Terrorism and National Security Reform demonstrates that blue-ribbon commissions can be powerful vehicles for policy change, overturning the conventional wisdom that views them only as devices for passing the buck. Jordan Tama explains how the unique political credibility of commissions can enable them to forge bipartisan consensus on tough policy challenges. He also shows that commissions are most valuable during a crisis, when policymakers face pressure to make changes but frequently cannot agree on what to do. Using an original database, case studies, and more than 200 interviews of policymakers and commission participants, Tama reveals how commissions have shaped Barack Obama's plan for ending the Iraq War, spurred the largest government and intelligence overhauls since 1947, and driven many other elements of U.S. counterterrorism policy. In an era of unrelenting partisanship and extreme polarization, this book shows that commissions are increasingly valuable policymaking tools.
Jordan Tama is Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service and Research Fellow at AU's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. His scholarship and commentary have been published in Foreign Policy, TheAtlantic.com, The Hill, Asian Survey, the International Affairs Review and other journals. He has served as a member of the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Expert Advisory Groups for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, as a speechwriter for former U.S. representative Lee Hamilton and as a contributor to the Princeton Project on National Security. He is a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project and holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
1. Introduction: commissioning reform; Part I. Patterns of Commission Influence: 2. A theory of commission influence; 3. The impact of national security commissions; Part II. Commissions and Counterterrorism Policy: 4. Responding to the first wave of anti-American terrorism; 5. Grappling with the rise of Al Qaeda; 6. Reforming homeland security and intelligence after 9/11; Part III. Conclusion: 7. Findings, implications, and the effort to end the Iraq War.