International Security Yearbook 1983/84 by Barry M Blechman, Edward N Luttwak

By Barry M Blechman, Edward N Luttwak

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Again, the strategy did not provide adequate conventional strength, while a tactical nuclear response could seem disproportionate to the point of being incredible. The critics of the new strategy deplored the military policies that were derived from the trip-wire assumptions (fighter-bombers were being designed for one-way delivery, with no self-sealing fuel tanks; Army stock-levels would sustain combat for only a few days) and challenged the new strategy's 'credibility', a coinage of those days.

A decade ago, it was the anti-tank missile that was to provide a cheap answer to the armies of the Warsaw Pact. Following the apparent success of Soviet anti-tank missiles in Egyptian hands during the 1973 War, much was heard about the newly-revealed weakness of the tank-based Soviet army. In the years since, of course, it was discovered that the technically superior anti-tank missile is tactically outmatched by the concentration of armored forces against its thinly distributed linear deployments (and to The East-West military balance 25 out-concentrate tanks by helicopter-borne missiles converts a cheap solution into a very expensive one).

Of course, if the NATO 'first-use' policy were repudiated, the logical necessity for greatly strengthened conventional defenses might be recognized by public opinion. If so, the reservedivision solution might then become feasible politically, although it must be recognized that delusions of conventional adequacy are easily sustained by the sheer cost of realistic deployments. (3) A 'defensive primacy' solution for an asymmetrical non-nuclear defense, through the organization of large territorial militia forces manning prepared fortifications and barrier systems, to complement the present NATO corps.

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