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Stabilizing and Destabilizing Conventional Weapons
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
Pagination or Media Count:
The paper is intended to distinguish, if possible, between stabilizing and destabilizing conventional weapons assess the magnitude of the difference and provide consequent recommendations with respect to weapon development, force structure, acquisition and arms control policy. Its main conclusion is that force employment, rather than the mix of weapon types, is the most important determinant of conventional stability. While distinctions between stabilizing and destabilizing weapon systems can be drawn, these distinctions are highly sensitive to scenario conditions, and in any case have limited effects on the stability of the theater balance as a whole. That balance, at least for East-West conflict, should be highly stable regardless of plausible additions or subtractions of particular weapon types -- as long as defenders adapt their force employment to suit the changing conditions of the post Cold War European battlefield. Given this, force structure or equipment changes we may wish to make can be based on criteria other than stability.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE