Paradigm Shifts in Security Strategy

Dominic D. P. Johnson and Elizabeth M. P. Madin

in Natural Security

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253476
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934313 | DOI:
Paradigm Shifts in Security Strategy

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This chapter focuses on paradigm shifts in security strategy. It suggests that it takes disasters to trigger change because dangers that remain hypothetical fail to trigger appropriate sensory responses, psychological biases serve to maintain the status quo, dominant leaders entrench their own idiosyncratic policy preferences, organizational behavior and bureaucratic processes resist change, and electoral politics offers little incentive for expensive and disruptive preparation for unlikely and often invisible threats. It also asks why humans, who are well aware of the potential for catastrophic paradigm shifts, still fail to adapt to changing circumstances until after disaster has struck. The chapter also outlines a series of events that illustrate the failure to adapt to novel security threats: the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Keywords: security strategy; disasters; paradigm shifts; Pearl Harbor; Cuban Missile Crisis; Vietnam War; 9/11

Chapter.  12726 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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