POLI 369 US National Security

Spring 2017

Bill Newmann


Review I


This looks big, but don't worry.  If you have come to class and done all the reading, nothing here should be new to you.

            Also, though there are a lot of terms, obviously, not each one of them is the subject of an essay. These terms, in order, are an outline of everything we've done so far. A group of them might be the subject of an essay. Usually, you can't explain a single term without referring to the terms next to it. So, really, if you can say one or two things about each term and how it relates to the terms around it and fits into the larger scheme of US national security you're doing fine. Some terms, however, are filled with enough significance to be short answers/identifications on the test (four or five sentences), but you'll be able to figure out which ones.


Terms with (*) in front of them are from the readings. We’ve discussed many of them in class as well, but there is more information from the readings that I expect you to know about those terms.


National Security Decision Making Structure


Pre-1947 Organization

Dept. of State

Dept. of War

Dept. of Navy

The problem of coordination

Pearl Harbor and intelligence coordination problem


What was created by the National Security Act of 1947 (and what had already existed)

1.      DoD

·         Civilian control (and why do this?)

·         Sec. of Defense and Office of the Secretary of Defense

·         Dept. of Navy, Army, AF

·         The DoD bureaucracy

·         Chain of Command

2.      Creation of US Air Force

3.      Joint Chiefs of Staff

Service Rivalry (inter-service rivalry)

“Joint” advice: what does “Joint” mean?

Joint Staff

Changes made in 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act

New role of CJCS

Why the Goldwater-Nichols Act was passed?

4.      CIA

Intelligence failures 1998-2003

New DNI role


Congressional Oversight





Interagency Process

The importance of the interagency process

*National Security Council

*Created by National Security Act of 1947

*statutory members and advisors

*Evolution of the NSC Staff

*Premises of presidential management of the national security process


*Models of Presidential Management

1. *Standard Model (its characteristics are described in the Newmann book, but it is not called the standard model)

*Principals Committee

*Deputies Committee

*Assistant Secretary Level (Policy Coordination Committees or Interagency Policy Committees)

*NSC process paper flow


2. Nixon-Kissinger Style process


*role of National Security Adviser


3. *Standard Process with management problems and what we learn from this about the President’s role

*Feuding in Carter administration (who were the main antagonists?)

*Feuding in Reagan administration (who were the main antagonists?)


4. *Standard Model with Strong Management

*Formal process and informal processes

*Gang of Eight

*Breakfast group

*DC role as an insulation


*The Evolution Model

*How decision making changes

*Three Structures

*Formal structure

*Informal Structure

*Confidence Structure

*Why these structures evolve

*The importance of the President he wants from the decision process



The Use of Force

*Why do nation-states use force?

The Four Functions of Force

1.      Defense

2.      Deterrence

3.      Compellence

4.      Swaggering


*Defense (or “brute force” as Schelling occasionally calls it)





*Assumption about the target’s decision making process

*influencing someone’s intentions and decision making process

Cost-benefit analysis

*Raising the target’s perception of costs and risk (Schelling)

Deterrence by punishment

Deterrence by denial

*The importance of communication – communicating the threat and what will force you to take action

Strategic ambiguity over Taiwan


Capability and will

Eisenhower’s Massive Retaliation and bluffs

*Extended Deterrence

Obama and threat over Syria’s chemical weapons


Successful deterrence: how would you know?

If deterrence fails?


*Compellence (Someone tell Bill Gates that this is how you spell compellence…)

*The goal

*To stop an opponent from doing something they are doing

*To get an opponent to do something they are not doing

Four Basic Elements

1.      *Brute Force won’t work or carries too many risks

a.       *Cuban Missile Crisis and WW II examples

2.      *Assumes rationality

3.      *Compellence is bargaining

a.       *negotiating through violence

b.      *using violence to press your advantage in a negotiated settlement of a political contest

c.       *Limited War

d.      *JFK threatening WW II to compel Soviet Union in Cuban Missile Crisis

4.      *The power to hurt begins the bargaining

a.       *US demonstrates its power to hurt Japan with atomic bombs

b.      Terrorist organizations demonstrate their power to hurt with attacks

                                                              i.      Now you have to take us seriously; now we can begin a negotiation even if only through violence

Lessons of compellence

1.      The shadow of the future

a.       Strategic bombing during WW II

b.      The importance of dropping a second atomic bomb

2.      Compellence doesn’t always work

a.       Strategic bombing during WW II

b.      US bombing in Vietnam

c.       *The power to hurt vs. the target’s ability to absorb/endure the pain

3.      *Commitment

a.       *US military forces in Europe during Cold War: telling Soviets we are committed to Europe

b.      *Berlin Airlift

                                                              i.      *Soviet commitment to shutting off W. Berlin vs. US commitment to keep W. Berlin alive

                                                            ii.      *Truman’s willingness to create greater risk

4.      Credibility

a.       *Willingness to continue to inflict pain

b.      *Interdependence of credibility and commitment

                                                              i.      *Reputation

                                                            ii.      Was Vietnam about Europe?

                                                          iii.      “Doctrine of Credibility”

5.      Democracies are poor at compellence

a.       Reluctance to inflict great pain

b.      Reluctance to deal with casualties: Vietnam and Iraq

6.      *Balance of Commitment

a.       Vietnam

b.      Ukraine

c.       China and Taiwan

7.      Non-state actors

a.       Entering the bargaining by demonstrating the power to hurt

b.      Cold War Era insurgencies

c.       Post-Cold war era terrorists

                                                              i.      AQ, ISIL, Boko Haram, al-Shabab

8.      *Civilians

a.       *since WW II: compelling political leaders by showing the ability to kill civilians

b.      *civilians as the bargaining chips

9.      *Uncertainty and Risk (from Schelling)

a.       *the risks of using compellence: can violence be controlled?

b.      *Brinkmanship

c.       *competition in risk taking

d.      *escalation

e.       *the game of chicken

f.       *Why you don’t destroy the enemy leadership: US and Japan WW II

10.  Domestic Politics (ignore the slide with JFK and LBJ on it)

a.       Who are you bargaining with?

b.      Iran



            Sending a general message: I have power

            A demonstration of capability

            Teddy Roosevelt sends the US Navy around the globe 1901: The US is powerful!



*The usefulness of games

*nuclear weapons change the stakes in a crisis – the crisis is now about risk

*nuclear weapons make escalation more dangerous

*reliance on nuclear weapons to cut the cost of the cold war

*Did Europeans want the US to defend them with nuclear strikes?

*Eight Lessons of the Nuclear Age

*How nuclear weapons were used for deterrence and bargaining

*Nuclear head games: the uses of alerts to signal

*Proud Prophet nuclear war games

*The result of the game


Nuclear Weapons

National goals and national security strategy

Impact of technology

Total war in US strategy

Mahan and the importance of seapower

Seapower in US strategy

Traditional view of airpower

Douhet’s theory of airpower

General Billy Mitchell’s fight for airpower

Strategic Bombing

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Atomic Bombs

Brodie: “The Absolute Weapon”


First Nuclear Age

1.      Bipolarity

Spiral theory

action-reaction phenomenon

*Arms races



US and USSR rough equality

Balance of power









ABM Systems


2.      Deterrence

Strategies of Deterrence: How do you deter?


nuclear weapons as compellence

to threaten the opponent’s capability to fight

deterrence by denial

US strategies of limited nuclear war

If deterrence fails, you have the capability to fight

If deterrence fails, you have the capability to fight a limited war and end a nuclear war

Presidents want more options than surrender or destroy the planet

Assured Destruction

Second strike capability

retaliatory capability = deterrence


the problem of vulnerability

First strike vs. second strike

deterrence by punishment



3.         *Arms Control

what the US and Soviets could agree on: why we had arms control

Management of the arms race and goals of arms control

Cut costs

Increase predictability

Increase transparency

“Essential equivalence”

SALT I: Interim Agreement

SALT I: ABM Treaty


            Did it really limit anything?

Gave Soviets ICBM superiority?


4.      Rationality

strategic stability



The debate over the MX missile as an example

            The need for a big missile with lots of warheads

            The need for a missile that was survivable and therefor mobile

            An MX that was large and mobile

            Multiple Protective Shelters scheme

            Why that idea was rejected

            The search for a new basing mode

            Scowcroft Commission compromise

            MX and SICBM

            Back to rail-mobile MX

            End of the cold war and end to MX and SICBM