The Department of Defense and the Department of State: Out of Balance and into Trouble

  • Stephen D. Wrage


The Department of State and the Department of Defense (DoD) are so vastly unequal in all forms of resources that it is surprising that a rough balance of influence has historically existed between the two. These two departments are cases of inequality in the extreme, being disparate in almost every way except for their role in the policymaking process. At times, however, a severe imbalance of influence has developed, and those times have often produced policy that in retrospect has been ill considered and damaging to American interests. Moreover, the policy choices made during times of imbalance have tended to be especially injurious to the military. The uniformed services have fared best when State and Defense have enjoyed roughly equal influence in the White House or when they have at least worked together in a consultative way. When there was no balance of interest, the military has found itself cast into situations from which it has taken years to recover.


Foreign Policy Central Intelligence Agency National Security Agency National Security Council Plausible Deniability 
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Copyright information

© Derek S. Reveron and Judith Hicks Stiehm 2008

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  • Stephen D. Wrage

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