The Role of Conventional Forces in Deterrence

Part of the Global Forecast 2015

For decades, U.S. conventional forces’ primary role in deterrence has been to maintain sufficient capability and capacity to engage in a large-scale, potentially long-duration fight with other large conventional forces. While nuclear forces remained the “ultimate” deterrent, conventional U.S. capability was one in the range of challenges an adversary might face when contemplating actions contrary to U.S. national interests.