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The sources of military doctrine - a lesson from the Cold War

Austin, Gregory Douglas

Description

Military doctrine can be distinguished from political doctrine on the use of military force - that is, a doctrine designed to mobilise political support for the non-military goals of the State. At the same time, one doctrine might satisfy partially or completely each of the two arms of government: the armed forces in pursuit of reasonably structured forces and the political leaders seeking to legitimise or bolster foreign or domestic policy. American scholarship on Soviet military doctrine to...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorAustin, Gregory Douglas
dc.date.accessioned2012-10-14T23:42:28Z
dc.identifier.otherb1861985x
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/9445
dc.description.abstractMilitary doctrine can be distinguished from political doctrine on the use of military force - that is, a doctrine designed to mobilise political support for the non-military goals of the State. At the same time, one doctrine might satisfy partially or completely each of the two arms of government: the armed forces in pursuit of reasonably structured forces and the political leaders seeking to legitimise or bolster foreign or domestic policy. American scholarship on Soviet military doctrine to a large degree ignored these distinctions. One group of scholars, the "Armageddon school", took at face value the Soviet claim in political doctrine that the USSR rejected the concept of limited war. This political doctrine probably did not reflect the perceptions of the Soviet General Staff about the USSR's military requirements. The Soviet General Staffs approach to wars smaller than general war ("local war" in their terminology) was rooted more in the pursuit of a balanced strategic posture which might be moulded to respond to a variety of contingencies, than in the more elaborate strategic concepts developed in the USA for limited war. The Soviet Ministry of Defence published its first open source studies on local war in 1960, with the General Staff Academy compiling a more formal study in 1963, although this was classified. Since that time, the General Staff undertook and published a variety of studies of local war because it believed the USSR might become involved in such wars. The General Staff had a firm doctrinal view from at least 1963 of the unique military requirements of local war. This inchoate military doctrine for local war was never accorded the politically acceptable status that was accorded "official" Soviet strategic doctrine for general war, despite clear evidence of the General Staffs desire for that to happen. The Armageddon scholars in the USA placed undue reliance on textual analysis of open sources and rarely pursued alternative explanations. They paid too little attention to the evidentiary value and limitations of information on Soviet military posture, which came almost exclusively from US Government intelligence sources. Taking the US doctrine of limited war as some sort of universal yardstick did not help either, particularly as it meant different things to different people in the USA and because variations on it had been shaped by domestic American political battles and inter-service rivalries. The main shortcoming, though, appears to have been the lack of rigour in pursuing a comprehensive account of the sources of military doctrine. This thesis argues that of three main sources of military doctrine - international circumstance; personal or group interests; and a country's ideological framework - international circumstance provided a strong impetus for a Soviet local war doctrine. There is also room to argue that the group interests of the General Staff favoured a Soviet local war doctrine, but, in the final analysis, these pressures for a comprehensive local war doctrine could not overcome the constraints imposed by the ideological framework in which military doctrine was conceived and expressed.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleThe sources of military doctrine - a lesson from the Cold War
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
dcterms.valid1994
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued1994
local.contributor.affiliationAustralian National University
local.request.emaillibrary.digital-thesis@anu.edu.au
local.request.nameDigital Theses
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d78db6ac7d65
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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05Pt3_Bibliography_Austin.pdf13.62 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail
04Pt2_Austin.pdf24.25 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail
03Intro_Pt1_Austin.pdf20.35 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail
01Front_Austin.pdfFront Matter1.02 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail
Austin_G D Thesis 1994.pdf42.11 MBAdobe PDF


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