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DoD Strategic Guidance


Alternate Definition

Strategic Guidance - The written products by which the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff provide Strategic Direction. DoD Strategic Guidance is the common thread that integrates and synchronizes the activities of the Joint Staff, combatant commands, Services, and combat support agencies. Strategic Direction - The strategy and intent of the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in pursuit of national interests. (Source: Joint Publication 5-0, Joint Planning (JP-05))

General Information

The Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) Capabilities-Based Assessment (CBA) process is rooted in a chain of strategic guidance documents. The President’s National Security Strategy (NSS), the SECDEF’s National Defense Strategy (NDS), and the Chairman’s National Military Strategy (NMS) provide the overarching description of the country’s defense interests, objectives, and priorities. In addition, the Guidance for the Employment of the Force (GEF) and Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) contain further refinement of objectives and priorities.

Guidance for Employment of the Force (GEF) - The GEF, signed by SECDEF, and its associated Contingency Planning Guidance, signed by the President, convey the President’s and SECDEF's guidance for contingency force management, security cooperation, and posture planning. The GEF translates NSS objectives into prioritized and comprehensive planning guidance for the employment of DOD forces.

Defense Planning/Programing Guidance (DPG) - The DPG is used to lead the overall Planning Phase of the Planning, Programming & Budget Execution (PPBE) Process and consolidates force development planning priorities into a single overarching document for DOD planners to use. 

Chairman’s Program Recommendation (CPR) and Chairman’s Program Assessment (CPA) together are the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff's (CJCS) assessment and recommendation on how well the service Program Objective Memorandum (POM) conforms to strategic guidance and supports the combatant commanders.

Together, these documents help provide an analytical foundation and context for the CBA and other capability analyses.

Furthermore, this strategic guidance is refined at the battlespace level in CJCSI 3010.02, Guidance for Developing and Implementing Joint Concepts. The Joint Operations Concepts - consisting of the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO), and the various Joint Operating Concepts (JOCs), the Joint Functional Concepts (JFCs), and the Joint Integrating Concepts (JICs) - provide a common vision of how the DOD would like to operate in the future, along with the desired attributes of the force.