Journal Article | The Many Lines of Defense: The Political Economy of US Defense Acquisition

Author: Eugene Gholz

Political economy infuses the process that generates military power, notably including weapons acquisition. In the United States, defense acquisition follows a dynamic balance of interests among the private companies that design and build weapons, the military services that use weapons, and the legislators that appropriate money to pay for weapons. That process belies the simplistic conventional wisdoms that explain acquisition as a direct result of strategic need or as dictated by a unified military-industrial complex. A political economy approach that recognizes the complexity of interests—public and private, expert and political—best explains what weapons get built, by whom, where, and when.

Read the full Journal of Global Security Studies article here.