East European Military Reliability

An Emigre-Based Assessment

by Alex Alexiev, A. Ross Johnson, Barbara A. Kliszewski

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This report presents the results of a study based on RAND interviews with former East European servicemen now in the West. The study examined the prospective wartime reliability for the Soviet Union of the East European armies incorporated in the Warsaw Pact, in particular those of Poland, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia. It focuses on specific factors (such as organizational and operational incentives and alliance constraints) that would enhance or detract from reliability and considers whether and how they have changed over time. The findings suggest that, while many features of non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) militaries have remained constant over the past 25 years, this reliability is fragile, for it rests in part on the containment and suppression of group and individual dissatisfactions that are likely to reemerge in times of political turmoil or crisis. Moreover, the changes that have taken place in NSWP armies over the past 25 years have been in the direction of reducing rather than enhancing reliability.

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