There is little that is revolutionary in the thoughts and recommendations posited above. Instead, they reflect recognition that evolutionary changes are required. We have witnessed dramatic changes in the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union and its successor states, along with an equally dramatic decline in the conventional threat to Western Europe. It remains to be seen whether these changes are lasting; meanwhile, however, there abides a constant: Russian or CIS strategic nuclear forces represent the capability to inflict devastating damage on the United States and its allies.
Compelling political and economic trends and pressures, together with changes in the strategic environment, seem to be pointing toward a future U.S. strategic posture characterized by reductions well beyond those contemplated in START and the follow-on agreement. Still, events in the world at large are moving rapidly. There is the prospect of changes in the newly created CIS of such scope that their consequences cannot be predicted. All this argues for time to absorb and understand the impact of global changes.
In the meantime, the basic planning framework for strategic forces still applies. The structure of forces for the twenty-first century should be shaped by strategic logic--that is, by definition of the national objective, of the strategy to achieve the objective, and of the military tasks, capabilities, and forces necessary to underwrite the strategy. The irreducible criterion for the force is that they must continue to be able to absorb some part of a first strike with surviving forces clearly capable of imposing unacceptable damage on the attacker. The declared and implied objectives for that follow-on force require that it be more survivable and less costly, and that it neither invite nor threaten a first strike.