Historical Institutionalism and Foreign Policy Analysis: The Origins of the National Security Council Revisited
27 - 44
FOREIGN POLICY ANAL
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The article develops the insights of historical institutionalism and cognate work within International Relations to examine the development of security institutions within states, dealing specifically with the development of the National Security Council (NSC) in the United States. The case focuses on the creation and reproduction of the NSC as a means to fostering civil-military coordination within the US state. The article argues that exogenous shocks are crucial in providing the necessary freedom to change existing institutions, which are then set on new contingent paths. Substantively it is argued that World War II and the experiences derived from it provided a critical juncture for the creation of new security institutions such as the NSC, and once created the NSC was characterized by forms of path dependence that have reproduced the institution over time. The article demonstrates how historical institutionalism can clarify causal mechanisms that better explain the origins and durability of internationally-oriented security institutions within states.