Bringing Home the Bacon. Congress and the Reorganization of the Corps of Engineers
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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It is only at great peril that politics are ignored in any decision at the national level. This lesson was driven home in August 1991 when the Chief of Engineers, Lieutenant General Henry J. Hatch, learned that his two-year effort to improve the efficiency of the United States Army Corps of Engineers would die in the halls of Congress. His apparent mistake was in applying a rational, scientific approach to a seemingly straight-forward problem without taking into account the impact of the bureaucratic political process. Graham Allison suggests that three models guide governmental decision making. First is the Rational Actor Model in which national government makes decisions based on an objective evaluation of options as they relate to goals, objectives, and potential consequences. Next is the Organizational Model in which decisions are reached through the balancing of institutional influences of governmental organizations, each of which takes characteristically predictable positions. Finally comes the Bureaucratic Politics Model in which decisions result from compromises between players in particular positions with varying degrees of personal and institutional power. While there is debate over the strict applicability of any one model, there is little doubt that a strictly rational approach will have little chance of success in the politically charged atmosphere of government.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations