With the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in Europe and the end of the Cold war, many of the long-standing political and ideological obstacles to minimizing force levels have been removed. The overriding issue is no longer who commands the greatest force divisions; rather, the immediate concern is to establish a minimum threshold to which nations may reduce their force levels and still retain a meaningful defense.
In this book, Raj Gupta examines the geometry and positioning of conventional forces, especially at low force levels. Defense Positioning and Geometry uncovers certain spatial relationships that the defending commander must abide by for an effective defense and shows how they can be exploited to construct stable military balances and reduce forces to minimum levels. The author considers a number of important questions that must be addressed to establish a new order of low force levels, such as: What is the absolute minimum force density necessary for a coherent and robust defense? How deep can mutual cuts go without irreparably damaging defense capability and upsetting conventional stability? How should an arms control treaty that cuts deployed forces by 50 percent or more be structured?
There is an urgency to develop general, universally applicable principles that dictate how conventional forces should be optimally structured. Such principles, once defined, are certainly applicable directly on the battlefield—in the civil wars in Yugoslavia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, and in the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent response. However, as the author demonstrates, these fundamental defense positioning rules can be employed more constructively in the task of dismantling the redundant firepower amassed by NATO, the Warsaw Pact countries, the Middle East, North and South Korea, and the China-India-Pakistan axis. The book shows how knowledge of the ideal force geometry at low force levels makes it possible to determine the arms control regimes necessary to fill any holes exposed by deep cuts.
Raj Gupta is a consultant to Brookings and works in risk arbitage at Goldman Sachs.