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Useful definitions Deterrence stability : the stability caused by your ability to threaten your adversary with a formidable military posture so that he recognizes that he cannot use force to upset the status quo. . It depends of each side s perceptions of the other s aggressiveness. the degree of military advantage accruing to the side striking first and the tendency of peacetime military operation to activate the opponent s ROE. Crisis stability : it is applied in cases where neither side is firmly committed to aggression and is a function of the structure of the rival deterrent postures.
Soviet blitzkrieg in the Central Front (Europe) How can the Navy solve these problems. Direct Naval Impact. Sea Control.What NATO was afraid of. Counterforce Coercion. . Horizontal Escalation. Soviet Union s attempt to sever the Atlantic SLOC by using SSN. Early deployment of Soviet SSBN.
Area of Operations .
The requirements are powerful Navy with substantial carrier battle group component and a truly robust amphibious capability. . Critical time constrains are involved.Direct Naval Impact Strategy US Navy strike Soviet targets and lessen Soviet prospects of winning a conventional war in Europe. There are three principal scenarios for using the Navy.
Even if you overcome all of the above.1st Scenario A major landing operation at the coast of either the Baltic or Black Sea. US has a limited amphibious lift capability. Problems The element of tactical surprise is missing. . It is difficult to gain air and sea control of the landing area. it is difficult to maintain lines of communication with your forces.
. It is very expensive.2nd Scenario Participation of the Navy s carrier-based aircraft into carrierthe air war on the Central front. Problems It s not in NATO plans.
3rd Scenario Naval offensive against the Kola Peninsula would force the Soviets to postpone a blitzkrieg operation in Europe because they will have to transfer much needed air units from Europe to the Kola Peninsula. Soviets can send air units not involved with operations at the Central front. It is not clear that the Navy would achieve a major success. . Central Europe is where a major conventional war would be settled. Problems Lack of credibility. Soviets time frame for executing a successful blitzkrieg would be short enough that events on the Northern Flank would not upset it in any way.
The most difficult part is to find an appropriate target. Again it is not clear that the Navy could inflict a significant defeat on Soviet forces. Problems The Soviets could afford to absorb a hit in the far East while they were rolling up NATO s forces in Central Europe.Horizontal Escalation Strategy Similar to the Direct Naval Impact Strategy this strategy does little to enhance deterrence. . There is no evidence that NATO could improve the force ratio in Europe by pursuing this strategy.
The only suitable military lever that can bring pressure against a continental power (Soviet Union) is a strong army supported by tactical air forces. The neo Mahanian threats of horizontal escalation and direct military impact simply do not provide a satisfactory posture for deterring a formidable land power like the Soviet Union.Conclusions Advocates of both strategies tend towards a Mahanian view of military power. They believe that control of the sea is the key ingredient for great power status. However this is not an accurate assessment of the present superpower rivalry. .
Norway. Greenland. Carrier battle groups penetrate the barrier. SLOCs. Rollback campaign . . Neutralize Backfire against Kola Peninsula threat with aircraft iot eliminate the air stationed in UK. the GIN gap iot neutralize SSN that 2.Sea control Strategy Defensive Sea Control Offensive Sea Control 1. Open ocean ASW below Barents Sea. Sealing off the Soviet 1. SSN with a barrier in US SSN would destroy GIN gap. threat to NATO s Iceland. launch air strikes and cruise missiles strikes 3. Soviet SSN in the Norwegian and 2.
Why offensive sea control isn t an appropriate deterrent strategy. Even a 600 ship Navy would have difficulties in rolling back the Soviets Northern Fleet and then launching attacks against the Kola Peninsula. Impossible to inflict a knock out blow against the Soviet Air Forces. . Soviets had an enormous array of assets at the Kola Peninsula besides the Northern Fleet. US Navy didn t have adequate number of attacking aircraft and carriers for an efficient attack. US Navy can t fight a protracted air war on NATO s Northern flank.
Why. Soviet s SSNs primary mission is to protect SSBNs and not to attack NATO s SLOCs. . NATO s dependence on reinforcements by sea in the early stage of a conflict wouldn t be great. Soviet SSNs would also confront the notinsignificant Navies of US allies.The threat of nuclear escalation.. NATO would have turned the GIN gap into a strong defensive barrier.. However if Soviet Union attacks NATO s SLOCs the defensive sea control strategy is still the most appropriate.
Much easier to destroy Backfires in the area around GIN gap. if NATO pursued a defensive sea control posture. . Conclusion The Soviets could not be confident of winning the SLOC war. much less winning it in a reasonably short period of time. Variety of ASW assets against Soviet SSNs at the GIN gap.
even if it didn t necessarily change the strategic balance. It will enhance deterrence in two ways: Sink enough SSBNs to shift the strategic balance against the Soviets. Problems Risky strategy because of the threat of nuclear escalation. Produce deterrence simply by generating the risk of nuclear war. .Counterforce coercion Use of US SSNs to eliminate significant numbers of Soviet SSBNs. This strategy requires a large scale insertion operation as well as a rollback operation.
An American anti-SSBN campaign would generate antirisk too early and with less credibility. Problems If US SSNs position themselves into the Barents Sea. Soviet Union will deploy SSNs and a deadly game of cat and mouse would ensue with unpredicted results. Soviets would certainly make worst case assumptions about US intentions.Mearsheimer s view This strategy could be quite destabilizing in a crisis because it provides very little deterrence stability and promotes crisis instability. . Also it is possible that some US SSNs would be lost because of mines forcing the US to respond.
Mearsheimer s Final conclusions A defensive sea control strategy would satisfy NATO s needs in protecting the SLOCs. By building a large Navy and not increasing the ground and air forces in Europe. Reagan administration missed an excellent opportunity to improve NATO s deterrent posture. . The force structure demands of defensive sea control are more modest than those of offensive sea control. which represent the core of NATO s deterrent. More resources for the ground and air forces on the Central Front.
. I am happy that we didn t have the chance to test his arguments. He is a huge fun of the Navy.My own conclusions I am sure that Mearsheimer wasn t voting for Reagan. As a neutral reader I believe that his arguments are very convincing.