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Whose Role is it Anyway? Inter-Service Competition and the Development of Intermediate Range-Ballistic Missiles
This thesis examines the Defense Department's (DoD) management of surface-to-surface missile development in the early Cold War, building to the Army's Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) pursuit. During these efforts, emerging missile technology challenged the DoD's ability to mitigate inter-service competition and duplicative efforts. Although the Army articulated the potential of long-range missile use, it failed to justify why it should be the service to develop and operate said weapons. Instead, the Army leveraged ambiguous wording in the 1950 and 1954 missile agreements and applied its land-combat function broadly, encroaching on perceived Air Force missions. This resulted in multiple services competing for finite resources and capitalizing on the then unforeseen advantages of immature technology, ultimately resulting in redundancy. This research finds that the DoD's management of missile development in the 1950s strained a dwindling defense budget, limited the modernization of conventional capabilities, and exacerbated tenuous relationships amongst the service branches. While based in historical research, these findings have enduring applications, as they illuminate the dangers of ambiguous wording in a restrictive policy document, and challenge the Joint Chiefs of Staff's and similar service-based committee's efficacy as organizations for managing emerging technology. These findings are particularly applicable to current DoD policy formulation, given that the Cold War IRBM controversy mirrors the current inter-service tensions regarding missile development.
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