The current and previous SACEURs have said that NATO can only fight a
conventional war "for days, not weeks," with current firepower and ammunition.5
Their rationale considers the overwhelming superiority of WTO numbers
of offensive weapon systems and the 60-90 days of WTO ammunition that is
stockpiled well forward on the potential battlefield, as well as the lack of modernization and fair share defense budget commitments of NATO partners to produce
the numbers of systems and ammunition stockpiles necessary to counter a WTO
offensive. Senator Nunn wanted to switch around days and weeks to be able to
fight for "weeks, not days," and proposed a simple program to reverse the conventional weakness (logistical disarmament) in NATO:
|Eliminate automatic escalators|
|increase NATO member ammunition stockpiles|
|build aircraft shelters and refuel/reloading capabilities|
|continue the Balanced Technology Initiative|
|Expand cooperative research and development.6|
Such a program would have certainly improved our conventional deterrent,
but the Soviet massive numbers and closing technology gap still raise concerns
as to whether the NATO Alliance, with its very independent member-state convictions, can fight outnumbered and win, even with solid improvements in capabilities. In any case, logistical structural disarmament is an important factor in
determining an alternative strategy, should reductions be kept at current CFE
In summary, our discussion of structural disarmament takes on two different
perspectives: technological and logistical. Both have dramatic impact on a future
battlefield, and both are important to round out the total realm of disarmament
and its role in national security strategy.
Edward N. Luttwak, "Why Arms Control Has Failed," in Military Strategy: Theory
and Application, ed. by
Colonel Arthur F. Lykke Jr., U.S. Army-Ret.,
Carlisle Pa. Barracks
: U.S. Army War College, 1989, pp. 383-91, at p. 387.
It should be noted that the arbitrary 50 percent figure may not actually represent
the true size of the reductions that 50 Percent Club members have suggested. In a personal conversation with Ambassador Dean, Colonel Shaver asked what Ambassador Dean
was looking for in his 50 percent proposal. The ambassador replied, "Something on the
order of 25 percent. . . . The 50 percent figure was designed to encourage NATO to fall
off its unrealistic 5-10 percent reduction figure." Ironically, President Bush's initial position in the now famous Kennebunkport meeting was also 25 percent reduction.
Sam Nunn, U.S. Senator, Speech to the DMS Symposium on Industrial Cooperation within NATO, "NATO Challenges and Opportunities: A Three-Track Approach," Congressional Record, Washington, D.C.: April 28, 1987, Vol, 133, No. 66, pp. 4-5.