Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It

By James Q. Wilson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Turf

DURING THE SEVEN YEARS he was secretary of defense, Robert S. McNamara presided over a dramatic growth in military spending, from $195 billion in 1961 to nearly $225 billion (in constant dollars) in 1968. In just his first year in office McNamara added over $6 billion to the defense budget. Yet by the time he had resigned he had become to the military brass one of the most unpopular secretaries since the creation of that office in 1947.1

During the four years he was secretary of defense, Melvin R. Laird helped cut the defense budget by 28 percent, from $243 billion in 1969 to $175 billion (in constant dollars) in 1973. The army lost divisions, the navy lost ships, and total military personnel declined by about one-third. But despite these cuts, Laird was a very popular secretary among the military services.2

Morton H. Halperin, who first noted this puzzle, explained it by observing that bureaucracies "are often prepared to accept less money with greater control than more money with less control."3 This is because of the high priority they attach to autonomy, or turf. McNamara had little respect for the autonomy of the separate military services; Laird had a great deal. When the former took office he began immediately to centralize defense decision making in the office of the secretary of defense where crucial decisions about weapons and operational doctrine were made by "whiz kids"--young defense intellectuals skilled in the methods of quantitative analysis, whom McNamara had brought with him. When Laird took office he cut the defense budget (the war in Vietnam was winding down), but he left the services free to make the cuts as they wished. Laird had no whiz kids working for him and was careful to consult with the generals and admirals about important decisions that affected their re

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Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface to the New Edition ix
  • Notes xvi
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Part I - Organizations 1
  • Chapter 1 - Armies, Prisons, Schools 3
  • Chapter 2 - Organization Matters 14
  • Part II - Operators 29
  • Chapter 3 - Circumstances 31
  • Conclusions 48
  • Chapter 4 - Beliefs 50
  • Conclusions 70
  • Chapter 5 - Interests 72
  • Conclusions 88
  • Chapter 6 - Culture 90
  • Part III - Managers 111
  • Chapter 7 - Constraints 113
  • Chapter 8 - People 137
  • Conclusions 153
  • Chapter 9 - Compliance 154
  • Summary: Achieving Compliance 174
  • Part IV - Executives 177
  • Chapter 10 - Turf 179
  • Conclusions 195
  • Chapter 11 - Strategies 196
  • Conclusions 217
  • Chapter 12 - Innovation 218
  • Part V - Context 233
  • Chapter 13 - Congress 235
  • Appendix - Congressional Dominance: a Closer Look 254
  • Chapter 14 - Presidents 257
  • Chapter 15 - Courts 277
  • Chapter 16 - National Differences 295
  • Part VI - Change 313
  • Chapter 17 - Problems 315
  • Conclusions 331
  • Chapter 18 - Rules 333
  • Chapter 19 - Markets 346
  • Conclusions 363
  • Chapter 20 - Bureaucracy and the Public Interest 365
  • Notes 379
  • Index 409
  • Subject Index 418
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