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Over the Horizon: A User's Guide to Inter-Service Conflict

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

With U.S. defense spending cuts potentially on the agenda, U.S. policymakers would do well to use the United Kingdom's experience as a cautionary example.

The buildup to the recent defense cuts in the United Kingdom served as a call to battle for the U.K.'s military services. Anticipating steep reductions in funding, each of the three branches opened fire on their sister-organizations in the hope of redirecting budgetary knives. This development was neither surprising nor unintended. Civilian policymakers have long understood that they can benefit from inter-service conflict. When services attack one another, it provides fodder for cost-conscious budget-cutters to kill particular programs. ...

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