These network flows complement the exogenous influences discussed above. Since exogenous influences first stimulate the demand for defence cooperation, they are historically ahead of networks. At what point in the history of DCAs do network flows become important? In the days of the Cold War, defence cooperation largely reflected geopolitical conflicts between prosperous and economically integrated major powers, as these governments benefited the most from defence cooperation and also had the resources to prolong risky cooperative openings. Footnote 110 When the Cold War subsided, the interests of the major powers shifted from intergovernmental concerns to non-traditional security threats. Footnote 111 Other governments that were no longer involved in violent regional blocs quickly recognized their vulnerability to the same threats. The growing potential for common benefits has crystallized a broad interest in decentralized defence cooperation systems. Footnote 112 Unlike the emergence of DCA in the 1980s, this interest in defence cooperation was not limited to the major powers and their immediate partners, but was insinuated into the middle and regional players. These governments, to which the major powers are unable to absorb the risks and cover the costs of governance, have demanded that their potential partners maintain guarantees of reliability. The existing DCAs network, which was forged between large power plants and their satellites, provided an important resource and provided important information on the preferences of potential partners.
Overall, the “First Mover” when DCA was created should therefore be prosperous, powerful and economically integrated governments. As the Cold War fades and other governments – which recognize the need for security cooperation but do not have the resources of the major powers – begin to take an interest in decentralized defence cooperation, networks should gain strength. Full consideration of these possibilities requires special attention to the design of the research. I propose here a new empirical strategy to test the information mechanism. What is essential is that I feel that the content of the information network connections before i and I is the most valuable. Network connections provide information in a credible but indirect way.