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Epilogue
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Reference no. HKS0849.1
Authors: Mark Moore
Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 1988
Length: 4 pages

Abstract

A handgun is a soldier's weapon of last resort. Face to face with the enemy, with no other means of fighting available save their bare hands, soldiers have always reached for the handguns holstered at their sides. Since 1911 the legendary Colt .45 has been there. In the last 20 years, however, it might also have been a .38, a .22, a .357, a 9-millimeter or a .44 caliber magnum; general officers, at one time, could carry just about any kind of gun they desired. In 1978 the House Appropriations Committee decided that the growing diversity of revolvers, and accompanying ammunition, was too expensive to maintain and called on the Department of Defense and the Army to adopt a standard sidearm. At the same time, the House Armed Services Committee criticized the Army for wasting money on what it viewed as an unnecessary weapon. Throughout it all, the Army ranked the acquisition at the bottom of its priority list. This case focuses on congressional behavior, which some call micromanagement, and the dilemma this created for an Army general responsible for purchasing weapons and responsive to the disparate voices of Congress.

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Abstract

A handgun is a soldier's weapon of last resort. Face to face with the enemy, with no other means of fighting available save their bare hands, soldiers have always reached for the handguns holstered at their sides. Since 1911 the legendary Colt .45 has been there. In the last 20 years, however, it might also have been a .38, a .22, a .357, a 9-millimeter or a .44 caliber magnum; general officers, at one time, could carry just about any kind of gun they desired. In 1978 the House Appropriations Committee decided that the growing diversity of revolvers, and accompanying ammunition, was too expensive to maintain and called on the Department of Defense and the Army to adopt a standard sidearm. At the same time, the House Armed Services Committee criticized the Army for wasting money on what it viewed as an unnecessary weapon. Throughout it all, the Army ranked the acquisition at the bottom of its priority list. This case focuses on congressional behavior, which some call micromanagement, and the dilemma this created for an Army general responsible for purchasing weapons and responsive to the disparate voices of Congress.

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