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Bureaucratic politics and weapons acquisition: the case of the MX ICBM program : (in two volumes)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The dissertation is about the process by which the armed forces of the United States acquire weapons of war. In order to elucidate the U.S. weapons acquisition process, it examines in detail the history of the controversial MX intercontinental ballistic missile program. It is particularly concerned with two aspects of the program: substance and persistence. The central questions addressed in the dissertation are why the MX program began, why it evolved as it did, and why it survived despite strong political opposition.

The dissertation’s theoretical foundation is the bureaucratic politics model of decision making in government developed by Graham Allison, Morton Halperin, and Arnold Kanter. It is found that this model provides general explanations of both program substance and program persistence. In a comprehensive presentation of the model, the causal factors explaining substance are identified. The model emphasizes organizational interests and procedures and intragovernmental bargaining. These factors are assumed to cause the development of complex and versatile follow-on weapons systems. With regard to program persistence, the study identifies, on the basis of the bureaucratic politics literature and other theoretical works, a variety of factors that may help explain why contentious weapons programs can survive. System versatility and positive links between programs and larger defense and foreign policy issues such as arms control, nuclear strategy, and alliance relations are among the factors assumed to be important.

The dissertation’s largest section is a detailed narrative description of the MX history, from the program’s origins to the ultimate deployment of a missile force. In it, the conceptual framework of buraucratic politics is applied empirically. The presence of the causal factors identified in the theoretical section is established and their impact is traced.

The empirical findings in the study reveal that the bureaucratic politics model is well suited to explaining the substance and persistence of the MX program. In particular, significant support for the model’s conception of the decisive role for substance played by bureaucratic forces and bargaining is found. There is also much evidence to support the proposition that system versatility and positive links to policy issues constituted major factors in sustaining the program. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University , 2002. , 722 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 88
Keyword [sv]
Försvarspolitik, Förenta staterna
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-143768ISBN: 91-7265-531-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-143768DiVA: diva2:1113135
Public defence
2002-12-06, 10:00
Opponent
Available from: 2017-06-21 Created: 2017-06-21 Last updated: 2017-07-14Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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