Responding to Defense Dependence: Policy Ideas and the American Defense Industrial Base

By Erik R. Pages | Go to book overview

Preface

My interest in the topic of this study--the American defense industrial base--stems from direct personal experience. While working as a Congressional staff member during the mid-1980s, I was contacted on several occasions by local firms who supplied parts and subcomponents to the U.S. Department of Defense. These companies had recently lost their contracts to overseas firms who had obtained the U.S. work through various bilateral cooperative arrangements.

As I investigated the business' complaints, I immersed myself in the world and jargon of the U.S. defense industrial base. What I found was both interesting and startling. Most of my contacts in the Defense Department and the Congress acknowledged that defense dependence was growing. They even acknowledged that these trends could prove to be dangerous in the future. But, for a variety of reasons, few efforts were made to address the issue of defense dependence. The local impact was direct and clear. The affected companies lost contracts, and, in several cases, went out of business. The national impact--on overall U.S. national security--was less clear. This book represents my attempt to understand these impacts and to explain the evolution of American defense industrial base policy.

In addition to examining this a fascinating empirical puzzle, this research effort has tremendously broadened my own perspectives on both international relations theory and political science in general. While trained in international relations theory and national security policy, I was forced to broaden my research interests to the topics of industrial policy, trade theory, science and technology policy, and a host of other issue-areas. concepts. As such, I can point to myself as a living embodiment of the shift from the concept of national security to one of economic security.

I would like to acknowledge the encouragement, advice, and support of Joseph Lepgold and Theodore H. Moran. Dr. Lepgold has proved to be both a supportive mentor and a good friend. He has provided helpful editorial comments and invaluable

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