4th Edition

US Defense Politics The Origins of Security Policy

    344 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    344 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an accessible overview of US defense politics for upper-level students. This new edition has been updated and revised, with new material on the Trump Administration and Space Force.

    Analyzing the ways in which the United States prepares for war, the authors demonstrate how political and organizational interests determine US defense policy and warn against over-emphasis on planning, centralization, and technocracy. Focusing on the process of defense policy-making rather than just the outcomes of that process, US Defense Politics departs from the traditional style of many textbooks.

    Designed to help students understand the practical side of American national security policy, the book examines the following key themes:

    • US grand strategy;
    • the roles of the president and the Congress in controlling the military;
    • organizational interests and civil-military relations;
    • who joins America's military;
    • what happens to veterans after wars;
    • how and why weapons are bought;
    • the management of defense and intra- and inter-service relations;
    • public attitudes toward the military;
    • homeland security and the intelligence community.

    The fourth edition will be essential reading for students of US defense politics, national security policy, and homeland security, and highly recommended for students of US foreign policy, public policy, and public administration.

    1. Enduring Questions, Changing Politics

    2. America’s Security Strategy

    3. Organizing for Defense

    4. Managing Defense

    5. Who Fights America’s Wars?

    6. Service Politics

    7. The Political Economy of Defense

    8. The Weapons Acquisition Process

    9. Congress and Special Interests

    10. Presidents and the National Security Council

    11. Gaining Intelligence

    12. Homeland Security

    13. Veterans and the Costs of War

    14. Preparing for the Next War


    Harvey M. Sapolsky is Emeritus Professor of Public Policy and Organization at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, and the former Director of the MIT Security Studies Program.

    Eugene Gholz is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, USA.

    Caitlin Talmadge is an Associate Professor of Security Studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, USA.

    'US Defense Politics is an insightful and versatile text for courses on defense and national security. The authors combine an accessible introduction to the issues with sophisticated arguments and overviews of important debates in national security. It is an essential resource for instructors teaching both advanced undergraduates and graduate students.'-- Risa Brooks, Marquette University, USA

    'This book is an outstanding primer for educating defense analysts and public policy scholars! I wish I'd had it as a student, I learned from reading it now, and I look forward to teaching from it.'-- Kori Schake, American Enterprise Institute,  Washington DC, USA

    'A systematic and accessible treatment of a vital topic most Americans take for granted: raising, maintaining, equipping, and guiding the vast military establishment. Broad enough to be useful, but provocative enough to be interesting [...] People who critically engage this book will be better prepared as citizens to shape defense policy for the new era.' -- Peter Feaver, Duke University, USA

    Praise for the 3rd edition:

    'I commend this third edition of US Defense Politics to anyone looking to understand the major cross-currents that shape US security dynamics. Written with expert insight and drawing on a rich set of historical and contemporary examples, the book provides a one-stop shop on the issues that decision makers, elected officials, and military leaders have faced for the past seventy years, and those that will shape defense policy well into the future.' -- Kathleen H. Hicks, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), USA