The Impact of NATO Doctrinal Choices on the Policies and Strategic Choices of Warsaw Pact States: Part II

  • Dennis M. Gormley
Part of the International Institute for Strategic Studies Conference Papers book series (IISSCP)


Over the last half decade, we have witnessed a stimulating, sometimes unsettling, but nonetheless essential re-examination of the Western alliance’s operational doctrine for deterring and defending against Warsaw Pact aggression. This doctrinal re-examination springs from myriad motivations. For one, the emergence of nuclear parity between the super-powers at the strategic and theatre levels challenges the credibility of an early resort to nuclear weapons by NATO as a substitute for sufficient conventional forces. Moreover, the Warsaw Pact’s unrelenting efforts to modernize their conventional forces — spearheaded by the Soviet Union — augur an increasingly capable pre-emptive conventional strategy to destroy Western cohesion before any nuclear weapons could be used. For NATO’s part, the promise of emerging conventional technologies offers hope of exploiting Warsaw Pact vulnerabilities and thereby raising the nuclear threshold.


Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Ballistic Missile Warsaw Pact Crisis Stability 
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© International Institute for Strategic Studies 1986

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  • Dennis M. Gormley

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