Huntington, Samuel P.
January 1960
Foreign Affairs;Jan1960, Vol. 38 Issue 2, p285
Academic Journal
The article presents a discussion on strategic planning and the political process in the United States. For a decade or more statesmen and scholars have been unhappy about American methods of making decisions on strategic programs, that is, decisions on the over-all size of the military effort, the scope and character of military programs, the composition of the military forces, and the number and nature of their weapons. The most common criticisms have been: national security policy lacks unity and coherence, decisions are made on an ad hoc basis, unguided by an over-all purpose; national security policies are stated largely in terms of compromises and generalities, the real issues are not brought to the highest level for decision; delay and slowness characterize the policy-making process; the principal organs of policy-making, particularly the National Security Council, are ineffective vehicles for the development of new ideas and approaches; policy-making procedures tend to magnify the obstacles and difficulties facing any proposed course of action. These deficiencies are primarily the product of government by committee, especially when the committee members must represent the interests of particular departments and services.


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