Do Bureaucratic Politics Matter? Some Disconfirming Findings from the Case of the U.S Navy
By: Edward Rhodes
Notes Pages: 12-21
- What is observed: a stable set of rules; they establish “action-channels” that give the (chief of naval
operations) CNO immense power.
- Principal variation in game: identity and parochial interests of players who occupy CNO’s office.
- CNO’s identity=key variable in the force-posture game due to the “bureaucratic and intellectual
baggage” CNO carries.
- Model III’s dominant interference pattern suggests that the variations we observe in force-posture
should reflect the variation in this game.
- The rules of the force posture game: the 3 unions compete for shares of the navy’s resources; they do
not collaborate to increase the “size of the pie” instead.
- The navy’s unionization made rational analysis of force requirements impossible.
- The unions’ parochialism led to an ironic consequence – it made serious analysis impossible, as well as
completely undercut navy’s case for any possible further resources.
- Civilians observers stressed that intraservice rivalry is “unusually severe” and the competition between
the 3 dominant unions of the navy has driven its force posture.
- The balance of power between the 3 unions influenced the shape of the Navy.
- The reality of limited resources means the parochial intraservice fights about force posture are simply
- Defense journalist Arthur Hadley writes, “the Navy divides up its monies to satisfy the claims of those
conflicting unions as much as for reasons of national defense.”
- The CNO’s position cannot let him stand above this parochial, intranavy fray.
- The CNO arrives into office depending on his OWN union for support; therefore there is impartiality
- Similarly, union affiliation is said to be an important factor in civilian decision makers’ evaluations of
potential CNO candidates.
- Existence of deep parochial divisions within navy, centrality of force-posture, ties between CNO and
his union thus suggest that CNO has an interest in favouring his union above all others.