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The Art of Policymaking

The Art of Policymaking
Tools, Techniques, and Processes in the Modern Executive Branch

Third Edition

June 2024 | 312 pages | CQ Press
The Art of Policymaking is the only book designed to provide students and practitioners with a detailed explanation of the specific tools, techniques, and processes used to create policy in the U.S., as well as the tools they need to understand them. The book includes practical advice on how to write memos, prepare polling questions, and navigate the clearance process. Case studies show how actual policies were developed and how and why policies and processes differed across administrations. And scenarios allow students to practice the tools and techniques they have learned by working through both domestic and foreign policy situations. Written by two experts in the field with experience in both academia and government, The Art of Policymaking is the perfect how-to guide for students and professionals.

Chapter 1: Why the Policymaking Process Matters
Chapter 2: The White House Policy Councils
Chapter 3: The White House Staff
Chapter 4: Agencies and Policy Implementation
Chapter 5: Policy Management
Chapter 6: Policymaking Memoranda
Chapter 7: Policy Implementation Tools
Chapter 8: The State of the Union and the Budget Process
Chapter 9: Legislative Clearance and Coordination: SAPs, LRMs, and Other Policy Acronyms
Chapter 10: Polling and the Policymaking Process
Chapter 11: Communicating and Marketing Policy
Chapter 12: Social Policymaking: Welfare Reform During the Clinton Administration
Chapter 13: Economic Policymaking I: The Clinton Economic Plan
Chapter 14: Economic Policymaking II: The Simpson-Bowles Commission Under President Obama
Chapter 15: Security Policymaking I: Desert Shield and Desert Storm Under George H. W. Bush
Chapter 16: Security Policymaking II: The Surge and Iraq War Under George W. Bush
Chapter 17: Congress and the Executive Branch: Yemen Policy during the Trump and Biden Administrations
Chapter 18: Practice Scenarios
Key features


  • New coverage of structures and policymaking processes as they evolved during the Trump and Biden administrations
  • Expanded coverage of policy assessment and cost-benefit analysis
  • New chapter case study on congressional efforts to shape US policy in Yemen during the Trump and Biden administrations
  • Updated examples and data throughout 


  • Case studies involving policymaking in five different issue areas during five administrations demonstrate and evaluate the material presented in the earlier chapters, helping students apply those concepts to real-world situations.
  • Practice scenarios in three different policy areas enable readers to practice creating a policy process and apply the tools and techniques presented in the book.
  • Real examples of memorandums, briefing materials, and other official documents show students the specific format of policymaking documents and how the tools and techniques described are actually applied.  

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