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xvi, 317 p. ; 24 cm.
  • Toward a theory of national security agencies
  • Origins of the National Security Council system : a "brass-knuckle fight to the finish"
  • Evolution of the National Security Council System : "from king's ministers to palace guard"
  • Origins of the Joint Chiefs of Staff : "fighting for the very life of the Navy"
  • Evolution of the Joint Chiefs of Staff : "the swallows return to Capistrano"
  • Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency : "those spooky boys"
  • Evolution of the Central Intelligence Agency : "one of the weakest links in our national security"
  • Conclusion.
In this provocative and thoughtful book, Amy Zegart challenges the conventional belief that national security agencies work reasonably well to serve the national interest as they were designed to do. Using a new institutionalist approach, Zegart asks what forces shaped the initial design of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council in ways that meant they were handicapped from birth. Ironically, she finds that much of the blame can be ascribed to cherished features of American democracy frequent elections, the separation of powers, majority rule, political compromise all of which constrain presidential power and give Congress little incentive to create an effective foreign policy system. At the same time, bureaucrats in rival departments had the expertise, the staying power, and the incentives to sabotage the creation of effective competitors, and this is exactly what they did.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)9780804735049 20160528
Law Library (Crown)