Creating the National Security State: A History of the Law That Transformed America

Creating the National Security State: A History of the Law That Transformed America

Douglas T. Stuart

Language: English

Pages: 360

ISBN: 069115547X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For the last sixty years, American foreign and defense policymaking has been dominated by a network of institutions created by one piece of legislation--the 1947 National Security Act. This is the definitive study of the intense political and bureaucratic struggles that surrounded the passage and initial implementation of the law. Focusing on the critical years from 1937 to 1960, Douglas Stuart shows how disputes over the lessons of Pearl Harbor and World War II informed the debates that culminated in the legislation, and how the new national security agencies were subsequently transformed by battles over missions, budgets, and influence during the early cold war.

Stuart provides an in-depth account of the fight over Truman's plan for unification of the armed services, demonstrating how this dispute colored debates about institutional reform. He traces the rise of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the transformation of the CIA, and the institutionalization of the National Security Council. He also illustrates how the development of this network of national security institutions resulted in the progressive marginalization of the State Department.

Stuart concludes with some insights that will be of value to anyone interested in the current debate over institutional reform.

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Army Intelligence, who used the JPWC to isolate and marginalize the fledgling agency. Donovan was made even more vulnerable by the fact that the OSS still did not have specific guidelines from the JCS about the activities that it was authorized to perform. By November it was clear that either the OSS or the JPWC would have to be scrapped, and that whichever survived would need to be given real authority and support. In fact, the odds were in favor of the JPWC, since it prepared the report to the

majority report appeared to be a fairly strong endorsement of an arrangement that was similar to the McNarney plan. The most serious setback for the Navy was that the report was able to state that “the great majority of the Army officers and almost half of the Navy officers whose views were heard favored the single department.” Based upon this finding, the authors of the report predicted that the single department scheme “will have the support of an important majority of commanders in the

general support for the idea of unification had not given the issue adequate attention prior to being interviewed.41 Richardson’s comments seemed fairly anemic in comparison to the majority report, but at least he introduced a pretext for the lack of consensus within the Navy leadership. The submission of the majority report to the JCS on April 11, 1945, was a major setback for the Navy in the evolving struggle over unification. But the situation threatened to become a rout just one day later,

war experience indicated as desirable to improve the national security? 3. What form of postwar organization should be established and maintained to enable the military services and other Governmental departments and agencies most effectively to provide for and protect our national security?6 As discussed in Chapter 3, the Eberstadt Report recognized that the idea of armed forces unification “looks good on paper” but concluded 112 CHAPTER FOUR that it had created more problems than it had

inevitable disputes over turf, the NDRC was instructed “to aid and supplement, and not to replace, activities of the War and Navy departments.”66 Eleven months later, the president established the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) to work with the NSRC on a wider array of scientific projects. Bush was to use the new agency as the primary platform for the expansion of his personal authority over the nation’s wartime scientific agenda. In his memoirs, Bush describes the

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