An overview of the conceptual principles that inform the Soviet approach to national security and underlie Soviet weapons acquisition and force development. Although to some extent Soviet strategic programs are influenced by the same sorts of pressures and constraints that affect the defense decisionmaking of all modern industrial countries, such factors as ideology and doctrine play a major role in lending direction and purpose to Soviet military program activities. As a result, Soviet strategic policy has tended to be more consistent and goal-oriented than that of the United States since the Soviet buildup began in the mid-1960s. Its objective has been the accumulation of sufficient forces and associated war-survival assets to provide a basis for pursuing meaningful victory in the event of an unavoidable deterrence failure.
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