Title page for ETD etd-09202012-225955

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Beckner, Lauren Renee
Author's Email Address lbeckner@vt.edu
URN etd-09202012-225955
Title Decision Making During National Security Crisis: The Case of the JFK Administration
Degree Master of Arts
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hult, Karen M. Committee Co-Chair
Pourchot, Georgeta Valentina Committee Co-Chair
Dixit, Priya Committee Member
  • Decision-making
  • Kennedy administration
  • Crisis
  • National security
  • Bay of Pigs
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Vietnam
Date of Defense 2012-09-07
Availability unrestricted
Decision-making during crises is an important task that many elected officials face during their time in office. This thesis seeks to identify principles that make up a sound policy decision-making process and may lead to more positive outcomes. The analysis here is a comparative case study of three national security crises that faced the John F. Kennedy administration: the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam conflict. Each case is examined for the presence of indicators of groupthink. I hypothesize that the relative absence of groupthink is related to a positive outcome. That hypothesis is examined by reviewing each case; the cases that contained higher levels of the indicators of groupthink tended to have a poorer quality process than those with less evidence of groupthink.
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