Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Arthur B. Gunlicks

Second Advisor

Dr. John W. Outland


Although we live in a time in which strategies using nuclear weapons dominate the attention of most defense analysts, there are reasons why more attention should be paid to conventional defense strategy. This thesis explores NATO's strategy for defending Central Europe with conventional battlefield weapons. The discussion centers on the military and political complexities involved in the strategy of Forward Defense. Included also is a brief history of NATO, highlighting the political and military events that helped shape today's conventional defense arrangements. Particular emphasis is placed on illustrating the methods and factors involved in the implementation of Forward Defense.