Guidelines for General Purpose Forces

In this past year we have continued to shape our general purpose forces to those concepts. Our guidelines were the following:

Both the U.S.S.R. and the Chinese have substantial forces that can be rapidly reinforced. Our capabilities thus must rest on our allies' strength, strong U.S. overseas forces and the availability of credible reinforcements. We could not hide deficiencies from a potential enemy; weakness in conventional forces invites conventional attack.

To serve as a realistic deterrent, our general purpose forces, together with those of our allies, must be such as to convince potential enemies that they have nothing to gain by launching conventional attacks.

To deter conventional aggression we and our allies together must be capable of posing unacceptable risks to potential enemies. We must not be in a position of being able to employ only strategic weapons to meet challenges to our interests. On the other hand, having a full range of options does not mean that we will necessarily limit our response to the level or intensity chosen by an enemy. Potential enemies must know that we will respond to whatever degree is required to protect our interests. They must also know that they will only worsen their situation by escalating the level of violence.

It is our policy that future guerrilla and subversive threats should be dealt with primarily by the indigenous forces of our allies. Consistent with the Nixon Doctrine, we can and will provide economic and military assistance to supplement local efforts where our interests are involved.

Our forces will be developed and deployed to the extent possible on the basis of a common strategy with our allies and a common sharing of the defense burden.

Since these forces are crucial to our support for regional defense organizations, they are discussed more fully elsewhere in this report, particularly in the sections on Europe and Indochina. In addition the Secretary of Defense, in his Defense Report to the Congress, will describe in detail specific measures we have taken and the progress we have made.