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86th *tfoiigrG^3 \

JOINT COMMITTEE PRINT

2d - ^ s i * J
S s io k

STUDY

PAPER

NO.

18

NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE AMERICAN
ECONOMY IN THE 1960’s
BY

H enry R owen

M A T E R IA L S PREPARED I N C O N N E C T IO N W IT H

STUDY

OF

THE

EM PLOYM ENT, GROW TH, A N D
P R IC E

LEVELS

FOR CONSIDERATION B Y T H E

J O IN T

E C O N O M IC

CONGRESS

OF

THE

C O M M IT T E E
U N IT E D

STATES

Printed for the use of the Joint Economic Committee
U N IT E D S T A T E S
G O VER N M EN T P R IN T IN G O F FIC E
50365

W A S H IN G T O N : 1960

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D.O. * Price 25 cents




JOINT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE
(Created pursuant to sec. 5(a) of Public Law 304, 79th Cong.)
PAUL H. DOUGLAS, Illinois, Chairman
WRIGHT PATMAN, Texas, Vice Chairman
SENATE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

JOHN SPARKMAN, Alabama
J. WILLIAM FULBRIGHT, Arkansas
JOSEPH C. O’MAHONEY, Wyoming
JOHN F. KENNEDY, Massachusetts
PRESCOTT BUSH, Connecticut
JOHN MARSHALL BUTLER, Maryland
JACOB K. JAVITS, New York

Stu d y

op

E

mploym ent,

RICHARD BOLLING, Missouri
HALE BOGGS, Louisiana
HENRY S. REUSS, Wisconsin
FRANK M. COFFIN, Maine
THOMAS B. CURTIS, Missouri
CLARENCE E. KILBURN, New York
W IL L IA M

Growth,

B . W I D N A L L , N e w Je rs e y

and

P r ic e L e v e l s

(Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 13, 86th Cong., 1st sess.)
Otto Eckstein, Technical Director
John W. Lehman, Administrative Officer
James W. Knowles, Special Economic Counsel
II




This is part of a series of papers being prepared for con­
sideration by the Joint Economic Committee in connection
with its “Study of Employment, Growth, and Price Levels.”
The committee and the committee staff neither approve nor
disapprove of the findings of the individual authors.




m




LETTERS OF TRANSMITTAL

Jan u ary

18, 1960.

To Members of the Joint Economic Committee:
S u b m itt e d h e r e w ith f o r th e c o n sid e r a tio n o f th e m e m b e r s o f th e
J o i n t E c o n o m ic C o m m itt e e a n d o th e r s is s t u d y p a p e r N o . 1 8 , “ N a ­
t io n a l S e c u r it y a n d t h e A m e r i c a n E c o n o m y in th e 1 9 6 0 ’s .”
T h i s is a m o n g th e n u m b e r o f su b je c ts w h ic h th e J o i n t E c o n o m ic
C o m m itt e e req u ested in d iv id u a l sc h o la r s t o e x a m in e a n d r e p o r t o n
in c o n n e c tio n w it h th e c o m m itte e ’s s t u d y o f “ E m p lo y m e n t , G r o w t h ,
a n d P r ic e L e v e ls .”
T h e fin d in g s a re e n tir e ly th o se o f th e a u th o r s, a n d th e c o m m itte e
a n d t h e c o m m itte e s ta ff in d ic a te n e ith e r a p p r o v a l n o r d is a p p r o v a l
b y t h is p u b lic a tio n .
P a u l H . D o u g la s ,
Chairman, Joint Economic Committee.

J a n u a r y 12, 1960.
H o n . P a u l H . D ouglas,
Chairman, Joint Economic Committee,
U.S. Senate, 'Washington, D.C.
D e a r S e n a t o r D o u g l a s : T r a n s m itt e d h e r e w ith is o n e o f th e series
o f p a p e r s p r e p a r e d f o r th e s tu d y o f “ E m p lo y m e n t , G r o w t h , a n d
P r ic e L e v e ls ” b y o u ts id e c o n su lta n ts a n d m e m b e r s o f th e sta ff. T h e
a u th o r o f th is p a p e r is H e n r y R o w e n .
A l l p a p e r s a re p r e se n te d as p r e p a r e d b y th e a u th o r s.




O tto E

c k s t e in ,

Technical Director,
Study of Employment, Growth, and Price Levels.




C O N T E N T S

STUDY PAPER NO. 18 “ NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE AM ER ICA N
ECONOM Y IN THE 1960's,” B Y H E N R Y ROW EN

P age
A c k n o w l e d g m e n t s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _1 _ _ _ _ _
_
S u m m a r_y_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 1_ _
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P a r t

I.

O u r

S e c u r ity

P ro s p e cts

1960' st h
in

e

O u r m a jo r m ilita r y o b je c t iv e s __________________________________________
8
D e t e r r i n g d i r e c t a t t a c k o n t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -9- - - - - - L im itin g d a m a g e a n d o b ta in in g b e s t w a r o u t c o m e if d e te r r e n c e
f a i l s_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 13
__
T h e d e f e n s e o f m a j o r a l l i e s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 17 _ _ _ _
__
D e f e n s e o f o t h e r a l l i e s a n d o f t h e f r e _e _ _ _ _ _r _l _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 18
w o d
B . T h e e v o l u t i o n o f U . S . p o s t w a r m i l i t a r y p o l i c y — c h a l l e n g e a n d r20s p o n s e .
e
T h e s t r e n g t h o f R u s s i a n g r o u n d _ f_ o_ r c _ _s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 20
__e
T h e n u c l e a r b r e a k t h r o u g h a n d b e g i n n i n g s o f s t r a t e g i c a i r p 21 e r _ _
ow
T h e d e v e lo p m e n t o f t h e r m o n u c le a r w e a p o n s a n d a d v a n c e s in
r o c k e t r y _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 24_ _ _
__
C . T h e f u t u r e o f g e n e r a l w a r _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _26 _ _ _ _ _
__
T h e w o r l d a n n i h i l a t i o n _ _i _ _w_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 26
v e
T h e m u t u a l s u i c i d e v_ i_ e_ w _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 29
_
_
_
T h e d e t e r r e n c e - p l u s - i n s u r a n c e _ _v_ i_e_ w _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 37
T h e e x t e n d e d d e t e r r e n c e v i e w _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _40 _ _ _ _
__
T h e m a s s i v e r e t a l i a t i o n _v_ i_e_w _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _43
_
_
D . T h e d i r e c t d e f e n s e o f p e r i p h e r a_ l_ _a_r_e_a_ s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 45
D e p e n d e n c e o n t a c tic a l n u c le a r fo r c e s _____________________________
45
E s t a b l i s h m e n t o f i n d e p e n d e n t n u c l e a r f o r c e s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 48_ _ _ _ _
__
U s e o f n o n n u c l e a r f o _r _c _e _s_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _51
E . T h e a r m s r a c e a n d i t s c o n t r o l _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 53_ _ _ _ _ _
__
F . O u t l i n e f o r a d e f e n s e p_ o _ i_c_ y_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _60
_l
_
A .

P

a r t

II.

D
e

f e n s ea n d t h e

Ec

o n o m y

H o w m u c h d e fe n s e s h o u ld w e b u y ? ____________________________________
63
B u d g e t fir s t v e r s u s s tr a t e g y fir s t _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
64
65
A b a la n c e d v ie w ___________________________________________________
H o w m u c h d e f e n s e c a n w e s t a n d _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _68 _ _ _ _
__
A l l i e d d e f e n s e b u d g e t s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 71_ _ _ _
__
B . T h e s ig n ific a n c e o f G N P fo r w a r _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
72
C . I m p l i c a t i o n s o f C o m m u n i s t g r o w t h _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _75 _ _ _ _ _
__
D . S o m e a l t e r n a t i v e b u d g e t t r e n d s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _77 _ _ _ _ _
__
A .




V II




STUDY PAPER NO. 18

NATIONAL SECURITY AND THE AMERICAN
ECONOMY IN THE 1960’s 1
Summary
A s ig n ific a n t p r o p o r t io n o f U . S . e c o n o m ic reso u rces are d e v o te d to
n a tio n a l s e c u r ity . A t th e p r e se n t tim e , w e a llo c a te to th is c r u c ia l n a ­
t io n a l o b je c tiv e o v e r o n e -h a lf o f a ll F e d e r a l e x p e n d itu r e s a n d ju s t
u n d e r 1 0 p e rc e n t o f o u r g r o s s n a tio n a l p r o d u c t . I n r e tu rn f o r th ese
e x p e n d itu r e s w e d o n o t receive se c u r ity m a n y a b so lu te sense, f o r th a t
g o a l is c le a r ly u n a tta in a b le in th e n u c le a r a g e . O n th e c o n t r a r y , o u r
d e fe n s e o b je c tiv e s a re m u lt ip le , th e y in te r a c t a n d p a r t i a lly c o n flic t,
th e y e x is t in a n e n v ir o n m e n t o f g r e a t s tr a te g ic , te c h n o lo g ic a l, a n d
p o lit ic a l u n c e r ta in ty . T h e o b je c t o f t h is p a p e r is to d e sc rib e th ese o b ­
je c tiv e s , th e r e la tio n s a m o n g th e m , th e a lte rn a tiv e p o lic ie s w e m ig h t
ch o o se m t h e ir s u p p o r t, th e r isk s a n d sa crifices th e y m i g h t e n ta il, a n d
th e r a n g e o f p o s s ib le d e fe n se e x p e n d itu r e s w e m i g h t e x p e rie n c e in th e
1 9 6 0 ’s.
B y n o w it is w e ll u n d e r sto o d t h a t th e r o le o f th e e c o n o m y in w a r h a s
b een d r a s tic a lly c h a n g e d b y th e a d v e n t o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s.
No
lo n g e r c a n th e U n it e d S t a te s b ase its m ilit a r y s tr e n g th a lm o st e n ­
t ir e ly o n m o b iliz a tio n p o te n tia l f o r w a r . M o b iliz a t io n a f t e r n u c lea r
a tta c k c a n b e r u le d o u t ; th e ta s k o f s u r v iv a l w o u ld be d o m in a n t. H o w ­
ev e r , th e r e a re m a n y resp e cts in w h ic h o u r ec o n o m ic s tr e n g th f o r w a r
re m a in s o f c e n tr a l im p o r ta n c e , a n d o u r a b ilit y to in crease o u r m ilit a r y
fo r c e in resp o n se to a g g r e s s io n a b r o a d o r th e th r e a t o f a ll-o u t w a r
r e m a in s a v it a l so urce o f s tr e n g th . O u r la r g e e c o n o m y m a k e s it p o s ­
s ib le f o r u s t o s u p p o r t o u r M i li t a r y E s t a b lis h m e n t w it h a m u c h s m a l­
le r p r o p o r t io n o f o u r t o t a l o u t p u t t h a n in th e S o v ie t U n i o n w h o se
c o n s id e r a b ly s m a lle r e c o n o m y su p p o r ts a m ilit a r y e s ta b lish m e n t c o m ­
p a r a b le t o o u rs. T h i s en a b le s us to g r e a t ly e x p a n d o u r d e fe n se e ffo r t
i f w e ch oose.
D u r i n g th e d e cad e o f th e 1 9 6 0 ’s, h o w e v e r , th e S o v ie t a n d C h in e se
e c o n o m ies w i ll b e g r o w in g r a p i d l y ; a n d so w i ll th e ir c a p a c ity f o r s u p ­
p o r t in g a rm s a n d f o r w a g in g w a r . T h e g r o s s n a tio n a l p r o d u c t o f th e
S o v ie t U n io n , n o w o n e -q u a r te r to o n e -h a lf as la r g e as o u rs, w ill be
o n e -t h ir d t o t w o -t h ir d s th e size o f o u r s b y 1 9 7 0 . T h i s g r o w t h w ill
p e r m it a la r g e in cre a se in d e fe n se s p e n d in g w h ile a lso p e r m it t in g a
la r g e in crease in c o n s u m p tio n s ta n d a r d s . T h i s is n o t t o s a y t h a t su ch

11 wish to acknowledge my indebtedness for many helpful suggestions and for criticism
to the following: Abraham Becker, Lewis Bohn, Bernard Brodie, Harvey DeWeerd, Daniel
Ellsberg, Alain Enthoven, Charles Hitch, Frederick Hoffman, Fred Ikle, Herman Kahn,
William Kaufmann, Andrew Marshall, Roland McKean, Richard Moorsteen, and Sidney
Winter.
Many of the ideas and arguments in this paper are due to Albert Wohlstetter who is
preparing a book on oarms in the nuclear age for the YYk a ckl n ono Foreignm Relations. r rr> am
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A Council a p o h a T»al i n l a a t* w n I h P
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2

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

in creases a re i n e v it a b le ; th e re a re c le a r ly o p p o se d in flu en ces in th e
S o v ie t U n io n . B u t its c a p a c ity f o r s u p p o r tin g a r m s w i ll in crease a n d
w e c a n n o t b e c o n fid e n t t h a t a g r e a t in cre ase in S o v ie t a rm a m e n ts
w i l l n o t o cc u r in th e fu tu r e .
T h e p r o b a b le ec o n o m ic g r o w t h o f C h in a is in so m e resp e c ts m o re
o m in o u s, b o th b ecau se o f C h in a ’s o v e r t e x p a n s io n is t ten d e n cie s a n d
becau se o f th e r e la tiv e w eak n ess o f its n e ig h b o r s.
A l t h o u g h th e
fu t u r e g r o w t h a n d p o lit ic a l d e v e lo p m e n t o f C o m m u n is t C h in a is
h i g h ly u n c e r ta in , b y 1 9 7 0 C h in e se h e a v y in d u s tr y , a n d c o n se q u e n tly
its a b ilit y to s u p p o r t a r m e d fo r c e s, m a y b u lk v e r y la r g e in d e e d in
c o m p a r is o n to C h in a ’s n o n -C o m m u n is t n e ig h b o r s .
I n b r i e f , i f th e
C o m m u n is t b lo c r e m a in s a g g r e ssiv e , w e , o u r a llie s, a n d th e fr e e w o r ld
w i ll h a v e to fa c e th e p r o sp e c t o f in c re a se d s p e n d in g o n a rm s.
H o w e v e r , ev en la r g e in creases in d e fe n se s p e n d in g w o u ld n o t h a v e
d r a s tic con sequ en ces f o r o u r w a y o f li f e . W e c o u ld m a n a g e m o d e r a te
in creases in d e fe n se w ith o u t a n y r e d u c tio n o f o u r p r e se n t le v e ls o f
c o n s u m p tio n a n d in v e stm e n t. E v e n la r g e in creases m i g h t b e p o ssib le
w it h o u t a n y r e d u c tio n in th e p r iv a te sec to r o f th e e c o n o m y . T h i s , in
f a c t , w a s d o n e d u r in g th e K o r e a n w a r . T h e d ir e c t effects o n th e e c o n ­
o m y w ere red u c e d u n e m p lo y m e n t, a n d le isu r e , a n d so m e p r ic e a n d
w a g e in fla tio n . I n fla t io n c o u ld b e a v o id e d b y o ffs e ttin g m o d e r a te t a x
in creases to li m i t d e m a n d in th e p r iv a t e sec to r o f th e e c o n o m y .
T h e m a jo r d e fe n se o b je c tiv e s th e U n it e d S ta te s h a s a d o p te d in th e
p o s tw a r p e r io d c a n b e su m m a r iz e d as f o l l o w s : D e t e r r in g n u c le a r a s­
s a u lt o n th e U n it e d S ta te s , li m i t i n g d a m a g e t o t h is c o u n tr y i f w a r
c o m e s, w h ile se e k in g a fa v o r a b le w a r o u tc o m e ; d e te r r in g a g g re ssio n
a g a in s t o u r m a jo r a llie s a n d a id in g in th e ir d e fe n s e ; a n d , fin a lly ,
h e lp in g to d e fe n d o th e r a llie s a n d th e fr e e w o r ld .
T h e p r in c ip a l o b je c tiv e o f U . S . m ilit a r y p o lic y h a s c o m e t o b e th e
d e te rren ce o f n u c le a r a tta c k o n th e U n it e d S ta te s .
W e must a tta in
it.
B u t a tt a in in g i t m e a n s h a v in g th e a b ilit y t o r e c eiv e a w e ll-d e ­
s ig n e d a n d w e ll-e x e c u te d su r p r ise n u c le a r a tta c k a n d t o str ik e b ack
effe c tiv e ly . T h e a d v a n ta g e a n u c le a r -a r m e d a g g r e s s o r p o ssesses in a
s u r p r is e a tta c k is fo r m id a b le , a n d w e m u s t n o t d e p r e c ia te th e g r e a t
effe ct o f th e m a n y o b sta c les to r e ta lia tio n th e a g g r e s s o r c a n create.
T h i s ta s k o f d e te r r in g a tta c k w ill r e m a in d ifficu lt n o t o n ly b ecau se o f
th e r a p id g r o w t h o f S o v ie t n u c le a r s tr e n g th b u t a lso b eca u se o f r e v o ­
lu t io n a r y c h a n g e s in m ilit a r y te c h n o lo g y t h a t a re t a k in g p la c e , som e
o f w h ic h m a y in tr o d u c e g r e a te r u n c e r ta in ty in to th e m i li t a r y b a la n c e.
W e w i l l h a v e to w o r k h a r d a n d w o r k c o n tin u a lly t h r o u g h o u t th e d e c ­
a d e o f th e 1 9 6 0 ’s t o t r y t o p r e se rv e a s t r o n g r e ta lia to r y p o w e r .
And,
s h o u ld w e su cceed , w e w ill n o t h a v e c o m p le te a ssu ra n ce t h a t w a r w ill
n o t c o m e , f o r th e p o w e r t o r e ta lia te is n o t id e n tic a l w it h th e p o w e r to
d e te r. G e n e r a l w a r m i g h t s t ill c o m e , p e r h a p s b y m is c a lc u la tio n , p e r ­
h a p s w ith o u t e ith e r sid e r e a lly p r e f e r r in g w a r to peace.
I f g e n e r a l w a r wrere t o c om e, o u r m ilit a r y fo r c e s w o u ld b e p r im a r ily
co n c e rn e d w it h lim i t i n g d a m a g e to th e U n it e d S t a te s a n d its a llie s
a n d w it h o b ta in in g th e b est c iv il a n d m ilita r y o u tc o m e t h a t c o u ld be
o b ta in e d .
W e sh o u ld n o t e x p e c t th e b e st o u tc o m e t o b e v e r y g o o d ,
how ever.
E a c h d e liv e r e d e n e m y b o m b c o u ld d o g r e a t d a m a g e , esp e­
c ia lly g iv e n o u r lo w le v e l o f c iv il d e fe n se p r e p a r a tio n , a n d a la r g e a t ­
t a c k m i g h t d e s tr o y m o s t o f o u r p o p u la t io n a n d e c o n o m y . H o w e v e r ,
th ere a re i m p o r t a n t p o s s ib ilitie s f o r li m i t i n g d a m a g e t h r o u g h a c o m ­
b in a tio n o f a c tiv e a n d p a s s iv e d e fe n se , t h r o u g h th e u se o f o ffe n sive




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960'S
Y

3

fo r c e , a n d , e s p e c ia lly , t h r o u g h p r e p a r a tio n s w h ic h w o u ld e n a b le u s to
fig h t a g e n e r a l n u c le a r w a r in a c o n tr o lle d m a n n e r.
W it h an ex ­
p a n d e d p r o g r a m a im e d a t li m i t i n g n u c le a r d a m a g e , a n d w it h lu c k ,
m u c h o f o u r p o p u la t io n a n d e c o n o m y m i g h t s u r v iv e a g e n e r a l w a r .
I n o u r d e fe n s e o f E u r o p e w e h a v e e v o lv e d a d u a l s t r a t e g y : t h a t o f
o p p o s in g i n v a d in g fo r c e s d ir e c tly o n th e g r o u n d a lo n g w it h th e
s tr a te g ic n u c le a r b o m b in g o f th e S o v ie t U n io n .
H o w e v e r , o v e r tim e
w e h a v e e m p h a s iz e d m o r e a n d m o r e th e p u r e ly d e te rr e n t a sp ect o f o u r
s tra te g ic a tta c k t h r e a t.
A l t h o u g h th e g r o w t h o f S o v ie t n u c le a r p o w e r
h a s w e ak en ed t h e effe c t o f th is t h r e a t, it u n d o u b te d ly r e ta in s m u c h
fo r c e in th e d e fe n se o f so v it a l a n a rea as E u r o p e .
E v e n a s m a ll p r o b ­
a b ilit y o f a la r g e n u c le a r w a r h a p p e n in g m a y serv e t o k e ep S o v ie t
fo r c e s o u t o f E u r o p e .
B u t t h is p o lic y r isk s g r e a t d a m a g e t o b o th th e
U n it e d S t a te s a n d E u r o p e , a n d its c r e d ib ility w ill le ssen , p e r h a p s
d a n g e r o u s ly , in th e 1 9 6 0 ’s. A s a r e su lt, in te re st is b e in g fo c u s e d o n
m o r e d ir e c t m e th o d s o f d e fe n se a b r o a d .
T h e n eed f o r su c h d ir e c t
d e fe n s e m e th o d s is s t ill m o r e o b v io u s w h e n w e c o n sid e r th e p r o b le m
o f d e fe n d in g le ss v it a l a re a s a b r o a d , a reas f o r w h ic h w e a re m o s t
u n lik e ly to w a n t t o u n d e r g o a g r e a t r is k o f a ll-o u t w a r .
T h e s e m a j o r o b je c tiv e s o f o u r d e fe n se p o lic ie s are w id e ly , a lth o u g h
n o t c o m p le t e ly , a g r e e d o n .
T h e s e is m u c h le ss a g r e e m e n t o n h o w to
a tta in e ith e r o u r g e n e r a l w a r o b je c tiv e s o r th o se a sso c ia ted w it h d ire c t
d e fe n s e o versea s.
O n g e n e r a l w a r , i t is c o n v e n ie n t to d is t in g u is h five
d is t in c t p o s it io n s :
The world annihilation view.— ISfot e v e r y o n e h o ld s t h a t it is r a tio n a l
t o d e te r w a r t h r o u g h th e th r e a t o f n u c le a r r e ta lia tio n .
M a n y d is­
t in g u is h e d p e o p le r e g a r d a g e n e r a l th e r m o n u c le a r w a r as r is k in g a ll
m a n k in d .
T h e y h o ld t h a t n u c le a r w a r c a n n o t b e a r a t io n a l in str u m e n t
o f p o lic y .
T h i s v ie w fo c u se s a tte n tio n o n th e w o r ld w id e effects o f
r a d ia tio n t h a t w o u ld f o ll o w a g e n e r a l n u c le a r w a r .
I t a p p e a r s th a t
su ch a w a r w o u ld le a d t o a sh o r te n in g o f li f e , a n in c re a se d in c id en c e
o f g e n e tic d e fe c ts a n d o f le u k e m ia a n d b o n e can cer th r o u g h o u t th e
w o r ld .
S e r io u s as th ese effe cts a re, th e se w o r ld w id e r a d ia t io n effects
w o u ld p r o b a b ly com e to le ss th a n t h a t f r o m n a tu r a l b a c k g r o u n d r a d ia ­
tio n .
M o r e o v e r , th e r e is li t t le e v id e n c e t h a t th e n u c le a r p o w e rs a re
p la n n i n g to p r o c u r e w e a p o n sy ste m s t h a t w i ll le a d to g r e a te r w o r ld ­
w id e f a ll o u t d a m a g e in th e fu tu r e .
T h e o p p o s ite m a y b e tru e .
W i t h o u t d e p r e c ia tin g th e a w f u l con sequ en ces o f a la r g e n u c le a r w a r ,
e s p e c ia lly f o r th e p a r tic ip a n t s , i t w o u ld be d a n g e ro u s to a ssu m e t h a t
a n a g g r e s s o r w o u ld b e d e te rr e d f r o m la u n c h in g a w a r b y w o r ld w id e
r a d ia tio n effects. H o w e v e r , th e r e are u n c e r ta in tie s : th e f a ll o u t p r o b ­
le m is n o t e n tir e ly u n d e r sto o d , m o r e serio u s effects m a y y e t b e d is ­
c o v e r e d , a n d n e w a n d m o r e d e v a s ta tin g w e a p o n s m a y b e d e v e lo p e d
a n d p r o c u r e d in th e cou rse o f th e 1 9 6 0 ’s.
I n a n y case, th e r e w o u ld b e
w o r ld w id e d a m a g e fr o m a g e n e r a l n u c le a r w a r , a n d g o v e r n m e n ts h a v e
a n u r g e n t o b lig a t io n to ta k e t h is d a m a g e in to a cc o u n t in th e ir p r e p a r a ­
tio n s ju s t as t h e y h a v e a n o b lig a tio n to w e ig h th e p r o sp e c tiv e d a m a g e
to th e ir o w n p o p u la tio n , t h a t o f th e ir im m e d ia te n e ig h b o r s , t h e ir a llie s,
a n d th e ir en em ies.
The mutual suicide view.— M u c h m o r e se rio u s w o u ld b e th e effe c t
o f a g e n e r a l n u c le a r w a r o n th e p a r tic ip a n ts .
P o s s ib le a tta c k s,
e q u iv a le n t t o s ev era l th o u sa n d m e g a to n s o f T N T d e liv e r e d o n th e
U n it e d S t a te s , c o u ld k i ll o v e r h a l f o f o u r p o p u la tio n .
M oreover, our
e n tir e p o p u la t io n is a t r isk .
T h i s f a c t , a lo n g w it h th e e x p e c ta tio n s




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t h a t S o v ie t c iv il so c ie ty is s im ila r ly e x p o s e d , le a d s t o th e v ie w t h a t a
g e n e r a l w a r w o u ld in e v ita b ly m e a n th e d e str u c tio n o f b o th sid e s. ^
B e l i e f t h a t n u c le a r w a r in e v it a b ly w o u ld r e s u lt in m u tu a l s u ic id e
re s u lts in a n a lm o s t e x c lu siv e fo c u s o n d e te rr e n c e -o n ly p o li c i e s ; t h a t
is , p o lic ie s in te n d e d to p r e v e n t w a r , n o t t o m it ig a t e its con seq u en ces
i f it w ere to c o m e n o n e th e less.
T h i s v ie w , o ft e n i m p lic it , is m a d e
e x p lic it in th e d o c tr in e o f fin ite o r m in im u m d eterren ce.
( “ M in im u m ”
d e te rren ce , in a n o th e r sen se, t h a t o f p r e v e n t in g w a r a t m in im u m c o st,
e n jo y s p r a c t ic a lly u n iv e r sa l a cc e p ta n c e .)
T h e m in im u m d e te rren c e
d o c tr in e h o ld s t h a t w e sh o u ld u n ila t e r a lly re d u c e o u r g e n e r a l w a r
c a p a b ilit y b y c u tt in g d o w n th e a c tiv e d e fe n se s o f o u r c itie s, b y n o t
s p e n d in g m o n e y o n c iv il d e fe n se , a n d b y l i m i t i n g o u r o ffe n siv e fo r c e s
t o a le v e l a d eq u ate to d e str o y in r e ta lia tio n so m e , p e r h a p s o n ly a fe w ,
e n e m y cities.
I t a ssu m es t h a t d e te rren c e is easy a n d t h a t w o r k in g
t o w a r d d e te rren ce is enough.
T h e m in im u m d e te rren c e d o c tr in e re c o g n ize s tw o im p o r t a n t t r u t h s :
F i r s t , t h a t it is n o t n ec e ssa ry to p r o m is e t o t a l d e s tr u c tio n t o a n a t io n
to d eter it.
S e c o n d , t h a t th e str a te g ic n u c le a r b a la n c e is u n sta b le a n d
t h a t w e s h o u ld t r y t o s ta b iliz e it.
H o w e v e r , t h is d o c tr in e h a s im p o r ­
t a n t lim ita tio n s .
C o n t r a r y t o th e v ie w t h a t d e te rren c e is e a sy , th e
d ifficu lties o f a s s u r in g r e ta lia tio n are g r e a t.
T h e e ffe c tiv e w e ig h t o f
a tta c k d e liv e re d in r e ta lia tio n m i g h t b e v e r y m u c h le ss th a n t h e le v e l
t h a t w o u ld b e le th a l t o a n a tio n .
I t m ig h t , in so m e c irc u m sta n c e s,
p e r m it th e a g g r e s s o r t o r e c o v e r r a p id ly . M o s t i m p o r t a n t ly , t h is v ie w
a ssu m e s t h a t b o th sid e s w o u ld in e v ita b ly d ire c t a g r e a t w e ig h t o f a tta c k
a g a in s t o p p o s in g c iv il t a r g e ts .
I t is b y n o m e a n s c e r ta in t h a t t h is
w o u ld h a p p e n in a g e n e r a l w a r ; b o t h sid e s m i g h t h a v e a g r e a t in c e n ­
t iv e t o a v o id citie s.
A n u c le a r w a r m i g h t b e b li n d d e str u c tio n , b u t
o n th e o th e r h a n d i t m i g h t n o t. A t b est, i t w o u ld o ffe r a r is k y p r o s ­
p e c t.
N e v e r th e le ss, a lth o u g h w e ll-c h o se n d e fe n se p o lic ie s c a n red u ce
th e lik e lih o o d o f w a r , it seem s d o u b t f u l t h e y ca n re d u c e its lik e lih o o d
t o z e ro .
T h e s e c o n sid e r a tio n s a rg u e f o r s o m e th in g m o r e t h a n c o m ­
p le t e d e p e n d en ce o n n u c le a r d eterren ce.
Deterrence plus insurance.— T h i s v ie w g iv e s g r e a t e m p h a s is t o th e
d iffic u lty o f h a v in g a n a ssu red r e t a lia to r y c a p a b ilit y . I t a lso h o ld s
t h a t d iffe r e n t p o ssib le o u tc o m e s o f a g e n e r a l w a r c a n b e d is tin g u is h e d
a n d t h a t th e o u tc o m e w o u ld d e p e n d o n th e p r e p a r a tio n s o f th e c o n ­
te n d e rs, t h e ir w a r o b je c tiv e s, a n d c irc u m sta n c e s a t th e w a r ’s in c e p ­
t io n .
T h i s v ie w d o e s n o t p la c e p r im a r y r e lia n c e f o r th e d e fe n s e o f
a n y v e r y la r g e p a r t o f th e w o r ld o n th e th r e a t o f g e n e r a l n u c le a r w a r .
F o r t h a t o b je c tiv e , it e m p h a siz e s c a p a b ilitie s f o r d ir e c t d e fe n s e a b r o a d .
I t in c lu d e s in su ra n c e as w e ll as d e te rren ce c a p a b ilitie s — in su ra n c e in
th e f o r m o f s t r o n g a c tiv e a n d p a ssiv e d e fe n se s in th e U n it e d S t a te s a n d
s tr a te g ic fo r c e s d e sig n e d to a tta c k th e e n e m y ’s m i li t a r y fo r c e s . A n d
it in c lu d e s in su ra n c e in th e f o r m o f a n a b ilit y to fig h t a n u c le a r w a r
in a c o n tr o lle d m a n n e r . F i n a l l y , it is c o n c e rn e d a b o u t th e s t a b ility
o f th e b a la n c e o f te r r o r , th e d a n g e r o f a c r isis e x p lo d in g in to a g e n ­
eral w ar.

Extended deterrence.— M u c h o f t h e b u r d e n o f th e d e fe n s e o f E u r o p e
in th e 1 9 5 0 ’s h a s re ste d o n th e th r e a t o f a U . S . a tta c k a g a in s t t h e S o v ie t
U n io n ev en in th e fa c e o f n o n n u c le a r a g g r e s s io n . T h e e x te n d e d d e te r­
ren ce d o c tr in e r e c o g n ize s th a t th e th r e a t o f U . S . in itia t io n o f g e n e r a l
n u c le a r w a r h a s b een a n d is a n im p o r t a n t b u lw a r k o f o u r d e fe n s e
a b r o a d a n d seeks t o m a k e i t m o r e c re d ib le .
( I t s h o u ld b e d is t in ­



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5

g u is h e d f r o m th e d e c la r a to r y p o lic y o f m a k in g th re a ts o f g e n e r a l w a r
m c irc u m sta n c e s in w h ic h v e r y g r e a t d e v a s ta tio n t o th e U n i t e d S ta te s
w o u ld see m t o b e a certain r e s u lt .)
T h i s in cre a se d c r e d ib ility w o u ld
c o m e f r o m a n e x p a n sio n o f o ffe n se fo r c e s , o u r a ir d e fe n se s, a n d o u r
c iv il d e fe n se s. H o w e v e r , a lth o u g h m u c h c o u ld b e d o n e to str e n g th e n
o u r a b ilit y t o w a g e g e n e r a l w a r , th e n e t effectiv en ess o f su c h a p r o ­
g r a m in th e 1 9 6 0 ’s m u s t in e v ita b ly b e u n c e r ta in . A n d a g r e a t ly e x ­
p a n d e d p r o g r a m to in cre ase o u r g e n e r a l w a r c a p a b ilitie s m i g h t in ­
crease t h e c h a n c es o f g e n e r a l w a r , b ecau se i t w o u ld m a k e u s lo o k m o r e
th r e a te n in g . I t m i g h t in cre ase his lik e lih o o d o f h it t in g u s first. T h i s
is n o t t o s a y t h a t a p r o g r a m a im e d a t s u s ta in in g th e fo r c e o f o u r g e n ­
e r a l w a r th r e a t as a d e te rren c e to a g g r e s s io n a b r o a d w o u ld b e in fe a s ­
ib le o r w ith o u t e ffe c t; it is to s a y t h a t su c h a p r o g r a m w o u ld be
d ifficu lt, c o s tly , u n c e r ta in , a n d r is k y .
Massive retaliation.— T h i s d o c tr in e a p p lie s th e t h r e a t o f g e n e r a l
n u c le a r w a r , o r th e th r e a t o f a ctio n s w h ic h m a k e a b i g w a r s u b sta n ­
t i a ll y m o r e lik e ly , to th e d e fe n se o f m u c h o f th e fr e e w o r ld . H o w e v e r ,
i f o u r th r e a t o f g e n e r a l w a r r e ta in s so m e v a lid it y in th e d e fe n se o f so
v it a l a n a re a a s E u r o p e , it lo se s m u c h f o r o th e r p a r ts o f th e w o r ld .
A n d th e e x p e c te d s h ift s in th e m ilit a r y p o w e r b a la n c e in th e 1 9 6 0 ’s
w i l l d im in is h th e v a li d it y o f th is d o c tr in e t h r o u g h o u t.
I n su m , it
a p p e a r s t h a t a g r e a te r c o n c e n tr a tio n o n d ir e c t d e fe n se o f a ll o versea s
a re a s w i l l b e n ee d ed .
T h e p r in c ip a l v ie w s t o b e f o u n d f o r th e d ir e c t d e fe n s e o f o versea s
a re a s a re a s f o l l o w s :
Dependence on tactical nuclear forces.— A p o lic y o f d e fe n d in g o v e r ­
sea s a re a s b y u s in g s m a ll n u c le a r w e a p o n s o n th e b a ttle fie ld w o u ld
in te rp o s e a le v e l o f d e fe n se b e tw e e n th e u se o f n o n n u c le a r w e a p o n s
a n d a ll-o u t n u c le a r w a r . T h e y w o u ld g iv e u s g r a d u a te d d ete rren ce .
H o w e v e r , th e R u s s ia n s h a v e th e se w e a p o n s, t o o ; a ta c tic a l n u c le a r w a r
w o u ld b e t w o -s id e d . O n e con sequ en ce is t h a t su c h a n e x c h a n g e m ig h t
r e s u lt in g r e a t c iv ilia n d a m a g e in th e a re a f o u g h t o v e r .
A n o t h e r is
th a t a lth o u g h a n y w a r b e tw e e n th e U n it e d S ta te s a n d th e C o m m u n is t
b lo c c a rrie s th e g r a v e r is k o f e x p lo d in g in to a ll-o u t w a r , a n u c le a r w a r
w o u ld see m s u b s ta n tia lly m o r e lik e ly to d o so th a n a n o n n u c le a r one.
E v e n so , w e c a n n o t d isp e n se w it h a ta c tic a l n u c le a r c a p a b i li t y ; in
so m e c irc u m sta n c e s w e m i g h t elect to in itia te th is t y p e o f w a r . O n th e
o th e r h a n d , p e r h a p s w e a re p r e p a r in g o u r o v ersea s fo r c e s to o e x ­
c lu s iv e ly f o r th is t y p e o f c o m b a t, a n d n e g le c t in g p r e p a r a tio n s f o r n o n ­
n u c le a r con flict.
Establishment of independent nuclear forces.— A seco n d a lte r n a tiv e
f o r th e m o r e d ir e c t d e fe n s e o f o v ersea a re a s, o n e a lr e a d y ch osen b y
B r it a in a n d F r a n c e , is t o b u ild u p in d e p e n d e n t n u c le a r fo r c e s. O r a
E u r o p e a n fo r c e m i g h t b e crea ted . H o w e v e r , i f e ith e r a E u r o p e a n o r
se p a r a te n a tio n a l fo r c e is t o h a v e a sta b le r e ta lia to r y c a p a b ilit y in th e
fa c e o f a n u c le a r a ssa u lt, i t m u s t b e d e sig n e d to s u r v iv e a n e n e m y first
strik e .
T h i s t a s k is difficu lt ev en in th e U n it e d S ta te s . I f n o t a t ­
ta in e d a b r o a d , o r w o r se , i f n o t e v en a tte m p te d , a d d it io n a l n u c le a r
fo r c e s c o u ld b e s e r io u sly d e s ta b iliz in g to w o r ld p e ace. A n d f o r th e
U n i t e d S ta te s to a id in th e e s ta b lish m e n t o f in d e p e n d e n t n u c le a r
fo r c e s r u n s c o u n te r t o o u r p o lic y o f d is c o u r a g in g th e s p r e a d o f n u c le a r
w e a p o n s a r o u n d th e w o r ld . T h i s p o lic y h a s b een b a se d o n th e b e lie f
t h a t th e lo n g -t e r m se c u r ity o f th e U n it e d S t a te s a n d th e en tire w o r ld
w o u ld b e p r e ju d ic e d b y th e w id e r d iffu s io n o f b o m b s— e sp e c ia lly i f




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t h e y w e re t o g e t in to th e h a n d s o f irr e sp o n sib le p o w e r s. N e v e r th e le ss,
th e p r o ce ss o f d iffu s io n is u n d e r w a y . T h o u g h difficu lt o r im p o s s ib le to
s to p it , it m a y be p o ssib le to slo w it d o w n . I n th e e n d , w e m i g h t fin d
o u r se lv e s fo r c e d to h e lp b u ild u p th e n u c le a r c a p a b ilitie s o f so m e o f
o u r a llie s i f fe a s ib le a lte rn a tiv e s h a v e b een fo r e c lo se d . W e sh o u ld b e
r e a d y f o r th is c o n tin g e n c y .
Use of nonnuclear forces.— T h e d is tin c tio n b etw e e n a n u c le a r a n d a
n o n n u c le a r b o m b d e to n a tio n is n o w , a n d w ill r e m a in f o r so m e tim e , u n ­
m is ta k a b le . I t is t h is d istin c tio n t h a t g iv e s m o s t s u p p o r t t o th e h o p e
t h a t a n o n n u c le a r lim ite d w a r c o u ld b e k e p t lim ite d . T h i s d is tin c tio n
seem s w o r th p r e s e r v in g . M o r e o v e r , c o n tr a r y to th e w id e s p r e a d b e lie f,
w e d o not h a v e a b a sic in fe r io r it y in n o n n u c le a r c a p a b ilitie s in m a n y
a re a s a b r o a d . F o r e x a m p le , th e ec o n o m ic reso u rces, p o p u la t io n a n d
t e c h n o lo g y o f th e N A T O p o w e rs a re su p e rio r to th o se o f th e W a r s a w
P a c t c o u n trie s.
( T h e situ a tio n o f th e n o n -C o m m u n is t c o u n trie s o f
A s i a is less f a v o r a b le .)
I n E u r o p e — w h e re w e a re s t r o n g — w e h a v e
n o t d r a w n su fficien tly o n o u r u n d e r ly in g n o n n u c le a r s tr e n g th . A c t u ­
a lly a n e c o n o m ic a lly fe a s ib le g o a l f o r N A T O w o u ld b e n o t h in g le ss
th a n th e a b ilit y to d e fe a t R u s s ia n fo r c e s, a llo w in g f o r th e m o b iliz a tio n
p o te n tia ls o f b o th sid e s, a t th e n o n n u c le a r le v e l. S u c h a p o lic y , a l­
t h o u g h n o t a c o m p le te o n e f o r th e d e fe n se o f E u r o p e , w o u ld d o m u c h
t o fr e e N A T O p o lic y f r o m h a v in g to fa c e th e g r i m a lte r n a tiv e o f i n e f ­
fe c tu a l a c tio n o r n u c le a r w a r . H o w e v e r , th e h is to r y o f N A T O t h r o w s
serio u s d o u b t o n th e p o lit ic a l lik e lih o o d o f su c h a co u rse, in th e absen ce
o f a crisis.
N o in fo r m e d p e r so n c a n v ie w th e lo n g r u n p r o s p e c t f o r p e a c e w ith
a n y e q u a n im ity . W e a re in a n u r g e n t a rm s r a c e ; in f a c t , w e a re in
se v e r a l. T h e r e is th e race in m ilit a r y t e c h n o lo g y , th e ra c e in t r y i n g
t o p re se rv e r e ta lia to r y c a p a b ilitie s, th e race to w a r d o u te r sp a c e , a n d
o th e rs. S o m e a re h a r m f u l to th e cau se o f w o r ld p e ace, b u t n o t a ll o f
th e m .
T h i s fa c t m a k e s it im p o r t a n t t o d is t in g u is h a m o n g th e m .
T h o s e a sp ec ts o f th e ra c e t h a t p r o m is e t o red u c e th e lik e lih o o d o f w a r
o r its excesses i f it c o m e s, d e serv e s u p p o r t ; th is is n o t tru e o f th o se t h a t
a ct to m a k e w a r m o r e lik e ly o r e x c e ssiv e ly d e str u c tiv e . A n d th e r e a re
se v e r a l o m in o u s d e v e lo p m e n ts o f th e la tte r k i n d : th e p o s s ib ilit y t h a t
th e u n e a s y b a la n c e o f d e te rren ce m a y b e u p se t, th e d iffu s io n o f n u c le a r
w e a p o n s t h r o u g h o u t th e w o r ld , a n d , p e r h a p s m o s t im p o r t a n t ly , th e
lo n g r u n con sequences o f a d v a n c in g m ilit a r y te c h n o lo g y .
I n a d d it io n to se e k in g a p e a c e fu l so lu tio n to o u r se c u r ity p r o b le m
t h r o u g h n a tio n a l d e fe n se s w e can t r y to m itig a t e th e w o r s t a sp e c ts o f
>he a r m s race th r o u g h d is a r m a m e n t. O r r a th e r th r o u g h arms control,
f o r a tt e m p t in g to c o n tr o l a r m s seem s to be a m o r e f r u i t f u l a p p r o a c h
t o w a r d a s ta b le p eace th a n th e a tte m p t s im p ly to d o a w a y w it h a rm s.
I n f a c t , so m e a g r e e m e n ts a im e d a t e lim in a tin g a r m s m i g h t in fa c t
m a k e w a r m o r e lik e ly . A l t h o u g h a g r e e m e n ts o n th e co n tro l o f a rm s
h a v e p r o v e n d ifficu lt to c o n c lu d e in th e p o s tw a r p e r io d , th e r e see m to
b e s e v e r a l p o ssib le a reas o f m u tu a l in te re st b e tw e e n th e S o v ie t U n io n
a n d o u rselv e s. A g r e e m e n t m i g h t b e rea ch ed o n m ea su re s t o red u ce th e
lik e lih o o d o f a d e lib e r a te su r p r ise a tta c k , o r t o red u c e th e p o s s ib ilit y
o f a w a r b y m isc a lc u la tio n , o r o n th e d iffu s io n o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s, o r
o n s o m e f o r m o f d is e n g a g e m e n t a b r o a d .
S u c h p a r t ia l a g r e e m e n ts
m i g h t b e u s e fu l b ecau se, i f o u r g o a l is a p e a c e fu l e v o lu tio n o f o u r
s o c ie ty a n d t h a t o f o th e r co u n trie s r a th e r th a n th e e lim in a tio n o f




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

7

a r m a m e n ts p e r se, a g r e e d m ea su re s w o u ld n o t b e in te n d e d as a r e p la c e ­
m e n t f o r n a t io n a l d e fe n se s.
I n s u m , th e d e c a d e o f th e 1 9 6 0 ’s w ill b e a d e c a d e o f g r e a t d a n g e r .
W e h a v e been t h r u s t in to a s itu a tio n in w h ic h n u c le a r th r e a ts, c o u n te r ­
th re a ts , a n d c oe rcio n seem in e v ita b le . I n t h is s itu a tio n w e are fa c e d
w it h th re e b r o a d c h o ic e s : ( 1 ) T h e d e fe n se o b je c tiv e s w e w ill s u p p o r t,
( 2 ) th e e x te n t to w h ic h w e a re w i lli n g to r is k a ll-o u t w a r in s u p p o r t
o f th ese o b je c tiv e s, a n d ( 3 ) o u r w illin g n e s s to m a k e e c o n o m ic sa c r i­
fices. I f w e t r y h o ld i n g C o m m u n is t m i li t a r y p o w e r b e h in d its p re se n t
b o u n d a rie s, a n d i f it p resse s o p e n ly a g a in s t th e m , th e n w e m i g h t b e
fo r c e d in to a la r g e d e fe n se e ffo r t— o r a lte r n a tiv e ly fo r c e d to a b a n d o n
so m e o f o u r d e fe n se o b je c tiv e s a b r o a d . I f , o n th e c o n tr a r y , t h e C o m ­
m u n is ts co m e t o a ccep t th e sta tu s q u o , so m e o f o u r d e fe n se e ffo r ts c o u ld
be red u c e d . W e sh o u ld b e c le a r , h o w e v e r , t h a t p r e s e r v in g a secu re
r e ta lia to r y p o w e r w ill b e d ifficu lt in a n y case. B e y o n d t h a t w e sh o u ld
be p r e p a r e d to m e e t a g g r e ssio n o v e r a w id e sp e c tr u m . W h e r e p o ssib le ,
w e a n d o u r a llie s sh o u ld b u ild u p d e fe n se s a b r o a d t h a t d o n o t fo r c e
u s to ste p u p th e le v e l o f v io le n c e su b s ta n tia lly i f th ese d e fe n se s are
to b e effectiv e. T h i s is n o t to sa y t h a t w e m i g h t n o t ch oo se to in crease
th e le v e l o f v io le n c e , f o r th ere m a y be c irc u m sta n c es in w h ic h w e w o u ld
n o t o n ly w a n t t o th re a te n g r e a te r v io le n c e b u t to c a r r y o u t o u r th re a t
in d e fe n s e o f o u r in te re sts.
O u r p r e fe r r e d g e n e r a l w a r a lte r n a tiv e s f o r th e 1 9 6 0 ’s w o u ld seem
to cen ter o n th e d e te rr e n c e -p lu s-in sjir a n c e p o sitio n .
T h i s v ie w does
n o t d e n y e x te n d e d d eterren ce so m e v a lu e ; r a th e r it h o ld s t h a t th e
d e fe n se o f o v ersea s a reas s h o u ld d e p e n d m o r e o n d ir e c t d e fe n se s
a b r o a d . A n d p r o b a b ly th e s in g le m o s t u s e fu l d ir e c tio n in w h ic h w e
sh o u ld m o v e a b r o a d is t o e m p h a siz e n o n n u c le a r d e fe n ses m o r e in o u r
n e tw o rk o f a llia n c e s.
I t is n o t p o s s ib le t o p r e d ic t w it h a n y con fid en ce th e p a tte r n o f th e
d e fe n s e b u d g e t o v e r th e n e x t d ecad e. T h e r e is to o m u c h u n c e r ta in ty
in te c h n o lo g y , in th e fu t u r e b e h a v io r o f th e C o m m u n is t b lo c n a tio n s,
a n d in o u r o w n resp o n ses t o c h a lle n g e s.
A n e x t r a p o la t io n o f th e
tren d o f th e p a s t fe w y e a r s su g g e s ts th a t d e fe n se b u d g e ts m i g h t d r i f t
d o w n w a r d as a p e r c e n ta g e o f o u r g r o s s n a tio n a l p r o d u c t. H o w e v e r ,
i f w e t r y t o m a in t a in a m o r e c e r ta in a b ilit y to r e ta lia te a ft e r a tta c k
a n d t o li m i t d a m a g e t o th e U n it e d S t a te s , w h ile m a in t a in in g s tr o n g
fo r c e s a b r o a d , o u r d e fe n s e b u d g e t m a y h a v e to in cre a se a t a ra te c o m ­
p a r a b le to th e r a te o f g r o w t h o f o u r G N P o r f a s t e r ; p e r h a p s fa s te r
because th e r a p id g r o w t h o f th e S o v ie t a n d C h in e se ec o n o m ies a n d ,
p o s s ib ly , d e fe n s e b u d g e ts m a y fo r c e u s to— u n less w e li m i t so m e o f o u r
oversea s o b je c tiv e s o r su cceed in s h i f t i n g m o r e o f th e b u r d e n o f d e fe n se
to o u r a llie s.
A lt e r n a t i v e ly , i f w e w e re to a d o p t th e m in im u m d e te rren ce d o c tr in e
f o r g e n e r a l w a r , a n d i f C o m m u n is t b lo c r e d u c tio n s in g r o u n d fo r c e s,
a lo n g w ith its r e c o g n itio n o f c u r r e n t b o u n d a r ie s seem ed to red u ce th e
th r e a t o f a g g r e s s io n a b r o a d , w e m i g h t red u ce o u r d e fe n se b u d g e t
s h a r p ly . O n th is a s s u m p tio n , it m i g h t f a l l d u r in g th e 1 9 6 0 ’s t o , sa y
5 o r 6 p e rc e n t o f o u r G N P f r o m th e p r e se n t le v e l o f 9 p e rc e n t.
F i n a l l y , w e m u s t c o n tin u e t o k e ep in m in d th e p o s s ib ilit y t h a t a
g r e a t w a r c risis c o u ld o cc u r so m e tim e b etw e en n o w a n d 1 9 7 0 . I f so,
o u r d e fe n se b u d g e t m i g h t h a v e to b e g r e a t ly e x p a n d e d , p o s s ib ly to
$ 1 0 0 b illio n a y e a r o r m o r e .




8

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y
I . O u r S e c u r it y P rospects i n t h e 1960’s
A. OUR MAJOR MILITARY OBJECTIVES

T h e m a j o r m i li t a r y o b je c tiv e s o f th e U n it e d S ta te s as t h e y h a v e
e v o lv e d o v e r th e p a s t d e c a d e o r m o r e c a n b e su m m a r iz e d as f o l l o w s :
1. T o d e te r d ir e c t n u c le a r a tta c k o n th e U n it e d S t a te s w h ic h
m i g h t o cc u r d e lib e r a te ly o r a s th e r e s u lt o f m is c a lc u la tio n o r a c ­
cid en t.
2 . I f d e te rren ce f a i ls , to li m i t d a m a g e t o th e U n i t e d S t a te s a n d
o b ta in t h e b est w a r o u tc o m e t h a t c o u ld b e o b ta in e d .
3. T o d e te r a g g r e s s io n a g a in s t o u r m a j o r a llie s, a n d i f d e te r ­
ren ce f a i ls t o h e lp to d e fe n d th e m .
4 . T o a id in th e d e fe n se o f o th e r a llie s a n d o f th e fr e e w o r ld .
T h e s e o b je c tiv e s c a n n o t b e e a sily t r a n s la te d b y p la n n in g s ta ffs in to
m i li t a r y re q u ir e m e n ts f o r th e d e v e lo p m e n t, p r o d u c tio n a n d o p e r a tio n
o f w e a p o n sy ste m s.
O n th e c o n tr a r y , t h e y in te ra c t w it h ea ch o th e r
a n d p a r t ia lly c o n flic t; e v en th e sim p le s t a re p la g u e d b y m a jo r te c h ­
n ic a l a n d s tr a te g ic c h a n g e s a n d u n c erta in ties.
T h e first t w o , d e te r r in g
n u c le a r a tta c k o n t h is c o u n tr y a n d li m i t i n g d a m a g e t o i t , w e re first
c o n sid e red se r io u sly o n ly a ft e r A u g u s t o f 1 9 4 9 w h e n th e R u s s ia n s ,
u n e x p e c te d ly e a r ly , d e to n a te d th e ir first a to m ic b o m b .
N o r a re t h e y
in d e p e n d e n t o f ea ch o th e r.
O u r a b ilit y t o li m i t d a m a g e to th e U n it e d
S ta te s a n d to o b ta in a fa v o r a b le m ilit a r y o u tc o m e i f a w a r o ccu rs w i l l
a ffe c t b o th th e w illin g n e s s o f th e C o m m u n is t p o w e r s t o e n g a g e in a g ­
g r e s s io n a g a in s t o u r m a jo r a llie s a n d th e lik e lih o o d o f a n a tta c k
d ir e c t ly a g a in s t th e U n it e d S ta te s.
A n d o u r su ccess in h e lp i n g t o
d e fe n d a llie s a b r o a d w ill affect th e lo n g -r u n a b ilit y o f th e U n i t e d
S t a te s to s u r v iv e as a fr e e so cie ty . M o r e o v e r , m o s t o f o u r m i li t a r y
o b je c tiv e s are s u b o r d in a te to o v e r a ll n a tio n a l fo r e ig n p o lic y o b je c tiv e s
w h ic h th em se lv e s a re f a r f r o m p rec ise a n d u n c h a n g e a b le .
E v e r y im ­
p o r ta n t m ilit a r y p o lic y issu e w h ic h fa c e s u s h a s sig n ific a n t n o n m i li ­
t a r y fo r e ig n p o lic y a s p e c t s : T h e v u ln e r a b ility o f th e U n it e d S t a te s
t o a tta c k , a lte r n a tiv e m e th o d s o f a id in g th e d e fe n se o f o u r a llie s , d is ­
a r m a m e n t, th e d iffu s io n o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s.
I n th e n a r r o w b u t
c r u c ia l c o n te x t o f th e E a s t - W e s t c o n flic t, t h e th r e a ts to th e W e s t t a k e
m a n y n o n m ilit a r y f o r m s : I d e a lo g ic a l, e c o n o m ic , c u ltu r a l.
N o one
c o u ld a r g u e c o n v in c in g ly t h a t o u r p o lic ie s in th is c o n flic t s h o u ld b e
se ttle d o n ly o n m ilit a r y g r o u n d s . B u t t h e m ilit a r y c o m p o n e n t o f o u r
fo r e i g n p o lic y d e serve s se p a r a te s t u d y . I t p r o v id e s t h e s a n c tio n t o
k e e p th e c o ld w a r c o ld . M o s t im p o r t a n t ly , th e r e is a serio u s m i li t a r y
th r e a t, a n d th e c o n sequ en ces o f w a r in th e 1 9 6 0 ’s a re so g r a v e a s to
d o m in a te m a n y o f o u r f o r e i g n a n d d o m e stic p o lic ie s.
T h e r e la tio n o f th e se m i li t a r y o b je c tiv e s t o th e o r g a n iz a tio n o f t h e
D e p a r tm e n t o f D e fe n s e a n d t o th e o r g a n iz a tio n o f o u r b u d g e t s f o r
d e fe n s e is n o t o b v io u s.
W e a re u se d t o t h in k in g o f o u r m i li t a r y
p r o b le m s in te r m s o f t h e s e p a r a te serv ic e s, b u t th e t r a d it io n a l a llo c a ­
t io n o f fu n c t io n s a m o n g serv ic e s n o lo n g e r c o n fo r m s v e r y c lo s e ly
t o o u r o b je c tiv e s. M o r e o v e r , th e stru c tu re o f o u r d e fe n se b u d g e t is
o r g a n iz e d in la r g e p a r t a c c o r d in g to th e in p u ts to w e a p o n s y ste m s,
t h a t is, a c c o r d in g t o th e m e n , e q u ip m e n t, fu e l, a n d p a y t h a t g o e s t o
s u p p o r t o u r M i li t a r y E s t a b lis h m e n t .
I t y ie ld s r e la tiv e ly li t t le i n ­
fo r m a t io n o n h o w o u r d e fe n se e ffo r t m a tc h e s o u r s e p a r a te o b je c tiv e s.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

9

M o s t p e o p le s i m p ly d o n o t k n o w , ev e n a p p r o x im a t e ly , w h a t w e a re
s p e n d m g f o r d e te r r in g a tta c k o n th e U n it e d S t a te s , o r f o r d e fe n d in g
E u ro p e or A s ia .
T h e id e n tific a tio n o f a m i li t a r y a c t iv it y w i t h
s in g le o b je c tiv e , e v e n a b r o a d o n e , is o f co u rse, a n o v e r s im p lific a tio n .
M a n y o f o u r fo r c e s h a v e a c o n tr ib u tio n t o m a k e t o se v e r a l o b je c tiv e s.
N e v e r th e le s s , it is in str u c tiv e t o r e la te o u r fo r c e s to t h e ir p r im a r y
o b je c tiv e s , a n d in t h is se c tio n is d isc u sse d ea ch o f t h e f o u r m a j o r
o b je c tiv e s , h o w w e h a v e a tte m p te d t o a c c o m p lis h th e m , th e k in d s o f
m i li t a r y c a p a b ilitie s u sed f o r t h is p u r p o s e , th e sc a le o f e ffo r t w e
h a v e p u t in to ea ch , a n d th e m o s t u r g e n t p r o b le m s w e fa c e in a tt a in ­
i n g ea ch one.

a

Deterring direct attach on the United States
T h e k e y s to n e o f U . S . m i li t a r y p o lic y h a s co m e to b e th e d e te rren ce
o f d ir e c t n u c le a r a tta c k a g a in s t t h e U n it e d S t a te s t h r o u g h th e th re a t
o f n u c le a r r e ta lia tio n a g a in s t th e a g g r e s s o r .
T h e c e n t r a lit y o f t h is
o b je c tiv e sc a r c e ly n ee d s e x p la n a tio n .
W e m u s t a tta in i t e v e n in s it ­
u a tio n s o f th e g r e a te s t in te r n a tio n a l te n sio n , s itu a tio n s i n w h ic h th e
e n e m y ’s t e m p ta tio n t o str ik e m i g h t b e v e r y g r e a t.
M o r e o v e r , th e ta sk
o f a s s u r in g r e ta lia tio n f o ll o w in g a d ir e c t n u c le a r a tta c k is m u c h m o r e
difficu lt th a n is o ft e n b e lie v e d .
I t is n o t a u to m a tic . W e m u s t h a v e
a s tr a te g ic n u c le a r fo r c e w h ic h is p r e p a r e d t o s u r v iv e a w e ll-d e s ig n e d
a n d w e ll-e x e c u te d s u r p r ise n u c le a r a ssa u lt, a n d w h ic h c a n r e ta lia te
e ffe c tiv e ly .la
T h e a d v a n ta g e p o ssesse d b y th e a g g r e s s o r in a n u c le a r w a r is i m ­
m en se.
H e m a y b e a b le t o ch oo se th e tim e o f a tta c k , p r e p a r e h is fo r c e s,
a le r t h is d e fe n se s, a n d la u n c h h is a tta c k b y su r p r ise .
H i s fo r c e s,
u n lik e th o se o f th e d e fe n d e r , c a n c a r r y o u t th e ir a tta c k in a r e la tiv e ly
p r e d ic ta b le e n v ir o n m e n t. T h i s m e a n s t h a t ev en w it h o u t th e a d v a n ­
ta g e o f t o t a l s u r p r ise , th e a b ilit y to d e liv e r t h e fir st th e r m o n u c le a r b lo w
a g a in s t b a se s, p o lit ic a l a n d m i li t a r y cen ters, a n d c itie s c o u ld b e d e ­
c isiv e.
T h i s c r u c ia l fa c t h a s b e c o m e m o r e w id e ly u n d e r s to o d in th e
p ast year.
O n e o f its m a j o r im p lic a t io n s is th a t th e s t r e n g t h o f o u r
d e te rr e n t p o w e r is n o t a d e q u a te ly m e a su re d b y th e n u m b e r o f b o m b e r s
a n d m is s ile s w e a n d o u r o p p o n e n t p o ssess in p e a c e tim e . A n d it is n o t
en o u g h t o c o n s id e r th e v e h ic le s w e c a n g e t r e a d y o n sh o r t n o tic e , n o r
o n ly th o se t h a t , s u r v iv in g a n e n e m y a ssa u lt, c a n b e la u n c h e d .
W e
m u s t in a d d it io n e stim a te h o w m a n y a c tu a lly w o u ld receiv e o rd e r s
f o r la u n c h , th e p r o p o r t io n t h a t w o u ld o p e r a te w it h o u t a fa ilu r e in
flig h t , t h e ir a b ilit y t o p e n e tra te e n e m y d e fe n se s a n d t o d e to n a te on
th e r ig h t ta r g e ts .
F i n a l l y w e m u s t assess th e a c tu a l d a m a g e d o n e
to th e e n e m y ta r g e ts , a llo w in g f o r th e p o s s ib ilit y t h a t th e se m a y b e
p r o te c te d b y p a s s iv e d e fe n s e s ; th e m i li t a r y fo r c e s t h a t b o t h w e a n d
th e en e m y m i g h t h a v e s u r v i v i n g ; a n d o u r o w n c iv il d a m a g e a n d t h a t
o f o u r a llie s.
E a c h o f th e se o b sta c les to r e ta lia tio n is s ig n ific a n t, a n d th e c o m ­
b in e d e ffe ct o f th e m in seq u en ce m i g h t be v e r y g r e a t . A fo r c e w h ic h
lo o k s fo r m id a b le e n o u g h b e fo r e th e w a r , o r in a fir st strik e , m i g h t
a c t u a lly b e a b le to d o o n ly v e r y m o d e s t d a m a g e in a seco n d strik e .
la The most authoritative discussion of thisjproblem is to be found in Albert W ohlsetter’ s
“ The Delicate Balance of Terror” Foreign Affairs, January 1959. The further references
to this paper refer to the longer version published as P -1 4 7 2 , the Rand Corp., December
1958.

50365

6 0 3




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

C o n s id e r o n ly o n e o f th e o b s ta c le s : S e le c t in g th e r ig h t ta r g e ts f o r
r e ta lia tio n . S in c e a n a tta c k ca n o cc u r w it h lit t le o r n o w a r n in g , a n d
th e in te r v a l b etw e en d e te c tio n a n d re a c tio n m i g h t h a v e to b e sh o r t,
m a n y p la n s m u s t b e m a d e in p e a c e tim e , w e ll b e fo r e th e a c tu a l c ir ­
c u m sta n ce s o f a n a tta c k .2 O u r v e h icle s m i g h t h a v e t o b e a ssig n e d to
ta r g e ts o n th e b a sis o f e stim a te s o f th e s tr e n g th o f th e su ccessive b a r ­
r ie r s t o r e ta lia tio n . I f w e u n d e re stim a te th e e n e m y ’ s s tr e n g th a n d
o v e r e stim a te o u r o w n p e r fo r m a n c e w e m ig h t lo se m u c h o f o u r fo r c e
b e fo r e it is la u n c h e d a n d en r o u te. M o s t o f th e fe w b o m b s t h a t g e t
th r o u g h w o u ld la n d o n lo w p r io r it y t a r g e ts . I f w e o v e r e stim a te th e
e n e m y , w e w o u ld c o n c e n tr a te o u r fo r c e o n r e la tiv e ly fe w ta r g e ts a n d
le a v e m a n y u n a tta c k e d . A n d e v e n i f w e e stim a te th e o v e r a ll p e r ­
fo r m a n c e o f o u r fo r c e c o r r e c tly , th e r e w o u ld b e r a n d o m v a r ia tio n
a m o n g d iffe re n t u n its a n d v e h icle s w h ic h w o u ld le a d to so m e t a r g e ts
b e in g o v e r k ille d a n d o th e r s m isse d .
M o r e o v e r , th ese q u e stio n s, im p o r ­
t a n t e n o u g h in th e m se lv e s, a re d o m in a te d b y a n o th e r .
W h a t sh o u ld
w e a t t a c k : c iv il t a r g e ts , m ilit a r y ta r g e ts , o r b o th ? T h e r e m a y b e c ir ­
cu m sta n ce s in w h ic h a tta c k in g o n e o r th e o th e r w o u ld b e q u ite w r o n g .
I f a la r g e p a r t o f o u r s tr a te g ic fo r c e w e re la u n c h e d a s t h e r e su lt o f
w a r n in g , o r t h r o u g h t h e e n e m y ’s a tta c k b e in g p o o r ly e x e c u te d , w e
m i g h t w a n t to c o n c e n tr a te a g a in s t e n e m y m i li t a r y fo r c e s a n d t o m in ­
im iz e c iv il d a m a g e t o th e e n e m y . I f fe w o f o u r fo r c e s w e re t o su r v iv e ,
t h e o n ly s ig n ific a n t r e t a lia tio n w e m i g h t b e a b le to m a n a g e w o u ld b e
a g a in s t c iv il so c ie ty .3 M o r e o v e r , o u r la s t-m in u t e t a r g e t i n g d e c isio n s
m i g h t b e c r u c ia lly a ffe c te d b y th e p o lic y o f th e e n e m y in a tta c k in g ,
o r a v o id in g , o u r o w n cities. A lt o g e t h e r , th e t a r g e t in g b a r r ie r im p o se s
a sev ere d e m a n d o n o u r s y s te m s f o r g a t h e r in g a n d c o m m u n ic a t in g d a ta
o n th e c irc u m sta n c es o f th e o u tb re a k o f a w a r , a n d f o r m a k in g d e c i­
s io n s a t th e o u tset o f th e w a r a n d th r o u g h o u t it. I t e m p h a size s th e
im p o r ta n c e o f r e t a in in g c o n tr o l o f fo r c e s .4
E v e n th e fin a l m e a su re o f o u r r e t a lia to r y p o w e r , th e m i li t a r y o r
c iv il d a m a g e o u r fo r c e s a re a b le to in flic t in r e ta lia tio n , is a n in c o m ­
p le te in d e x o f p o w e r to d e te r. T h e d e te rr e n t s tr e n g th o f th e d a m a g e
w e c o u ld in flic t w o u ld d e p e n d o n th e a lte r n a tiv e s f a c i n g o u r o p p o n e n t.
I f h e is fa c e d w it h g e n e r a lly a ttr a c tiv e p r o sp e c ts, a n d th is w o u ld seem
t o b e a p la u s ib le c u rr e n t fo r e c a s t f o r th e S o v ie t U n io n f o r th e n e x t
d e c a d e , th e a lte r n a tiv e o f s t r ik in g th e U n it e d S ta te s a lm o s t c e r t a in ly
w o u ld seem to o ffe r u n a c c e p ta b ly g r e a t r isk s. O n th e o th e r h a n d , i f
h e is s e v e r e ly p resse d o n th e p e r ip h e r y o r in te r n a lly , o r, m o s t im p o r ­
t a n t ly , i f i t a p p e a r s t h a t g e n e r a l w a r m a y b e in e v ita b le — p e r h a p s t h a t
w e m i g h t s trik e a t so m e p o in t in an a sc e n d in g s p ir a l o f v io le n c e o u t o f
a lim it e d n u c le a r w a r — th e n s t r ik in g fir st m i g h t b e p r e fe r r e d t o n o t
a tt a c k in g . I t m i g h t seem le ss r is k y .
T h i s a ssu m es t h a t o u r le a d e r s, a n d th e ir s, a re p r o n e t o c o n sid e r
c a r e f u lly th e f u l l r a n g e o f p o s s ib le o u tc o m e s a n d th e p r o b a b ilit ie s o f
2 Gen. Thomas Power in testifying before Congress had this to say about w arn in g: “ If
you have no warning— zero warning— then ask yourselves this question, W h at can you do?
Mind1 you, I told you our alert force was geared to 15 minutes warning* However, sup­
pose we had no warning ? Suppose he gets the missiles in quantity before we have B M E W ’s
[B allistic Missile Early W arning Systern] operational, or suppose B M E W ’ s do not work
out the first day they are in operation ? Then w hat do you do ? ♦ * * This warning is
the crux of the problem. W e may not get any warning of a missile attack.”
“ Depart­
ment of Defense Appropriations for 1 9 60,” House Committee on Appropriations, p. 380.
3 For a discussion of the relation between our target objectives and the size of our surviv­
ing force, see the testimony of Secretary of the A ir Force Douglas and that of the Air
Force Chief of Staff, General W hite, hearings of the House Appropriations Committee on
the Department of Defense Appropriations 1960, pp. 9 2 8 -9 2 9 .
4 For a further discussion of targeting strategies, see the discussion below.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960'S
Y

11

t h e ir o ccu rre n ce. H o w e v e r , w e c a n n o t b e su re t h a t S o v ie t o r o th e r
C o m m u n is t b lo c le a d e r s w it h n u c le a r w e a p o n s w ill be a cc u ra te c a lc u ­
la to r s . T h e y m a y b e t im i d , o r th e y m a y b e w i lli n g to ta k e la r g e r isk s.
I f t h is la tt e r p o s s ib ilit y seem s r e m o te , c o n sid e r th e w a y in w h ic h
H i t l e r m i g h t h a v e b e h a v e d h a d h e p o ssesse d th e r m o n u c le a r b o m b s.
W h i l e t h e p r e s e n t r u le r s in th e K r e m li n seem t o h a v e th e ir w its a b o u t
th e m , w e a re in n o p o s itio n t o p r e d ic t w it h con fid en ce th e b e h a v io r
o f th o se in c o m m a n d d u r in g th e n e x t d e ca d e. N o r c a n w e b e c o n fid e n t
a b o u t o th e r le a d e rs w h o m a y in t im e c o m e t o possess n u c le a r w e a p o n s.
T h e o b je c tiv e o f k e e p in g n u c le a r w e a p o n s f r o m la n d i n g o n th e
U n it e d S t a te s h a s p r e se n te d u s w it h a d u a l p r o b l e m : W e m u s t b e p r e ­
p a r e d t o r e ta lia te a f t e r a w e ll-d e s ig n e d a n d w e ll-e x e c u te d su r p r ise
a tta c k , a n d w e m u s t o p e r a te o u r fo r c e s in a w a y w h ic h d o es n o t in a d ­
v e r te n tly t r i g g e r th e v e r y w a r w e a re t r y i n g t o d e te r. W e w a n t t o lo o k
fo r m id a b le , b u t th e r e c o u ld b e r is k s in lo o k in g to o th r e a te n in g ,
e s p e c ia lly i f th e r e w e r e so m e w e a k lin k s in o u r s y ste m o f r e ta lia tio n .
A n d w e w a n t t o a v o id th e u n a u th o r iz e d o r a c c id e n ta l la u n c h in g o f
w e a p o n s a g a in s t R u s s ia . A v o i d i n g in a d v e r te n t w a r re q u ir e s r e g a r d
t o s a fe g u a r d s w h ic h p u t a n a d d it io n a l b u r d e n o n o u r a b ilit y to r e t a li­
a te a g a in s t d e lib e r a te a tta c k .
D e t e r r in g a n a tta c k a g a in s t th e c o n tin e n ta l U n it e d S t a te s t h r o u g h
th e th r e a t o f r e ta lia tio n is t h e p r im a r y m issio n o f o u r lo n g -r a n g e
b o m b e r a n d m is s ile fo r c e s .
O v e r th e n e x t sev era l y e a r s , t h is m e a n s
p r i m a r i ly th e m e d iu m -r a n g e B - 4 7 b o m b e r , th e lo n g e r r a n g e B - 5 2
e q u ip p e d w it h its H o u n d D o g a ir -la u n c h e d m issile s, th e A t l a s a n d
T i t a n in te r c o n tin e n ta l b a llis tic m issile s o f th e S t r a t e g ic A i r C o m ­
m a n d , a n d th e N a v y ’s P o la r is su b m a r in e m issile fo r c e .
B e y o n d t h a t,
th e r e a re th e M in u t e m a n I C B M a n d p o s s ib ly a n a ir -c a r r ie d b a llis tic
m is s ile . N o lo n g e r is t h is o b je c tiv e a ssig n e d to a n y c o n sid e r a b le e x ­
te n t to o v ersea s la n d -b a s e d fo r c e s.
W i t h th e g r o w t h o f S o v ie t n u ­
c le a r d e liv e r y c a p a b ilitie s , it b e c a m e in c r e a s in g ly c le a r t h a t o u r o v e r ­
seas fo r c e s sta tio n e d c lo se to th e so urces o f R u s s ia n s t r ik in g p o w e r
c o u ld n o t b e c o u n te d o n to w ith s ta n d a n a ll-o u t n u c le a r a ssa u lt.
T h is
f a c t , w h ic h h a s im p o r t a n t im p lic a tio n s f o r n a tio n s p la n n in g o n c r e a t­
i n g th e ir o w n s tr a te g ic fo r c e s , b eca m e e v id e n t w e ll b e fo r e th e a d v e n t
o f R u s s ia n b a llis tic m is s ile s a n d h a s g r e a t ly in flu e n c ed t h e d e v e lo p ­
m e n t b y t h is c o u n tr y o f in te r c o n tin e n ta l r a n g e a n d s e a -m o b ile n u ­
c le a r d e liv e r y c a p a b ilitie s.
T h i s is n o t t o sa y t h a t o v e r se a s-b a se d
fo r c e s h a v e n o c o n tr ib u tio n t o m a k e t o g e n e r a l w a r .5 T h e y m a y b e
a b le t o h e lp s ig n ific a n tly in li m i t i n g d a m a g e i f d e te rren c e f a i ls , to
c o n tr ib u te t o a U . S . str ik e in re sp o n se t o a n a tta c k o n a n a lly , o r to
p e n a liz e th e a g g r e s s o r i f h is a tta c k w e r e p o o r ly e x e c u te d b y d is r u p t ­
i n g so m e p a r t o f it.
H o w e v e r , o u r b e d r o c k c a p a b ilit y f o r d e te r r in g
a n a tta c k o n th e U n it e d S ta te s m u s t in th e fu t u r e r e sid e la r g e ly in o u r
s tr a te g ic a ir p o w e r ( in c lu d in g th e N a v y ’s b a llis tic m is s ile f o r c e s ) .
T h e o th e r fo r c e c o n t r ib u t in g s ig n ific a n tly to th is o b je c tiv e h a s been
o u r c o n tin e n ta l a ir d e fe n s e s y ste m .
I t h e lp s t o p r o te c t o u r r e ta lia to r y
fo r c e p r im a r ily b y t r y i n g to g iv e it w a r n in g o f a tta c k .
I t d o es t h is
b y p r o v id in g w a r n in g b a r r ie r s t o d e te c t e n e m y v e h ic le s en r o u te ,
a n d b y p r o v i d i n g a c tiv e d e fe n se s d e sig n e d to sh o o t d o w n so m e p a r t o f
th e a tt a c k in g fo r c e . I f th e e n e m y w e r e t o o ffse t o u r a c tiv e d e fe n se s
6 T h e term “general w ar” as used In this paper means a large scale nuclear exchange
In w hich the homelands o f the Soviet U n io n ana the United States w ould be attacked.




12

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

b y s e n d in g m o r e v e h ic le s, t h is la r g e r e n e m y a tta c k w o u ld b e c o m e ea sier
t o d e te c t in p r e p a r a tio n f o r la u n c h o r o n th e w a y .
A n d a p a rt fr o m
i t s w a r n in g c o n tr ib u tio n , a c tiv e d e fe n se s h e lp t o p r o te c t n o n r e a d y
b o m b e r s a n d m is s ile s a n d th o se c o m m a n d a n d c o m m u n ic a tio n f u n c ­
t io n s t h a t a re e sse n tia l t o c a r r y in g o u t th e t a s k o f r e ta lia tio n .
I t is b e c o m in g w id e ly r e c o g n iz e d t h a t w e fa c e in th e im m e d ia te f u ­
t u r e t h e c r u c ia l t a s k o f a s s u r in g t h a t o u r s tr a te g ic p o w e r c a n r e t a lia te
w it h h ig h c on fid en ce in t h e fa c e o f g r o w i n g S o v ie t o ffe n siv e a n d d e ­
fe n s iv e c a p a b ilitie s , a n d t o d o th is w h ile k e e p in g th e r isk s o f a cc id e n ts
a n d u n a u th o r iz e d a c tio n s lo w .
M u c h o f t h is c u r r e n t c o n c e rn is c u r r e n tly b e in g fo c u s e d o n t h e p o s ­
s ib ilit y o f a n e a r -t e r m w e ak n ess o f o u r str a te g ic fo r c e — sy m b o liz e d
b y th e “ m is s ile g a p .”
T h e c o n c e p t o f th e “ g a p ” is p r i m a r i ly c o n ­
c e r n e d w it h o n e a sp e c t o f t h e p r o b le m o f r e t a lia tio n , t h e v u ln e r ­
a b ilit y o f o u r fo r c e s to a b a llis tic m is s ile a tta c k . I n f a c t , w e sh o u ld b e
c o n ce rn e d o v e r th e g r o w i n g S o v ie t b a llis tic m is s ile fo r c e , f o r b a llis tic
m is s ile s a re a r e m a r k a b ly efficient a n d fo r m id a b le s u r p r is e a tta c k
w e a p o n . T h e g r e a t a n d p r e d ic ta b le sp e ed s im p lifie s th e a g g r e s s o r ’ s
p r o b le m o f c o o r d in a t in g a w o r ld w id e a tta c k o n w id e ly s e p a r a te d b a s e s ;
t h is sp e e d a lso m a k e s t o t a lly in e ffe c tiv e a ll e x is tin g a c tiv e d e fe n s e s ; its
c o m b in e d a cc u r a c y a n d w a r h e a d y ie ld m a y assu re th e d e str u c tio n o f
th e s o f t e le m e n ts o n b o m b e r a n d m is s ile b a s e s : B o m b e r s , m is s ile s ,
a b o v e -g r o u n d b u ild in g s , a n d c r e w s.6 S o m e o f o u r resp o n se s t o th is
a n d o th e r c h a lle n g e s h a v e b een a n n o u n c e d : th e “ f a i l s a f e ” o r “ p o s itiv e
c o n t r o l” m e th o d o f la u n c h in g b o m b e r s o n th e b a s is o f a m b ig u o u s
i n fo r m a t io n o n e n e m y m o v e m e n ts, th e s h e lte r in g o f o u r fir st g e n e r a ­
t io n A t l a s a n d T i t a n in te r c o n tin e n ta l b a llis tic m issile s, p la n s f o r k e e p ­
i n g so m e b o m b e r s in th e a ir w it h b o m b s a t a ll tim e s , th e p r o c u r e m e n t
o f th e P o la r is su b m a r in e m is s ile s y s te m w h ic h p r o m is e s t h e c o m b in a ­
t io n o f m o b ilit y a n d c o n c e a lm e n t.
L a t e r s y ste m s w i l l in c lu d e th e
d is p e r s e d a n d sh e lte re d a n d p o s s ib ly r a il-m o b ile M in u t e m a n I C B M ,
a n a ir -la u n c h e d b a llis tic m is s ile , a n d m o r e a d v a n c e d m o d e ls o f P o la r is .
T h e s e a c tio n s, w h ile c r u c ia l, d e a l o n ly w it h o n e o f th e o b sta c le s to
r e ta lia tio n .
O th e r a c tio n s a re u n d e r w a y t o o ffse t t h e o t h e r s : F o r
e x a m p le , t o assu re t h a t o u r fo r c e s c a n b e m o r e c e r t a in ly c o n tr o lle d
in w a r b y p r o v i d i n g p r o te c te d c o m m a n d a n d c o m m u n ic a tio n s s y s ­
te m s , a n d a b e tte r a b ilit y to p e n e tra te e n e m y d e fe n se s.
A n ad­
v a n c in g S o v ie t te c h n o lo g y a n d w e a p o n s c a p a b ilit y fo r c e s u s c o n ­
t in u a lly to a d o p t n e w a n d e x p e n siv e m e th o d s o f o p e r a t in g e x is tin g
e q u ip m e n t a n d to p r o c u r in g r a d ic a lly n e w sy ste m s.
I t is n o t w e ll
u n d e rs to o d t h a t th e jo b o f p r e s e r v in g a d e te rr e n t fo r c e is a c o m p le x
a n d c o n tin u in g o n e , a n d t h a t i t c a lls f o r fr e q u e n t a n d o f t e n e x p e n s iv e
c h a n g e s in o u r m i li t a r y p o stu r e .
O u r n e a r -te r m p r o b le m o f a s s u m in g a p r o te c te d p o w e r t o str ik e b a c k
is b u t o n e a sp e c t o f th e p r o b le m o f g e n e r a l w a r , t h o u g h a c e n tr a l on e.
W e m u s t fa c e se v e r a l o th e r v it a l q u e s tio n s : T h e e x te n t t o w h ic h g e n ­
®Th e President, in his state o f the U n ion address on Jan. 7, 1960, said, “ In 14 recent
test launchings at ranges over 5,000 miles, A tla s has been striking on an average w ith in
2 miles o f the target.”
(Reported in the New Yo rk Times, Jan. 8, 1960. )i Fourteen
launchings is not a large sample, and there is a fu rth e r extrapolation necessary, in trans­
la tin g these data into Russian missile performance, but this test experience suggests the
likely high letha lity o f b allistic missiles. A single missile delivered to the target area w ith a
2-mile circular probable error and a 1-megaton warhead would have a 90 percent prob­
a b ility o f destroying the soft elements on m ilita ry bases. A llow in g fo r the fa c t th a t not
a ll the missiles in the force could be readied on time or operate w ithout fa ilure, this high
damage probability could be attained by the aggressor by assigning several missiles to
each soft base to be destroyed.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

13

e r a l w a r c a n b e r e g a r d e d a s s u ic id a l, th e w o r ld w id e effects o f a la r g e
n u c le a r w a r , th e effect o n th e s t a b ility o f th e b a la n c e o f te r r o r o f
c h a n g in g te c h n o lo g y , a n d th e c o n tin u in g w o r th o f o u r a tt e m p t to
p r o te c t a llie s b y t h r e a te n in g g e n e r a l w a r .
T h e r e is a w id e s p e c tr u m
o f b e lie f o n th ese a n d o th e r q u etsio n s.
T h e y a re d isc u ssed b e lo w in
part I — .
0
A l t o g e t h e r , th e U n it e d S t a te s a llo ca te s a b o u t o n e -f o u r t h o f its d e ­
fe n s e b u d g e t , s o m e th in g o v e r $ 1 0 b illio n a y e a r , t o th o se fo r c e s w h o se
p r i m a r y r o le is t h a t o f g e n e r a l w a r d eterren ce.

Limiting damage and obtaining best war outcome if deterrence fails 7
W i t h o u t d o u b t t h e b e st w a y to li m i t d a m a g e t o t h is c o u n tr y is t o
p r e v e n t w a r f r o m h a p p e n in g a t a ll. T h e U n i t e d S t a te s h a s a tt e m p t e d
t o d o m o r e th a n th is . I t h a s a llo w e d f o r th e p o s s ib ilit y t h a t d e te r ­
ren ce m i g h t f a i l a n d t h a t n u c le a r w a r m i g h t co m e b y p r o v i d i n g fo r c e s
t o t r y t o li m i t d a m a g e to t h e U n it e d S t a te s a n d t o sec u re t h e b est
w a r o u tc o m e . T h e r e a re t w o rea so n s w h y w e h a v e tr ie d to d o m o r e
th a n d e te r w a r . F i r s t , b ecau se w a r m i g h t c o m e in s p ite o f o u r b est
a tt e m p t s t o p r e v e n t i t , p o s s ib ly a ft e r a d e lib e r a te a n d c a r e f u lly c a l­
c u la te d w e ig h in g o f a lte r n a tiv e s , o r p e r h a p s m o r e lik e ly , i n h a ste o r
b y m ista k e .
W e h a v e p r u d e n tly ta k e n o u t so m e in su ra n c e a g a in s t
th ese p o s s ib ilitie s . S e c o n d , b ecau se th e d e te rren c e o f a w a r is lik e ly
t o b e r e la te d t o h o w t h e w a r w o u ld c o m e o u t. T h e e x p e c te d m ilita r y
o u tc o m e a n d c iv il d a m a g e t o b o th sid e s a n d to t h ir d p a r tie s sh o u ld
h a v e a d o m in a n t e ffe c t o n w h e th e r o r n o t g e n e r a l w a r o cc u rs.
T h e d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n d e te r r in g g e n e r a l w a r a n d o b t a in in g th e
b e st c i v i l a n d m i li t a r y o u tc o m e m a y see m a r tific ia l. P r e p a r a t io n s f o r
d e fe n s e in t h e p r e n u c le a r a g e d id n o t d is t in g u is h a s s h a r p ly b etw e en
th e d e te rren c e o f w a r a n d its a c tu a l o u tc o m e as w e d o , a t le a s t i n th e
W e s t . T h i s is p a r t ly a r e su lt o f th e w id e s p r e a d v ie w t h a t a g e n e r a l
n u c le a r w a r m e a n s m u tu a l su ic id e. T h a t o u tc o m e m a k e s ir r e le v a n t
w h o w in s a m i li t a r y e x c h a n g e a n d d e n ie s th e p o s s ib ilit y o f lim i t i n g
c iv il d a m a g e . T r a d it i o n a l A m e r ic a n n o tio n s o f w in n in g a w a r see m
in a p p r o p r ia te f o r a g e n e r a l th e r m o n u c le a r c o n flic t. E v e n i f th e o u t ­
c o m e w ere n o t s u ic id a l, t h e m in im u m a m o u n t o f d a m a g e w e w o u ld
receiv e i f th e U n it e d S ta te s w e re h it w it h n u c le a r w e a p o n s w o u ld
lik e ly b e g r e a t e n o u g h f o r u s t o v ie w th e e x p e rie n c e a s a n u n p r e c e ­
d e n te d c a ta s tr o p h e . W e w o u ld s i m p ly w a n t to c o m e o u t o f t h e w a r
a s w e ll as w e c o u ld , t o li m i t t h e c a ta str o p h e . Y e r v fe w U . S . cities
h a v e to b e a tta c k e d w it h n u c le a r w e a p o n s b e f o r e d e a th s in t h is c o u n tr y
w o u ld t o t a l m o r e t h a n 2 0 m illio n . W h i l e a c iv il d e fe n s e p r o g r a m c o m ­
b in e d w it h im p r o v e d a c tiv e a n d p a ssiv e d e fe n se s c o u ld d o m u c h t o
li m i t o u r d a m a g e a n d p e r m it t h e N a t i o n t o re c o v e r , i t se e m s u n lik e ly
t h a t w e c o u ld h a v e m u c h con fid en ce in k e e p in g c a su a ltie s a n d m a te r ia l
d a m a g e t o a le v e l lo w e n o u g h f o r t h e w a r t o see m a n y t h in g b u t a
d isa ste r. H o w e v e r , a d isa ste r is n o t n e c e ssa r ily le th a l t o th e n a t i o n ;
i f o u r p o lic ie s c a n a ffe c t h o w m a n y s u r v iv o r s th e r e a re , th e n w e a re
in te re ste d in d a m a g e -lim it in g m ea su re s, a n d in th e m i li t a r y o u tc o m e .
W e h a v e r e g a r d e d t h is o b je c tiv e as im p o r t a n t e n o u g h t o w a r r a n t
s p e n d in g a s u b s ta n tia l s h a r e o f o u r t o t a l e x p e n d itu r e o n o u r g e n e r a l
w a r o b je c tiv e s , a lth o u g h th is e ffo r t h a s b een g r e a t ly o v e r sh a d o w e d b y
o u r c o n c e n tr a tio n o n d e te rren ce . W i t h th e a p p e a r a n c e o f a S o v ie t
7 F o r a more extended discussion of this subject see the forthcom ing book by A lb ert
W ohlstetter.




14

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

nuclear capability, we began to build up an air defense system in the
early 1950’s while greatly strengthening our strategic offensive force.
The direct limiting of civil damage by the shooting down o f enemy
bombers and missiles has been the primary function of our air defense
system from its inception, and our air defense weapons have been de­
ployed mostly to defend civil targets. Our maimed interceptors are
largely to be found in the heavily populated parts o f the country,
especially in the Northeast heartland; Nike surface-to-air missile units
are assigned largely to the defense of cities.
O u r a ir d e fe n se fo r c e s h a v e a t r a d it io n a lly difficu lt t a s k m a d e m u c h
m o r e so b y th e a d v e n t o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s a n d e s p e c ia lly th o se o f
m e g a to n y ie ld . I t m i g h t see m , in c o r r e c tly , t h a t a t t r it io n r a te s c lo se to
1 0 0 p e rc e n t w o u ld b e n ee d ed in o r d e r to j u s t i f y th e ex iste n ce o f a
s y s te m f o r d e fe n d in g c iv il ta r g e ts a n d n o in tim a t e k n o w le d g e o f a ir
d e fe n s e sy s te m s p e r fo r m a n c e is n ee d ed in o r d e r t o u n d e r sta n d t h a t
th e r e is n o p r o s p e c t o f a n y t h in g lik e 1 0 0 p e rc e n t a ir d e fe n se a g a in s t a
b o m b e r o r m is s ile a tta c k o f a n y size. A i r d e fe n se s h a v e h a d a lo n g
e x is t in g set o f d iffic u ltie s: E le c tr o n ic co u n te rm e a su re s u sed b y th e
o ffe n s e to c o n fu se d e fe n se r a d a r s , a p p r o a c h t o t a r g e t a t lo w a ltitu d e
t o e v a d e d e te c tio n a n d t r a c k in g , a n d se v e ra l o th e r s. T h e a d v e n t o f
th e b a llis tic m issile w o r se n s so m e o f th ese p r o b le m s v e r y g r e a t ly a n d
m a k e s m o r e tro u b le so m e th e p o s s ib ilit y t h a t o u r a c tiv e d e fe n se s w i l l
th e m s e lv e s b e th e o b je c t o f a tta c k b y b a llis tic m issile s.
E n t h u s ia s m f o r a ir d e fe n se a n d f o r a tt e m p t in g t o li m i t d a m a g e a t
a ll h a s w a n e d w it h th e d is a p p o in tm e n t o f m a n y o f th e e a r ly h o p e s ,
e s p e c ia lly in th e fa c e o f th e c o m b in e d th r e a t o f h i g h -y i e l d th e r m o n u ­
c le a r b o m b s a n d th e b a llis tic m is s ile . B u t a ir d e fe n se m a y c o n tin u e
t o h a v e a n im p o r t a n t d a m a g e -lim it in g fu n c t io n in a d d itio n to its e v e n
m o r e c r u c ia l r o le in w a r n in g a n d a id in g th e p r o te c tio n o f o u r d e te r r e n t
fo r c e . E n e m y b o m b e r s m a y r e m a in a serio u s th r e a t t o th e s u r v iv a l
o f th e U n it e d S ta te s , ev en t h o u g h K h r u s h c h e v h a s a n n o u n c e d th e
a p p r o a c h in g en d o f b o m b e r p r o d u c tio n , n o t so m u c h b ecau se o f th e ir
a b ilit y to a tta c k o u r r e la tiv e ly s m a ll n u m b e r o f m a jo r m e t r o p o lit a n
a re a s, f o r b a llis tic m is s ile s c o u ld d o t h a t efficien tly , b u t b ecau se o f
th e a b ilit y o f a r e la tiv e ly s m a ll fo r c e o f m a n n e d b o m b e r s to c a r r y
a g r e a t w e ig h t o f b o m b s a b le to d e p o s it v e r y la r g e a m o u n ts o f r a d io ­
a c tiv e f a ll o u t , to v is it se v e r a l ta r g e ts o n a s in g le so rtie , t o c a r r y o u t
rec o n n a issa n c e a n d h it ta r g e ts o f o p p o r t u n ity , a n d t o a tta c k o u r
r eserv e fo r c e s. A n d th e p r o sp e c ts f o r a u s e fu l a c tiv e d e fe n s e a g a in st
b a llis tic m is s ile s , a lth o u g h n o t e n c o u r a g in g , c a n n o t y e t b e sa id to b e
h o p ele ss.
O u r sec o n d p r in c ip a l m e th o d o f li m i t i n g d a m a g e h a s b een b a se d o n
a tt a c k in g e n e m y o ffe n siv e fo r c e s o n th e g r o u n d d u r in g t h e c ou rse o f a
c a m p a i g n ; t o h it b o m b e r b a se s, m is s ile site s, a n d th e o th e r e lem en ts
o f e n e m y p o w e r w h ic h c o n tr ib u te to h is a b ilit y t o h i t u s. H e r e a lso
th e ta s k o r o u r o ffe n siv e fo r c e s in r e d u c in g th e w e ig h t o f e n e m y a tta c k
la u n c h e d a g a in s t u s is fo r m id a b le . H e to o m i g h t a d o p t m e a su re s d e ­
s ig n e d to p r o te c t h is fo r c e f r o m a tta c k . T h e s t r a te g ic -fo r c e b a s in g o p ­
t io n s o f h a r d n e ss, d is p e r s a l, m o b ilit y , a n d c o n c e a lm e n t a re o p e n to
h im a s w e ll a s to u s. A n d w e m u s t e x p e c t th a t th e fir st n u c le a r strik e
w i l l lik e ly , t h o u g h n o t c e r t a in ly , b e h is. N o n e th e le ss, th e r e m i g h t b e
m a n y c irc u m sta n c e s in th e o u tb r e a k o f w a r , f o r e x a m p le , i f h is a tta c k
w e re t o b e b a d ly e x e c u te d o r i f w e w e re to g e t w a r n in g o f h is a tta c k




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

15

p r e p a r a tio n s , in w h ic h o u r fo r c e s c o u ld s h a r p ly li m i t th e size o f th e
e n e m y ’s o ffe n siv e b y d a m a g in g it o n th e g r o u n d .
T h e s e t w o m e th o d s , a c tiv e d e fe n se a n d c o u n te r m ilita r y a tta c k s,
w o u ld a tt e m p t t o k i l l th e e n e m y fo r c e in th e a ir a n d o n th e g r o u n d .
A t h ir d m a j o r d ir e c t m e th o d o f li m i t i n g d a m a g e w o u ld b e to t r y to
red u c e th e e ffe c tiv en ess o f th e b o m b s h e d r o p s b y c iv il d e fe n se s, b y c ity
e v a c u a tio n , b la s t a n d fa ll o u t sh elte rs, r a d ia t io n d e c o n ta m in a tio n , a n a
p o s t w a r e c o n o m ic r e c o v e r y m ea su res.
W e h a v e a d o p te d t h is t h ir d
m e th o d o n ly in a to k e n w a y , y e t th ere is n o d o u b t t h a t m u c h c o u ld b e
d o n e a t r e la tiv e ly lo w c o st.8 C i v i l d e fe n se m ea su res h a v e a ssu m e d a
c r u c ia l im p o r ta n c e n o t o n ly b ecau se o f th e ir r e la tiv e efficiency in l i m ­
i t in g d a m a g e p e r d o lla r sp e n t, e sp e c ia lly a g a in s t r a d io a c tiv e fa llo u t ,
b u t becau se fa ll o u t th re a te n s th e s u r v iv a l o f o u r en tire p o p u la t io n . I f
th e U n it e d S ta te s w e re t o receiv e a h e a v y n u c le a r a tta c k , d e a th s in th is
c o u n tr y , m o s t ly f r o m r a d io a c tiv e f a ll o u t , m i g h t co m e to 1 5 0 m illio n
p e o p le o r m o r e .
T h e close fu n c t io n a l r e la tio n s h ip a m o n g c o u n t e r m ilita r y o ffe n siv e
c a p a b ilitie s , a c tiv e d e fe n se s, a n d c iv il d e fe n se s is n o t g e n e r a lly u n d e r ­
sto o d , f o r it is c o n c e a le d b y th e a p p a r e n tly d isp a r a te n a tu r e o f th ese
a c tiv itie s a n d b y th e fa c t t h a t th e y a re n o t a d m in iste r e d in G o v e r n ­
m e n t as c lo s e ly r e la te d a ctiv itie s.9 T h e c o m p le m e n ta r ity a m o n g
th ese c a p a b ilitie s is str o n g .
O u r p r o sp e c ts f o r li m i t i n g d a m a g e a re
s h a r p ly re d u c e d i f th e en e m y is fr e e t o la u n c h r e p e a te d a tta c k s a g a in s t
u s, u n d is tu r b e d b y o u r c o u n te r a tta c k s ; o r i f h e ca n r o a m o v e r th e
U n it e d S t a te s w ith o u t d a n g e r o f b e in g sh o t a t b y o u r a c tiv e d e fe n s e s ;
o r i f h is d e liv e re d b o m b s h a v e th e a b ilit y t o d e str o y th e p o p u la t io n
o v e r a la r g e a re a b ecau se o f th e absen ce o f c iv il d e fe n se .
I f w e are
w ith o u t a n y effe c tiv e c iv il d e fe n se , o r i f w e a p p e a r to h a v e in e ffe c tu a l
a ctiv e d e fe n s e s , w e m a y w e ll red u ce o u r e x p e n d itu r e o n th ese fo r c e s.
T h e r e h a v e a lr e a d y b een sig n ific a n t r e d u c tio n s in o u r a ir d e fe n se
fo r c e s .
P o s s ib ly m o r e im p o r t a n t th a n li m i t i n g d a m a g e b y th e se th re e d ir e c t
m ea n s is a set o f in d ir e c t m ea su re s.
B y h a v in g a w e ll-p r o te c te d
s tr a te g ic fo r c e w e h o p e to d iv e r t o u r o p p o n e n t’s reso u rc es to th e ta s k
o f c o u n te r in g th is fo r c e a n d le a v e h im lit tle , i f h e b eh a v es r a t io n a lly ,
w ith w h ic h to a tta c k o u r c itie s.
T h e c h a r a c te r o f th e d iv e r sio n s
d e p e n d s v e r y m u c h o n th e c o m p o sitio n o f o u r fo r c e s. W e h o p e to fo r c e
h im to sp e n d h is reso urces o n , s a y , m o r e e x p e n siv e m issile s a n d b o m b ­
ers, a n tis u b m a r in e fo r c e s , a ir d e fe n se s, a n d c iv il d e fe n se s— w ith o u t
o v e r a ll su ccess o n h is p a r t — w it h in h is w illin g n e s s o r ev en h is a b ilit y
to a llo c a te e c o n o m ic reso u rces to m ilit a r y en d s.
F i n a l l y , i f d e te r r in g a w a r is th e b est w a y o f li m i t i n g d a m a g e , d e ­
te r r in g u n re s tr ic te d b o m b in g d u r in g a w a r m a y b e th e n e x t b e st w a y .
I n s h o r t, th e c o n c e p t o f d eterren ce m a y h a v e a p p lic a tio n d u r in g a w a r
as w e ll a s b e fo r e .
D e te r r e n c e d u r in g a w a r m a y m e a n th e u se o f
th re a ts to b o m b h is c ities a n d th e d e m o n stra tio n o f o u r r e so lv e b y th e
e x e c u tio n o f so m e o f o u r th r e a ts. D o i n g t h is , h o w e v e r , m e a n s n o t d e ­
s t r o y in g a ll th e c iv il ta r g e ts h e v a lu e s i f w e a re t o be a b le t o c o n tin u e
to th re a te n th e m . T h u s , th ere m a y be a n i m p o r t a n t d a m a g e -lim it in g
8 “ Report on a Study of Nonmilitary Defense,” Rept. R -3 2 2 -R C .
The Rand Corp..
July 1, 1958.
9 Responsibility and budgeting for strategic offense is m ostly the responsibility of the
Air Force, but the Navy has an important and growing role. A ir defense comes under
all three services. Responsibility for civil defense is not to be found in the Department
of Defense at all, but in the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization.




16

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

a sp e c t t o o u r c o n d u c t o f a g e n e r a l w a r .10 W h a t h a p p e n s t o o u r citie s
a n d to o u r p o p u la t io n i f w a r occu rs m a y d e p e n d m o s t ly o n th e d a m a g e
w e a c t u a lly in flic t o n th e c itie s a n d p o p u la t io n o f th e e n e m y a n d o n o u r
a b ilit y t o th r e a te n r e p r is a ls d u r in g th e co u rse o f th e co n flic t. T h i s
v ie w c o n tr a s ts s h a r p ly w it h t h e im a g e o f g e n e r a l w a r a s t h e b li n d e x ­
c h a n g e o f m is s ile sa lv o s , o n e s a lv o t o a sid e , w it h o n ly r a d io a c t iv e
ru b b le a ft e r w a r d . I t is a c o m m o n a n d c o s tly f a i l i n g o f A m e r i c a n s t o
ig n o r e th e lo n g -r u n con sequ en ces o f w a r s ; a r e le v a n t t im e t o c o n sid e r
in a g e n e r a l n u c le a r w a r m a y b e n o m o r e th a n a fe w d a y s o r a f e w
w e ek s a ft e r t h e b e g in n in g .
C o n t e m p la t in g t h e e n d as w e ll a s t h e b e ­
g in n i n g o f a g e n e r a l w a r is a u s e fu l a c t iv it y . M o s t im p o r t a n t ly , i t
le a d s t o a v e r y d iffe r e n t v ie w o f g e n e r a l w a r , o n e t h a t d o e s n o t n eces­
s a r i ly i m p ly th e e n d o f o u r h is to r y .
W e in s is t o n h a v i n g th e a b ilit y t o d e te r a tta c k o n th e U n it e d S ta te s
w it h h i g h con fid en ce. W e d o n o t in sist o n t h is h i g h con fid en ce in th e
d a m a g e -lim it in g o b je c tiv e . W e d o n o t b ecau se w e c a n n o t.
T h ere
a re to o m a n y o p tio n s o p e n t o th e en e m y to red u c e th e effe ctiv en ess
o f o u r d a m a g e -lim it in g o ffen se a n d d e fe n se .
Y e t i f th e c irc u m sta n c e s
o f th e o u tb re a k o f w a r a re fa v o r a b le , i f th e e n e m y ’s c a p a b ilitie s a re
lim it e d , o r i f h e s im p ly r e g a r d s o u r o ffe n siv e a n d d e fe n s iv e fo r c e s as
b e in g m o r e fo r m id a b le t h a n th e y d e serv e to b e, o u r fo r c e s c o u ld se r v e
a u s e f u l a n d e v en e sse n tia l d a m a g e -lim it in g p u r p o s e .
O n e v ie w sees
a m o d e s t b u t sig n ific a n t d a m a g e -lim it in g o b je c tiv e f o r th e 1 9 6 0 ’s : T o
p r e v e n t n a tio n a l o b lite r a tio n , t o k e e p fa t a lit ie s t o a le v e l o f , s a y , 5 0
m illio n , a n d h o p e f u lly t o m u c h le ss t h a n th a t.
T h e seco n d h a l f o f t h is o b je c tiv e is o b t a in in g t h e b e st m ilit a r y o u t ­
c o m e to th e w a r w e c a n m a n a g e ; in sh o r t, t o t r y t o w in .
S u c h o ld fa s h io n e d te r m s as “ w in n in g ” a n d “ v ic t o r y ” h a v e f a lle n in to d is f a v o r
in co n n e ctio n w it h th e o u tc o m e o f a g e n e r a l th e r m o n u c le a r w a r in
v ie w o f th e w id e s p r e a d b e li e f t h a t th e q u e stio n o f “ w h o w o n ” w i l l
see m la r g e ly ir r e le v a n t t o th e f e w s u r v iv o r s .
B u t i f th e d a m a g e is
n o t c o m p le te , th e n su c h fa m i li a r c o n c e p ts a s w in n in g , sta le m a te ,
lo s in g , a rm is tic e , a n d th e te r m s o n w h ic h h o s tilitie s e n d n ee d t o b e
ta k e n in to c o n sid e r a tio n . A t th is p o in t in t im e , i t a p p e a r s t h a t th e
p r o s p e c tiv e m ilit a r y o u tc o m e o f a g e n e r a l w a r r e m a in s o f c r u c ia l
im p o r ta n c e .
O n e e s tim a te o f th e c o st o f o u r fo r c e s t h a t m i g h t b e a ttr ib u te d t o
th is o b je c tiv e com es to a b o u t o n e -te n th o f th e d e fe n se b u d g e t , p e r h a p s
$ 5 b i lli o n a y e a r . T h i s in c lu d e s th o se a ir d e fe n se w e a p o n s d ir e c t ly
d e fe n d in g o u r c ities p lu s o u r s m a ll c iv il d e fe n s e b u d g e t.
(T h is n eg ­
le c ts th e fa c t th a t o u r o ffe n siv e fo r c e s a lso serv e a d a m a g e li m i t i n g
fu n c t io n in th e e v e n t d e te rren c e f a i ls a n d w e h a v e to u se t h is fo r c e in
c o m b a t .)
P e r h a p s a m o r e m e a n in g fu l e stim a te is th e c o st o f w h a t
m i g h t b e c a lle d o u r g e n e r a l w a r f o r c e s ; t h a t is, o u r str a te g ic o ffe n siv e
fo r c e ( in c lu d in g o u r su b m a r in e m is s il e s ) , a c tiv e d e fe n se s a n d c iv il
d e fe n s e .
T h i s t o t a l, in c lu d in g b o th str a te g ic o ffe n se a n d d e fe n se , is
in th e n e ig h b o r h o o d o f $ 1 5 b illio n a y e a r , o r a b o u t 3 5 t o 4 0 p e rc e n t
o f o u r n a tio n a l se c u r ity b u d g e t.
10
There is a conflict between the objective of deterring a general war by promising the
enemy that if he attacks he will inevitably suffer the most awful consequences in the
form of civil damage, and the objective of limiting U.S» damage indirectly by carefully
controlling our attack on enemy cities in hope that this w ill help preserve our own. See
below, pt. I -F .




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

17

The defense of major allies
O u r p r im a r y d e fe n se o b je c tiv e in tlie p e r io d b e fo r e th e U n it e d
S t a te s w a s d ir e c t ly th re a te n e d w a s th e d e fe n s e o f E u r o p e .
I t r e m a in s
o u r m o s t i m p o r t a n t d e fe n se o b je c tiv e a b r o a d .
F r o m th e b e g in n in g s o f N A T O , o u r p o lic ie s f o r E u r o p e ’s d e fe n se
h a v e b e e n b a s e d o n a d u a l s t r a t e g y : D ir e c t d e fe n se o n th e g r o u n d
a g a in s t i n v a d i n g fo r c e s , a lo n g w it h s tr a te g ic b o m b in g a g a in s t th e
S o v ie t U n io n .
T h i s w a s a s t r a ig h t fo r w a r d a p p lic a tio n o f th e W o r l d
W a r I I s t r a te g y f o r d e fe a t in g G e r m a n y ; t o fig h t o n th e g r o u n d w h ile
u s in g lo n g -r a n g e a ir p o w e r to in te r d ic t lin e s o f c o m m u n ic a tio n a n d to
s trik e a t th e in d u s t r ia l b a se o f th e e n e m y , a n d t o p r e v e n t h is m o b il­
iz a tio n .
S t r a t e g ic b o m b in g seem ed esse n tia l in th e fa c e o f th e g r o u n d
s tr e n g th o f th e S o v ie t U n io n .
B u t a s o m e w h a t d iffe r e n t a sp e c t o f
th is p o lic y g r a d u a lly e v o lv e d d u r in g th e m i d -1 9 5 0 ’s— th e p u r e ly d e ­
te r re n t a sp e c t o f th e th r e a t to strik e a t th e S o v ie t U n io n h e a r tla n d .
T h e a sp e c t w h ic h fo c u se s o n p r e v e n t in g th e w a r f r o m h a p p e n in g
a t a ll as d is tin c t fr o m d e te r r in g its c o n tin u a n c e i f i t w e re t o b e g in .
T h e d a m a g e th re a te n e d b y n u c le a r a tta c k a g a in s t S o v ie t c itie s p r o m ­
ise d to b e so im m e n se t h a t th e a tte m p t t o m u ste r a n e ffe c tiv e d e fe n se
o n th e g r o u n d see m ed o f d e c re a sin g im p o r ta n c e .
I t c o n tr ib u te d t o a
w e a k e n in g o f th e in c e n tiv e to m ee t th e g o a ls f o r g r o u n d d e fe n se .
The
fu n c t io n o f th e d ir e c t d e fe n se s o ft e n c a m e t o b e r e g a r d e d a s t h a t o f a
“ t r ip w ir e ” f o r s tr a te g ic r e ta lia tio n .
T h e fo r c e to ta ls w h ic h c o n v e n tio n a lly re p re se n t th e p r e p o n d e r ­
a n ce o f S o v ie t g r o u n d s tr e n g th a re 1 7 5 d iv is io n s , m a n y a r m o r e d a n d
e q u ip p e d w it h m o r e m o d e m w e a p o n s th a n th o se o f th e W e s t ; a b o u t
2 0 ,0 0 0 o p e r a tio n a l a i r c r a f t ; m o r e th a n 4 0 0 su b m a r in e s (a s c o m p a r e d
w it h th e 7 9 th e G e r m a n h a d a t th e o u tb re a k o f W o r l d W a r I I ) , a n d
u n d o u b te d ly a g r o w in g fo r c e o f s h o r t- a n d in te r m e d ia te -r a n g e b a l­
lis t ic m issile s.
I n W e s t e r n E u r o p e , w e h a v e 2 0 -o d d d iv is io n s , 5 ,0 0 0
t a c tic a l a ir c r a ft, a n d a n tisu b m a r in e a n d c a r r ie r ta s k fo r c e s .
T h is
e s tim a te o f 1 7 5 S o v ie t d iv is io n s v e rsu s th e 2 0 o n th e scen e in W e s t e r n
E u r o p e h a s u n d o u b te d ly g r o s s ly e x a g g e r a t e d S o v ie t s tr e n g th .
The
t o t a l m a n p o w e r s tr e n g th o f th e a rm e d fo r c e s o f th e S o v ie t U n io n a n d
N A T O p r o v id e s a v e r y d iffe r e n t, a lth o u g h im p e r fe c t, g u id e .
The
S o v i e t U n io n is r e p o r te d to h a v e a b o u t 8 .9 m illio n m e n u n d e r a rm s,
th e N A T O p o w e rs o v e r 5 m illio n .
T h i s le a v e s o u t o f a cc o u n t th e
s a te llite s , a d u b io u s fa c to r .
I n a n y case th e W e s t h a s r e g a r d e d its
o ffs e ttin g a d v a n ta g e as b e in g in n u c le a r b o m b s a n d in th e a b ilit y
t o d e liv e r th e m .11

The defense o f Western Europe, which has rested primarily on the
threat o f strategic bombing against any but the most limited non­
nuclear invasions, has come increasingly to question as Russian nu­
clear capabilities have grown, for it risks great damage to both Eu­
rope and the United States. But while its credibility is weakening,
the threat hardly can be totally without effect as is often charged. By
preparing almost entirely for a nuclear war we do make it more likely
that this, in fact, would be our response. This should give the Rus­
sians pause. But if war comes to Europe, either deliberately or inad­
vertently, this policy helps to assure that it will be an all-out war.
This is so because we have narrowed our choices to all-out war or no
11 See “ The Soviet Union and the N A T O Powers, the M ilitary Balance,” published by
the Institute for Strategic Studies, London, 1959.

50365—60-----4



18

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

w a r . I f th e S o v ie t U n io n a ssu m es t h a t w e w ill a ct, i t w ill b e a ll-o u t
w a r ; th u s it w o u ld seek to g a in th e a d v a n ta g e o f th e first n u c le a r strik e .
I t is n o t o n ly th e c r e d ib ility o f th is p o lic y t h a t is in c r e a s in g ly q u es­
tio n e d b u t a lso its risk in e ss. A n d as o u r a llie s co m e to u n d e rsta n d
m o r e o f th e fa c t s o f n u c le a r w a r fa r e , th ere w ill v e r y lik e ly b e a n
in c re a s in g d e m a n d f o r th e a d o p tio n o f an a lte r n a tiv e p o lic y . I n su m ,
th e d ile m m a o f E u r o p e a n d e fe n se sin ce th e g r o w t h o f S o v ie t lo n g r a n g e n u c le a r c a p a b ilitie s h a s been o n th e one h a n d th e r e la tiv e w e a k ­
n ess o f W e s t e r n E u r o p e o n th e g r o u n d a n d , o n th e o th e r , th e r is k
o f g r e a t d a m a g e b o th t o E u r o p e a n d to th e U n it e d S ta te s f r o m a t­
t e m p t in g to c o m p e n sa te f o r th is w e ak n ess b y th r e a te n in g to a tta c k
th e S o v ie t U n io n w it h n u c le a r w e a p o n s.
O u r m o s t im p o r t a n t a n d difficult p r o b le m in d e fe n d in g E u r o p e is
c r e a tin g a d e fe n se w h ic h is b o th effe c tiv e a n d c r e d ib le — o n e t h a t d o es
n o t in v o lv e u n b e a r a b le con sequ en ces. S e v e r a l a lte r n a tiv e p o lic ie s are
p o s s ib le : S t r e n g t h e n in g o u r th r e a t to w a g e g e n e r a l w a r in re sp o n se
to a g g re s s io n in E u r o p e , in cre a se d d ep e n d en ce o n t a c tic a l n u c le a r
w e a p o n s in th e d ir e c t d e fe n se o f W e s t e r n E u r o p e , th e c r e a tio n o f
in d e p e n d e n t n a tio n a l n u c le a r fo r c e s, th e c r e a tio n o f a s in g le W e s t e r n
E u r o p e a n n u c le a r fo r c e , a n d th e b u ild in g ; u p o f n o n n u c le a r d e fe n se s.
I t seem s c le a r t h a t n o s in g le a lte r n a tiv e w ill be e n o u g h , a c o m b in a tio n
o f so m e o f th ese c a p a b ilitie s w ill c o n tin u e to be n ee d ed . H o w e v e r ,
s o m e are in c o m p a tib le a n d som e m i g h t be p o s itiv e ly h a r m f u l. T h e
m a in o u tlin e s o f th e d ir e c tio n in w h ic h it a p p e a r s t h a t N A T O sh o u ld
m o v e a re s u g g e ste d b y a n e x a m in a tio n o f th e b a sic p r e m ise s o f
N A T O : T h a t th e S o v ie t U n io n h a s a b a sic a d v a n ta g e in n o n n u c le a r
c a p a b ilitie s , w h ile N A T O ’s s tr e n g th lie s in n u c le a r w a r .
N e ith e r o f
th ese b e lie fs sta n d s u p u n d e r sc r u tin y .
O u t o f a to ta l N A T O b u d g et
c u r r e n tly d e v o te d to th e d ir e c t d e fe n se o f E u r o p e , o v e r $ 2 0 b illio n
a y e a r , a n d o u t o f th e ev en g r e a te r e c o n o m ic p o t e n tia l o f N A T O , it
s h o u ld b e p o ssib le to c o n stru c t a d e fe n se sy ste m a b le to re so lv e th e
c u r r e n t d ile m m a .
T h e d e fe n se b u d g e ts o f o u r E u r o p e a n N A T O a llie s t o t a l a b o u t
$ 1 4 b illio n a y e a r . T h e g r e a t m a jo r it y o f th is is f o r th e d ir e c t d e fe n se
o f W e s t e r n E u r o p e , a ft e r w e e x c lu d e th e fo r c e s a ssig n e d to c o lo n ia l
te r rito r ie s a n d th e B r it i s h S t r a t e g ic B o m b e r C o m m a n d .
T h e U .S .
d ir e c t c o n tr ib u tio n , i f w e in c lu d e th e fo r c e s a ssig n e d to N A T O in w a r ­
tim e , p lu s m ilit a r y a ssista n ce , m a y com e to a b it less t h a n $ 1 0 b illio n
a y e a r , a b o u t o n e -fo u r t h o f o u r n a tio n a l se c u r ity b u d g e t .12

Defeme of other allies and of the free world
M a n y o f th e c o u n trie s in th e arc f r o m I r a n th r o u g h S o u t h a n d
S o u th e a s t A s i a a n d u p to J a p a n are o p en to o v e r t C o m m u n is t a g g r e s ­
sio n as w e ll as less o v e r t fo r m s o f w a r fa r e su ch as p r o p a g a n d a a n d
th e fo s t e r in g o f in su rr e c tio n .
T h e p r o b le m o f d e fe n d in g th ese c o u n ­
tr ie s is c h a r a c te r ize d b o th b y th e difficu lty th e U n it e d S ta te s fa c e s
in a id in g th e ir d e fe n se , g iv e n th e ir g e o g r a p h ic a l p r o x i m i t y to C o m ­
m u n is t p o w e r a n d o u r o w n d is ta n t lo c a tio n , a n d b y th e fa c t th a t th e
U n it e d S ta te s a n d m o s t o f th e co u n trie s in q u e stio n h a v e n o t r e g a r d e d
ea ch o th e r as t r a d it io n a l a llie s.
T h r o u g h o u t m o s t o f t h is a re a th e r e is a c le a r p r e d o m in a n c e o f
C o m m u n is t n o n n u c le a r str e n g th . W e h a v e u sed o u r n u c le a r th r e a t
12 The forces assigned to European defense can, of course, be used elsewhere as some
were during the crisis in Lebanon. However, if they are used elsewhere, this is at the
expense of a weakening of European defense.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960*8
Y

19

t o c o u n te r C h in ese a g g r e ssio n , a n d sin c e C h in a , i t a p p e a r s d o es n o t y e t
p o ssess n u c le a r w e a p o n s, th is p o lic y h a s seem ed less r is k y t h a n th e
sa m e th r e a t a g a in s t R u s s ia n a g g r e ssio n .
T h e d o c tr im e o f n u c le a r
m a s s iv e r e ta lia tio n in resp o n se to p e r ip h e r a l a g g re ssio n w a s a ft e r a ll
m o s t ly in resp o n se to th e th r e a t o f C h in e se a g g re ssio n . A n d f o r a ll
w e k n o w t h is m a y h a v e h a d a c o n sid e r a b le effect in d e te r r in g th e
C h in e s e , e v en i f in th e en d w e r e fr a in e d f r o m u s in g th e se w e a p o n s
in In d o c h in a in 1 9 5 4 , a n d t o d a y w o u ld n o t use th e m l i g h t ly .
One
re a so n w e h e sita te is t h a t th e S o v ie t U n i o n m i g h t r e s p o n d , p e r h a p s
r e lu c t a n t ly , to o u r u se o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s a g a in s t C h in a b y g iv i n g
th e C h in e s e so m e o f th ese w e a p o n s o r b y d e liv e r in g so m e o f th e m
a g a in s t o u r o w n th e a te r fo r c e s.
M o r e o v e r , th e r e are p o lit ic a l c o n ­
s tr a in ts . I n a d d itio n to th e lik e ly p r o te sts f r o m o u r E u r o p e a n a llie s
a t so r a s h a m o v e , th e U n it e d S ta te s h a s b een accu sed o f b e in g to o
w i lli n g to d r o p b o m b s o n A s i a n s , a n d th is is a c h a r g e t h a t w e d o n ’t
w a n t to b e tru e . F i n a l ly , it seem s in o u r in te re st to t r y t o k e e p n u c le a r
w e a p o n s f r o m b e in g u sed as a m a tte r o f cou rse in in te r n a tio n a l c o n ­
flict. E m p l o y i n g th e m a seco n d tim e m i g h t m ea n th e ir p e r m a n e n t
b a n n i n g ; b u t it is a t le a st as lik e ly to le a d to th e ir m o r e r a p id d i f ­
fu s io n th r o u g h o u t th e w o r ld w it h th e in cre a se d th r e a t o f t h e ir use
in a w id e r a n g e o f c on flict.
O u r d e p e n d en c e on n u c le a r w e a p o n s is n o t c o m p le te .
W e have
d e m o n s tra te d o u r a b ilit y to h o ld p o s itio n s o f s tr e n g th a lo n g th e p e ­
r ip h e r y o f th e C o m m u n is t b lo c w h e re w e h a v e been a b le to use o u r
n a v a l a n d a ir p o w e r to a d v a n t a g e : K o r e a , T a iw a n , J a p a n .
I t is o n
th e c o n tin e n t in S o u th a n d S o u th e a s t A s i a , in r e g io n s r e m o te f r o m
o u r n a v a l a n d a ir b ases a n d lin e s o f lo g is t ic s u p p o r t, t h a t w e a re esp e­
c ia lly w e a k .
E v e n th ere, h o w e v e r , C o m m u n is t a g g r e s s io n m a y r e ­
m a in b e lo w th e th r e sh o ld o f la r g e -s c a le a g g r e ssio n w h e re d ir e c t U . S .
in v o lv e m e n t w o u ld be n e c e ssa ry t o k e ep th e th re a te n e d c o u n trie s
fr e e .
H o w e v e r , C h in e se b e h a v io r su g g e s ts th a t o v e r t a g g r e s s io n is
lik e ly d u r in g th e c o m in g d e c a d e. A n d d u r in g th is tim e C h in a w ill
in a ll lik e lih o o d n o t o n ly e x p e rie n c e a r a p id g r o w t h in reso u rces f o t
n o n n u c le a r w a r , b u t w ill a lso a cq u ire n u c le a r w e a p o n s o f its o w n .
T h e ex te n t o f o u r b u d g e t c o m m itm e n t to th e d e fe n se o f t h is r e g io n
is q u ite s iza b le . I t m a y c o m e to a b o u t $ 8 to $ 1 0 b illio n a y e a r , a b o u t
as m u c h to th e d ir e c t d e fe n se o f E u r o p e , in th e f o r m o f n a v a l, g r o u n d ,
a n d a ir fo r c e s m o s t ly s ta tio n e d in th e P a c ific a n d th e F a r E a s t , a n d
in th e fo r m o f m i li t a r y e q u ip m e n t a n d d e fe n s e -s u p p o r t fu n d s .
T h e r e m a in in g p o r tio n o f o u r n a tio n a l se c u r ity b u d g e t , a b o u t $ 1 0
b illio n a y e a r , is d e v o te d to m o b ile reserv es in th e c o n tin e n ta l U n it e d
S t a te s , to p e r s o n a l t r a in in g , to lo g is tic s u p p o r t a c tiv itie s , to a ir a n d
sea t r a n s p o r t c a p a c ity , a n d to th e a d m in is tr a tio n o f o u r d e fe n se
e sta b lis h m e n t.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

I n s u m m a r y : O u r n a t io n a l se c u r ity e x p e n d itu r e s c o m e t o a b o u t
$ 4 5 b illio n . T h e b u lk o f th is t o t a l is f o r o u r m i li t a r y fo r c e s w it h
m o s t o f th e r e m a in d e r f o r n u c le a r reso urces a n d fo r e ig n m ilit a r y
a ssista n c e .
W e l l o v e r h a l f o f o u r d e fe n se e ffo r t g o e s in to fo r c e s
d e s ig n e d f o r th e d ir e c t d e fe n se o f o v ersea a re a s, s o m e th in g in th e
n e ig h b o r h o o d o f 6 0 to 6 5 p e rc e n t. O f t h a t a m o u n t, o v e r o n e -t h ir d ,
$ 1 0 b illio n a y e a r , is a sso c ia ted w ith th e d e fe n s e o f E u r o p e , a n a m o u n t
r a th e r m o r e th a n m a tc h e d b y o u r E u r o p e a n a lli e s ; s o m e w h a t less to




20

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

th e d e fe n s e o f A s i a ; a n d th e r e m a in d e r t o resea rch a n d d e v e lo p m e n t,
t r a in in g , a n d m o b ile reserv es b a c k in th e c o n tin e n ta l U n it e d S ta te s.
T h e r e m a in in g 3 5 t o 4 0 p e rc e n t o f o u r d e fe n s e b u d g e t is d e v o te d
t o fo r c e s w h o se p r im a r y fu n c t io n is d e te rren ce o f n u c le a r a tta c k o n
th e U n it e d S ta te s a n d its a llie s a n d f o r th e li m i t i n g o f d a m a g e . B e ­
fo r e lo o k in g a t th e g e n e r a l w a r a n d d ir e c t d e fe n se p r o b le m m o r e
c lo s e ly , i t is u s e f u l to c o n sid e r b rie fly h o w w e a r r iv e d a t o u r p re se n t
situ a tio n .
B . T H E E V O L U T IO N OP U .S . P O STW AR M IL IT A R Y P O L IC Y — C H A L L E N G E
A N D RESPONSE

D e c is io n s o n m i li t a r y p o lic y a re f o r th e m o s t p a r t , o r sh o u ld b e,
in resp o n se t o so m e c h a lle n g e o r o p p o r t u n ity o ffe re d b y o th e r n a tio n s.
I n p e ace as w e ll as w a r , th e m ilit a r y p r o b le m is c h a r a c te r iz e d b y a c ­
tio n a n d r e a ctio n . G o o d p la n n in g in c lu d e s r e a c tio n b e fo r e th e e n e m y
d o es a s w e ll as a ft e r w a r d s .
I t a n tic ip a te s h is m o v e s.
T h i s is a
fu n d a m e n t a l p o in t in c o n s id e r in g fu t u r e o b je c tiv e s a n d c a p a b ilitie s
b o t h o f th e C o m m u n is t p o w e rs a n d o f th e W e s t .
I t is in a s o m e w h a t d iffe re n t sen se t h a t U . S . p o lic y h a s b een r e a c tiv e
s in c e W o r l d W a r I I .
D u r i n g t h is p e r io d th e U n it e d S ta te s a n d t h e
W e s t e r n E u r o p e a n n a tio n s h a v e been o n th e d e fe n s iv e , a n x io u s t o
p r e s e rv e th e s ta tu s q u o.
A t th e v e r y en d o f th e w a r th e U n it e d S t a te s
w a s in a p o s itio n o f g r e a t s tr e n g th v is -a -v is th e S o v ie t U n io n , w h ic h
h a d b een s e v e r e ly d a m a g e d in th e w a r .
W e w e re s t r o n g b o t h in
E u r o p e a n d A s i a n o t o n ly o n th e g r o u n d b u t a lso in th e a ir th a n k s
t o o u r p o w e r f u l, lo n g -r a n g e a ir fo r c e s a n d o u r m o n o p o ly o f n u c le a r
w e a p o n s , s m a ll as o u r s u p p ly w a s a t t h a t tim e . T h e h ig h p o i n t i n
U . S . w o r ld p o w e r c a m e in 1 9 4 5 , a n d th e y e a r s sin ce th e n h a v e b een
y e a r s o f a r a p id d e c lin e in o u r w o r ld m i li t a r y p o s itio n . F o r im m e ­
d i a t e ly a ft e r o u r r a p id d e m o b iliz a tio n a n d w it h d r a w a l f r o m a b r o a d ,
th e C o m m u n is ts m o v e d in to th e p o w e r v a c u u m . O u r re sp o n se w a s t o
a d o p t th e p o lic y o f c o n ta in m e n t, a p o lic y t h a t r e m a in s a t th e cen ter
o f W e s t e r n s t r a te g y .
I t is d e fe n s iv e ; it le a v es th e in itia t iv e t o t h e
C o m m u n is t p o w e r s.
A n d th e y h a v e seize d it o n se v e ra l o cc a sio n s.
I n o r d e r to u n d e rsta n d b e tte r o u r c u rr e n t s tr a te g ic p o s itio n , m i li ­
t a r y o b je c tiv e s, a n d p o stu r e s, it is u s e fu l to c o n sid e r th e m a jo r S o v ie t
m i li t a r y a d v a n c e s sin c e 1 9 4 5 , w h ic h a re c o n v e n ie n tly d iv id e d in to
th re e p a r t s : ( 1 ) T h e r e la tiv e s tr e n g th a n d m o d e r n iz a tio n o f its
g r o u n d f o r c e s ; ( 2 ) th e e a r ly b r e a k th r o u g h in a to m ic w e a p o n s a n d th e
b e g in n in g s o f S o v ie t s tr a te g ic a ir p o w e r ; ( 3 ) th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f
th e r m o n u c le a r w e a p o n s a n d th e r a p id S o v ie t a d v a n c e s in str a te g ic
a ir p o w e r t h r o u g h th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f r o c k e tr y .

The strength of Russian ground forces
A t th e e n d o f W o r l d W a r I I w e h a d th re e u n iq u e ly im p o r t a n t
a s s e t s : W e h a d th e a to m ic b o m b a n d h a d d e m o n stra te d a g a in s t J a p a n
th e c a p a c it y f o r u s in g i t ; w e h a d p o w e r f u l a r m e d fo r c e s in o p e r a ­
t io n ; a n d w e p o ssesse d an u n m a tc h a b le e c o n o m ic p o t e n tia l f o r w a r , a
p o t e n tia l t h a t h a d r e c e n tly b een a p p lie d w ith g r e a t effe c t a t m a n y
p o in ts a r o u n d th e g lo b e .
O n e o f th ese a ssets w e g a v e u p w ith o u t
h e s ita tio n .
T h e p o w e r im b a la n c e it c r e a te d h a s b een d e sc rib e d b y
J a m e s K i n g as f o l l o w s :

The hasty demoboUzation of 1945 and 1946 left U.S. armed services In a
situation that can fairly be described as a shambles, from which they were only



NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960‘S
Y

21

s lo w ly r e c o v e r in g w h e n th e y w e r e c a ta p u lte d in to a n e w e m e r g e n c y r e a r m a m e n t
e ffo r t b y th e K o r e a n w a r .
T h e A r m e d F o r c e s , w h i c h n u 12b m r iel d i o onv e r
m e
l
m e n o n V - E D a y 1945, h a d d r o p p e d t o l e s s t1.4 nm i l l i o n b y t h e s p r i n g o f
in
ha
1948. T h e A i r F o r c e , f i r s t g i v e n s e p a r a t e e x i s t e n c e b y t h e N a t i o n a l S e c u r i t y
A c t o f1947, h a d a t t h e t i m e o 38yc o m b a t g r o u p s o f p l a n e s .
n l
T h e A r m y ’s fir s t
p o s t w a r p e r s o n n e l c e i l i n g 670, 000, b u t b y1948 a c t u a l s t r e n g t h h a d f a l l e n t o
w as
541,000 b e c a u s e o f t h e i n a d e q u a c y o f v o l u n t e e r e n l i s t m e n t s . T h e N a v y f a r e d
b e t t e r t h a n t h e o t h e r s e r v i c e s , b u t i t s s t r e n g t h 1948 w aa r sl y u n d e500,000
by e
r
in c lu d in g th e M a rin e s.
T h e d e f e n s e b u d g e t s u b m i t t fe od r i nt h e f i s c a l
1947
y e a r 1948-49 c a l l e d f o r 11,256 m i l l i o n f o r a l l s e r v .1 e s
$
i3
c
T h e S o v ie t U n io n red u c e d its fo r c e s , b u t n o t as m u c h . M o r e i m ­
p o r t a n t ly , w e b r o u g h t o u r s h o m e .
T h e c h a lle n g e o f C o m m u n is t
a g g r e s s io n in I r a n , G re e c e , C z e c h o s lo v a k ia , a n d B e r lin w o k e u s t o
th e th r e a t o f C o m m u n is t a g g r e ssio n in th e la te 1 9 4 0 ’s a n d in th e e a r ly
1 9 5 0 ’s. O u r first re sp o n se , Degun in 1 9 4 7 u n d e r th e T r u m a n d o c tr in e ,
w a s th e c o n str u c tio n o f a n e tw o r k o f a llia n c e s, a n e tw o r k w h ic h b y
n o w h a s c o m m itte d u s, in v a r y i n g d e g ree s, to a id in g in th e d e fe n s e o f
m o s t o f th e c o u n trie s p e r ip h e r a l to th e C o m m u n is t b lo c . O u r n e x t
r e sp o n se , d e la y e d u n til 1 9 5 0 , th e n t r ig g e r e d b y a g g r e s s io n in K o r e a ,
w a s t o u se o u r ec o n o m ic p o te n tia l f o r w a r b y g r e a t ly in c r e a s in g o u r
o w n d e fe n se e ffo r t a n d h e lp in g to o r g a n iz e a n d s u p p o r t t h a t o f o u r
a llie s .
O u r d e fe n se b u d g e t w e n t f r o m $ 1 5 b illio n in 1 9 5 0 t o $ 5 0
b illio n in 1 9 5 2 . W e r e sp o n d e d to o v e r t a n d su c c e ssfu l C o m m u n is t
a g g r e s s io n by c o m m itt in g o u rselv e s to th e d e fe n se o f th e fr e e w o r ld
a n d b y b a c k in g u p th ese c o m m itm e n ts in a c o n v in c in g fa s h io n b y
a llo c a t in g reso u rces to t h is e n d a n d , ev e n m o r e im p r e s s iv e ly , b y fig h t ­
i n g h a r d in th e d e fe n se o f S o u th K o r e a .
T h i s re sp o n se m a y h a v e
d o n e as m u c h as a n y s in g le U . S . a ct in th e p o s tw a r p e r io d t o p e rsu a d e
S o v ie t le a d e r s o f th e v ir tu e s o f c o m p e titiv e coe xisten ce.

The nuclear breakthrough and "beginnings of strategic airpower
T h e R u s s ia n s seem to h a v e u n d e rsto o d v e r y q u ic k ly th e im p o r ta n c e
o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s a n d a ir p o w e r t e c h n o lo g y , i f w e c a n ju d g e b y
th ree e a r ly p o s tw a r R u s s ia n d e v e lo p m e n t s : T h e h ig h p r io r it y g iv e n
t o th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s ; th e r a p id c o p y i n g a n d p r o ­
d u c tio n o f o u r la te s t o p e r a tio n a l lo n g -r a n g e b o m b e r a t th e en d o f th e
w a r , th e B - 2 9 , w h ic h b ec a m e th e T U - 4 , th e first R u s s ia n str a te g ic
b o m b e r ; a n d th e la r g e e ffo r t d e v o te d to b u ild in g u p a n a ir d e fe n se
s y s te m to c o u n te r o u r o w n s tr a te g ic o ffe n siv e p o w e r , a n a ir d e fe n se
e ffo r t p e r h a p s b est sy m b o liz e d b y th e r e m a r k a b ly s w i f t d e v e lo p m e n t
a n d la r g e -s c a le p r o d u c tio n o f th e M I G - 1 5 fig h te r.
A n d i t sh o u ld b e
r e c a lle d th a t th ese m ilit a r y d e v e lo p m e n ts, w h ic h w e re c o n c u rre n t w it h
th e m a in te n a n c e a n d m o d e r n iz a tio n o f la r g e S o v ie t g r o u n d fo r c e s,
t o o k p la c e d u r in g a p e r io d w h e n th e S o v ie t e c o n o m y w a s s t r u g g lin g
to rec o v er f r o m g r e a t w a r tim e d e str u c tio n a n d d islo c a tio n .
R u s s ia ’ s p o ssessio n o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s a n d ev en lim ite d m e a n s o f
d e liv e r in g th e m p r o fo u n d ly a lte re d th e c h a r a c te r o f th e d e fe n se p r o b ­
le m o f th e W e s t . E v e n t o d a y th e im p lic a t io n s o f t h is c h a n g e h a v e n o t
su n k in c o m p le te ly in th e W e s t .
A b o v e a ll, i t m e a n t t h a t N o r t h
A m e r i c a c o u ld b e e ffe c tiv e ly b o m b e d , a n d w it h n u c le a r w e a p o n s.
W h i l e i n it ia lly , in th e e a r ly 1 9 5 0 ’s, th e R u s s ia n h a d fe w b o m b s a n d
b o m b e r s , i t w a s n o lo n g e r tr u e t h a t w e c o u ld b o m b R u s s ia as w e d id
G e r m a n y a n d J a p a n , in con fid en ce t h a t w e c o u ld n o t b e to u c h e d .
18James E . King, Jr., “ Collective D efen se: The M ilitary Commitment,” published in
“ M ilitary Policy Papers,” the W ashington Center of Foreign Policy Research, December
1958.




2 2

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

T h e m a j o r re sp o n se th ese d e v e lo p m e n ts e v o k e d , in a d d it io n to le n d ­
i n g u r g e n c y to th e p r o b le m o f c o n ta in m e n t a n d r e a r m a m e n t in g e n ­
e r a l, w a s a n e x p a n s io n in o u r str a te g ic fo r c e a n d th e d e c isio n to c o n ­
s tr u c t a N o r t h A m e r ic a n a ir d e fe n se sy ste m . O u r a ir d e fe n s e g o a l w a s
a n e a r -p e r fe c t d e fe n se o f m a jo r U . S . cities. W e h a d so m e im p o r ta n t
a d v a n ta g e s , in c lu d in g in p a r tic u la r , rem o ten e ss f r o m th e S o v ie t
U n io n . A s lo n g as th e R u s s ia n s w e re con fin ed to th e u se o f a ir c r a ft
w it h th e r e s tric te d r a n g e o f th e T U - 4 , a b o u t 4 ,0 0 0 n a u tic a l m ile s , a n d
u n til th e y d e v e lo p e d th e tec h n iq u e o f a e r ia l r e f u e lin g , th e y seem ed
c o n s tr a in e d to fo ll o w p r e d ic ta b ly d ir e c t ro u tes a cro ss th e A r c t i c . O u r
w a r n in g lin e s a n d a c tiv e d e fe n se s c o u ld b e d e p lo y e d a cr o ss th ese ro u tes.
I n a n y case th ese R u s s ia n b o m b ers c o u ld be u sed o n ly o n ce , sin ce o n e ­
w a y m is s io n s w o u ld b e n ece ssary.
A to m ic bom bs w ere h eavy an d
scarce a n d w e re t h o u g h t lik e ly to r e m a in so. T h i s m e a n t o n e a to m ic
b o m b , a t m o s t, p e r a ir c r a f t , p o s s ib ly o n ly one to ea c h c ell o f s e v e r a l
a ir c r a ft.
O u r A i r F o r c e h a d d e v e lo p e d d o c tr in e a n d h i g h s k ill in
s tr a te g ic b o m b in g o v e r sev era l d e c a d e s ; w e h o p e d t h a t i t w o u ld ta k e
th e R u s s ia n s m a n y y e a r s to acq u ire it. F i n a l l y , h e re w a s th e fie ld
w h e re th e in g e n u it y o f A m e r ic a n science c o u ld be u se d to th e u tm o s t,
a n d in a cau se b e lie v e d b y m a n y sc ien tists to b e a g o o d d e a l m o r e
w o r th y th a n th e o th e r g r e a t c o n tr ib u tio n o f A m e r ic a n scien ce to w a r ­
fa r e , th e a to m ic b o m b . M a n y in n o v a tio n s in e lec tro n ic s, in g u id e d
m is s ile s , b o th g r o u n d a n d a ir la u n c h e d , a n d in d a t a h a n d lin g a n d
c o n tr o l s y ste m s p r o m is e d b o m b e r a tt r it io n r a te s v e r y m u c h g r e a te r
t h a n th o se e x p e rie n c e d in W o r l d W a r I I .
O u r im a g e o f th e jo b to
b e d o n e w a s r e la tiv e ly s t r a ig h t fo r w a r d . T h e r e w o u ld b e w a v e s o f
R u s s ia n b o m b e r s fly in g g r e a t circ le ro u tes acro ss th e A r c t i c a n d d o w n
t h r o u g h C a n a d a to w a r d o u r cities. O u r ta sk w a s to p r o v id e w a r n in g
b e lts , r a d a r c o n tr o l sy ste m s a n d lo n g - a n d s h o r t -r a n g e d e fe n s iv e
w e a p o n s a b le to d e s tr o y a v e r y la r g e p r o p o r t io n o f th e o n c o m in g
b o m b e r w a v e s.
O u r h o p e s t h a t th e R u s s ia n s w o u ld b e s lo w to d e v e lo p a fo r m id a b le
in te r c o n tin e n ta l str a te g ic c a p a b ilit y w e re d is a p p o in te d b y th e e a r ly
a p p e a r a n c e o f m o d e r n je t b o m b e r s, b o m b e r s o f a t y p e th a t w o u ld m a k e
m o r e d ifficu lt th e jo b o f a c tiv e ly d e fe n d in g o u r c ities ev en in th e fa c e
o f a s t r a ig h t fo r w a r d a tta c k . M o r e s ig n ific a n tly , i t b e c a m e in c r e a s­
i n g l y c le a r t h a t w e c o u ld n o t c o u n t o n “ W e s t e r n -p r e f e r r e d -S o v i e t s t r a te g ie s ,” t h a t is, a tta c k s d ir e c te d a t tlie s t r o n g p o in t o f o u r d e ­
fe n s e s .14 W e h a d to c o n sid e r se r io u sly a tta c k s a im e d a t w e a k p o in ts ,
p a r tic u la r ly a tta c k s w h ic h a tte m p te d to a v o id o u r w a r n in g sy ste m s
a n d o u r d e fe n se s b y fly in g a ro u n d th e m , o v e r th e m , u n d e r th e m . O u r
o ffen se h a d a c o n sid e r a b le b a g o f tric k s. W h y s h o u ld n ’t th e S o v ie t
o ffe n se?
A n d w h ile w e h a d u n d e re stim a te d th e R u s s ia n s ’ a b ilit y to
b u ild u p lo n g -r a n g e a ir p o w e r , w e o v e r e stim a te d o u r o w n c a p a b ilitie s
to b u ild u p a d e fe n se . O u r a ir d e fe n se s y ste m w a s s lo w in c o m in g in to
b e in g , a n d its n a tu r a l c o m p le m e n t, a p r o g r a m o f c iv il d e fe n se s, w a s
n o t s e r io u s ly c o n sid e red .

A second implication o f these Russian advances was the threat
posed to our own strategic force. In the late forties and early fifties
our ability to use strategic airpower against the Soviet Union was
almost entirely dependent on oversea bases. The deployment of our
1 S eW
4 e ohlstetter, ‘‘T e D
h elicateB ce of T
alan
error” o . cit.
p




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE I960’S
Y

23

s tr a te g ic fo r c e to th ese o versea b ases w o u ld n e c e ssa r ily ta k e t im e a n d
p r o b a b ly c o u ld n o t be a cc o m p lish e d b e f ore th ese bases w e re a tta c k e d .
I f th e y w e re a tta c k e d w ith a to m ic w e a p o n s, th e y w o u ld b e u n u s a b le ;
i f t h e y w e re a tta c k e d w h ile o u r a ir c r a f t w ere b e in g p r e p a r e d o n th e m ,
m u c h o f o u r fo r c e m ig h t be lo s t o n th e g r o u n d .
M o r e o v e r , th e r e w a s
n o w th e p o s s ib ilit y o f a su r p r ise R u s s ia n a tta c k on o u r b ases in th e
c o n tin e n ta l U n it e d S ta te s.
O u r a to m ic b o m b o f n o m in a l y ie ld (2 0
k ilo to n e q u iv a le n t o f T N T ) d r o p p e d o n a n o r d in a r y a ir b a se w o u ld ,
w it h h i g h p r o b a b ilit y , d e str o y o r d a m a g e se r io u sly a ll o f th e a ir c r a ft,
a b o v e g r o u n d b u ild in g s a n d p e rso n n e l o n th e b ase, a n d m a k e i t u n u sa b le
f o r a lo n g tim e .
T h e a d v e n t o f th e R u s s ia n s tr a te g ic n u c le a r th re a t
m e a n t t h a t o u r str a te g ic fo r c e h a d to red u c e its d e p e n d en c e o n o v e r ­
sea b ases a t th e v e r y t im e w e w e re in th e m id s t o f b u ild in g u p an
e x te n s iv e w o r ld w id e b ase sy ste m .
T h e p la n n e d u se o f th ese b ases h a d
t o b e r e s tric te d m o r e a n d m o r e to a less v u ln e r a b le r e f u e lin g a n d p o s t ­
a tta c k r e c o v e r y fu n c t io n .
T h i s a lso m e a n t o u r fo r c e h a d to s h i f t
e v e n m o r e to w a r d lo n g -r a n g e a ir c r a f t a n d th e use o f a e r ia l-r e fu e lin g
m e th o d s .
I n N o r t h A m e r i c a i t m e a n t th e a d d itio n o f m o r e w a r n in g
lin e s a n d , la te r , p la n s f o r p u t t in g o u r s tr a te g ic fo r c e o n a h ig h e r sta te
o f p e a c e tim e a le r t. T h e p r o b le m o f n u c le a r -s u r p r is e -a tta c k o n th e
U n it e d S t a te s h a d a rr iv e d a lth o u g h i t w a s n o t w id e ly r e c o g n ize d .
E a c h o f th ese resp o n ses c a lle d f o r a d d it io n a l m ea su res a n d , in so m e
cases, th e h a lt in g o r c u ttin g b a c k o f b ase p r o g r a m s u n d e r w a y . T h i s
p h e n o m e n o n w a s to b e r e p e a te d m a n y tim e s in th e 1 9 5 0 ’s as th e R u s ­
s ia n s r e p e a te d ly g a v e ev id en ce o f n e w a d v a n c e s in m ilit a r y te c h n o lo g y .
I t w ill u n d o u b te d ly be a c o m m o n p h e n o m e n o n o f th e 1 9 6 0 ’s.
The
d e fe n se o f th e U n it e d S ta te s in a p e r io d o f r e v o lu tio n a r y c h a n g e s in
te c h n o lo g y in e s c a p a b ly in v o lv e s r a p id c h a n g e in p la n s , w e a p o n s, a n d
m e th o d s o f o p e r a tio n .
T h e s e d e v e lo p m e n ts u n d e r m in e d o u r p o lic y o f p r e p a r in g f o r a
w o r ld w a r I I I o n th e m o d e l o f W o r l d W a r I I .
A m e r ic a , p r o te c te d
b y tw o g r e a t o ce a n s, h a d been th e a rse n a l o f d e m o c r a c y in t w o w o r ld
w a r s, b u t d a m a g e d b y n u c le a r w e a p o n s, it c o u ld n o lo n g e r h o p e to
m o b iliz e its reso u rces f o r a b i g w a r to be fo u g h t a b r o a d .
F o r , q u ite
a p a r t f r o m d a m a g e th a t w o u ld d is r u p t o u r m o b iliz a tio n , th e r e w e re
g o o d rea son s to e x p e c t t h a t th e p a ce o f a n u c lea r w a r w o u ld be v e r y
m u c h fa s t e r th a n a n o n n u c le a r o n e, th a t th e w a r w o u ld b e se ttle d o ne
wra y o r a n o th e r b e fo r e th e y e a r o r m o r e n eed ed f o r o u r m o b iliz a tio n
h a d p a ssed .
T h e p o s s ib ilit y a d v a n c e d b y so m e (a n d s t ill a d v a n c e d in
so m e R u s s ia n m i li t a r y w r it in g s ) th a t a n u c le a r e x c h a n g e m i g h t be
fo llo w e d b y a p e r io d o f “ b ro k e n b a c k e d ” g r o u n d w a r fa r e seem ed to
be r u le d o u t b y th e im m e n se p o w e r o f n u c le a r w e a p o n s.
T h e y w o u ld
s u r e ly settle a n y c o n flic t in w h ic h th e y w ere u sed .
T h i s m e a n t th a t
to a n e x te n t f a r g r e a te r th a n e v e r b e fo r e w e w o u ld n ee d to m a in ta in
fo r c e s in b e in g in p e a c e tim e i f w e w a n te d to b e su re o f u s in g th e m in
a m a jo r w a r .
T h e g r e a t asset o f a la r g e g ro ss n a tio n a l p r o d u c t su d ­
d e n ly b eca m e m u c h less m e a n in g fu l as a m ea su re o f o u r m ilit a r y
s tr e n g th .
T h i s t r u t h , lik e m a n y in th e r a p id ly c h a n g in g p o s tw a r
w o r ld , h a s b een s lo w to sin k in .
W e n o w s to c k p ile r a w m a te r ia ls f o r
a b i g 3 -y e a r w a r in ste a d o f a 5 -y e a r o n e .15
36 For a discussion of the slowness with which the United States has moved away from
the mobilization base concept, see C. J. Hitch and R. N. McKean, “ Economics of Defense in
the Nuclear Age,” ch. 17, Harvard University Press, to be published.




24

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

O n e o th e r re sp o n se t o th e S o v ie t n u c le a r b r e a k th r o u g h is o f im p o r ­
ta n ce f o r its lo n g r u n im p lic a tio n s .
I f th e R u s s ia n s c o u ld d e v e lo p th e
a to m ic b o m b so q u ic k ly , p e r h a p s o th e r s c o u ld a lso .
A n d b y 1 9 5 2 th e
B r it i s h h a d .
B u t r e p o r ts o f th e slo w n e ss w it h w h ic h th e B r it i s h
p r o g r a m p r o ce e d e d a n d th e lo n g g a p b etw e en th e B r it i s h b o m b in
1 9 5 2 a n d th e ex p e c te d F r e n c h one in 1 9 6 0 h a s in d ic a te d e ith e r a r e lu c ­
ta n c e o n th e p a r t o f m o st c o u n trie s to e n g a g e in so f a t e f u l a n en te r­
p r is e o r th e c o m p le x ity o f th is t e c h n o lo g y o r , m o s t p r o b a b ly , a
c o m b in a tio n o f b o th .
T h e p e r io d o f slo w g r o w t h o f th e n u c le a r c lu b
m a y be n e a r in g a n e n d , h o w e v e r , a n d th e 1 9 6 0 ’s m a y see a s u b sta n tia l
in cre ase in m e m b e r s h ip .
T h e sig n ific a n c e o f t h is tr e n d is as y e t f a r
f r o m c le a r , b u t th e con sequ en ces are n o t lik e ly t o b e h a p p y f o r th e
U n it e d S ta te s n o r f o r th e rest o f th e w o r ld .
P a s t R u s s ia n a d v a n c e s in n u c le a r w a r fa r e h a v e p la c e d t h e U n it e d
S t a te s in a r a d ic a lly n e w s itu a tio n . W e w o u ld b e p a r t o f th e b a t tle ­
fie ld in a b i g w a r . T h e c o n c e p t o f d e te r r in g m a jo r w a r n o w a ssu m e d
th e h ig h e s t im p o r ta n c e in o u r p la n s . O u r m ili t a r y fo r c e s a cq u ire d a
n e w a n d im p o r t a n t m is s io n , th e d e fe n se o f N o r t h A m e r ic a .
Our
S t r a t e g ic A i r C o m m a n d , in th e m id s t o f b u ild in g u p a n e tw o r k o f
o v ersea s b ase s, h a d t o a lte r s ig n ific a n tly its m e th o d o f o p e r a tio n
a b r o a d , s h i f t t o w a r d d iffe re n t ty p e s o f a ir c r a f t , a n d b e g in to lo o k to
its d e fe n s e a t h o m e . A n d w e h a d to fa c e th e p r o s p e c t o f h i g h p e a c e ­
t im e d e fe n se b u d g e ts in to th e in d e fin ite fu tu r e .

The development of thermonuclear weapons and advances in rocketry
B e f o r e w e h a d r e a lly u n d e rsto o d th e sig n ific a n c e o f th e b e g in n in g s
o f R u s s ia n s tr a te g ic n u c le a r a ir p o w e r , th e S o v ie t U n io n a cq u ire d
th e r m o n u c le a r b o m b s a n d m o d e r n je t b o m b e r s, a n d th e n lo n g -r a n g e
ro c k e ts. T h e p r o b le m o f c o n str u c tin g a n a ir d e fe n se s y ste m a b le to
se rv e as a s h ie ld a g a in s t e n e m y b o m b s b ecam e im m e n s e ly m o r e d ifficu lt
a lm o s t as so o n as th e ta s k w a s b e g u n . T h e b la s t a n d th e r m a l effe cts o f
a 1 -m e g a t o n y ie ld th e r m o n u c le a r b o m b c o u ld d e str o y o r d a m a g e t h e
r e la tiv e ly s o f t stru c tu re s o f a c ity o v e r a n a rea a b o u t 15 tim e s a s g r e a t
a s th e 2 0 -k ilo t o n fissio n b o m b . A n d r a d io a c tiv e f a ll o u t f r o m a s in g le
b o m b w o u ld b e le th a l to p e o p le n o t in so m e t y p e o f sh e lte r o v e r a n
a re a o f se v e r a l h u n d r e d to a th o u sa n d o r m o r e sq u a re m ile s .
The
th e r m o n u c le a r b o m b n o w m a d e p o s s ib le th e d e str u c tio n o f a n e n tire
n a t io n , n o t ju s t its u r b a n a reas. A v e r y s m a ll n u m b e r o f b o m b s b y
th e s ta n d a r d s o f p r e v io u s w a r s c o u ld p r o d u c e im m e n se d a m a g e a g a in s t
a n u n s h e lte r e d p o p u la t io n .10 T h e b e lie f t h a t to in itia te n u c le a r w a r
w o u ld b e s u ic id a l see m ed to b e w a r r a n te d b y t h is te c h n o lo g ic a l d e v e l­
o p m e n t. I t h a s b ec o m e v e r y w id e ly h e ld .
T h e g r e a t a d v a n c e in b o m b t e c h n o lo g y , th e h u n d r e d fo ld in c re a se
in e n e r g y y ie ld f r o m a g iv e n w e ig h t a t e sse n tia lly n o a d d it io n a l c o st
ju m p e d th e o ffen se s ig n ific a n tly a h e a d o f a ir d e fe n se . F i r s t , f o r th e
r e a so n ju s t d isc u ssed , th e g r e a t p o w e r o f ea ch d e liv e r e d b o m b . S e c ­
o n d , i t n o w m a d e r o c k e ts m o r e efficient b o m b c a r r ie r s, e s p e c ia lly
a g a in s t s o f t ta r g e ts , f o r th e f a c t t h a t t h e y w e re e x p e c te d t o b e le ss
a cc u ra te th a n b o m b e r s w o u ld b e o ffse t b y a la r g e w a r h e a d y ie ld .
16 An attack studied for the Joint Committee on Atom ic Energy of the Congress in 1959
involved 263 bombs with a total yield of 1,446 megatons detonating within the United
States. I t was estimated that this attack would cause 50 million deaths plus 20 million
serious casualties, and the destruction and damage of about one-half of the homes in the
United States. This attack, while not the smallest that might occur, is substantially less
than the largest that might be experienced in the 1960’s. “ Summary Analysis of Hearings
on Biological and Environmental Effects of Nuclear W ar,” Joint Committee on Atom ic
Energy, August 1959.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

25

( T h e fa c t t h a t th e r e a p p e a r s t o b e n o p r o m is in g m e th o d o f a c tiv e d e ­
fe n s e a g a in s t b a llis tic m issile s is m o r e s ig n ific a n t th a n i t m i g h t see m ,
f o r a lth o u g h a ir d e fe n se see m ed to h a v e fa lle n b e h in d th e o ffe n se, in
r e a lity i t h a d n o t been so v e r y f a r b e h in d .) T h i s a d v a n c e in r o c k e tr y
a lso m e a n t t h a t th ese p o w e r f u l b o m b s c o u ld b e d e liv e re d f r o m R u s s ia
o r f r o m th e o cean s so q u ic k ly t h a t th e r e m i g h t be lit tle o r 110 u sa b le
w a r n in g o f a w e ll-e x e c u te d su r p r ise a tta c k .
T h e p r o b le m o f S A C
v u ln e r a b ility b o th in th e U n it e d S ta te s a n d o n oversea s b a se s d id n o t
o r ig in a te w it h th e th e r m o n u c le a r b o m b a n d lo n g -r a n g e ro c k e ts. O ld
fa s h io n e d R u s s ia n b o m b e r s a n d k ilo t o n y ie ld b o m b s w e re e n o u g h to
crea te t h a t t h r e a t, a lth o u g h th is w a s n o t v e r y w e ll u n d e rsto o d .
H o w e v e r , th ese n e w w e a p o n s a d d e d a n e w a n d im p o r t a n t d im e n s io n ,
f o r th e r m o n u c le a r b o m b s w o u ld n o t o n ly b e d e liv e re d b y a ir c r a f t
a n d I C B M ’s b u t a lso , in th e n e a r fu t u r e , b y m issile s la u n c h e d fr o m
a ir c r a f t a n d f r o m su b m e r g e d su b m a r in e s.
T h e p o sse ssio n o f th ese
w e a p o n s b y th e R u s s ia n s fo r c e d us to a d o p t n e w m e th o d s o f p r o te c tio n
f o r o u r s tr a te g ic r e ta lia to r y fo r c e s , w h ile th e ir in tr o d u c tio n in to o u r
o w n fo r c e s o p e n e d u p a n e w r a n g e o f p o ssib le str a te g ic sy ste m s.
P a r a d o x ic a lly , th e p e r io d im m e d ia te ly a ft e r th e d e to n a tio n o f th e
fir st S o v ie t U n io n fu s io n b o m b sa w th e m o s t e x p lic it sta te m e n t on
U . S . in te n tio n s to c o n ta in C o m m u n is t e x p a n sio n t h r o u g h th e u se o f
n u c le a r w e a p o n s a n d th e r e n u n c ia tio n o f th e p o lic y o f m e e tin g n o n ­
n u c le a r a g g r e s s io n w ith n o n n u c le a r d e fe n s e as w e h a d in K o r e a .17
T h i s w a s a p e r io d o f re tre n c h m e n t in th e d e fe n se a p p r o p r ia tio n s , th e
p e r io d o f “ m o r e b a n g f o r a b u c k ,” o f siz a b le re d u c tio n s in o u r n o n ­
n u c le a r c a p a b ilitie s .
S i x y e a r s a ft e r , ju d g i n g b y th e c o m p o s itio n o f
o u r fo r c e s , w e h a v e n o t y e t r e tre a te d v e r y m u c h f r o m t h is d o c tr in e
w h ic h ste m s f r o m th e u n d e r ly in g b e lie f t h a t th e a to m b o m b is o u r s ;
a b e lie f t h a t is in c r e a s in g ly a t v a r ia n c e w it h th e g r o w t h o f R u s s ia n
n u c le a r d e liv e r y p o w e r.
B u t so m e c h a n g e s a re u n d e r w a y in resp o n se
to t h a t g r o w i n g p o w e r.
F o r e x a m p le , th e r e a re sig n s o f g r o w i n g d e ­
s ire o n th e p a r t o f so m e o f o u r a llie s t o g a i n a g r e a t e r m e a su re o f
c o n tr o l o v e r N A T O ’s n u c le a r fo r c e s. W h e t h e r o r n o t t h is is a u s e fu l
o r r e le v a n t re sp o n se is a n o th e r m a tte r to b e d iscu ssed la te r.
A t h o m e , th e a d d itio n a l a c tio n s I h a v e m e n tio n e d h a v e a lr e a d y b een
ta k e n to p r o te c t o u r r e ta lia to r y fo r c e f r o m a tta c k , in c lu d in g b la s t
s h elte rs, m is s ile d is p e r s a l, p la n s f o r a ir -m o b ile b o m b e r s a n d su bsea
m o b ile m issile s.
T h e i r a d e q u a c y is as y e t u n c e r ta in , a n d u n d o u b t­
e d ly a n n o u n c e m e n ts o f fu r t h e r v u ln e r a b ility -r e d u c in g a c tio n s w ill be
fo r th c o m in g . I n a n y case, w e s h o u ld n o t e x p e c t t h a t a n y fo r t h c o m ­
in g a ctio n w ill e n a b le u s to d e te r w a r w it h c e r ta in ty . T h e r e f o r e , w e
w ill c o n tin u e to n eed d a m a g e li m i t i n g m ea su re s. T h e n a tu r e o f o u r
r esp o n se w it h o u r d a m a g e -lim it in g fo r c e s a n d in th e d e fe n se s o f
o versea s a reas to th ese n e w c h a lle n g e s is u n c e r ta in . F i n a l l y th e th re a t
to o u r n a t io n a l s u r v iv a l, in th e e v e n t o f a w a r , is u n iq u e , b u t th e r e is
n o in d ic a tio n t h a t w e w i ll a d o p t th e m i li t a r y a n d c iv il d e fe n se m e a s­
u res t h a t w o u ld b e a n esse n tia l c o m p o n e n t o f a n e x p a n d e d d a m a g e l i m i t i n g p r o g r a m . O n th e c o n tr a r y , it h a s been a n n o u n c e d t h a t w e
a re d e fe r r in g th e p r o c u r e m e n t o f a d e fe n se a g a in s t b a llis tic m issile s
a n d r e d u c in g th e p r o c u r e m e n t o f so m e a n tib o m b e r d e fe n se s.

17

The first Russian fusion bomb was detonated in August of 1953. The doctrine of
massive retaliation was announced by Secretary of State Dulles in an address to the Coun­
cil on Foreign Relations on Jan. 12, 1954.

50365—60-----5



26

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

W h a t th e f u l l re sp o n se o f th e U n it e d S t a te s a n d its a llie s w i l l b e to
th e la te s t a d v a n c e s in w e a p o n r y f o r th e d e fe n s e o f o versea s a reas is
n o t y e t cle a r.
A n d v e r y lik e ly o u r p ro ce ss o f a d ju s t m e n t w i ll b e d is ­
r u p t e d b y fu r t h e r r e v e la tio n s o f a d v a n c e s in w e a p o n s t e c h n o lo g y ,
p o s s ib ly o n ce m o r e b y th e R u ssia n s.
C. TH E FUTURE OF GENERAL W AR

W h i l e th e r e is a h ig h o rd e r o f a g r e e m e n t o n th e f o u r b r o a d o b je c tiv e s
d iscu ssed a b o v e , th e r e is m u c h less a g r e e m e n t o n h o w to a tta in th e m .
O n e v ie w is t h a t g e n e r a l w a r is a d e q u a te ly d e te rr e d a n d t h a t m o r e
e ffo r t n ee d s t o b e s h ift e d to lim it e d -w a r fo r c e s.
A n o t h e r is t h a t th e
th r e a t o f a llo u t w a r h a s k e p t th e C o m m u n is t p o w e r s f r o m u s in g
s u p e r io r g r o u n d s tr e n g th m o r e fr e e ly a n d t h a t t h is c a p a b ilit y n e e d s
s tr e n g th e n in g .
O r t h a t o u r m o s t u r g e n t d e fe n s e p r o b le m is t h e
“ m is s ile g a p ,” o r th e n eed f o r n o n n u c le a r fo r c e s o v ersea s, o r f o r in d e ­
p e n d e n t n u c le a r fo r c e s in E u r o p e .
U n d e r ly i n g th e se d iffe r in g p o ­
s itio n s o n o u r d e fe n s e p o lic y is a set o f d o c tr in e s o r a ssu m p tio n s a b o u t
th e n a tu r e o f w a r t h a t a re n o t a lw a y s m a d e e x p lic it .
T h e s e d o c tr in e s
d e serv e e lu c id a tio n . T h e f o ll o w in g d isc u ssio n is d iv id e d in to a d is ­
c u ssio n o f a lte r n a tiv e v ie w s o n g e n e r a l th e r m o n u c le a r w a r , a n d th e n
o n a lte r n a tiv e m e th o d s o f d e fe n se a b r o a d .
T h e d is tin c tio n is s o m e ­
w h a t a r tific ia l, f o r th e p r o b le m o f g e n e r a l w a r is c lo se ly c o n n e cted
w it h th e p r o b le m o f d e fe n se a b r o a d .
I n f a c t , m o s t o f th e sta k es a re
abroad.
N o n e th e le ss, th e p r o b le m o f g e n e r a l th e r m o n u c le a r w a r is
so c e n tr a l a n d so c r u c ia l t h a t it d eserves se p a r a te d isc u ssio n .
I t is c o n v e n ie n t t o d is tin g u is h fiv e d iffe re n t v ie w s t o w a r d g e n e r a l
th e r m o n u c le a r w a r :
1. W o r l d a n n ih ila tio n .
2 . M u t u a l su ic id e.
3. D e te r r e n c e -p lu s -in s u r a n c e .
4 . E x t e n d e d d e te rren ce .
5. M a s s iv e r e ta lia tio n .
T h e b o u n d a r ie s o f th ese c a te g o r ie s are n o t s h a r p , a n d it is p o s s ib le t o
c la s s if y v ie w s o n th e p r o b le m o f g e n e r a l w a r in o th e r w a y s .
F in a lly ,
o n e p o s itio n h a s n o t b een in c lu d e d , th e p r e v e n tiv e w a r v ie w .
T h ere
a re fe w t o d a y w h o w o u ld a r g u e t h a t th e U n it e d S ta te s sh o u ld e n d t h e
u n e a s y b a la n c e o f te r r o r b y a g g r e s s io n .18

The world annihilation view
N o t e v e r y o n e a g rees t h a t d e te rren ce th r o u g h th e th r e a t o f n u c le a r
r e ta lia tio n is r a tio n a l.
M a n y d is tin g u is h e d p e o p le , b o th h ere a n d
a b r o a d , r e g a r d a g e n e r a l th e r m o n u c le a r w a r as th e u lt im a t e c a ta str o ­
p h e , th e d e s tr u c tio n o f c iv iliz a tio n , th e e n d a n g e r in g o f th e h u m a n ra c e
its e lf:

I t is im p o s s ib le t o k n o w w it h a n y p r e c is io n w h a t t h e o u t c o m e o f a n u c
w a r w o u ld b e .
S o m e t h in k t h a t h a lf th e p o p u la tio n o f th e w o r ld w o u ld s u r v
s o m e th in k o n ly a q u a r te r , a n d s o m e th in k n o n e .
I t is n o t n e c e s s a r y , in c o n
e r in g p o lic y , t o d e c id e a m o n g s u c h p o s s ib ilitie s .
W h a t is q u it e c e r t a in is
th e w o r ld w h ic h w o u ld e m e rg e fr o m
a n u c le a r w a r w o u ld n o t b e s u c h
d e s ir e d b y e ith e r M o s c o w o r W a s h in g to n .
O n th e m o st fa v o r a b le h y p o th
it w o u ld c o n s is t o f d e s titu te p o p u la tio n s , m a d d e n e d b y h u n g e r , d e b ilita te
d is e a s e , d e p r iv e d o f t h e s u p p o r t o f m o d e r n in d u s t r y a n d m e a n s o f t r a n s
in c a p a b le o f s u p p o r t in g e d u c a tio n a l in s titu tio n s , a n d r a p id ly s in k in g t o t h e l
M For a discussion of the doctrine of preventive war and its demise see Barnard Brodie,
“ Strategy in the Missile Age,” ch. 7, Princeton University Press, 1959.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y
o f ig n o r a n t s a v a g e s .
a n y d e g r e e p l a u s.1 l e
i9
b
T h e r e is a r e a l p o s s
o f th e p o o l o f h u m a n
k n o w it , w o u ld n o t s u

27

T h is , I r e p e a t, is th e m o s t o p t im is t ic fo r e c a s t w h ic h

ib ility th a t a g r e a t n u c le a r w a r w o u ld c h a n g e th e n a tu r e
g e r m p la s m in s u c h a w a y t h a t t h e h u m a n s p e c ie s , a s w
.2 i v e
r0
v

I t fo llo w s f r o m th ese b e lie fs t h a t th e r m o n u c le a r w a r c a n n o t c o n ­
c e iv a b ly b e a d e lib e r a te in str u m e n t o f n a tio n a l p o lic y , t h a t t h is t y p e
o f w a r m u s t b e a b o lish e d . A n d i f th e w o r ld h a s n o t q u ite rea ch e d
th is situ a tio n , o th ers a rg u e t h a t it w ill so o n , a n d w e sh o u ld n o w b e h a v e
as t h o u g h w a r w ere n o lo n g e r a r a t io n a l a lte r n a tiv e t o p e a c e .21
A l t h o u g h t h is v ie w is p a r t ly b a se d o n th e im a g e o f a g e n e r a l n u c le a r
w a r in w h ic h th e b o m b sto c k p ile s o f th e n a tio n s w o u ld b e h u r le d in d is ­
c r im in a te ly a t m a j o r cities o f th e w o r ld in a n o r g y o f d e str u c tio n , th e
g r i m p r o p h e c ie s q u o te d a re b ased m o s t ly o n th e g e n e tic a n d s o m a tic
effects o f n u c le a r r a d ia tio n f r o m fa llo u t .
T h e a m o u n t o f w o r ld w id e r a d ia tio n p r o d u c e d b y a th e r m o n u c le a r
w a r c o u ld b e siz a b le in c o m p a r iso n to n o r m a l b a c k g r o u n d le v e ls, a n d
a n y a m o u n t o f r a d ia tio n is b elie v e d t o b e h a r m fu l g e n e t ic a lly .
The
m a g n itu d e o f th ese w o r ld w id e effects d e p e n d s o n th e t o t a l y ie ld o f
b o m b s d e to n a te d , th e p r o p o r tio n o f th e y ie ld p r o d u c e d b y n u c le a r fis­
s io n , a n d th e h e ig h t o f b u r s t o f th e b o m b s. W i t h g r o u n d b u rsts,
a b o u t 2 0 p e rc e n t o f th e r a d io a c tiv e m a te r ia l is sp r e a d b e y o n d th e lo c a l
fa llo u t a rea.
I f w e le a v e a sid e f o r th e m o m e n t th e s itu a tio n in th e
co u n trie s d ir e c tly a tta c k e d a n d th e ir im m e d ia te d o w n w in d n e ig h b o r s
t h a t m i g h t receiv e lo c a l f a llo u t , th e a v e r a g e w o r ld w id e r a d ia tio n
re c e iv e d o v e r a g e n e r a tio n f r o m a g e n e r a l w a r t h a t m i g h t b e f o u g h t
in th e n e x t 5 y e a r s o r ev en m u c h la te r is lik e ly t o b e a b o u t 1 r o e n tg e n ,
w ith r a th e r m o r e th a n t h is in th e N o r th e r n a n d le ss in th e S o u th e r n
H e m is p h e r e .22 T h i s r e su lt, w h ic h a ssu m es g r o u n d b u r sts, is b a s e d o n
a w a r in w h ic h 5 ,0 0 0 m e g a to n s are d e to n a te d w o r ld w id e , w it h 2 ,5 0 0
m e g a to n s c o m in g f r o m fissio n . T h i s , in th e r m o n u c le a r te r m s , is
n e ith e r a n e x c e p tio n a lly s m a ll n o r e x c e p tio n a lly la r g e w a r . A w a r
o f t h is scale w o u ld p r o b a b ly in cre ase t h e p r o p o r t io n o f se r io u sly
a b n o r m a l b ir th s in th e first g e n e r a tio n a f t e r th e w a r b y a b o u t o n e te n th o f 1 p e r c e n t ; t h a t is, a n in cre ase f r o m th e p r e se n t le v e l o f a b o u t
4 p e rc e n t t o a b o u t 4 .0 0 4 p e r c e n t, w it h s o m e w h a t s m a lle r in creases
t a p e r in g o ff o v e r m a n y la te r g e n e r a tio n s. I n a d d it io n t o th is r e la ­
t iv e ly im m e d ia te g e n e tic effe ct (p r o d u c e d m o s t ly b y th e fission
p r o d u c t c e siu m 1 3 7 ) , th e r e m i g h t b e a c o m p a r a b le in cre a se in th e
a b so lu te n u m b e r o f d e fe c tiv e b ir th s f r o m c a r b o n 1 4 s p r e a d o u t o v e r
th o u sa n d s o f y e a r s (c a r b o n 14 h a s a h a l f l i f e o f 5 ,6 0 0 y e a r s ) .

In addition to worldwide genetic problems, there are somatic ones
to take into account; for instance, the life-shortening effect of wholebody radiation. On the basis of present knowledge it appears that
such a war might shorten life by something like 10 days or less on
the average for the population outside of the countries attacked,
though the lives of many people would suffer a much greater shorten­
ing than this. (Both the genetic and life-shortening effects of this
war would be substantially less than those now produced by natural
background radiation.) There are other effects: the average con­
19 Bertrand Russell, “Common Sense and Nuclear Warfare,” Simon & Schuster, 1959.
p. 42.
20 Linus Pauling, “No More W ar0” Dodd, Mead & Co., 1958, p. 149.
21 Eugene Rabinowitch, ‘‘Status Quo With a Quid Pro Quo,” Bulletin of the Atomic
Scientists, September 1959.
22 Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, op. cit.




is i

28

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
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c e n tr a tio n o f s t r o n tiu m 9 0 p r o d u c e d b y a w a r o f th e siz e m e n tio n e d
m i g h t c o m e t o a b o u t o n e -f o u r t h th e le v e l n o w r e g a r d e d a s to le ra b le
f o r la r g e p o p u la tio n s .
T h i s is a h ig h p r ic e t o p a y f o r a n y w a r . T o be su re, th ese p e rc e n ta g e
in c re a se s f o r a n y s in g le g e n e r a tio n , in c lu d in g th e g e n e r a tio n a liv e a t
th e tim e o f th e w a r , seem s m a ll i f c o m p a r e d to th e u su a l h a z a r d s o f
li f e .
B u t th ese s m a ll p e rc e n ta g e s, m u lt ip lie d b y th e la r g e w o r ld p o p u ­
la tio n , y ie ld o v e r th e y e a r s a n im p r e s s iv e n u m b e r o f p e o p le lik e ly
to b e se r io u s ly a ffe c te d b y su c h a w a r . F o r e x a m p le , a w a r o f t h is
sca le m i g h t p r o d u c e o n e -q u a r te r o f a m illio n a d d it io n a l a b n o r m a litie s
in th e first p o s t w a r g e n e r a tio n .
B u t h o w ca n th e se f a ll o u t effects b e re a so n a b ly r e g a r d e d as a n n ih ila ­
t io n ?
T h e first p o s t w a r g e n e r a tio n w o u ld n u m b e r o v e r 3 b illio n
b ir th s . T h e g r e a t m a jo r i t y o f th e p e o p le in th e w o r ld w o u ld n o t e v en
n o tic e t h is a sp ec t o f th e c o n flic t. T h i s d o es n o t m e a n t h a t th e r e is
n o p r o b le m .
O n th e c o n t r a r y , g o v e r n m e n ts h a v e a n u r g e n t o b lig a ­
t io n to ta k e th is e x te r n a l d a m a g e in to a cco u n t in th e ir p la n s f o r th e
w e a p o n s s y s te m s t h e y b u y a n d in th e ir p la n s f o r th e c o n d u c t o f a w a r
ju s t as th e y h a v e th e o b lig a t io n to w e ig h th e p r o s p e c tiv e d a m a g e t o
th e p o p u la tio n o f th e ir o w n c o u n trie s, th e ir a llie s, a n d th e ir e n e m ie s.23
F u r th e r m o r e , th ese c a s u a lty e stim a te s a re n o t c e r ta in . T h e r e is a l­
w a y s a p o s s ib ilit y t h a t so m e n e w a n d m o r e serio u s w o r ld w id e effects
o f a la r g e n u c le a r w a r w ill b e d isc o v e re d .
I t is im p o r t a n t to c o n sid e r v e r y m u c h la r g e r w a r s th a n th e o n e
illu s tr a te d f o r t h e y m a y b eco m e p o ssib le .24 A w a r w it h , s a y , 2 0 tim e s
th e fission y ie ld a n d w it h a ll a ir b u rsts (in c r e a s in g w o r ld w id e f a ll o u t
w h ile r e d u c in g lo c a l) w o u ld h a v e w o r ld w id e effects a b o u t 1 0 0 tim e s as
g r e a t as in th e w a r d e sc rib ed .
T h i s a m o u n t o f r a d ia tio n , a b o u t 3 0
t im e s t h a t f r o m n a tu r a l so u rces, is a n e n o rm o u s d o se, w it h r e a lly g r a v e ,
i f n o t q u ite a n n ih ila tin g , con sequ en ces f o r m a n k in d .
B u t th is d o e s n o t
m e a n t h a t su c h a n im m e n se wT r is lik e ly w it h in th e n e x t d ecad e.
a

There is little support for the view that the nuclear powers are now
planning to procure weapon delivery systems that loill inevitably lead
to greater and greater worldioide fallout damage. O n th e c o n t r a r y ,
d e liv e r y sy s te m s n o w in d e v e lo p m e n t in th e U n it e d S ta te s sh o u ld
le a d to a s u b sta n tia l r e d u c tio n in th e w o r ld w id e f a llo u t th r e a t. T h e
tr e n d t o w a r d s m a ll a ir , g r o u n d , a n d sea m o b ile sy ste m s m e a n s t h a t
w e w i l l b e p r o c u r in g m o s t ly sm a lle r , n o t la r g e r , w a r h e a d s in t h e f u ­
tu re . I t m a y w e ll b e t h a t th e t o t a l y ie ld t h a t U . S . fo r c e s c o u ld
d e liv e r w it h a n u n d a m a g e d str a te g ic fo r c e w i ll b e v e r y s u b s ta n tia lly
s m a lle r b y th e m i d -1 9 6 0 ’s t h a n t h a t d e liv e r a b le a t th e p r e se n t tim e .
O n th e o th e r h a n d , w e c a n n o t b e c o n fid en t t h a t m u c h m o r e d e v a s ­
23 Governments have an obligation to take radiation damage from peacetime bomb test­
ing into effect also. Two points should be made: first, that while the worldwide radiation
from past tests is small in comparison to the war described, it is not trivially so. About
50 megatons of fission products have been distributed widely as compared with the 500
that would be in the illustrative war. Second, that it is possible to eliminate contamina­
tion from tests altogether by detonating bombs deep underground or in outer space.
24 R -322 RC, op. cit., treats an attack on the United States with 20,000 megatons of
fission products. Pauling, op. cit., considers a war with 50,000 megatons of fission
products. The total energy yield in these two cases would be very much greater. It is
worth noting that large estimates of the total yield detonated are often a consequence of
assuming roughly equivalent amounts detonated in North America, Europe, and the Soviet
Union. This assumes something almost certainly contrary to fa c t; that the side that
strikes first cannot drastically reduce the total yield delivered by its opponents. A wellexecuted surprise attack might leave the defender with a quite small megatonnage able
to surmount the barriers to retaliation unless retaliatory forces are well protected. Even
if they are well protected, symmetrical damage is not to be expected.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
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29

tating weapons will not be developed within the decade. Man’s in­
genuity in thinking up still more powerful weapons is impressive.
The implications of further advances in bomb technology in the direc­
tion o f weapons that produce the widespread annihilating effects
feared and, even without further technological advances, the diffusion
o f the existing types of nuclear weapons through the world argues for
an urgent and systematic search for international measures of control.
However, examination of the known effects of a war and current mil­
itary trends does not support the argument that a general nuclear war
in the 1960’s would be the ultimate catastrophe. Terrible as the
worldwide consequences of a nuclear war would be, it is unwise to
assume that governments would be deterred from starting a nuclear
war primarily because o f these worldwide effects.2 As we shall see
5
below, their calculations may be dominated by even more pressing con­
siderations—including the threat of much greater damage than the
worldwide damage discussed in this section. What about the direct
consequences o f a war for the participants? Are they of a magnitude
to rule out war?
The mutual suicide view

The prevailing opinion is that general nuclear war, if it does not
destroy the world, will certainly destroy the participants. The list
of those who have held this view is a long and distinguished one.2
6
Some believe that for this reason general nuclear war has been effec­
tively abolished, while others believe that deliberate war has been elim­
inated and worry only about the chance o f an unintended or “ acci­
dental” war. They all hold that rational governments would never
deliberately choose nuclear war, that it will not be especially difficult
to deter a general war. They also do not distinguish levels o f dam­
age—damage would be total.
Just what is meant by “ suicide,” deserves careful attention. There
is little question that some extreme level of damage would warrant
our use o f the word. Retaliation that would inflict 150 million or
more fatalities to either the Soviet Union or the United States would
certainly qualify. Would 50 million, or 20 million, or 1 million?
These would be disasters so far beyond our experience that they might
at first glance seem equivalent to total destruction. But most people
on reflection would agree that they are not. In the mid-1960’s, 50
million fatalities in the United States would mean 150 million sur­
vivors. And probably a substantial economic base would survive as
well. In addition to grave economic loss, the Soviet Union suffered
well over 20 million fatalities during World War II. Judging by
the recovery o f the Soviet Union since W orld W ar II, one cannot
say that level o f damage was fatal. This does not mean that this
experience was one that the Russians would care to repeat. Far from
it. It does mean, however, that we must be careful to distinguish
between those levels of damage that are a disaster and those that are
2
5 For a discussion of these matters see Herman Kahn, “ Three Lectures on Thermo­
nuclear W ar,” to be published by the Princeton University Press.
20 For a discussion and criticism of this set of opinions see W ohlstetter, op. cit. A sig­
nificant number of those who have held this position, once almost universal in the W est,
have altered it during the past year.
Much of the material m this section and in the following one on deterrence-plusinsurance is based on unpublished material of Albert W ohlstetter and will be discussed
at greater length in his forthcoming boob for the Council on Foreign Relations.




30

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
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lethal to a country. This distinction has important implications for
our defense policies.
What intensities of attack would produce these different levels of
damage? An attack delivering roughly 4,000 megatons could inflict
damage in the lethal range if not moderated by civil defense. (The
delivery o f this weight o f attack might require the launching of a
much greater weight, and for the side striking second, the posses­
sion of even greater forces.) It would probably kill about 120 mil­
lion people from blast and fallout if they failed to take much ad­
vantage o f the shielding provided by existing buildings, and at the
present public level o f understanding of how to behave if we are at­
tacked, this seems to be a reasonable assumption. A very much smaller
attack than this could do great, if not necessarily lethal, damage; 50
high-yield bombs totaling about 500 megatons delivered on our largest
cities might cause about 30 million fatalities if the populations had
not evacuated or sheltered.2 A larger attack could kill practically
7
our entire population.
The vulnerability o f the Soviet Union population to a large attack is
roughly comparable to that of the United States. Assuming again
that there is no civil defense—a much more dubious assumption with
regard to Russia—the damage from, say, a 4,000-megaton attack
would be comparable to that in the United States. However, damage
from a 50-city attack would be substantially less, for Russian industry
and urban population is less concentrated than ours.
What level of attack might be expected? It is essential to dis­
tinguish between the situation of the aggressor and that of the de­
fender. The aggressor has the advantage of attacking with an un­
damaged force and possibly by surprise. I f his attack were to
destroy a large proportion of the defender’s force and possibly dis­
rupt the remainder, and if his active defenses were to exact further
attrition o f the surviving force, then the actual weight of attack
delivered by the defender might be small. And much o f it might
be delivered against the wrong targets. The weight of attack against
civil targets might be significantly less than the smaller of the attacks
illustrated. Finally, the effect of the defender’s delivered attack
would depend very much on the aggressor’s use of civil defenses.
The aggressor can use civil defense to especially good advantage for,

somewhat disquieting in this connection to observe that the Soviet
Union has been carrying out an extensive civil defense training pro­
gram in which all adults are supposed to have received over 20 hours
o f instruction.
The risk to the defender’s civil society is much greater. It is threat­
ened initially by the aggressor’s undamaged strategic force. The
aggressor could inflict lethal damage especially if the defender had
little civil defense. However, this does not mean that he would
necessarily want to do so or that his attack would be unconstrained.
27
The destruction of our 50 largest metropolitan areas by an attack o f this scale would
leave the bulk of our population surviving and a sizable and relatively well-balanced eco­
nomic base. In the absence of civil defense preparations, including detailed plans for
reorganizing and controlling the economy in the immediate postwar period, disruption to
that had survived the immediate efforts of the nuclear attack. Arranging for the distribu­
tion of food is an obviously critical task whose accomplishment calls for extensive pre­
attack planning.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

31

I f he wished to take his enemy by surprise and if he wished to retain
forces in being, his initial strike might have to be quite limited in
size. And it would have to be sent largely against the defender’s
military forces if damage were to be reduced to his own cities and
remaining military forces. The weight of attack sent directly at the
defender’s population centers might be only a small part of the total,
and the aggressor might choose not to attack population directly at
all. Where military forces and populations are close together, a
purely military attack against an unprepared population would
almost certainly do great civilian damage.2
8
Even for the defender, population damage could be drastically re­
duced over a wide range of attacks by civil defense. Relatively
cheap measures (well under a billion dollars a year) could make a
big difference. The difference between having an unprepared
population and one trained to use available structures as fallout shel­
ter, equipped with radiation meters, provided with emergency food
supplies, and trained in decontamination techniques, could reduce
fatalities by perhaps 50 million.2 W ith special fallout shelters it
9
might be possible to reduce fatalities from a large attack by perhaps
a comparable amount in addition. Beyond this, we might build
blast shelters, arrange for the evacuation of the population of cities
to rural shelter areas in a crisis, plan on the use of nonurban industry
and adopt other measures to promote postwar recovery. A large
scale program of civil defense might be as large as $5 to $10 billion or
more a year, a tremendous amount compared with present civil de­
fense expenditures but not, it should be noted, compared to our defense
budget nor even to the amount we are now spending on our general
war objectives.
Even allowing for civil defense preparations, the long-term radia­
tion effects discussed above would be greatly intensified in any
heavily attacked country if ground bursts were used. The survivors
o f the war might average a long-term radiation dose of 200 or 300
roentgens, and many would receive much more. This is 50 to 100
times as much as they would get from natural sources. It would in­
cease the proportion of seriously defective children born from
about 4 percent to about 5 percent o f the total, and the resulting con­
centration o f strontium 90 in bones would produce a large increase
in the incidence of leukemia and cancer. The lives of the survivors
might be shortened by an average o f 5 to 10 years. And there would
be other serious medical and environmental problems as well.
In spite o f such unprecedented problems, this does not mean that
economic recovery is impossible even following a heavy attack. I f
a large population were to survive through protective measures, with
the economic resources surviving outside of major cities, and with
28 A comparative study of the vulnerability of the United States and the Soviet Union
population to fallout showed that if these populations had no civil defense preparations,
an attack using ground bursts only on military airbases could cause a very high casualty
le v e l; for example, a 4,000-megaton attack might kill 40 percent or more of the popula­
tion of either country. “ The Distribution and Effect of Fallout in Large Nuclear-Weapons
Campaigns,” Hugh Everett I I I and George E. Pugh, “ Operations Research,” vol. 7, No. 2,
M arch-A pril 1959. However, most of the essential elements on an airbase are soft and
soft targets are more easily destroyed with air bursts. The same attack using air bursts
would probably kill perhaps 2 or 3 percent of the population of either country. Even
with ground bursts, fallout fatalities could be greatly reduced by intelligent use of exist­
ing structures by a trained population. The article referred to does not take this into
account.
29 Herman Kahn, “ How Many Can Be Saved,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January
1959.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

careful preattack planning to help us get through the initial period
o f disruption, recovery would seem to be possible. About one-third
o f the population of the United States and about half o f the manu­
facturing capital o f the United States is located in our 50 largest
metropolitan areas. This is much o f the United States, and most
people think of the survival of the United States in terms o f what
might happen to these metropolitan areas. Conversely, two-thirds
of the population and about half of the manufacturing industry of
the country lie outside of these areas. (The comparable figures for
the Soviet Union are about four-fifths of the population and sixtenths of manufacturing industry outside of the 50 largest cities.)
H alf o f our population and one-third of manufacturing are outside
o f the 150 largest urban areas. According to one informed optimistic
estimate it might even be possible to restore something like the pre­
war consumption standard for the survivors in 10 years or so after
an attack which had destroyed our 50 largest metropolitan areas.3
0
In sum: (1) An attack delivered on the 50 largest cities of the
United States, in the absence of civil defenses, and if the population
of these cities were to be found there at the time of the attack, would
kill perhaps 30 to 40 million people. (2) This damage, while indeed
catastrophic, would not be lethal—the Nation could in time recover,
especially if plans for getting through the initial period of disruption
had been made. (3) I f the population of these cities were to b^
evacuated and sheltered they would be much less vulnerable, but an
attack on the cities would still do great material damage. (4) A larger
attack of, say, several thousand megatons, could kill over half of an
unprotected population mostly from radioactive fallout (damage al­
most as great would result from a purely military attack against airbases). (5) This scale of attack need not be lethal if modest civil
defense preparations (fallout protection and recovery) have been
made; though larger attacks are possible so are larger civil defense
programs. (6) The vulnerability of the Soviet Union to a given
weight o f attack delivered on target is somewhat lower than that o f
the United States but roughly o f the same order o f magnitude. How­
ever, the combination of a civil defense program combined with the
threat that the Soviet Union might strike first could give that coun­
try an advantage we would do well not to depreciate.
Suicide, in the literal sense, is not the automatic consequence o f a
nuclear war. What does all this tell us about the problem of deterring
general war? Presumably the assurance of damage substantially less
than lethal would deter a nation from choosing war rather than peace.
The amount o f damage that might be risked in order to achieve certain
gains or avoid losses is highly uncertain. Against a rational oppo­
nent the amount of damage one need threaten depends on the alterna­
tives open to him. The risk of losing even a few cities, even if their
inhabitants had been evacuated, might serve to deter general war in all
crisis situations arising in the next decade. I f competitive coexist­
ence continues to offer a hopeful prospect for the Soviet Union, the
threat o f relatively little damage should deter its first strike. How­
ever, if its prospects turn out at some point to be grim the threatened
damage necessary may be quite high. Since we cannot be very sure
o f the Soviet assessment of the alternatives, we want to be capable
" SeR
e 322-R o . cit.
C, p



NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

33

o f threatening heavy damage, say, large in comparison to that suf­
fered in W orld W ar II, for however traumatic that war was for the
Russian people, the Communist state survived and has gone on to
new heights o f power and influence. (A major difference between
W orld W ar I I and world war I I I would be in the length of time
during which the damage accumulated. Damage to Russia in W orld
W ar I I occurred over a 4-year span. A future general nuclear war
is more likely to see damage occurring over that many days or weeks.
The shock and disruptive effect, and the deterrent effect of compa­
rable absolute levels o f damage is often believed to be greater in the
time-compressed situation.) Finally, the threat of quite heavy dam­
age might not be enough to deter a dictator as irrational as Hitler, if
one were to come into power and have access to nuclear weapons. In
any case, the options both sides face will be more complicated than
the simple choice between war and peace. Most importantly, it in­
cludes the threat of being hit first. However awful the consequences
of starting a general nuclear war, the consequences of being hit first
are even worse.
One view on this question can be summarily disposed of. It is that
a nation would be deterred from an attack by the consequences of its
own fallout coming back to its own territory, the “lashback” effect. I f
it is believed likely to deter the Soviet Union from an attack on so
distant a country as the United States, the relevant fallout effects are
those common to midlatitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. But
these effects are certain to be swamped by the direct effect o f even a
small nuclear retaliation against the initiating country. I f advocates
o f the “ lashback” view of deterrence hold that there will be no retalia­
tion and that the only damage the aggressor would receive is fallout
from his own bombs, then they have an exceptionally gloomy view of
the strike-second ability of strategic forces and an optimistic view of
the deterrent effect of low levels of radiation. As for “ lashback”
from an attack on closer neighbors, for example, a Russian attack on
Western Europe, local fallout could be reduced by airbursts, and in
any case most of the local fallout produced would land short of the
Soviet Union.
The mutual-suicide view implies a policy position on general war
which can be described as deterrence only, for if all possible war out­
comes are indistinguishably the ultimate catastrophe, there can be no
other objective than deterrence. The possibility of limiting damage
is denied.
There is much about American attitudes toward general war and
even about our defense posture that suggests, in spite of our expendi­
tures, for example, on air defense, that the deterrence only doctrine
is the prevailing one in this country. This hypothesis finds support, to
choose two examples, in the absence of a serious civil defense program
and in the practically universal tendency in public discussion of de­
fense, in scholarly writings on military affairs, and in testimony before
the Congress, to avoid reference to the possible conduct of a general
war and to its outcome.
Britain, whose position is more exposed than ours, has officially
adopted tne deterrence only position:
It must be frankly recognized that there is at present no means of providing
adequate protection for the people of this country against the consequences of
an attack with nuclear weapons. * * *

50365—60-----6



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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

This makes it more than ever clear that the overriding consideration in all
military planning must be to prevent war rather than to prepare for it.3
1

Consistent with this policy, Britain has abandoned air defense, except
for the protection o f its bomber bases, and has not adopted a civil de­
fense program.
While everyone must agree that the prevention of all-out war is a
task of the most urgent and crucial importance, the belief that “ the
overriding consideration * * * must be to prevent war rather than
to prepare for it5 has some important ramifications: First, as in Bri­
’
tain, it would seem that we could save money on damage-limiting
forces such as air defense. Next, it suggests that we need not really
“ prepare” for war. It is enough to look threatening, to put up a con­
vincing facade—but the facade must really be convincing. Third,
to some it suggests that we should not only have a formidable
strategic power but also that we should foreclose alternatives to
all-out retaliation, i.e., that we should put ourselves in the position
where our power to vacillate or to back out in a crisis would be
limited. We might do this by being prepared effectively for only
one kind of all-out war, or by expecting that the commitment of
forces to battle would, after a certain point in a crisis, prove inexor­
able. Fourth, it suggests the adoption of terror weapons, for ex­
ample, the delivery o f massive amounts of radioactive fallout in the
hope—that might be unfounded—that they might combine cheap­
ness with great effectiveness. To repeat, all this in the belief that
these weapons would not have to be used.
Adherence to the deterrence only doctrine tells nothing in itself
o f the level of damage believed adequate to deter or the forces needed
to assure that level. Opinion on these questions range from those
who hold that the possession o f a few bombs is enough (they neglect
the problem of delivering them) to those who believe that the de­
livery of a lethal weight o f attack is needed.
One variant of the deterrence only view is of particular interest.3
2
It has come to be known as finite or minimum deterrence. There are
two senses in which the concept o f “ minimum” deterrence is used.
One refers to the almost universal view that we should not put more
resources into deterring general war than seems to be needed, allow­
ing for uncertainty and possible surprises. The other is a position
on force composition and strategy. It holds that we should unilater­
ally reduce our general war capability: Eeduce our active defenses,
continue not spending money on civil defense, and limit our strategic
offensive force to a level large enough to assure only the destruction
o f some number, possibly fairly small, of enemy cities.3 W e should
3
not prepare to strike back at the enemy’s offensive force (attack
military targets), in part because that force would already have been
launched by the time our counterattack could arrive; and in part
because preparations for counterforce attack, along with prepara­
tions for active and civil defense, make war more likely. This is so
31 “ D efen se: Outline of Future Policy,” “ W hite Paper on Defense,” London, April 1957.
82 For a critique of the minimum deterrence view see the forthcoming W ohlstetter book,
op. cit.
33 The most lucid presentation of the minimum-deterrence doctrine is to be found in
George Rathgen’ s “ Deterrence and Defense,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. X IV , No.
6, June 1958, and in “ N ATO S tra te gy: Total W a r,” published in “ N A T O and American
Security,” Princeton University Press, 1959.
See also, “ Finite Deterrence, Controlled Re­
taliation,” by Comdr. P. H. Backus, USN, in “ United States N aval Institute Proceedings,”
March 1959.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

35

because we would be more tempted to attack in a crisis and the Soviets
would, as a result, be more tempted to strike us. Moreover, this more
modest posture would help to save money that might be better spent
on limited-war forces.
The minimum-deterrence theorists recognize two very important
truths: First, that it is not necessary to promise total destruction o f a
country in order to deter it from aggressive acts. Beyond a certain
level o f threatened destruction there is little additional deterrent value
to additional damage increments. Second, that the strategic balance
is not a stable one—that it is important to try to stabilize it by our
policy choices.
While these truths are important and should receive urgent consid­
eration in our defense planning, there are some important limitations
to this doctrine. It would be highly risky for us to assume that levels
o f damage from which recovery might be rapid would be enough.
The damage levels proposed by some minimum-deterrence advocates
are not large compared to historic levels of damage from which rapid
recovery has occurred. Above all, it is important to recognize the
great effect o f an enemy initial thermonuclear assault and the diffi­
culty o f delivering a retaliatory blow. The damage a minimumdeterrence force might actually manage could turn out to be much
less than expected in advance.
Next, would we really have no military targets to hit i f we were to
strike second? This is by no means certain. The enemy probably
would not send all or necessarily a majority of his forces in an initial
attack, for to do so would not only increase the chance o f our getting
warning, but it would mean using up all of his military force. He
would surely want to reserve part of it for the conduct of the war,
short as it might be, and to end the war. Both during the war and at
the end he would have to consider his military position vis-a-vis the
rest o f the world. Moreover, his attack might be badly executed,
and a badly executed attack would give us the opportunity not only to
save more o f our own force but also to damage more of his.
Third, our threat o f initiating general war in the defense of vital
areas has been and remains an important element in their defense,
and its reduction or effective elimination would make their defense
more difficult, possibly very much more so. This does not mean that
we need continue to depend so much on this type o f defense, but the
implications o f its abandonment must be understood.
Finally, there is the deepest objection to this position and to the
entire mutual-suicide set o f views. They are essentially based on the
idea that both sides will inevitably direct a great weight o f attack
against civil targets in a general war, that if the United States is at­
tacked, our cities will be destroyed, and we in turn will retaliate
heavily against enemy cities. The minimum-deterrence advocates go
further and insist that we should try to design our forces for use only
against cities. But what would the execution o f this threat accom­
plish? What U.S. national objective would be advanced? It might
serve as a lesson to future aggressors or provide a horrible example to
shock the world into total disarmament. But the chance of this
hardly seems worth enough to warrant the sacrificing of much of the
United States and possibly all of it. The dilemma o f a policy o f




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

large-scale retaliation against enemy cities is that what it makes sense
to threaten is not necessarily the best policy actually to execute.
Representative Holifield expressed this dilemma as follow s:
When 72 million people are killed, when 71 cities are wiped out, when that
terrible havoc hits the Nation, I will ask you, what could we do to retaliate and
what good would it be? * * * a policy of massive retaliation after attack is a
completely fallacious doctrine.3
4

Just how inevitable is it that a general war would in fact be con­
ducted in this manner? Almost certainly the primary purpose of
the side that strikes first would be to destroy the military power of
the other. Our strategic force is the target o f highest priority at the
outset of such a war. How much of the aggressor’s force would be
available for use against our cities would depend on the ability of our
strategic force to “ soak up” his attack. W e plan on having a wellprotected force and such a force, by definition, is able to withstand
the entire weight of the enemy assault and survive. The aggressor
might save little for use against cities. Might not both sides have an
incentive to avoid cities ? The aggressor might attempt to minimize
the defender’s civil damage in order to hold his cities as hostage and
to force a quick end to the war. How about the side that strikes
second? Suppose its cities are not attacked initially? I f it carries
out a policy of only city attack with its surviving forces, it may be
condemning its own cities to destruction. Moreover, it is feasible to
avoid most cities. Clean weapons can be used instead of dirty ones,
airbursts against soft targets rather than ground bursts, relatively
small-yield weapons rather than very large. I f the surviving force
were a minimum-deterrence force designed to be just large enough to
assure unacceptable civil damage to the enemy, how credible would its
deterrent strength look in this situation. I f the war were to begin in
a favorable way for the defender, if it managed to have a large part
of its force available, a policy o f hitting only civil targets would give
up the prospect of a favorable military outcome. And the prospect o f
civil damage is not the only deterrent. The aggressor is not as likely
to start a war if it appears he stands a good chance of losing it—as
well as receiving some civil damage.
A t best, general nuclear war seems to offer a terrible prospect— a
prospect so awful that the common view that it is no longer a rational
instrument o f policy seems warranted. But even if the mutual sui­
cide outcome were to be generally accepted, this acceptance would
not necessarily rule out the continued use of the general war threat
in support o f diplomatic positions, for if there were to remain even
a small probability of so large a catastrophe, this threat might have
a major influence on foreign policy. Moreover, the mutual suicide
view is usually based on particular beliefs about the actual conduct
and outcome o f a war which are crucial and which cannot be assumed
a priori. It is necessary to consider the actual forces, circumstances
o f war outbreak, the information (and misinformation) likely to be
available to political and military leaders, and the performance of
weapons, including those that might be revealed for the first time on
the day o f the war. While sensible policies may reduce the likelihood
o f general war to a quite low value, it seems unlikely that its prob­
ability can be reduced to anything like zero. This is so because there
84 The Congressional Record, July 15, 1959, p. 12304.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

37

may be some residual possibility of a deliberate attack, and, perhaps
more importantly, because we must always continue to fear an
irrational attack. These considerations argue for something more
than minimum deterrence and for more than a policy o f deterrence
only.
The deterrence-plus-insurance view

This view is that a good deterrent posture against all-out war is
difficult to attain, that it is possible to distinguish among different
possible outcomes of a general war and, in particular, that it is not
inevitable that a general nuclear war would lethally damage any of
the participants. It holds also that the actual outcome would depend
very much on the preparations o f the contenders, circumstances of
the outbreak o f war, their war objectives, and the actual conduct o f
the w ar; that deterrence should not be measured only by the threat­
ened civil damage to the enemy, but also by the prospective military
outcome. On the other hand, it should be distinguished from the fol­
lowing views described in this section; It does not place primary re­
liance for the defense of any very large part of the world on the
threat o f general war. Rather it advocates the building up of more
limited capabilities for that objective.
It recognizes that a war might begin other than with a welldesigned surprise attack, but hastily, or in a badly executed way, or
after a period o f warning, or by a gradual escalation from a limited
war. And although a general nuclear war would be extremely short,
it would undoubtedly consist of more than the exchange o f inter­
continental missiles m one or a few salvos. Finally, it recognizes
that while a sensibly designed program to deter war can very likely
reduce its probability to a quite low value, it cannot reduce it to zero.
For all these reasons, it includes insurance as well as deterrence
capabilities, insurance in the form of such damage-limiting measures
as active and passive defense and forces designed to attack the enemy’s
military forces. And, especially, insurance in the form of the capa­
bility to fight a nuclear war in a controlled fashion. Carrying out this
last objective presents a great opportunity and a great risk. It pre­
sents the opportunity of an enormous reduction in our losses in the
event o f war. The risks stem from the possibility that in an attempt
to fight a carefully controlled campaign we might waste much o f our
force on targets of little value. It also suggests another type of prepa­
ration—the ability to communicate with the enemy during the cam­
paign.3 Whether this could actually be done in a general nuclear
5
war is quite uncertain.
It might seem that this view is excessively concerned over the prob­
lem of retaliation given the fact that so few delivered bombs would
do such great damage and given the uncertainties and risk in the
execution o f a successful first strike. I f the choice were the simple
one o f war or peace, eliminating war might not seem to be exception­
ally difficult. As long as the issue is one o f comparing what hap­
pens to a country’s interests if it does not defend them by attacking,
with what happens if it it does, then the elements in the comparison
are the stake m third areas (for geographic reasons our interests
likely to be threatened are abroad) versus the risk of population, inSee T. C. Schelling, “ Surprise Attack and Disarm am ent," published in “ N A T O and
American Security,” Ed., Princeton University Press, 1959.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

dustrial, and military losses associated with general war. The same
choice would be faced by the other side. Even if both sides were to
have strong strategic forces, would this comparison always lead
rationally to the election of the non war alternative? Not necessarily.
This choice would depend on the value attached to the stakes at issue
versus the expected war outcome. Communist leaders would do well
to proceed cautiously in any plan of aggression against Western
Europe since this clearly is an area o f the most vital interest to the
United States, economically, militarily, and culturally. And we
should not assume that the Soviet Union would always prefer to
accept any defeat rather than attack the United States.3 Neverthe­
6
less, each side might aim at assuring its opponent of a level o f civil
damage in retaliation great enough to exceed in disutility the most
serious external setback foreseeable—by threatening, say, 20 cities
or 50 cities; 5 million or 20 million fatalities. There would seem to
be few external interests of the nuclear powers worth this much dam­
age. Actually, achieving high levels of damage in retaliation is far
from certain, however, although there are many options open to
both sides for helping to assure it.
The problem is not this simple however. There is a third possi­
bility, beyond striking first or accepting the loss to one’s interests:
Being hit first by the enemy and receiving an attack lethal to the
Nation. I f faced with the Hobson’s choice of striking first or strik­
ing second, in a crisis the decision might be made to attack.3 I f
7
there is a significant advantage to striking first and if I think that he
might strike me, and if he thinks that I think that he might attack,
then I had better attack.* * * 3 In short, a general war might occur
8
without either party to it preferring war to peace, but through the
explosive interaction of expectations. This phenomenon lies behind
most o f the fear of the w that occurs through “ miscalculation,” and
rar
is a part of the motivation o f the advocates of minimum deterrence
for our trying to reduce our ability to strike first, and also reducing
our ability to limit damage in general. That there is a substantial
advantage in striking first with surprise in a nuclear war can hardly
be doubted. But will this condition continue? It it simply a mat­
ter o f a few years until it vanishes as the result of the introduction
o f more advanced missiles, o f sheltered and o f sea and airmobile
systems? The expected elimination o f the first strike advantage
is often expressed in terms o f the number of missiles it will take
striking first to destroy a single enemy missile. It views a war ex­
clusively as a long range duel between the ballistic missiles o f the two
sides, and moreover, a duel in which missiles shoot only at missiles
and not at the opposing systems of control and communications of the
two sides. While some long-range missiles would undoubtedly be
launched at some other missiles in a war, the interplay o f forces
would undoubtedly be much more complex than this. Strategic capa88 There is an important asymmetry between the Soviet Union and the U .S. first-strike
threats. The former may be able to launch an attack between crises when a state of
“ normalcy” exists. For the United States an actual attack decision would almost cer­
tainly have to come in response to some immediate and grave provocation such as the
invasion of Western Europe.
87 The choices facing the contenders are not quite as simple as this discussion implies.
Even if there does not seem to be the threat of an attack against oneself now, there may
be later on. And a significant loss in a third area might seem to bring the threat of a
later attack somewhat closer.
8 T. C. Schelling. “ The Reciprocal Fear of Surprise Attack,” the Rand Corp., paper
8
P—
1342, M ay 28, 1958.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

39

bilities in the 1960’s are not likely to be measured very satisfactorily
by simply matching missiles salvos against each other.
We must be wary of predicting the course of technology and the
actual weapons choice that might be made by both sides. There are
some exceptionally difficult problems in assuring a retaliatory capabil­
ity. Some tasks will very probably get easier, for example, the pres­
ervation o f several types of mobile vehicle systems such as the Polaris
submarine and its missiles, continually airborne missiles, or constantly
moving train-borne missiles. However, other tasks may get more
difficult, in particular that of preserving a protected, reliable system
o f control and communications. W e simply cannot say what, on
balance, will be the outcome.
The instability caused by the advantage of the first strike is one
of the principal reasons why the minimum-deterrence advocates would
have us reduce our damage-limiting capabilities, both offensive and de­
fensive, unilaterally if necessary, since our reducing this capability
will lessen the enemy’s fear of our attack and therefore lessen his
motivation to attack us. On this argument, we want to reduce our
countermilitary attack capability while preserving a countercivil at­
tack capability. This view assumes that we can distinguish neatly
between countermilitary and countercivil capabilities. There is no
doubt that we can do this to some degree, but it is not easy. Most of
our offensive weapons are useful against both military forces and
cities. A ballistic missile in a submarine, for example, is not only
an efficient instrument for attacking cities, it is admirably designed
to strike against many military targets; it is efficient in a sudden
first strike and in a retaliatory second strike. In short, if we were,
in accordance with the minimum-deterrence doctrine, to attempt in
any simple fashion to reduce our ability to strike against military
targets, we would reduce our ability to strike against civil targets,
possibly to a dangerous degree. And some civil targets (e.g., a shel­
tered population) might be more difficult to hit than some military
targets (e.g., unsheltered airbases). However, it is possible to par­
tially compensate for this. Leaving our population entirely unpro­
tected effectively weakens our ability to counter enemy military power,
just as would a reduction in our active defense force or our offensive
missile force. But the possibilities o f compensation work both ways.
Just as we can unilaterally reduce our first-strike, countermilitary
capabilities, we can increase our strike-second, countercity capabilities
by building up our protected retaliatory power. I f some U.S. damagelimiting measure appeared to raise appreciably the chance that we
might look as though we would be more likely to strike, the compen­
satory action of an increase in our retaliatory capability should
dampen our opponent’s incentive to strike us first.
However, the main reason we should not regard damage-limiting
measures as seriously destabilizing is that they are not likely to be so
successful that they will make very much difference to our behavior.
Even with these measures, the prospect of many of our major metro­
politan areas destroyed and millions of casualties is a catastrophe so
large that our preference for non war should be evident to everyone,
including the Russians.3
9
89
Earlier in this paper it was suggested that Soviet civil defenses could significantly
increase the threat of a surprise attack, while here it seems that U.S. civil defense
is not so likely to. There are two asymmetries which support this argum ent: First, a




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

The deterrence-plus-insurance position has three main objectives:
(1) It gives great emphasis to the importance and the difficulty of
having a secure retaliatory capability and argues that doing this in
the 1960’s might take more of our resources rather than less. We not
only have the problem of protecting our vehicles but also the task of
protecting our command and control functions from surprise attack
in the face o f a growing missile threat and with the promise of still
newer weapons coming along. And we must design our future systems
so that decision makers will have the right kind of inf ormation at criti­
cal times. It does not measure deterrence solely in terms of civil
damage threatened but holds that the ability to promise both possible
military defeat and great civil damage is a better basis for deterrence.
(2) It is concerned about the stability of the balance of terror, the dan­
ger o f a crisis exploding into general war. It argues for weapons sys­
tems that do not have to react quickly to ambiguous signs o f a possible
attack, and for the operation of our forces under protected, or central­
ized control, with “ fail safe” procedures. It recognizes that a situation
o f stability may come about unilaterally through the development of
less vulnerable retaliatory weapons, or through international agree­
ment aimed at this goal. However, it regards a very low level of
forces as likely to be less stable than moderately high levels. (3) It
favors insurance. It does so because it believes that while the prob­
ability of general war can be reduced, it cannot be reduced to zero.
It distinguishes between 50 and 150 million possible American deaths.
This view calls for insurance in the form of a combination of active
and passive defenses and a countermilitary offensive capabilities, and
in the form of preparations to fight a general nuclear war in a con­
trolled way that might give the Nation some chance of surviving. To
actually fight a general nuclear war in a discriminating fashion would
put a great burden on the planning, the equipment, and the emotions
o f both sides. It is by no means certain that a controlled war could,
in fact, be fought.
The extended-deterrence view 4
0
W e have not limited the threat o f nuclear retaliation against the
Soviet Union solely to an attack on the United States. Our prepara­
tions for the defense of Europe have consistently been based on at­
tacking Eussia even in the face of nonnuclear aggression. W e have,
in effect, drawn a line around a substantial part of the world outside
o f the United States and have said that attack across this line will
result in nuclear retaliation just as it would if U.S. territory were to be
violated. To be sure, this line has not always been a sharp one. W e
have not always said that nuclear retaliation would be certain, but
that it is possible. W e have often tried to face Soviet planners with
the risk o f general nuclear war if they engage in a certain class o f
U.S. first-strike almost certainly would have to come in a crisis in which our allies or the
United States itself were threatened. This means that Soviet forces would be on a high
state of alert. On the other hand, a Soviet first-strike would not seem to be as constrained
in its timing. Second, Communist leaders might be willing to risk much greater damage
than Western ones.
40
Extended deterrence is short for deterring aggression against the United States and
vital areas abroad through the threat of general war. Herman Kahn’ s corresponding terms,
type I and type II deterrence, have the merit of brevity but not of descriptiveness. Some
writers refer to the deterrence of attack on one’s homeland as passive deterrence and the
deterrence of the attack on other areas as active deterrence, the two types of deterrence
corresponding to having a second-strike and second-plus-first-strike capability, respectively.
However, the term “ passive” hardly seems to do justice to the actively complex job of
deterring attack on the United States.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

41

peripheral and possibly nonnuclear aggression. Finally we have fol­
lowed this policy during a period in which the vulnerability of the
American people and economy has been growing steadily. Our overt
policy has been poorly matched by real capabilities.
The extended-deterrence theory holds that the general war threat
against some kinds of aggression short o f an attack on the United
States is an important bulwark of our defense, in fact, that it is essen­
tial ; that some parts of the world, Europe especially, are so vital to
the United States that we should risk general war in their defense,
and that it may not be possible to defend Europe unless we use the
threat o f general war; that the growth of Russian nuclear capabilities
is eroding our deterrence threat and we should work hard at strength­
ening it by adopting a comprehensive program of civil defense and
by strengthening our active defenses and our ability to destroy enemy
military targets; finally, that we have to draw the line somewhere, for
if we do not, our entire position could be eroded away. Our threat to
strike can be made more credible if we plan on using the warning
provided by the crisis abroad to evacuate cities and to have our popula­
tion seek blast and fallout shelters. With a major civil defense pro­
gram and parallel active defense and offensive measures, fatalities to
this country i f we were to launch the first nuclear strike (in response
to aggression abroad) might be held to several million people even in
the face o f a large nuclear retaliatory attack (although material dam­
age would remain great). To these direct defenses should be added the
indirect ones mentioned, such as the ability o f a well-defended stra­
tegic force to attract enemy bombs away from our cities. And just as
our inventives to carry out a program o f pure city retaliation once
deterrence has failed may be weak, so may the enemy’s. He, like our­
selves, may be most interested in limiting damage. Finally, we do not
have to commit ourselves with certainty to carry out our threat of
general war, we only make it likely enough to dissuade Communist
action.4
1
The question o f resolution in the face o f threats is central to the con­
cept o f nuclear deterrence and especially to its extension to third areas.
Both sides threaten to inflict great damage on the other, damage so
severe that neither, i f rational, would seem to prefer war to peace.
Yet threats o f attack are not empty, for even a small chance o f so large
a catastrophe is o f great concern. And the advantage o f the first
strike, which could lead to the explosive interactions o f expectations
discussed, may make the probability o f war in a crisis uncomfortably
high. The side able to move closer to the brink, able to make its
threats more convincing, perhaps through feigning irrationality (or
actually being irrational), letting things get a little bit out o f control,
may reap a considerable reward—although at the risk of disaster.4
2
The Communist powers have several important advantages in such
brinkmanship. Apart from the military advantage o f the Iron Cur­
tain and their somewhat higher state o f civil defense preparation,
they have the even greater advantage o f totalitarian governments.
They can threaten the use o f force in a way that is difficult for Western
41 See Herman Kahn, op. c i t .; also “ The Nature and Feasibility o f W ar and Deterrence,”
Stanford Research Institute Journal, Fourth Quarter, 1959.
42 For a fascinating discussion of the profitable uses of madness, see Daniel Ellsberg’ s
Lowell Lectures, “ The A rt of Coercion : A Study of Threat in Economic Conflict and W a r,”
Lowell Institute, Boston, March 1959.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

statesmen who have as an audience not only Communist opponents but
their constituents and allies. I f the will of the West, its leader, or
popular support, gives way in the face of pressure, then the Communist
powers will make great gains.
The following questions are crucial to this view : Could a program
aimed at strengthening our general war posture significantly increase
the credibility of our resolve to carry out a threat of general war?
Would such a program greatly destabilize the strategic balance? Is
a program of the scale envisaged feasible ? What alternatives have we
for the defense of third areas in any case ?
There are serious uncertainties about the effectiveness of such a
program. First, the extent to which we might be able to limit the
size o f the enemy’s retaliation would depend on the relative military
postures. Here we must face the uncertainty in surmounting the
barriers to retaliation discussed earlier, now viewed from the other
side. Our ability to put barriers in the way of the enemy’s retaliation
is formidable, but just as we have, if we work at it, a good prospect
o f assuring a powerful retaliatory blow, so has he. This is not to
say that it is certain that he will in fact adopt the necessary measures.
Future technology contains enough surprises to eliminate certainty,
quite apart from other obstacles. The actual damage we would receive
is uncertain. I f he could manage even a modest retaliation against
our cities, much damage would be done for they, if not their inhabi­
tants, must remain at risk. Second, the effects of a large nuclear war
are not completely understood. The rate at which new medical effects,
for example, have been discovered in recent years suggests that there
may be others yet to be discovered that will make the problem of civil
defense and recovery more difficult than it now appears.4 Third, our
3
program might stimulate the Soviet Union to develop a really massive
retaliatory capability that otherwise might not exist. Fourth, even
if we were able to protect the United States to a high degree, what
would happen to our allies whom we are trying to defend if general
war were to occur ? It is much more difficult to protect the civil popu­
lations abroad, close to the Soviet Union, that would be endangered
than it is to protect the American population. I f the consequence
o f a general war were the destruction of our ally, would he be willing
for us to use this threat in a crisis ? Finally, would such a program
be destabilizing? The answer is “ Yes.” How destabilizing would
depend on how massive and successful a program we have. I f it
appeared that it would leave us able to launch a first strike and get
off with little damage, the enemy would have a substantially greater
incentive to strike us first. He might feel an overwhelming urge to
do so i f we were to begin to evacuate the population o f our cities to
rural shelters in a crisis. But as has been suggested, almost any feasi­
ble civil defense program and combinations of forces on both sides is
likely to leave us with the prospect of damage so great that we would
not feel very ready to initiate thermonuclear war. Even so, extra
compensating actions to strengthen our own retaliatory power would
undoubtedly be needed to offset the destabilizing effect of a sizable
extended deterrence program.
It seems that on balance such a program would increase somewhat
the credibility o f our present policy. The appearance o f resolution
43 This is only one aspect of our advancing understanding. Another is that scientists are
discovering, means of reducing known damaging effects of radiation.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

43

that a large-scale civil and military program would create would prob­
ably give the Russians pause.4 It would slow down the rate at
4
which our extended deterrent threat is dwindling. This is not to say
that such a program is better than alternative ones, however. It o f­
fers little promise of enabling us to hold the line, nor can it turn the
clock back even to so recent a period as the early 1950’s when the
United States could hardly be damaged.
The feasibility of a large civil defense program and expanded ac­
tive defense and offense programs is not in question. We could sup­
port such programs with an increase in tax rates to about the level dur­
ing the Korean war. However, it is very doubtful that primary reli­
ance for the defense of even vital areas abroad should be placed on
this treat. A t best a general nuclear war would be a disaster—if not
necessarily the ultimate one—not only for ourselves, but also for the
Western Europeans we would be attempting to defend. The hazards
o f general war are so great that we must work hard at interposing de­
fense barriers short of the threat o f general war. But to say that we
must not use this threat as the primary method o f defending third
areas is not to say that we can entirely dispense with it. The general
war threat is essential if we are to deter attack on the United States;
it applies with gradually weakening force as we move outward from
our borders. It acts as the sanction to back up our direct defense
abroad and to keep limited wars limited, to help put a bound to the
erosion o f the Western position.
What difference is there between the deterrence-plus-insurance meas­
ures and extended-deterrence measures? Both include broadly the
same kinds of capabilities, civil and active defense and countermili­
tary capabilities. It is mainly the point o f view that differs and pos­
sibly the scale of effort. The deterrence-plus-insurance view focuses
on the possibility that war may occur in spite of our best attempts to
avoid it and aims at alleviating the catastrophe. The extended-deter­
rence doctrine focuses on strengthening our ability to respond to grave
provocation by threatening general war. There is an important differ­
ence here. Limiting fatalities, say, from 150 million to 50 million
means not only 100 million lives saved but the difference between hav­
ing a United States afterward and not having it. On the other
hand, being able to limit damage to the much lower levels needed to
make a strike-first threat adequately credible would be much more
difficult, costly, and uncertain; and risky.
The massive retaliation vieio

“ Massive retaliation” is a loosely used expression.4 In its origin,
5
it was the doctrine of responding to a wide range of Communist ag­
gressions by threat o f nuclear attack. It was announced by Secre­
tary Dulles in a notable speech in January 1954, in which he said that
the administration had decided “ to depend primarily upon a great
44 It might also give our citizenry and that of our allies pause if they were to interpret
such a program as increasing the probability of war.
46
It is often used to describe the kind of retaliation we would inflict on the Soviet Union
if the United States were to be attacked directly, or if there were to be a major attack in
Europe. However, as a label for a doctrine, it is most closely associated with the view
that we would use the direct threat of general war, or if any military response which
would carry with it a substantial likelihood of general war, in defense of a wide range of
peripheral areas. This is the use of the term here. I t is by no means clear that many
users of this term have had in mind the initiation of a general nuclear war. Secretary
Dulles referred at times to a limited nuclear attack against selected industrial targets in
China.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

capacity to retaliate instantly by means and at places o f our own
choosing.” Shortly afterward, Dulles backed off from his position a
bit, and there have been many statements since then to indicate that
we would not use this threat indiscriminately. Moreover, we soon
gave evidence of our caution by our restrained behavior in the Indo­
chinese crisis in the spring of 1954. Nevertheless, the fact that our
military capability to defend ourselves locally has been reduced, es­
pecially our nonnuclear capabilities, suggests that this doctrine re­
tains much support.
This doctrine looks for support in the belief that the West is unable
to stand up against Communist ground strength, that we must depend
on the large-scale use of nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union or
China in defense o f most o f our allies around the periphery. I f by
massive retaliation we mean large-scale nuclear attack on the Chinese
or Soviet Union homeland, then uiis means launching a general nuclear
war. I f we mean a limited nuclear attack, this means that we are
near to all-out war and, for some time to come, the best way to enter
such a war if it seems imminent is to launch a strong attack on enemy
military forces first, to strike a strong first blow, and not to attack
other targets while the enemy prepares to hit us in return.4 But this
6
threat raises the same set of problems just discussed. This is the prob­
lem o f the stability of the balance of terror once again.4
7
The limitations of this doctrine are those o f the extended-deterrence view already discussed, intensified by the application of the
general war threat to the defense of less vital areas. These limitations
have been pointed out by many writers on military affairs.4 The
8
essential point is that the threat to use nuclear weapons is not one­
sided and has not been for some time. It may not be credible that we
would risk all-out war for many peripheral areas with all that that
implies for the survival o f the United States. I f we depend too ex­
clusively on this threat, the Communists will have great freedom of
operation in the large area below the threshold of our general war
response. While we could increase the credibility o f our massive re­
taliation threat somewhat by adopting the extended-deterrence meas­
ures described and by clearly showing resolution, that this policy
would work to stop all peripheral aggression is doubtful in the ex­
treme. And if every peripheral challenge beyond the smallest were
to raise the threat o f general war in any serious way, the cumu­
lative probability o f the big war happening could reach intolerable
proportions in the next decade.4 In sum, if our general war
9
46 I t m ight seem unlikely that a nuclear attack on China would lead to a Soviet retalia­
tion, but the United States might look quite dangerous to the Soviet Union at that point,
and the consequences of a Soviet decision not to stand by China would be grave. One
possibility is the sharing of bombs and delivery systems with China.
47 I f both sides have well-protected forces able to retaliate with high confidence, the
strategic balance may be stable enough to allow levels of violence that would today seem
highly likely to set off general war. It might even be possible to hit homelands without
triggering an all-out response. This would really have to be a controlled war. See Morton
A. Kaplan, “ The Strategy of Limited Retaliation,” Policy Memorandum No. 19 of the
Center of International Studies, Princeton, 1959.
48 Perhaps the most telling critics have been Bernard Brodie, “ Unlimited Weapons and
Limited W ar,’ * the Reporter, Nov. 18, 1954. Brodie has also discussed this subject in his
book, “ Strategy in the Missile Age,” op, cit. Also. W illiam Kaufmann, “ The Requirements
of Deterrence,” in “ M ilitary Policy and National Security,” W . W . Kaufm ann, ed., Prince­
ton University Press, 1 9 5 6 ; and Henry Kissinger, “ Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy,”
Harpers, 1957.
49 A counterargument deserves mention. It holds that actual conflict at the periphery of
limited war carries with it a significant probability of turning into a big war. A policy
which could lead to a series of limited wars might, it is argued, have a hgher overall
cumulative probability of a big war than the policy which aims at deterring all wars
through the general war threat.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

45

threat retains some validity in the defense o f so vital an area as Eu­
rope, it retains much less for other regions of the world, and the di­
rection in which the power balance is shifting clearly works to dimin­
ish it throughout.
D. THE DIRECT DEFENSE OF PERIPHERAL AREAS

The essential complement to an ability to deter and to wage general
war is to be able to use less than all-out military force. And if the
growth o f Soviet nuclear strength and advances in weapons tech­
nology is making the general war problem more difficult for us in
some crucial respects, this growth is also making the problem of di­
rect defense overseas more difficult, while at the same time the dimin­
ishing deterrent value of our general war threat is making methods of
direct defense abroad o f increasing importance.
The principal views to be found on the direct defense o f third areas
are as follow s:
1. Dependence on limited tactical nuclear forces.
2. Establishment o f independent nuclear forces.
3. Use o f nonnuclear forces.
In considering the range o f alternative policies for defense abroad,
it is important to keep in mind the very different geographical, mili­
tary, and political situations of the countries we are helping to de­
fend. Some have a relatively strong defensive situation, while others
are relatively exposed to ground attack; some are able to support siz­
able military forces, while many must receive defense support from
outside. W e need not fix the method of defense appropriate for a
given region. It is important not to do so. The range o f possible
threats is wide and so must be the range of our defenses, and it is
ossible, in principle, to advocate all three types of defense without
eing inconsistent. There is a serious practical problem, however, for
governments have a powerful tendency to look for panaceas, espe­
cially those that seem to promise lower defense budgets, and in direct
defense as well as indirect, there is a general tendency to regard nu­
clear weapons used in some form as the preferred solution.

E

Dependence on tactical nuclear forces

The belief that the United States could not afford to contain Com­
munist aggression through the threat of massive retaliation, combined
with the belief that the West could not contain Communist aggression
with conventional force alone, has led to a search for a middle ground,
an intermediate level o f defense that would combine the virtues of ef­
fectiveness, credibility, and low cost. In the early 1950’s it became
clear to some scientists that small atomic bombs could find a use on the
battlefield and that this might greatly strengthen our European de­
fenses.5 The growing availability of small atomic bombs along with
0
budget pressures led to a partial substitution o f nuclear weapons for
conventional arms abroad. The proposed solution has been prepara­
tion for limited nuclear war.5
1
The policy seemed to have several important advantages. It inter­
posed a level of defense between nonnuclear defenses believed to be
60 Project Vista, a study of the use of small atomic bombs w as carried out in 1951. See
the Transcript of Hearing on J. R. Oppenheimer, AEC, 1954.
51 See “ On Limiting Atomic W ar.”
Royal Institute of International Affairs, London,
1 9 5 6 ; and Henry Kissinger, “ Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy,” Harper, 1957.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

relatively ineffective in any case, and the threat o f general war. It
gave us “ graduated deterrence.” Next, it promised to be an effective
method o f defense. Nuclear weapons could have a devastating effect
on enemy armies, airfields, lines of supply. Finally, it promised to
give us local defense at moderate cost. Atomic weapons were sub­
stituted for expensive men and equipment. Relatively few aircraft
or guided missiles need to detonate over target in order to deliver a
crushing weight o f attack on the battlefield. Even a very small nu­
clear weapon is much more efficient in destructive power per pound of
delivered payload than conventional high explosive weapons.
The principal drawback to this policy is one that it shares with
massive retaliation. It assumes that nuclear weapons favor us, even
that we could use nuclear weapons unilaterially in a limited war.
There seems to be no basis for assuming this in a war with the Soviet
Union in the 1960’s and little for assuming it vis-a-vis China for all
o f the 1960’s. This is not to say that the limited nuclear war policy
has been without effect. Up to now and for some time to come, our
nuclear threat may carry a good deal of weight, especially in Peking.
It may well be that the relatively restrained behavior of the Com­
munist powers since the end of the Korean war is due in part to our
nuclear threats. Khrushchev knows quite well, however, how to
make nuclear threats, and his power to do so is increasing. The
danger o f depending exclusively 011 limited nuclear war is that we
may be deterred from using these weapons in a crisis, that they might;
be used first by the enemy, and that, apart from who uses them first,
the war may not remain limited.
There are other disadvantages. There is the problem of bystander
damage. Many targets usually regarded as military— airfields,
bridges, rail junctions—are near or in cities. A large tactical nuclear
war m Europe might produce quite heavy casualties.5 And the trend
2
toward further distribution of bombs throughout Europe is increas­
ing the probable level of bystander casualties if a European war
occurs. I f both sides are dug in and attempt to blast each other out
with large yield weapons, population damage from fallout might be
enormous. While a nuclear war on the periphery might be limited
from the point of view of the United States, it might not seem to
be very limited to the local participants. After one such war, we
might find few candidates willing to be defended in this manner
again.
Second, meaningful limitations in a nuclear war would include an
impressive set of items on which some form o f agreement would be
needed: yield of weapons, height of burst (to reduce local fallout),
specification o f legitimate types of target, overall geographical limit
to the war and, not least, the total number of weapons to be used.
To be sure, explicit agreement might not be necessary since both sides
might feel their way tacitly to some common ground even for so com­
plex a set o f restrictions. Perhaps the least unpromising o f the types
o f limitations agreement on which both sides might converge is for
each side to restrict its use of nuclear weapons to its own territory.

8
2

The possible extent of bystander damage in a nuclear war in Europe was first made
clear to Europeans in the celebrated 1955 N ATO Exercise Carte Blanche. In this exercise,
one without restrictions, 335 simulated atomic bombs were used in 48 hours and it was
estimated that 5 million Germans would have been killed and injured. See “ On N ATO
Strategy,” by Roger Hilsman in “ M ilitary Policy Papers,” W ashington Center of Foreign
Policy Research, 1958, p. 3.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

47

However, there undoubtedly would at best be serious problems in keep­
ing to limitations and monitoring them, especially in the conditions
likely to accompany the detonation o f very many atomic weapons.
It is doubtful that a limited nuclear war would be anything but chaotic
in spite o f attempts to adapt ground, air and naval forces to its con­
ditions. I f limitations are hard to impose and to monitor, such a
war might slowly, or more likely explosively, turn into general thermo­
nuclear war. Moreover, while it is possible for nuclear weapons to
be used by both sides in such a strictly limited fashion that civilian
casualties can be kept negligible—for example only in air defense
and at sea—such limited use is not likely to be very effective in holding
off a more powerful aggressor.
Third, there has been much discussion on the relative advantage of
nuclear weapons to the Communist powers versus the West. Much
o f this discussion has centered on such questions as the comparative
nonnuclear strengths of East and West, the relative size of the atomic
stockpiles, the need of the aggressor to concentrate to forces and
hence present an attractive nuclear target, the vulnerability o f the
logistic system stretching across Europe and the North Atlantic to
nuclear attack, and like matters. However, the great power of these
weapons suggests that the issue of relative advantage may well be
settled fairly simply; the side that uses these weapons first in the
conflict may gain a great advantage and may win handily in the
theater—at that level o f violence. It pays to get in the first blow
in a limited nuclear war just as in a big one. I f A announce that
ve
we will use these weapons in response to nonnuclear aggression, then
the enemy has a considerable incentive to strike first with them against
our airfields and troop concentrations, possible by surprise. Whether
or not our position could be retrieved would depend on our initial
vulnerability, the weight of the initial attack, the role o f sanctuary
areas, and our willingness to expand the conflict. To be sure there
is a good chance that a sudden Russian nuclear attack in Europe
would be interpreted as part o f a worldwide attack on our power to
retaliate and, if so, this would trigger a general retaliatory attack
by us. (This suggests that one way of helping to deter such a Rus­
sian assault is to retain U.S. nuclear forces in Europe so that it would
prove impossible to attack Western European forces without at­
tacking U.S. forces as well.) But the main argument for limited
nuclear war is that we should try to defend locally and not resort to
all-out war. To the extent that a tactical nuclear war would seem
to lead to general war, there would be an incentive to preempt, to
strike the first blow beiore being struck.5
3
To hold that a policy of relying on limited nuclear war is not neces­
sarily advantageous to the West does not mean that we can do without
this capability. It might be advantageous to fight this kind of a war.
And the choice, after all, may not be ours. For many reasons there is
a good chance that the next decade will see some nuclear weapons
83 Lincoln Gordon advocates a variant of the limited nuclear w ar position for European
defense. He would have N ATO forces deal with low order attacks without the use of
nuclear weapons.
A large nonnuclear attack should be stopped with tactical nuclear
weapons. And a large nuclear attack with all-out retaliation. Except for the response
to a small attack, this is a policy of stepping up the level of violence posed by the oppon­
ent. But this seems to come back to the view that the bomb is ours, that if we threaten
to step up the level of violence, he cannot or will be deterred from doing so. See his
“ NATO in the Nuclear Age,” the Yale Review, March 1959, p. 321. For a criticism of
this view and a further discussion of the problems of defense in Europe, see Malcolm Hoag,
“ W h at interdependence fo r N A T O ,” the Rand Corp., paper P -1 7 4 8 , July 13, 1959.




48

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

used in anger somewhere, and we might want badly at that point
some kind o f capability short o f all-out war. Just what kind this
calls for seems hard to determine. We have been trying to design
theater forces for a dual capability: to be able to fight a nuclear or
nonnuclear war. But the shift has been more toward the accommo­
dation o f weapons for a nuclear war at the expense of nonnuclear
capabilities; e.g., the procurement of tactical aircraft designed more
for the delivery o f nuclear weapons than for iron bombs, and expensive
surface-to-surface missiles for use with ground forces of little or no
value unless these missiles carry nuclear warheads. It would seem,
however, that the answer does not lie in the direction o f larger and
increasingly nuclear theater forces that more and more take on the
aspect o f small strategic air forces—with the disadvantage o f close
and cramped space. To build up these forces in Europe is rather like
planning to play “ quick draw” in the confines o f a telephone booth.
The establishment o f independent nuclear forces

The 1960’s may see the addition o f several, perhaps many, new
members to the nuclear club. France intends to explode its first
bomb early in 1960, and it has been estimated that perhaps a dozen
additional countries are now in the position to carry forward a pro­
gram leading to the development o f atomic bombs by the mid- and
late-1960’8.5 Quite apart from the growth of independent capabili­
4
ties, the United States has been moving in the direction o f sharing
some information on atomic weapons and some control over these
weapons with our NATO allies. Our IR B M ’s in Britain, for
example, will be under the joint control of British and United States
forces. Other European forces are being prepared for the delivery of
tactical nuclear weapons. In all such cases the warheads are to re­
main in some form o f American control. One view of the defense o f
Europe is that the growth of some variety of independent nuclear
capability in Europe is important, perhaps essential for European
defense and that the United States should assist in this growth.
The motives which have led Britain and France to develop their own
bombs and which may appeal to others in their wake are that their
defense would rest on a more secure basis if it were based on bombs
under their own control rather than on the willingness of the United
States to come to their defense, the notion that if they possess bombs
they could have more influence on the United States and within the
NATO alliance, and considerations of national prestige. W e could
hardly be expected to share much enthusiasm for the latter two mo­
tives, but what about the first one? The main argument for inde­
pendent nuclear capabilities can be summarized as follows: (1) The
growth o f Soviet nuclear capabilities is reducing the power o f the
United States to defend its allies by the threat of general war. (2)
These allies are exposed to powerful Soviet ground forces as well
as to nuclear attack or the threat of such attack. (3) Their ability
to resist threats or actual aggression will be greatly strengthened and
may depend critically on their ability to employ their own nuclear
weapons. (4) It is not necessary for a small nuclear power to possess
the ability to defeat the Soviet Union in a nuclear war; the ability
to damage it will be enough to deter. (5) Such a development would
u “ 1970 W ithout Arm s Control,” National Planning Association, M ay 1958.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

49

limit the need for the United States to commit itself to a policy o f
threatening general war. Finally, (6) independent development is in­
evitable anyway and we should aid our allies to get better weapons
while sparing them the burden of bomb and delivery system develop­
ment and production.
These arguments are not without considerable force, especially (1)
and (2). They all deserve close examination, however. An independ­
ent nuclear capability able to do some damage to the Soviet Union
would undoubtedly give the Soviet Union pause. And so would the
actual launching of a nuclear attack even if it promised to be quite suc­
cessful. But the consequence for a small, meagerly equipped country
carrying out its threat against the Soviet Union could be unilateral sui­
cide. Not mutual. The United States will find it difficult enough to
provide a reliable second-strike deterrence force in the 1960’s; the
problem for a small country close to the borders of the Soviet Union
is especially formidable. Russian ballistic missiles at these short
ranges will be highly accurate and will be able to carry high payloads
effective against even blast-sheltered forces. And a nuclear attack
against sheltered European forces poses a serious fallout threat to
Western Europe and a lesser degree the satellites, although not much
to the Soviet Union proper. Any attempt to move nuclear missiles
around on the ground, as press reports have suggested is being contem­
plated, must contend with the problem of close tracking by espio­
nage techniques and the problem of large-scale saturation attacks by
the Soviet Union, blanketing large areas of Europe with the relatively
low blast pressure that would oe enough to destroy soft missiles.
Submarine-based missile systems will not suffer from many of these
defects, but other problems will remain, for example the problem o f
controlling them. Nor are these forces likely to be as cheap as advo­
cates o f independent forces often suggest if they are to have much o f
a second-strike capability. The British have been learning in their
blue streak ballistic missile program how expensive it is to develop
the technology of ballistic missiles. I f they carry the blue streak
through to completion, and this is by no means certain, they will have
an extraordinarily vulnerable weapon able to do some damage if
Britain strikes first, but not if it is hit first. Bombs are relatively
cheap, delivery systems much less so, and reliable second-strike
capabilities quite costly. The effect on nonnuclear capabilities o f
having expensive nuclear weapon programs seems predictable if
one judges by the behavior of the United States and the United
Kingdom. They will almost certainly be reduced.
In the contest o f nerves that would take place in a nuclear crisis, the
small country would be at a serious disadvantage. Are we or the
other allies o f the small nuclearly equipped nation as likely to support
it in a crisis, a crisis that threatens to explode into nuclear war?
W e can only speculate here, but the trend toward independent
nuclear capabilities could threaten the cohesion of the alliance. I f
it promised greater security than alternative policies this trend would
not be serious, for the alliance exists primarily for the protection of
its member nations. That this is the case is far from clear.
There are even more serious objections to our helping other nations
to an independent capability. It has been our policy to discourage the
spread o f nuclear weapons throughout the world, a policy we have f ol-




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

lowed with little deviation in the postwar period. This policy is
based on the belief that the long-term security of the United States
and the world in general would be prejudiced by the wider diffusion of
bombs. There is widespread concern over the consequences of nu­
clear weapons getting into more and more hands and especially into
the control o f less responsible powers than those now possessing them.
There seems to be no natural stopping place in distributing bombs.
W e find it difficult to say that certain countries whom we trust shall
have bombs and others shall not, and the addition of each new nuclear
nation increases the incentive for others to undertake a development
program. Thus one of the motives within France for acquiring a
bomb o f its own was the desire to emulate Britain. And there is little
reason, judging from history, to expect that these weapons will never
be used if they are w idely distributed. With increased diffusion of
T
weapons there will be an increased problem of nuclear accidents.
Leaving aside the possibility of “ catalytic war,” there is a real possi­
bility that the United States may be threatened with damaging nu­
clear attack by nations that today do not possess bombs at all, and we
might actually be hit as the result of an accident or an irrational
attack.
Here is one possible area of mutual interest between the Russians
and ourselves. Neither of us is likely to be anxious to see bombs in
the hands o f too many people. For instance, the Russians may not
be altogether pleased at the prospect of China armed with nuclear
weapons. And we should expect with the rapid development o f
ballistic missile technology that China may be able to attack the United
States not long after it possesses nuclear weapons. Would our re­
sponse be to turn over bombs to the Chinese Nationalists and the
South Koreans?
It would be difficult at best to halt the growth in the nuclear club.
It may be impossible, but we might be able to slow it, and it would
seem that before moving much further in the direction o f diffusing
nuclear weapons we should give more weight to the consequences of
this policy and to the possibility of arriving at some kind of mutually
beneficial explicit international agreement or tacit agreement by the
United States and the Soviet Union to slow the diffusion.
Several routes toward giving our allies a greater measure o f control
over bombs are possible apart from the creation o f independent
national forces. There is the type of arrangement between the United
States and the United Kingdom with the Thor intermediate range
ballistic missile, one in which each country has a veto on the use
o f bombs and missiles we provide. The bombs remain in our legal
custody until released by the President. This arrangement has some
advantages. The bombs remain subject to our veto on their use while
our ally has the power of vetoing our use of them through his control
o f the delivery system. In a crisis we could quickly turn the bombs
over to our ally if it seemed that this would strengthen his resistance
to threats. Even without our doing so, the legal niceties of the ar­
rangement might not impress the Russians if they contemplated a
nonnuclear attack onty on the ally. They might think our ally would,
in desperation, use the jointly controlled weapons. But most of the
difficulties noted above remain: vulnerabilitj7 cost, the powerful tend­
,
ency to spend less on nonnuclear forces.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

51

Establishing a Western European nuclear force might seem pref­
erable to having a collection of small national nuclear forces. A
much more impressive strategic deterrence force could be created out
of a total Western European defense budget of about $14 billion a
year as compared with the individual national forces that could be
supported out of the component parts o f that budget. But would
a Western European force really be unified in any meaningful sense?
The question of control is essential. Would every nation have a veto ?
I f so, then the result could be a good deal worse than the present
arrangement in which the United States has a considerable autonomy
on questions o f control. Finally, the fundamental links among the
European members o f NATO would not seem to be so much stronger
than those that bind the United States to NATO. Surely it is more
sensible to work toward an arrangement whereby these links are
strengthened. For the United States this means, in particular, con­
tinuing its commitment to help defend Europe by contributing to a
defense at several levels from the nonnuclear to the threat o f all-out
war. This does not mean that there are no circumstances in which it
would be sensible for us to help establish independent nuclear forces.
I f NATO fails to provide adequate limited war forces and if the U.S.
general war threat is sufficiently weakened, we may find ourselves
forced to adopt this policy. But surely we should work hard on the
alternatives before taking so momentous a step as to help spread
nuclear weapons around the globe. In a crisis we may be forced to
help set up some independent forces and it is sensible for us to plan for
this contingency; but let us move cautiously, if any further at all,
in this direction.
The use o f nonnuclear forces

Why is so much made of the distinction between nuclear and non­
nuclear war? Why make this distinction so sharp and not, say, the
difference between less than and more than 100-kiloton bombs? Sim­
ply because the nuclear versus nonnuclear distinction can be made
relatively easily. The yield of a nuclear weapon is difficult to esti­
mate even with precision instruments, and would be extraordinarily
difficult in the confusion of a war. To be sure, the distinction between
ordinary high explosive and nuclear weapons, which now is unmis­
takable, may be reduced over time as nuclear weapons are further
developed on the low side of the yield spectrum. Nonetheless, for
the present— and for some time to come—this distinction seems to be
the best one available to act as a barrier to the spiraling of a war into
the all-out region. It is worth preserving. In addition, there is the
force of tradition. We believe a rather large nonnuclear war can be
fought without exploding into an all-out one because we have fought
one in Korea—to be sure, under different circumstances from those
o f the 1960’s. We are not so confident about even a small (hopefully)
carefully controlled nuclear one.
Is it really true that the West cannot hope to defend itself by nonnu­
clear means ? Consider the situation in Europe. I f one compares the
population and economic resources of the NATO countries with those
o f the Soviet Union and its European satellites, it is clear that the




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 196OS
Y

West is far from inferior. It lias a larger population and total eco­
nomic output, more steel, petroleum, and a better technological base.5
5
Moreover, the military net worth of the satellites to the Soviet Union
may be negative. The problem of the nonnuclear defense of Europe
is not one o f feasibility— it is a question of cost. Nor does Soviet
ground strength in being appear so formidable, even before the re­
cently announced reductions, that the cost to NATO would be very
high. I f there is a Soviet preponderance with respect to conventional
weapons in Europe, and it is by no means clear how great this pre­
ponderance in terms of military effectiveness is, it is because the NATO
powers have chosen to make it so. They have done this in the belief,
encouraged by the United States, that the NATO forces could count on
the United States deterring the Russians with our strategic nuclear
force along with our tactical nuclear weapons, and that nonnuclear de­
fense was not really important. But the danger of Communist aggres­
sion below the threshold at which we would risk even a small nuclear
war is serious. Russian pressure on Berlin is a case in point. Khrush­
chev seems to understand all too well that the dependence o f NATO on
nuclear conflict leaves him quite a bit of room for maneuver, possibly
room enough to move us out of Berlin, with all that that implies for
the cohesion of the Western alliance—especially if we were to with­
draw gracefully in the mistaken belief that we had no acceptable alter­
native. The other danger is that the level of violence may not stay
below the threshold—that a small war could grow to become a big one.
One way to avoid this is to have strong enough nonnuclear forces to
discourage such conflicts from occurring.
"What then would be a sensible goal for nonnuclear NATO forces
in Europe? It would seem to be no less than the ability to defeat
the Soviet Union allowing for N ATO ’s mobilization potential—or at
least hold it to a stalemate.5 Nothing short of this goal promises to
6
give NATO the freedom of maneuver it needs so badly. It is worth
recalling that it was not very long ago (1952) that the NATO goal in
Western Europe came to 96 divisions in place and quickly mobilizable.
It was the promise of the more efficient nuclear weapons that led to
the abandonment of that goal and the substitution of the present goal
o f 30 divisions in place and an actual attainment of 20. The 96 di­
vision goal is clearly feasibly economically for the prosperous N ATO
powers. Even higher ones are feasible. Whether or not they are
feasible politically is another matter. As long as leaders of govern­
ments in the West continue to think of nuclear weapons as favoring
us, or as presenting threats to the Russians so great that war cannot
occur, little increase in effort will be forthcoming. However, the high
1952 goals may be unnecessary. I f the recently announced reduction
in Soviet military manpower from 3,600,000 men to 2,400,000 men is
actually carried out, the nonnuclear defense of Western Europe will
undoubtedly benefit—unless this stimulates a cut in Western non­
nuclear forces that leaves Western Europe no better off against this
type o f attack than it is today. Raising our goals might cause the

55 The Communist bloc, excluding China, has about 58 million fit males of military age:
NATO has 85 million. By 1965 the comparison will be 59 million to 95 million. For a
discussion of the relative strength of NATO in conventional war potential see pt. II of this
paper and “United States Foreign Policy in Western Europe,” a study prepared for the
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations by the Foreign Policy Research Institute of the
University of Pennsylvania, October 15, 1959.
60 For another statement cn this objective for NATO see Hoag, op. cit.



NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

53

Soviet Union to reverse itself on the announced Army cutback. The
essential point is that there is no necessity for Western Europe to be
vulnerable to nonnuclear aggression whatever the level or forces
maintained by the Soviet Union.
In addition, recent technological developments in the field o f non­
nuclear warfare, while speculative, may be significant in improving
the relative strength of the defense in nonnuclear warfare.5 For ex­
7
ample, a modem air defense system can probably exact an attrition
rate on bombing aircraft too great to permit much nonnuclear bomb­
ing. While W orld W ar I I bomber attrition rates in Europe were
about 2 percent for each aircraft sortie, very much higher rates should
be expected in future combat. A 10- to 20-percent attrition rate to
bombers per sortie, a rate that a modern air defense system might
achieve, while not enough to stop a nuclear attack, would quickly
exhaust the offense in a nonnuclear war. Advances in antitank war­
fare may have comparable results on the efficacy of the tank. In
short, nonnuclear battlefields may become very much more stabilized
than in W orld W ar I I ; the analogy with World W ar I suggests
itself. Here is a field for the superior technological base of NATO
to show itself—in a broad program of research on nonuclear weapons.
In Asia, the situation o f the peripheral countries differs widely.
Where our naval and airpower can be used efficiently, for example, in
the defense o f the Pacific islands and on the Korean peninsula, we
may be able to use this technical-military advantage to good effect.
Elsewhere, in the countries to the south of China and the Soviet
Union, the relative strength of the Communist is very great and
would be most difficult to counter at the nonnuclear level. The lines
o f supply from the United States are long, internal communications
are poor and there is a shortage of bases for our use. I f we are to
help stop large-scale aggression here, nuclear weapons may be essen­
tial. But the earlier objections remain. Would nuclear weapons be
effective in stopping aggression ? How much damage would be done
locally? Would the country attacked prefer not to be defended in
this way? Even in this least favorable region, it is clear that the
case for building up the nonnuclear defense of the threatened coun­
tries, as well as increasing our own mobile forces for deployment to
threatened areas, is strong.
E. T H E A R M S RACE A N D IT S CONTROL 58

No informed person can view the long-run prospect for world
peace with any equanimity. There are compelling reasons for being
concerned about this prospect now, over the next decade, and into the
indefinite future. In the minds of many people the fear of war and
its consequences is associated with a particular concept, the arms race.
A common view o f this race sees the participants seeking to gain a
military advantage over their adversaries, piling up more and more
weapons essentially without limit, developing yet more powerful
bomlbs, allocating a large and possibly growing share o f their resources
to weapons until eventually the spiraling race explodes into a great

61 Wohlstetter, op. cit.
581 am indebted to Lewis Bohn for several ideas in this section. See also T. C. Schelling,
“Surprise Attack and Disarmament/’ op. cit.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

war. And in such a war all the weapons would be employed, it is
argued; for if they exist, they will be used.
There are several distinct aspects of the race according to this view :
The advance o f military technology, the procurement and stock­
piling o f weapons, the effort to preserve a retaliatory capability, the
effort to gain or preserve a first-strike advantage, the defense budget
race, the publicity contest (e.g., the space race), and others. It is
important to distinguish among these, for some actually help us
attain our objectives. O f those that are harmful, some we can hope
to affect through unilateral U.S. actions, some through international
agreement, while others will prove difficult to influence at all.
Perhaps most obvious is the technological race. Within a few years
the most advanced strategic weapons have progressed from the pistonengined B-29 bomber o f W orld War II to ballistic missiles able to
travel 5,000 miles in 30 minutes or less. Soon we will have such
marvels as missiles launched from under the ocean and from air­
craft in the air. Beyond that, what? Very probably some real sur­
prises. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of the arms race to
influence. Advances in science will find military applications, and
this is undoubtedly the most serious long-run aspect of the arms race.
Progress along certain lines can be slowed, for example through a
stopping o f nuclear tests, but it cannot be halted. Meanwhile, new
scientific developments are probably laying the groundwork for the
next great advance in armaments.
Then there is the race in procuring bombs and weapons systems—
more bombs o f increasingly advanced design and more advanced
means o f delivery in the hands of the established nuclear powers and
more countries joining the nuclear club. Here, as with the other as­
pects o f military programs, it is necessary to look quite closely at
why these systems are procured, for if we do not understand in detail
the motives for having them, we stand little chance of being able to
control them. One motive is to try to assure the preservation of the
power to retaliate after a nuclear attack. This suggests that not all
aspects o f the race are harmful. The development and procurement
o f better protected retaliatory systems help stability; they reduce the
danger o f both deliberate and inadvertent war. And the new non­
nuclear weapons mentioned may also help stabilize nonnuclear war.
The race is also one to improve relative military positions in order
to have a better chance o f winning. This is the traditional outlook
on warfare, and it remains dominant for many o f our military ob­
jectives, at least in a local sense for limited war, and it is not irrelevant
for general war. Extended deterrence depends largely on our having
some measure of military supremacy, and the military outcome is rele­
vant even for the easier objective of deterring a deliberate attack on the
United States. It is this aspect of the race that the minimum-deterrence theorists consider to be “ infinite” in the ballistic missile era.
That is, if both sides try to buy forces that promise military victory
with limited civil damage to themselves, the race has no natural stop­
ping place. But why should the advent of ballistic missiles make
the military contest more “ unlimited” than it has been before? Pre­
sumably each side has been trying all along to improve its relative
position. And, as is evident, the Soviet Union has had some notable
success. There is perhaps less reason to expect this race to be unlim­




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

55

ited than the contest between limited war forces, a type o f armament
that some advocates of minimum deterrence want to see increased.
First, because there are the threshold values for civil damage, e.g., the
“ disaster” level discussed. Second, because there are courses of action
open to the opponents to help assure retaliation.
The notion that the arms race will inevitably lead to, or has already
led to, a limitless race, a crushing burden o f arms, is not warranted—
at least in the West. It can be applied with more justice to the Com­
munist powers that have combined high defense spending with a high
rate o f investment, supported by a smaller economic base. But, in
both the United States and the Soviet Union, the burden o f arms seems
to have been shrinking, not growing. There has been remarkable sta­
bility in U.S. defense expenditures for almost 10 years now, and
this is also true of the published defense expenditures o f the Soviet
Union. Meanwhile total output in both countries has grown substan­
tially— especially that of the Soviet Union. Somehow a balance is
struck between defense and nondefense spending, and neither our op­
position to communism, nor the Communist drive to expand (or fear of
capitalist encirclement) has so far led either side to allocate resources
to arms up to the limit where only a bare level of subsistence is left.
This is not to say that the growth of the Soviet and Chinese economies,
if combined with aggressive designs on the free world, cannot lead to
a very high level of armaments imposing a heavy economic burden in
the 1960’s. And we should be prepared in any case for a continuation
of Communist advances in military technology. These advances
helped to keep our defense budget high in the 1950’s and may drive it
still higher in the 1960’s—especially if some revolutionary technolog­
ical advances are achieved by the Communists.
A widespread view is that the Russians can easily expand their mil­
itary capabilities without constraint and that there is no reason why
they should not soon have thousands of high-performance interconti­
nental missiles, advanced aircraft, many missile submarines, powerful
ground forces, and a big civil defense program. (This belief is held
by many technicians and is diametrically opposed to the one often held
by policymakers and planners that Russian abilities are quite limited,
fixed, and can be precisely estimated well into the future by our intel­
ligence agencies.) It is true that, given time, they can have these
weapons. But they are not free. The Soviet economy operates much
closer to capacity than our own does, and the regime has committed
itself to an extensive program for increasing consumption, a program
that would not be given up lightly. Nor does it seem likely that the
Russians would want to cut back on the capital investment to which
they have always given such high priority. The Soviet Union, like
the United States, has a defense budget problem too. The existence o f
these constraints is important for us to recognize. First, because we
want to adopt military postures which are costly for the Soviet Union
to counter. We must anticipate Soviet responses to our actions in
the form o f reallocations of their defense budget; and the adoption of
countermeasures that seek out weaknesses in our posture. For ex­
ample, measures which raise the barriers to our retaliation—bigger
and more accurate missiles to destroy our blast shelters, antisub­
marine forces to counter our submarine missiles, active defenses to
stop our missiles and bombers from penetrating. W e want to leave
the Russians unable to completely offset our actions by the adoption



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NATIONAL SECURITY AN ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
D
Y

o f such measures up to the limit of their willingness to allocate re­
sources to defense.5 We must, of course, take account o f the possi­
9
bility that the Soviet defense budget will be increased in spite of
the sacrifices entailed.
Are we stressing too much the notion of a “ race” with the Soviet
Union? We have our own set of values and our own culture, it is
argued, we attach a higher value to present than to future con­
sumption than does Russian and Chinese society. (There remains
the problem of the attractiveness of a system which promises rapid
economic development to underdeveloped countries.) I f to this atti­
tude one adds the belief that the arms race is an avoidable phenome­
non, and that war, or at least nuclear war, is no longer an admissible
instrument o f national policy, then it would appear that a good case
could be made for dispelling concern over Russian and Chinese eco­
nomic growth and, in fact, to regard this economic progress as a boon
holding forth promise of a lessening in world tensions.
This is a hopeful view of the consequences of Communist growth.
It receives support from recent tendencies in Russian society which
has advanced significantly from the dark age of Stalin. It might be
tragic if the West, by its defense policies, were to stimulate the Soviet
Union to greater measures of repression, and to substantially greater
defense spending than it otherwise might undertake.
There are, however, as suggested earlier, good reasons for believing
that the actions we most urgently need would not have this effect. F or
example, measures which would limit damage to the United States in
a general war would still leave us badly enough o ff; strengthening the
nonnuclear defenses o f NATO would hardly appear as a threat calling
for drastic and expensive counteraction on the part of the Soviet
Union. The view, that communism may be losing some o f its revolu­
tionary drive, which surely must be held very tentatively at this time,
combined with the more ominous aspects of the arms race, especially
the longer term ones, suggests that one of the most important areas
o f concern for the United States and for the world is disarmament.
These more ominous aspects o f the arms race would seem to be the
stability o f the deterrent balance, the diffusion o f nuclear weapons
throughout the world, and the long-run consequences of advancing
military technology. Here are some real challenges for disarmament.
International disarmament discussions have usually had a curiously
ritualistic character. Representatives of states, under internal and
external pressures to do something about the arms race, meet period­
ically to discuss sweeping multistage plans for the parallel reduction
o f forces, specified weapons, and manpower to successively lower

89 Oskar Morgenstern suggests that our protective measures create their own counters.
“The following fundamental principle ought to be self-evident: The harder the bases, the
Prom “The Question of National Defense,” Random House,
1959, p. 47. This seems to assume that the enemy is without constraints, that it costs
him nothing to procure more and larger missiles to offset our defenses. This argument is
modified somewhat later, p. 50, where he asserts that “Hardening imposes a greater burden
on a country than the burden the opponent has to assume in order to raise his striking
power with which to offset the effects of hardening.” This modified view is somwehat
more to the point but still defective. The cost of hardening missiles adds less than 10
percent to the cost of buying the entire missile system, including bases, ground equip­
ment, and training of personnel, plus the cost of operating them over a period of 5 years.
The cost to the enemy of larger or additional missiles able to destroy a single sheltered
missile by a direct attack on it would come to very much more, probably at least 20 times
as much and possibly 200 times tlie extra cost of our hardening.
Morgenstern, in this connection, also expresses concern over a side effect of blast shelter,
the fallout damage to people in the region where the missiles are based if the enemy does
respond by increasing tlie scale of his attack. It is sensible for us to locate our sheltered
missile sites in areas of low population density and this in fact is being done.

heavier will be the attack”




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

57

levels, with the final level usually being the elimination of the forces
in question.6 Meanwhile, national defense programs have gone along
0
relatively undisturbed. Often, neither the military nor the political
significance o f the proposals is apparent. What would really be the
effect—to take an example—of an agreement to reduce the Armed
Forces o f the United States, the Soviet Union, and China to i y 2 mil­
lion men each, and those o f Britain and France to 650,000, on such
urgent issues as the likelihood o f all-out war, or its consequences if it
comes ; or on our ability to protect Western Europe or non-Communist
A s ia ?6 It might help us on all of these things— or it might not, and
1
one suspects that nobody really knows. This type o f proposal, to the
extent it has been thought o f in military terms, seemed to be based
on the belief that a symmetric lowering o f the quantities of arms re­
duces either the likelihood o f war or its violence. In any case, it
promises to reduce the resources poured into armaments. Neither
analysis nor history lends much support to the belief that reducing
armaments lowers the likelihood of war. On the contrary, the low
level o f arms during the 1920’s, only to a limited extent the result of
international agreement or control, probably made it substantially
easier for the dictatorships to acquire rapidly a strong military posi­
tion in the 1930’s. The relatively high level of armaments before
W orld W ar I unfortunately refutes the opposite hypothesis that a
relatively high level of armaments might prevent war.
Perhaps the prevailing view among students o f war and armaments
is that weapons are a symptom of basic political and ideological dif­
ferences among nations and that it is difficult or impossible to control
them by agreement without a resolution o f the underlying differences,
or the acceptance of the status quo. The corollary o f this view is
that if the differences are resolved, a reduction in arms will follow
unilaterally. I f this were the case, there would seem to be little
scope for international agreement on disarmament.
The nature o f war has changed, however. The mutuality of in­
terest among the nuclear powers on some issues should now be quite
strong. This suggests another attitude toward disarmament nego­
tiations, and a more hopeful one: concentration more on specific
issues. The first postwar disarmament proposal, the Baruch plan
in 1946, is an example. The United States offered to turn over “ all
phases o f the development and use o f atomic energy” to an Interna­
tional Atomic Development Authority. And the latest proposed
agreement to suspend nuclear tests with appropriate inspection ar­
rangements is another.
This mutuality o f interest exists because, to put it in the language
o f game theory, war is not a constant-sum game. What one side
loses is not necessarily a gain for the other side. Both can lose.
Mutual interest would seem to exist on such risks as accidental or
inadvertent war, perhaps on the avoidance of any kind o f general
nuclear war, obliterating nuclear attacks that would far exceed po­
litical objectives, the diffusion o f nuclear bombs around the world,
and possibly further advances in bomb technology. These areas o f
likely mutual interest suggest an approach to disarmament that has

«° See “Disarmament, an Outline of the Negotiations,” by Anthony Nutting, Royal In­
stitute of International Affairs, 1959.
0 This was the Western proposal of
1




Mar. 29, 1955.

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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

received growing attention in the past few years. It not only con­
centrates ori specific issues but also emphasizes less the elimination of
arms than their control; arms control rather than disarmament.6
2
This was the objective of the President’s open skies plan in 1955, a
plan intended to provide warning of a gathering attack.6 The most
3
systematic attempt so far to apply the principle o f arms control was
in the surprise attack conference in 1958. This conference, at least
as envisaged by the West, was aimed at the problem o f trying to
stabilize the strategic balance, to find agreed measures which would
reduce the likelihood of either a deliberate or an inadvertent nuclear
war. The object of measures of this type would be to preserve the
retaliatory power of both sides by limiting first-strike potentials.
The measures that are of interest for this purpose are only incident­
ally traditional sorts of “ disarmament” measures. A useful agree­
ment might involve no reduction in force levels. Agreement might
be sought on measures for inspecting the state o f force preparations
(open skies), or for last-minute warning of an attack. Beyond this,
limitations, with inspection, might be sought on the deployment of
certain types o f weapons (disengagement); or on their testing (nu­
clear test suspension), to mention only a few of the possibilities.
The task o f stabilizing deterrence by agreement raises many prob­
lems, some o f which deserve brief enumeration: (1) It requires some
care to make certain that a given measure will hurt and not help a
possible first strike. For example, the net effect o f having inspectors
at military bases is not necessarily stabilizing. Although they could
help to give warning of a first strike by reporting on the precise
location and status o f forces they might also help make a first strike
more successful. (2) Many measures that might reduce the danger
o f war by miscalculation could increase the danger of deliberate war
(and vice versa). This could be the case, for example, with an agree­
ment not to keep aircraft on patrol carrying bombs. I f both sides
were to keep their aircraft on the ground, there would be less o f a
chance that either would nervously trigger a war by mistake. But
this increases the vulnerability of both sides to a deliberate attack.6
4
The problem of reducing the likelihood o f inadvertent war calls for
a different emphasis in the design of the control system from that
called for in the design of a system to discourage deliberate attack.
Here the object would be not so much to limit or warn o f a deliber­
ate attack as to provide reassurance that an attack was not underway.
It will take carefully designed agreements to reduce the probability
o f both kinds of war, although there is a good chance that this can
be done. (3) There is the risk of deliberate evasion and what to de
about evasion if it is detected. The history of arms limitation agree­
ments suggests that democracies are prone to wishfully overlook
evidence of present violations. (4) There is the important difficulty
alluded to above—adapting the agreement to changing technology.

82 T. C. Schelling, op. cit.
03 The open skies proposal illustrates a general problem with disarmament agreements—
the effect of rapidly changing technology. The proposed scheme would have detected a
ground assault in the process of mobilization and deployment and would have had other
useful roles in an agreement. But as a proposal to help on the surprise attack problem
it was seriously deficient, for at the time the proposal was made, the surprise-attack threat
had evolved in a way that made timely detection of a nuclear attack by aerial photography
quite unlikely. See Wohlstetter, op. cit.
64 Very probably not an attack by aircraft for, if on the ground, they could be kept
under observation. A greater threat would come from other weapons either not part of
the agreement or difficult to control effectively.



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59

(5) Then, there is the problem of allies and neutrals—an especially
intractable one. Which countries are to be included and which ex­
cluded from agreement ? Which ones are to be counted as part o f the
“ East” and which as part o f the “ West” (e.g., eastern “ neutrals,”
western “ neutrals” and neutral neutrals) ? What effect would agree­
ment have on the defense o f these countries, either directly or indi­
rectly, from the weakening o f our extended deterrence implied by an
agreement making general war less of a threat? (6) What would
happen to an agreement on general war forces if a limited war were
to break out? (7) An attempt to reach agreement must face the
formidable problem o f the Soviet intransigence, including the desire
to preserve secrecy, in part because Soviet leaders recognize secrecy
as a military asset.
This list o f problems may suggest that arms control is hopeless.
However, they are mentioned, not because they are insoluble, but
because they exist, they are complex, and they require careful in­
vestigation. After all, the problem of agreement on arms is at least
as complex as the defense problem because it includes the latter as a
component. The principal reason why designing useful measures to
help stabilize the military balance may not be hopeless is, paradoxi­
cally, because we would not depend entirely on them. Measures to
stabilize deterrence are not intended as a replacement for national
defenses. W e hope to be able to deter war unilaterally; agreements

increase the range of options available. They make it possible to do
a better job or to do it more efficiently. And we must assess the mili­
tary effectiveness o f agreements by comparing them with the alter­
native unilateral measures that would accomplish the same task.
This means that agreements o f limited scope might be quite useful.
Another area of possible agreement, much discussed in recent times,
is agreement on forces stationed along the line of contact between
East and West. Here the major difficulty, one hard to overcome, is
the asymmetry in geography. The Soviet Union and China have
the considerable advantage o f proximity to the peripheral areas we
are anxious to defend. Any agreement that reduces or removes U.S.
power from the scene is likely to remove it to a position a long way
back. And as long as the Soviet Union insists on restrictions which
would apply to only a part or none of its territory, but to all or even
very much o f the territory of the Western Allies, agreements o f this
kind will be hard to conclude.
What does this leave? Quite a few things. One area o f possible
mutual interest is the looming problem o f the diffusion of nuclear
weapons. Another is the class o f measures that Schelling has stressed,
those that might be devised in “ normal” times but only applied in a
crisis at a time when urgent concern over general war might have
broken down the normal barriers to agreement. Still another kind of
agreement, and an important one, should be recognized because it is
now in effect. This is the tacit agreement that regulates the behavior
o f the armed forces of East and West and indirectly helps to keep
defense budgets no higher than they are. Both sides observe rules
o f behavior in the operation of their military forces and toward their
neighbors which, without being formal, are nonetheless real. Such
tacit agreements are not enforcible except through the ability to
respond unilaterally. But this is a powerful incentive. It may be
that the most hopeful prospect for meaningful agreement will be of



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this tacit variety, as both sides, through the careful choice o f unilateral
postures, succeed in working toward a more stable balance o f power.
The possibility that formal arms-control agreement will permit
any substantial reduction in defense budgets seems fairly remote.
I f Communist expansionist behavior continues, agreements that would
help stabilize the general-war balance would increase the need for
limited war forces; agreements that would disengage limited war
forces along the periphery would increase the need for central reserves
and for added transport. T o repeat, this does not mean that agree­
ment on such matters is necessarily undesirable; it does mean that
savings resulting from agreement may prove ephemeral. Unless, o f
course, East and West arrive at some kind o f political settlement.
After all, it is the expansionist tendencies of the Soviet Union and
China that have forced the West to build up their arms, and without
the abandonment o f these pressures there can be no great prospect
for extensive arms reduction. The Soviet Union may regard its
prospects in the arena o f competitive coexistence so highly that it
might be willing to settle for a stabilization o f some aspects o f the
arms race. It might even adopt the policy of minimum deterrence of
general war and reduced ground forces. Both possibilities are sug­
gested by Khrushchev’s announcement on the ending of bomber pro­
duction and a reduction in armaments. Whether or not these develop­
ments will actually occur is uncertain and we would do well not to
take them for granted.

F. OUTLINE FOR A DEFENSE TOLICY
The military problems we face are not problems in the use o f force
alone. They are also problems in deterrence. This aspect o f military
planning, aways present, has become o f central importance with the
growth o f weapons whose use threatens great destruction. W e have
been thrust into the situation where threats, counterthreats, and coer­
cion assume a crucial importance. Even if we do not engage in
brinkmanship, we are constantly engaged in considering the brink—
because it is there. W e can move toward or away from the brink, but
short of the effective abolition o f nuclear weapons, a fairly remote
possibility 2 we cannot eliminate it. I f we foreclose alternative de­
fense possibilities and press resolutely toward the brink, our threat
becomes more convincing. W e may make great gains—and possibly
be destroyed. I f we move away from the brink, we invite our op­
ponents to move against us.
W e have to make three broad policy choices: First, on the defense
objectives we will support; second, on our willingness to risk all-out
war; and third, on our willingness to make economic sacrifices. I f our
defense objective includes the containment o f communism within its
present boundaries, and if the Communists press against them, then
we must counter this with some combination o f direct defense abroad
and extended deterrence. The kind of extended deterrence we have
practiced during most o f the 1950’s seemed to be a cheaper alterna­
tive. It is no longer clear that this is so. Quite apart from the cost
o f the alternative policies open to us, there is the question o f rela­
tive risks. ^The essential choice for the attainment o f many o f our
defense objectives is between the level o f our defense budget on the
one hand and the risk o f all-out war on the other. In the end, this



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61

means choosing between the foregoing o f some leisure and private
consumption versus the all-out war risk.
How are we to choose among the policies and postures discussed
here? W e cannot do everything, it is rightly argued. W e must
choose. But while we cannot do everything, we can do a good deal
more than is often believed. We cannot achieve our objectives simply
by concentrating on building up our strategic force or civil defense, or
limited nuclear forces, or nonnuclear forces. The following prin­
ciple has much to recommend it in the design o f our military posture:
That we be able to meet aggression over a wide spectrum without
being forced to increase the level o f violence, but that we have the
capability to do so. I f the enemy refrains from the use o f nuclear
weapons, we should be able to also. I f he elects to use nuclear wea­
pons in limited war, we should be prepared to do so. And if general
war comes, we should be prepared to fight it through in a controlled
fashion to the end. This is not to argue that we would be bound not
to step up the level o f violence, for there may be circumstances in
which we would not only want to threaten this but also to do it. In
some areas, especially in Asia, our choice might turn out to be loss o f
the conflict versus the use of nuclear weapons.
The principal objection to this policy, apart from its budget impli­
cations, is tnat this weakens the credibility o f our deterrent and
encourages our opponent to attack at points of weakness in our
position:
A potential aggressor must know that he cannot always prescribe battle
conditions that suit him. * * * He might be tempted to attack in places where
his superiority was decisive.6
5

He might think our will to resist would be weakened—but our
power would be strengthened. It could include a strengthened
strategic airpower and air defense, the initiation of a modest civil
defense program, an increased commitment to NATO defense along
with some Western European force expansion, the strengthening o f
our forces in the Pacific and Far East, and more research and de­
velopment on a wide variety o f weapons. It seems that a demonstra­
tion o f our commitment to oversea defense along with a strength­
ened general war position could have the opposite effect.
What combination of general and limited war policies might make
sense? W e must remember something that Americans so often have
failed to understand about warfare, that it should serve political ends.
General thermonuclear war is not necessarily Armageddon, and our
policies should aim both at preventing general war and mitigating its
most catastrophic consequences. Revenge in itself is o f no interest to
us, nor are we especially anxious to commit national suicide. There
are measures that make it possible to limit a general war, just as there
are measures that make it possible to have “ limited” wars. T o be sure,
it takes two sides to do this, and we cannot be sure that our enemies
will cooperate. But it is surely wrong for us to assume that they
would inevitably behave in a way to bring about the destruction of
both sides.
^Neither the mutual-suicide, still less, the world-annihilation posi­
tions at one end o f the spectrum o f opinion, nor the massive-retaliation
position at the other end withstand careful examination. This is not
•Dulles, op. cit.



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to say that they are without any basis at all. The worldwide effects of
a large thermonuclear war must be taken into account in planning by
governments; and the mutual-suicide position recognizes a luminously
important fact—that the Soviet Union has bombs and the means of
delivering them and that this upsets the basis of much o f our military
planning o f the past 15 years. And it recognizes that the
threat o f damage well below the level of total annihilation serves the
purposes o f deterrence. But this does not mean that all-out war has
been ruled out or that a policy of depreciating the need for prepara­
tions for it is the best way to keep it from happening and for us to
survive. The mutual-suicide view o f war assumes a kmd o f irration­
ality in the behavior o f governments that should be one o f the objects
o f our policies to avoid. The massive-retaliation doctrine recognizes
a different fact, that the West is weak around much o f the periphery o f
the Communist bloc in the face of a major attack. It fails to see the
truth the mutual-suicide theorists do—that nuclear weapons are no
longer on our side, and it underestimates the power o f the West to
provide powerful limited war forces around much o f this periphery.
Our preferred general war choices lie in the deterrence-plusinsurance and extended-deterrence region. We need to strengthen our
second-strike ability, our ability to withstand a well-designed attack
and penetrate the many barriers to retaliation, and this task promises
to require more and not less effort at least in the immediate future.
Deterrence may fail, and carefully designed countermilitary capabil­
ities and active and passive defenses are a vital complement to a
retaliatory capability. They work for the deterrent by promising the
enemy the destruction of something he values, his military power, and
they give us the freedom to attack civil targets in a controlled fashion
without abandoning our own cities to unlimited destruction. This
damage-limiting capability is compatible with the ability to deter a
deliberate attack. This is true partly because we can dampen any
increased enemy incentive to strike first by strengthening our own
retaliatory power and partly because the insurance such measures
provide is limited.
How important is extended deterrence for the defense o f allies in
the 1960’s ? It is a major element in our defense of Europe today and
promises to remain so for some time to come, although o f diminishing
importance. The resolve made evident by a thoroughgoing strength­
ening o f our general war capabilities could only slow the rate at
which our general war threat helps to protect the free world. It can
hardly stop or reverse it. The main task of defending third areas
must increasingly be shifted toward a more direct defense. It is the
insurance aspect o f a program of fallout shelters, improved active
defenses, and countermilitary capabilities that seems most important.
The cost would not have to be large to be useful. A massive program
is a much more dubious matter. Increasingly our plans for the de­
fense o f oversea areas should emphasize direct defense abroad.6
6
The case for increasing the relative strength o f the nonnuclear
capabilities o f NATO and possibly of our Asian allies seems clear.

00 This does not mean that our remaining strategic forces should be withdrawn from
overseas bases—especially European bases. These forces have three important functions:
They make more evident our commitment to overseas defense, their advanced location may
enable them to carry out counterforce attacks in some possible war-outbreak situations,
and they face the Russians with the alternative of hitting a part of our strategic force if
they are to launch a strategic attack at all.



NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
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63

Here one o f our most important current weaknesses matches our great­
est underlying strength. W e can go a long way to fill the gap below
the nuclear war threshold. Beyond that we need the means to fight
a limited nuclear war, and many of our theater forces must be designed
to have some kind of a dual capability. But the unresolved character
of most o f the problems having to do with this kind o f war suggests
that we should be diligent in preserving the nonnuclear capabilities
o f such dual forces. Finally, the alternative of setting up independ­
ent nuclear forces must face the serious objections mentioned, includ­
ing the one that this policy might encourage a dangerous diffusion of
bombs.
A military strengthening abroad should, as a minimum, be aimed
at promoting the policy o f containment. But this is a policy of no
more than holding the line and it would continue to leave the Commu­
nist bloc in a position of choosing the time and the place for advances.
The few attempts on the part of the U.S. Government to promote a
less passive policy, identified by the terms “liberation” and “ rollback”
have not turned out well. W e have been unwilling to make the
increased effort and undergo the risks of such a policy. Yet if we
remain only on the defensive we may suffer great, if gradual, losses in
the long run. It seems that without going so far as to promise “ lib­
eration” we should recognize the importance of being able to apply
pressure at some points against the Communist bloc as an offset to
aggression in areas where our position is weak. Our strongest posi­
tion around the entire periphery of the Communist bloc would seem to
be in Europe. In terms of basic strengths in particular, our position
then is impressive indeed. And for the task of applying pressure on
the Communist bloc, it would seem that the emphasis should also prin­
cipally be on expanded nonnuclear forces.
It may seem that this position is one o f asking for more of every­
thing. It does ask for more o f several kinds o f things, but not
everything is o f equal importance, and some moves might be posi­
tively harmful. Three of the broad alternatives we might adopt
are dubious, two o f which happen to be directions in which the United
States is moving, while the third is not. First, for the reasons already
mentioned, a policy of encouraging the creation of independent nuclear
forces seems to be dominated by the collective-security alternatives
discussed. Second, the policy of designing our theater forces pri­
marily to fight limited nuclear wars may cost too much in terms of the
nonnuclear capabilities foregone. Third, a really massive program of
preparing for general war, including in particular a large civil defense
program, probably is not the most efficient use o f the many billions
o f dollars that would be called for. A more modest insurance program
plus strengthened oversea defense is preferable.
II. D e f e n s e a n d t h e E c o n o m y

A. HOW MUCH DEFENSE SHOULD WE BUYWhether or not a war occurs and how we might fare will depend
in good part on the size o f our military budget and those o f our allies
in comparison to those o f the Communist powers, and how efficiently
both sides spend these budgets. The essential point that we must
keep in mind is that we can buy more or less defense. I f we want to



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have insurance in case deterrence fails, or strengthen an ally unable
to defend itself adequately, there is much that can be done to attain
our objectives, but this will not come without cost.
Admitting this, how much should we spend on defense? Is $40
billion about right, should it be double that, or half ? How much more
defense would we get for a doubled budget ? How much less for half ?
With all o f the public discussion of the defense budget, the effect o f
large changes in the defense budget is rarely raised. The defense
budget has great stability in the absence of a crisis. It takes the out­
break o f a war or its end for the issue o f large changes to be promi­
nent. This issue is, o f course, one of the central and most difficult ones
on defense. Another question related to the amount o f defense we
should buy is, how should we go about deciding on the size and allo­
cation o f the defense budget ? Here, we can easily identify two op­
posed views, neither o f which is correct.
Budget first versus strategy first

Most discussion o f what to spend on defense is dominated by two
approaches: One has been called the “ requirements” or “ strategy
first” approach. The other has been labeled the “ budget first”
approach.6
7
The requirements approach holds that there are certain absolute
defense needs, stated in terms o f military hardware and manpower.
These needs must be met regardless of cost, even if it exhausts the
budget, if the security of the United States is to be guaranteed. Those
who take this approach are especially aware of our defense problems
and that we have objectives deserving o f great support. They often
have a good understanding of important military tasks and the difficul­
ties and obstacles in the way of attaining them. The natural result
tends to be an unqualified assertion of what is needed to do the job.
This approach has major shortcomings as a principle for the determi­
nation o f the level and allocation of the defense budget. In its usual,
absolute form it fails to recognize that both we and our opponents
have a wide range both o f objectives and of alternatives from which
to choose to accomplish any objective, that some objectives o f lower
urgency deserve support, that there is great uncertainty, both
strategic and technological, intrinsic to military planning. It as­
sumes that military intelligence can make precise, valid estimates o f
the enemy “ threat” various future dates. The possibility that the
enemy may make a different choice—perhaps influenced by our own
choices—is ignored. The estimates are handed to the military planners
who calculate the forces “ required” to overcome this fixed enemy, and
the results become military requirements. The uncertainty m our
estimates o f enemy forces and tactics and the uncertainty in the per­
formance cost and date o f availability o f our future weapon systems
is often ignored. This approach finds its real utility as a technique
in the bargaining process as a convenient way o f presenting and de­
fending requests for resources.
In bargaining for larger budgets, the services find themselves op­
posed by a group o f people whose attention is riveted almost exclu­
sively upon costs and the budget. This group holds that the marginal
productivity of additional sums spent on defense is low, perhaps zero,

67 For a discussion of approaches to defense planning see Alain Enthoven and Henry
Rowen, “Defense Planning and Organization.” To be published by the UniversitiesNational Bureau of Economic Research, Princeton University Press.



NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

G5

that national security is also served by a healthy economy and that
the health o f the economy would be impaired by further increases in
Government spending, that if the defense budget were increased sub­
stantially the inevitable consequence would be inflation. A n extreme
version o f this approach is that we would go “ bankrupt.”
This budget-first group understands that costs are important, that
we cannot allocate all of our resources to defense, and that military
demands are intrinsically insatiable. Someone has to hold the line
somewhere. They also recognize that there is inefficiency in our De­
fense Establishment. They consider perhaps the most effective way
o f increasing the efficiency o f that vast organization is to squeeze
hard on its budget.
They often fail, however, to understand the seriousness o f our de­
fense problems, and that a war is likely to be more wasteful than
inefficiency in the Pentagon. And they often fail to recognize that
while it is true that the marginal productivity o f additional expendi­
ture in some areas is low, in many it can be quite high. (They, of
course, face the difficult problem of deciding which are the worthy
activities and which are not—in an environment characterized by in­
tensive bargaining and great technological and strategic uncertainty.)
On the health o f the economy, however, there is no question but that
the extra inflationary pressures o f increased defense spending could
be offset by tax increases over a wide range. There may, for large
and sustained tax increases, be some adverse effect on incentives.
However, there is no basis in fact for the arguments that we cannot
afford more defense spending. W e can afford more. ^The real issue
is one o f balancing extra sacrifices against extra gains.
While these two approaches are wrong, in practice they may not be
equally so. Uncertainty about the circumstances in which military
force will be needed and about the performance of weapons systems is
too easily overlooked by the budget-firsters. For example, our gen­
eral war threat will probably deter an important class o f aggressions;
therefore, why spend money on other forces as insurance? The
requirements approach leads to overinsurance. (Requirements are
absolute, but they turn out, in fact, to keep ahead o f the available
budget.) But look at the difference in the penalties. I f we are too
weak we risk a war, possibly a war calling for a costly mobilization
or even general thermonuclear war with its widespread devastation.
The penalties for overinsurance are mostly some consumption and
leisure forgone, but it is unlikely that this penalty will be as great
as the cost o f even a small shooting war. Another penalty might be
an exacerbation o f one o f the less desirable aspects o f the arms race.
This penalty can be minimized if we choose our policies cautiously,
with careful attention to the responses they evoke in our opponents.
A balanced view

Our defense objectives support higher goals o f national policy. We
wish to defend the United States and its allies from attack and to
help protect the free world. These goals and others can be furthered,
though not achieved absolutely, by our Defense Establishment. It
pursues lower level objectives, such as defense o f the United States
against surprise attack. These lower level objectives cannot be
achieved absolutely either. It is always a question or more or less.
Our society has limited resources, it cannot do everything that is



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desirable. A part o f these resources, approximated by the defense
budget, is turned over by Congress to our Defense Establishment for
the purpose o f achieving the various national defense objectives, and
it should allocate these limited resources toward that combination o f
defense objectives which brings us closest to the goals o f our national
policy. (In a democracy, there is no way in principle to decide on
an optimum combination of objectives toward which our Defense
Establishment can work. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible to
arrive at rough agreement on goals, however.) In sum, we have to
balance our preferences for consumption, leisure, more rapid eco­
nomic growth, and avoiding inflation, against our preference for
greater security for ourselves, our allies, and the free world.
How much of our resources we have to allocate to given objectives
depends on the efficiency with which we carry on our defense activities.
The concept o f efficiency relates the achievement o f our objectives,
to cost, and to the budget. It is one standard by which we can evalu­
ate how well the budget is used. However, the problems are too diffi­
cult for any approach to perfect efficiency, our objectives are not
that clear, and the technology with which we work is changing too
rapidly. But we can hope to avoid gross inefficiency by avoiding
choices which are clearly inferior to other alternatives open to us.
And we can hope to make improvements by reallocations within a
given budget which leave us in a better military position. Above all,
we want to avoid the worst kind o f inefficiency, the situation which
leaves us with completely open gaps in our capabilities which are
exploitable by an enemy .

The defense system as it now exists contains biases which work
against efficient allocation and which are not corrected by counter­
vailing forces. As a result, the bargaining between the services and
the Office o f the Secretary o f Defense, and between the Department o f
Defense, the Bureau o f the Budget, and the Congress produces alloca­
tions which in many cases are quite inefficient. For example, the mili­
tary services are concerned with the performance of our defense, that
is, with effectiveness, and not with cost as such. For the services in
the pursuit o f greater defense effectiveness, improved efficiency and
larger budgets often seem alternatives. Moreover, seeking a larger
budget may be easier than improving efficiency. Improving efficiency
requires hard choices and generates conflict within the organization,
and the opposition to a higher budget is external; it is easier for the
organization to unite against the outside world. In a sense higher
budgets and increased efficiency are conflicting alternatives. W ith a
given budget, effectiveness will be greater, the greater the efficiency.
But in the long run, when budget levels are variable and subject to
negotiation, it is not at all clear that if the services were to operate
within their current budgets with maximum efficiency, that our over­
all defense would be satisfactory.
This does not mean that anyone is intentionally wasting money.
The emphasis on getting more budget stems in large part from the
fact that the budgetary process does not provide ex ante budget
constraints, either for the services or for major combat commands,
within which they are free to allocate. There are, o f course, guide­
lines sent down through the Bureau o f the Budget and the Office of
the Secretary o f Defense. But the guidelines appear to the serv­
ices partly as moves in a bargaining process and not always as bind­



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67

ing constraints. Furthermore, they are not generally presented in
such a way that they appear as constraints within which the services
will be free to buy alternative programs on an equal budget basis.
Eather, they are “ one-sided” constraints. The limitation side is
emphasized. The promise that would be implicit in a genuine budget
constraint—that the organization constrained can trade weapons on
a dollar-for-dollar basis—is not given. I f the services give up a
project, they are not assured o f getting the money for another project
o f higher value. As a result, every question o f allocation is a poten­
tial battle between the services and the budgeteers over budget level.
Some improvements are needed in our methods for determining
budget level as well as allocation, and with serious problems o f in­
formation volume and flow in a large bureaucracy in a context o f
rapidly changing technology, the choice of budget level is bound to
be a collective decision in which the agencies affected have some voice.
However, it is all too easy for the participants in the budget struggle
to lose perspective, to feel that they must resort to extreme bargain­
ing actics, and to overvalue the effectiveness o f the tactics. The over­
all allocation o f our defense budget would be improved if both sides
in the contest over budget level could separate questions o f budget
level from budget allocation, and redirect some of their energies from
the struggle over budget level to the problem o f improving alloca­
tion. (Not all of their energies however, for the level o f the budget
should not be taken for granted.)
Among the several changes in defense organization that might be
helpful in this direction—there are no panaceas in view—is a change
in the structure o f the defense budget so as to identify outputs (e.g.,
objectives and weapons systems) independently of inputs (e.g., pay,
fuel, maintenance). Military objectives o f the kind illustrated above,
and much more detailed ones as well, should be made explicit. To
the extent that it is possible, relevant standards o f performance
which relate weapons to objectives should be developed. Then d if­
ferent weapon systems can be considered for the various missions.
For example, discussions o f the operation o f our missile force or o f
plans to buy more missiles should be focused on precisely what job
they are intnded to accomplish: for example, deterrence o f attack
on the United States, limiting damage, or both. The justification
for buying more o f them should n o t 1
1
us more
missiles, or that more are needed
United
States, but rather that this will contribute in a measurable way to the
objectives for which we maintain strategic offensive forces, and that
they will contribute more to our attainment of those objectives than,
say, the extra bombers that could be bought and operated for a com­
parable amount o f money, and that they will contribute more to our
national objectives than any of a wide variety o f nondefense
expenditures.
In addition to making budget categories correspond more closely
to our objectives, other possibilities include a greater decentralization
o f the entire defense establishment through the use o f budgets and
prices; greater centralization o f policy decisions that should be made
at the highest level that are often made now at low levels; changes
in personnel policy, and changes in the grouping o f responsibilities
among the services.6
8
6 S e E th
8 e n oven an R w , o . cit
d o en p



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H ow much defense can we stand? 6
9

Much discussion o f the defense budget assumes that the burden of
defense is already heavy and that further defense increases would
endanger the health of the economy. It is even suggested that we
might, in some sense, go bankrupt. The Nation cannot go bankrupt
from a high rate of defense spending. The main threat is one of
mounting inflationary pressure, not of inability to manage interest
obligations or to pay off debt as it matures. What people must fear,
therefore, when they speak o f “ bankruptcy” o f the Government, are
sacrifices entailed by increasing the proportion o f our national re­
sources allocated by the Government. These sacrifices involve giving
up goods in the private sector of the economy in order to devote more
resources to defense, aggravating the risk of inflation if taxes cannot
be, or are not, raised sufficiently, and impairing incentives to produce
because taxes are increased and consumption is reduced.
The United States is enjoying the highest standard o f living
in history. It is absurd to say that we cannot at this point
give up any nondefense goods. The defense budget is currently
at about 9 percent o f the gross national product. In 1944 de­
fense outlays were over 40 percent o f GNP, and as recently as 1953
they amounted to 14 percent—in years when private consumption was
considerably smaller than it is now. To increase the defense budget
by 50 percent would not cut back consumption or investment very
sharply; it would leave more per capita for these purposes than was
available as recently as 1955. The entire increase might come from
a small reduction in leisure, through a reduction in unemployment,
by increasing the length o f the workweek slightly; and by drawing
more people into the labor force.
This assumes an immediate increase in the defense budget. There
are good reasons for contemplating some such increase. However,
many o f our problems are long-term ones. The United States will
undoubtedly grow at a rate o f at least 3 percent, close to $15 billion,
per year. W e could, therefore, increase the defense budget by over
$10 billion annually without retreating from our present levels of con­
sumption and leisure, while investing the additional amounts annu­
ally to sustain economic growth. The reduction in the private sector
would actually be smaller than the amount o f the budget increase be­
cause an increased defense budget would lead to a reduction o f unem­
ployment and a greater national product than would otherwise be
forthcoming. An increase in the defense spending (like any other in­
crease in aggregate spending) would pull some o f these unemployed
resources into productive jobs. This is not to say that an increase in
defense outlays is the only way to reduce unemployment. Other meas­
ures could certainly do so. Nonetheless, a defense budget increase is
not wholly a diversion o f resources from nondefense goods.
The Korean war experience provides a good example. Before the
outbreak o f the Korean war, the proposed defense budget o f 1951 was
about $14 billion, and there was a good deal o f debate about whether
or not it should be a billion or so dollars higher. One prominently ad­
vanced view was that the economy would be strained by the higher
budgets proposed. As it turned out, defense spending about tripled
69 This section is based in part on some unpublished work by Roland M cKean.
extended discussion of this topic see H itch and McKean, op. cit.




F or an

NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

69

between mid-1950 and mid-1952, while the rate o f total Government
spending doubled—from $40 billion to $80 billion a year. Consumer
spending over that period increased from about $190 billion to $210
billion; investment in new plant and equipment, from about $46 bil­
lion to $49 billion; personal savings from about $11 billion to $14
billion. Correcting for the price inflation that took place, about
10 percent over the period, spending on these sectors remained about
constant. By the end o f the war in 1953, both national security and
the private sector o f the economy had received $30 billion increments.
The extra resources came from reduced unemployment, longer hours,
and increased productivity o f labor and capital; in short, we financed
the Korean war by reducing unemployment and leisure. The econ­
omy had another price to pay, a sharp rise in prices, largely the result
o f heavy forward buying in late 1950 and early 1951.
The danger o f inflationary pressure can be managed if the defense
budget is increased gradually and if nondefense goods are consciously
given up by means o f a tax increase. Avoiding any inflationary pres­
sure might require tax receipts somewhat in excess o f expenditures,
because even a larger balanced budget can generate some expansion
o f aggregate spending. (Avoiding any inflation during the Korean
war would have meant higher taxes, lower gross output, and lower
levels o f consumption and private investment than were attained.
Fewer resources would have been called into use.) Consider a $10
billion increase in the defense budget. I f the increase took place
over several years, there would be scarcely any problem with infla­
tion from the extra defense outlays. In 3 or 4 years, growth of the
economy would bring in extra revenues amounting to $10 billion an­
nually. I f the budget were increased abruptly, extra tax receipts
would be necessary for 3 or 4 years in order to dampen inflationary
pressures, especially from anticipatory buying.7 But if the economy
0
had little slack, some inflation would be hard to avoid. Some­
times, o f course, there is slack in the economy and the pressure of
increased defense spending on prices in a recession would be small.
In the long run, however, if the economy is maintained at that level
o f resource utilization where prices are constant or slowly rising, then
extra resources for defense will have to be diverted entirely from our
rivate product. The main point is that modest increases in defense
udgets, i f well managed, should not produce any inflation.
Larger budget increases than $10 billion a year raise some questions
about controls. In 1957, at the time of the principal study of this
question that has been made, an increase of about $20 billion per year
could probably have been managed without serious inflationary pres­
sures by raising tax rates to their 1952 level.7
1
The effect o f higher taxes on incentives with drastic increase in tax
rates is uncertain. However, for the moderate increases mentioned
above, past U.S. experience and the experience o f other countries indi­
cate that incentives would not be greatly impaired. Individual in­

E

70 The modest impact o f a $10 or $15 billion increase in the national security budget is
indicated in the study by Gerhard Colm, “ Can W e Afford Additional Programs for Na­
tional Security?,” National Planning Association, Washington, D.C., October 1 9 5 3 ; see
also Gerhard Colm and Manuel Helzner, “ General Economic Feasibility of National
Security Programs,” March 1957, published in “ Federal Expenditure Policy for Economic
Growth and Stability,” hearings before the Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy of the Joint
Economic Committee, 85th Cong., 1st sess., U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington.
D.C., 1958, pp. 3 5 6 -3 6 4 .

"Ibid.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
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centives in the U.S. economy appear to have been as great during the
Korean war as they are today and were in the 1920’s or in the 1930’s.
However, the growth o f inefficient practices within corporations may
be more serious. A t this point, all we can say is that the risk of damaging incentives and impairing future growth over a considerable
range of tax increases seems to be slight, uut more study is needed to
bound the range. For the increases that have been suggested recently
the effects would be small. Finally, if we are forced to go into a large,
crash defense program, the urgency of the need is likely to override
considerations o f long-term incentives to work.
Much of the concern over the level of the defense budgets stems from
the view that the resources we allocate to defense yield no economic
welfare in the usual sense, that the country is poorer by the amount of
the defense budget. In another sense, defense is recognized as con­
tributing to our welfare since by allocating 9 percent of our resources
to it, we hope to go on enjoying the other 91 percent. But just how
accurate is the dollar total o f the defense budget as a measure o f the
burden the economy carries ? The defense budget affects the economy
in several different ways, some clearly beneficial and some harmful.
Since it takes up so large a proportion of our gross national product,
and since there is a possibility that it might again take up much more,
it is useful to consider some of these side effects.
There clearly are some defense items that benefit the nondefense
economy. This is true of much o f the military research and develop­
ment carried on by the services and by the Atomic Energy Commission.
O f the $10 billion currently being spent on research and development
activities in the United States, about $3 to $4 billion comes from the
Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission.7 The
2
defense budget also includes investment in industrial plants, airfields,
and communication systems that have immediate or subsequent non­
defense uses. And the military services perform a little noticed but
quite large educational and training function for society. They train
mechanics, elctronic technicians, and other specialists who, after a
short tour o f duty often leave the services for private industry. The
total magnitude o f these benefits has not been estimated with any care,
but they may come to about 15 percent of the defense budget.
Another important side effect is on the stability o f the economy.
A high level o f Government spending tends to dampen swings in the
business cycle by maintaining a component o f demand for goods in a
recession. The policy followed since the outbreak o f the Korean
war o f maintaining a high level of Government spending, offset by
taxation in a boom and with sizable deficits in recession, probably
leads to a steadier and higher overall utilization of resources in the
economy than would otherwise be experienced. This argument does
not, of course, depend on defense spending by the Government. The
nondefense benefits noted above in research and development and per­
sonnel training could be promoted outside of the defense budget.
While the absolute level of defense expenditures has been remark­
ably stable since the early 1950's, changes in it have on occasion created
problems o f stability. For example, the reduction in defense spend­
ing in 1953 helped to worsen the 1953-54 recession. In the future,
defense may turn out to be a more variable sector o f the economy than
72
“ Federal Funds for
Office, 1958.




Science,”

National Science Foundation, Government Printing

NATIO
NAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

71

in the recent past. Over the long run it is highly volatile, and move­
ments in the defense budget are largely autonomous from the point
of view o f the economy. Much of the effort to reconcile the con­
flicting goals o f a high level of employment of resources with little
price and wage inflation means that national economic policy must
frequently follow changes in the defense budget.
Finally, there is the interaction between defense spending and eco­
nomic growth. As mentioned, there is some possibility of an adverse
effect on incentives. In addition, a large share of American indus­
try has been partially removed from the competitive private economy.
There are good reasons to suspect that defense industries are grossly
inefficient compared with nondefense ones, and while this has no di­
rectly harmful effects on the rest of the economy, it means that more of
our resources must be allocated to defense than would be the case if
these industries operated more efficiently. Offsetting this, however, is
the favorable influence on growth of the vigorous program o f technical
research and development carried on by the services and the likely
growth-stimulating aspects o f the more stable economy fostered by
a high, relatively steady level of Government spending. The net
effect o f defense spending on economic growth as yet remains quite
uncertain.
What would be the effect of lower defense budgets? (This might
happen as the result o f arms control agreements, but it more likely
would be the result of a tacit agreement between East and West.) The
prosperity o f the economy does not depend on defense spending, nor
would a drastic reduction cause a depression. We have twice in recent
times gone through postwar readjustments without serious difficulty.
Such adjustment need not take very long. However, we would have
to face the possibility that the Federal Government would have to
adopt a more active policy for stabilization and growth than has been
necessary in the high-defense-budget 1950’s.
Allied defense budgets

Most o f the defense objectives of the United States we share with
others, and one o f the continuing problems we face is not only decid­
ing the level o f effort that we and our allies need make but the distri­
bution o f the burden. The economic resources o f our NATO allies
are large and growing rapidly. I f the United States is able to spend
more on defense, if it is able to contribute handsomely to the defense
o f Europe and bear by far the largest responsibility for the defense of
much of the Far East and Asia, what about the efforts of our N ATO
allies? The principal argument for defending Europe by the threat
of nuclear war is the supposed inferiority o f NATO in manpower and
resources for conventional warfare. This view, as I have mentioned
above, is simply wrong. The NATO countries are more populous,
wealthier, and technologically more advanced than the Warsaw Pact
countries. However, while NATO has the resources, they are not
being adequately employed in its defense. While the United States
is spending about 9 percent o f its gross national product on defense
and the Soviet Union is spending substantially more, most o f our
allies are spending much less. Many of our allies, including the Ger­
man Federal Republic in particular, have been spending about 4 per­
cent o f the gross national product on their defense; only the United
Kingdom has come close to matching our own effort.



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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
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This unwillingness of our allies to make sacrifices for their defense
stems in large part from the belief, which we encourage, that the
defense o f Europe is provided by the threat o f general thermonuclear
war and that the balance o f terror will prevent such a war from oc­
curring. As a result, there is less incentive on the part o f the Euro­
peans to defend themselves. The reasons we have used to justify our
own reduction in nonnuclear arms have persuaded our allies to emulate
us, and this in turn throws a still greater burden on our nuclear de­
terrent capability. The next major military development in Europe
may be the creation o f independent nuclear forces, which in turn,
judging by the experience of the United States and the United K ing­
dom, will be used as a justification for further defense cuts in non­
nuclear armaments.
The argument presented above on the feasibility o f larger U.S. de­
fense budgets applies to Western Europe as well. While these coun­
tries are not as wealthy as the United States, they are much more so
than the Communist countries acdoss the Iron Curtain which seem able
to devote two to three times as much o f their gross national product to
defense. Moreover, most European economies have been growing
rapidly, more rapidly in recent years than that of the United States.
Many countries in N ATO could take on a substantially greater de­
fense load than they now do.
Quite apart from the question o f what allocation of the defense bur­
den within the alliance is equitable, an adequate defense o f Europe
in the 1960’s may well call for increased rates o f expenditures. Far
from suggesting that we reduce our oversea commitments, we should
do still more. How much is called for to satisfy the goal of managing
a nonnuclear defense o f Europe in uncertain. Forces in being strong
enough to allow N ATO to mobilize its greater economic resources
after a war outbreak are needed. I f the Soviet Union reduces its non­
nuclear forces in being, less extra would be needed in the West.
Our Asian allies are much less able to support the military forces
needed for their defense, nor is there any prospect o f their being able
to do so within the next decade. O f the peripheral countries in Asia,
only Japan has the economic strength to support sizable armed forces.
For the rest, it has been our policy not only to carry a large part o f
their defense burden but to aid their economic growth as well, and we
undoubtedly should continue with this policy.
B . T H E S IG N IF IC A N C E OF G N P FOR W A R

Until a few years ago the almost universally held doctrine on the
defense o f the United States was that forces in being were much less
important than the war potential o f the economy. W e had slowly
come to believe over the course o f 150 years that our military strength
resided mostly in the combination o f favorable geography and grow­
ing relative economic power. And with good reason. Whatever the
situation o f our allies and friends, we were secure and could mobilize
and come to their aid. With the development o f nuclear weapons,
these basic strengths o f the United States have diminished. What
role then is left for our economy in modern war?
A general atomic war clearly makes comparisons o f economic
strength for war mobilization after the outbreak irrelevant. The
notion o f the “ broken-back war” after a large-scale nuclear exchange



NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

73

fails to take account o f the decisive character of a large nuclear ex­
change and the disruptive effect of nuclear weapons on industrial pro­
duction and on the logistic support of armies. The atomic phase o f a
war between major powers would almost certainly determine the out­
come, given the great relative power o f atomic weapons as compared
with conventional armaments.7 By now, we all understand that the
3
atom bomb makes it no longer possible for the United States to enjoy
the luxury o f practically dispensing with peacetime armies while re­
maining well defended. It is forces in being at the outset o f a general
war that count, and our method of fighting W orld W ar I and I I will
not work for world war III.
However, a nation’s gross national product still remains a useful
measure o f its general warmaking potential, not so much for its
significance during the war but before. It is a meaningful index o f
the total stock o f resources from which a defense effort can be drawn.
It provides a useful overall measure of the burden of supporting a
defense program. Whether or not it tells us much about the potential
effectiveness o f the military forces that might be supported depends on
how much time is available for mobilizing these resources for use.
Our large gross national product helps us little with respect to the
near term.
Our economy has one other important role in connection with gen­
eral war, the postwar recovery of the Nation. A large war might
leave the United States with large surviving population and stock of
capital. I f our preattack preparations for survival are thorough,
we might be able to reconstitute the economy as a functioning whole
and rebuild the Nation. In this respect the United States is especially
favored. But it should also be noted that the Soviet Union has some
o f the same advantages as ourselves in this respect. I f its stock of
fixed capital is smaller, this stock is growing rapidly, and in addition,
the Soviet Union has important geographic advantages. Most other
countries, including our European N ATO allies, womd be less likely
to recover from heavy nuclear attack. Their gross national products
are a poorer index of the power to recover than is ours or the Russians.
I f forces in being are needed for all-out war, how about limited
war? Would it make sense for the West to attempt to hold every
position around the periphery of the Sino-Soviet bloc so strongly that
73
There has been a curious diversity of attitudes toward the nature of modern war in the
Soviet Union.
(Great diversity on m ilitary m atters is to be found in the United States
as well, but diversity here is to be expected.)
I f we were to judge Soviet doctrine by
m ost published material, a dangerous thing to do, it would seem to be at variance with
the prevailing American view described. For example, in a book published in 1957,
“ Strategy and Economics,” Col. Andrei Lagovskii assumes that N AT O would mobilize
vast forces and deploy them in theaters of operation and mobilize their economic potentials
for a great war production effort. See the review o f this book by Oleg Hoeffding, “ Strategy
and Economics, a Soviet View ,” W orld Politics, January 1959. One Russian w riter has
gone further and suggested that nuclear weapons may prolong w a r :
“ Even the appearance of atomic and hydrogen weapons, of medium- and long-range
rockets, cannot insure the sw ift destruction of such massive forces, and consequently a
sw ift conclusion to the war. In fact, the use of these weapons by both sidles leads rather
to the prolonging of a war, than to its speeding up. Thus, if the past big wars might
ju st as well be short as long, in our epoch, all big w ars are inevitably acquiring a more
or less long-drawn-out character * *
Col. I. Baz, “ The Characteristics of Modern W ar,” M ilitary Herald, Moscow, June 1958.
(Survival, November-December 1959. vol. 1, No. 5.)
On the other hand, the views of several high m ilitary and political leaders during
the past several years, including Khrushchev, have had a very different character.
Khrushchev has referred to pushbutton warfare in which nations would be destroyed
quickly; he has depreciated the worth of conventional w eapons; he has said that modern
weapons would decide the outcome of a major war. It appears that the opinion that
counts in the Soviet Union has arrived at the same conclusion with respect to general
war as we have.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

it could not be dislodged without the need to mobilize forces? This
simply cannot be done. The enemy would have some local superi­
ority, and he “ might still be tempted to attack in places where his
superiority was decisive.” 7 While planning on the mobilization of
4
our economic resources after a nuclear attack no longer makes much
sense, the concept o f mobilization retains importance in the defense
o f oversea areas. On the other hand, the defense of peripheral areas
cannot be left to our mobilization capability alone. I f it could, we
and our allies could drastically cut our defense budgets. I f we are
too weak abroad, we risk the threat of a fait accompli, a quick take­
over. Or we might find ourselves gradually eased out o f weakly
held positions. There would be a strong temptation for us simply to
cut our losses and not choose the alternative of responding with a
costly buildup o f our military forces and to use them in some counter­
action. In most peripheral areas, we want to have forces on the scene
large enough to force the enemy to engage in a major attack if he is
to have much of a chance o f success and to hold until quickly deploy­
able reserve forces arrive, followed by a mobilization and deployment
o f still further resources. I f he is forced to use nuclear weapons, we
stand a good chance o f deterring any overt aggression whatsoever.
In short, we need both “ shield” forces able to hold back attack and
we need “ tripwires” on the periphery, not so much to set off our
strategic retaliation, but to set off our mobilization.
The importance of the mobilization concept, which had been the
underlying basis for most U.S. defense planning, has been excessively
depreciated in recent years. Paradoxically, some of our preparations
still hold to the mobilization concept where it no longer has validity,
after a nuclear exchange. It is neglected for those tasks for which
it remains o f crucial importance, in limited wars and in increasing
our preparations for a possible big war. It may well be true, as
Herman Kahn has observed, that the major deterrent to Communist
aggression abroad is the possibility that we will respond by greatly
increasing our defense budget, perhaps doubling it or more if the

threat is serious enough. Nor should this response be regarded as
farfetched. W e tripled our defense spending in response to the in­
vasion o f South Korea. And we not only increased forces useful in
direct combat in Korea but also forces for general war. A similar
crisis abroad in the future would very likely see an increase in the
full spectrum o f our defense capabilities.
W e should understand clearly that the conflict between West and
East is in good part a conflict in which Government budgets and gross
national products are important weapons. This is the case with the
growing competition in the granting of foreign aid funds, and most
obviously the case with defense budgets. A substantial increase in
Communist defense budgets, or its equivalent, an increase in the effi­
ciency o f Communist forces is a defeat for the West. Ajid vice versa.
In this struggle, it is our greater capacity for allocating resources to
defense that makes it reasonable for us to hold to the objectives we do.
One o f the principal assets of NATO is its potential ability to throw its
economic weight around.7 The United States is able to support its cur­
5
rent defense establishment by allocating about 9 percent o f its gross
national products to defense; the Soviet Union, supporting a defense
74 Dulles, op. cit.
75 See “ Toward a Balanced Defense,” W illiam C. Foster, Orbis, spring 1959.




NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

75

establishment o f roughly comparable size, has to allocate one and
one-half times as much ox its resources to defense. NATO, as a whole
has roughly a two or three to one advantage in gross national product
over the Communist bloc.
However, while we possess this important weapon—and economic
deterrent—part o f its effectiveness depends on our consciousness o f
possessing it. I f we make it appear that our response to aggression
will not include an increase in our defense budget, this important de­
terrent weapon is weakened.
O. IM P L IC A T IO N S OF C O M M U N IS T G R O W T H

The Soviet Union has a set of economic and military problems that
arallels ours. It too has the problem o f deterring an attack on its
omeland, o f extending the umbrella o f deterrence over the satellites
and China, and of being prepared for limited conflict at the periphery.
One way or another its policies must reflect an underlying adherence
(not necessarily consistently) to beliefs on general war (e.g., world
annihilation, mutual suicide, massive retaliation, etc.) and warfare
at the periphery (e.g., nuclear versus nonnuclear conflict). It is not
possible here to discuss the scanty evidence on prevailing Eussian
military doctrines. It seems likely that these doctrines are under­
going rapid change. Finally, the Soviet Union has a problem of de­
ciding, in principle, how to allocate defense and then to work out
institutional arrangements for doing this with some efficiency. In
short, it has a defense budget problem too.
The Soviet standard o f living is still relatively low. A t the present
time, it would be painful, indeed, for the Soviet Union to give up addi­
tional consumption goods for defense, and it would jeopardize future
growth significantly should the Soviet sacrifice investment goods. In
1955 its published defense budget was in the neighborhood of 13 per­
cent o f its gross national product.7 A t that time total Soviet gross
6
national product was one-quarter to one-half as large as ours (while
its population was about one-sixth larger). There is a bit of a puzzle
here since Soveit military forces have been estimated as roughly
equivalent to our own.7 One possibility is that the Soviet defense
7
budget may have been much larger than has been announced. Another
plausible hypothesis is that the Soviet Union is relatively efficient at
the production o f weapons and the support o f military forces. An in­
crease of $10 billion per year in the Soviet defense budget w^ould prob­
ably slow its investment program or significantly reduce consumers’
standard o f living—because consumption is low at present and there is
no slack in the Eussian economy. This does not mean that large in­
creases in the near future ean be ruled out. Eussian willingness to
make sacrifices for the nation has been firmly established. In laying

E

76 This estimate is based on an adjustment of the announced Soviet defense budget. The
adjustment is made to exclude indirect taxes and to include subsidies. The adjusted total,
substantially higher than the unadjusted one, comes closer to describing the actual distri­
bution of resources among end uses. See “ A Comparison of Soviet and United States
National Product,” by Morris Bornstein, published in “ Comparisons of the United States
and Soviet Economies,” Joint Economic Committee, 1959. The wide spread in the esti­
mate of the relative size of the Soviet and U .S. economies is based on the use of Russian
versus United States prices. The mix of goods and relative prices in the economies leads
to widely disparate estimates. Both are relevant; neither is more “ correct” than the
other.
77 The estimate that the Soviet m ilitary effort is roughly comparable with our own comes
from the statement by Allen Dulles, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to the
Joint Committee on Nov. 13, 1959.




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NATIONAL SECURITY AND ECONOM IN THE 1960’S
Y

out our defense plans, we need to consider the implications of, say, a
doubling o f the Soviet defense budget even though at a great sacrifice.
A decade hence, however, the sacrifices may be a great deal less.
The Soviet Union is growing rapidly. Eussian gross national prod­
uct may increase at 7 percent per year, reaching the neighborhood o f
$250 to $500 billion by 1970. I f the current proportion o f gross na­
tional product were to be devoted to defense, the Soviet defense budget
could rise to an equivalent of about $80 billion, in U.S. prices, by
1970—perhaps twice the current level; by 1975, over $90 billion.
Large increments in the U.S. defense budget, those well over $10
billion a year, now and for the next few years would be difficult for
the Soviet Union to match, and the upward pressure on the Soviet
defense budget would disrupt its rapid growth. I f increases in de­
fense now were to be met by reducing current consumption or deny­
ing increments to consumption (now expected to be forthcoming out
o f the 7-year plan), it might aggravate the Soviet problem o f provid­
ing incentives. Indeed, a great deal o f social unrest and disorder
might ensue if the Soviet Union attempted a large expansion o f its
defense activities. A decade or so hence, however, it may not be diffi­
cult for them to match our budget increases, for its economic potential
will already be well advanced relative to our own. On the contrary,
w e may be faced with the problem o f matching Eussian budget in­
r
creases.
Estimates o f the probable economic growth o f China and the mili­
tary implications of this growth are highly uncertain. There is little
reliable data on the performance of Chinese economy, and no one is
in a position to make any but the most speculative long-range projec­
tions. The available figures, however, show a spectacular rate o f
growth in the output o f certain heavy industrial goods in China—
steel, coal, cement, oil, electricity, and pig iron, as well as in agricul­
ture, even after the recent reduction in the claimed totals for 1958.
The figures show increases o f about 25 percent per annum from 1952
to 1957.7 And while the base was low it was not insignificant. Chi­
8
nese heavy industrial output may by now be close to that o f Japan and
twice that o f India.
What can we say about the period from now to 1970? One possi­
bility that we must seriously entertain is that Chinese heavy goods
output may expand as rapidly as has that of the Soviet Union and
possibly somewhat more so. By 1962, Communist China may have a
heavy industrial establishment three or four times as large as that o f
India and comparable with Japan’s. It will bulk very large relative
to its Asian neighbors. By the 1970’s, if we may speculate that far
on such an uncertain matter, China may have an output o f heavy in­
dustry very much greater than that of Japan, India, and all or the
other non-Communist nations bordering China combined. One meas­
ure o f this potential is that the heavy industrial output o f China by
1975 may be roughly comparable to the output o f Eussia in 1960, ana
Eussia in 1960 is no small threat to the free world. I f China does
grow to this extent and if it remains as hostile and aggressive as it
has been to its non-Communist neighbors and to the United States,
then the pressure it could bring to bear over a large area o f the free
78 Richard H . Moorsteen, “ Economic Prospects for Communist China,” W orld Politics,
January 1959. This section is also based on some unpublished work of Moorsteen.




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world is extremely ominous. China will be armed, possibly with
nuclear weapons, whereas Japan’s willingness to support a defense
program is uncertain and many o f China’s neighbors will be able to
support only weak forces from their own resources. The improve­
ment o f internal communications inside o f China, improved training
and education, along with the growth of industrial output, should
make China b y the 1970’s, and for that matter possibly much sooner,
a powerful military force to contend with.
What China will do with its economic strength depends on its in­
tentions, and these may be greatly influenced by the growing strength
o f China relative to its non-Communist neighbors. Some o f it will
undoubtedly go to improve internal security, increase consumption,
not only to support a growing population, but also to increase living
standards in order to insure the stability o f the regime. This will
affect the situation o f the Chinese Nationalists, whose first goal is the
return to the mainland, and it will affect the loyalties and the calcula­
tions o f the Overseas Chinese throughout Southeast Asia. A stronger
China will also be able to afford more aid to its satellites, North Viet­
nam and North Korea, and to Communist parties and Communist
guerrillas in non-Communist countries. This, plus direct Chinese
military pressure in border areas, or overt aggression, could produce
extreme military and economic problems for the relatively weak nonCommunist states o f South Asia.
D. SOM E A L T E R N A T IV E BUDGET TRENDS

The pattern o f our spending on defense during the next decade or
more might take several different forms. An extrapolation o f the
trend o f the past several years suggests that it might drift gradually
downward as a percentage o f gross national product. Conceivable,
although unlikely, is a sharp reduction. More likely is a sharp in­
crease in response to growing Soviet offensive power in relation to our
own, symbolized by the missile “ gap.” A recognition o f the increased
difficulties we face in attaining our objectives may lead to a gradual
increase, possibly roughly in proportion to our rate o f growth of gross
national product. Or it might have to grow at a rate corresponding
not to our rate o f growth, but more like that o f the Communist powers.
Finally, it might experience a sharp, very large increase during a
crisis at some point in the 1960’s. Four possible broad trends are
described below:
A n economy trend.—For example, the maintenance o f our defense
budget at about 6 percent o f gross national product instead o f the cur­
rent 9 percent. This would correspond currently to a budget o f about
$30 billion a year. This budget might be associated with the adoption
o f the minimum deterrence doctrine for general war, possibly with an
arms control agreement aimed at stabflizing the strategic balance,
at current budget levels. The savings might come partly from a
sharp cutback in air defense expenditures and a reduction in the size
o f our strategic offensive forces. It would rule out any significant
expenditures on civil defense. This would probably not be enough
for the reduction described, however, for the entire general war
budget, as defined in this paper, is well under half o f our total defense
budget. There would also have to be a reduction in the U.S. commit­
ment to oversea defense. It is possible, but most unlikely, that the



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Y

European N ATO powers would pay for a larger share o f their de­
fense if the United States were to provide the example o f a sharp
reduction in its own expenditures and if overt Russian aggression
were absent. W e might approach this lower level more gradually
by holding our defense expenditures constant at the present level
just over $40 billion, as we have for several years now, while our
gross national product grows. Some o f these reductions might be
accomplished without comparable reduction in effectiveness through
a reallocation o f our existing defense budget and through increases
in the efficiency in the procurement and operation o f our weapons.
There is undoubtedly tremendous room for increasing the efficiency
o f our Defense Establishment, but doing this is an especially intract­
able problem.
A constant percentage o f gross national product budget— at the
current rate.— The budget would grow with gross national product at

a rate in the neighborhood of 3 to 4 percent a year, an increase now o f
$1 to $2 billion a year. By 1970, this would produce a defense
budget o f about $60 billion. What objectives might this budget sup­
port ? It would make possible selective improvements in each o f sev­
eral areas: Improvements in our strategic offensive power, for example
an increase now in the number of protected ballistic missiles we might
procure in order to strengthen our power to strike back, or keeping
continually airborne some part o f our bomber force. In addition, we
might undertake the beginning o f a civil defense program, and the
return from the first real increment of effort here is likely to be quite
large. Much could be done with $300 million a year or so. Finally,
we might step up the slow rate o f modernization o f the equipment
o f the Army. There are many other possibilities.
A growing percentage o f gross national 'product budget.—This pro­
jection is based on the assumption that during the 1960’s we may have
to increase our budget by an amount largely determined by rapidly
growing Communist resources that might be allocated to military
forces. That is, the growth rate o f the Communist bloc may turn out
to be the relevant one if the West is not to see its military power
gradually dwindle in relative strength. This might mean an average
increase in the neighborhood o f 7 percent a year. For the United
States in the early 1960’s this would come to about $3 billion a year
more each year.7 By 1970 the defense budget might total $80 billion
9
a year. For Western Europe, this trend could mean a total annual
defense budget o f $25 billion a year by 1970. Such a budget increase
rate could probably be managed in the United States with no increase
in taxes out of the expected average increase in Federal tax revenues.
Such increases would go into some combination o f the buildup of
substantially improved strategic offense forces, active defenses against
ballistic missiles (which are expensive), a substantial civil defense
program, and larger and better equipped ground, tactical air, and
naval forces overseas, and the bolstering o f our allies—especially those
in Asia.
79 The first Rockefeller brothers fund report on our national security recommended an
annual increase of this magnitude for the next several fiscal years. See International
Security, the M ilitary Aspect,” 1958.




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79

A crisis budget.—The possibilities here range from limited mobiliza­
tion as in 1950 to very large scale mobilization. It might be triggered
by defeat, such as being unceremoniously forced out o f Berlin, or by
Chinese aggression in Southeast Asia, or Russian aggression in the
Middle East, or by a wide range of scarcely predictable situations.
Any o f these crises could set off a sizable increase in defense budgets.
Nor can the possibility of an even more grave situation, one in which
the West receives a great setback, be ruled pi#.: ' Sometime between
today and 1970 our defense’budget might Iiave to be increased to a
level o f $100 billion a year or more. Such a budget might include a
massive program of civil and active defense, a much expanded strategic
offensive force, greatly increased ground and naval forces, and military
aid to our allies on a large scaled




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