Advising the President in a crisis : historical lessons for policy planning

by Philip J. Romero

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This paper examines the career of Dean Acheson as adviser to four Presidents in an effort to identify some principles for choosing and preparing Presidential advisers to assist in a nuclear crisis. The author identifies the following four principles: (1) personal familiarity with the President is crucial, (2) the adviser should have stature and prestige in his field, (3) breadth of experience is more important than depth, and (4) advisers must be capable of being their own supporting analytic staffs.

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