ABSTRACT

Unlike Western countries, the USSR has a formal framework of military doctrine that conditions the Soviet approach to the study of war. This doctrine transcends the function of its western counterpart, which details tactical regulations; for the Soviets, doctrine lies in the political realm. It is the concept by which the entire nation and not just the armed forces is prepared for war. The extra-military nature of the concept is illustrated by the recent addition to Soviet military doctrine of the supposition that the military’s primary function is to avoid war. 1 In fact, precisely this fundamental difference in understanding of the nature of doctrine caused some consternation among NATO countries in 1988, when the Warsaw Pact made overtures to open up discussions about doctrine with NATO.