NATO's Theater Nuclear Forces: A Coherent Strategy for the 1980s,
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC RESEARCH DIRECTORATE
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With the passage of time, the role of nuclear weapons in NATO defense strategy has changed significantly. By the 1980s, the doctrine of massive retaliation has evolved into one of flexible response. Now that the Soviet Union has reached parity with the West in strategic forces, NATOs theater nuclear strategy has emerged as a critical issue. Although deterrence remains the goal of NATO defense policy, the current configuration of NATOs triad of conventional, theater nuclear, and strategic nuclear forces may not be adequate to maintain the peace. The author focuses on theater nuclear forces, recommending changes in their configuration to support changes in conventional and strategic forces. In calling for clarification of the conditions which would justify initial use of theater nuclear weapons, he proposes an explicit linking of conventional and theater forces with strategic forces. The adoption of these proposals would allow a restatement of flexible response and enhance deterrence.
- Nuclear Warfare