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The American bureaucracy on national security

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  1. Introduction
  2. Battling bureaucracies
    1. Article II of the Constitution
    2. The Department of Defense
    3. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff
    4. The pledge to make the Secretary of State the principal spokesman and adviser on foreign affairs
    5. The process of national security decision-making in the United States
  3. Bureaucratic tribal warfare refined
    1. model of Governmental Politics put forward by Allison
    2. George W. Bush's promise to cut red tape
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

In his book The Power Game, Hedrick Smith speaks of the foreign policy game in the United States as a ?bureaucratic tribal warfare?, using a tribal metaphor to describe the fierce fights which take place in Washington, DC. The notion of bureaucracy emerged in the early 20th century, with the work of a German sociologist, Max Weber, who described the process of rationalization in Western administrations. For Weber, the term was positive, but it has now negative implications, for it evokes red tape, lengthy procedures and complexity. The machinery of US national security policy is indeed bureaucratic, since it involves many agencies and governmental departments, and unlike in other Western countries, where foreign policy is run by professional diplomats, political appointees shape the US diplomacy. Since 1945, the United States has asserted itself as the policeman of the world and has generated a huge bureaucracy, along with an enormous military might: the National Security Act of 1947, under Truman, is a watershed date, from which the US never escaped its global responsibilities, even when it was willing to retreat.

[...] Another key institution in the making of the American security policy are the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, who are the principal military advisers to the President, the National Security Council and the Secretary of Defense, and act as an administrative unit outside the operational chain of command. A last but not least institution of national security is the Intelligence Community, which has created many fantasies. The Central Intelligence Agency, created by the National Security Act of 1947, is the best known of all the agencies that form the American intelligence community, but accounts for only one tenth of the intelligence budget of $30 billion. [...]


[...] Bush, with the aim of better coordinating the national security policy. From the start, such a task proved difficult, since it could arise concurrence with some other agencies. Some authors pointed at the risk of the potential for a new rivalry between the Homeland Security Advisor and the National Security Advisor[13]. The Bush administration chose an interagency model based on the NSC process a Homeland Security Council, Office of Homeland Security, and a Homeland Security Advisor. William W. Newmann thus identifies areas where there is a risk of competition between the NSC and the Office of Homeland Security, like scenario planning, intelligence gathering, foreign diplomacy, budget preparation[14]. [...]


[...] strong imprint on US national security policy, but one needs to take into account the huge power resources that lie with the President. Battling bureaucracies Unlike in any other countries, in the United States, the making of the national security policy is shared by several institutions. Literally, the Constitution grants few powers to the President in this field, whereas Congress received considerable powers. Article II of the Constitution says that the President shall have the power, upon the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties and to appoint ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls. [...]

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