Accession Number : ADA116869

Title :   The European Conventional Balance: A Primer,


Personal Author(s) : Shishko,Robert

PDF Url : ADA116869

Report Date : 24 Nov 1981

Pagination or Media Count : 24

Abstract : This paper is on the balance in the European Central region largely on the grounds that is where the largest NATO/Warsaw Pact concentrations of force are found and where most of the post-mobilization reinforcements would flow. Why all the recent pessimism avbout the conventional military balance in the Central Region? Such pessimism has not always existed, but in fact has waxed and wa ned over NATO's 30 plus year history. In NATO's earliest days, it was thought that a mixed conventional/nuclear defense of Europe would require about 100 divisions, a goal clearly in excess of what politicians were willing to support. In 1954, a 'new look' at NATO's requirements suggested that perhaps 50 divisions would suffice if greater reliance was placed on nuclear weapons. In practice NATO never reached that goal, but it didn't seem to matter because U.S. strategic nuclear superiority gave the 'massive retaliation' doctrine at least some credibility. By the early 1960's, that credibility was in doubt as the U.S. homeland could be attacked by city-busting Soviet ICBMs. Under Secretary of Defense McNamara, the U.S. placed greater emphasis on conventional forces for Europe and the resources to support this emphasis were found. As a result, there was at least some belief through the late 1960s that NATO could conduct a successful conventional or low level nuclear defense in Europe if given strategic warning of about 30 days. (Author)

Descriptors :   *Military forces(Foreign), Europe, Military forces(United States), NATO, Balance of power, Weapons, Deployment, Military operations

Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE