Martin Landau, Redundancy, Rationality and the Problem of Duplication and Overlap, Public Administration Review, Vol. 29, No. 4( Jul-Aug., 1969), 346-358

Synopsis: The article focuses on the issue of "redundancy." The struggle to create streamlined, efficient government with the elimination of duplicative expenditures is one of the goals of reformers today. Landau explores the definitions used by others to define redundancy. The term generally has a negative connotation. Landau describes the importance of redundant systems in government. Landau explains how the system of government in the United States is built on redundant systems like no other in the world. The examples he uses are overlapping intelligence agencies at the federal level, the branches of government, and the layers of government (Federal, State and Local). Landau helps to define the case that duplication, overlap or redundancy are not necessarily inefficient and are clearly necessary for government to function over lengthy periods of time when the power of branches and agencies swings back in forth in the pendulem of power.

Comment: Redundancy is particularly important to government. Particularly in emergency services and national defense. Redundant systems are a recognized necessity in the Department of Defense. The term does not have a negative connotation at DOD. In both of these fields it is a given that parts of the system will fail under adverse conditions. Redundancy insures that agencies in these functional areas will be able to continue functioning and complete their mission. Redundancy is planned in the operations of these governmental functions. Landau also looks at the issue in a different view when he speaks about the branches of government. When the Judiciary is weak the Legislature and the Executive branches fill the power void and continue to ensure that the government functions. This is an oversimplification of Landau's explanation; however this is the point to be made.

Shaun Mulholland