The Uncommon Defense and Congress, 1945-1963

The Uncommon Defense and Congress, 1945-1963

The Uncommon Defense and Congress, 1945-1963

The Uncommon Defense and Congress, 1945-1963

Excerpt

This study investigates Congress' use of its power of the purse to influence military force levels, weapons systems, and strategic policy between 1945 and 1963--the Seventy-ninth through the Eighty- seventh congresses. It not only describes how Congress has participated in shaping defense policy, but also analyzes and evaluates the actual decisions of Congress as they have been recorded in its review and passage of the annual appropriations bills for the defense establishment.

Part I introduces the major theoretical dimensions of the study. Part II describes congressional action. The historical account is necessarily detailed, for Congress' influence on military policy is primarily felt through its review and rearrangement of the myriad of budgetary figures that the executive branch annually presents to it for confirmation. Attention is concentrated on major appropriations measures. Appendix A lists them. The number of bills which are examined is considered sufficiently large and extends over a long enough period of time to permit observation of the changing character of Congress' approach to, and impact on, defense policy.

Part III fashions out of the historical material of Part II a role which Congress can, and should, play in strategic policy through its power of the purse, and evaluates congressional decisions and actions since World War II in terms of the criteria that are presented. Chapters VIII and IX specifically outline a new intellectual approach to strategic policy for Congress and suggest ways to implement it.

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