony Iorillo, Paul Kozemchak, Ken Kresa, Stephen Lukasik, J. Luguire, Hans Mark, J. J. Martin, John McDonald, Robert Turner, GEN Jasper Welch (U.S. AIR FORCE, Ret.), and Albert Wheelon. Government advisers included Marvin Atkins, William Graham, John Mansfield, Thomas Rona, and James Tegnelia.

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The Future Security Environment (1988)

Albert Wohlstetter Dot Com is making available a PDF version of The Future Security Environment, an October 1988 report by the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy’s eponymous working group.

The Commission was chaired by Reagan’s former Undersecretary of Defense Fred C. Iklé and strategist Albert Wohlstetter. Known also as the Iklé-Wohlstetter Commission, it included a number of military and foreign policy luminaries: Ambassador Anne Armstrong, Counselor to Nixon and Ford; Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security adviser; Judge William P. Clark, Reagan’s former national security adviser; W. Graham Claytor, Jr., Carter’s deputy secretary of defense; Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster (ret.), former Commander-in-Chief of USEUCOM and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Forces; Adm. James L. Holloway, III (ret.), former Chief of Naval Operations; Dr. Samuel P. Huntington, prominent Harvard political scientist; Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Nixon and Ford’s Secretary of State; Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Nobel-winning biologist; Gen. Bernard A. Schriever (ret.), U.S. Air Force proponent of ballistic missile and space programs; and Gen. John W. Vessey (ret.), former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Commission completed its final report, Discriminate Deterrence, in January 1988.

The Future Security Environment Working Group (FSEWG) was one of several working groups that provided analyses to the Iklé-Wohlstetter Commission. Co-chaired by the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment director Andrew W. Marshall and RAND Corporation economist Charles Wolf, Jr., the working group’s members included: Eliot A. Cohen; David F. Epstein; Fritz Ermarth; Lawrence Gershwin; James McCrery; Jeffrey Milstein; James Roche; Thomas Rona; Stephen P. Rosen; Dennis Ross; Notra Trulock; Dov Zakheim; and rapporteur Barbara Bicksler.

Here’s the full citation for the FSEWG’s 184-page report:

The Future Security Environment, report of the Future Security Environment Working Group, submitted to the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, October 1988).

The PDF for the report is over 13.0 megabytes, so give it a little time to load in your browser.

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NYT’s Richard Bernstein, Roberta Wohlstetter, and intelligence failures

Richard Bernstein recalls Roberta Wohlstetter and her work on understanding intelligence failures in “Intelligence Has Its Limitations” in The New York Times today.

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Wohlstetter photos on LIFE magazine archive

Came across 14 photos of Albert Wohlstetter from the LIFE Magazine photo archive hosted by Google.

A few of the photos were taken for a 1959 profile of the RAND Corporation in LIFE Magazine:

“Valuable Batch of Brains: An Odd Little Company Called RAND Plays a Role in U.S. Defense,” LIFE, Vol. 46, No. 19 (May 11, 1959), pp. 101-107.

Most, though, were taken during a photo shoot for Wohlstetter’s contribution to LIFE Magazine’s 1960 series on America’s national purpose:

Albert Wohlstetter, “A Purpose Hammered Out of Reflection and Choice,” Life, Vol. 48, No. 24 (June 20, 1960), pp. 115, 126-134.

A version of that article is available on the RAND Corporation’s website as:

Albert Wohlstetter, No Highway to High Purpose, P-2084-RC (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, June 1960.

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