The Logic of Nuclear Strategy: The US Orientation to Counterforce

  • Earl C. Ravenal


In explaining the derivation of weapons systems and the doctrines for employing them, there is a tendency, in defence-academic circles and, now, in journalistic accounts, to focus either on vague, ‘ideological’ factors — as if they directly affected the choice of particular weapons systems and the concrete level of defence spending — or on micro-factors within the policy process, such as ‘bureaucratic politics’ (particularly inter-service rivalry), or political-economic factors such as the influence of the ‘military-industrial complex’. Not enough attention is paid to the logic of requirements, modified and limited by the operation of constraints.


Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Weapon System North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Cruise Missile 
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  1. 1.
    Stanley Hoffmann, ‘The Case of Doctor Kissinger’, The New York Review of Books, 6 December 1979.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    National Defense University, Rethinking US Security Policy for the 1980’s (Washington, D.C., 1980)provides support for these points. See, especial, the Report of Panel Three of the Seventh Annual National Security Affairs Conference, 21–23 July 1980, which is entitled ‘Rethinking Essential Equivalence’.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Henry A. Kissinger, The Troubled Partnership (New York, 1965) pp. 117–18.Google Scholar

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© International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts 1991

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  • Earl C. Ravenal

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