Waiting for NATO: Strategic Concepts and Force Structure

  • Samuel F. WellsJr.
  • Alex Danchev


One of the principal activities of defence and military bureaucracies is the set of processes involved in shaping and revising military strategy, and the force structures that will implement that strategy. Each national government necessarily devises its own strategy and force structure, and almost all governments do this as part of their annual budget process. In some cases, the military takes the lead in setting forth what is called for, and a subsequent battle ensues with Treasury officials as to what can be afforded — the classic problem of how much is enough. In far more cases, the Treasury gives the Ministry of Defence a budget ceiling, and the coat of national strategy is tailored to fit the financial cloth. Inevitably, the final choices in strategy and force planning are determined by compromises between military and civilian officials. Almost always in peacetime, the decisive element in shaping that compromise is the budget.


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    S.F. Wells, ‘The Origins of Massive Retaliation’, Political Science Quarterly, 96 (1981), 41–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    R.R. Bowie and R.H. Immerman, Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring Cold War Strategy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 250.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel F. WellsJr.
  • Alex Danchev

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