William Newmann examines the ways in which presidents make national security decisions, and explores how those processes evolve over time. He creates a complex portrait of policy making, which may help future presidents design national security decision structures that fit the realities of the office in today’s world.
A very sophisticated study of policymaking that captures key factors in a coherent, comprehensive, and dynamic form. The portraits of presidential style, organization, and politics are empirically and theoretically rich.
Do bureaucracies or presidents run foreign policy? The answer has long been debated. But in this important study of the Carter, Reagan, and first Bush administrations, William Newmann rightly argues that both process and the president are vital to understanding how our government reaches its crucial foreign policy decisions.
Newmann provides a novel approach for understanding U.S. national security decision-making processes in a president's first term. After an impressive discussion and synthesis of previous literature, the author makes a strong argument that all presidents (in varying degrees) move to reassert control within their administrations. Highly recommended.
Newmann presents a compelling analysis; his strengths lie in the depth of his research, his mastery of the scholarly literature, and the rigor of his analysis. Any student of national security policymaking would benefit from reading this book.
William W. Newmann is assistant professor of political science and public administration at Virginia Commonwealth University. His work on national security decision making and homeland security have appeared in Public Administration Review and Presidential Studies Quarterly, where an article adapted from this book was named “Best Article” of 2001.