Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

International Politics and Political Science, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Zining Yang

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Jacek Kugler

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Yi Feng

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Paul Springer

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2024 Tonya Klempp


Total Transaction Score, Weapon Quality Score, Initial Operating Capability, Weapon Effectiveness Index, Security cooperation

Subject Categories

International Relations


Building upon the theory that nations interact with each other in different ways depending on the level of trust they have developed over repeated interactions (retrospective trust building), this work seeks to establish a trust measure based on the quality of arms transfers between two nations. Metrics reflecting satisfaction and trust (security cooperation) are not generally available, and those in use typically fail to capture variations in these critical elements. Noting the absence of an acceptable satisfaction measure that estimates trust, this work seeks to construct a novel approach to this critical element, whereupon the military worth, not the monetary worth, of an arms transfer is measured. The objective is to measure the strength of an alliance by analyzing the value of arms transfers beyond the financial exchange. The measure constructed, termed the Total Transaction Score (TTS), incorporates aspects of a Weapon Effectiveness Index (WEI) calculation (which focuses on “war gaming”) to provide a more nuanced understanding of the lethality of the equipment from each arms transfer. This study examined US missile transfers to 41 nations worldwide from 1960 – 2022. The TTS is the sum of two components: the Weapon Quality Score (WQS) and the Transfer Age Score (TAS). The WQS comprises four missile characteristics: maximum speed, operational range, warhead size, and technological generation. All information on each US missile was entered in the Missile Parameters Reference Dataset (MPRD), where the WQS is calculated. The TAS calculates how old the missile was at the transfer time based on the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) year. Subsequent regression analysis was conducted using the TTS as the dependent variable and several independent variables, including national values, GDPPC, years of active conflict, and NATO membership status. The overall results of the linear regression analysis indicated that while the variables were statistically significant, the best model only explained 17% of the variance in arms quality transfers (TTS). This work includes case studies examining the TTS (quality and military worth of arms) trends compared to those indicated by the TIV (monetary worth of all transactions). These case examples highlight the benefits of using the military worth (TTS) rather than the monetary worth (TIV) of arms transfers. In these case studies, the TTS measure, when placed on a timeline, provides some very interesting patterns of trust interactions. For example, since 1980, the annual TIV for Egypt and Israel have been very similar; however, in reviewing the TTS during that period, it is evident that Israel consistently received higher quality missiles, which is indicative of a higher level of trust. In conclusion, the TTS arms quality measure is still in the developmental phase and will likely require adjustments. However, it is useful in showing some nuances in the relationships between the US and recipient countries that are not captured by only analyzing the monetary value of arms transfers.