General James Mattis notes that responding to COVID-19 requires leaders to be able to make quick decisions and rapidly change their plans in response to changing circumstances.


General Mattis, former US Secretary of State in a conversation with Kevin Sneader Global Managing Partner of McKinsey, maintains that the pandemic has compressed planning horizons to almost nothing. General Mattis discusses how if you make plans or draw assumptions that don’t embrace uncertainty, you’re probably going to miss something. Planning depends on good feedback loops and comprehendible data displays. Even at uncertain stages of a pandemic, you have to start with the data then you have to quantify it and then problem-solve in real-time. As more data comes in, you then replace assumptions with knowledge and adapt the plan. Mattis highlights that planning has to be overlaid with honest and reason-based decision making. Planning has always been an integral part of Defence strategy and leadership responsibility, but COVID-19 may have blindsided the process? Consider the effect Covid-19 might have had on the military planning process.