Bingham, Jonathan B.
October 1969
Foreign Affairs;Oct69, Vol. 48 Issue 1, p51
This article examines an issue concerning control over the military spending of the U.S. in 1969. The pressures from within the Pentagon for increased expenditures are enormous. They stem in part from traditional and still acute competition among the military services. In spite of the enormous influence of the military-industrial-Congressional complex, the U.S. has tools to solve the problem of military spending but needs to find the will to use them. First of all, the structure of civilian control in the federal establishment was solidly built by the Founding Fathers and stands intact today. The dangers of a military takeover seem remote. Even freshmen Congressmen who cut little swath in the Capitol are sometimes surprised by the deference with which they are treated by bemedaled officers. Second, the climate for action to give reality to the principles of civilian supremacy is at least temporarily favorable. The myth of the military's infallibility in matters supposedly within its competence has been thoroughly exploded in Vietnam. The increasing skepticism toward the peremptory demands of the military has been accompanied by a growing realization of the size and urgency of our domestic needs and by a widespread awareness that some hard choices would have to be made.


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