[…] there is a third facet of power that enables a state to leverage its capabilities towards political goals. This is grand strategy or ideational capability, which reflects a state’s capacity to generate and adapt a strategic template that can guide its national security bureaucracy. Again, measuring the quality of strategies among nations is problematic for reasons alluded to earlier. However, a focus on some of the underlying elements that might produce strategies could be instructive.
The quality of the strategic bureaucracy (those assigned to implement national security goals) can serve as a useful proxy for a state’s grand strategy since it is this element of state capacity that helps manoeuvre the state in international life by leveraging both the global geopolitical environment and all the material and ideological strengths at a state’s disposal.
The strategic bureaucracy includes the structure of national security institutions, such as the level of political–military interactions, inter-agency coordination and the level of “jointness” within the armed services itself. One can also include the quality, specialisation and scale of the foreign service and intelligence personnel […]
In fact, strategy and institutions are interdependent—a grand strategy is of little value without accompanying institutions to aid its implementation, and even great institutions require a worldview and strategy to guide them.