National Security Decision Making Essay

2598 words - 10 pages

Sir B. H. Liddell Hart declared that the “Role of grand strategy – higher strategy – is to co-ordinate and direct all the resources of a nation, or band of nations, towards the attainment of the political object…” These resources are known generally as the “instruments of national power” and include the Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic, (DIME) instruments of power. America’s grand strategy should be incorporated in the National Security Strategy, which includes the developing, applying, and coordinating of the instruments of national power to achieve objectives that contribute to national security. The President is primarily responsible for the National Security Policy and the conduct of foreign relations. However, for national security decisions, he also works with and considers a host of executive and nonexecutive actors, members of Congress, while also keeping abreast of special interests and public opinion. This process can be extremely challenging due to complex bureaucratic, psychological, and agency cultural factors, among others. The proper understanding of these complex factors and integrating all instruments of national power will lead to a more effective decision making process. Looking at these factors along with the instruments of national power (DIME), this paper will first evaluate the national security decision making process for selecting options during the 2010 surge into Afghanistan; then it will evaluate and compare the dealing of Iran’s nuclear program from 2009 to 2013 with the Afghanistan Surge. Furthermore, this paper will analyze the effectiveness of the national security decision making process in advancing national strategy for both cases. Shortly after winning the 2008 presidential election, President-Elect Obama started receiving briefs, which eventually would lead to a decision on a new strategic course for the war in Afghanistan.

Evaluation of 2010 Surge into Afghanistan
In early 2008, former CIA Analyst, Bruce Riedel, who was hired to lead a 2009 review of Afghanistan strategy, briefed President Obama how the al Qaeda was more dangerous now than on 10 September 2001 and our country must focus on the “real central threat-Pakistan.” On subsequent briefs, the President would be informed how the Taliban was gaining momentum in the Pakistan and Afghanistan area and how something must been done soon or this growing momentum would affect the pending Afghanistan elections and increase the chances of another terrorist strike in America. The administration felt it was time for leadership change and appointed General McChrystal to replace General McKiernan. Consequently, General McChrystal conducted a commander’s assessment for the situation in Afghanistan. Based on this review, he would send a request to the Pentagon recommending the deployment of 40,000 additional troops. He also recommended a change in military strategy to counter the growing insurgency similar to the...

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