Glasnost, Perestroika, and U.S. Defense Spending

William W. Kaufmann
Release Date: January 2, 1990

In the wake of Glasnost, Perestroika, and other democratic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the American government must rethink its defensive policy. According to William Kaufmann, we now have an opportunity to put an end to the military competition and to the risks that have accompanied it. Bu to what extent should the United States alter its defense progams and budgets during the last decade of the twentieth century?

In this timely book, Kaufmann proposes a plan to cut defense spending by almost half over the next decade. He explains that an adjustment of spending plans is essential: the Soviet Union has already begun to reduce its conventional forces, as have other members of the Warsaw Pact, and Moscow is now willing to accept parity in nuclear and conventional capabilities at reduced levels; the United States, for its part, has strong domestic incentives to reduce defense spending and to foster economic and political change in the communist bloc.

Kaufmann contends that the United States can best encourage that change by facilitating a transfer of Warsaw Pact resources from the military to the civil sector. He explains that the essence of a revised defense spending plan would be to cooperate in ending the military competition with the Soviet Union and in reducing the resources devoted to defense by both sides. Kaufmann discusses how each of three successive stages in the process might affect U.S. defense capabilities and spending, and he explains how the Pentagon should prepare for changes not only in force sizeand composition but also in deployments, readiness, long-range mobility, sustainability and modernization.

Studies in Defense Policy