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In his 1961 farewell address, President Eisenhower cautioned against a future in which a powerful military-industrial complex manipulated policy to the detriment of American interests. Dunlap argues that, fifty years later, Eisenhower’s fears have not been realized; in fact, the military-industrial enterprise is in decline. Certainly, the U.S. military owes its continued preeminence to both the quality of its combatants and the superiority of its weaponry. Yet as the manpower-centric strategies in Afghanistan and Iraq replaced technology-centric operations; as complicated defense acquisitions laws deterred companies from obtaining contracts; and as the economic downturn and rising national deficit have strained budgets, the defense industry has become less robust than it was in the Cold War era. Consequently, the services are constrained by aging equipment and outdated technology, even as other countries are strengthening their defense capabilities. While it is important to keep U.S. military and industrial power in check, we should also be concerned about the weakening of innovative collaborations between our nation’s military and industrial sectors.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Military-industrial complex, Defense industries, Military readiness