Conventional Arms Control Revisited

Objectives in the New Phase

by James A. Thomson, Nanette C. Gantz


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This Note examines the relationship between conventional defense and arms control planning and assesses the conditions under which arms control can help NATO meet its conventional defense requirements. It first defines a defense objective for NATO, then assesses the balance relative to that objective, and, finally, defines the requirements to fill the gap. The Note concludes that (1) arms control alone cannot correct the conventional force imbalance in Europe; (2) defense requirements can be moderated through arms control, but only if the reductions are highly asymmetric and large; and (3) NATO should seek to reduce the offensive capabilities of the Warsaw Pact forces through reductions of tanks and artillery.

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