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Riding Waves or Making Waves? The Services and the U.S. Defense Budget, 1981–1993

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

James H. Lebovic
Affiliation:
George Washington University

Abstract

Bureaucratic politics is the favored explanation of those addressing the perversities of defense budgeting. But it is arguably devoid of politics, given its dependence on either aggregate top-down or horizontal models. I seek to redirect analysis. I disaggregate defense spending (by service and weapon type) and study budget sensitivity to program pressures in the buildups and builddowns of the Reagan-Bush eras. Applying a two-equation model to time-series cross-sectional data, the analysis shows weapon budgets increasing with program diversification and a commitment to defense spending. In turn, it shows programs diversifying to accomodate service objectives: when turning to missions, the services increased program varieties while concentrating program resources.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1994

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