Soviet Military Requirements and Responses

  • Paul Dibb
Part of the Studies in International Security book series (SIS)


The previous chapter concentrated on the Soviet Union’s external strategic situation. It identified certain tendencies in the international system that have worsened the USSR’s geopolitical encirclement and heightened its incentive to build its military power. The main questions about the development of Soviet military power that require consideration in this chapter are:
  1. 1.

    Does the USSR have more military capability than it requires for defensive purposes?

  2. 2.

    Is the Soviet Union dedicated to achieving military superiority over all its conceivable enemies?


These are not easy questions to answer, but they are central to the current debate about the USSR in the West. Unfortunately, much of the discussion about Soviet military power tends to compare military capabilities that are not comparable at all. At the most basic level, for example, simply comparing Soviet with US forces is not a very useful analytical approach. What needs to be assessed is the alignment of all opposing forces on both sides, including NATO, the Warsaw Pact, Japan — and perhaps China.


International Environment Nuclear Force Military Force Military Capability Cruise Missile 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Institute for Strategic Studies 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Dibb
    • 1
  1. 1.Strategic and Defence Studies CenterAustralian National UniversityAustralia

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