The Role of Congress in the Strategic Posture of the United States, 1980-1990: Force Modernization and SDI
NATIONAL INST FOR PUBLIC POLICY FAIRFAX VA
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This is the third in a series of three papers to examine the role of Congress in the development of the doctrinal and material strategic posture of the United States over the three decades of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. This paper examines the role of the 97th through 102nd Congresses, covering the period 1980-1990, the last decade of the Cold War, and corresponding to the administration of President Ronald Reagan and the first part of the administration of President George H.W. Bush. As explained at length in the first paper, the role of Congress in building the U.S. strategic posture is underappreciated by both historians and policymakers. Congress is especially underestimated as regards its ability to influence the intellectual direction of the strategic posture by adopting and implementing theories and doctrines that guide development of strategic forces and plans for their employment. Yet the congressional record is a rich resource, not least for being unclassified and providing meticulous detail on debates and the thinking of the Congress, presidential administrations, and the armed services on the ideas and concerns that shaped the U.S. strategic posture. This resource is underutilized by historians of U.S. strategic policy.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics