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1Hans-Joachim Klaus Ruff-Stahl,LtCol in the Political Directorate at theGerman Ministry of Defence and Asst. Professor at Embry-Riddle AeronauticalUniversity       KeywordsOperational art, strategy, organizational failureAbstractThe purpose of this study is to introduce the Strategic Assessment Model(STRATAM), a model designed to assist in the prevention of strategic failure.STRATAM aids firstly in the assessment of a strategy, as well as its crafting andevolution; secondly, it aims to enable and possibly streamline civil-militarystrategic debates on military operations. It is argued that strategic blunders inmany cases result from latent organizational failures on one’s own side.Therefore, STRATAM combines Clausewitz’ theory of war and strategy withorganizational failure theory. To demonstrate the use of this model, this paperuses Operation Cast Lead (or the Gaza War) of 2008-2009 as a case study. Thepaper’s findings include that the ultimate reasons for strategic failure were onone hand Clausewitzian; on the other hand, the Israeli Defense Force’s failurein organizational learning from a previous war two years earlier. The timely,strategic assessment and an effective civil-military debate about the effects ofongoing military operations might have prevented this failure. STRATAM wouldhave provided the necessary language, structure, and relevance to identifyactual and potential strategic failures with the goal to evolve the strategy.In recent decades, the West – including Israel – has not been particularlysuccessful in winning wars. Small wars such as the 2008-2009 Israeli OperationCast Lead have proven to be an extremely tough strategic challenge. Often,strategic failure has been attributed to the actions of an asymmetrically fightingenemy or more recently, to “reasons of complexity”. Yet in contrast to this view,DOI 10.1515/jms-2016-0192UnauthenticatedDownload Date | 11/25/16 7:48 PM
2strategic failure may in fact be caused by one’s own flawed organizationalprocesses and human factors. Clausewitz’ notion that “everything in strategy isvery simple, but that does not mean that everything is very easy,” (Clausewitz,1976: 178) may already be read in this way: while a strategy should not beovercomplicated, human error prone and thus a set up for failure, strategicsuccess, in turn, depends on an effective organization including leaders, who arecognizant of human factors and are able to timely assess and adapt a strategy ifnecessary.So far, the impact of human and organizational factors has been thoroughlyinvestigated and widely understood in other complex socio-technical endeavorssuch as aviation, but its impact on strategy has been overlooked. In militaryhistory, there are multiple and very diverse examples of organizational andhuman factors caused failures that have originated at the level of strategicleadership. Roughly seventy years ago, Winston Churchill observed that

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Term
Fall
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Tags
The Land, On War, Israel Defense Forces, strategic failure

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