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Budgetary and Military Effects of a Treaty Limiting Conventional Forces in Europe

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Within the next year, the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO and the Warsaw Pact may sign a treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe CFE. A Congressional Budget Office report, Budgetary and Military Effects of a Treaty Limiting Conventional Forces in Europe, assesses the effects of NATOs proposed version of a CFE treaty. The study focuses on those U.S. forces that would be affected directly by the treaty-the Army and the tactical Air Force-and finds that the treaty would greatly diminish the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact, but would result in only small savings in the U.S. defense budget. Larger savings could result indirectly from the treaty if U.S. forces committed to NATO were further reduced in light of the easing of military tensions after the treaty is carried out. The Warsaw Pact currently enjoys a substantial advantage in weaponry stationed in the region covered by a CFE treaty. The treaty would limit each alliance to equal numbers of weapons, requiring only small reductions in NATO weapons inventories but large reductions for the Pact. Since the Pact would no longer have more weapons than NATO, its conventional advantage in Europe would be eliminated and NATOs military security would be greatly enhanced. In contrast to the sharp reduction in military risk, the treaty would only modestly reduce the U.S. defense budget. To comply with the treaty, the United States might be required to eliminate from Europe two-thirds of an Army division and 1 active Air Force tactical fighter wings. Budgetary savings would eventually be just under 3 billion a year from funds for the Army and tactical Air Force, which account for about 35 percent of DoDs 1990 budget.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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