Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC.

Author:Mulcahy, Kevin V.

Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC. By Amy Zegart. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.317 pp.

There are two basic approaches to the study of presidents and national security policy making. The first, the more traditional, is to focus on a particular administration's diplomatic activities. The other approach is to focus on national security agencies under presidential direction. The works discussed, both metamorphosing from doctoral dissertations at South Carolina and Stanford, respectively, are good examples of these two approaches to the study of the foreign-policy presidency. Jean A. Garrison's Games Advisors Play: Foreign Policy in the Nixon and Garter Administrations studies the decision-making processes of the Nixon and Carter administrations from a political-psychology perpective. Amy Zegart, in Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC, studies the organizational development of the principal agencies created by the National Security Act of 1947. Surveying more than a half-century of bureaucratic policies, Zegart posits a new institutionalist, "national security agency model" to explain a pattern of administrative creation and survival.

Garrison focuses on the role of the national security adviser under Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter in the areas of U.S.-Soviet relations and arms control. Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski were both strong-willed and highly ambitious national security advisers and played central roles in the policy-making process. Kissinger, in particular, operated as a veritable "agent" in the execution of presidential initiatives. Most famously, the Kissinger "apparat" functioned as a "backchannel" for the conduct of the U.S.-Soviet strategic arm control limitations talks (SALT). Kissinger's success in bureaucratic politics required the displacement of Secretary of State William Rogers from the advisory process and a hypercentralizaton of decision making in the White House. This "palace-guard" pattern was largely the result of Nixon's personality and leadership style that favored a hierarchical system centered on his national security adviser. "This impression, however, obscures the subtle and complex struggle for control of policy formulation among the various factions around the president" (p. 32). Garrison's study proposes to explicate when and how influence is employed La the national security advisory process. She specifies three strategies that inform power...

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