Degree Name

MA in Conflict Management

First Advisor

Preeti Shroff-Mehta


The recent presidential election created the dawning of a new era---an era in which American citizens and officials gave serious thought to our policies of the past and how to proceed in the future. The people of the United States of America exercised their political power by widespread and overwhelming support for a new administration determined to rectify the mistakes of the past and forge a new legacy for a nation plagued by the historic mishaps of the Bush administration. An important component of setting a new course for American foreign, and domestic, policy is ensuring that the failed and often misguided policies of the past are repudiated. The most internationally identifiable issue in US foreign policy was the detention program at Guantanamo Bay. Few programs symbolize the essence of a policy in the eyes of the world like the case of Guantanamo’s detainees.

It was an obvious case for termination as demonstrated by the overwhelming international and domestic outcry. An executive order demanding the closure of Guantanamo was newly elected President Obama’s first campaign promise to be fulfilled. Although the order has been given, the details and follow through are far more complicated. Policy termination itself is complicated: wrought with a host of obstacles that make termination much easier said than done. These obstacles apply to the case of Guantanamo as well and present a clear case for further research on the topic of policy termination.

Termination is as rarely exercised as it is researched, despite legitimate cause to do so for the best and worst of reasons. The scarcity of termination cases should be even more motivation to commit thorough investigation and research for the benefit of future policy terminators. It is the responsibility of advocates, as well as termination seekers, to investigate the topic of termination: to develop generalizations, theories, and frameworks that help future administrations recognize the need for termination and provide a basis of thought for carrying out the process. No program or policy should last forever. It is imperative that advocates and policy makers devise a thorough plan for termination when the time comes.


Defense and Security Studies | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation