A Casualty of Kinetic Warfare: Military Research, Development, and Acquisition for Biodefense
The US military is responsible for protecting its forces from biological weapons. However, the Department of Defense has neglected biodefense-most of the funding for which now comes from civilian organizations rather than traditional military sponsors. Why? I argue that organizational frames explain military neglect and the rise of civilian biodefense. Because the military's frame of reference is defined by kinetic warfare involving projectile weapons and explosives, it neglects non-kinetic capabilities like biodefense. In contrast, the civilian Department of Health and Human Services has a different organizational frame and thus is more amenable to supporting biodefense. I test this theory against realism and bureaucratic interests. I find that research, development, and acquisition for biodefense support the ideational theory of organizational frames, which has important implications regarding the influence of specific ideas on national security policy.