National Security Generally


Best, Richard A., Jr. "Intelligence and U.S. National Security Policy." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 28, no. 3 (Fall 2015): 449-467.

This article is focused and astute, as so much of Best's work for CRS as been over the years. It is highly recommended. His conclusion: "Intelligence agencies have left behind a public record of substantial support to national security policymaking that can, by no reasonable standard, be described as a legacy of ashes [footnote omitted]; they deserve honest treatment by historians and journalists."

Betts, Richard K. American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National Security. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.

Freedman, FA 91.1 (Jan.-Feb. 2012), finds that "Betts combines serious thought, common sense, and deep historical knowledge,... and his conclusions are expressed in plain English." For Weiner, I&NS 27.4 (Aug. 2012), the author "has produced a far-ranging and well-articulated critique of how the United States has envisioned and pursued national security since the end of the Cold War."

Brenner, Joel. America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare. New York: Penguin Press, 2011.

Peake, Studies 56.2 (Jun. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), finds that the author "deals with an alarming situation without being alarmist." The book "is very well written and concludes with some suggestions to Congress, the executive branch, individuals, and the private sector for 'managing the mess.'"

Clarke, Richard A., and Robert K. Knake. Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It. New York: HarperCollins, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), and Intelligencer 18.2 (Winter-Spring 2011), finds that the authors "have attempted to alert the public to a potential doomsday scenario. But by not offering source notes, [they] leave the reader wondering whether the problem is as serious as they suggest."

Dale, Catherine. National Security Professionals and Interagency Reform: Proposals, Recent Experience, and Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 26 Sep. 2011. [Available at:]

The focus here is "on analyzing key issues that Members ... may wish to consider in evaluating existing or proposed NSP [national security professionals] initiatives, including the fundamental purpose; the concept of integration; the scope of participation; practical modalities for making the program work; the role of centralized oversight; incentive structures for individuals and agencies; recruiting; and congressional oversight. For context, the report also describes early NSP proposals; U.S. government strategic guidance; the experiences of the NSPD [National Security Professional Development] program to date; and significant congressional initiatives."

Dycus, Stephen, Arthur L. Berney, William C. Banks, and Peter Raven-Hansen. National Security Law. 4th ed. New York: Aspen, 2006. 5th ed. New York: Aspen, 2011.

This is a law school casebook. The 4th edition was updated to include "[n]ew case studies of controversial initiatives like the Terrorist Surveillance Program, extraordinary rendition, and the Valerie Plame case."

George, Roger Z., and Harvey Rishikof, eds. The National Security Enterprise: Navigating the Labyrinth. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011.

This book brings together "a group of professionals who are familiar with their respective [organizational] cultures" and has them "reflect on their particular institutions and the interagency process." The authors were invited "to target some of their insights regarding their organization's culture on recent events in Iraq and the fight against terrorism." (p. xiii)

Bailey, AIJ 29.1 (2011), sees this work as "an ideal introductory textbook for new students in security studies trying to understand the overall national security architecture before diving into niche areas of interest.... In addition to the standard issues, this book provides a comprehensive view of oversight." For Peake, Studies 55.4 (Dec. 2011) and Intelligencer 19.1 (Winter-Spring 2012), this work "widens the perspective for those interested in how the IC functions, or should function.... It is also essential reading for students and potential managers. A really valuable addition to the intelligence literature."

Although focused on "the larger security process," Nolte, IJI&C 25.3 (Fall 2012), sees this as "the best one-volume compilation ... for understanding intelligence, its internal processes, and the environment in which it operates." This "wonderful addition to the literature available in national security studies ... will be equally useful in introductory courses on intelligence missions and structures, and in more specialized courses on the intelligence/policy relationship." Tama, I&NS 27.4 (Aug. 2012), finds that this book "provides the most in-depth overview in print of how national security policy is made today and of the challenges of formulating and implementing it effectively."

Goodman, Melvin A. National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. San Francisco, CA: City Lights, 2013.

Lutz, Chronicle (San Francisco), 18 Jan. 2013, finds that "militarization" is the author's "shorthand for our growing investment in the belief that military force is the best tool for providing national security and that foreign policy is best pursued by the Pentagon." For Kirkus Review, 15 Dec. 2012, this book is "[e]ngaging reading for those interested in foreign policy and military spending." Schaefer, New York Journal of Books, 15 Jan. 2013, views National Insecurity as "a well written, damning book of an out-of-control defense budget, military driven diplomacy, and instances of presidential abuse of power."

Nanto, Dick K. Economics and National Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 4 Jan. 2011. Available at:

From "Summary": "Globalization, the rise of China, the prospect of an unsustainable debt burden, unprecedented federal budget deficits, the success of mixed economies with both state-owned and private businesses, huge imbalances in international trade and capital flows, and high unemployment have brought economics more into play in considerations of national security.... The long-term efficacy of hard power ... depends greatly on the ability of a country to provide for it through an ever growing and innovative economy. National security depends also on soft power, the ability of a country to generate and use its economic power and to project its national values."

Nicander, Lars. "The Role of Think Tanks in the U.S. Security Policy Environment." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 28, no. 3 (Fall 2015): 480-501.

"[T]hink tanks play a very important role in the creation of security policies, and enjoy a great level of trust and confidence within the American bureaucracy.... The most important recipients and consumers of think tank products are government personnel just below the politically-appointed level."

Renshon, Stanley. National Security in the Obama Administration: Reassessing the Bush Doctrine. New York, NY: Routledge. 2010.

According to Opstal, AIJ 29.1 (2011), the author defines the Bush Doctrine in terms of three key themes: American primacy, assertive realism, and stand-apart alliances. Dr. Renshon explores the formation of the Bush Doctrine, its contributions, limitations, and continued implementation by the Obama administration."

Rovner, Joshua. Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011.

Freedman, FA 91.1 (Jan.-Feb. 2012), says Rovner addresses the issue of politicization "in a neat and systematic manner." For Wirtz, IJI&C 25.1 (Spring 2012), this "is a provocative contribution to the literature of intelligence." Peake, Studies 56.2 (Jun. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), finds that in this "stimulating and challenging contribution," the author "analyzes the problem from a political science point of view."

Rudner, Martin. "Cyber-Threats to Critical National Infrastructure: An Intelligence Challenge." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 26, no. 3 (Fall 2013): 453-481.

"Cyber attacks directed at Critical National Infrastructure constitute a significant, diverse, and rapidly escalating risk-element in the global threat environment."

Sarkesian, Sam C., John Allen Williams, and Stephen J. Cimbala. U.S. National Security: Policymakers, Processes, and Politics. 5th ed. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2013.

Clark comment: This is an undergraduate textbook for a national security course. From publisher: This work "has been revised and updated throughout to reflect the challenges faced by the Obama administration."

Sparrow, Bartholomew. The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security. New York: Public Affairs, 2015.

To Mann, Washington Post, 30 Jan. 2015, the author "includes some critical passages" but "is largely flattering to Scowcroft.... Sparrow's narrative is ambitious but uneven. At times, the book becomes less a biography of Scowcroft than a general history of the times he has lived through -- with its subject doing occasional walk-ons.... And Sparrow's history includes some surprising mistakes, even big ones."

Wills, Gerry. Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State. New York: Penguin, 2010.

Finel, Proceedings 136.3 (Mar. 2010), concludes that this work's flaws "undermine what could have been a fascinating book." The author "is most effective in dissecting U.S. government secrecy." However, "in his eagerness to tie together a multitude of threads,... Wills develops a monocasual and linear argument that does not do justice to the complexity of the issues he seeks to explore." The "central conceit" of Bomb Power "represents a fundamental interpretive overreach that undermines the project."

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