It’s rabbit hole time. But don’t worry, this is a good bunny, a strategic bunny. The kind we want to chase because chasing this wasscally-wabbit may just get us a little wiser. Last week we covered what makes a strategist. In response, via comment, Paul G asked that we “drill down a bit further.” He suggested that “strategic decisions are a result of required changes within the operational environment [in order to] achieve organizational objecrtives.”
I don't agree that the word "strategic" is the part that lets you know that the "strategic bomber" is military, unless you want to say it's so in comparison to something like "Unabomber." That said, I do agree that the word has been extensively defined and used in military writings largely to represent the top-down views of the long-term interests of the state with respect to military (and I've seen it used essentially the same without respect to the military in national decision-making writings).
In addition to my time in your land of short haircuts, I've also spent quite a bit of time in the suit and tie corporate world. According to my MBA Corporate Strategy Professor anyway, there are really only two long-term viable corporate strategies with regards to a market: compete on cost and compete on differentiation. Competing on cost being to provide the same thing cheaper than anyone else can using various tools like economy of scale, lean principles, quality management, and other cost controlling measures. Differentiation then is focusing more on tools like marketing, customer feedback, trademarks, and patents to establish consumer sentiment of that thing being worth the extra money.
I've also seen many a strategic consultant who will gladly walk you through a decision-making framework that begins with goals and objectives and break things down into ever-more discrete pieces until they become actionable with the people and resources that you have.
Then of course there's the land of board games, which is where I think the most useful thought experiments can be found simply due to the great diversity of situations where the word might be aptly applied. Take chess for example. It's generally considered a strategic game, but where is the strategy? The goal is to capture the opponent's king before they can capture yours. The resources we have are the collection of pieces of different types, with each type having its own unique set of capabilities and potential. In my view I see the strategy as a loose framework by which I decide how to open, which pieces to protect and which to sacrifice, and what parts of the board to try to control, all the while balancing that against thwarting what my opponent is trying to do. I see the decisions of exactly which piece to move and to what space on any given turn as tactical considerations dominated by checking for threats and potential threats, calculating relative trade values, and of course comparing their relative impacts to both my strategy as well as my perceptions of the opponents’ strategy.