Military-Industrial Complexities

  • Lawrence Freedman


The strategic debates of the 1970s within the United States were as passionate as any that had gone before. After some delay, a challenge was mounted to the concepts developed during the McNamara period, in particular the notion of mutual assured destruction. Although an impressive critique was developed, attempts to create a compelling alternative were less successful. As confidence that a nuclear war could and would be fought in a specific way waned, the argument came to be heard that it was necessary to prepare to fight in almost any way. As uncertainty grew as to what dimension of military power created the desired deterrent effect on the Soviet Union, it was argued that imposing strength must be demonstrated on every dimension.


Military Power Procurement Process Military Technology Force Planning Triad Concept 
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  1. 3.
    Richard L. Garwin and Hans Bethe, ‘Anti-ballistic missile systems’, Scientific American (March 1968). Reprinted in York (ed.), Arms control p. 164.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    George Rathjens, ‘The dynamics of the arms race’, Scientific American (April 1969). Reprinted in York (ed.), Arms Control p. 187.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    For example, Sam Sarkesian (ed.), The Military-Industrial Complex: A Reassessment (Beverly Hills, Sage Publications: 1972).Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    Henry Kissinger, The White House Years (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1979), pp. 202–3.Google Scholar
  5. 18.
    Quoted in Desmond Ball, Déjà Vu: The Return to Counterforce in the Nixon Administration (California: Seminar on Arms Control and Foreign Policy, 1974), p. 8.Google Scholar
  6. 19.
    Richard M. Nixon, United States Foreign Policy for the 1970s: Building the Peace (25 February 1971), pp. 53–4.Google Scholar

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© The International Institute for Strategic Studies 1983

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  • Lawrence Freedman

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