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From Fragmented to Streamlined: Presidential Powers and the Evolution and Reform of National Security and Defense Policy in the United States

1 April 2009


Prior to World War I in 1916, the need for a unified and coordinated central military and national security establishment within the United States was identified. Political forces within the legislative and executive branches prohibited this necessary reform from coming to fruition until 1949. During the thirty-three years between identification and final implementation, numerous recommendations were presented while only a select few implemented. This paper will explore the evolution of the national security and defense establishment in the United States allowed a shift in power to occur—transferring significant control from the legislative branch to the executive. Specifically, the research will focus on how the President’s role and interaction with Congress increased drastically and how Presidential power now directly influences issues and legislation more than any time in history.


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