The influence of analysis on U.S. defense policy

by Peter DeLeon

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Many policy scholars and practitioners have questioned the influence of policy analysis in affecting policymakers' decisions. This concern has been mainly expressed regarding social programs. On the other hand, policy research in defense policy has been characterized as being extremely suited to objective--usually numerical--analysis. Furthermore, national security analyses appear to have greater influence in determining subsequent policy decisions. This paper reviews several examples of national security policy research where these conditions would appear to have been the case. Upon closer examination, however, it is concluded that these decisions were much less influenced by prior analysis than was initially thought. Finally, some suggestions for reducing the apparent gulf between defense analysis and policymaking are proposed.

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