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Abstract

An enduring feature of politics and international security is the ability of nation states to respond to transnational threats. National governments often share protected information on these threats, especially when sharing such information would pre-empt a national security crisis. Inevitably, however, the failure of nation states to share information can lead to catastrophic disaster. While previous research has focused on intelligence and information sharing between nation states (international information sharing), and within national government organizations (intragovernmental information sharing), this thesis is primarily concerned with sharing information across tiered levels within nation states, in particular between national governments and local governments (i.e., center-periphery information sharing). This thesis applies the center-periphery lens to the problem of information sharing, and points to the role of organizational bureaucracies as a key mechanism in enabling or obstructing the flow of information both from the center to the periphery (i.e., top-down information sharing), and from the periphery to the center (i.e., bottom-up information sharing). Organizations often overcome gaps that individuals have in failing to share information, but can also play a pivotal and sometimes detrimental role in preventing information from flowing between national and local partners. This thesis uses both historical and contemporary case studies to illustrate center-periphery information sharing challenges around the world, both from the national level to the local level, and from the local level to the national level. A key takeaway from the study of center-periphery information sharing is the concept that the power of a nation state goes beyond national government—including executive, legislative, and judicial branches—and extends to local governments and organizations. A nation-state’s power is held at the local level, and oftentimes early warnings about national security issues are predicted by national government organizations, but by local organizations at the periphery. Whether national and local partners face threats from cybercrime, transnational terrorism, or corporate espionage, this center-periphery information sharing lens illustrates how events at the local level impact national statecraft.

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