Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Releases Report Offering Best Practices for Creating National Security Processes
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Releases Report Offering Best Practices for Creating National Security Processes

Washington, D.C. — A new report authored by the Center for American Progress, in partnership with the Hoover Institution, takes a comprehensive, bipartisan look at the best practices that are crucial for the next administration’s national security and foreign policy to function well.

Through dozens of interviews with national security policy experts including Stephen Hadley, Susan Rice, Madeleine Albright, George Shultz, and Henry Kissinger, the report reveals a few incontrovertible truths about the role of process and the presidency in national security and foreign policy—namely, that process matters and that everything begins with the president.

“No modern president, with the exception of Dwight Eisenhower, has come to the job having run as complex an organization as the federal government,” said William F. Wechsler, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “It takes time and attention to create the kind of bureaucracy that functions best for the president and best for the country. For this report, my co-author and I spoke with some of the biggest heavy hitters in national security and foreign policy available, specifically to discern the best ways that incoming presidents can avoid this steep learning curve.”

“The sheer difficulty of running a national security bureaucracy the size and complexity of the United States’ practically guarantees that there will be mistakes,” said Kori Schake, research fellow at the Hoover Institution and co-author of the report. “However, by putting in place processes that suit the working styles of the presidents and are anchored in the strengths of the individual agencies, those mistakes can be greatly minimized. Having spoken with many of the best national security and foreign policy experts of our time, a general consensus of best practices has formed that this report seeks to share.”

The report coalesces decades of foreign policy and national security best practices from some of the most important policy experts in modern history in order to make the steepest policy learning curve more manageable. By viewing this topic through the lens of process, not politics, the result is a guidebook for the next administration—or any—to follow for demanding processes that better inform policy choices and allow decisions to be carried out more faithfully.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at or 202.481.7141.