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The Best Laid Schemes 

A Tale of Social Research and Bureaucracy

Seymour J. Deitchman

DOI: 10.56686/9780991158836


The story of a great experiment in social research in which the author participated and whose events were important and instructive for American social science in the mid-1960s and later.

Seymour Deitchman, a mechanical and aeronautical engineer by training, served at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) for over 28 years, and from 1982 through 1988 as vice president for programs with responsibility for planning and supervising the IDA research program and ensuring its quality and performance. In the Defense Department in the 1960s, he established and exercised general oversight of the DOD program of R&D support for Southeast Asia operations, and then he managed such programs at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). Before that he held several technical positions that included work on air traffic control and the early phases of army air mobile forces. His personal professional work has covered areas including air and ground transportation, tactical aviation, space systems and many aspects of air, land and naval warfare. He has been a member of various government and NATO advisory panels, notably in the current connection, the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) technical advisory panel during the 1980s.



Part I: Great Expectations
1)  Antecedents
2)  Social Science To the Rescue
3)  A System of Ethics and Values

Part II: The Bureaucracy
4)  The Science
5)  The Foundation
6)  Bureaucratic Interactions and Attitudes
7)  The DSB Study
8)  The Wheels Start Turning
9)  The Army Moves Out Smartly

Part III: Donnybrook
10) The Tip of the Iceberg
11) The Press Has a Field Day
12) The DOD Puts Its House in Order
13) State Seeks Control 
14) Congress Becomes Interested
15) Social Sciences Has Second Thoughts

Part IV: DOD Keeps Trying
16) Return with a Low Profile
17) Estrangement from the University Community
18) Working within Constraints
19) "Technical" Problems
20) Who Will Buy My Wares
21) Of Time and Tide

Part V: Reflections
22) What Have You Learned

6 x 9
352 pages
PDF download

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