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Measuring Military Power

Measuring Military Power: The Soviet Air Threat to Europe

Joshua M. Epstein
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvnqz
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  • Book Info
    Measuring Military Power
    Book Description:

    Joshua M. Epstein argues that prevailing assumptions about the East- West balance of power rest on erroneous measures of military strength. He develops a method for analyzing military capabilities and applies that general procedure to the Soviet tactical air threat to NATO.

    Originally published in 1984.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5396-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. iii-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. LIST OF FIGURES
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. NOTE ON SOVIET SOURCES
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. PREFACE
    (pp. xix-2)
  8. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-14)

    The late 1950s were dark times for the Soviet Air Force. Resounding financial defeat to the emerging Strategic Rocket Forces was compounded by the subsequent transfer of a great many Air Force specialists, technical experts, and scientists into the fledgling nuclear missile forces. Insult was added to these fiscal injuries when, beginning in 1957 with the launching of Sputnik, Khrushchev and Marshal Vershinin expounded their view that the obsolescence of manned aircraft was imminent and that those children of Douhet would soon find themselves consigned to the air museums.¹ These developments, one assumes, reflected Khrushchev’s willingness to place primary reliance...

  9. CHAPTER I PROBLEMS OF U.S. TACTICAL AIR FORCE MODERNIZATION
    (pp. 15-42)

    Among the most conspicuous features of technological change is the higher performance of new aerospace weapons.¹ Put simply, “the number of functions required of an individual aircraft has increased from one generation to the next.” This trend has been reflected in the increasing complexity of major aircraft subsystems—power plants, navigation sets, weapons control systems, and the like.²

    The disturbing fact, however, is that as their specified performance and attendant complexity have increased, the reliability of weapon systems has declined. In the words of General Samuel C. Phillips, former commander of the Air Force Systems Command, “Expanding requirements have increased...

  10. CHAPTER II SOVIET WEAPONS DESIGN AND THE RELATIVE NATURE OF THE “GOLD-PLATING” PROBLEM
    (pp. 43-55)

    American maintenance problems have increased dramatically in the course of modernization. As we have seen, this has adversely affected the sortie rates that advanced U.S. tactical air forces can generate and sustain. If one is to assess the Soviet Frontal Air threat, it is likewise essential to estimate the sortie rates which that force might generate and sustain. In turn, it is only reasonable to begin with the question of Soviet maintainability and the manner in which modernization may have affected it. In order to think clearly about that relationship, much of the conventional wisdom regarding Soviet weapons design—its...

  11. CHAPTER III SOVIET EFFICIENCY ON THE GROUND
    (pp. 56-98)

    The Soviets provide little data on most of the issues to which the following two chapters are devoted. Therefore, it is difficult to judge exactly how significant the problems are. In addition to the paucity of hard data, the problem of judgment is made more difficult by the exhortative functions of much Soviet writing, compounded perhaps by an understandable conservatism evident among militaries generally—the tendency to worry about one’s capabilities.

    Nevertheless, if the problems literally did not exist, it is hard to understand why the Soviets would be exhorting their correction, in some cases, for the last fifteen years....

  12. CHAPTER IV SOVIET EFFECTIVENESS IN THE AIR
    (pp. 99-130)

    The same conflicting goals and contradictory system of incentives at work in the ground support process are present in the training of Soviet combat personnel.

    The capacity to respond quickly and effectively to unforeseen developments, to show flexibility and initiative in a dynamic and uncertain combat environment, are regarded by the Soviets as primary goals of training. In turn, the extent to which an exercise confronts commanders and troops with the unexpected is seen as the foremost index of its realism.

    Yet the Soviets’ incentive system, by the excessive concern with high grades that it produces, has stymied the very...

  13. CHAPTER V THE ART OF WAR AND THE CRAFT OF THREAT ASSESSMENT
    (pp. 131-172)

    However revealing the preceding chapters may be on Soviet political, cultural, or other questions, they support the military point made earlier; namely, that a mere enumeration of peacetime inventories—“bean counting”—doesnotconstitute an analysis of military capabilities. Although they must be accounted in any such analysis, static peacetime inputs alone are very poor indicators of dynamic wartime output (performance in the execution of missions).

    The latter, the wartimeeffectivenessof a force, will vary dramatically depending upon precisely such operational factors as those we have been discussing: combat skill, efficiency in support functions, tactical decisionmaking, coordination, and other...

  14. CHAPTER VI SOVIET CAPABILITIES AND SOVIET DOCTRINE
    (pp. 173-188)

    Against the Phase I target set (i.e., the criterion of Soviet success), and four even less demanding alternates, listed in Table 6.1 below, two main simulations are conducted.

    Simulation I is a furious attack in which Soviet forces deployed in Eastern Europe are joined by those of the USSR’s Western Military Districts to maximize the initial mass of the Frontal Air assault. Together, those combined forces operate at an exceedingly high intensity (a sortie rate of six per day) with the intent of completing the Phase I (conventional counternuclear) operation in the shortest possible time, and going on to Phase...

  15. APPENDIX A SOME BASIC ACCOUNTING
    (pp. 191-209)
  16. APPENDIX B THE SIMPLE ANALYTICS OF INTERDICTION OPERATIONS
    (pp. 210-224)
  17. APPENDIX C SIMULATIONS AND SENSITIVITY ANALYSES
    (pp. 225-261)
  18. APPENDIX D A SCIENCE OF THE PLAUSIBLE WITH THREE THEOREMS
    (pp. 262-264)
  19. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 265-284)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 285-288)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 289-289)