Senator Nunn and former Ambassador Jonathan Dean have both proposed reductions to 50 percent of NATO's current strength. Many other analysts also seek what is becoming a very popular 50 percent figure, since it seems to rhyme with START reductions. Most recently, General Andrew Goodpaster, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and current chairman of the Atlantic Council, has published the paper "Gorbachev and the Future of East-West Security: A Response for the Mid-Term," in which he recommends strengthening the Western European Union (WEU) and then seeking parity in CFE to no more than 50 percent of present NATO strength.
This "50 Percent Club" of distinguished relevant actors is going to impact on U.S. and European publics as the CFE talks continue. Colonel Hallenbeck, in a quick analysis of General Goodpaster's paper, sets the tone for the military response to 50 percent reductions:
Such deep reductions would require the abandonment of forward defense and a shift to a "force-on-force" defense which could entail an initial deep Pact penetration of FRG territory in wartime. This shift in strategy would seriously undercut the utility to the FRG of its association with NATO. Indeed, a force-on-force strategy could actually be destabilizing because it would place a high premium on preemptive attack and it would encourage NATO and the Warsaw Pact to field defensive forces with a very high counter-offensive potential.11
The key to determining the answer to "how low can we go" does not lie in the selection of a post-CFE strategy and alternative defense plan, but in ultimate political solutions to German reunification.