By Josephine O’Connor Howe (eds.)
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Additional resources for Armed Peace: The Search for World Security
Yes, the Palme Commission had the right aims. It is right that there should be 'reductions in nuclear weapons and a 30 Armed Peace: the Search for World Security reordering of the priority now accorded to nuclear arms'. It is right that 'parity in conventional forces should be established at lower levels'. It is right that efforts should be devoted to negotiating 'agreement on Confidence and Security Building Measures which would apply to all of Europe, contribute to military security, be verifiable, and constitute a binding and lasting commitment'.
In a fast-moving withdrawal or defensive battle (and none other is contemplated) the chance of these guns being lost to the enemy, or ammunition (including nuclear) trains overrun, is obvious. They would also be within range, and a prime target, for Warsaw Pact conventional artillery. In such a case, there is the danger that rather than lose his nuclear capability a commander would prefer to use it! Wha tever view one takes of the likelihood of a decision to use nuclear weapons being taken or delegated (and I, like most military men, incline to deep scepticism), one cannot finally avoid the inherent paradox in a concept that seeks to deny escalation by ensuring it.
The conventional means of attack available today are 24 Armed Peace: the SearchJor World Security Buccaneers, F-Ills and Tornadoes. Using modern runwayattack munitions, up to four sorties would be required to suppress each runway accompanied by six to eight support aircraft. The resulting 1000 sorties per day cannot be reliably generated and the loss rate would be very high. Using future unmanned delivery means, the equivalent expenditure for each runway would be five Tomahawks, three Pershing lIs or one Trident.