A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 124: Summary of a Consultation
of Chiefs of Staff in Moscow, October 14, 1987

At this meeting of Warsaw Pact chiefs of staff, an array of top Soviet military offici- als–Pavlov,5Kulikov, Akhromeev, Gareev6took turns informing their colleagues of the changes in military doctrine agreed to by the recent PCC meeting (see previous document). While they dutifully present the official Gorbachev position, it is clear they disagree with important parts of it, especially such concepts as yielding territory to NATO in case of war.

"…"

The military doctrine of the Warsaw Treaty member-states:

"…"

All measures have to ensure strategic military parity and a reliable defense. The main method of defense against aggression will be countermeasures and retaliatory strikes (meeting engagements).

The role of defense is increasing. Its character is changing to the effect that in strategic terms it is no longer an enforced, but an intended manner type of combat.

To a certain extent the adversary will have the strategic initiative by unleashing a war. Therefore, we have to thwart his aggressive goals, achieve a reversal in combat within short time, and take over the strategic initiative.

Thus forces and equipment corresponding to the aggressive capabilities of the adversary must be available constantly.

In order to lose as little territory as possible, a steadfast defense has to be organized. Therefore the main line of defense must not be at a distance of 20–40 kilometers from the state border, as it used to be, but only 5–10 kilometers, or else directly at the border.

"…"

Comrade Marshal of the Soviet Union, "Viktor" Kulikov "…" stressed that the Unified Forces' renunciation of preemptive action would result in certain military–strategic advantages for the aggressor, since he can choose the time to unleash a war, and get his forces and equipment fully ready.

"…"

The principle of defensive sufficiency of forces and equipment does not only include the ability to thwart aggression, but also the ability to destroy the adversary through resolute acts of aggression.

Sufficiency therefore means in no way a reduction of our military potential, as some comrades have wrongfully assumed.

5 Aleksandr G. Pavlov, chief of military intelligence.

6 Makhmut A. Gareev, deputy chief of general staff.

-572-

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