Academic Stovepipes Undermine U.S. Security

Academic Stovepipes Undermine U.S. Security

The United States faces a serious but silent intellectual crisis: U.S. national security elites have separated into two tribes of specialists, technical and nontechnical, who are incapable of communicating with each other. The implications of the divide between experts in science and technology on one hand and experts in politics on the other are dangerous and far-reaching. If the United States policymaking community cannot bridge the gap between these communities, we risk making mistakes with repercussions running all the way from wasting scarce resources to war.

While hardly a golden age of national security policy decision-making, the Cold War set boundaries on science and politics, both of which served the overall goal of avoiding -- or winning -- a war with the Soviet Union. For better or for worse, the scientists, engineers, military officers and civilian strategists of the national security establishment were all yoked together toward this common purpose.

With the Cold War over, the natural bureaucratic tendency of "stovepiping" has taken over. Stovepipes are the institutional and cultural barriers that prevent different groups of experts from understanding or cooperating with each other on everything from terminology to budgets and, ultimately, goals. Fed into stovepipes, national security problems get broken into ever smaller but less relevant pieces by experts working in parallel with, but in isolation from, each other.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review