Operation New Dawn: Rhetoric or real policy change?

Josiah Thomas Barrett, University of Texas at El Paso


Scholars have long explored questions concerning presidential foreign policy decision making as well as military performance in conducting operations. Studies have covered a wide variety of topics, including the organizational dynamics of the military bureaucracy, the effectiveness of military operations, how presidential rhetorical strategies influence the public agenda in foreign affairs, and, in turn, how public opinion influences presidential foreign policy decision-making. Despite these advances, there remains a notable gap in the literature with respect to the relationship between presidential foreign policy objectives and military bureaucratic responsiveness. In particular, when presidents use rhetoric to introduce key shifts in foreign policy directives, to what extent can subsequent actions taken by the military reflect real policy change? To date, scholars have yet to thoroughly examine the connection between foreign policy shifts in presidential rhetoric and the extent to which the military is able to effectively transform its operations to meet such executive policy directives. In this study, I develop a full theoretical framework to explore this relationship and apply it by conducting a case analysis of the 2011 U.S. transition from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn (i.e., the shift from "combat" to "advice and assist" operations). My findings provide a new contribution to the literature on executive-bureaucratic performance and offer new avenues for future studies applicable to scholars, policy makers, and military professionals.

Subject Area

Public administration|Military studies

Recommended Citation

Barrett, Josiah Thomas, "Operation New Dawn: Rhetoric or real policy change?" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1539915.