Organizing the U.S. Government for National Security: Overview of the Interagency Reform Debates [December 16, 2008]   [open pdf - 259KB]

"A growing community of interest, including Members of Congress, senior officials in the executive branch, and think-tank analysts, is calling for a reexamination of how well the U.S. government, including both the executive branch and Congress, is organized to apply all instruments of national power to national security activities. The organizations and procedures used today to formulate strategy, support presidential decision-making, plan and execute missions, and budget for those activities are based on a framework established just after World War II. That framework was designed to address a very different global strategic context: a bipolar world with a single peer competitor state, the Soviet Union, which was driven by an expansionist ideology and backed by a massive military force. Six decades later, in the wake of 9/11, many observers and practitioners note, the United States faces greater uncertainty and a broader array of security challenges than before, including nonstate as well as traditional state-based threats, and transnational challenges such as organized crime, energy security concerns, cyber attacks, and epidemic disease. The 'outdated bureaucratic superstructure' of the 20th century is an inadequate basis for protecting the nation from 21st century security challenges, critics contend, and the system itself, or alternatively, some of its key components, requires revision. [...]The purpose of this report, which will be updated as events warrant, is to help frame the emerging debates for the 111th Congress by taking note of the leading advocates for change, highlighting identified shortcomings in key elements of the current system, and describing categories of emerging proposals for change."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34455
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