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Specialization in defence forces


  • Ugurhan Berkok


The choice between balanced and specialized defence forces depends on the technology of defence output (e.g. whether a force scope multiplier is present), the existence of scope and scale economies, the platform customization costs and, of course, the level of defence budgets. Minimum force element levels (thresholds), and scale economies facilitate specialization as opposed to scope economies (e.g. platform-sharing), scale diseconomies and the force scope multiplier (e.g. defence weakest-link technology). When a balanced force is not optimal, the option value of a non-optimally maintained force element must also include the opportunity cost arising from suboptimal force elements. Shrinking defence budgets may produce two surprising phenomena. If some force elements are shut down as a result of thresholds, the surviving ones may increase in platform numbers as well as enjoying closer-to-most-desirable platforms. Furthermore, if heritage force elements are shut down within the budget contraction environment, overall defence capability might rise.

Suggested Citation

  • Ugurhan Berkok, 2005. "Specialization in defence forces," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 191-204.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:defpea:v:16:y:2005:i:3:p:191-204 DOI: 10.1080/10242690500123356

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arthur Grimes & James Rolfe, 2002. "Optimal defence structure for a small country," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 271-286.
    2. Arce M, Daniel G, 2001. "Leadership and the Aggregation of International Collective Action," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 114-137, January.
    3. Murdoch, James C., 1995. "Military alliances: Theory and empirics," Handbook of Defense Economics,in: Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), Handbook of Defense Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 89-108 Elsevier.
    4. Arce M., Daniel G. & Sandler, Todd, 2001. "Transnational public goods: strategies and institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 493-516, September.
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