The Empirical datas in our paper are taken from the research program OPERA (Operationalizing Programmatic Elites Research in America 1988-2010). This study, carried by William Genieys, was funded by the ‘French National Research Agence (ANR) from 2008 to 2012 (OPERA : ANR-08-BLAN-0032).

The survey concerns the transformation of the highest levels of power structure of the US in warfare and welfare. We carried out 399 biographies and more or less 200 interviews.The survey carried on more than 3000 actors in the highest positions of power. To define our study field with these two huge sectors of public actions, we just hold the highest position of power among decision makers in the process of two reforms: the expansion of welfare (Clinton-Obama) and the uprising of warfare (D.Rumsfeld).

The aim of the survey is to identify on a long period of time the changes of the elites’ layout, which is part of policy decision making process and then, to try to get their real influence on decision making and reforms.

The listings have been established with the congressional directories, from the database Lexis Nexis:

(i): from the legislative area: the staffers have been selected from the warfare and the welfare committees

(ii): from the executive area: cabinet members working on defence and health public policies, the secretaries up to 5 hierarchy degrees underneath, agency directors and General military staff.

Our survey aim to the biographies from crossing database available on: the institutional websites ( White House, DOD, DHHS, CONGRESS), Who’s who in America?, Leadership library, First Street, Revolving Doors, Source Watch, Wikipedia, Legistorm, LinkedIn and others websites.