Academic journal article Military Review

State versus Defense: The Battle to Define America's Empire

Academic journal article Military Review

State versus Defense: The Battle to Define America's Empire

Article excerpt

STATE VERSUS DEFENSE: The Battle to Define America's Empire

Stephen Glain, Crown Publishing, New York, 2011, 496 pages, $26.00

STATE VERSUS DEFENSE is the latest addition to scholarly works about the rise of the military industrial complex of the United States during the years after World War II and the rise of the Cold War. Works of this genre talk about bargains the government made with the people after the war--butter on their tables in return for guns in their backyards and government in their lives. The work largely disregards social history and focuses instead on the diplomatic and political aspect of militarization. However, it is not a study of rivalry between the Department of Defense and the Department of State. That competition ended in the late 1940s when the Department of State failed to stop the communist takeover of China and Eastern Europe.

Into the breach stepped the defense establishment. With or without presidential backing, the Department of Defense and related agencies have dominated the executive branch, driven foreign relations, and pushed diplomacy aside for a military option. The restructuring of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the Goldwater-Nichols Act in the mid-1980s made the chairman independent of the service chiefs and the establishment of area commands gave generals imperial authority. …

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