Does NATO need a New Conventional Operational Strategy?
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The basic question is whether or not the strategic principle of forward defense, as currently implemented by NATO forces, provides a sound operational strategy for the conventional defense of Europe. Can the current defense forces disposed in wartime along the intra-German border prevent major WARSAW Pact breakthroughs and provide defense in depth to contain or destroy the breakthrough forces. If not, then a new operational strategy is needed to prevent a quick resort to nuclear warfare and the sure destruction of a large part of the FRG. This paper addresses this dilemma in some depth, evaluating several proposed alternatives to a close defense of the border, and then proposes an operational strategy of mobile engagements in depth of at least 100 kms into the FRG with the initial defense starting at the border. The capabilities of the WARSAW Pact to penetrate the NATO defenses is examined followed by a capabilities assessment of current NATO defense posture to ascertain if NATO has the conventional capability to implement its strategy. The paper points out glaring weaknesses in overall capability and the need, therefore, to more wisely use the existing capabilities and terrain until adequate reinforcements can be mobilized to provide proper force ratios and a defense in depth. This new strategy provides for a more reasonable chance of defense with less risks. Author
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics