Cover: The overlooked dimensions of the conventional balance in Europe

The overlooked dimensions of the conventional balance in Europe

Published 1985

by Robert Shishko

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Traditional views of the conventional military balance in the Central Region emphasize a comparison of the number of major weapon systems each side has in its inventory, or of the number of military personnel or formations. These traditional statements of the balance dramatically tend to favor the Warsaw Pact. In this paper, the author addresses some of the overlooked dimensions in the conventional military balance: (1) the reliability of allies, (2) the role of surprise, (3) the contribution of logistic support, and (4) the role of command-control-communication and electronic warfare. Of these four, the first two might be called scenario-related variables, while the last two are generally called "force multipliers." The effect each might have in wartime is uncertain and not easily factored into the balance analytically. The author gives a brief indication of how one might attempt to do so, or what results are generally obtained when those attempts have been made.

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