Defence Budgeting and Accountability in Britain and America: Executive Innovation and Legislative Response in the 1970s

  • Stephen Kirby
  • Andrew Cox


The accountability of the defence establishment in advanced industrial societies has always been a problem for legislatures and individuals concerned to discover the rationale of defence spending. This of course has grown as a problem with the advent of the Cold War and the use of nuclear technology. These twin developments have led the armed services and their respective bureaucratic agencies to become excessively concerned with security and the minimisation of public access to defence decision-making. Something of this fear was expressed by President Eisenhower in his final address when he spoke of the growth of a ‘military-industrial complex’, which was able to subvert the democratic process. This was at the end of the 1950s, but the perception that defence policy-making and expenditure decisions are not effectively controlled by the representatives of the people has been a continuing theme since that time. The distortion of the truth in the USA during the Vietnam War merely served to reinforce this fear. More recently, the ability of the defence establishment in Britain to present mis-information as truth to Parliament during the Falklands War, indicates that this problem is not confined to the USA.


Defence Policy Defence Spending Defence Budget Defence Establishment Congressional Budget Office 
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Copyright information

© Stephen Kirby and Andrew Cox 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Kirby
  • Andrew Cox

There are no affiliations available

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