No sector of a superpower's defense system is quite so invulnerable against a preemptive attack as its fleet of highly mobile, deep-diving, long-ranging missile-bearing submarines. These make possible a second-strike capability that acts as a forceful deterrent against aggression. But this situation could become unbalanced through the development of effective techniques of strategic antisubmarine warfare (ASW).
The objective of this book is to ascertain whether extending arms control to cover ASW weapons systems would measurably improve the calculated confidence that defense analysts place in the long-term viability of the missile submarine deterrent. In the course of investigating many questions, a major conclusion that emerges is that there are only a small number of potential measures for strategic ASW control that would significantly increase confidence in this deterrent, but that the matter is not now urgent in any case, because any threat to the submarine deterrent from ASW "seems at the moment uncertain and very far in the future."
These concerns are addressed in the book by a group of contributors who originally delivered their papers at a conference organized by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences with the support and cooperation of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Johnson Foundation. The conference was held at "Wingspread," the headquarters of the Johnson Foundation in Racine, Wisconsin, in November 1972.
The papers range in content from technical considerations to political and legal concerns.