Basic Primer for Strategic Planning


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This basic primer presents a select list of tools and principles to inform the development of a government multiagency strategic plan for peace and
stabilisation operations. It serves primarily as a resource for the participants at the Centre’s MAPSOP Multiagency Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
and Measures of Effectiveness (MPME) Workshop on 26-28 October 2011 by presenting a synopsis of the relevant, international assessment and planning
tools for peace and stabilisation planning and implementation.

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Basic Primer for Strategic Planning

  1. 1. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011This basic primer presents a select list of tools and principles to inform the development of a government multiagency strategic plan for peace andstabilisation operations. It serves primarily as a resource for the participants at the Centre s MAPSOP Multiagency Planning, Monitoring and Evaluationand Measures of Effectiveness (MPME) Workshop on 26-28 October 2011 by presenting a synopsis of the relevant, international assessment and planningtools for peace and stabilisation planning and implementation. Plans are nothing; planning is everything. Dwight D. EisenhowerThe Basics of Strategic Planning · provide a checklist of tasks for a government to choose from in orderStrategic planning tools are developed by different actors operating in various to achieve stabilisation, along with an identification of the skill setscapacities across the international community. These tools are extremely diverse, required of those implementing the activities (such as in the Stabilisationcovering a number of disparate but often overlapping issues. Different planning Task Matrix produced by the UK s DfID Stabilisation Unit).tools can: · focus on the development of a comprehensive assessment to inform The planning hierarchy developed in the United Kingdom in Figure 1 is one externally-led action (for example, the UN Country Team Common example of a simple, practical tool for planners to reference that shows how the Country Assessment or USAID s Conflict Assessment Framework) different elements of a multiagency plan fit together. · offer general guidance for planners (such as in the U.S. Department of State/CRS Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction) Figure 1: The Ideal Planning Hierarchy (UK DfID: The UK Approach to Stabilisation, 2008) 1
  2. 2. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011A tool facilitates the accomplishment of a task, and thus every strategic Below is a sample list of contemporary planning and assessment tools that exist inplanning document should be approached with that action-oriented mindset. the international community. They have been selected to show the wide range ofSome tools focus on specific areas in order to produce realistic activities, such as functions, objectives, and subject focus areas available, as well as to present aproviding an assessment, offering guiding principles, presenting a notional snapshot of the different primary organisations globally that are working in thisframework for action or a coordination mechanism. Many tools are developed domain. The key common themes in this document reflect those collectedwith a particular area of focus in order to meet the needs of the organisation that from a broad range of existing tools and guidelines which have been vetted anddeveloped (and will use) the tool. No tool should be approached as doctrine endorsed by a wide community of practice.or as a defined scientific methodology for every, or any, case presented.Instead, they are offered as instruments to be tested and adjusted to context. The bolded text within each column emphasises the primary purpose/objective and subject of focus of each tool. Planning and Primary Agent of focus Type Purpose/Objective Geographical M&E Subject of Focus Assessment Tool Organisation ScopeConflict Assessment The Fund For Peace U.S. Government Assessment + Conflict Assessment National, NA + PoliticsSystem Tool (CAST) agencies + Conflict Resolution subnational + Economy + Stablisation + Public Institutions + Institution Building + Civil SocietyStabilisation Task Stabilisation Unit UK Government Guidelines + Conflict Resolution National, NA + EconomyMatrix (STM) (UK) (civilian and + Stabilisation subnational + Public Institutions military), + Institution Building + Civil Society + Democratisation + Donors International + Development community + Humanitarian & Disaster ReliefBuilding Peaceful Department for DfID staff, Guidelines + Conflict Resolution National, NA + EconomyStates and Societies International external actors + Development subnational + Public Institutions(BPSS) Development (UK) + Stabilisation + Civil Society + Democratisation + Donors + Institution BuildingStrategic Assessment Office of USAID missions Assessment + Assessment National, NA + NGOsFramework (SAF) Democracy & + Democratisation subnational + Donors Governance + Institution Building + Public Institutions (USAID) + Development + Civil Society 2
  3. 3. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011 Planning and Primary Agent of focus Type Purpose/Objective Geographical M&E Subject of Focus Assessment Tool Organisation ScopeCommon Country United Nations United Nations, Assessment, + Development National, No + GovernanceAssessment (CCA) Country Team host-nation Coordination + Institution Building subnational + Public institutions + Humanitarian and + Civil Society Disaster ReliefMeasuring Progress United States S/CRS & USAID Assessment + Conflict Resolution National Yes + Economyin Conflict Institute of Peace + Stabilisation + Public InstitutionsEnvironments + Institution Building + Civil Society(MPICE) + Democratisation + DevelopmentInteragency Conflict State/Office of the U.S. Government Coordination, + Conflict Resolution Regional, No + EconomyAssessment Coordinator for agencies Assessment, + Stabilisation national, + Public InstitutionsFramework (ICAF) Reconstruction and Planning + Institution Building subnational + Civil Society + Humanitarian and + Donors Stabilization Disaster Relief + Democratisation + DevelopmentCountry Governance Department for DfID Country Guidelines + Development National, No + EconomyAnalysis (CGA) International Office Staff + Conflict Resolution subnational + Public Institutions Development (UK) + Stabilisation + Civil Society + Democratisation + Donors + Institution BuildingConflict Assessment U.S. Agency for USAID missions Assessment + Development Regional, Yes + EconomyFramework (CAF) International + Conflict Resolution National + Public Institutions Development + Stabilisation + Civil Society (USAID) + Institution Building + Donors + Humanitarian and Disaster Relief + DemocratisationTactical Conflict Office of Military U.S. Government Assessment, + Conflict Resolution Subnational Yes + EconomyAssessment Affairs (USAID) Planning + Stabilisation + Public InstitutionsFramework (TCAF) + Counterinsurgency + Civil Society + Development + Donors + Institutional BuildingConflict- Related United Nations United Nations, Assessment, + Conflict Resolution Regional, NA + *To determine theDevelopment Development host-nation, Planning + Stabilisation national, link betweenAnalysis (CDA) Programme International + Institution Building subnational conflict and Community + Democratisation Development + Development 3
  4. 4. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011What is Peace and Stabilisation? Activities categorised within other disciplines can also fall within the broadPeace and stabilisation (P&S) is the term used here to emphasise the on-going parameters of peace and stabilisation operations, and exist in the samestabilisation of a conflict-affected area. Once peace has been reached, operational space. These activities include: stability does not naturally or immediately result, or vice versa. Peace will · peace-making or peace-building;falter when a stable environment is not maintained. Peace and Stabilisation · state-building;activities should be considered, planned and implemented together, rather than · post-conflict recovery or reconstruction;attempting to make an artificial distinction between the two. · international development; and · humanitarian assistance.In broad terms, the 2008 UK Stabilisation Unit s objectives for stabilisation are a However, impartiality and neutrality are paramount for actors working inhelpful starting point: humanitarian assistance and international development. Hence, agencies · Prevent or contain violent conflict; involved in such activity may seek (legitimately) to distance themselves from · Protect people and key assets and institutions; those working on P&S operations which are overtly political in nature. · Promote political processes which lead to greater stability; and · Prepare for long-term development. International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as CARE, World Vision, the International Rescue Committee, and the International Medical Corps,Note: The use and interpretation of stabilisation differs among governments, to name but a tiny fraction, as well as local NGOs or community-based organizations (CBOs), seek to assist people in line with their various missionagencies, contexts, and amid practitioners throughout the conflict management, objectives. These groups may include the extremely vulnerable, internallypeace-building and humanitarian communities. There are also different meanings displaced persons or refugees, those seeing assistance in a particular location orfor the term throughout the civilian and military arenas. Those working in this sector, etc. While the efforts of these organisations can and do have a stabilisingcomplex arena should be aware of the different definitions, interpretations, andexpectations of stabilisation . impact, political stabilisation is not typically their overt goal. In addition to NGOs, international organisations (IOs) such as the World BankP&S refers to the full range of activities and processes initiated and and the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the Internationalimplemented by host countries, regional actors, and external stakeholders Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and regional economic organisations alsofrom the international community. These activities and processes should be work in the same P&S operational space. Given that P&S is a political endeavourunderstood to include the full spectrum of activity in the post-conflict space, such seeking political settlement of conflict, neutral IOs such as the ICRC generallyas: will not openly associate or align with a stabilisation mission. · establishing and maintaining a secure environment; · justice/rule of law programs; Host countries are often both the recipient and contributor to P&S activities · security sector reform (SSR); at the state, municipal, and civil society levels. Depending on available local · support to civil society and social services provision; capacity, a host state government, civil society groups, local CBOs, or diaspora- · economic recovery projects; and supported local initiatives may support broader P&S goals. Some challenges may be mediated with local or regional resources, whereas others would require or · efforts in disarmament; demobilisation, rehabilitation, and reintegration benefit from direct external engagement. Without host nation and host society (DDRR). buy-in, however, stability is a hard goal to reach. Stabilisation requires 4
  5. 5. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011external intervention but local settlement. (The UK Approach to Stabilisation, specific operations and activities that need to be undertaken, and in what method2008, p. 14) or form, in order to achieve the strategic goals. For the purposes of developing a multiagency plan (or plans) for peace andWhat are Fragile and Failing States? stabilisation operations, the strategy should subsume the stated national goals forFragile states are states failing to meet the needs of the their populace. They the particular country or region in question. This should include both the aims thatare most often plagued by instability and conflict. The factors that contribute to an external actor seeks to achieve with regards to its own interests in that countrythe fragility of a particular state are unique to each case, and can include: or region, and the stated goals or policies of the particular country. · civil disputes; · politically or economically motivated violence; · external shocks such as regional instability or global price fluctuations; · environmental degradation such as deforestation due to climate change; · natural disaster;and · decreasing yields in predominantly agriculture-based economies in the developing world.Definition of a Fragile State: States are fragile when state structures lack political will and /or capacity toprovide the basic functions needed for poverty reduction, development and tosafeguard the security and human rights of their populations. (OECD-DAC)The confluence of internal and external factors that initiate, contribute to, orattempt to mitigate fragility in a given country or region is extraordinarilycomplex.Figure 2 describes the downward spiral from fragility to failure. Unpacking thismulti-variable complexity is critical to the success of any strategic planningprocess, and particularly those plans that are conceived and designed outside of Figthe target country. ure 2: Fragile States: The Downward Spiral (UK Ministry of Defense (Security and Stabilisation: The Military Contribution, Joint Doctrine Publication 3-40).What is Strategy?A strategy is a process or plan for action that seeks to reach a defined goal, orend-state by linking resources, capabilities and activities to objectives.Coherent strategies include assumptions, goals, resources, capabilities, priorities,sequencing, and a general notion of a defined end-state. Above all, though, gettingthe assumptions right and constantly reassessing them is the first step indeveloping an effective strategy. In the military realm, the strategic level isdistinct from the operational and tactical levels, which delve into more detail on 5
  6. 6. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011Recurring Themes of Strategic Planning Tools Analysis of the historical or political dynamics between any external actor and the host country in a multinational P&S mission is essential. TheseEach strategic planning tool offers pertinent information for the development of a dynamics can impact how a P&S mission is perceived and how well it can attainmultiagency peace and stabilisation plan in a fragile or failing state, conflict- its stated tasks. An understanding of the dynamics among external actorsaffected context. Based on eleven different tools summarised in the previous positioning to enter a fragile state environment is also important.table, the following three broad themes are identified as critical foundations foreffective strategic planning. These foundations provide a solid basis for For example, the impact of the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia in 1993 thatdetermining appropriate response action, in line with defined National Interests. became fodder for the book and movie Blackhawk Down continues, on face value,to preclude any future U.S. military-supported humanitarian mission in Know Where You Stand: Assessment Somalia. The current increase in violence, coupled with the human misery intensified by severe drought and famine conditions, compounded by the· A comprehensive understanding of the potential tensions and spoilers strengthened role of terrorist actors in the Horn, would seem to be a ripe present is critical. So is an honest review of the local and regional capacities opportunity for the U.S. to initiate a P&S mission in the region, but there is to support peace. no indication that the US is considering any such action.The Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework (ICAF) summarizes thesefactors in Figure 3. The assessments produced by the World Bank in its Conflict Analysis Framework or individual UN agency-led analyses could offer a time-saving starting point for planners. Assessments are developed with the particular policy direction or target area of that organisation in mind. However, they offer a window into the planning of other actors and thus can be used as an initial coordination or de-confliction tool. Figure 3: Evaluate the Context of the Conflict (ICAF 2008)Internal tension points or red-lines within one s own multiagencycommunity must be understood and managed by actors in a P&S mission thatare designing a strategic plan. These include having an understanding of thedynamics and political motivations of key decision makers within one s ownorganisation that could thwart, or conversely champion, P&S strategic levelplanning. 6
  7. 7. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011The MPICE Metrics Framework is a hierarchical system of Play Nice: Multiagency Relationsoutcome-based goals, indicators and measures. MPICE is designed · Strong leadership is imperative in multiagency strategic measure the drivers of conflict against the ability of host-nationgovernment institutions to resolve a conflict. The relationshipbetween government institutions and societal practices is measuredin five sectors, summarized in Figure 4 below.The metrics are collected and used to support policy formulation,and ultimately the implementation and updating of operationalplans. MPICE aims to provide practitioners with a tool to trackprogress from the point of intervention through stabilisation to self-sustaining peace. Figure 5: Unpacking the Problem (Kokoda Paper 12, 2010). · No external single agency or organisation is well-placed enough structurally or substantively to assess or address all the complex needs (i.e., security, human, social, institutional, governmental) in a conflict- affected environment. A systematic approach to multiagency coordination and collaboration (as well as a sound understanding of each agency or organisation s expeditionary capabilities) is essential. It is also important to weigh the capacity and capabilities of the host-nation from a whole-of- government approach. Figure 4: Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments (MPICE) Metrics · Internal power dynamics in the host nation must be acknowledged. In an Framework (USIP 2010) elected government structure, it is evident that the interest areas of elected officials (or of the constituents that assisted in their rise to power) will weigh, to some degree, into policy decisions. New leadership can come in and reinvigorate support for previously forgotten political, social or cultural fissures or contests. It may also serve to unify previously opposing forces, but may face internal structural, bureaucratic, or institutional challenges. The limiting factors, as well as those that offer new opportunities, should be 7
  8. 8. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011 incorporated when determining an appropriate response to political and Consistent Recognition of Sectors by Tools governance challenges within a multiagency community. In order to develop an effective strategic plan and ultimately implement a mission that supports long-term peace and stabilisation, a whole-of-nation approach is· Developing plans in a multiagency context allows planners to build needed. This implies a need for coordinated activity across a comprehensive institutional buy-in and commitment. Plans developed in isolated, narrow range of sectors within the host nation. Many of the tools referenced in this primer silos are often ignored or discounted, particularly if they require investment include a useful taxonomy of sectors to guide understanding of how specific P&S or future support from other areas of government that were not involved in activities fit into a comprehensive response. However, there is not one definitive the initial planning process. There is a constantly evolving political and or consistent taxonomy across all the tools because each tool is focused on unique bureaucratic environment that impacts crisis response planning in conflict- end-users or particular contexts. Despite differences in nomenclature or in specific affected areas. detail, the tools are generally consistent in their recognition of the following four broad sectors that are likely to warrant attention in a P&S operation: Check Your Work: Monitoring and Evaluation· Without a well-defined monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process and the · Security and the rule of law; development of measures of effectiveness with regard to an intervention, it is · Stable governance and political moderation; challenging to identify progress towards stated goals. Without M&E, it is · Sustainable economy; and also hard to identify the successes won and achievements attained as · Social well-being. milestones are reached while interventions are underway. In addition, without M&E it is difficult to identify a flawed intervention, test assumptions, The sectors are clearly interdependent. For example, a secure environment understand why it is not reaching the intended objective, and change course. facilitates the exercise of the rule of law, allows political settlements to take root, economic activity to commence, and social services to be delivered without· M&E is one of the most challenging aspects of any planning process. It external disruption to the population (via state structures, civil society, or from should be informed by a baseline assessment of the conditions on the ground international actors). Furthermore some P&S activities relate to more than one as well as by the implementing organisation(s) mandates and foci, be flexible sector. enough to respond to changing conditions, and be sufficiently rigorous to allow for the re-orientation of a plan and its activities, if needed. Any external mission would benefit from an analysis of the latent capacities, threats to, and opportunities found within each of these host nation or host· Indicators or metrics are most useful when they are focused on outcomes, society sectors. External actors within a P&S mission should be careful not to rather than outputs generally expressed in quantitative terms. The number of supersede or undermine local capacities. External actors should be aware of the peace-building workshops being held, or the total number of participants, is possible positive and negative impact of their action or non-action in any of these not useful information in determining the usefulness and broader effect of the sectors, and the ramifications of focusing on one at the expense of another. workshops. The appropriate sequence and combination of different activities throughout· A strong, primarily tactical and intensive tool for measuring effectiveness these sectors should be deliberated when designing a P&S plan and mission. in the P&S space is a monitoring tool published in 2010 by PKSOI and USIP, It cannot be overstated that recognising the particularities of the local context and Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments (MPICE). It assesses outcome conditions is vital to the design and implementation of lasting P&S activities. (vs. output) based performance in five end-states (see Figure 4). 8
  9. 9. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011Concluding Thoughts identified earlier: know where you stand, play nice with others, and check your work.A plan must be transparent, informed by local capacities, accountable to the whole of nation being targeted for support, cognisant of institutional strengths The graphic from the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) below in Figure 7and challenges, and include a deliberate, cyclical monitoring and evaluation presents a comprehensive snapshot of the multiple sectors, cross-cutting principlesprocess. For a multiagency plan in particular, strong and consistent leadership is a and related objectives that should be addressed in stabilisation and reconstructioncritical element for success throughout the planning, design, implementation, and planning and implementation.evaluation phases of peace and stabilisation operations. Echoing the themes Figure 7: Strategic Framework for Stabilization and Reconstruction (USIP: Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction, 2009) 9
  10. 10. Basic Primer for Strategic Planning Produced for APCMCOE by Noetic Group, 13 October 2011 ANNEX A Expanded List of Planning and Assessment Tools The list below is an expanded but not exhaustive list of available international P&S tools. It can be used as a resource for exploring other tools, and includes in bold the ones summarised in the table. The continued research and analysis in the conflict management domain, as well as the extraordinary complexity and uniqueness of each context, require a cautious approach to evaluating the pros and cons of each tool.1. United Kingdom DFID: Country Governance Analysis2. United Kingdom SU: Stabilisation Task Matrix3. United Kingdom DFID: Building Peaceful States and Societies4. United Kingdom UK Stabilisation Unit, Security and Stabilisation: The Military Contribution (Joint Doctrine Publication JDP3-40)5. Netherlands Clingendael: Strategic Governance and Corruption Analysis6. International Inter-American Development Bank (IADB): Strategy for Poverty Reduction and Promotion of Social Equity7. International World Bank / International Monetary Fund: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper8. International World Bank: Conflict Analysis Framework9. International World Bank: Country Assistance Strategy10. International World Bank: Post-Conflict Needs Assessments11. International World Bank: Worldwide Governance Indicators12. International NATO SACT: Supreme Allied Commander Transformation13. International UN: Common Country Assessment14. International UN: UN Consolidated Appeals Process15. International UN: Development Assistance Framework16. International UNDP: Conflict- Related Development Analysis17. International OECD: Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations18. International Fund for Peace: Conflict Assessment System Tool19. Sweden SIDA: Manual for Conflict Analysis20. United States DOS S/CRS: Inter-agency Management System21. United States DOS /CRS: Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction22. United States DOS /CRS: Post-Conflict Reconstruction Essential Tasks Matrix23. United States DOS /CRS: Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework24. United States USIP: Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction25. United States MCC: Millennium Challenge Corporation26. United States USIP: Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments27. United States USAID: Conflict Assessment Framework28. United States USAID ODG: Strategic Assessment Framework29. United States USAID OMA: Tactical Conflict Assessment Framework30. United States Department of the Army: Stability Operations (FM 3-07)31. United States NYU/CIC: Strategic Planning in Fragile and Conflict Context32. United States U.S. State Department (Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR): Leading Through Civilian Power)United States STAR: Sustainable Technologies Accelerated Research-Transportable Infrastructures for Development and Emergency Support 10