Dr Rory Cormac of the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham has spent the Autumn 2018/19 semester in Washington DC as a Leverhulme International Academic Fellow. He was based at Johns Hopkins University.
Cormac's research is developing a new way of assessing success and failure of covert action, a state's unacknowledged interference in the affairs of others. Despite it being a controversial tool of foreign policy, there is remarkably little public understanding of whether covert action works and, more fundamentally, about what even constitutes success. Drawing on public policy evaluation scholarship, his research moves assessments of covert action beyond simplistic attempts to measure goals against outcomes towards a more holistic approach encompassing the planning, execution, and political repercussions of covert action.
It will hopefully encourage scholars and policymakers to think more carefully about the multifaceted - yet often mythologised - nature of covert action and the inherent trade-offs involved. Whilst in America, Cormac spoke at the Pentagon, State Department, and Smithsonian Institution, recorded a podcast for the International Spy Museum, and delivered talks at Chicago University and Johns Hopkins University.
Posted on Thursday 10th January 2019