The Role of Uncertainty in Assessing the NATO/Pact Central Region Balance

by Paul K. Davis


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This Note discusses the military balance as measured by likely war outcomes if deterrence were to fail, and the challenge of addressing that warfighting balance in the face of great uncertainty. Because war outcomes are sensitive to scores of factors, assessment should consider a vast range of plausible scenarios. The author argues that studies of the warfighting balance and arms-control alternatives should be based on both human war gaming and operationally sensitive simulation, because simpler treatments omit important factors such as maneuver phenomena; strategies employing surprise and deception; realistically imperfect decisions and behavior; and aspects of readiness, mobilization, and sustainability.

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