The end of the Cold War in 1989 gave rise to hopes for a new, more peaceful international system and for the redirection of military expendituresover one-half of annual U.S. federal discretionary spendingtoward education and health care, renewing the nation's infrastructure, environmental mitigation, and alternative energy sources. At the beginning of the 21st Century, U.S. military spending remains stuck at 85% of the Cold War average.
Why? As Accordino explains, at the federal level, the Iron Triangle comprised of the Pentagon, defense contractors, and a conservative Congress maintained defense spending at Cold War levels, encouraging contractors to stay focused on defense. When some procurement cutbacks and base closures occurred, growth interests recruited lower-wage branch plants, sports, and entertainment facilities, rather than supporting the hard work of defense conversion that creates higher-paying jobs. Nevertheless, some defense contractors and community interests did embrace conversion, showing remarkable potential. Of particular interest to scholars and researchers involved with urban and regional planning, public administration and local politics, and regional economic development.
About the Author
JOHN J. ACCORDINO is Associate Professor of Economic Development Policy and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Virginia Commonwealth University./e Among his earlier publications are The United States in the Global Economy: Challenges and Policy Choices and Community-Based Development: An Idea Whose Time has Come. He is a past chair of the American Planning Association's Economic Development Division.
Table of Contents
The National Context: Defense Spending and Conversion Policy in the 1990s
The Community Context: Development Interests and Economic Dependency
The Military Metropolis: Boosters, Bases, and Shipbuilding in Hampton Roads
The New Face of Defense: Systems Engineers, Bureaucrats in Suburban and Northern Virginia
Rural Areas and Small Cities: Dependency, Adjustment, and Conversion
The State Politics of Defense Restructuring: Adjustment and Resistance
Conversion Advocacy in Other States and Localities
Transforming the Politics of Defense Conversion