The Effect of Defense Industrialization on Military Adaptation: Finding the Missing Link

Kurç Ç.

Second Hitit International Congress on Security Studies, Çorum, Turkey, 9 - 11 December 2022, pp.52-53

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Çorum
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.52-53
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


During peacetime, defense planning is fraught with uncertainties. These uncertainties involve identifying friends and foes, understanding the character of future war, and determining the timing of the next war (Toft and Imlay 2006, 1–2). The answers to these questions will determine not only the force posture and structure but also the defense procurement, which requires long lead times for complex weapon systems. The uncertainty increases because of constant changes in the threat environment, primarily due to technological innovations. This results in decreasing predictability in warfare. Increased uncertainty also increases the chances of surprises during a war. The problem of responding to the changes in the threat environment gets further complicated because armed forces find military-technical change inherently challenging to evaluate and fail to adapt. This raises a question: how do militaries effectively respond to surprises during a conflict and adapt to the new situation?

Marc DeVore argues that national defense industries can enable armed forces to respond better to technological shocks because close cooperation between military professionals and defense technologists facilitates understanding the specific problem that the armed forces face and finding a tailored solution (DeVore 2017). However, DeVore assumes that the existence of national defense industries would result in greater cooperation between the military and the industry. However, a close investigation of the Turkish case reveals that the relationship between the military and defense industry does not necessarily lead to close cooperation and increase the military’s capability of adaptation. DeVore’s casual mechanism omits a critical intervening variable, institutional structures, that could either hinder or foster the impact of national defense industries in military adaptation. Using the case of Turkey, this paper argues that Defense industries can enable military adaptation if there is a robust institutional structure for cooperation and doctrine-making at the national level (directed toward nation-specific problems).