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Decision Making on Security Issues

By Seyfi Taşhan

In this essay, we will look at the decision making mechanism in various countries, chiefly the United States, Russia.

United States

In the United States final decision making rests on the President himself provided his decisions are not against the US aims and traditions and interests. Which bodies contribute to the formation of security decisions and which bodies control their decisions taken? Contributor factors: Chief contributers are the National Security Council, Defense Department, State Department and other official bodies. In turn State Department, Defence Department and others are asisted by such official organizations as Armed Forces, CIA, Homeland Security Department and diplomatic missions abroad. These bodies use private organizations such as think thanks (like RAND Corp. for. Defence Department) Council of Foreign affairs, Middle East Institute as well as other regional study foundations or non-profit Organizations. Opposition parties also support and cooperate with such private organizations.

These also benefit from and train experts that provide executive power of the governments later when the opposition parties win the elections and become government themselves. Before Ronald Reagan became president his policies were developed by RAND Corporation, which was also supported by the Defence Department at the time, the hardliners that contributed to the information of policies under Reagen that caused the down fall of the SSCB.

Who controls?

Which boundries control the security decisions of the government? US Congress is the principal body that controls or negates President’s decision decrees and makes the defense budget. Congress itself is guided by the principals of political parties that its members belong and also by the lobby interests that support interests of war industries and regional electors, as well as foreign governments which aim at impressing the Congress for their interests. We should not forget the very important role of media in controling and/or supporting the activities of the government in a completely free manner.


During the Soviet era like many other countries that were firmly attached to political ideas, Soviet Union’s security decisions were aimed at furthering their ideological aims not only inside the union but globally. This policy had a very expensive cost for supporting Comunist Parties abroad and their revelant activities. During the Cold War, to support its idealism Russia had to enter into an arms race with the United States. This could not be maintained during the Cold War and eventually the regime collapsed. Now the Russian government’s interests are at the forefront and resist the aggressive policies of the US around the World, to resist U.S. that countinues a softer Cold War and a policy of pursuing Israel’s interests in the Middle East even at the cost of using armed forces.

Therefore, U.S.-Soviet Cold War relations still continue in a lesser mode and Russia must endure U.S embargos. Russia does not hesitate to use arms in such areas as Georgia and Ukraine, where, the aim is to support Russian interests.

Apperance of the Russian regime is democratic where there is a parliament elected by people and prime minister and the president also elected by people. However, this democratic appearance does not shadow the ultimate decision making authority of the president, unlike U.S, where there is and effectively controlling body of the decision making capacity. Currently, no one knows, if the current Russian President, who was a member of KGB is ever controlled.

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