Key Issues for the Strategic Offensive Force Reduction Portion of the Nuclear and Space Talks in Geneva

by Edward L. Warner, Glenn A. Kent, Randall J. DeValk

Download

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback47 pages $23.00 $18.40 20% Web Discount

This Note discusses approaches for the limitation and reduction of U.S. and Soviet strategic attack forces. It identifies three national security objectives that the United States and, arguably, the Soviet Union seek to obtain through a combination of strategic nuclear force deployments, arms control, and diplomacy. Those objectives are credible deterrence, strategic/crisis stability, and essential equivalence. It defines three measures that can be controlled to constrain the destructive capacity of intercontinental strategic attack forces: the amount of ballistic missile throwweight; the number of ballistic missile reentry vehicles; and the number of bomber-carried weapons, a value that can most reasonably be estimated by linking it to the gross takeoff weight of the strategic bombers on both sides. It also considers a weighted-measure approach that yields a smaller initial difference between U.S. and Soviet ballistic missile forces than does the pure throwweight approach, thus providing better prospects for successful compromise in negotiation. The Note reviews several recent proposals for U.S.-Soviet strategic arms reductions and concludes that the United States cannot reasonably expect to gain significant cuts in Soviet ballistic missile capabilities without being prepared to accept substantial constraints on the growth of the U.S. bomber force's weapon-carrying potential.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.