Politicization of Risk in Military Acquisition: A Case Study of the A-12 Program and its Termination

Main Article Content

Kousuke SAITOU


Why and how does a risk, once accepted, raise a political problem in a way that affects the consequence of a policy? To answer these questions, this article focuses on the interactive change of political context and risk perception. A changing political context may develop a gap in risk perception among actors and vice versa. This gap distorts the initial consensus on risk acceptance, affecting the consequence of policy; here, this process is referred to as the politicization of risk. Applying this perspective, this article examines the process in which the A-12 aircraft acquisition program of the U.S. Navy was adopted as policy but eventually terminated due to technical and political mismanagement of risk. The analysis indicates that risk propensity is influenced not only by personality and political institutions as some scholars point out, but is also changed by an interaction between political context and actors’ perception. In the case of the A-12 program, a perception gap between the executive and legislative branches caused a politicization of risk and consolidated a risk-averse context, which led to the termination of the program.


Article Details