The elements of Soviet strategic policy

by Benjamin S. Lambeth


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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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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