Government Officials, Academics, and the Process of Formulating United States National Security Policy Toward Africa

Relationships between US government officials and academic specialists working on national security and foreign policy issues with respect to Africa are many and complex. There are a large number of arenas in which academics have some access to government officials working on Africa policy. These include the State Department, the Department of Defense, the CIA, and the National Security Council. On the basis of data derived from confidential interviews with American Africanists and responses to a survey questionnaire, this paper reviews academic perceptions of the foreign policy process, and examines when academics interact with the foreign and national security bureaucracies and whether government policies affect their willingness to participate in the policy process. It also examines what government officials hope to get from academics and how useful they find academic ties. It shows that there is an almost complete uniformity of view between academics and government officials on the fact that societal attentiveness to and the government’s policy concern about Africa are low and getting lower, and discusses what might be done to turn this situation around.

Title: Government Officials, Academics, and the Process of Formulating United States National Security Policy Toward Africa
Author: Bowman, Larry W.
Year: 1990
Periodical: Issue
Volume: 19
Issue: 1
Period: Winter
Pages: 5-20
Language: English
Geographic terms: Africa
United States
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1166961
Abstract: Relationships between US government officials and academic specialists working on national security and foreign policy issues with respect to Africa are many and complex. There are a large number of arenas in which academics have some access to government officials working on Africa policy. These include the State Department, the Department of Defense, the CIA, and the National Security Council. On the basis of data derived from confidential interviews with American Africanists and responses to a survey questionnaire, this paper reviews academic perceptions of the foreign policy process, and examines when academics interact with the foreign and national security bureaucracies and whether government policies affect their willingness to participate in the policy process. It also examines what government officials hope to get from academics and how useful they find academic ties. It shows that there is an almost complete uniformity of view between academics and government officials on the fact that societal attentiveness to and the government’s policy concern about Africa are low and getting lower, and discusses what might be done to turn this situation around.