Grand strategy is rarely mentioned in Australian defence debates. That’s unfortunate as it’s designed for use in solving complex problems when resources are limited. And that’s just where Australia is now, with some real worries over China but relatively meagre national means. Grand strategy has three major differences to plain-vanilla ‘strategy’. 

Firstly, grand strategy tries to build a better future. If a military strategy tries to win a war, grand strategy seeks a better peace beyond the conflict.

Secondly, a grand strategy uses diverse national power ‘means’. This diversity is summed up in the oft-used DIME construct: diplomacy, information, military and economic. Such diversity is not just whole-of-government but rather whole-of-nation and, in a globalised world, an international dimension. A grand strategy uses all and every suitable means in a coherent, integrated manner.

Thirdly, a grand strategy includes building the means required. The instruments of national power the grand strategy uses are developed from the tangibles of personnel, money and materiel and the intangibles of legitimacy and soft power. Industry and society loom large in this oft-overlooked second half of grand strategy.

Please click here to read the full “Building an Australian grand strategy” article published at Defence Connect, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.