The Defense Policy of the Soviet Union

by Edward L. Warner

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This Note offers a synoptic review of the defense policy of the Soviet Union, including discussions of the organizational framework and pattern of Soviet defense decisionmaking, key elements of Soviet military doctrine and strategy for intercontinental and theater warfare, recent developments in Soviet and conventional forces, and the Soviet approach to arms control. Sources include reports and analyses by U.S. and Soviet scholars and the author's own research and observations made during recent visits to the Soviet Union. Owing to profound domestic economic and political crises, the strength of the Soviet Union is being questioned at home and abroad. Although the military continues to exert important influence and expertise in defense matters, even under the current restructuring (perestroika) the senior party leadership makes the final decisions.

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.

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