UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments : one think tank’s influence on the movement to transform the United States military Simpson, Tait


As the number of think tanks has more than quadrupled since the 1970s, a small number of scholars have been looking at what sort of influence these organizations can have on the policy process in the United States. Think tanks can be effective if they use their written work, seminars, and analysts to spread their ideas throughout the epistemic policy communities. This thesis asks the question of what, if any, influence has the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) had on the movement to transform the United States military. Based in Washington D.C., the CSBA has been closely involved since 1994 in the discussions and analysis about what form the United States military should take in the future. This thesis relies upon existing work on think tanks, U.S. security, and military transformation. It is also heavily derived from interviews conducted with senior U.S. military personnel by Professor Colin Campbell in addition to my own interviews conducted at the Pentagon and at the CSBA. The CSBA has argued fervently that the U.S. military must undertake a transformation if it is to cope with the revolution in military affairs they believe is taking place. Only through a transformation that involves discontinuous change in technology, doctrines, organization, and operations can the United States military hope to dominate the military conflicts of the 21s t Century. While think tanks can be intrinsically involved in conceptualizing change and policy formation, they require politicians or government policy makers to adopt their ideas in order to see their work applied to public policy.

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