In his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on the 1965 defense budget, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara commented upon the public debate concerning nuclear forces and the proper strategies American nuclear forces should be designed to support. The Secretary remarked that “at one extreme there are the proponents of the ‘overkill’ theory,” and at the other extreme “there are the proponents of what one might call the ‘full first strike’ theory.” In fact, a careful survey of the literature pertaining to nuclear weapons and strategies reveals that those are not the correct boundaries of the debate at all.
The simultaneous development of the Cold War and of nuclear weaponry has generated a complex intellectual response. The number of commentators or “experts” on nuclear defense problems has increased; more and more agencies for strategic studies have emerged, and an enormous, new body of literature has been spawned. An examination of this mass of literature discloses a very wide range of competing viewpoints on nuclear weaponry and the Cold War, a range that should be understood by those involved in national security matters.
In order to structure and present in a clear manner the full range of views on nuclear weapons, it seems useful to employ a logical spectrum of “schools of thought” based upon the most important issues in the debate. Certain key issues and questions emerge from the literature as the most important for identifying different positions.
The role and utility of nuclear weapons: Is there any rational or necessary use for nuclear weapons, and, if so, what? At one end of the spectrum, a loud and clear “no” is coupled with the advocacy of nuclear disarmament—unilateral if necessary; at the other end, a certain impression of nuclear weapons and of the Cold War leads to the advocacy of virtually unlimited nuclear forces.
This issue seems the most important for distinguishing different positions concerning nuclear forces and strategies, especially since it encompasses other questions that facilitate the identification of views and the refinement of schools of thought. For example: (a) Are nuclear weapons qualitatively different from conventional weaponry, or are they primarily a more efficient packaging of destructive energy? (b) Can a distinction be made among different types of nuclear weapons useful for different purposes? (c) Should the emphasis of defense policy be on the need for disarmament, the control of arms, or the increase of arms, and to what extent in each case? (d) If nuclear weapons have utility for deterrence, what types of deterrence (i.e., of attack on the United States, on Europe, on more peripheral areas) and what strategies of deterrence should be adopted? (e) How much nuclear force is enough?
The latter question is closely related to the question of utility. If the utility of nuclear forces is seen merely for the deterrence of nuclear attack on the United States, a minimum survivable counter-city force may be adequate. If the nuclear force is also considered to have a prominent role in deterring transgression against other interests, or perhaps in limiting damage to the United States through a counterforce capability, more sophisticated and higher levels of weaponry are necessary. Or, if nuclear weapons are seen to have utility for battlefield purposes, an even more varied arsenal is needed.
What is the likelihood of future nuclear warfare, and what form will this warfare take? Commentators such as C. P. Snow have postulated a mathematical certainty of general nuclear war if nuclear disarmament is not accomplished, and have furthermore insisted that such warfare will inevitably be cataclysmic. Herman Kahn, Thomas Schelling, and others, while admitting a substantial possibility of general nuclear warfare, carefully distinguish among various levels of warfare and uses of nuclear weapons and refuse to rule out the possibility of a limited, rationally conducted nuclear war, even on the strategic level.
This question involves the issue of the conventional-nuclear firebreak and its significance, escalation, and the controlled use of nuclear weapons. Other related issues include the feasibility or desirability of defense measures and the efficacy of damage-limitation efforts.
What is emphasized, explicitly or implicitly, as the paramount danger or the primary objective? For example, is the primary danger seen as the existence of nuclear weaponry, or the continuing arms race, or Soviet ambitions, or Communism per se? Is the main objective that of ridding the world of nuclear weaponry, arresting the arms race, thwarting infringements upon concrete national interests, or destroying the menace of Communism?
It is not always possible to identify clearly the values or assumptions that form the basis of a position, or to separate clearly the normative and descriptive components of a position. This need not be a matter of concern here since the structuring of the nuclear debate depends upon the articulated views that result from the correlation between values and analysis. Whether a position is based upon an analysis of threat or upon a personal value structure may be an important consideration, but unless the answer is made quite clear (and usually it is not clear to the person himself) the distinction is not necessary to make.
An important component of the threat assessment related to nuclear weaponry is the issue of the nature of Communism and the motivations of the Soviet Union and Communist China, or, a little less specifically, the view taken of the nature of international relations. The position taken on this issue obviously conditions the position taken on defense and nuclear matters. Toward the right end of the spectrum of views there is found a preoccupation with the threat of Communism per se, and little discrimination among Communist states, or between Communist behavior and behavior due to traditional national interest. Toward the left end of the spectrum, there is a tendency to disparage the threat posed by either Communism or the Soviet Union, at least as relative to the assessment of dangers presented by nuclear weaponry and the arms race. Between those two poles there is less tendency to focus on Communism and more tendency to analyze threats presented by antagonistic states, or by the coupling of nuclear weapons with normal international conflicts.
Based upon the foregoing issues, but primarily upon the question of the utility of nuclear weapons, it is possible to construct a model presenting a spectrum of positions on nuclear weapons. A useful model is one in the form of a nearly-closed circle such as is commonly used to present a range of policy positions, and similar to the “horse-shoe” model employed by Robert Levine (The Arms Debate, 1963) to present a range of opinions from “anti-war” to “anti-Communism.” Among the advantages of such a model over a linear spectrum is the visual emphasis provided to show the similarities between the two poles. Both extremes deal in the black and white of “either-or” alternatives, highly-dramatized definitions or problems, and the pursuit of single, overriding goals at the expense of other objectives.
In developing the spectrum of positions on nuclear weaponry, the basic question of the utility of nuclear weapons was first used to produce a range of opinion from no-use-what- soever through various positions emphasizing the passive or deterrence use, to views that contemplate various types of physical use. The circle can be divided into four quadrants (Figure 1). Starting with the lower left quadrant is a group of positions denying the possibility of any rational or necessary use for nuclear weapons. Positions in the second quadrant emphasize the deterrence use of nuclear weapons—the threat to use them in order to deter major aggression. As the second quadrant merges into the third, the deterrent role of nuclear weapons is broadened and there is the appearance of a willingness to contemplate the physical use of nuclear weapons in the waging of warfare. And, as the final quadrant is approached, the contemplated use of nuclear weapons covers a progressively greater number of contingencies, or approaches a more total usage. The final pole would logically include the advocacy of preventive nuclear war; however, there is no significant literature extant that espouses this position.
This model can be refined by adding other important questions discussed above, correlating them with views on the utility of nuclear weapons (Figure 2). Thus, positions on the possibilities of defense and control are added. Control refers both to control over the use of nuclear weapons, thus involving questions concerning escalation and the tactical use of nuclear weapons, and control over the nuclear arms race. There are four general recommendations concerning nuclear arms: disarm, limit arms, control arms, increase arms. The “types” of deterrence follow the usage of Herman Kahn, with Type I referring to the deterrence of nuclear attack on the United States, Type II the extension of our nuclear deterrent to other important areas, such as Western Europe, and Type III the extension of nuclear deterrence to less important areas of interest and to lower levels of conflict. The Roman numerals refer to the characteristic view of the paramount danger: I, the paramount danger is seen to be the existence of nuclear weaponry; IV, the primary threat is deemed to emanate from Communism; II and III, tend to balance multiple threats, with II assigning more weight to dangers involved in the nuclear arms race and III assigning relatively more weight to threats posed by the Soviet Union, Communist China, and other national enemies.
Keeping in mind the spectrum defined by the above models, various schools of thought can now be identified and located on the spectrum (Figure 3). To this model, a chart has been added suggesting individuals representative of positions associated with the respective schools and also listing organized groups and periodicals that seem to emphasize one position more frequently than others. It should be noted that any model, while useful for generalization, necessarily involves simplification and should not be interpreted too rigidly. Schools of thought are not clearly divided but overlap and shade into each other. Many individuals may justifiably be included in two different schools of thought. The inclusion of individuals was made on the basis of their primary emphasis on those issues used as criteria for the spectrum, and is more a means to illustrate the views of the defined school than an attempt to classify an individual.
The division of the circle into four quadrants, three broad categories, and eight schools of thought emphasizes the overlapping of positions. It is important not only to show the differences among schools of thought but also to point out similarities between adjoining schools.
The first broad category, labelled the “Peace Movement—Disarmers,” itself encompasses substantially different views and approaches, ranging from pacifists who advocate immediate and unilateral nuclear disarmament to spokesmen who accept minimum deterrence as a temporary necessity and advocate unilateral measures to reduce Cold War tensions and arrest the nuclear arms race. Essentially, the common characteristic of this category is a concentration on methods to “ban the bomb.” Whatever the differences among representatives of this category, all agree that nuclear armaments should be destroyed—either immediately and unilaterally, if necessary, or progressively and in guarded concert with other nuclear powers.
Two main groups can be singled out within this general category: the extreme pacifists who subordinate all other considerations to their goal of accelerated nuclear disarmament, and the “unilateral initiative” groups who advocate various unilateral actions to reduce tension and lead toward ultimate nuclear disarmament. The latter group includes the “peace researchers” who look to the tools of social and behavioral science to isolate the causes of international tensions in order to resolve conflict peacefully.
There are two separate schools of thought within the extreme pacifist group: The Radical Pacifists, who are pacifist due to religious or moral conviction, and the Nuclear Pacifists whose assessment of the nuclear threat lead them to the position that nuclear weaponry is an intolerable danger that must be eliminated. Professor Mulford Sibley (see, for example, Unilateral Initiatives and Disarmament, 1962) reflects the pacifist-on-moral- grounds position in his arguments for unilateral disarmament: “In the end, rejection of deterrence and adoption of unilateralism depend upon certain propositions about morality.” Even though Professor Sibley admits there might be dangers in unilaterally disarming, this still remains the only acceptable course of action: “If we carry through on unilateral disarmament it is possible that we die, but at least we do not kill.”
On the other hand, Bertrand Russell is a nuclear pacifist because his assessment of the danger of a nuclear holocaust leads him to maintain that the risks unilateral nuclear disarmament might entail are worth taking to avoid the danger of a nuclear war he believes might destroy Western civilization.
Evident in the views of the pacifists, and even of most representatives of the unilateral initiatives position, is a single image of nuclear war as an unmitigated disaster, and, consequently, the viewpoint that nuclear weapons are completely unacceptable and of no beneficial use. Virtually no distinction is made among nuclear weapons in terms of yield or usage, and there is very little precision about levels of warfare. According to these positions, nuclear weapons—visualized primarily as multi-megaton bombs—have made war obsolete, irrational, or morally indefensible. Even conventional warfare must be ended because of the great danger (or virtual inevitability) of escalation to nuclear war. No control is possible over the use of nuclear weaponry, and perhaps not over the dynamism of the arms race. The nuclear arms race is perceived as the root of the Cold War, as well as a guarantee of future nuclear holocaust. Thus, the only rational policy is to eliminate all nuclear weaponry. The apocalyptic definition of dangers and alternatives is obvious in this part of the spectrum. C. P. Snow has asserted the certainty of a nuclear holocaust unless nuclear disarmament is accomplished. In the 1955 “Mainau Declaration,” 52 Nobel Laureates issued the statement: “All nations must renounce the use of force or they will cease to exist.”
A more moderate and intellectual approach to the Cold War and nuclear weaponry, but an approach that still reflects the views noted above, is found in the concept of “unilateral initiatives” as the solution to the Cold War and the arms race. Since Dr. Charles Osgood, Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois and past president of the American Psychological Association, advocated his GRIT (Graduated Reciprocation in Tension-Reduction) strategy, adherents to this approach have increased and coalesced sufficiently to be regarded a distinct school. According to this school, international conflict is based upon misunderstanding and artificial fears, generated primarily by reaction to falsely perceived actions of others. Nuclear weapons and the arms race are tension-inducing, rather than tension-reflecting. The way to peace is to correct the misunderstanding between the West and the Communist world (a “mirror- image” phenomenon), reduce tension through unilateral peace initiatives, and arrest the arms race. The Soviet Union will be bound to reciprocate the peaceful initiatives and, as Charles Osgood and Seymour Melman assert, the “peace race” will be on. Obviously, quite a sanguine view is taken of the Soviet Union and Communism, although different representatives of this school reflect varying degrees of optimism, as reflected in the specific unilateral initiatives they advocate. Spokesmen such as Seymour Melman, Erich Fromm, David Riesman, and Arthur Waskow advocate substantial unilateral measures such as overseas disengagement, cutbacks to low levels of nuclear forces, and large reductions in the defense budget. Other representatives of the unilateral initiatives approach, such as the sociologist, Amitai Etzioni, emphasize caution and advocate phased and initially symbolic initiatives that depend upon Soviet reciprocation for further implementation (Etzioni terms his approach “gradualism”).
The unilateral initiative school is similar to the more pacifistic schools in its fear of nuclear war and the arms race, in its optimistic view of Soviet behavior, and in its advocacy of nuclear disarmament. However, this school couples some concern for the immediate requirements of defense with its long-range goal of nuclear disarmament. Thus, at least some short-run utility in terms of Type I strategic deterrence is ascribed to a low level of nuclear force. Unilateral disarmament is not advocated; disarmament is to be achieved by negotiated stages. The acceptance of a minimum nuclear deterrent force, however, is a reluctant concession. Ultimately, nuclear weaponry must be eliminated or mankind is doomed. This position has been expressed, for example, by Professor Hans Morgenthau, who has argued that (1) “a mere deterrent function” is “the only rational function” a nuclear arsenal can possibly have; (2) a minimum force of strategic weapons is all that is necessary for that function; and (3) “if the nuclear armaments race cannot be brought under control . . . we have in all likelihood sealed our and mankind’s doom, and the only issue remaining to be settled will be how and when we shall be doomed.”
An integral part of this minimum deterrence position is the concept of “overkill,” associated widely with Dr. Seymour Melman of Columbia University. Melman’s thesis is that the American nuclear arsenal is so huge that the United States has the capacity to “overkill” the Soviet Union—and, indeed, the entire world—several times. Melman bases his argument on the “Hiroshima Unit” (i.e., a 20-kiloton bomb produces 100,000 deaths; thus, every kiloton kills 5,000 people and every megaton, 5,000,000 in this vastly over-simplified approach). In addition, Melman uses inaccurate force estimates and generally neglects many important strategic and targeting considerations. On this basis, he concludes that the American nuclear arsenal, as presently constituted, is senseless, dangerous, and wasteful. The United States needs far less military power to deter a strategic attack; the oversized arsenal and continuing arms race will lead to a nuclear holocaust; and the money wasted on nuclear forces can best be diverted to domestic improvements. Dr. Melman advocates an immediate two-fifths reduction in the defense budget, and an ultimate total defense budget of approximately nine billion dollars, which is claimed to be sufficient to maintain a minimum deterrent force. (See Melman’s pamphlet, A Strategy for American Security—An Alternative to the 1964 Military Budget, 1963, and his book, The Peace Race, 1961.) This thesis of “overkill” is intimately connected with the concept of unilateral initiatives, and with the notions of technological plateau, weapons surfeit, and minimum deterrence, associated with spokesmen such as Ralph Lapp, Jerome Wiesner, and Herbert York.
It is clear from the foregoing discussion that the GRIT school and the Minimum Deterrence school merge in the overlap between the Peace Movement category and the Deterrence and Defense category. The main distinction between them is one of emphasis: on unilateral initiatives as the means to end the Cold War, or on nuclear force levels and strategies. Of course, many individuals bridge the two schools—for example, George Ken- nan, Kenneth Boulding, Hans Bethe, and J. David Singer.
The category labelled the “Deterrence and Defense Community” includes views ranging from the short-run acceptance of minimum deterrence to the reliance upon an extensive, sophisticated military establishment that would include counterforce and damage- limiting capabilities. Nuclear deterrence is accepted as a premise of U. S. policy. The differences in this category concern the best posture and strategies to assure deterrence and to prevail should deterrence fail.
In the Extended Deterrence school, minimum deterrence is rejected as insufficient to service a range of American interests, including the “assured deterrence” of a nuclear attack on the United States. Individuals in this group are concerned about both nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union or Communism, and tend to reflect a “pessimistic realism” about nuclear problems and the dynamics of international politics. Within this category, disarmament is dismissed as either a Utopian goal or a dangerous delusion. In either case, disarmament is deemed unfeasible and the concept of arms control is preferred. The best way to prevent unwanted warfare and perhaps ultimately to bring about peace is through an adequate defense posture and the mutual deterrence of a stable, military confrontation. Still, individuals in this category do not concentrate solely on improving deterrence and stability, but recognize the likelihood of continual limited conflict and the possibility of a failure of nuclear deterrence. Thus, this category includes views on forces and strategies for waging various levels of warfare and for limiting damage to American values.
Although it is possible to identify an “Extended Deterrence” school of thought, the differences within this school on matters of force postures, weapons selection and strategic policies make further distinction useful. These differences constitute the subject matter of a continuing debate within the defense community, a debate that is no less significant and intense because the different positions may be based on differences in emphasis, priority, or timing. An important point of contention relevant to this study is the comparative role of conventional and nuclear forces in extended-deterrence and in fighting local-limited wars. Differences arise over the issues of what forces constitute “effective local defense capabilities” in various areas (especially Europe), the role of tactical nuclear weapons in these capabilities, and the extent or duration of reliance upon such capabilities.
Prominent in this general issue is the question of the use of nuclear weapons in local- limited engagements, and thus the extent to which the United States should develop and deploy tactical nuclear weapons. Technological developments and an emphasis on the discriminate utility of nuclear weapons have led some analysts to include low-yield nuclear weapons in their own definition of an effective limited-war capability. Other analysts are not convinced of the efficacy and safety of nuclear weapons in local-limited conflicts, or at least regard the conventional-nuclear firebreak as something that should be preserved if at all possible.
On the basis of these differences, the Extended Deterrence school has been subdivided into three groups labelled “Conventional Emphasis,” “Graduated Deterrence,” and “Tac Nukes.” Except for “Graduated Deterrence,” which primarily signifies a middle-ground between emphasizing conventional weapons or the utility of tactical nuclear weapons for local deterrence and defense, the labels are self-explanatory. Certainly, graduated deterrence is accepted' by all three groups and many of the representative individuals listed (See Figure 3) could just as well have been included in two groups. But distinguishing a middle position provides a place for those who emphasize neither conventional nor nuclear weapons in their writings so much as the need for a flexible defense capability, whatever it requires for various contingencies, and it also helps emphasize the distinction between the other two groups.
The “Conventional Emphasis” position is based on the degree of desirable importance assigned to the conventional-nuclear firebreak, on skepticism about the utility of tactical nuclear weapons in peripheral local war situations, and on the importance assigned to conventional forces for deterrence and defense in NATO Europe. The RAND economist, Malcolm Hoag, and the military strategist, B. H. Liddell Hart, particularly typify this position, and many other names could be added: Gilpatric, King, Wohlstetter, and Halperin, as examples.
Certain other civilian analysts, weapons scientists, and military leaders concern themselves with the possible role and utility of small-yield nuclear weapons as instruments of usable military power. There is a sufficiently identifiable group of positions on the tactical use of nuclear weapons to justify the inclusion of a Tac Nuke position within the Extended Deterrence School. Representatives of this position are more inclined to see utility in tactical nuclear weapons, or less inclined to accept the conventional-tactical nuclear firebreak, than are the schools to its left, but there is a significant range of views within the Tac Nuke position itself. Bernard Brodie has argued against what he deems an over-emphasis on conventional options in Europe in his Reporter article of 23 May 1963, and has commented:
I see no basis in experience or logic for assuming that the increase in level of violence from one division to thirty is a less shocking and less dangerous form of escalation than the introduction of any kind of nuclear weapons. A galloping consensus has developed among some like-minded people around the entirely unfounded assumption that it is not size of conflict but use of nuclear weapons that would make all the difference.
Some Tac Nuke advocates emphasize the deterrence contribution of a tactical nuclear capability; others focus upon the necessity for a tactical nuclear response to aggression in Europe; still others envisage the use of low- yield nuclear weapons on military targets in conflicts such as Vietnam. Perhaps the most extreme viewpoint in this school is that of Dr. Harold Agnew, who is quoted in the 19 July 1965 issue of Newsweek as stating, “If you want to take out a bridge, what difference does it make whether you use one nuclear weapon or axes and shovels?”
The more accepted position on the utility of tactical nuclear weapons (and a view that reflects a more general attitude of the Extended Deterrence School) was voiced by Secretary McNamara in his February 1963 testimony before the House Committee on Department of Defense Appropriations:
. . . while it does not necessarily follow that the use of tactical nuclear weapons must inevitably escalate into global nuclear war, it does present a very definite threshold, beyond which we enter a vast unknown. This does not mean that the NATO forces can or should do without tactical nuclear weapons. On the contrary, we must continue to strengthen and modernize our tactical nuclear capabilities to deal with an attack where the opponent employs such weapons first, or any attack by conventional forces which puts Europe in danger of being overrun.
Such a statement of tactical nuclear weapon policy for NATO Europe is specific enough to distinguish this position from stronger conventional emphasis positions as well as from advocacy of broader utility for tactical nuclear weapons, but it is also general enough to gain concurrence from spokesmen who then differ on the precise meaning and application of such a statement. For example, General Lauris Norstad would probably subscribe to the statement but differ in his emphasis sufficiently to justify his inclusion in the Tac Nuke group. To Norstad, conventional forces in Europe have the primary function of enforcing a “pause” after the initiation of non-nuclear conflict and before tactical nuclear weapons are used, rather than defending against conventional attacks up to those that threaten to “overrun” Europe. Thus, according to Norstad, a little more emphasis should be placed on preparing for tactical nuclear warfare, and tactical nuclear weapons should be dispersed and deployed down the chain of command a little more than pronounced government policy admits.
The general “Deterrence and Defense” category is characterized more than the other categories by a strategic-analytical-pragmatic mode of thought rather than an ideological or utopian one. The existing environment is both the starting point and the framework for foreign and military policy. An analysis of this environment, not the single-minded pursuit of Utopias, is the main criterion for policy. There is a greater tendency in this category to recognize the ambiguities of competing objectives, complex risks, and uncertain analyses. Overriding value cannot be assigned to a single goal1 such as peace or war- avoidance per se. There are dangers other than nuclear war, and the security of the United States is an objective at least as important as avoiding nuclear war. In fact, the sometimes incompatible goals of peace and security can be optimized best through balanced military capabilities, rather than through disarmament. The prevention of nuclear war and the protection of American interests lies neither in disarmament nor in an all-out military effort, but somewhere in between. Henry Kissinger expressed this approach in his book, The Necessity for Choice (1962):
The choice is not between a complete counterforce capability or none at all nor between a strategy of pure devastation or a strategy which guarantees victory in all circumstances. Between these limiting conditions many other possibilities exist, each with its own implications for deterrence and for strategy should deterrence fail.
Nuclear war is not considered an unlikely event by representatives of this portion of the spectrum; indeed, it is considered very likely. But the notion that future nuclear warfare is a priori predetermined to be a cataclysmic event is rejected. Careful thought and careful planning can contribute to the limitation and rational conduct of even a general nuclear war.
As the middle “Deterrence and Defense” category merges with the final group of schools of thought, there becomes a greater tendency to perceive at least low-yield nuclear weapons primarily as a more efficient weapon rather than a qualitatively different form of destructive energy. Nuclear weapons can be vastly improved and adapted to a wide range of possible uses.
In the final category on the spectrum, however, the continual improvement of nuclear weaponry and the struggle against Communism become closely correlated in policy recommendations. The over-all view of individuals in this category is that Communism is a threat far outweighing the threat posed by nuclear weaponry. Nuclear weapons provide an important means not only to defend American interests, but, to some spokesmen, also to “roll-back” and destroy Communism. To many representatives of this category, especially those of the “Forward Strategy” school, nuclear weapons are not to be used directly to roll-back Communism, but indirectly to support or promote roll-back by other means. Thus, nuclear weaponry is seen as a protective umbrella that enables the forward strategy to be carried out by conventional, or even non-military, methods.
As in the other categories there is a wide range of views within this group. As the right pole is approached, ideological considerations gain weight at the expense of analysis or calculation, and—similar to approaches near the left pole—extreme policies are advocated in accordance with extreme definitions of the problem.
The Forward Strategy School is the anti- Communist counterpart to the unilateral initiatives (GRIT) group of the Peace Movement. Both schools mark the transition of their respective categories with the “Deterrence and Defense” Community, and both schools are characterized by their advocacy of American initiatives in the Cold War. The GRIT school recommends pacifistic initiatives to reduce tension and end the arms race; the Forward Strategy School advocates strategic initiatives to enhance tension in the Communist world and ultimately to produce victory over Communism.
The Forward Strategy School, most widely associated with Dr. Robert Strausz-Hupe and the Foreign Policy Research Institute, links the defense community with the anti-Communist movement and can be included in both. Much of its analysis and many of its policy recommendations are accepted widely within the defense community and may even be reflected in official policy. The primary difference between this school and the schools in the “Deterrence and Defense” category lies in the differing conceptions of the Soviet/Communist threat and of the purposes of American policy and strategy.
The relation between the Forward Strategy school and the anti-Communist movement is due to the ideological orientation of its viewpoints, and its tendency to think in terms of threat manifested in a single-purpose Communist plan for a “protracted conflict” with non-Communist societies. According to this view, the Soviet Union, by its very Communist-totalitarian nature, cannot give up its international goals, and the proper response is an equally determined and pervasive Western struggle to eliminate the danger. As Dr. Strausz-Hupe remarked in an interview published in U. S. News and World Report, “The struggle with Communism is an all-out struggle.” Furthermore, according to this view, ideology, not traditional national interest, is the ultimate motivation of the Soviet leaders. Dr. Gerhart Niemeyer argued during a recent Georgetown Center for Strategic Studies conference that it is the Communist world view more than practical considerations which motivates Communist decision-makers, and the West should “focus the objectives of the Cold War on measures against Communists anywhere in the world, rather than on warfare against Russia or China or other countries. ...”
The “hard” anti-Communist approach of the Forward Strategists entails a recommendation to fight fire with fire, taking the initiative with a “forward strategy.” This strategy, while designed to apply pressure upon the Soviet Union, stops well short of recklessness. Strategic recommendations are tempered by a regard for the danger and destructiveness of nuclear weapons. The struggle with Communism is not to be waged directly with nuclear weaponry unless the West is forced into it; however, the implications of the analyses and recommendations of this school show that it attributes considerably less danger to nuclear weapons and the arms race than do other defense schools, and perceives a protean utility for nuclear weapons.
The qualitative arms race must continue because (1) no stable balance based on existing capabilities is possible due to “incessant technological change;” (2) a “win second strike” strategy requires arms superiority; and, somewhat different from other analysts, (3) the arms race itself is a means for waging the protracted conflict.
The Forward Strategists tend to agree with certain representatives of the “Tac Nuke” school that nuclear weapons can and should be used as required in a tactical or battlefield role. Dr. Strausz-Hupe has stated, “In modern war, nuclear weapons are as ‘conventional’ as any other lethal weapon.”
A prominent part of this school of thought is the emphasis on “forward technology.” Dr. Edward Teller and the weapons-scientists differ greatly from the rest of the scientific community, which is generally disarmament- oriented, in their emphasis upon technological change and the need to pursue the qualitative arms race relentlessly. To Teller there is very little danger in the testing of nuclear weapons, the active (or, perhaps more accurately, the aggressive) continuance of the arms race, and even the physical use of nuclear weapons for military purposes if that becomes necessary. (Teller emphasizes low-yield nuclear weapons used tactically.) At least there is relatively little danger as compared to the dangers entailed in not doing so. The emphasis of Dr. Teller and the weapons scientists on technology supplements the emphasis on strategy of the rest of the Forward Strategy School.
In our spectrum, the Forward Strategists merge with positions to their right that tend to be even more inclined to rely upon the use of nuclear power, or more ideologically oriented, or both. Since the spectrum is based primarily upon views concerning nuclear weapons and schools are arranged further to the right primarily in terms of the positions taken on the utility and role of nuclear weapons, the school to the right of the Forward Strategists is the Massive Deterrence school. Representatives of this school may be—and generally are, as in the cases of Barry Gold water and General Thomas S. Power—even more ideologically anti-Communist than many representatives of the Forward Strategist school, but the main distinguishing characteristic of this school is the emphasis upon massive strategic nuclear deterrence.
The Massive Deterrence school emphasizes the need for continual strategic nuclear superiority and rejects the notions of strategic stalemate or nuclear parity with the Soviet Union. General Curtis LeMay has stated flatly in reference to a possible nuclear stalemate, “I don’t believe in stalemates. I don’t think there is such a thing.” The late General Thomas White, in the 24 February 1964 issue of Newsweek, argued strongly against the concepts of stalemate and mutual deterrence: “I deplore a tendency ... to accept ‘mutual deterrence’ as a blessing . . . Next to unilateral disarmament, stalemate is the most misleading and misguided military theme yet conceived.”
The school is characterized by a pronounced confidence in the efficacy and utility of strategic nuclear air and missile power, and the tendency to rely upon this type of force for deterrence against a broad range of possible threats. Accordingly, deterrence by the threat of massive punishment is strongly emphasized over deterrence by the capability to meet a wide range of attacks on their own level. Offensive forces are given priority over defensive capabilities. High-yield strategic nuclear weapons are emphasized over low-yield tactical nuclear capabilities, and the concern for damage limitation and for “deliberate, selective, and controlled” uses of force that characterizes Extended Deterrence groups is not a prominent feature of the Massive Deterrence school. Since a large part of this school is comprised of SAC-oriented individuals, it is understandable that strategic air delivery systems are given priority over other forms of military force and that representatives of this school argue the continued need for improved manned bombers.
Just as in the other schools of thought, there is a noticeable range of thought, or at least of emphasis, among representatives of this school. In Figure 3, Generals LeMay and White are placed to the left of the Massive Deterrence school, between it and the Forward Strategist school, to illustrate this point. The published writings of neither are as strongly ideologically oriented as the works of General Thomas S. Power or Barry Gold- water, nor is the emphasis on the massive use of strategic nuclear power as closely connected with anti-Communist crusading.
The mor£ extreme view of the utility and efficacy of strategic air power and of massive retaliation bears similarity both to the view of air power voiced by men like Douhet and de Seversky and to the historical isolationist movement in America. The combination of these two traditions produces the notion that American interests can be safeguarded and America can win wars cheaply and cleanly from a detached “Fortress America” position—a theory which Roger Hilsman has referred to as the idea of the “immaculate war.” This strategic air power view is commonly coupled with rather extreme ideological views to produce a crusading implication that seems further to imply a relatively unrestrained or aggressive use of nuclear power.
Barry Gold water argued in his 1961 National Review article, “A Foreign Policy for America,” that it is America’s mission to establish its system and values throughout the world, but it cannot do so without “the prior defeat of world Communism ... It follows that victory over Communism is the dominant, proximate goal of American policy . . . Where conflicts in policy objectives arise they must always be resolved in favor of achieving the indispensable condition for a tolerant world—the absence of Soviet Communist power.” Coexistence is not the proper goal and containment is not the proper policy: “Since Communism is organically expansive, it follows . . . that we cannot succeed by attempting merely, to hold on to what we have. American policy must be geared to the offensive. Our appetite for Communist territory must be every bit as keen as theirs for non-Communist territory.” Such a statement, obviously, carries the idea of a forward strategy to its logical conclusion.
Similar views have been stated by the recently retired commander of SAC, General Power, in his book Design for Survival. According to General Power, peaceful coexistence cannot work, and any agreements with the Communists are meaningless. While the Soviets deceive us with talk about coexistence, the Communist threat continues to mount:
The Soviet leadership is irrevocably committed to the achievement of the ultimate Communist objective, which is annihilation of the capitalist system and the establishment of Communist dictatorship over all nations of the world . . . The Soviets realize they cannot achieve their ultimate objective unless and until they succeed in eliminating the major hurdle in their path, the United States. They are determined to resort to any means at their disposal in order to remove that hurdle.
With the expression of views such as these, an anti-Communist crusade fervor is added to the view that nuclear weaponry should be constantly improved and increased, and to the belief in a protean utility of nuclear weapons. As stated earlier, there are no prominent spokesmen for the preventive nuclear war school of thought, but views such as those quoted above tend to lend themselves to the conclusion that the catonic strategy should be implemented with thermonuclear weapons. The extreme anti-Communist spokesmen in the United States provided no clear answer to the question. However, even more than the statements by Goldwater and Power, their views of the Cold War seem to approach a preventive war strategy by implication. An example is the following statement by Clarence E. Manion in his book, The Conservative American: “For twenty years our government has been paying the Soviet blackmailer with one concession after another. It is obvious now that the extortioner will be satisfied with nothing short of the complete and unconditional surrender of our national life. To ‘kill’ the blackmailer might or might not require a nuclear war ...” The only alternative, though, according to Mr. Manion, is an “official proclamation of the truth about Communists” by the government of the United States. This proclamation presumably would “open the door to the destruction of Communism by its own oppressed victims” and would thus obviate the need for a preventive nuclear strike. However, if this remarkable panacea failed to accomplish its objective, it seems we are left with the choice between killing Communism or being killed. The circle is almost complete. The apocalyptic choices are “disarm or be killed,” “kill or be killed.”
These are the ranges of the debate concerning nuclear weapons. Such extreme alternatives are rejected by national strategic policymakers, defense analysts of the middle category, and the mass public. They are likely to continue to be rejected for the foreseeable future. A stigma on the physical employment of nuclear weapons remains, but there is a consensus that a substantial nuclear arsenal is essential for the protection of important national interests. Nuclear weapons have utility at least for deterrence, and the possibility of their use in deliberate, controlled warfare should not be rejected off hand.