The European Security Study

The European Security Study

This study addressed an urgent issue: How can NATO improve its conventional weapons capacity to enhance its deterrent to aggression and lessen its dependence on possible early use of nuclear weapons? The project’s leaders assembled a large group of Americans and Europeans with experience in government, the military, defense analysis, and international relations. Participants determined that the central purpose of NATO is to maintain peace and political stability in the North Atlantic Treaty area, and to protect its members against military aggression or intimidation by the Soviet Union. The project showed that while NATO should continue to have nuclear weapons as a component of its deterrent, it must improve its conventional capabilities to avoid reliance on the early use of nuclear weapons in resisting any Soviet conventional aggression. The project resulted in two publications, one that suggests proposals for strengthening European security and the other that develops a specific program for improved conventional weapons capabilities.

Resulting Publications

  • Strengthening Conventional Deterrence in Europe: Proposals for the 1980s, a report of the European Security Study. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983. (out of print)
  • Strengthening Conventional Deterrence in Europe: A Program for the 1980s, a European Security Study Report of the Special Panel. Boulder and London: Westview Press, 1985. (out of print)

Project Data

  • PROJECT DATE: 1981-1985
  • PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Carroll L. Wilson (MIT) and Robert Bowie (Harvard University)
  • SOURCES OF FUNDING: Cabot Corporation Foundation, Inc., Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot, Robert A. Charpie, Ford Foundation, Sibyl and William T. Golden Foundation, Richard Lounsbery Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, David Rockefeller, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, William H. Shurcliff, Stiftung Volkswagenwerk, Richard H. Ullman, Thomas J. Watson Foundation


Project Leader
Staff Coordinator