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The Process of Foreseeing: A Case Study of National Security Strategy Development Open Access

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The Process of Foreseeing:A Case Study of National Security Strategy Development Problem. As demonstrated by strategic miscalculations since World War II, national security and military strategy development often do not integrate understanding of a range of possible future conditions in the national security environment. Scholarly research lacks examination of the role foreseeing plays in strategy development in the national security, or military, context. Foreseeing as a cognitive process, to include its application in sectors other than the national security establishment, is a much-discussed but not empirically researched topic within the strategy and management fields. Research question. This study addressed one primary research question: How does the process of foreseeing possible future conditions inform development of national security strategy? Method. This research was a case study of foreseeing, viewed as it occurred within the organizational strategy development process initiated by the commanding officer of a large U.S. military organization and key senior members of his staff. The researcher conducted interviews of the commander and his staff, observed a strategy review session, and reviewed working documents and published strategy documents produced by the organization. Conclusions. The study resulted in three conclusions. The first and most fundamental conclusion was that foreseeing was observed in this case of strategy development through eight properties that describe the foreseeing process, and they were dynamically interrelated to generate enactive inputs to strategic decision making. Next, the data clearly illustrated that foreseeing was shaped by several factors, including individual characteristics of the participants, external environmental conditions, and internal aspects of the organization that impacted the organization’s strategic resource allocation decisions. Finally, foreseeing and sensemaking, as described by Dr. Karl Weick and his colleagues over several years, are inextricably linked as distinct but complementary processes; foreseeing is sensemaking forward.

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