Provocative plans: a critique of US strategy for maritime conflict in the North Pacific

Author/s (editor/s):

Desmond Ball

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 79

US strategy for the conduct of maritime operations in the pacific in the event of conflict with the Soviet Union is fundamental and purposefully offensive. US forces would mobilise and movie towards Soviet home waters during periods of crisis and confrontation, and would movie rapidly and directly to attack a wide range of soviet submarine, surface and air forces, and supporting bases and facilities, at the very outset of a conflict.

This monograph is concerned with some of the more critical operational aspects of the US strategy for offensive forward operations in the event of maritime conflict in the north Pacific. It discusses the basic rationales for this strategy; the role of the principal submarine, surface and air elements of the US posture; the relevant Soviet operational concepts and force posture; the strong escalatory pressures that derive from the interaction of the US and Soviet operational concepts and posture; some possible implications of START agreement; and some particular subjects which warrant further consideration from the perspective of enhancing strategic stability.

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