Bernhard Richter


The international system is determined by increasing multi-polarity and so also by an increase of relevant protagonists, an increasing importance of non-governmental protagonists (violent ones as well), increasing networking of societies, national economies, sets of values, etc. On top of it, as a mega-trend so to speak, there is globalization, which has seized all areas of life with enormous power and contributes to a strong dynamics of change of the international system. Due to this increasing uncertainty, complexity and dynamics of environments and general set-ups we have to realize that there is no single future; on the contrary, we ought to think of alternative “futures” (the so-called scenarios). This reasoning in scenarios results from the perception that future developments cannot be determined from updating figures or from implicit ideas about the future. The object of this essay is the following presentation:

1. What is understood by the term scenarios, and which varying scenarios are there?

2. How can scenarios be profitably used in the process of strategic management, and which increase in value do they have?

3. Practical examples of use of the process model of strategic management presented in this essay applied both in the Austrian and the Dutch Armed Forces.

Nevertheless, this method of strategic management does not claim to “invent the wheel a second time”; on the contrary, it builds on a proven (generic) process of strategic management and improves it. Thus, the decision for a strategic alignment and development of one’s own organisation usually is not based on one possible future development, but on several ones. In addition to that, the process model presented in this essay can be applied almost indiscriminately in economy as well as in security and defence political processes of strategy development. “Not knowing the future, but being prepared for the future is decisive.” (Perikles)