A discussion of the overall U.S.-Soviet strategic competition. The author describes the context in which the "balance" is defined. Next, he points out one current problem with the balance — how the use of nuclear weapons can support our national objectives — and suggests that the United States must commit itself to increased funding for its strategic forces. While the United States has been building up its nuclear attack capability, it has let its relative defense capabilities slide. For example, it does not make any difference if the United States has excellent hard target killing potential if its forces could be wiped out by an enemy first strike. Nuclear forces are only a part of the defense posture. Nuclear war probably is more likely to come as a result of escalation from lower "levels" of fighting. To the degree that superior conventional capabilities and enhanced provisions for readiness and mobilization can head off nuclear warfare, we must be very careful as we divide up the defense budget.
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.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.