The comprehensive approach has been a new emerging phenomenon within the field of strategic studies, national security, and international defence. Former NATO secretary-general Rasmussen posited that this approach “not only makes sense—it is necessary”. Yet with the rise of asymmetric warfare and the emergence of new constructs, the comprehensive approach is not supported by a necessary framework, model, or theory. Indeed, if the military alone is unable to solve the root cause of conflicts, then other elements of national and international power must collaborate more closely.
In Synergy—A Theoretical Model of Canada’s Comprehensive Approach, author, senior lecturer and strategic management consultant Eric Dion proposes a theoretical model for this new approach: How can such an integrated decision-making model be constructed for the comprehensive approach? Where and when, who and with whom, what, how, why, and to what effect can such a model be employed? Synergy answers these questions with an integrated theoretical model constructed of six management dimensions: the situational context, the sociocultural, the organisational structure, the strategic policies, the systemic processes, and the synergy dynamics. Together, these six dimensions fundamentally represent what would be the basic constructs for a more integrated theoretical model of the comprehensive approach. Taking a strategic management perspective on the comprehensive approach can open new perspectives within the field of national security and defence, a field traditionally dominated by political science and international relations. In the end, synergy appears to better explain the complex dynamics at play within the comprehensive approach.