After the War: Nation-Building from FDR to George W. Bush

11 09 2008

URL: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG716/. Tuesday, September 09, 2008, by Shirl Kennedy. Source: RAND Corporation.

From press release:
The foreign policy success of incoming presidents, particularly in the early years of a presidency, is largely determined by how well the new administration learns from the successes and failures of the outgoing president, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

The report by RAND, a nonprofit research organization, examines how American policy toward post-conflict reconstruction has been made and implemented, and the effect that the process of developing these policies has had on the outcomes.
The study reviews the post-WWII occupations of Germany and Japan, the post-Cold War missions in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, and concludes with the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A key finding is that emptying and re-filling thousands of high- and medium-level national security and foreign policy positions in the federal government ensures a low level of experience in the opening years of a presidency, while a heavy reliance on patronage effectively insulates political leaders at the top from professional advice at the bottom.

The result is a break in continuity between presidential administrations, a barrier between key leaders and professional advisors, and diminished competence in the civil service sector, according to the study.

Summary (PDF; 234 KB)
Full Report (PDF; 1.1 MB)

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