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Interagency Conflict and United States Intervention Policy: Toward a Bureaucratic Model of Conflict Termination.

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Master's thesis,

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The purpose of this study is to examine the sources of interagency conflicts within the United States governments decision-making processes in cases of coercive intervention such as the second Persian Gulf War and Bosnia, and the manner in which such conflicts affect policies regarding termination, and hence, withdrawal. Applying Rational Choice Theory as the accepted premise for foreign and national security policy-making, this work argues that decision-makers do not make choices as a unitary actor. Allisons and Halperins ideas provide the foundation for identifying the players and contextual factors that bound decision-making. The framework developed includes six interrelated signed digraph models to operationalize the theoretical perspectives guiding the research. Using a complementary multi-method approach, the study collects and analyzes quantitative and qualitative data from informed respondents. The quantitative analysis illuminates relationships that affect interagency conflict. The qualitative research identifies themes that respondents perceived as most important in the development of interagency conflict and termination policy. These seven macro and their supporting micro themes are then organized in terms of their capacity to influence the ways in which 1 dynamic themes influence interagency dynamics 2 contextual elements framing the policy process shape interagency dynamics and substantive outcomes and 3 crosscutting effects influence both dynamic themes and contextual elements. The themes are then used to investigate the development of termination policy in two historical cases, the Persian Gulf and Bosnia. The nature of the gap between diplomats and warfighters is found to dominate an interagency process likely to produce a policy bringing about war termination in the form of a cease-fire. However, it almost inevitably fails to achieve conflict termination in the form of sustainable peace.

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  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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