Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Degree Granting Department
Jongseok Woo, Ph.D.
Nicolas Thompson, Ph.D.
Thomas Searle, Ph.D.
Julia Irwin, Ph.D.
joint chiefs of staff, Military, NeoClassical Realism
This dissertation applies a Neoclassical Realism model to examine how the evolution of United States (U.S.) national security strategy-making institutions has resulted in a path dependent accrual of autonomy and increasing influence over the formulation of American grand strategy. Once U.S. national security strategy-making institutions were created, their existence inexorably led to increasing autonomy, the creation of new strategy-making institutions, and subtle influence in shaping American grand strategy by preferential focus on a militarized foreign policy. Additionally, the more autonomous these strategy-making institutions have become, the further they have strayed from the Constitutional mandate to create a government which provides for the common defense and the less successful they have been in implementing grand strategy for national security.
This dissertation examines this evolution in strategy-making institutions across three grand strategic moments: the end of the Spanish-American War (1898-1911), World War II and the beginnings of the Cold War (1940-1950), and the end of the Cold War (1980-present). Each case study discusses the historical facts of the grand strategic moment’s evolution in strategy-making institutions. These facts indicate durable shifts in autonomy and influence. The increasing autonomy is evidenced by the ability of these national security strategy-making institutions to define their own evolution, despite traditional American strategic culture perceptions about civilian control of the Military. These strategy-making institutions also shaped the formulation of American grand strategy and their evolution has had important transformative effects on American strategic culture and civil-military relations. While, fortunately, the U.S. can rely on ethical military professionalism, and the nation still holds its Military in high regard, this path-dependent process of structural evolution generates concern for the American People’s future and common defense.
Scholar Commons Citation
Barrick, Nathan D., "For the Common Defense: The Evolution of National Security Strategy-Making Institutions & Impact on American Grand Strategy" (2019). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.