This book offers a strategic, organizational, and logistical analysis in a historical context of the planning of conventional forces to meet a limited contingency. The central question is: Why, from 1960 to 1982, did the U.S. fail to construct a coherent limited contingency force? Analysis of a series of comparative case studies reveals that the strategic concept to the "half war," or limited contingency, was never articulated adequately enough to support specific force planning. Organizations designed to oversee and command limited contingency forces, fragmented by interservice rivalries and the absence of joint doctrine, lacked multiservice composition and a unified command structure. A search for economy in limited contingency forces seemed justified by illusions about their capabilities. Low budgetary priority and Congressional perceptions that enhanced U.S. rapid deployment capabilities would encourage U.S. global intervention contributed to the lack of logistical and mobility systems dedicated to them. The wider intent of this study is to shed light on the general purpose force planning process and to suggest policy guidance as the United States once again embarks on a major conventional force planning initiative. Rather than being trapped by the past, new efforts to meet vital U.S. military interests below the nuclear threshold must identify "half war" planning contingencies, structure unified commands capable of directing tailored conventional forces in specific theaters, and provide adequate strategic mobility systems.
Introduction -- Force Planning for a Limited Contingency: Constancy and Change in the U.S. Strategic Concept, 1960-1980 -- Organizing for the Limited Contingency: Institutionalizing Strategies of Rapid Deployment, 1960-1980 -- Supporting the Limited Contingency: Mobility Systems for Rapid Deployment, 1960-1980 -- Force Planning for the Half War: The RDJTF as a Limited Contingency Force -- Planning for Rapidly Deployable Forces in the 1980s