The Military Situation in Europe

We next had to assess the military balance in Europe in terms of the goals of our strategy.

The economic strength of the NATO nations, we found, makes us considerably stronger in military potential than the Warsaw Pact. We and our allies collectively enjoy a three-fold advantage in gross national product and a two-fold advantage in population.

The actual balance of conventional military forces in Europe is much closer, however. NATO's active forces in peacetime are roughly comparable to those of the Warsaw Pact. Following mobilization, NATO is capable of maintaining forces larger than the Warsaw Pact. But geographic proximity and differences in domestic systems give the Warsaw Pact the significant advantage of being able to mobilize its reserves and reinforce more rapidly than NATO.

It follows as a practical matter that: NATO must be alert for warning of an impending attack, so that we can act as promptly as possible to mobilize and reinforce; we must improve NATO's conventional deterrent, especially correcting qualitative deficiencies in present allied forces; we must maintain a sufficient tactical and strategic nuclear deterrent as a complement to our conventional forces; we must continue our consultation-as I urged in last year's report-on defining the precise role of tactical nuclear weapons.

Our strategic review illuminated the need for specific qualitative improvements. Several components of our posture require additional attention: the sheltering of our tactical aircraft, our logistical stocks and transport, the peacetime disposition of allied ground forces; the protection of NATO's flanks; the standardization of allied equipment; our armored and anti-armor forces; our overall maritime capabilities, particularly for antisubmarine defense; our machinery for mobilization and reinforcement; and NATO communications for crisis management purposes. Our studies have shown that many improvements in these areas can be made at acceptable cost.