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Venturist®, Inc.
8233 Old Federal Rd
Montgomery, Alabama

Smart Wars

"Less than a week had passed since I'd called the Pentagon for help, yet Warden and his team had put together a remarkably good plan…Warden had come up with a strategy designed to cripple Iraq's military without laying waste to a country."

--General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, It Doesn't Take A Hero

Developing SMART Strategies for SMART Wars

 A Five Day Program Led By John Warden on Strategic Thinking, Planning, and Execution



  • Trumping Tactics With Strategy

  • Creating High Resolution Strategic Objectives

  • Correctly Measuring Strategic And Operational Level Progress

  • Using The Five Rings To Find Strategic And Operational Centers Of Gravity

  • Raising Probability Of Success And Reducing Costs Through Parallel Operations

  • Crafting And Executing End Games

  • Using Open Planning To Improve Plans and The Chance They Will Be Well Executed

  • Supporting Examples Ranging From Ancient Greece To Today’s Headlines

  • A Stimulating Week Amongst Smart People With Ample Opportunity For Discussion And Practice

Failure to attain national security objectives in war or operations other than war that use military power is rarely the result of inadequate performance by tactical units.  Rather, it is invariably a function of bad, inadequate, or inappropriate strategy.  If the strategy is inadequate, it doesn’t matter how well military forces or other government agencies perform for the outcome will be unsatisfactory.  Unfortunately, national security officials, politicians, military officers and media commentators have historically not understood the fundamentals of strategy. They spend little time on the single most important element of any campaign—strategy, and are amazed when their efforts fail.  For any war, operation or campaign, regardless of scale, lack of a truly sound underlying strategy will endanger success and raise costs, regardless of how well commanders, planners and policy makers execute tactically.  The concepts John Warden and his associates teach in this course will promote strategic thinking skills that will ensure a much higher probability of success with less risk and lower costs whenever applied.

The Course

Strategist, commander, and author of The Air Campaign and Winning in FastTime, John A. Warden III, Colonel, USAF, (Retired) designed this course to teach the concepts of Developing SMART Strategies for SMART Wars.  It helps national security officials, military officers, and political advisers learn how to construct campaigns that achieve strategic results in wars of all types, in peace operations, and in disaster relief.  Its focus is at the strategic campaign level.

This course, applicable to countries and militaries around the globe, will help participants develop strategies that have high probability of success with less risk and lower costs, while avoiding operations that have little chance of success despite their predictably high costs.

Who Should Attend?

Military Officers, National Security Officials; Senators and Representatives; Candidates for National Level Elected Offices; Congressional, Defense Department, FBI, Homeland Security, and State Staffers and executives; CIA and other Intelligence Community Staffers and executives; Political Campaign Advisers; Media Commentators; Game Designers; Think-tank Staffers; and anyone interested in national security affairs or anyone who wants to influence them.

Course Outline

The course teaches the strategy methodology that was first employed in planning the air campaign for the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) and that has seen subsequent successful employment in a variety of other military, political, and business environments.*

What will you Learn?

Participants learn to think strategically and apply a unique, holistic, start-to-finish, replicable strategic planning and execution methodology.

  • Scope the Environment:  The operating environment over the next few years

  • Future Picture and Measures of Merit: Development of clear strategic objectives and measures.

  • Guiding Precepts: Deciding on principles of behavior.

  • Systems and Centers of Gravity: Thinking about campaigns from a system standpoint.

  • Parallel Operations and Campaigns: Determining how to realize the highest probability of success at the lowest possible cost and constructing campaigns that achieve strategic objectives

  • Finish with Finesse--Exit Points and End Games: Knowing how to get out when either success or failure occurs

  • Employing planning and execution concepts with historical records of success.

The course consists of presentation and discussions on each part of the strategy process followed by small group sessions, personally mentored by John that provide the opportunity to apply the lessons just learned to a realistic case study. By the end of the course, participants have a working understanding of theory and practice alike.


John Warden, the president and founder of Venturist, Inc., is the primary instructor and is ably assisted by other instructors who are experts in the process.

Instructor Background

"The Air Force staff quickly came up with an air campaign, the brainchild of Colonel John Warden, a brilliant, brash fighter pilot and a leading Air Force intellectual on the use of airpower…Warden's original plan would undergo numerous modifications…but his original concept remained the heart of the Desert Storm air war."

---Colin Powell, My American Journey

John A. Warden III is an executive, strategist, planner, and author whose work has had a worldwide impact in the military, in government, in business, and in education. His background as a strategist includes: Vietnam combat pilot, author whose books include The Air Campaign and Winning in FastTime, Air Force Fighter Wing Commander, architect of the 1991 Desert Storm Air Campaign, Special Assistant to the Vice President of the United States, Commandant of the Air Force’s Command and Staff College, and successful business founder. He has capitalized on his studies and experience to create a unique approach to strategy and success applicable in wars and competitions of all types.

Mike Cline has been with Venturist, Inc for over ten years and has played a key role in refining and presenting the strategy process.  He has worked with many different clients in industries ranging from semi-conductors to wholesale foods.  Before joining Venturist, he served in the Air Force in the fields of special investigations, counter-intelligence, instruction, and management. He was actively involved in important operations in Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines. He has designed and presents a Business Intelligence Process that helps organizations collect, analyze and disseminate the information they need to be successful.  He was part of the core group of officers who revolutionized the Air Force Air Command and Staff College in the early 1990’s.



Fee per person $5,950. Fee includes supporting material, breakfast, lunch and refreshments each day, and dinners Monday and Thursday night.

Discounts are available for groups of three or more attendees from a single organization.

Developing SMART Strategies for SMART Wars courses may be organized and conducted for a single organization on-site.  Call for details.



Organizations or individuals desiring to attend an upcoming Military Campaign Planning Course may register:

* Please note that this course is not necessarily aligned with the doctrine of any US or foreign agency. Please note also that the course does not cover tactics or the choice of military equipment; the hard part of thinking and planning is not deciding what plane, ship, tank, or component to use, but in determining the strategy and the centers of gravity that must be affected.  The very last step in good planning is selecting equipment or tactics.

Developing SMART Strategies for SMART Wars

Course can be presented on location per request for 10 or more participants, or is also available at Venturist, Inc.'s headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama.

If you are interested in additional information and/or would like to set up this course for your organization: