Evaluation and Integration of Non-Soviet Warsaw Pact Forces into the Combined Armed Forces
The Warsaw Pact is a political and military organization. Politically it provides the Soviet Union with a mechanism for coordinating non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) policy. Militarily it provides a mechanism for maintaining command and control of NSWP forces. The turbulent period that emerged in the early 1960s seemed to act as a catalyst marking a critical juncture in Warsaw Pact military development—the commencement of combined military exercises. Though the political success of the invasion of Czechoslovakia can be questioned the Soviets could take satisfaction in its military success. The 1968 “crisis exercises” not only provided the Soviets with valuable experience in dealing with logistics, communications, and command and control problems, they also demonstrated the predominant role played by high ranking Soviet officers. The 1980–82 post-Afghanistan invasion period witnessed more combined exercises than the 1976–79 period. The role of NSWP military leaders was subordinated to coordination rather than to command and control.