Cognitive biases and structural failures in United States foreign policy explaining decision-making dissonance in Phase IV policy and plans for Iraq
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After planning from September 2001 to May 2003, the George W. Bush administration failed to implement a coherent national plan at the transition to Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) operations in Iraq. This thesis applies four decision-making perspectives-the rational actor, organizational process, bureaucratic politics, and individual level approaches-to the Phase IV planning process to analyze how senior decision makers within the national security system selected foreign policy options. Despite an experienced national security team, officials were unable to coordinate and integrate various agency planning efforts, failed to decide on specific policy objectives, and limited the consideration of multiple courses of action.
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