The Uneven and Combined Development of Defense Industries: A Comparative Analysis of Emerging Countries

Kurç Ç.

First Hitit International Congress on Security Studies, Çorum, Turkey, 24 December 2021 - 27 August 2022, pp.186-187

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Çorum
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.186-187


Globalization is the driving force behind arms production and defense industrialization changes in developing countries. A group of scholars argues globalization process would force developing states to integrate into the production chains of big defense corporations to have viable defense industries (Anthony 1993; Sköns 1993; Sköns and Wulf 1994; Bitzinger 1994; Bitzinger 2003; Hayward 2000; Adams 2001; Struys 2004). Others disagree. These scholars argue that an investigation of global arms production reveals different strategies to build enduring defense industries and different patterns of development of defense industries (Bitzinger 2010; Bitzinger and Kim 2005; Bitzinger 2015; DeVore 2015). Both Bitzinger and DeVore provide valuable insights into why globalization of arms production and defense industrial relations do not homogenize defense industrial development worldwide. However, there are still unexplained aspects of defense industrial choices and development trajectories. Why do countries that have similar industrial capabilities and similar development strategies experience different development trajectories? How does a state successfully produce certain weapons systems, such as tracked armored vehicles, but fail at other systems, such as tanks? Why do we observe differences even though the states follow the same export-oriented development strategy? Despite excellent research by many scholars, this variance in global arms production remains an understudied issue. This paper seeks to answer why these variances occur in global arms production through the lens of Uneven and Combined Development theory. We argue that even if arguably globalization pushes states to behave in a certain way, the persistent unevenness in socioeconomic, political, and military capabilities results in different variations of prescribed development strategies and goals. In other words, there is a constant dialogue between the international and domestic, resulting in multiple, diverse, and uneven development of defense industrial capabilities are occurring in the global arms production. To show how different development paths are happening, we will focus on emerging countries investing in their defense industrial capacities, such as Turkey, Egypt, South Korea, Brazil, and South Africa.