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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Geography of Defense Production: Conceptual Issues


These days it seems as if almost everyone has something to say about defense spending and military production. The political scientist speaks of deterrence and diplomacy, the biologist of nuclear winter, the engineer of accuracy and explosive potentials, the sociologist of nuclear-age paranoia, the businessman of cost­ effectiveness and profit trends. What perspective can regional planners add to this debate?

Planners might initially approach this debate by outlining how defense spending affects the subjects of planning: land use, job generation, industrial development, city finances. This approach is certainly a necessary recognition of the dramatic affect of the military on cities and regions. Yet almost any discipline could claim that defense spending affects their subjects of study in some way or another. It thus remains the task of regional planners to trace the impact of defense spending on their discipline, and, more importantly, to demonstrate the contribution that their discipline can make to the defense spending debate at large.

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