The extraordinary year-to-year continuity in the list of top Cold War aerospace suppliers has led many analysts to adopt theories of a military-industrial complex (MIC). The collapse of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, once the second-largest manufacturer in the United States and a leading defense contractor, belies their approach. This article recounts the histories of Curtiss-Wright's three independent divisions and uses these to test the MIC theory against three other explanations of the pattern of Cold War defense procurement: the technological imperative, the bureaucratic-strategic perspective, and free-market competition. The bureaucratic-strategic theory is most consistent with the case-study evidence.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.