After completing projects on the Soviet Union and Communist China at the Center for International Studies at MIT, I decided it was time to undertake a similar study of the United States. Out of that study came some of the reflections in this essay, which was originally delivered on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Leverett House, Harvard. In the course of my research I was particularly struck by the fact that U.S. administrative structures, in public and private institutions, civil and military, are rarely geared to the endless process of innovation they in fact confront. The predominant U.S. administrative tradition has been one that seeks maximum efficiency under the assumption of fixed or slowly changing problems and methods.