Sop Cause and Effect

Topics: Cuban Missile Crisis, Cold War, Soviet Union Pages: 2 (503 words) Published: December 2, 2007
Cause and Effect Essay

The bureaucratic decision-making process is an important component of foreign policy. The tendency of bureaucracies toward relying on standard operating procedures has had a negative impact on the outcome of foreign policy. A tendency toward relying on standard operating procedures is often the consequence of limited information, time, and resources. The bureaucracy is responsible for collecting and drawing together information, forming proposals, and making foreign policy. Within different agencies there exists a hierarchical organization that is necessary for the division of labor. SOPs have been developed from past events and are formed into pre-arranged responses. SOPs are used to simplify coordination within bureaus. A negative impact as a result of relying on SOPs is the misapplication with a particular situation. Once implemented, the standard operating procedures tends to be inflexible.

The reliance on SOPs during the Cuban Missile Crisis is an example of poor foreign policy decision making during a time of crisis. With the use of different deception tactics, Soviet missiles were sent to Cuba in secrecy. Upon the arrival in Cuba, the Soviets failed to properly camouflage the missiles, their soldiers, and the barracks stationed in Cuba. The Soviets lack of secrecy and security is due to the bureaucracy adhering to and the misapplication of SOPs. The standard operating procedures for construction of nuclear missile sites failed to include camouflage which would disguise their activities on foreign territory. The Soviets adhered to procedures at their Cuban barracks exactly as they would in the Soviet Union. These are some of the factors that contributed to the United States government's realization that Soviet missiles had been delivered to Cuba by the Soviets.

The United States outcome of foreign policy had been negatively impacted as well because of their reliance on SOPs during the crisis. The United States...
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