Tsegaye Tegenu, Ph.D.
I hope you have enjoyed listing to the analysis of Let. General Abebaw Tadesse on the strategy thinking of the Ethiopian National Defense Force in the war against the outlawed TPLF. Read the posted 828 comments. Ethiopia: ሰበር – ጀነራል አበባው ታደሰ ዝምታቸውን ሰበሩ | ከጦርነቱ በኋላ ለመጀመሪያ ጊዜ ለ17 ደቂቃ ተናገሩ | General Abebaw Tadese
I divide Let. General Abebaw Tadesse military strategy thinking into five hierarchical components:
Component One: he spoke about knowing the nature of the war (who your enemy is, its intention, how it organized and prepared itself for long, and the assumptions on which the calculation is based). So, in strategy thinking component one is about analysis and understanding of the current problem and future challenges.
Component Two: he underlined the overall purpose of the war: ensuring the survival of Ethiopian independence and territorial integrity (saving Ethiopia from disintegration). In strategy thinking component two is about vision.
Component Three: He explained “what should be done” and “how to do it”. He considered the emergency situation of the national army and thought on how to proceed therefrom. He mentioned ensuring the safe withdrawal of the army from encircled areas; mobilizing backup force; fighting in such a way as to thwart the enemy’s access to the future supply of resources; fighting the war at the speedy of light without giving a breathing space and hit the core of enemy’s force at the center (a march to Mekelle); improving the fighting capacity using new technologies and improved logistic system. In strategy thinking, component three is about the design of collaborative and synergetic strategies.
Component Four: He mentioned the criteria used to measure the success of their strategies: reclaiming the armaments lost to the enemy; disintegrating the core capability of the enemy force and ensuring the integrity of Ethiopia. In strategy thinking, component four is identifying the strategy principles to evaluate actions and success.
Component Five: he discussed how they are planning to sustain victory and build up defense capabilities (continue internal mobilization, sustaining national harmony with a difference, modernizing the weapon, air force, ground force, human manpower, organization, fighting tactics, etc.). In strategy thinking, component five is about planning to build resources of the strategies to continue achieving the desired results.
Here is how I adapted his military strategy thinking to economic growth and development fighting front.
Component One: about analysis and understanding of the current problem and future challenges. How are the economic problems of the country manifested themselves at different levels and what are the root causes of these problems. Assessment and analysis depend on one’s core values, specialization, and interest. I suggest the assessment approach should be multidimensional and interdisciplinary. In my case, I use population economics as a framework of analysis.
Component Two: vision. I suggest the vision should be “ensuring the economic independence and prosperity of the country”.
Component Three: Designing collaborative and synergetic strategies. I suggest the idea of “homegrown and bottom-up industrialization”, a one-size-fits-all approach. Building an integrative model of all economic sectors is an essential element of strategy thinking.
Component Four: identifying the strategy principles to evaluate actions and success. I suggest that interventions should be evaluated by judging against strategy principles rather than policy outputs and outcomes. These strategy principles include job creation for the unemployed, income growth for those employed, local economic transformation (cities, towns, and rural areas), self-sufficiency in basic needs, self-reliance in basic industries, and sustained economic growth to cope with population growth.
Component Five: building resource capacity of strategies. I suggest a public-private partnership in which the private sector and the local, regional, and federal governments participate in the provision of goods and services. The role of these actors will be specified depending on the context.
I have copied how they think, not necessarily what they did. Strategy thinking as future-oriented long-term plan requires observing and scanning the environment, its trends, and challenges. This requires high level of awareness and monitoring abilities as explained by Let. General Abebaw Tadesse.