This submission is intended for the 2011 Political Networks Conference paper repository.


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How does political competition among domestic actors influence foreign policy choice? Studies examining this question often focus on the role of economic or partisan interests, and how they influence the preferences civilian decision-makers who are subject to the electoral pressures of their constituents. Less attention has been paid to how the preferences of other influential, unelected, actors influence state behavior. I examine the influence of one such group by looking at how the preferences of American military leaders shape decisions on American military spending and force structure. Using tools from the field of network analysis, I find support for the idea that military leaders occupying key positions can influence defense spend- ing priorities in favor of their respective branches. Results also show how the influence of military leaders has changed over time, and is conditional upon the institutions governing the relationships between civilian decision-makers and military leaders.