Lindsay, Franklin A.
January 1961
Foreign Affairs;Jan1961, Vol. 39 Issue 2, p279
The article focuses on program planning in foreign affairs. Program planning is the process by which policy objectives are translated into action programs of the scope, magnitude and timing required for their realization. It takes years to train a public information officer capable of working effectively in any region, to bring into being a new investment bank capable of wisely directing the flow of capital investment, to build a competent corps of public administrators in a newly developing country, or to create a limited-war military force capable of moving at a moment's notice by air to a distant point of danger. The lack of program planning in the foreign field probably can be laid to skepticism about the value of planning on the part of many career Foreign Service officers and the inevitable operational orientation of most of the top foreign policy officials. The essential unpredictability of the future is often used as the principal argument for not planning. This of course is a distortion of the purpose of planning. The purpose is not to prepare rigid programs that will apply only if predictions about future events have been accurate to the point of clairvoyance. Rather, the purpose is to prepare broad, flexible programs with room for maneuvering as events take shape.


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