Academic journal article Asian Perspective

Defense-Industrial Globalization and the Northeast Asian Varieties of Fighter-Jet Industry: Debating the Exogenous-Endogenous Factors in Determining the Northeast Asian Varieties of F-35 JSF Acquisition Patterns

Academic journal article Asian Perspective

Defense-Industrial Globalization and the Northeast Asian Varieties of Fighter-Jet Industry: Debating the Exogenous-Endogenous Factors in Determining the Northeast Asian Varieties of F-35 JSF Acquisition Patterns

Article excerpt

In 2013, former US deputy secretary of defense William J. Lynn III wrote in Foreign Affairs that the age of the globally dominant US military-industrial complex has come to an end (Lynn 2013). Adapting to the soaring price of advanced weapons systems, falling defense budgets, and the cascade of firms quitting the defense sector, Lynn concluded that the "courting" by the United States of commercial companies that have become leading innovators in state-of-the-art technologies and globalizing their arms production and supply chains has become pivotal to the United States, sustaining its innovative edge in weapons development. Certainly, this line of argument is consistent with the works that spiraled off at the end of the Cold War, as US defense budgets for weapons procurement dropped by more than 40 percent. Alic et al.'s Beyond Spinoff (1992) and Gansler's Defense Conversion (1995), among other studies, argued that active US adaptation to a dual-use strategy and cooperation with the commercial sector were indispensable to its defense-industrial base. While the call for dismantling the barriers between the defense and civilian sectors has become a prominent phenomenon in many states' defense-industrial policies in the post-Cold War era, structural changes in the global arms market deriving from the relative decline of the United States and the strategic globalization of US arms production are kindling genuine debates on whether this change will provide new opportunities for emerging arms-producing states to climb up the ladder in the global arms market. On the one hand, many have claimed that these changes will bring further stratification and division of labor in the arms production, where the small and medium states wield less bargaining power as they become marginalized as mere subcontractors to the multinationally dominant first-tier groups (Caverley 2007; Finnegan 2009). On the other, liberal optimists have argued for the contrary: that, as self-sufficiency in arms production becomes ever more difficult, increasing interdependence between the first- and non-firsttier states will provide a momentum for non-first-tier states to enhance their leverage in the global arms procurement deals (Brooks 2007; Mabee 2009).

To what extent are these dichotomous views appropriate for understanding the twenty-first-century landscape of global arms politics? Are these views universally applicable? How is the Northeast Asian region responding to the phenomenon of defense-industrial globalization? Driven by these questions, I seek to enrich both the theoretical and the empirical literature on the arms-producing states in the Northeast Asian region, looking at South Korea (Republic of Korea, ROK), Japan, and Taiwan, in particular.

In theoretical terms, this article introduces and builds upon the implications and limitations of the varieties of defense-industrial capitalism (VoDC) framework, put forth by Marc R. Devore (2013). Devore argues that other than the dichotomous views described above, arms-producing states will reveal a variety of adaptation patterns in response to the changes in the global arms market, depending on states' internal structure, capacity, value placed on the domestic defense-industrial base, and policy preferences. Although it is not the purpose of this article to dispute the intellectual validity of Devore's majorly endogenous-institutionalist approach to defense-industrial globalization, I do establish several arguments by excavating the theoretical and empirical limitations of the model when applied to the Northeast Asian region and the fighter-jet sector in particular. First, the variety of Northeast Asian paths to arms procurement is a complex outcome not only of their institutional settings, range of technological capacities, and preferences (endogenous) but also of key exogenous variables encompassing the rising China threat and prevalence of the US alliance factor in determining states' arms procurement processes. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.