Implications of the Defense Efficiency Hypothesis for the Choice of Military Force Structures. Part I: Games with and without Complete Information about the Antagonist’s Intentions

  • Rudolf Avenhaus
  • Werner Güth
  • Reiner K. Huber


The so-called Defense Efficiency Hypothesis (DEH) says that conventional forces designed specifically for defensive operations and, thus incapable of any major offensive operations can exploit the intrinsic defense advantage more efficiently than forces designed to operate in all combat modes including offensive operations. If this were true, conventional stability between two antagonistic parties could be brought about by a mutual adoption of defensive force structures.

However, with a view to the uncertainty about the true strategic intentions of the opponent, the soundness of such a force conversion policy is frequently called into question. For this reason, an attempt is made to shed some light on the issue by studying a simple game-theoretic model of defense policy interactions between two autagonistic parties. In particular, the equilibria are determined in a series od games in which the antagonistic parties are free to choose between offensive and defensive force structures given the DEH were true.

First, it is assumed that both parties know each other’s intentions — expressed by the payoffs of the antagonists. Thereafter, it is assumed that one party knows about the other’s intentions, but not versa, and finally that both parties only have subjective probabilities about the party’s intentions.


Normal Form Equilibrium Point Incomplete Information Dominant Strategy Force Structure 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudolf Avenhaus
  • Werner Güth
  • Reiner K. Huber

There are no affiliations available

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