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Epistemic communities in the space-policy arena

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Epistemic communities in the space-policy arena evidence of their existence, their evolution, and their influence on policy
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Miller, Thomas Edward
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183 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Astronautics and state -- United States ( lcsh )
Pressure groups -- United States ( lcsh )
Astronautics and state ( fast )
Pressure groups ( fast )
United States ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 174-183).
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School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Thomas Edward Miller.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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ocm51805580
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Full Text
EPISTEMIC COMMUNITIES IN THE SPACE-POLICY ARENA
EVIDENCE OF THEIR EXISTENCE, THEIR EVOLUTION, AND
THEIR INFLUENCE ON POLICY
by
Thomas Edward Miller
B.S. Chapman University, 1990
M.S. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 1993
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Public Affairs
2002
s


2002 by Thomas Edward Miller
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Thomas Edward Miller
has been approved
by
Clayton K.S. Chun
Advert/
Date
11


Miller, Thomas Edward
Epistemic Communities in the Space-Policy Arena Evidence of Their
Existence, Their Evolution, and Their Influence on Policy
Thesis directed by Professor Peter deLeon
ABSTRACT
According to Peter Haas, the epistemic community framework
underpins much in terms of public policy. His idea that a group of experts
can influence policy decisions and policymaking organizations is certainly
plausible. But Haas' basic criteria may not be the only indicators of groups'
ability to influence policy. Post hoc evidence of the existence of such
groups and the influence they may have exerted is also critical to
understand the epistemic community framework.
This dissertation focuses on part of the space era (1981-2000) to
demonstrate that post hoc evidence can confirm a succession of epistemic
groups interested in ensuring the U.S. dominance in the space arena, those
interested in the scientific or exploratory uses of space, those who envision
space as a medium for global commerce and communication, and those
who stress the national-security aspect of space.
IV


In contrast to the groups defined and described by the Haas criteria,
less well-defined groups, such as the groups active in the space arena, may
have exerted discemable pressure on national space policy makers based on
their activities and, therefore, may warrant status as epistemic
communities. Since the framework is not specifically designed to observe
such groups, this dissertation proposes modifications, in the form of
additional criteria, that would better equip the framework for assessing
these groups.
The dissertation revealed that these post hoc data do not necessarily
demonstrate that a particular group had worked to influence policy.
Although single data sources reflected increases and decreases in activity
that might suggest a group's activism, no agreement was discovered
between multiple data sources. Consequently, no compelling proof of a
given group's activity was available to suggest it had succeeded in affecting
space policy. Despite their failure in this effort, post hoc records remain a
potential indicator of group influence in technical fields and should be part
of the epistemic community framework.


This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
Peter deLeon
VI


DEDICATION
This thesis is dedicated to my family, including my wife, my children, my
parents, and our extended family, who encouraged me, maintained faith in
me, spurred me on when my momentum slowed, and faithfully lowered
food to the basement as needed.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
My sincere appreciation is due to several people integral to this effort.
The support and encouragement of my committee members, Dr. Bob Gage
of the Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver,
Dr. Jae Moon of the Bush School of Government, Texas A&M University,
and Dr. Clay Chun of the Department of National Security and Strategy,
U.S. Army War College were key to the completion of this dissertation.
The direction and advice of Dr. Peter deLeon, my committee chairman,
were especially critical to the completion of this dissertation. Colonel
Thomas Drohan and Lt Colonel Peggy Ball, of the Air Force Academy's
34th Education Group, provided welcome support. Dr. Ed Scott, the
director of the Air Force Academy Library, provided access to vital
resources and work space without which this thesis would not have been
possible. Dr. Jonathan McDowell, of Harvard University and Mrs. Tina
Thompson, of TRW Corporation, provided data that were central to the
effort. Dr. Dana Johnson, of RAND Corporation, provided ideas,
suggestions, and moral support that contributed immensely to the quality of
the final product. Mr. Bob Campbell, whose long hours verifying my data-
collection methods provided confidence in the quality of the data and
provided vital data validation. Finally, Mr. Nick Contino sponsored gym
sessions that displaced mental pain with physical pain.


CONTENTS
Figures ....................................................xiii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION...............................................1
Introduction...........................................1
Perspectives on Space Policy...........................5
Development of the Epistemic Community Framework ......9
Summary and Thesis Overview ..........................10
2. THE SPACE CONNECTION......................................12
Introduction..........................................12
A Brief History of Space Activity ....................12
3. LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................19
Introduction..........................................19
Frameworks for Examining Expert Influence Groups......19
The Epistemic Community Theoretical Framework.....20
Alternative Theoretical Frameworks................23
Additional Perspectives on the Epistemic Community
Framework ............................................28
Why Epistemic Communities Instead of Alternate Constructs? ...34
Research Efforts on Epistemic Communities ............44
Lessons From Maritime Law and Policy..................49
Potential Epistemic Communities.......................54
Preeminence in Space .............................55
Science, Exploration, and Peaceful Uses of Space .57
IX


National Security .................................60
Space Commerce ....................................64
Conclusion.............................................67
4. METHODOLOGY ...............................................69
Research Questions and Hypothesis......................69
Research Questions ................................69
Research Hypothesis ...............................70
Methodology............................................70
Data Collection........................................76
Data Sources...........................................83
Data Analysis..........................................95
Reliability and Validity...............................98
5. DATA COLLECTION ..........................................102
Introduction..........................................102
Pre-Data Collection...................................102
Data Collection.......................................107
Analysis..............................................110
Budgetary Data ....................................Ill
Payload Data ......................................114
AW&STArticle Data .................................117
Relationship Between Data Sets........................120
6. CONCLUSIONS ..............................................123
Introduction .........................................123
Findings..............................................123
Contextual Analysis...................................126


Findings in Light of Research Goals...............135
Research Question 1 ..........................135
Research Question 2 ..........................141
Research Question 3 ..........................145
Research Hypothesis Hi........................146
Research Hypothesis Hia.......................149
Implications for the Epistemic Community Framework.150
Practical Implications.............................155
Research Conclusions...............................156
Suggestions for Further Research...................158
Conclusion.........................................159
APPENDIX
A. CONTACTS FOR PRE-DATA-COLLECTION
INTERVIEWS .....................................161
B. FORMAT FOR PRE-DATA-COLLECTION
INTERVIEW ......................................162
C. SAMPLE PAYLOAD DATA (MCDOWELL LAUNCH
LOG) ...........................................163
D. PAYLOAD DESCRIPTION KEY (MCDOWELL
LOG) ...........................................165
E. SAMPLE PAYLOAD DATA (TRW LOG) ..................167
F. SAMPLE BUDGET DATA (AIR FORCE MAGAZINE) ....168
G. SAMPLE BUDGET DATA (PRESIDENTIAL SPACE
REPORT) .......................................169
H. CAUSAL OR NORMATIVE BELIEFS ....................170
I. KEYWORDS FOR POTENTIAL EPISTEMIC
COMMUNITIES ...................................171
XI


J. HUMAN SUBJECTS MEMO ..........................173
References .............................................174
xii


FIGURES
Figure 5-1 Government Space Expenditures..........................113
Figure 5-2 Payloads Launched......................................116
Figure 5-3 AW&ST Article Content..................................119
xiii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Introduction
In any given policy arena, political and social evolution demands that
interests change and influence groups grow and atrophy over the course of
years. In international relations, nation-states change shape, governance, and
relationships with each other. Consequently, various groups pressure policy
makers to modify foreign policy as a function of their respective interests at
the time. Some of these groups are well-organized, well-focused, well-
defined, and formally chartered, while others are loosely allied, ill-defined,
and migratory in terms of their focus at a given time. The former exhibit
characteristics such as a well-defined hierarchy, formal charters, and explicit
mission statements while the latter rarely find these tools useful. The latter
group receives the focus of this thesis. Although these groups and their
influence are often transparent to the on-looker, intuition suggests that these
groups indeed exist and constantly work to see their policy interests reflected
in national policy. For instance, national maritime policies have evolved over
the centuries and various maritime powers and interests have ebbed or flowed
in importance. Both foreign policy and maritime policy have evolved due
1


equally to these changes and to the fluctuating influence of experts, groups,
and, of course, contexts. For example, commerce, national security, freedom
of the seas, and environmental issues have claimed dominance in varying
degrees over maritime policy at different points in history.
A natural extension of this phenomenon is the evolution of the
relatively youthful space industry and the national policy that governs it. As
an activity of national interest dependent upon significant government
oversight and financial investment, space activities require policy decisions in
support of a wide variety of related efforts. Government-sponsored research,
exploration, and scientific ventures are generally impossible without
government support and guidance, as are national defense activities. General
space activity and efforts to enhance the infrastructure likewise requires
substantial government participation as well. All these competing
requirements suggest the need for an active policy effort in support of national
space activity.
Space can be defined in a variety of ways, two of which are
appropriate for discussion here. Webster's Dictionary provides a definition of
space as "the region beyond the earth's atmosphere or beyond the solar
system," an explanation somewhat vague for our purposes (Webster, 1977, p.
2


1113). McDougall offers two more useful definitions including a functional
definition the region that includes "an object in orbit" and a schematic one -
"fifty miles up" (McDougall, 1985, p. 180). During the period of intense
national rivalry over extraterrestrial activities between the United States and
the former Soviet Union (i.e., the so-called "space race"), the functional
definition became accepted internationally (McDougall, 1985, p. 259). Space
is important (in any sense of the word) in both national and international
senses. Although much space activity necessarily involves international
relationships and national space activity and policy is influenced by
international activity and conflict, this dissertation is limited to U.S. national
interests largely leaving international implications and other actors for later
study.
The importance of this dissertation for space activity and space
policymakers is in providing an understanding of various pressures and
influences as they configure space policy. Without such an understanding,
space policy makers would be severely under-informed or subject to influence
from international caprice, since their understandable natural tendency in
policy is toward continuation of the status quo. Conflict between military,
civilian, scientific, and commercial interests in space has resulted in space
3


policy that has failed to govern the activities dependent on space as effectively
as could be the case. Understanding the influence of both simple interest
groups and epistemic communities (i.e., active groups of professional experts)
provides policymakers both sources of pertinent information necessary for
sound policy. Further, an understanding of a variety of epistemic
communities themselves (i.e., formal and informal groups) sharpens policy
makers' awareness of conflicting motives and different tactics used in the
competition for dominance in the space policy arena. As mentioned above,
the focus of this dissertation is on a set of more informal, more ill-defined,
more loosely allied groups of area experts as opposed to well-organized, well-
documented groups such as professional associations.
The conclusions of the dissertation are also important for policy
studies and inquiries into group activity and especially the efforts of interest
groups. It will provide a measure of guidance to those searching for a
construct with which to examine these groups and their efforts with regard to
policy. This dissertation adds to the body of research focused on various
theories and frameworks used to assess interest groups and other policy actors.
Finally, it offers members of the space community an insight into the groups
attempting to effect changes in space policy.
4


Perspectives on Space Policy
As the American space industry has matured, the President, his
advisors on space activities, and Congressional representatives and
committees charged with oversight of space activity have endeavored to
generate policy to guide and control it. Various groups of experts and
lobbyists have exerted influence on U.S. national policy makers with regard to
efforts on space policy. These groups generically can be posited to include:
(1) those interested in maintaining U.S. leadership in space achievement; (2)
those dedicated to peaceful, scientific uses of space; (3) those who argue that
national security depends heavily on space, and (4) those interested in the
expansion of commercial services in space (including services such as
commercial communication and terrestrial navigation). These, and other
groups with an interest in space policy may also share policy goals and may
even coordinate their efforts for their common interests. Such coalitions are
difficult to identify but may be evident as various groups are examined.
A cursory institutional review of the progression of interests in the
space arena includes an early focus on the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the
Soviet leadership it signaled. This event was followed by a decade dominated
by technical space research and overt competition. Military space efforts were
5


a focus during this period as well and have continued to receive attention up
through the present. After the early focus on competition between the super-
powers, the American space community largely interested in scientific,
technical, and exploratory uses of space (but still affected by a desire to
maintain U.S. dominance) gained strength in U.S. policy efforts. A fourth,
more recent, group supports the commercial use of space as a medium for
global commercial applications, including communication, imagery, and
navigation.
National and international space policy has been important to the
United States for decades, in terms of national security and prestige, but it is
now even more important because global commerce and especially
commercial services like communication have become necessary for the U.S.
as a developed nation. The rise of the Japanese, European, and other space
agencies, their dominance of low-cost space lift (i.e., the ability to launch
space payloads into earth orbit), and their ability to provide economical
commercial services like communication, imagery, and weather data have
made them formidable competitors in the international marketplace. The
trade in information products (such as imagery) has become as important as
concrete goods and the space industry has devoted itself largely to this trade in
6


information and related transaction costs. As a major global economic power,
the United States would be ill-advised to allow it's policy makers to neglect
this aspect of international commerce, or what Worden calls vital "global
utilities" (Worden, 2000, p. 226). Rapid innovation in this and related fields
could potentially result in the erosion of U.S. commercial and technological
leadership if it allows other nations to somehow seize these leadership roles
(Johnson, et al., 1998, pp. 17-19).
A concomitant and continuing priority for the U.S. space effort is
national security. Increasingly, nations are developing or acquiring the ability
to engage in space activities, whether launch capabilities or use of data
transmitted by and through space assets. New entrants in the space arena are
more frequently seen as hostile to, or at least not allied with, the U.S. and,
therefore, represent a potential threat to American national security. This
situation drives a need to pursue agreements and treaties such as the
succession of ballistic missile treaties over the decades. Further, data and
information about space operations or information transmitted via space assets
is often classified as "dual use" and may be acquired by other nations and
possibly converted for military use in operations or preparations against the
7


U.S. National security concerns require attention to threats of both a military
and non-military nature as they relate to space.
Possibly less prominent in the continuing institutional competition for
space-policy preeminence are those groups interested in keeping the U.S. at
the forefront of space activity while using space solely for exploration,
scientific, and peaceful pursuits. For example, Hitt recently noted the
existence of "pragmatists" who valued our technical expertise but advocate
resisting the urge to use technology to militarize space (Hitt, 2001, p. 62).
Other groups are simply focused on expanding American scientific knowledge
and understanding of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe itself.
These groups enjoyed early prominence in the evolution of space policy, but
the influence of each diminished somewhat over the years due to attainment of
early goals, limited funds, or reduced public interest. Nevertheless, the
significance of these two goals and factors is unquestioned. United States
efforts to build and subsequently utilize an orbiting space station is a
testament to this combination of American space preeminence goals.
The struggle between these various schools of thought and action
presents a dilemma for policy makers in both the national and international
policy-making arenas. The ability to satisfy all sets of interests is elusive, but
8


the members of all such groups work to exert their respective influence and to
see their views reflected in policy. Recognizing the existence and
understanding the influence of these groups is vital to solving the dilemma
that faces national space policy makers. Specifically, the responsibility to
reflect the conflicting interests of all such groups in a comprehensive space
policy is formidable. It requires national policy makers to be knowledgeable
of the alternative, often competing, perspectives as they vie for resources,
understand the evolution of the influence the different groups have exercised
over the years, and be able to weigh and balance all this information when
designing a sound space policy. These obstacles have indeed precluded the
formulation of such a comprehensive policy.
Development of the Epistemic Community Framework
Significant effort has been expended by a scholars such as Peter Haas,
Ernst Haas, James Sebenius, and others to define groups as epistemic
communities by tracing their belief systems, the verbiage in group
publications, and the efforts of various groups to influence politics. Although
some studies have confirmed the influence an epistemic community exerts on
policy based solely on the Haases' criteria, or have demonstrated that a given
9


group does not qualify, none has used the end results of policy decisions (the
so-called "bottom line") to suggest the existence of distinct epistemic
communities. This dissertation is intended to identify the changes in influence
of such communities by adding the examination of post hoc evidence
provided by industry records and industry publications to the traditional
criteria. Records of launches and payloads from 1981 through 2000 and
documentation of the changes in trends for space applications, documented in
industry journals during that period, provide an indication of the existence of
these epistemic communities and their evolution as influential players in space
policy.
Summary and Thesis Overview
This discussion has provided the background and justification for a
study of space efforts as they relate to the theoretical framework called
epistemic communities (or groups of professional experts active in a given
field). This dissertation examines space activity in light of the epistemic
community framework, as well as a variety of other theoretical frameworks
used by other researchers. It examines varying groups active in the national
space effort, a variety of perspectives regarding space policy, and the
10


implications for national space policy. After a description of the space policy
issue (Chapter 2), a review of related literature and an overview of the
proposed communities (Chapter 3), and a description of the research
methodology (Chapter 4), it describes in Chapter 5 the research plans, data
collection, and data analysis in pursuit of the research goal. That goal,
determining whether records of space activity might provide additional
evidence of the existence of epistemic communities, provides an additional
facet to the epistemic community framework and is addressed in Chapter 6.
Do the answers to these questions have implications for national space policy?
Do they point toward the need for a modification of the epistemic community
framework? Are our intuitions justified regarding the behind-the-scenes
efforts of expert interest groups to effect changes in policy? Answers to these
questions, as well as their policy implications and suggestions for further
study, complete the dissertation.
li


CHAPTER 2
THE SPACE CONNECTION
Introduction
This dissertation, although focused specifically on the epistemic
community theoretical framework, makes use of actors in the national space
arena in order to test the viability of the framework. Due to this emphasis, a
short description of the evolution of space activity in the United States is
necessary to set the stage for application of the epistemic community
framework in this arena.
A Brief History of U.S. Space Activity
American interest in space activity and policy evolved, in most
respects, from the World War II research into ballistic weapons and,
specifically, the V-2 series of German rockets. After the war, both the Soviet
Union and the United States exploited the expertise of German rocket
scientists and sought to build space capability that would help them win the
space race and the emerging "Cold War" (Adams and Balfour, 1998, pp. 85-
88; McDougall, 1985, p. 41-47). The Soviet's initial launch of Sputnik in
1957 set the tone for the next two decades by allowing the Soviets to claim an
12


enormous propaganda victory. American space activities, almost exclusively
under the auspices of the military services, pursued and eventually matched
Soviet efforts as the Mercury-Redstone rockets were refined, as President
Kennedy challenged the nation to send Americans to the moon and back, early
American astronauts like Glenn orbited the earth successfully in the early
1960s, and as satellites like Telstar were successfully placed in orbit (Sellers,
1994, p. 46).
The Americans eventually passed the Soviets with the Apollo lunar
landing in 1969, accelerating the race both in terms of space capability and
military capability (especially with regard to nuclear weapons). U.S. military
and industry slowly became recognized leaders in advanced space technology
and achievement while both superpowers built nuclear arsenals that eclipsed
any logical measure of victory (McDougall, 1985, p. 432). The concept of
mutually-assured destruction, or MAD, was based on the mutual knowledge
that both potential combatants possessed sufficient first, second, and third
strike capability to inflict mass destruction. In reality, each nation possessed
enough force to defeat the other many times over. McGeorge Bundy (1988)
punctuated this notion by quoting David Holloway: "[T]here is little
evidence to suggest that [the Soviets] think victory in a global nuclear war
13


would be anything other than catastrophic" (p. 562). As the Cold War
progressed, Americans increasingly shared this assessment and questioned the
logic of the MAD strategy.
The U.S. hegemony in space and the Cold War stalemate in military
power continued through the 1970s as a succession of successful deep space
exploration and space transport launches confirmed U.S. expertise. These
included the Pioneer, Voyager, and Viking probes and a succession of manned
launches. These successes continued into the early 1980s with the Galileo
probe to Jupiter and the Magellan mission to map the surface of Venus in
1989 and the launch of the Hubble telescope in 1990 (McCurdy, 1993, p. 38).
In addition to U.S. successes, challenges and difficult decisions faced space
policy makers. As an example, the development of the space shuttle
proceeded haltingly toward its debut in 1981. Alternate space lift systems
such as the expendable launch vehicles (ELVs) also competed for American
space lift business. This dominance began to change when the Soviets made
advances in satellite and space-station technology (e.g., the Mir space station),
despite the military and economic shortfalls of the Soviet political and
economic system.
14


In addition, during this period, important commercial applications
derived from military and exploratory space activities began to emerge.
Satellite communications, navigation, imagery, and exploration served both
U.S. and Soviet military establishments, with their spin-offs offering lucrative
commercial benefit as well. As an example, Oberg (no date) notes the
"convergence of telecommunications and information technologies" as a
product of this technology spill-over (p. 22). By the early 1990s, Global
Positioning Satellite (GPS) data became commercially available and proved to
be immensely valuable as a commercial commodity. Satellite
communication, weather data, and some types of satellite imagery provided
similar commercial value.
While the U.S. and the Soviet Union enjoyed continuing essential
parity in military force and the U.S. took the lead in the space race, other
nations began to challenge the recognized leaders in the commercial space
community. By the mid-1990s, the Japanese and the Europeans (through the
collective European Space Agency) had become formidable competitors in
affordable space lift, winning business from the traditional leaders to launch a
series of Earth-orbit satellites and deep-space exploratory missions (Johnson,
et. al, 1998, p. 23). Both China and Russia were adding to the world's launch
15


and satellite capabilities as well. As a result, the usable orbit space around the
Earth became so congested as to require allocation by national and
international authorities. For example, the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) and its foreign and United Nations counterparts became
involved in regulating communication satellite placement and frequency
allocations (McDougall, 1985, p. 354).
Today, U.S. policymakers are forced to recognize not only military
opponents that might use space to their own advantage but economic entities
that could compete with the U.S. commercially. Commercial imaging
technology and newer navigation technology from Europe have displaced in
many cases their older U.S. counterparts. The United States, in recent years,
found multiple reasons to pursue space activity despite occasional budgetary
problems. These included the efforts of people Oberg describes as "explorers,
adventurers, colonizers, technologists, merchants, and... vendors" (no date,
pp. 11-12). Further, international space operations such as exploratory
missions and increased commercial activity drive similar efforts within the
U.S. space community. The continuing drive for status as the space leader
ensures the United States will continue to pursue exploratory, peaceful, and
commercial space ventures just as the need for national security drives U.S.
16


space efforts in the national defense sector. The increasing importance and
spread of commercial space is an especially important factor in American
space efforts since international competition has evolved from a primarily
military affair to a much more economic one.
As Johnson, et al. (1998, p. 23), remind us, this change has been
anything but subtle. Since the end of the Cold War and the rise of space
players such as Japan and Europe, not only have commercial space efforts
consumed an ever-larger share of space efforts and expenditures but the
United States' share of all commercial launches has dropped from 100% in
1980 to 37% in 1990.
Throughout the past two decades, budget conflicts and other
challenges threaten the various factions intent on dominating the space arena.
As might be expected, space provides another "guns vs. butter" dilemma that
divides voters and policy makers alike. National defense concerns receive a
significant amount of attention, but receive competition from those who insist
that exploration and peaceful use of space proceed. Those interested in
commercial use of space threatens the historical hegemony of both these
groups and has even managed to infiltrate some of this domain, as evidenced
by the partial commercialization of earth imagery, earth observation,
17


communications, and positioning satellite technology. The national sense that
the United States should remain the leader in space technology is a thread
running through each of these factions.
Events such as the Challenger explosion, multiple failures of the Mars
Lander, technical problems with the Hubble telescope, the war on terrorism,
and the troubled economy clearly affect the decisions and priorities regarding
American policy governing space and other national concerns. Each of these
events competes with interest groups in determining the amount of funding,
attention, and emphasis that exploration or national-defense space operations
receive. As with the early periods of the space age, the key to progress in
each of these areas is the ability to strike a balance between the competing
interests, funds, and mitigating circumstances. In turn, the key to this balance
is the ability to identify the competing components and their individual or
group sponsors.
18


CHAPTER 3
LITERATURE REVIEW
Introduction
The goal of this dissertation, as described above, is to examine the role
of space actors in light of the epistemic community theoretical framework.
The purpose of the literature review is, therefore, to explore existing literature
that supports the exploration of space activity and the theoretical concepts that
relate to its connection to that framework. In addition, we briefly examine
maritime law and policy because they provide a foundation for an
examination of different groups of space actors that potentially qualify as
epistemic communities. Moreover, the maritime analog provides a possible
expansion of the concept of expert, professional influence groups and the use
of their expertise to influence policy.
Frameworks for Examination of Expert Influence Groups
Several frameworks suggest themselves as possible foundations upon
which an examination of expert influence groups could be built. The focus of
the current dissertation effort, the epistemic community framework, is only
one of them. Simple interest groups, advocacy coalitions, and policy
19


networks offer competing frames through which to examine these groups and
the influence they potentially wield.
The Epistemic Community Theoretical Framework
Scholars such as Robert Dahl (1961) and David Truman (1951) have
forcefully suggested that the United States is a pluralistic society made up of
contending groups that struggle for control and resources. Still, pluralism as a
theory presents some difficulties for those who attempt to explain it. For
instance, influence groups are difficult to define and describe in terms of
various influence group theories and frameworks. These include concepts
designed to account for group activity, group dynamics, and cooperation
between groups. They instead focus on the central concept of competition
between competing influence groups (Gerber, 1999, p. 12).
One approach in particular, however, appears to account for collective
efforts to influence policy decisions that affect technical fields. According to
the developers and foremost proponents of the epistemic community
framework, Peter Haas and Ernst Haas, specific criteria that exist for
membership in these groups. The basic description and defining criteria for
the epistemic community theory follow:
20


Recognizing that human agency lies at the interstices
between systemic conditions, knowledge, and national
actions, we offer an approach that examines the role that
networks of knowledge-based experts epistemic
communities play in articulating the cause-and-effect
relationships of complex problems, helping states
identify their interests, framing the issues for collective
debate, proposing specific policies, and identifying
salient points for negotiation. ... An epistemic
community is a network of professionals with recognized
expertise and competence in a particular domain or issue-
area. [They] have (1) a shared set of normative and
principled beliefs, which provide a value-based rationale
for the social action of community members; (2) shared
causal beliefs, which are derived from their analysis of
practices leading or contributing to a central set of
problems in their domain and which then serve as the
basis for elucidating the multiple linkages between
possible policy actions and desired outcomes; (3) shared
notions of validity that is, intersubjective, internally
defined criteria for weighing and validating knowledge in
the domain of their expertise; and (4) a common policy
enterprise that is, a set of common practices associated
with a set of problems to which their professional
competence is directed (P. Haas, 1992, pp. 2-3).
This description of the epistemic community framework and the criteria
provided by the Haases offer a persuasive reason to classify such groups as
epistemic communities instead of simple interest groups or temporary
coalitions of policy actors. The latter types, described in the following
paragraphs, are generally unable to provide the technical input or support to
the policy makers vital to participants in technical policy debates. They can
21


account for broad-based support for one position or another, or for a
significant block of votes, but they cannot provide the needed background,
technical information, and overall consistency that policy officials typically
need to adopt, defend, and pursue specific policy goals in an informed
manner. Epistemic communities, however, as groups of professionals and
experts from a given technical field, can provide this essential information and
provide vital information required for informed debate by policymakers on
various sides of a given policy issue.
Other scholars, such as Miller and Fox (2001), add descriptions of the
epistemic community framework that offer a different perspective to Peter
Haas and Ernst Haas' original development of the concept. They describe an
epistemic community as "a group of inquirers who have knowledge problems
to solve. An epistemic community produces small-t local truth [as opposed
to] big-T universal truth" (Miller and Fox, 2001, p. 669). Their argument, in
line with the Haas concept, was that epistemic communities can provide the
focused knowledge needed in specific policy debates.
The epistemic community framework is less than perfect and it does
not succeed in providing an explanation for all interest group activity. For
instance, It is specifically suited to groups and policy activities focused on
22


scientific and technical issues. (Admittedly, in contemporary policy debates,
this is still a very large set of problems.) It also may fail to account for a
group's normative input to policy makers. Although the outline above calls
for an epistemic community to hold normative, causal, and principled beliefs,
it does not demand that these beliefs be translated into efforts to change
policy. However, as described above, the framework is valuable in describing
the efforts of highly technical, knowledgeable groups of policy actors
Alternative Theoretical Frameworks
Before closely examining the concept of a group of professionals and
experts who comprise epistemic communities, alternative approaches offer
explanations for groups engaging in policy debates. While technical expertise
is key to the actions of epistemic communities, it is not as vital for other types
of interest groups. What might be called "simple" interest group theory, for
example, recognizes the existence of influence groups, but generally limits
membership to persons with a particular interest in a policy debate or outcome
(Truman, 1951, p. 33). Within the realm of representative government,
politicians take groups like these seriously when their membership begins to
grow largely because of their ability to provide a block of votes in support of
23


or in opposition to a given policy or candidate, be it health care, military
issues, or social welfare programs. The membership, however, largely
consists of lay persons, i.e., ordinary citizens. As defined by Marin and
Mayntz (1991), it does not necessarily include a large number of subject area
experts or professional representatives who can provide technical or scientific
information to policy makers. The key characteristic is the "decentralized and
horizontal relations" that such a block of individuals provides (Marin &
Mayntz, 1991, p. 15).
Policy networks, another related theory, includes many of the same
types of members but relies on communication advances and technology to
link members together in support of or in opposition to a given policy
position. These networks, like simple interest groups, exhibit the key
characteristic of decentralization and horizontal structure, but add the
technical means of interconnectivity and communication that holds them
together (Tsagarousianou, et al., 1998, Marin and Mayntz, 1991, et al.). As a
result, a larger group of people more effectively connected in a common cause
is potentially more powerful and effective than Truman's interest groups. The
alliance of such groups multiplies the clout that any one of these groups could
muster alone. This is despite an often "antagonistic cooperation" due to
24


widely differing views and interests among group members (Marin and
Mayntz, 1991, p. 17), a characteristic quite different from that of the generally
homogeneous membership of what the authors refer to as an epistemic
community.
A third framework for explaining the construction and activities of
interest groups is Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith's concept of advocacy coalitions
framework (ACF) as a way to combine the strength of multiple groups of
policy actors. Instead of a concentration on individual groups, however, this
framework focuses on the ability and tendency of disparate groups to
aggregate and cooperate in pursuit of a common policy goal. The ACF
acknowledges the centrality of technical information and the need for
cooperation between influence groups and key participants in the policy
making process. This framework shares several epistemic community tenets
and criteria, such as shared normative and causal beliefs, but differs in the
numbers and types of disparate members who do not necessarily share
common backgrounds, technical expertise, causal beliefs, or professional ties.
Therefore, although these coalitions offer a convincing alternative to
epistemic communities, they seemingly fall short when compared to epistemic
communities as influential actors in the policy arena.
25


The descriptions, roles, and criteria for these different types of groups
focus on the wide dispersion of policy involvement and composition of the
groups, which are generally comprised of citizens who are not necessarily
provide expertise in the subject matter when involved in policy activism.
While these members are important components of policy decisions in terms
of providing needed public support, they generally do not include members of
technical, industrial, academic, or otherwise expert organizations. They may
gain significant influence in policy debates because of their numbers or public
visibility, but because of their diversity in terms of professions and expertise,
policy networks, fail to qualify as epistemic communities.
While such groups may be adequate for participation in non-technical
policy debates, their members are typically unqualified from a technical
perspective for participation in policy debates on scientific or technical issues.
Space activity is a focus of a debate that most definitely involves access to and
an understanding of highly technical data and concepts and, therefore, is
perhaps better served by policy discussants who possess background and
technical knowledge related to the space field. Ordinary interest groups or
coalitions that rely primarily on numbers and visibility to pursue a given
policy goal, are epistemically unprepared for the level of debate required.
26


The literature by Peter Haas, Ernst Haas, James Sebenius, and others,
reviewed here offers an introduction and the original criteria for defining the
communities under study. Several dissertations and other publications that
provide more detailed focus on the epistemic community framework and its
application provide additional foundational support. As an example, Martha
Campbell's dissertation demonstrated the mixed results obtained by several
epistemic communities attempting to gain the consensual knowledge and
influence necessary to influence policy on world population issues. Nayef
Samhat's (1995) doctoral dissertation on climatic change, disputed the
epistemic community theory in favor of the influence of discourse on policy,
although the former relies heavily upon tenets of the latter. Kenneth
Wilkening (1996), in contrast, supported the epistemic community framework
by acknowledging the value these expert groups add to the policy process.
In addition to research efforts, several established theorists offered
input for pursuing this effort. King, Keohane, and Verba (1994), for example,
advocated refining or expanding a theory based on improved data and more
restricted criteria. This concept provided a methodological basis for this
dissertation effort to observe early space efforts as one way to understand and
expand the epistemic community framework. Glaser and Strauss (1967),
27


through their discussions of grounded theory, also provided guidance for
modifying the epistemic community theory. The guidance included calls for
use and integration of hypotheses, concepts, and coding in pursuit of sound
theory. Finally, Peter Haas and Ernst Haas form the theoretical foundation on
which the current research effort is built and described applications of the
theory that guided its organization.
Additional Perspectives on the Epistemic
Community Framework
In addition to the concise definition of epistemic communities
provided on pages 12-13, the theory includes several other perspectives and
details. An important part of the theory is the inclusion of several group
dynamics, including "uncertainty, interpretation, and institutionalization" (P.
Haas, 1992, p. 3). Under these conditions, the influence of expert groups,
theoretically, is maximized since policy makers often need information on a
given issue and lack the time necessary to gather it. "[D]ecision makers have
often failed to comprehend... complex linkages" and are "to a far greater
extent than in the past,... in the dark" (P. Haas, 1992, p. 13). Epistemic
communities from given sectors often have the required expertise at their
fingertips and are able to provide what the policy maker needs. A by-product,
28


of course, is the influence the provider conceivably wields over the consumer
of the information. These groups use several methods for exerting their
influence, including framing policy issues, infiltrating bureaucratic
organizations (that is, positions from which they can exert influence), sharing
expertise with policymakers, presenting policy alternatives, building national
and international coalitions in support of policies, and spreading a chosen
version of the "truth" widely enough to influence the policy process (P. Haas,
1992, pp. 13-16). This practice continues despite the tendency among policy
makers to exploit such experts for narrow political ends.
Ernst Haas, an international organizations expert, defined an epistemic
community as a "knowledge-oriented work community" that has processes
and standards "sufficient to assure the truth of their findings." He noted that
these experts come from a variety of professions and fields and "share a
commitment to a common causal model and a common set of political values"
(E. Haas, 1990, pp. 40-41). According to Ernst Haas, the success of any given
epistemic community, so defined, is dependent on (1) an ability to persuade
decision-makers that its unique version of the "truth" is superior and (2) a
successful alliance with the dominant political coalition in an organization (E.
29


Haas, 1990, p. 42). The first is the framing of a dominant position, while the
second addresses its subsequent adoption.
Another facet of the framework is the tendency of epistemic
communities and their hegemony over issue framing and dominance to be
short-lived or allow the bureaucracy to assume control or dominance in a
given policy area. Habit, long-standing tradition, changing political
administrations and emphases, as well as a disposition toward the familiar
often constrain the effectiveness of such communities. Despite these
limitations, epistemic communities can experience some influence, especially
when policymakers find it expedient to use their expertise and during crises
and periods of uncertainty (E. Haas, 1990, pp. 43-45). Significant for the
issue at hand, Haas noted the clear influence of epistemic communities in the
area of space: Non-government organizations "furnish the essential expert
advice and technical services in such programs as the UN environmental
Program (UNEP), in the area of telecommunications, and in the uses of outer
space" (E.Haas, 1990, p. 71, emphases added).
Necessarily, the issues that demand the input of such organizations are
dependent on the focus of policies and of those responsible for generating or
changing policy at a given time. Events dictate the preeminence of a
30


perspective or policy as demonstrated by the changes in emphasis from space-
race competition to national security, to research and exploration, to
commercial pursuits, among others. Each orientation profited or suffered
from current focus and emphasis on one or more of the interests. With the
exception of national security, no space-related interest has enjoyed long-lived
focus by policymakers.
In 1997, Ernst Haas focused on issues related to the basic epistemic
community theory, such as consensual knowledge. Haas proposed that
"progress occurs most readily if knowledge is 'consensual,' if the relevant
community of actors agrees, however temporarily, on constructs of cause and
effect and the choice of appropriate means to attain stipulated ends.
Consensual knowledge can emerge; it is not designed to emerge" (E. Haas,
1997, p. 4, emphases in original). Haas also saw significant obstacles to this
consensual knowledge: "Unless the prevailing bargaining agencies and
governments allow the introduction of consensual knowledge, the mere
availability of applicable specialized lore will not result in learning" (E. Haas,
1997, p. 345). The bottom line for both interest groups and policy makers is
that agreement regarding a given topic represents a key political goal if a
group expects to effect changes in policy. Achievement of such agreement is
31


always problematic and is often impossible but it is more likely if the group is
comprised of experts with a common base of knowledge.
Emanuel Adler, in collaboration with Peter Haas (1992), applied
epistemic community theory to international policy efforts. Their main point
was that the theory can be applied to international policy actors as well as
national or sub-national ones. They recognized an "evolution" of thought that
guides and influences international policy based on the effort to attain
consensual knowledge and policy influence in international policy
organizations. The goal is to "make some of the world problems more
amenable to human reason and intervention." If successful, epistemic
communities may be able to "curb some of the international system's anarchic
tendencies, temper some of the excesses of a purely state-centric order, and
perhaps even help bring about a better international order" (Adler and P. Haas,
1992, pp. 389-390).
James Sebenius (1992) endeavored, like Adler and Peter Haas, to
apply epistemic community concepts to the international arena. His focus,
however, addressed international cooperation and negotiation analysis. He
held that the epistemic community framework assisted international
negotiators in the sense that it "(1) directs attention toward the conditions
32


under which this distinctive kind of coalition is likely to form and the
characteristics of its possible expansion, (2) insists on the importance of
perceptions and learning in negotiation, and (3) deepens our knowledge of
how various actors come to define their interests" (Sebenius, 1992, p. 325).
Sebenius saw several problems inherent in international cooperation and
negotiation and saw epistemic community as a possible tool useful in
resolving some of them (Sebenius, 1992). For example the tendency to treat
"cooperation as a binary phenomenon (for example, as cooperate versus
defect)" and to ignore the "consequences of inherent uncertainty" (Sebenius,
1992, p. 324) is common in international cooperation, that is, in any arena in
which clear authority is not an option. In such a situation, knowledge of the
underlying influence of expert interest groups would be extremely valuable in
understanding and creating solutions to such conflicts.
Peter Haas credited the efforts of an epistemic community to a
particular policy debate when he examined the issue of the ozone protection
issue. He recognized the key role a group of atmospheric and chemical
experts played in influencing policy governing this issue.
The successful coordination of national policies to
protect the ozone layer was strongly influenced by
the activities of an ecological 'epistemic community,'
a knowledge-based network of specialists who
33


shared beliefs in cause-and-effect relations, validity
tests, and underlying principled values and pursued
common policy goals" (P. Haas, 1992, p. 187).
The epistemic community, he claimed, was able to identify the threat, channel
subsequent discussions, and frame the alternatives open to the decision
makers (p. 188).
Why Epistemic Communities instead of Alternate Constructs?
Influence groups are an important part of policy formulation and the
success or failure of a particular policy position (Kingdon, 1995). They are
recognized by a number of theorists who study the political process as the
dominant political variable. Bayes described interest groups as "any group
having identity, membership, specified purpose, and organization with rules of
procedure." She also noted that "[T]his definition parallels Max Weber's
definition of party" (Bayes, 1982, p. 3; emphasis in original). Browne
provided three characteristics of interest groups that roughly parallel Bayes'
definition, including status as a voluntary organization, a common
characteristic, and a public policy focus (Browne, 1998, pp. 11-12). Both
agree that interest groups are comprised of members activated and focused on
specific issues.
34


Interest groups, including epistemic communities, enjoy varying levels
of influence on policy. As Kingdon observed, some groups are able to have
an item included in a policymaker's agenda and contribute significantly to its
debate. Others "can sometimes get an issue on the agenda but then can
dominate neither the alternatives considered nor the outcome." Still others
fail to influence the agenda at all but succeed in providing alternatives or
solutions to issues already under consideration (Kingdon, 1995, p. 50).
"Policy communities," or groups of specialists in a policy area, are Kingdon's
version of epistemic communities, and often attempt to modify a policy
agenda or influence the solution (p. 117).
Like the Haases, Kingdon's policy communities seek consensus both
within the community and among policymakers. Such efforts involve "two
different kinds of subject matter: awareness of problems, and agreement on
solutions or proposals" (p. 139). Finally, of particular interest to policy
scholars is Kingdon's contention that policy progress can be made only during
limited periods of time when "coupling" of factors is ideal (pp. 165-195). The
implication for epistemic community theorists is that even expert influence or
input is limited to specific opportunities when timing and circumstances are
coordinated, or Kingdon's "windows of opportunity."
35


David Truman (1951), although focused mostly on simple interest
groups, identified professional organizations that possess the structure,
expertise, and common purpose of the Haases epistemic community. A major
factor in Truman's concept of influence is access the ability of people to
contact and gain the attention of policymakers. In his view, "the position of
the group or its spokesman in the social structure [is] the most basic factor
affecting access" (p. 265). The standing of a group of policy area experts can
help guarantee such access although, as Truman notes, in "some forms it
provides little more than a chance to be heard; in others it practically assures
favorable action" (p. 322). Most consistent with epistemic community theory,
however, is Truman's awareness that government officials need information
and are aware of the "penalty for numerous or conspicuous decisions made in
ignorance or in neglect of relevant available knowledge" (p. 333). The
inability of politicians to obtain technical information gives "privileged access
to groups" prepared to provide the needed information (p. 334). An epistemic
community, as an active, expert professional organization, can be the source
for such vital knowledge.
Donald Schon (1971) noted the tendency of government workers in
general and policymakers specifically toward "dynamic conservatism," or to
36


maintain the institutional status quo. Policymakers, as a result, resist changes
to the system and resist the efforts of interest groups (expert or otherwise) to
gain access and obtain desired policy solutions (pp 32-49). This condition
makes the ability of a group's leader to guide a group's actions, to "coopt"
officials in policymaking organizations, and to provide pertinent and
necessary information even more important to an epistemic community.
Without such access points, interest groups are generally unable to
communicate their views of the proper direction of policy.
Robert Dahls (1961) recurring question about "who governs" focused
on the issue of whether numbers of votes or wealth, status, and influence carry
more weight in policy decisions (p. 7). He explicitly acknowledged the need
for politicians to build particular coalitions to select and enact specified policy
solutions (p. 94). Although he focused primarily on the coalitions needed by
politicians, the point applies well to the need for interest groups to influence,
even coopt policymakers and build coalitions to increase the chances of seeing
their interests reflected in policy solutions. Dahl stressed the need for actors
(politicians or interest group members) to practice the arts of negotiation and
compromise to achieve their ends (pp. 186-187). Without such skills,
influence and cooptation are problematic.
37


An epistemic community proponent, however, notes some distinct
features inherent in epistemic communities but absent from simple interest
groups. As we saw earlier, these include status as a group of professionals
with recognized expertise, competence in a specific issue area, a shared set of
principled beliefs, and shared causal beliefs (P. Haas, pp. 2-3). In addition, an
epistemic community, unlike an interest group, likely possesses the ability to
propose specific, informed policy alternatives or to educate policymakers on
an issue, based on its special expertise in a given policy area. The causal and
normative beliefs and focused technical expertise that exemplify epistemic
communities are not characteristics of every simple interest group.
Lawrence Rothenberg (1992) addressed one set of shortcomings in
interest groups: Unless interest group lobbying can "provide something
meaningful, particularly in terms of information,... it is likely to be ineffective
no matter how much effort is expended" (Rothenberg, 1992, p. 253).
Rothenberg's awareness is related to Dahl's point about whether votes or
influence carry more weight (Dahl, 1961, p. 7). The implication for the
present analysis is that interest groups can provide significant blocks of voters
and apply pressure for certain positions but, lacking recognized area expertise
38


or information to offer policymakers, they are not likely to effect a policy
change favorable to the interests of their members.
Allan Cigler and Burdett Loomis (1995) offered a related observation,
that there has been an explosion of interest groups and their membership since
World War n, and especially since the 1960s. This trend has been due, in
part, to a decline in the influence of political parties as "instruments to
structure conflict and facilitate mass participation" (Cigler & Loomis, 1995, p.
17). The consequence for policy has been that the sheer number of these
groups, along with the significant increase in access points to government
officials, has diluted the effectiveness of both political parties and specific
interest groups. Nevertheless, given the increasing number and variety of
interest groups, those with specific and appropriate technical expertise
nominally hold an advantage over the others, in terms of political access and,
although less certainly, success.
Mancur Olson (1971), in The Logic of Collective Action, argued that
people would avoid joining groups unless specific benefits lured them to do
so. He suggested that "the attraction of group membership is not so much in
sheer belonging, but rather in attaining something by means of this
membership" (p. 6). Further, "all of the members of a group... have a
39


common interest in obtaining this collective benefit" (p. 21). Some have
challenged this assertion. Cigler and Loomis, for example, adopted a school
of thought around the concept that many people perceive a benefit from
simply participating in interest groups (Cigler & Loomis, 1995, p. 8). Olson
(1971) himself recognized that members of a group place different values on
benefits and that this value depends in part on group size (pp. 22-23).
This interest in group participation, regardless of the satisfaction or
perceived benefit from doing so, does not qualify such groups of activists or
lobbyists as epistemic communities. Due to the definitions, characteristics,
and motivations of interest groups outlined above, interest group theory is,
therefore, insufficient to challenge epistemic community theory in its ability
to explain professional and technology-bases groups' abilities to effect policy
modification.
Policy networks, in contrast to ordinary influence groups, are the focus
of a similar theory that focuses on groups that exhibit characteristics slightly
different from generic interest groups. Dunn noted that much political
expenditure is focused on efforts of politicians and policy makers to create or
increase the size of citizen networks (Dunn, 1972, pp. 26-45). This effort in
itself is not significant. However, Tsagarousianou, et al. (1998), add the
40


dimension of modem technology and communications used to build networks
of citizens involved in policy deliberations. The communications and
computer technologies serve, in addition, to organize groups, recruit new
members, and gamer support for opposing positions on such issues.
Computer information services, the internet, and the "information
superhighway" combine to revolutionize citizen participation and influence
many of them to join political debates that they otherwise would avoid
(Tsagarousianou, et al., 1998, pp. 4-10).
Other scholars provide alternative definitions for policy networks.
Marin and Mayntz (1991), for example, ignore the dependence on
technological catalysts in network dynamics. They define them as
"mechanisms of political resource mobilization in situations where the
capacity for decision making, program formulation, and implementation is
widely distributed or dispersed among private and public actors" (Marin and
Mayntz, 1991, p. 42). Similarly, Peters and van Nispen (1998) define such a
network as "the aggregate of actors (both administrators and a target group)
who are involved in a certain policy problem" (p. 69). Again, their focus is on
cooperation in pursuit of a general policy goal, not on technology or any
specialized knowledge. As with interest groups, policy networks are
41


important in contacting, motivating, and recruiting supporters for a specific
policy issue, may offer reasoned incentives for support for a given policy, and
may result in an increase in political participation. However, they still fail to
provide the necessary expertise that epistemic communities can provide to
policy makers on technical policy issues.
Still another alternative to epistemic communities is Sabatier and
Jenkins-Smith's advocacy coalition framework (ACT1). Part of this framework
depends on a policy subsystem that employs "public and private organizations
who are actively concerned with a policy problem or issue" (Sabatier and
Jenkins-Smith, 1999, p. 119). These policy subsystems equate roughly to
epistemic communities in their attempts to influence policy in a given area.
As with interest groups or policy networks, however, an ACF does not require
area experts on an issue and, therefore, generally fall short of the definition of
epistemic communities. Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith do note, however, that
"actors must specialize if they are to have any influence" (p. 119). They note
further that advocacy coalitions are "composed of people from various
governmental and private organizations that both (1) share a set of normative
and causal beliefs and (2) engage in a nontrivial degree of coordinated activity
over time" (p. 120). They also share to some degree a focus on a "policy
42


core" at various levels from general philosophies on a policy issue to policy
details (pp. 121-122).
Coalitions combined strength in terms of numbers, and their ability to
mount a campaign based on a given moral issue are the keys to their success.
Their shortcoming is their reliance on cooperation between groups that share
only a policy focus rather than on the specific technical expertise that a
focused epistemic community could bring to bear. Although a coalition might
provide some technical data to policy makers, this expertise is a secondary
trait behind the strength in numbers of groups in such a coalition.
Coalitions of epistemic communities, whether or not they fit perfectly
into the advocacy coalition framework, can often achieve policy outcomes
that benefit multiple participant factions. Potentially, such an alliance of
groups can provide more than just the normative beliefs and combined
numbers responsible for an advocacy coalition's power. In addition to its
various member interests and determination to apply its assessment of proper
policy direction, it would add specialized technical know-how to the equation.
For example, the early space dominance community and national security
interests both had vested interests in U.S. achievement and dominance and
both were motivated to push U.S. research and development, as well as
43


continuous launch attempts. Accounts of past efforts suggest that several
combinations of epistemic communities and other interest groups over the
years may have pursued and, in some cases, achieved policy outcomes that
benefited multiple groups. Some of this cooperation may have been simply
coincidental while some may have been deliberate. Deliberate cooperation is
difficult to measure but cannot be ruled out. Descriptions and discussions of
epistemic community dynamics fail to take into account the possibility of the
existence or abilities of such alliances.
Research Efforts on Epistemic Communities
Several doctoral dissertations have focused on the possibility that
epistemic communities can exert influence within a specified policy area.
Some of these theses embraced the theory while others sought to refute or
modify it. Martha Campbell (1994) is among the former and applied the
theoiy outlined by Peter Haas and Ernst Haas to problems relating to UN
population policy. Her dissertation involved an interpretation of documents
produced by several potential epistemic communities to identify such groups
as epistemic communities, as defined by Peter Haas, and their influence on
international population policy discussions, centered on the Rio de Janeiro
44


Conference on population and development. Campbell's methodology
included a subjective assessment of the documents published by several
potential epistemic communities, followed by a process of coding information
from five of the groups she posited as being epistemic communities. Her
research then assessed the communities by exploring each for conformity to
Haas' epistemic community criteria. Campbell concluded that none of the
epistemic communities was able to attain the consensual knowledge necessary
to achieve significant influence over UN population policymakers (Campbell,
1994). She also acknowledged that some of the groups she studied failed to
meet some of Haas' criteria and one was even judged not to be an epistemic
community after all. Some acted in opposition to others and may have
effectively cancelled each others' efforts. Finally, Campbell indicated that
some groups not categorized as epistemic communities or not immersed in the
policy discussion at hand were able to exert some influence. Still, some of the
groups did meet some of the epistemic community criteria, demonstrated
some expertise on population issues, and did strive to influence UN
population policy makers. Despite these mixed conclusions, Campbell
generally was supportive of the theory, but suggested several modifications.
45


For example, a group might be called an epistemic community while lacking
"'professional pedigrees' that Haas saw as necessary" (Campbell, p. 213).
Nayef Samhat's (1995) dissertation examined global climatic change.
Rather than using epistemic community to support his examination, however,
he chose to de-emphasize the framework in favor of discourse theory. His
point was that spreading discourse and sharing knowledge is the key, rather
than the dominance of a specific interest group, in achieving policy ends. The
validity of Samhat's assertion can be debated, depending on the interpretation
of "discourse." March and Olsen (1995) describe discourse as shared
"relevant and valid information" (p. 81). To them, expert opinion and
contention between groups of experts are the essence of political discourse. In
contrast, discourse can also refer to open public discussion of policy issues. A
possible solution to contested policy debates is the involvement of citizens
who can bring a variety of suggestions and perspectives, if not technical
expertise, to the discussion (deLeon, 1997, pp. 112-114).
A problem with Samhat's work was the lack of sound methods and
research used to reach his conclusions. His position was supported chiefly by
a narrative historical account of climatic policy and the effect of active
discourse on the subject (Samhat, 1995). Samhat generally overlooked the
46


evidence that much of epistemic community theory is indeed based upon one
of the distinct versions of discourse. Although it requires more technical
types of knowledge it, nevertheless, depends on sharing of knowledge to gain
consensual knowledge.
Kenneth Wilkening (1996) examined efforts toward acid deposition
policy in several regions of the world. In addition to identifying influence
groups as epistemic communities, Wilkening defined "epistemons" as bodies
of knowledge that form the core of these communities. He also amended
some of Peter Haas' concepts and insisted, echoing Campbell, that an
epistemic community need not be comprised of "credentialed experts....
There is confusion over whether an epistemic community contains only
technical experts, or, technical experts and those sympathetic to the
knowledge produced by the experts" (Wilkening, 1996, p. 58). This
observation confirms some of Campbell's findings that some groups that fail
the Haas criteria might still be effective in influencing policy. Otherwise, he
agreed with the nature and process inherent in epistemic communities as
defined by Peter Haas and Ernst Haas. For instance, he agreed with Peter
Haas when he noted that an epistemic community's "most potent political
resource was its ability to articulate what scientific developments implied for
47


policy (Wilkening, 1996, p. 60). Wilkening observed further instances of
epistemic community influence in the environmental policy community. He
concluded, however, that although "the most influential element of an
epistemic community on policymaking... is its activism," there is no clear-cut
pattern to its influence (Wilkening, 1996, pp. 627-628). This again suggests
that groups may be active and may pursue changes in policy without
qualifying as epistemic communities.
Steven Jones (1995) examined rational choice models in American
political decisions and theorized that epistemic communities' contributions to
rational choice theory is substantial. "[A]t issue is whether the information
presented by an epistemic community corroborates the arguments of the
winners and refutes the arguments of the losers.... [DJecision makers have
turned to specialists to ameliorate the uncertainties and help them understand
the current issues and anticipate future trends" (Jones, 1995, pp. 80-81).
Finally, as demonstrated by other researchers, Jones found that epistemic
communities on both sides of a policy issue help shape "the public debate over
the potential costs and benefits" of a given policy issue (Jones, p. 220). He
also considered the value of regimes and coalitions built to more effectively
achieve favorable policy changes. Jones documented the ability of these
48


groups, whether alone or in concert with others, to provide decision makers
with the information necessary to make informed choices.
Lessons from Maritime Law and Policy
Epistemic communities, although often poorly documented, are
inevitably found in other policy arenas. The theory enunciated by Peter Haas
and Ernst Haas and the application of the theory by James Sebenius in specific
policy areas make the general point that epistemic communities have a
legitimate role in influencing a given set of policies. This dissertation
proposes the existence of these communities in relation to multiple interests in
the space arena. As a precursor to application in space policy, maritime
history provides a suitable foundation that exhibits signs of epistemic
community influence and offers valuable lessons in support of the current
dissertation.
From early in the history of ocean navigation by nation-states, the
main interests regarding fishing rights and free access to the open seas have
been at odds. On a similar plane, national rights and sovereignty have
opposed international rights and freedoms regarding maritime resources,
including the travel medium, fisheries, and mineral deposits.
49


Two main (and often conflicting) philosophies emerged in early
maritime law: concern for national sovereignty and interest in free access to
the sea for both navigation and use of resources. Lawrence Juda (1996) notes
that the Dutchman, Hugo Grotius, as early as 1609, advocated Mare Liberum,
or free access to the seas, a concept that challenged existing powers intent on
preserving national sovereignty as it applied to the seas (pp. 8-11). Others,
like Selden, Gentili, and Wolff, extended the argument for the next two
centuries but focused on rights to maritime resources rather than national
sovereignty. Wolff wrote in the 1740s that "the open sea 'is a thing of
unlimited use'" (Juda, 1996, p. 13). The concept of the exhaustibility or
limitless nature of fisheries and access to them was the subject of debate from
the late 1700s onward.
The Frenchman Cauchy, in 1862, subscribed to the idea that nations
should have sovereignty over the fisheries off a nation's coast. He "appears to
flirt with what we today might refer to as a functional approach" to
international issues, preferring to pursue agreements among nations based on
individual issues like fishing (Juda, 1996, p. 16). Sir George Baden-Powell,
in 1887, advocated "that some type of regulation was needed even beyond the
territorial seas so as to lessen the danger of damage to fish stocks" (Juda,
50


1996, p. 16). Baden-Powell recognized the possibility that some nations
would draw from the fisheries in a manner that would eventually deplete the
resource.
Debate emerged in the late 1800s concerning topics such as free
navigation and whaling on the open seas and through waters considered by
some nations subject to sovereign control. Andrew Gordon, in 1894,
advocated a nine-mile limit of fishing regulation in which foreign fishermen
were subject to national regulation (Juda, 1996, pp. 16-17). Debate continued
between national sovereignty proponents and those interested in free access to
fish stocks off the coasts of certain nations.
In the early part of the 20th century, the League of Nations attempted
to mediate these debates that hinged on arguments for and against maritime
regulation (Juda, 1996, pp. 54-69) but its efforts generally failed. These
failures made two points clear: that neitherthe League nor other international
groups had insufficient regulatory (read: political) authority to enforce
agreements and that national representatives in charge of policy negotiations
lacked the necessary knowledge of the field for which they worked to produce
regulations.
51


This lack of technical information pointed out a shortcoming of policy
actors, although the various schools of thought had succeeded in influencing
national positions in the past. Still, this maritime narrative suggested that (the
equivalent of) epistemic communities might have had a role in development
of more effective policy:
The work of the [League of Nations] conference also led
to a recognition that diplomats and lawyers did not possess
the technical expertise, by themselves, to shape a new
legal regime for the world fisheries. There would have to
be a role for scientists, fishery experts, and industry
representatives who could provide a needed supplement to
their legal and political knowledge and skills (Juda, 1996,
p. 66).
Although neither side of the argument was reflected in this statement, the need
for expertise from interested groups was nominally recognized and the door
was opened for influence by both national security and commercial maritime
epistemic communities.
Various suggestions to resolve the dispute between those intent on
preserving national sovereignty on the seas and those interested in free access
to fisheries surfaced occasionally during the first half of the 20th century.
After World War n, the United Nations convened its first commission, the
International Law Commission (ILC), and staffed it with independent experts,
rather than representatives of individual nations, repeating the League of
52


Nations' contention regarding the need to supplement diplomatic expertise in
the search for an agreement (Juda, 1996, p. 98). The ILC attempted to balance
the competing views of national and international interests by concluding that
"freedom of the seas did not preclude regulations, and disputes would be
settled by mandatory arbitration" (Juda, 1996, p. 124).
By 1958, the first U.N Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS-
1) established committees on division of the ocean for national and
international dominance, freedom of travel on the seas, management of
fisheries, and the rights of land-locked countries on the ocean (Juda, 1996, p.
138). The result favored national rights although the new International Court
of Justice would adjudicate future disputes. This was the first attempt to
codify the conflicting traditions that had comprised the existing law of the sea
and had mixed results, despite the tentative acceptance of the International
Court. Efforts such as these continued until the 1994 UN Law of the Sea
achieved general international acceptance (Juda, 1996, p. 255).
The effort represented both the efforts of policy makers and the
influence of epistemic communities that accompanied the policy effort. Based
on the definitions of Haas and Haas, the epistemic community representing
national security or sovereignty was able to obtain some degree of consensual
53


knowledge. More recently, the epistemic community that represents maritime
ecological and environmental interests has begun to gain prominence and
exert its influence on policy. The focus on environmental issues in the 1982
U.N. agreement is evidence of this growing influence. Although obvious
differences exist between maritime and space activities and their governing
policies, many similarities exist that underpin the justification for application
of epistemic community theory to the space arena.
Potential Epistemic Communities
As described above, the actions of several distinct groups in the space
arena appear to indicate their qualifications as epistemic communities.
Although, again, some exhibit no formal group characteristics, their efforts in
distinct sectors of space activity and the technological expertise necessary to
pursue such efforts justify their consideration. Authors such as Smith (2000),
Johnson (1998), and Hays (1994) have described the efforts of the potential
space epistemic communities identified above, although they did not
specifically label them as such. The groups and viewpoints that represent the
various communities are posited here as possible epistemic communities with
a space focus.
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Preeminence in Space
National pride and prestige drove early efforts in United States space
activity, particularly as the U.S. competed with the Soviets for military
supremacy. An early article in Aviation Week & Space Technology was
entitled "Impact of Russian Satellite to Boost U.S. Research Effort" (.AW&ST,
1957). This article is indicative of both the desire to regain the lead early in
the space race and of a growing group of space experts, scientists, politicians,
and citizens concerned about Soviet hegemony.
Some, like U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, wondered "why the
great hurry to get to the moon and the planets? [We should not be] engaging
in a mad effort to win a stunt race" (Sullivan, 1962, p. 147). Presidents John
F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, conversely, were determined to win that
"stunt race." Both well recognized the ramifications of Soviet domination in
space in propaganda value, military power, and technological superiority. As
Kennedy took office and began to develop his space policy, Congress saw the
value in entering and winning the space race and steadily increased
appropriations for space activities. In 1963 alone, Congress increased the
"appropriations for the civilian space agency from $1,700,000,000 to
$3,700,000,000" (Sullivan, 1962, pp. 147-148).
55


In his speeches, although he was careful to avoid references to military
power, Kennedy noted that Soviet accomplishments with Sputnik and Yuri
Gagarin (Sullivan, 1962, p. 149) had seemingly surpassed those of the United
States. As a result he molded a national policy that resulted in the creation of
NASA from the foundation of the old National Advisory Committee for
Aeronautics (NACA), increased funding for space, and in an emphasis both
within and outside of government for space and technological advances. His
1961 speech committing the U.S. to landing an American on the moon and
bringing him safely home again within a decade is well known and reflects his
determination to win the race (Sullivan, 1962, pp. 149-151). His commitment
to lunar success was driven partly because he had "inherited a shaky space
race from Dwight Eisenhower ...[and] a shaky plan to save Cuba from
communism.... First Gagarin. Then the Bay of Pigs.... Was there some way
to eclipse those damned Russians?" (Schefter, 1999, p. 137). Based on advice
from Vice-President Johnson and his space experts, Kennedy viewed a lunar
mission as the answer.
Although Lyndon Johnson initially supported the space race and
chaired President Kennedy's space council, he, as President himself, was
responsible for significantly cutting NASA's budget over his tenure. NASA,
56


due largely to the increasingly expensive Viet Nam war, saw "its budgets
under LBJ chopped mercilessly" (Schefter, 1999, pp. 208-209). Still,
especially under Kennedy, but even under Johnson, "[b]eating the other guy
was national policy in both the United States and the Soviet Union" (Schefter,
1999, pp. 145-146).
Science. Exploration, and Peaceful Uses of Space
Closely following the alarm caused by the Soviet satellite Sputnik
(1957), a number of scientists, space experts, science fiction authors, and
political figures expressed concern that space should be used for peaceful,
rather than competitive or military purposes. For example, the National
Academy of Sciences and the organizers of the International Geophysical
Year (IGY) program emphasized space for peaceful communications and
exploration (McDougall, 1985, pp. 59,206-207). President Kennedy, despite
his concern about Soviet uses of space for military purposes and the prestige
inherent in space leadership, publicly agreed. In his address to the first
National Conference of the Peaceful Uses of Space, he stated: "The keystone
of our national policy is space research, as defined in the [1958] act which
established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration... [dedicated
57


to] the conduct of peaceful activities within and outside the atmosphere"
(NASA, 1961, p. vii). Other speakers, such as NASA officials like Robert
Jastrow, Milton Ames, and DeMarquis Wyatt and U.S. Senator Robert Kerr
(R- OK), stressed peaceful pursuits such as research in space, weather and
communication satellites, and opportunities for industry and education in
space (NASA, 1961). Many of these public statements, from both U.S.
officials and their Soviet counterparts, were designed in part, of course, for
propaganda purposes. Clearly statements regarding the military and national
security pursuits continued but received decreasing levels of publicity than
peaceful ones.
James Webb, NASA administrator from 1961 to 1967, proclaimed his
enthusiasm for such peaceful pursuits at the fourth National Conference on the
Peaceful Uses of Space in 1964. "We can develop practical uses of space and
space technology which will profoundly affect our lives during the remainder
of this decade [the 1960s],... [L]et us also learn to use [these tools] well for
the benefit of mankind" (NASA, 1964, p. iii). At the same conference,
Wemher von Braun, one of the German rocket experts who immigrated to the
U.S. after World War II, shared his dream of a peaceful space: "I look
forward to the day when mankind will join hands and face the heavens in solid
58


phalanx to apply the combined technological ingenuity of all nations to the
exploration and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes" (NASA,
1964, p. 73).
At the fifth conference on peaceful uses of space, Assistant Secretary
of State Harlan Cleveland observed that the "politics of outer space may have
a lot to do with those rather abstract goals of ours called 'peace' and 'world
order1." Further, Cleveland indicated "the exploration of outer space has
drawn men and nations together more than it has spread them apart" (NASA,
1965, p. 129). As was the case in other conferences, the attendees called for
the development of peaceful uses for space such as communication, weather,
exploration, and navigation satellites.
National policy, for at least the first half of the 1960s, ostensibly
supported peaceful uses but ensured support and funding to match Soviet
spending and effort on military space capability. Still, the exploration and
scientific perspective is best exemplified by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, a
tangible culmination of the six-year effort to preclude "any activity potentially
harmful to peaceful uses of space" (McDougall, 1985, p. 274). The result was
policy that focused an increased proportion of American resources on
scientific and exploratory space efforts.
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National Security
The national security focus for space policy began in the early days of
the Cold War and continues today unabated, as more recently described by
Hitt (2001). Like many space experts who stress that space efforts should
support national security goals, Worden (2000) stressed that the U.S. should
ensure "space control" in much the same way that it established and
maintained sea control in the latter half of the 20th century. To fail in this
task, he asserts, puts the nation at risk in any future conflict since American
space assets will not only assist American forces in military activities, but will
also be the targets of foreign aggression. To accomplish this task will require
a "space navy" of sorts to protect the nation, maintain access to space, protect
our space commerce, and deny the use of space to our enemies. (Worden, in
Hays, et al., 2000, pp. 225-237).
Comparisons to maritime, aviation, or communication policy offer
material with potential to improve space policy that reflects the need for
national security. Klotz has addressed policy precedent as well as legal,
military, and commercial issues that affect security-focused space policy. His
concept that "the flag follows trade" is especially important considering the
increased commercial presence in space (Klotz, 1998, p. 17). McDougall
60


(1985) chronicled the U.S. development of anti-satellite technology, a key
component of efforts to protect national security interests despite the change
in attitude toward global commerce. In addition, he documented the effort to
protect national interests in space, which dates to the mid-1950s, between the
U.S. and the Soviet Union. Oberg (no date) addressed legal and political
issues as well as a number of technological factors that affect the U.S. ability
to protect national interests in the space medium. Hays, in his doctoral
dissertation (1994), studied military space policy (as well as strategy and
doctrine) and its influence on U.S. national security. He specifically
contended that Cold War ideas and philosophies directly molded American
belief that space should be integral to American national security. Finally,
Johnson, Page, and Gabbard (1998) devoted significant attention to space
control as critical to ensuring national security interests. Their work
suggested the importance of space control from a military point of view, if not
from a commercial one: "Space control," they held, "is a means to an end,
ensuring free passage in and through space in peacetime and denying hostile
uses of space by an enemy in wartime" (Johnson, et al., 1998, pp. 41-42).
Worden (2000) likened American space forces to the U.S. Navy of the
18th and 19th centuries, a concept that supports the importance of both
61


maritime and space policy. Worden's "space navy" would be charged with
"protecting the commercial basis of America's wealth" just as the U.S. Navy
did when maritime commercial activity depended on such protection. Worden
foresaw a time when space-dependent commerce, like maritime commerce of
the past, would require military protection from aggressor nations and
organizations intent on challenging U.S. supremacy. His justification was the
need for protection of "space utilities," commercial assets and services
considered a common resource (pp. 226-230). These utilities include
communication, navigation, and possible future applications that require
protection. The need for such protection in this context "should be the driving
force behind the space control capabilities we seek to build" (Worden, 2000,
pp. 225-226).
Two 19th century naval theorists make powerful arguments for
commerce protection as well. Although Sir Julian Corbett and Alfred Mahan
naturally focused their work on maritime strategy, their arguments apply to
the importance of protecting space-based commerce as well. Corbett's
imperative to secure "lines of communication" (the physical channels
necessary to communicate with and supply military forces) is applicable
today, although the requirement has changed somewhat since lines of
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communication now include reliable space links (Corbett, 1911, p. 315).
Mahan also insisted on the central role of a Navy regarding commerce: "The
necessity of a navy... springs, therefore, from the existence of a peaceful
shipping, and disappears with it" (Mahan, 1890, p. 26). This analog further
supports the argument for strong military presence in space as a precursor to
commercial space activity.
One faction among the national security community was described by
Hitt (2001) in an article about space as a future battlefield. Hitt identified a
group within the U.S. military that advocates continued research and
development of space technology and weaponry but urges national leaders to
refrain from launching any kind of orbiting military technology. This view
has its roots in the anti-ballistic-missile efforts of recent years and has a
limited following but presents a variation on the strict focus of a national
security community (Hitt, 2001, pp. 62-63).
The idea that space commerce is a vital component of national security
is not lost on the proponents of national security. The epistemic community
favoring national security in space policy promotes commercial activity but
also calls for strengthening the nation's defense capability. Although the
group focused on national security issues realizes that economic interests are
63


important, it stresses that if economic strength must suffer to ensure national
security, the price is a small one to pay.
Space Commerce
With regard to space commerce (which includes commercial launch
ventures and public sale of satellite communication, satellite imagery, and
satellite navigation data), Pirard (1997) noted the advances that various
"second-world" nations (e.g., Israel, India, and the larger former-Soviet
republics) are making in the commercial space arena, reflecting the growing
worldwide competition in this area. Imagery and global positioning data, for
example, are now available to private individuals, commercial businesses, and
foreign governments. Oberg, in his treatise on space power, included, as an
additional indicator, space commerce as a factor in space power and cited the
exponential growth in the private sector. He noted that $75 billion was
reportedly earned in space commerce in 1996 and projected profits of $125
billion in 2000 (Oberg, no date, pp. 15-16). In a somewhat biased projection,
the 1998 State of the Space Industry report updated this growth projection by
predicting revenues of $450 billion by 2003 (State, 1998, p. 8). But the very
64


fact that there is an acknowledged space industry adds credence to the notion
of a commercial space epistemic community.
Many of these activities and this real and projected growth potentially
threaten to overshadow the space activities of traditional space powers. Klotz
expresses the danger of such expansion of the space community by
recognizing that the "emergence of additional 'spacefaring' nations and the
growing importance of space to the global economy have resulted in political
and economic challenges to the preeminent position of the major space
powers" (Klotz, 1998, p. 5). The reduction in U.S. market share of
commercial space activity has been dramatic. From nearly 100% in 1980, the
share dropped to 37% in 1990 (Johnson, et al., 1998, p. 23). The rapidly
growing Japanese and European space agencies are taking an increasing share,
as Russia and (to a lesser extent, in terms of numbers of launch vehicles)
China have in the past (Johnson, et al., 1998, pp. 23-24).
Another body of literature reflects the opinions and concerns of
commercial space industry figures and the potential for profit and opportunity
in space. Over 40 years ago, Ramo (1961) indicated his belief that there is
"one positive, useful aspect of the cold war and the race for supremacy in
outer space ... the intensive development of the space potential that there is
65


today. Space has become big business" (p. 18). Schonfeld (1998) proposed
several business opportunities and advocated the exploitation of the Earth-
Moon system for business purposes. In addition, Finch (1984) predicted rapid
commercialization in fields such as "industry, commerce, finance,
government, and education" in the coming millennium. Space-based
telecommunications systems such as the Iridium satellite constellation are
especially important as goals of space commerce proponents. Others, like
Hughes (1998), argued for increases in both commercial and military activity
in space, despite the limitations of treaties and laws. The implication of these
opinions is the potential for by-products like commercial products that
military efforts can generate. Some well-known products developed for use in
space (i.e., space "spin-offs"), such a cordless power tools, velcro, foods such
as Tang, and electronic microprocessors already benefit the earthbound human
population.
Worden (2000) and others recognized the emergence and growing
importance of space commerce and worked to balance the need for national
security with this growing facet of space operations. Some supporters of
space commerce occupy the other extreme on this issue, lobbying for space
commerce in total disregard of a national security component. Erick
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Schonfeld (1998), for example, outlined a list of potential space business
opportunities that the United States, as a space-faring nation, should pursue.
They included an "orbiting business park," "orbiting movie studios," "space
waste disposal and even "space athletic events," (p. 46). He saw no need to
worry about defense since all business incurs risk. Clearly, a balance in
approaches to commercial space is required, but equally clear is the concern
that commercial space will be an integral part of the American national space
effort.
Conclusion
Although this review has covered a wide variety of topics from interest
group theory to maritime policy evolution to space issue, the thread becomes
apparent when the goal for this dissertation is reviewed. The purpose is to
examine the possibility that groups' activities can have an effect on national
policy governing a given technical field. As competing groups vied for
dominance in terms of maritime policy, various actors in the space arena vie
for favorable mention in U.S. national space policy. Finally, different types of
interest groups enjoy different levels of influence upon space policy makers
but few represent professional groups of experts as effectively as epistemic
67


communities. These three apparently disparate topics combine to focus this
dissertation on the examination of potential epistemic communities as actors
in national space policy.
Does the epistemic community framework provide the tools needed to
conduct such an examination? Have other researchers found the framework to
be useful in their efforts? Does it provide a means for applying normative
values to policy issues? Does it allow for coalitions in a policy effort? Does
it take into account the variety of group types and group dynamic inherent in
policy activities? To answer these and other questions we draw on the
literature reviewed and the data collected during this research effort.
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CHAPTER 4
METHODOLOGY
Research Questions and Hypothesis
Based on the theoretical foundation, literature review, and the variety
of perspectives on space policy described above, this dissertation proposes
the following research questions and hypotheses:
Research Questions
1. Can the existence of an epistemic community or communities, in terms of
space activity, be demonstrated or verified by examination of industry
publications and records?
2. Does this evidence warrant acceptance, modification, or rejection of the
epistemic community framework as articulated by, among others, Peter Haas
and Ernst Haas?
3. Have epistemic communities had an apparent effect on U.S. space policy?
69


Research Hypothesis
Hi. There has been a succession of epistemic communities in the space
policy arena responsible for discemable influence on U.S. space policy
between 1981 and 2000.
Hia. Epistemic communities have exerted influence on space policy that is
detectable through analysis of space activity.
Methodology
This dissertation is an effort to discover evidence of the existence of
epistemic communities to supplement the definition (as outlined by Ernst
Haas and Peter Haas; see pp. 12-13) and to track their possible influence in
U.S. space policy. The hypothesis and sub-hypothesis are designed to pursue
these goals by examining historical data that indicates past influence of
epistemic communities over national space policy, or the lack thereof. Since
some space-related epistemic communities may not comprise formal
organizations that produce literature and publish their beliefs and
philosophies, this evidence may deviate from the standard requirements set
by these theorists. Rather, we argue that accounts of the activities of
potential epistemic communities provide evidence that suggests some groups
70


qualify as such communities despite their possible failure to meet all of Ernst
Haas' and Peter Haas' criteria. This additional factor suggests that the
framework might be modified to accept criteria beyond those already
documented. Some of this is indeed post hoc evidence that indicates that
groups may have indeed exerted direct or indirect influence on space policy.
This thesis initially employs Martha Campbell's (1994) general
strategy as an empirical foundation for the dissertation and her approach of
examining documents that could reveal shared causal beliefs and common
policy goals. Following Campbell's lead, this dissertation examines
documentation using content analysis to discover "similar, but not
[necessarily] identical statements within the same document, amounting to
conveyance of the [group's] message in a variety of explicit and implicit
forms" (Campbell, 1995, p. 93). Campbell analyzed the messages and
searched for keywords and messages (See Appendix I) that, in turn, identify
various potential epistemic communities. For this dissertation, these
keywords are designed specifically to indicate the connection of a given
message to specific potential epistemic communities.
As part of the research, this dissertation notes any contributing
conditions and influences that might have bearing on space policy outcomes.
71


For example, economic conditions, national priorities, technical issues,
increased space-lift capability (e.g. the space shuttle and increased launch
capacities) international conflict, or partisan differences potentially mitigate
or compound the influence of various groups at various times. Despite their
potential influence, epistemic communities may not account for every change
in space activity or space policy, or even a significant number of such
changes. Although the proposition that formal criteria are not the only
indicators of group membership is key, the number of occurrences of key
words in articles is recorded and interpreted as an indication that a given
group exists. The keyword list provided in Appendix I is designed to
identify coverage in AW&STarticles as related to a specific, or multiple
specific, groups that may qualify as epistemic communities. For example,
words such as "commerce," "business," and "private" are logical indicators of
commercial topic.
This process necessarily requires careful judgment and a balanced
assessment of these data. The process should also effectively identify not
only various epistemic communities themselves but a variety of distinct
causal beliefs and philosophies that demonstrate the legitimacy of the various
epistemic communities. As informal groups or coalitions, the possibility
72


exists that their causal beliefs and philosophies will not be identifiable,
however. The simple number of efforts identified by analysis of the source
docdments, therefore, serve as the primary indicator of group existence.
Specifically, this methodology involves the use of a widely-accepted
aerospace industry publication, the journal Aviation Week & Space
Technology (AW&ST), as the primary source of these indications. AW&ST
articles contain descriptions of space activities, glimpses of the efforts and
philosophies of contending groups, and insight into contributing factors that
may indicate potential coalitions of groups and fluctuating trends of
influence among groups.
As a rule, research involves analysis only after data collection.
Although this dissertation generally complies with this advice, it also reflects
changes and adjustments driven by knowledge gained during data collection.
According to Maxwell (1996, p. 77), "possible risks of beginning analysis
immediately are far outweighed by the advantages of being able to
progressively focus [data collection] and gain what Glaser (1978) calls
theoretical sensitivity" (emphasis in original). Schutt (1999), Miller (1991),
Kumar (1996), and Bernard (2000) also address data analysis as a step that
follows data collection, but none declares the cyclic collection and analysis
73


described by Maxwell improper. King, Keohane, and Verba (1994) add to
the uncertainty of the data collection/analysis cycle:
Sometimes data are collected to evaluate a very
specific theory, but not so infrequently, scholars
collect data before knowing precisely what they
are interested in finding out. Moreover, even if
data are collected to evaluate a specific
hypothesis, researchers may ultimately be
interested in questions that had not occurred to
them previously (p. 23).
This dissertation specifically involves modification of several
categories of epistemic communities defined during interviews and data
collection. Although the number of categories could have been much higher,
the categories were deliberately aggregated into a minimum number of
general categories to accommodate data collection and the subsequent
analysis. More thorough analysis continues afterward based on the original
research questions but possibly including additional questions that present
themselves during the continuing research process.
In addition to Peter Haas' and Ernst Haas' epistemic community theory
and Campbell's research methods, Nayef Samhat (1995) chose to emphasize
discourse and discursive practices over epistemic community theory.
Although this thesis concentrates on the latter theoretical base as a
74


foundation, Mr. Samhat's perspective offers additional tools for analyzing the
data sources used. The "words, symbols, representations that evoke
meaning in political discourse are examined to discover distinct groups
and their arguments and foci for influence (Samhat, 1995, p. 7). In short,
discourse theory which stresses simple debate and communication to
account for influence in policy matters provides an additional perspective
from which to study the effects of epistemic communities. As records of
launch activity and budget expenditures offer evidence of a group's existence
and influence, so recorded discourse suggests the existence and influence of
these groups. This evidence may indicate direct or indirect influence on our
national space policy but, more importantly, offers an additional reason to
examine these groups under the auspices of epistemic community theory.
The first phase of this effort involves short, open-ended telephone
interviews of space policy experts from a variety of fields (See Appendix A)
to gather information necessary to build categories into which to separate the
data. The open-ended questions used in these interviews are listed in
Appendix B. The second phase involves reviewing records of space
launches from 1981 to 2000 based on two comprehensive logs of launch
activities (Appendices C and E). Further, records of space budget data are
75


examined for possible confirmation of findings based on the other data
sources (Appendices F and G).
Finally, the process involves use of an industry journal (i.e., Aviation
Week and Space Technology) to both provide a chronological map of space
activity over time and indications of causal (or normative) beliefs, group
philosophies, and evidence of contributing factors for groups' influence (See
Appendix H). As keywords (See Appendix I) are detected in an article and
suggest identification of a given article with a specific potential epistemic
community (or with multiple groups), counts for tracking activity by the
respective groups are incremented.
Data Collection
As a pre-data-collection procedure, initial telephone conversations
with a small number of recognized space-policy experts and those connected
to space policy issues were conducted in accordance with Miller's guidelines
(1991, pp. 162-165). Miller requires instruments and processes that ensure
respondents understand the purpose of the study, the importance of the effort,
and the interviewer accurately communicate the questions and record
responses. The interviews are intended to gain a general insight into
involved parties and the influence they exert on the policy process and to
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gain some confidence in the preliminary list of potential epistemic
communities. The list of experts contacted is found in Appendix A and the
general outline for the interview is found in Appendix B.
Each respondent is asked to suggest categories of space activity that
serve to sort and organize groups being considered as epistemic
communities. Responses are compared to the original set of proposed groups
and used to create categories into which to place groups described in journal
articles and later identified during analysis of the launch, journal, and budget
data sources. The responses both validate the original set and serve as
preliminary information to focus subsequent efforts to identify potential
groups and determine their possible status as epistemic communities.
Examination of historical accounts found in industry journal articles
and any available government documents is used to discover or substantiate
evidence of past epistemic communities that may have attempted to influence
policy makers and of any other contributing factors. If additional literature
produced by possible epistemic communities is identified during this phase,
it is also analyzed to provide further information on the level and type of
influence exerted on policy makers.
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Content analysis as employed here reflects Bernards (2000)
description:
1. Creating a set of codes (categories and a keyword list, in this case).
2. Applying the codes systematically to a set of texts.
3. Testing reliability by having multiple coders apply codes to text.
4. Creating a unit-of-analysis-by-variable matrix from text and codes.
5. Analyzing the matrix statistically (p. 456-457).
For the current application, the codes are represented by categories of
potential epistemic communities and additional conditions and circumstances
that could possibly affect space policy. The categories, created based on
input from space policy experts during telephone interviews, serves as data-
collection mechanisms during review of AW&STjournal articles and budget
data. The data collected during analysis of journal articles, space activity
logs, and space budget records is placed in the appropriate category for later
analysis. As required by Bernard (2000), additional data collectors use the
same categories to review the articles to confirm the reliability of the coding
scheme.
The units of analysis for this process are individual articles and annual
budget report totals. The analysis consists of a search for connections
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between launch activity and budget changes and the groups and factors.
These data are recorded in a matrix that indicates launch activity and
financial expenditure over time. In turn, trends are identified that suggest
epistemic community influence over time.
Campbell, in her dissertation, examined "data sources (people or
groups who have served as authors or speakers)" to "achieve the clearest and
most comprehensive possible representation" of potential groups. In
addition, she used several criteria to limit the data sources used to identify
population epistemic communities including "a representative tie to the
active international policy community" and "purist support of the highly
visible population-connected interests by which the group itself was
identified." (Campbell, 1994, pp. 130-131). This thesis employs similar
criteria to limit the number and types of data sources referenced. Since
policy documents related directly to individual groups are scarce, and
sometimes apparently non-existent, the focus is on the primary sources for
these indications.
As noted above, the examination of epistemic communities and their
possible effects does not require that a given group possess formal
organization and fonnal sets of documentation of its philosophy. In her
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study of population epistemic communities, Campbell noted that there is no
formal methodological requirement "to define any group or community by
seeing exactly who is in the group, or by seeing whether some random set of
authors exhibits any particular ideological leanings" (p. 130). Rather, she
focused on the end results of policy discussions to identify the reach of the
respective groups. Even Peter Haas stops short of requiring formal
organizations to define epistemic communities. Rather, he calls for a
"network of professionals," "recognized expertise and competence," and "a
shared set of normative and principled beliefs," but never calls for formal
organization, formal charters, formal by-laws, or formal publications (P.
Haas, 1992, p. 3). The current focus of epistemic community study may
reveal even fewer of Haas' criteria but, as described earlier, the intent is to
infer the existence of such groups by other, potentially more objective,
means.
Campbell specifically identified vocabulary that provided an
indication of membership in a particular group. For example, she looked for
keywords in documentation that indicated value judgments. These
judgments, in turn, flagged principled beliefs, or, Campbell implied, "Haas'
second characteristic for epistemic communities" (Campbell, 1995, p. 96).
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Campbell's coding frame supported an analysis of population documentation
and served as the pattern for a similar scheme for analyzing space interests
(pp. 104-106). Again, this dissertation, although not exclusively focused on
Haas' criteria, employs Campbell's model for analysis of the space-policy
data collected but is more directly intended to identify groups and map the
results of their influence than to identify them based on the Haas and,
inferentially, Campbell's guidelines. As an article yields occurrences of
keywords (again, these keywords are designed to be indicative of an article's
focus on a given potential epistemic group) the counts of keyword
occurrences produce a timeline of groups, their priorities, and their
influences within the space community over the years. In addition, use of
journal articles provides information about the existence of environmental
conditions that may have affected space policy, the existence of coalitions of
influence groups, and the existence of unique periods of conflict or
uncertainty that may have potentially affected the influence of groups over
space policy makers.
The thrust of this thesis is on the primary data sources listed. If
supplemental sources such as policy documents or records of Congressional
hearings are found to be useful in documenting activities of groups,
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keywords that might signal the influence of one or more potential epistemic
communities are noted and serve to focus the analysis as with the primary
sources. Finally, these historical records are analyzed to determine the extent
and timeframe of a given group's influence. The types of payloads launched
over various periods and the budgets expended for a given effort offer
limited perspective into the type and degree of influence exerted by various
groups since the payload lifted into space can be mapped to and interpreted
as influence of a group enjoying prominence at a given time.
The two primary sources analyzed for evidence of the evolution of
epistemic communities are A W&ST articles and the log of launch activities
compiled by Dr. Jonathan McDowell, a faculty member from Harvard
University. The latter source is supplemented with a similar log from TRW
Corporation, a major commercial aerospace contractor. Regarding the
launch logs, the number of launches related to each potential epistemic
community is central to the analysis. The purpose is to identify trends
toward or away from one community's interest and to identify distinct
periods of time when payloads indicate a group's influence. With regard to
journal articles, the number of instances in A W&ST articles of given
keywords is recorded and compared to the trends in payload type obtained
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from the launch logs. Finally, budget records from both Air Force Magazine
and the Aeronautics and Space Report of the President provide an additional
set of data that allows partial validation of the results. Expenditures on
government space activity are posited to reflect the emphases on payload
type that, in turn, reflects the influences of various groups.
Data Sources
Telephone conversations with recognized space policy experts provide
ideas and suggestions as to potential epistemic communities in the space
community. They indicate confirmation of and additions to the preliminary
list of groups that focuses the search for narrative and tabular evidence of the
influence on space policymakers. Appendix A is hardly intended to be an
exhaustive list of acknowledged space policy experts, but only a sample
designed to validate and augment the proposed baseline for this dissertation.
These experts may not be aware of some epistemic communities that exist or
may be biased in their suggestions of potential groups due to their
membership in particular groups, but they may offer important additions to
the list of groups at issue.
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As outlined in the interview guide at Appendix B, the contacts are
provided a definition of epistemic communities (as developed by Peter Haas
and Ernst Haas) and asked to suggest various such groups that, based on this
definition, they suspect might have an interest in influencing policymakers in
the space community since 1981. The suggestions are recorded and provide
a level of confidence for examination of A W&ST articles, both sets of launch
payload data, and both sets of government budget data. After these
telephone conversations, the suggestions are added to the preliminary
categories for potential epistemic communities.
More potential epistemic communities are added as they suggest
themselves based on analysis of data sources or as they are identified as
subsets of other communities (as Campbell did with population groups). As
noted earlier, this process is supported by Maxwell (1996) who noted that the
ability to "progressively focus" analysis to gain "theoretical sensitivity" (p.
77) ensures valuable and thorough research by allowing refinement during
the process of data analysis. Such progressive focus promises to ensure
thorough and effective analysis of the issue under study here.
Aviation Week & Space Technology is the only journal of the aviation
and space industries that has covered the earliest space activity from its
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origins up through the present. It provides a regular, consistent chronicle of
space activity and the political, budget, and other background issues that
have surrounded and influenced America's activities in space. The journal is
known among aviation and space industry members as a source of timely and
accurate accounts of technological advances, military activities, and
connected issues. Although the journal has been published since before the
launch of Sputnik, the selected time frame (1981-2000) is a subset of
launches that provides a focus for this study and is documented effectively
by the journal.
AW&ST is the principal industry journal comprised of articles
compiled by and for industry members and interested members of the public
at large. It is treated here as the space industry's "journal of record." Despite
the thorough coverage of aviation and space activity, there is a possibility of
bias inherent in some data and perspectives. Although checks and article
reviews ensure general technical accuracy, there is a slight possibility of
institutional bias or interpretation coloring the account. AW&ST is, after all,
part of the aeronautical and aerospace establishment (as a review of its
advertisers indicates). However, the nature of this research assures that such
biases have little effect on the reliability and validity of the subsequent
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analysis. Since the journal is used simply as a chronicle of space activity and
participants over the period between 1981 and the end of the year 2000, such
bias is deemed insignificant and inconsequential. This chronicle provides
not only information about the relative focus of American space activities
during the given period but about issues and conditions that might suggest
influences on that activity. Budgetary, political, and international relations,
military, and civilian issues are examples. In addition, AW&STarticles
contain evidence that suggests that coalitions of interest groups may have
jointly influenced space activity in the U.S. Finally, the journal provides
confirmation and validation of the findings based on the space launch logs
and budget records that provide the other primary data.
A list of keywords that indicate an article's reflection of a particular
potential epistemic community or position is provided at Appendix I. As
described above, a preliminary group of words that correspond to various
space activities comprises the keyword list. Each match during content
analysis is recorded as an instance of space activity in one or more of the
categories designed to reflect varying activity over the years. The keyword
list grows as more keywords are identified.
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Every issue of A W&ST between the years 1981 to 2000 is reviewed for
articles concerning space operations. The approximately 5000 articles from
nearly 1000 issues are, in turn, reviewed for instances of keywords that
indicate space activity and the potential influence of various epistemic
communities. In addition, evidence of additional conditions and influences
that could affect space activity is collected. Words that connect an article to
a potential epistemic community are recorded in the categories constructed
before content analysis and plotted chronologically by calendar quarter.
Periods of dominance are mapped for each potential epistemic community
and recorded in a table that reflects changes in activity (and potential
influence) over time.
Dual use launches that carry, often, multiple payloads designed for
both military and commercial use, or designed jointly by both military and
civilian agencies are, when the identification of such dual use is possible,
recorded in more than one category. These data may indicate a larger
number of payloads than those actually launched, but suits the present
purposes by reflecting various interests. Dual use may also indicate
cooperation or coalitions that resulted in space activity supportive of multiple
groups. Since such coalitions may realistically influence space activity and,
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