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Guidelines for Crisis Management The discussion above shows that the tasks of managing U.S.- Soviet crises in the nuclear age are many and difficult, with many pitfalls. While one might react to the sobering list of difficulties with a combination of fear and pessimism, a more constructive response is to intensify efforts at crisis avoidance or, failing that, to seek ways to avoid the pitfalls of crisis management. This section lists some general guidelines for crisis management that may be drawn from the preceding discussion and also comments briefly on some recent policy proposals for improving crisis management. As will become clear, the guidelines are easily grasped, but not so easily implemented. GENERAL GUIDELINES43 The most basic guideline for crisis management when nuclear powers are involved is undoubtedly that the nations recognize and accept the necessity of their coexistence. This rule underlines the importance of continued dialogue, especially before a crisis arises but also during a crisis. A second basic guideline is to avoid getting too close to the brink of nuclear war: The best form of crisis management is crisis prevention. President Kennedy believed that in the Cuban Missile Crisis there was a one-third to one-half chance of armed conflict, and thus some smaller chance of nuclear conflict.44 Although the danger of nuclear war may not have been great, it was too great for comfort. Because U.S. intelligence could not assure the political decision makers that the missiles in Cuba would not be fully operational and armed with nuclear warheads, there was serious consideration of armed interventionan escalation that might have had fateful results. A lesson that both sides seem to have drawn from crises since early in the Cold War is to avoid direct clashes between U.S. and Soviet military forces. Both superpowers have been careful to follow this practice in the several Berlin crises and in Third World trouble 26

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GUIDELINES FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT 27 spots. A related lesson is to choose options and communications in a crisis that signal a desire to end the crisis without war or escalation. Of course, the admonition to stay away from the brink can be difficult to follow. It can run counter to the need to be firm in the defense of national interests. Signals that are meant only to indicate seriousness of purpose are sometimes interpreted as provocative, a result that can move the powers closer to the brink. The desire for caution can also conflict with the desire to use a coercive strategy for protecting a nation's interests (as in the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which Kennedy employed a carrot-and-stick strategy) or the temptation to use a crisis situation for advantage. A nation may be tempted to provoke a crisis to further its foreign policy objectives, or to use a crisis to coerce an opponent into making concessions. Such coercive uses of crises are tempting because time pressures may work to the advantage of the instigator, but they increase the danger of the situation.45 On the other hand, caution may be set aside so that a nation can seize an advantage, as the United States did during the Cuban Missile Crisis by using its naval superiority to force all six Soviet submarines in the region to the surface. Such bold actions in a crisis may have strong appeal, but they carry high risks. It is always hard to know how close the brink of war is. To avoid the brink, it is often advisable for the superpowers to limit their objectives in a confrontation and to limit the means employed on their behalf. A third guideline many observers draw from history is to work to create international structures that remove the incentive to precipitate a crisis. The quadripartite agreement on Berlin in 1971 and other agreements in the late 1960s and early 1970s helped to stabilize the situation in Central Europe. The price to the Soviet Union of attempting to overturn the current situation would be very high. There is every advantage to the West for the present situation to remain acceptable to the Soviets and for the price of change to be high from the point of view of Moscow. Maintenance of stability in Central Europe may also require the Western powers and NATO to continue to follow a noninterventionist, hands-off policy with regard to situations that arise in Eastern Europe that threaten Soviet control. The structure of agreements that has introduced political stability in Central Europe can help prevent crises there, but it is less clear how to define stable international arrangements in other conflict-prone regions, such as the Middle East, or how to bring them into being.

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28 CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE NUCLEAR AGE A fourth guideline is to maximize strategic stability. In deciding to procure, deploy, or restructure weapons systems and armed forces, the United States and the Soviet Union need to consider not only the implications for their own ability to defend or retaliate but also how these actions may be perceived by the adversary. National security planners must keep in mind the security dilemma, the fact that weapons systems and actions that increase security for one side sometimes decrease it for the adversary when they are seen as potential threats. In a world in which nuclear war is mutual suicide, an insecure adversary makes for an insecure world. Thus, it makes sense to try to choose weapons and security policies that increase one's own security without threatening, and perhaps even enhanc- ing, the adversary's security.46 A fifth guideline is to always leave an opponent a graceful exit compatible with the fundamental interest and pride of that nation. The Cuban Missile Crisis was ended with the dangerous tactic of an ultimatum. The Soviet Union received some compensation, however, and saved face because it received a guarantee from the United States never to invade Cuba, and the United States also agreed, although informally rather than as part of an explicit quid pro quo, to remove its Jupiter missiles from Turkey as part of the resolution of the crisis. A final guideline is for each side to be as clear as possible about its commitments and to communicate them in a timely and credible way to the other side.47 The Cuban Missile Crisis resulted in part from misunderstandings on this score, and although it is not possible to completely eliminate the sources of such misunderstandings, it should be possible to reduce their number. POSSIBILITIES FOR BILATERAL ACTION In recent years numerous proposals have been presented for improving crisis management between the superpowers. Some of these are aimed at improving the climate of superpower relations with respect to security issues and at implementing some of the guidelines listed above. Others have more modest goals related to improving the quality of information processing, decision making, command and control, and signaling in crises. This section discusses some proposals of both types that have been or could be implemented by agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union.

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GUIDELINES FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT Then, measures each side could take unilaterally, without a U.S. Soviet agreement, will be discussed. Arms Control Agreements 29 Negotiated arms control agreements are an available tool for enhancing the stability of nuclear force structures. This stability is an extremely important component of the strategic and political environment in which a crisis takes place and can have great significance for its outcome. Some nuclear force structures and doctrines contribute more to crisis stability than do others, and it is in this area that arms control measures can intersect with effective crisis management by helping to create a more stable strategic environment. For instance, arms control agreements could enhance the survivability of both sides' forces by reducing reliance on vulnerable ICBMs and by protecting important military support functions in space, such as warning capability. This could be done through an antisatellite weapons treaty or agreements on "rules of the road" for space. Improved Information Sharing Bilateral agreements could increase each side's knowledge of the other's forces, weapons, and activities, information that could be critical in a crisis situation. For example, the United States, the Soviet Union, and over 30 other nations signed the 1986 Stockholm Accords, which created verifiable mechanisms for the notification and observation of all significant military activities in Europe, including provisions for on-site inspections, in an effort to create a more open European military environment. In another forum, the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START), the Reagan administra- tion has proposed that the area of advance warning of ballistic missile tests be extended to include all SLBM and ICBM tests.48 Shared data bases, such as the list of U.S. and Soviet strategic forces that was used as a common basis for negotiation of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) treaty, are also useful. Further measures could be devised to improve direct observation of each other's activities by mutual agreement, such as exchanges of experts to observe and measure nuclear test yields, so-called "open lab" arrangements through which each side might visit and

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30 CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE NUCLEAR AGE be better informed about activities in each others' research labo- ratories, and exchanges of military and defense personnel. Such proposals do not touch directly on crisis management and may prove difficult to implement. In principle, however, improved information on both sides could aid crisis management.49 Improved Communication It is useful to deliberately slow the momentum of events in a crisis to provide time for well-considered decisions and negotiations and for each side to respond with care. Despite the common image of the hotline as a red telephone, the hotline deliberately has no voice capability on the theory that verbal communications, partic- ularly if they are spontaneous rather than well-prepared, could lead to miscommunication and misperception.50 Progress has been made on several bilateral approaches to im- proving communication since the presentation of Secretary of De- fense Weinberger's 1983 report in response to a request from Congress.5i The report recommended upgrading the hotline with a facsimile link to permit rapid transmission of graphic information such as maps. This hotline upgrade was completed in the summer of 1985. The report also recommended making arrangements for U.S.-Soviet consultation in case of unauthorized access to or use of nuclear weapons. Agreement on this kind of consultation was reached at the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) in 1985 as an amendment to the Accident Measures Agreement. Also recommended by the Weinberger report was a Joint Military Command Link, which would be a parallel hotline from the National Military Command Center in the United States to the comparable facility in the USSR. This would allow the communication and transmission of information, such as requests for clarifying infor- mation, at less than the head-of-state level. So far, the Soviets have not responded with interest to this proposal, partly because it is a military to military link and possibly also because they did not want to appear to be reducing tensions at the time it was proposed in 1983. A related proposal was to establish direct dialogues on a regular basis between military officers on both sides. Efforts had been made toward this in the mid-1970s, but were impeded by other problems in U.S.-Soviet relations at that time.52 An important type of communication initiated in the last few years has been discussions between U.S. and Soviet officials on

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GUIDELINES FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT 31 regional disputes. These discussions are useful, at least in principle, because they give each side the opportunity to clearly state its interests in geographic regions important to both countries and thus decrease the danger of crises arising inadvertently because one nation miscalculates the other's interests. Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers Recent proposals to establish formal nuclear risk reduction centers in the United States and the Soviet Union represent an attempt to address several difficult problems of information, communication, and signaling through a new institution. Several variants have been suggested, one of which is to establish a center in each capital that is staffed around the clock by military and diplomatic personnel and regional specialists, that is linked to the other center by modern communications and video-conferencing, and that is perhaps also linked to the embassy of the other side through liaison officers.53 According to some advocates of such centers, they could become a focal point for a variety of actions intended to build confidence, facilitate communications, and avoid crises between the two sides. They could be used for exchanging information, including expanding and updating data on force structures. They could provide a forum for informal dialogues on nuclear doctrines; for notifications of weapons tests and exercises, as under the Accidents at Sea Treaty; and for sharing information about the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons or materials by subnational groups. The centers could provide a forum for sharing information that might explain unusual military activity, for warning of actions that might be considered provocative, for requesting explanations of activities, and for implementing crisis resolution agreements. Thus, they might be useful in dealing with unforeseen incidents like the attack on the Korean Air Lines flight over Soviet territory and the Israeli bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor. The centers might also be used to discuss possible joint or cooperative actions in the event of nuclear accidents and incidents of nuclear terrorism. A longer- range result might be the development of common scripts for dealing with such problems, although, of course, no mandatory agreements could or should result. There is some question whether these centers might become irrelevant or dysfunctional during crises because decision making tends to become very centralized in crises and because the centers

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32 CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE NUCLEAR AGE could be used to convey disinformation. All channels of communi- cation are potentially vulnerable to being misused by either side to gain advantage, so leaders on both sides presumably would carefully evaluate information from the risk reduction centers for its trust- worthiness, just as they would any other information. However, these centers might function more effectively for crisis avoidance during periods of low tension or in the event of a third-party incident or regional crisis in which the superpowers were not confronting each other directly or through proxies. The concept of risk reduction centers has several attractive features from the standpoint of avoiding or perhaps managing certain kinds of crises, but raises many serious questions regarding implementation. The most ambitious concepts have met with some skepticism. There are limited domestic political incentives to create the centers, and there is concern that such centers could duplicate existing arrangements in the Defense and State Departments and the NSC or create another layer in an already complex security and foreign policy apparatus. Nevertheless, agreement on a draft accord to establish very narrowly defined risk reduction centers was reached between Amer- ican and Soviet negotiators in May 1987. The draft accord suggests that the centers would be used to notify each side of nuclear tests, missile tests, and military exercises. The centers were described by U.S. officials as a practical measure that could reduce the risk of miscalculation and conflict, but they are not expected to be used during crises for crisis management.54 POSSIBILITIES FOR UNILATERAL ACTION Even without cooperation from the other side, the United States and the Soviet Union can act to improve their collection and assessment of information, their methods of decision making, their command and control systems, and the clarity of the signals they send to the adversary. There is every reason to believe that each side is continuously making such efforts. Below are some suggestions for additional unilateral actions that could be taken in the United States. Information and Decision Making One of the main problems of crisis decision making is that those who must make the decisions usually have had little experience

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GUIDELINES FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT 33 managing international crises. This fact suggests that practice in the form of contingency planning exercises and simulations of crisis situations involving high-level decision makers can play a very useful role. The NSC is one agency that organizes such activities, but regardless of the sponsoring agency, high-level officials rarely participate.55 Contingency planning can provide a checklist of actions and options that should be considered, which might help counteract a tendency in some crises to move too rapidly to decision and consensus. There is a well-known opposite danger, however, that the stylized situations imagined in contingency planning exercises would give leaders dangerous preconceptions into which they would fit the fragmentary data available in a real crisis. Furthermore, contingency plans for major international conflicts are very complex and are based on a single set of assumptions about the nature of the situation. Such plans, however well-developed, must be adapted to unique conditions of the crisis that were not and could not easily have been anticipated. It makes sense to involve the high-level decision makers in preparing for crisis management by involving them in crisis man- agement simulation games, as President Carter sometimes was, or by having them observe surrogates playing their roles, as President Reagan did in 1981.56 The main practical difficulty with this suggestion is that the president and other officials are often involved with pressing domestic and foreign issues and are unable to find time to deal with an imaginary international crisis. Beyond the problem of limited experience of the top leadership lies that of coordination of military and political policies and actions. Although the State and Defense Departments normally operate with a fairly clear division of labor, closer coordination is needed in a crisis. It stands to reason that military and civilian officials will be better prepared to collaborate in a crisis situation if they have practiced the relevant communications patterns and possible actions in advance. Moreover, practice involving various agencies in a coordinated fashion could also help counteract the bureaucratic myopia that encourages officials in each agency to view a crisis from their own narrow perspective. Thus, military strategists might gain a better understanding of political-diplomatic considerations and civilian leaders might come to better understand military strategy and options. Tension between military and diplomatic views of international relations makes difficult the coordination of military and diplomatic

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34 CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE NUCLEAR AGE actions. Military and political officials can react very differently to certain situations. The possibility of this kind of conflict arose when, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U-2 pilot Rudolph Anderson was shot down. The president and those around him decided it was more important to resolve the crisis than to avenge his death, although contingency plans had been made for retalia- tion.57 If the crisis had continued, the conflict between those two courses of action might well have intensified in the decision-making group. As has been discussed, the military places a high value on readiness, while diplomatic considerations argue for constraining readiness so as not to appear provocative. In a crisis, raising alerts and moving weapons to forward positions may be considered prudent from a military point of view, but may be perceived as a threat by the other side, requiring it to engage in alerts and deployments of its own and possibly raising the temptation for the adversary to attack preemptively. Sensitivity to these conflicting demands is essential. A final suggestion for improving decision making is to further efforts to systematize learning from past crises.58 This would involve a modest investment in research, both classified and unclassified, into the way decision-making functions were performed in past crisis situations. Although some of the participants might fear being embarassed by the findings, the research should be conducted with an understanding that crisis management is an art in which no public official or military officer can be expected to be a master. The point should be to learn, not to place blame. Communication and Signaling For communication and signaling, practice may be a good teacher. Defense conditions and alerting measures are very complex and hard for an adversary to interpret, yet the exercises that the United States conducts are usually unilateral. Crisis management exercises could be conducted using two teams to simulate U.S. and Soviet perspectives. There are some problems, however, with this use of practice. First, the Soviets do not signal the seriousness of intent through alerts of their nuclear forces as the United States does. This may be because more of the Soviet strategic forces are ICBMs and therefore are at the ready, so it is not necessary for the Soviets to visibly upgrade the alert status of those forces.

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GUIDELINES FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT 35 Second, and of more fundamental importance, signals are easily misread because of cultural and ideological differences between the sides and because it is hard to discriminate a signal from the noise represented by the welter of information available in a crisis. These possibilities for misunderstanding mean that it is very difficult for either side to improve signaling on its own. It is more promising to improve the signaling process in other ways. One is to slow the momentum of events during a crisis to allow each side time to carefully consider its interpretations of and responses to the adver- sary's signals. It would also help to act before a crisis to clarify the goals of each side and to put in place mechanisms by which each side can ask questions of the other to verify its information and its interpretation of signals.