– National purpose (what are we about?)
– National goals (what do we want?)
– National policy (what will we do about that?)
– Grand Strategy (civil and military action)
– Strategy (over-all military action)
– Resourcing the strategy (how much, how many to accomplish the strategy?)
– Tactics (fighting)
Each succeeding step is supposed to proceed from the previous step. That's the way you are supposed to plan, folks. That's what they teach you at a War College. War Colleges are typically the most senior service school of any armed force. Lieutenant colonels and colonels are carefully selected to attend such schools.
The idea contained in the array of terms above is that military strategy and campaign plans are the product of goal setting by echelons of government above the military.
In the case of US actions in Afghanistan, there seems to be a chaos of voices confusing this logical and orderly process of planning.
The basic contest over policy in Afghanistan is between those who insist that to reduce the Islamist danger to the USA, Afghanistan must be made into something fundamentally different than what it has been (the counterinsurgents) and those others who think (like Biden) that something less ambitious will accomplish the same thing.
What is the goal, Mr Obama? What is the goal? pl