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There is widespread interest in the possibility of deep cuts in conventional forces in Europe, cuts going well beyond those that will be required by the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty now being negotiated. This paper critically reviews the static-analysis arguments underlying concerns about low force levels and presents the results of both simple analytic modeling and more complex simulation modeling of the deep-cuts regime. It concludes that, from a theoretical perspective, there is nothing inherently destabilizing about a deep-cuts regime — as long as the sides have approximately equal force-generation capabilities. On the negative side, the author concludes that a scaled-down version of NATO's current "layer-cake" force posture would be highly inappropriate in a deep-cuts regime.

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