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US vs. Russia: 'What do we fix first?'

We recognize that, in spite of our efforts to preserve peace, any conflict with the Soviet Union could expand to global dimensions. Thus, global planning is a necessity. This does not mean that we must have the capability to successfully engage Soviet forces simultaneously on all fronts. We can't. What it does mean is that we must procure balanced forces and establish priorities for sequential operations to ensure that military power would be applied in the most effective way.

It is in the interest of the United States to limit the scope of any conflict. The capability for counteroffensives on other fronts is an essential element of our strategy, but is not a substitute for adequate military capability to defend our vital interests in the area in which they are threatened. On the other hand, the decision to expand a conflict may well not be ours to make. Therefore, US forces must be capable of responding to a major attack with unmistakable global implications early on in a conflict.

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The President has established priorities in the way our forces would be used in combat, in terms of geography, and in terms of force development - what do we fix first?

We have tried to analyze the risks we face. We cannot fix them all at once, in part because things take time, and in part because the Soviet military advantage results from a decade of investment. There is not enough money available to eliminate the risks overnight.

It is our fondest hope that with an active yet prudent national security policy, we might one day convince the leadership of the Soviet Union to turn their attention inward, to seek the legitimacy that only comes from the consent of the governed, and thus to address the hopes and dreams of their own people.

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