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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Mershon Center for International Security Studies

RovnerJoshua Rovner, associate professor of strategy and policy at U.S. Naval War College, is winner of the Furniss Book Award for Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell University Press, 2011).

The Furniss Award commemorates the founding director of the Mershon Center, Edgar S. Furniss, and is given annually to an author whose first book makes an exceptional contribution to the study of national and international security. Previous winners include John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Stephen Walt.

In Fixing the Facts, Rovner explores the complex interaction between intelligence and policy, shining a spotlight on the problem of politicization. Major episodes in the history of American foreign policy have been closely tied to the manipulation of intelligence estimates.

Rovner describes how the Johnson administration dealt with the intelligence community during the Vietnam War; how President Nixon and President Ford politicized estimates on the Soviet Union; and how pressure from the George W. Bush administration contributed to flawed intelligence on Iraq.

He also compares the U.S. case with the British experience between 1998 and 2003, and demonstrates that high-profile government inquiries in both countries were fundamentally wrong about what happened before the war.

Rovner’s research areas include intelligence, politics and strategy, nuclear proliferation, and deterrence. He is also adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and reviews editor for Journal of Strategic Studies. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from MIT.

The winning author of the Furniss Award receives a cash grant and is invited to address the faculty of the Mershon Center. Rovner will speak at the Mershon Center in November 2013.