An ontology of power: perception and reality in conflict
Gaddy, Jonathan W.
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Strategy is a problematic yet often-invoked concept. This thesis explores the 2015 U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS), philosophy, and social theory to develop an alternative framework for the formulation of strategy in the security domain. The 2015 NSS is analyzed for consistency in its concepts and categories. A model of strategic agency is proposed as an alternative framework for developing security strategy. The strategic agency model draws upon actor-network theory and utilizes a novel approach whereby ontology is conceived as a network of power relations. Strategic agency provides a mechanism whereby a perceiving self-observer (Strategos, the strategic agent) may identify, describe, and explain the behavior of other actors in the strategic environment. This thesis relates how the perspective of Strategos moves along a continuum of ontology and epistemology in framing its world, with implications for accurate modeling of social systems. A model for analytical use in strategy development is presented along with insights into how such a model might be employed for analytical, planning, and operational purposes.
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