James Hasik is a public policy doctoral student in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. As a Powers Fellow, Jim is researching the interaction between armaments suppliers and military forces in fostering battlefield innovation.
As a result of the support that the Powers Fellowship provides, Jim is now able to get two years ahead on his research. “With this funding (which is very generous), I’ll be spending much more time in the pursuit of general knowledge for public consumption, and less on work designed to advantage specific clients,” he said.
Jim’s research is contributing an important new topic to the field of military innovation. “There has been a remarkable lack of interest in examining the role of the weapons industry in bringing new concepts to the military in advance of specific requests,” he said. With previous business administration graduate work, and a career in the industry, Jim is equipped to ask his questions, and apply his findings in practical, substantial ways.
Before Jim came to the LBJ School, he spent ten years working as a defense contractor and defense ministries consultant, around the world. “In that time, and particularly in watching the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, I was struck by the wide range of rates of adoption of innovations specifically meant to addresses the challenges of counterinsurgency,” he said. One thing that really stuck out to Jim was that new and old concepts were being ignored, while other concepts were being Some seemingly important new concepts—and even some old concepts that should have been readily rediscovered—went almost ignored for years. But others were being hurried onto the battlefield. “I wanted to know what accounted for the difference, and how we could bottle the parts that worked.”
Jim sees the implications of his research enabling a better appreciation of how military forces and defense ministries enable or impede innovation of organizational forms and cultures.
“For government regulators, the implications will be insights into the industry structures that can foster that innovation. For the defense industry as a whole, advice for how to craft marketing plans that help them make the case for innovation to their customers, who are often quite institutionally conservative about their methods and materiel,” said Jim.
Jim’s advisors, tentatively, will be LBJ Professors Ed Dorn and Eugene Gholz.
“The breadth of UT's resources makes this a great institution at which to undertake such a project. I'm thus also looking forward to working with faculty at the McCombs School of Business, and perhaps the Schools of Communications and Information.”
For more information about Jim and his research, you can visit his website at www.jameshasik.com.