Links to sources on United States Foreign and National Security Policy

(See the end for new items of special interest)

For general governmental policy related to foreign affairs or anything there is a government wide search engine called FirstGov. It will search and retrieve documents from all three branches of the federal government.

For information on legislation, use the Library of Congress’ search engine "Thomas."

Homeland Security Digital Library 


Links of special topical interest

Links to sources on US-China-Taiwan relations

Links to sources on Biological and Chemical weapons

Links to sources on Terrorism

Links to sources on nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and missile defense

Links to general information on International Relations



The Presidency

Presidents: Information on individual presidents

White House: where you can access the Executive Office of the President

National Security Council: the president's chief source of coordination for foreign policy.

National Archives: The National Archives contains search engines for researching the Executive Branch for documents on governmental and presidential administrations. From here you can search presidential libraries. Some documents are on line.

Presidential Directives (compiled by the federation of American Scientists)

Secretary of State Colin Powell’s United Nations presentation on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction capability (February 2003)

Inaugural Addresses

State of the Union Addresses

Transcript of President GW Bush’s speech on the War on Terrorism October 2005

Bush Administration’s, “National Security Strategy of the US,” March 2006

Bush Administration’s “9/11 Five Years later: Successes and Challenges,” Sep. 2006

Bush Administration’s “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism,” Sep. 2006




U. S. House of Representatives

House Armed Services Committee,

House Committee on International Relations

House Select Committee on Homeland Security

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Report of the House Committee on Intelligence Al-Qaeda: The Many Faces of an Islamic Extremist Threat,” Sep. 2006

U. S. Senate

Senate Committee on Armed Services

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Senate Committee on Intelligence

“Report of the Senate Committee on Intelligence on the Use by the Intelligence Community of Information Provided by the Iraqi National Congress,” September 2006

“Report of the Senate Committee on Intelligence on Postwar Findings about Iraq’s WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How they Compare to Prewar Assessments,” September 2006


Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Congressional Budget Office (CBO): A Congressional support office that analyzes the budgetary implications of government policy

General Accounting Office (GAO): Similar to the CBO, but it is concerned with implementation of policies. How well do executive branch policies actually satisfy the legislative intent of congress.

For Congressional Hearings on various subjects go to the Government Printing Office (GPO) then use the list on the left side of the page and click on Senate or House Committees to get to full text on-line hearings from various committees.

Congressional Research Service (CRS): Possibly the best source of information on government policy and foreign affairs comes from this, Congress' own research organization. For their reports -- excellent for research papers -- you can go here:

CRS Reports through the Federation of American Scientists

CRS Reports through the Dept. of State 


Department of State

Department of State (the government's diplomatic arm, dealing with foreign nations and their embassies).

The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, created in 1961 to emphasize and prioritize the importance of managing and even curbing the arms race has been folded back into the State Department organization. It had been a semi-independent agency of the State Department. Now these issues (conventional, nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons proliferation, the limitation and reduction of the US and Russian nuclear arsenal, confidence- and security-building measures, arms transfers and related issues) are under the authority of the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

United States Agency for International Development (USAID): A State dept. unit that deals with the provision of US aid to other nations

United States Information Agency, another semi-independent agency of the State Department, has been folded back into the State Department organization in the off ice of the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Its role is to educate foreign and domestic audiences on the purposes of US foreign policy, spread the message of democracy and capitalism, and promote cultural ties

Information on nations of the world and links to the regional bureaus of the State Department

US Department of State Country Human Rights Reports

US Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism (formerly Patterns of Global Terrorism)



Department of Defense

The Department of Defense is the lead department for organizing US armed forces.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense manages the Department of Defense. Civilian control of the military is maintained through the top level of the department.

Its uniformed institutional units include: the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where coordination of US military policy among the uniformed services is achieved (sometimes)

United States Army

United States Navy

United States Marine Corps

United States Air Force

Unified Commands: These are the multi-service institutions that actually direct U.S. military operations around the globe. They are regionally defined.

There are also functionally defined commands that deal with specific types of operations, such as U.S. Strategic Command which commands U.S. nuclear forces.

Defense Intelligence Agency: The Department of Defense’s own intelligence organization

National Security Agency (NSA): The Dept. of Defense’s organization that deals with intercepting and decoding foreign intelligence

Missile Defense Agency (formerly the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization) (MDA): The unit within the OSD that coordinates all work on National Missile Defense and Theater Missile Defense

The Annual Report of the Secretary of Defense to Congress is the Department of Defense's yearly blueprint on the organization, operation, and budgetary needs of the US armed forces.  This link leads to copies of reports for several years.

Defense Science Board reports (The DSB is an advisory panel to the Secretary of Defense)


DoD and VA Links (Some Veteran Services here)

Department of Veteran Affairs

Mesothelioma Group

Mesothelioma and Veterans

Mesothelioma Definition (Mesolthelioma.Net)

Mesothelioma Treatment for Navy Veterans




Office of the Director of National Intelligence

DNI National Intelligence Strategy (2005)

Central Intelligence Agency

US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook, which has a ton of information on foreign nations and their governments.

CIA list of Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments

National Intelligence Council – the senior advisory board to CIA.  You can access National Intelligence Estimates here (unclassified versions of CIA reports on key issues).

CIA includes including the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) which directs US satellite intelligence capabilities

The president is advised on intelligence matters by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB).

In addition there are resources on the US intelligence community in general.

CIA-sponsored 2020 project: Mapping the Global Future (Every five years the CIA has gathered together government and non-governmental experts on national security and international relations and asked them to make predictions about what the world will look like in the future.  These are excellent research reports)

International Futures Model: This is a web-based modeling program for analyzing the future of the world.  CIOA uses it as do other organizations: governmental and business.  Check it out.

CIA’s National Intelligence Estimate from October 2002 on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on Assessments of Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction capability, July 2004

Comprehensive Report of the Special Adviser to the DCI on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (Duelfer Report, September 2004)

Report of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, April 2006

Declassified Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,” April 2006

Declassified documents relating to the evolution of the US intelligence community bureaucracy (through the National Security Archive)



Homeland Security and Terrorism (see a different link page, click here)


International Trade

Since economic issues have become more high profile since the end of the Cold War and foreign trade is quickly becoming a national security issue, don’t forget the roles of:

The Department of the Treasury: List of the Treasury Department's Bureaus. Scroll down to find the Office of International Affairs.

Department of Commerce: The Cabinet Dept. that studies trade issues.

US Trade Representative: The President’s own trade-focused unit, within the Executive Office of the President.


General Information on Foreign and National Security Policy

Links to military capabilities of foreign nations, click here

Links to International Organizations (organizations of nation-states created to promote specific issues -- the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund) can be accessed here or by accessing my syllabus to POLI/INTL 105, International Relations by going back to my home page.


Think Tanks (A cite with links to a number of think tanks is found by clicking here)

The Best

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (BSCIA): The Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University); publishes the best journal on international affairs, International Security, which can be accessed online through the VCU online journal systems.

Brookings Institution: Non-profit organization that watches over world political trends and also includes many former government officials

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: One of the biggest and best. It is a non-profit organization, which studies international affairs and has a huge number of programs. It sponsors scholarly research on everything from non-proliferation to building civil society.

Council on Foreign Relations: The most prestigious non-profit organization that examines foreign affairs and national security. It publishes the journal Foreign Affairs

Federation of American Scientists (FAS): Non-profit organization that watches over world military trends

Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS): One of the best in the world. It produces reports on national security and a broad range of regional and international issues.

Rand Corporation: US government funded think-tank, but its reports are designed to analyze government policy, not justify it. (In other words, it is honest analytically)


Other Outstanding Think Tanks

American Enterprise Institute (AEI): leans conservative

Arms Control Association (ACA): Non-profit organization that watches over world military trends; it has a decidedly pro-arms control attitude

Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs: Focuses on Human Rights issues.

Carter Center: Former President Carter established this Center to examine international issues, host conferences, and mediate international conflicts.

Cato Institute: Right of center think tank that conducts research on foreign policy, national security, and economic policy, as well as domestic political issues.

Center for American Progress (think tank with links to the Democratic Party)

Center for National Policy (non-partisan center which does some national security work)

Center for Non-proliferation Studies (CNS) at the Monterrey Institute of International Studies, which is one of the best sources on information on the spread of weapons of mass destruction

Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Danger: A center-left organization that focuses on US and international nuclear weapons policy.

Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO): Columbia University’s compilation of papers, journals, web sites, and other resources on international affairs. It’s no a think tank itself, but collects information from think tanks, government, and other academic circles on international affairs and national security. You may need to use your VCU password and login to get into this system. It has a specific link to Working Papers from various think tanks and scholarly institutes.

Council for a Livable World: Center-left in its ideology and focuses on ways to reduce the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and reign in US defense expenditures and deployments.

Global Security.Org (excellent resources for international diplomatic, military, and political issues)

Heritage Foundation: Right of center think tank that conducts research on foreign policy, national security, and economic policy, as well as domestic political issues.

Hudson Institute: Center-right think tank that conducts research on foreign policy, national security, and economic policy, as well as domestic political issues.

Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA): Non-profit think tank that does a lot of work for the US government on national security issues. Much of its research is available online.

Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA): A think tank that looks at many international security issues, particularly east and South Asia. It is an Indian institute based in New Delhi.

International Republican Institute (Republican Party-affiliated organization that analyzes world affairs and supports programs that help nations make the transition to democracy)

National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (Democratic Party-affiliated organization that analyzes world affairs and supports programs that help nations make the transition to democracy)

National Endowment for Democracy: A private, non-profit organization that is funded by the US Congress.  Its goal is to foster democracy around the world through programs and research

National Security Archive: This is a non-profit organization that gets the US government to declassify documents relating to US foreign affairs (through Freedom of Information Act requests) then makes those documents available to the public. Some are available on line. All are available at the Archive itself (In George Washington University’s library. You can contact the Archive and make an appointment to go there.) Some are also available to purchase in sets.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Non-profit organization that watches over world military trends

New America Foundation (centrist think tank that looks at domestic and international issues)

Nixon Center: Non-Profit organization that studies foreign and national security policy, leans toward republican ideas

Nuclear Threat Initiative (non-profit, non-partisan group that analyzes and lobbies on nuclear proliferation issues)

Project for a New American Century: New think tank that espouses and develops neoconservative views.

Project on Defense Alternatives (center-left)

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI): Non-profit organization that watches over world military trends

Henry L. Stimson Center: Non-profit organization that watches over world political and military trends, in particular United Nations peace operations

Western States Legal Foundation: A pro-arms control group watching over US defense expenditures and deployments and their impact on the public among other things.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Supports scholarly research on a number of international topics. In particular, its Cold War International History Project provides support for scholars using declassified documents to understand what was really going on in Washington and Moscow during the Cold War.

Union of Concerned Scientists: Center-left in its ideology and focuses on ways to reduce the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and reign in US defense expenditures and deployments.

United States Institute for Peace (USIP); Funded by the US Congress, it is a non-partisan organization that sponsors and published research concerning conflict prevention and conflict resolution


Within the US government, as part of the Department of Defense, are:

Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) of the National Defense University. (I've given you links to their publications and links pages. The Strategic Studies Institute has the most comprehensive set of links on security and foreign affairs I've ever seen.)

Naval War College: The Navy’s college on military studies.

Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the US Army War College


Special Links

Occasionally, there will be crises or specific issues that are critical to US foreign policy.  They will be posted on this syllabus on the web as necessary. 

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Kean Commission)

US operations in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO.

You also might be interested in the full text of the Cox Report (The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on US National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China). It examined the possible espionage at the US National Nuclear Labs at Los Alamos and possible leaking of sensitive information to the People's Liberation Army by US Aerospace firms.

The US Commission of National Security (USCNS): A Congressionally-funded Commission to study the future of US national security, chaired by former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman.



Professional Organizations in Political Science or International Affairs

American Political Science Association (APSA): The professional organization for Political Scientists. It has information on the discipline, careers, and research opportunities, and sponsors the major conferences on political issues

International Studies Association (ISA): The professional organization for scholars who study international issues (from art to politics). It has information on the discipline, careers, and research opportunities, and sponsors the major conferences on these issues.  ISA also has a specific sub-section for International Security Studies

Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA): An association linking schools that give undergraduate and graduate degrees in international affairs. If you’re interested in graduate school in international affairs, go here to find out more information on the best schools of this type.