Graham Allison's book Essence of Decision changed the way in which academic analysts think about how governments make major foreign and defense policy decisions.1 Before Allison's book appeared in 1971, even the leading writers on foreign policy tended to describe and explain governmental decisions almost exclusively as if governments were rational human beings making carefully considered choices among available options. This book applies the Allisonian framework to the response of the United States government to a private arms control initiative undertaken in 1986 by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental organization.

chapter |5 pages


chapter 1|14 pages

The Mystery Propounded

chapter 2|15 pages

Model I: The Rational, National Government

chapter 3|32 pages

Model II: Laws and Procedures

chapter 4|45 pages

Model III: The Human Element

chapter 5|13 pages

The Mystery "Explained"

chapter |4 pages

The NRDC Project: A Postscript