Application Of Game Theory For Nuclear Deterrence History Essay
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Since the beginning of human life, two main reasons for the war amongst men has been ones survival, or the urge to gain territories. Recently, our rapid advance in the field of science and technology has resulted in greatly improved tools of warfare. This has made these wars more and more deadly. The development of better technology has brought a revolution in the field of military warfare and also in our personal lives.
2. The word 'deterrence', variously described as 'avoidance', 'prevention' and 'preclusion' is as old as the origin of mankind. It evolved along with the capacity of the human beings to inflict pain and to anticipate the other person's capability to inflict such pain. But, this term - 'deterrence' is accredited to Bernard Brodie through his book 'The Absolute Weapon', in which he stated hat the main purpose of military was not to win wars, but to prevent it. The holocaust of World War II as well as the conventional forces of Soviet Unions presented a credible threat to the existence of Western Europe. The political and social cost of attempting to defend Western Europe with conventional forces being prohibitive led to the adoption of nuclear deterrence strategy by the USA.
3. The unstable peace and chaos of the post cold war era are caused by innumerable instabilities. The causes include increasing poverty, starvation, widespread disease and lack of political and socio-economic justice. The consequences are seen in such forms as social violence, criminal anarchy, refugee flows, illegal drug trafficking, organized crime, extreme nationalism, religious fundamentalism, insurgency, ethnic cleansing and environmental devastation. These conditions tend to be exploited by militant reformers, civil, military bureaucrats, terrorists, insurgents, warlords and rogue states for their narrow purposes.
4. Game Theory and its Application. Game theory is described as a mathematical theory of decision making in a conflict situation. It provides a precise way to describe the key elements in situations where there are many actors, with different goal resources and information, each with only partial control over the factors determining the outcome. How the rules of game theory can best be applied to the aspect of nuclear deterrence is the challenge for this dissertation.
Statement of the Problem
5. The most essential issue which the world faces today is thus the search for a security system which shall replace the nuclear deterrence strategy of the cold war era. Does the global security lie in replacing nuclear weapons with more precise and highly lethal conventional weapons in the matrix of deterrence logic? Have nuclear weapons become un-useable and thus irrelevant? Are their any other emerging strategies? This dissertation propounds the hypothesis that the present world matrix will not permit the nuclear war, therefore will India's nuclear deterrence loose its relevance in the 21st Century and the role of conventional forces and weapons in the overall deterrence framework shall continue to grow.
6. The dissertation attempts to analyse the relevance of India's nuclear deterrence vis a vis developing a strong conventional deterrence in the Indian sub continent and application of Game theory as relevant to nuclear deterrence.
7. Possession of Nuclear Weapons is likely to provide a deterrence to India against potential adversaries.
8. The hypothesis proposed above will be discussed under the following heads:-
(a) Evolution of deterrence doctrine.
Flaws in deterrence doctrine.
Issue of future conflicts and nature of future wars.
(d) Role of conventional forces.
(e) Deterrence in Sino-Indo-Pak context.
(f) Application of Game theory in Nuclear Deterrence
9. The process of data collection commenced with the scanning of literature on the subject and research papers / thesis by the premier Service institutions like College of Defence Management, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis and United Service Institution of India. Websites were accessed for the Concepts and Relevance of Nuclear Deterrence since its evolution during the World War II and changes it has undergone over the history coming into the 21st Century. India's draft Nuclear Doctrine and that of the nuclear weapon states like USA, China and also Pakistan which were available in the open domain were examined for relevant inputs. The literature on Game theory and its applications has also been collected for research and relevant analysis.
10. Introduction and Methodology.
Chapter 2 : Evolution of 'Deterrence'.
11. Deterrence is a relation between parties (individual, institutions, or groups) wherein one party (explicitly or implicitly) indicates benchmarks of behaviour and expresses a commitment to use force, if the second party's behaviour does not match to these enunciated standards. The object of deterrence is to persuade an adversary that the cost of non-adherence to the laid down norms will far outweigh the benefits. Deterrence is an important factor in international diplomacy. There are many acts of deterring that rightly are considered morally acceptable; including making threats of lethal action. In simple words, as long as a State can anticipate the pain that can be inflicted on it by another State, and therefore in anticipation of the pain, it modifies its conduct, that is deterrence.
12. The chapter shall explain the meaning of 'Deterrence' before the nuclear age and in the nuclear age and a brief study of deterrence in cases of asymmetry and in cases of near symmetry. It will also analyse the meaning of perception, since in ensuring deterrence and removing risks it should be clear that a misperception can occur either in International relations or, more importantly, in deterrence theory. It also explains the types of misperceptions that can cause deterrence to fail. Subsequently some of the deterrence related terminologies and deterrent philosophies afloat today are also elaborated. From nuclear deterrence philosophies have evolved a number of nuclear targeting philosophies and they too are explained in detail.
Chapter 3 : Deterrence in Sino-Indo-Pak Context and Role of Conventional Forces.
13. The nations of South Asia share geographical contiguity and historical, cultural and religious ties. However, the region has a long history of war and insurgency, civil strife and ethnic rivalry. Poverty and illiteracy, an increasing gap between rich and poor, violence between castes and creeds are posing threats to state and society. Minority discontent often explodes into armed insurgency. Endemic poverty is another common feature throughout South Asia. India's security environment is not a self-contained region. The power asymmetry and the geographical Indo-centricity of the region make it a brittle strategic environment. Our territorial disputes with many of our neighbours complicate the situation. The strategic environment in South Asia has been remarkably conflict laden, characterised by wars or hostile relations between each other and especially between India and her neighbours.
14. India is in the unenviable position of having two nuclear armed neighbours with both of whom it has fought wars in the past. China and Pakistan are the two important players who affect India's security environment. The nuclear stands of these three nations are directly related to their mutual threat perceptions and security concerns. To understand and analyse India's nuclear environment in the future, it would thus be appropriate to analyse nuclear threat from China and Pakistan. This would in turn dictate the thrust of India's nuclear policy. This part shall include:-
(a) India's Nuclear Environment.
(b) Threat perceptions of India, China and Pakistan.
(c) Nuclear threat to India from China and Pakistan
Chapter 4 : Game Theory Model for Selecting Optimal COA
15. This Chapter encompasses:-
Evolution of procedure for preparation of payoff matrix including a brief examination of ten step procedure for preparation of a payoff matrix suggested by Lt Col Gregory L. Cantwell, United States Army.
Quantification of Pay Offs with Key Decision Factors (Seven Step Method).
Case Study examination of seven step method for preparation of payoff matrix.
16. A Seven Step Procedure as given below has been evolved for aiding selection of CsOA amongst competing CsOA by Decision makers:-
(a) Step 1. List out own and enemy CsOA based on mission analysis of the decision situation.
(b) Step 2. Selection of KDFs by Decision Maker.
(c) Step 3. Establish inter se priorities to KDFs by allocation of AWC by Decision Maker assisted by experts / advisers employing AHP technique.
Step 4. Examination of own CsOA actions for the KDF with respect to enemy CsOA. Allocate values on scale of one to five. Decision Maker can seek inputs from experts / advisers and also allocate values as per his judgment.
Step 5. Prepare a Synthesized Matrix of AWC and Values generated at Step 4.
Step 6. Translate values from Step 5 in to two person ZSG matrix of payoffs.
Step 7. Solve the two person ZSG.
Chapter 5 : Hypothesis Testing
17. Hypothesis has been validated with the help of case study of OP PARAKRAM. Competing CsOA for India and Pakistan were listed in questionnaire. Participants of HDMC - 7 were asked to determine the payoffs of various outcomes from interaction of Indian and Pakistani CsOA. AWC of KDF has been obtained from experts (three members from Department of Strategic Management). Case was solved with Seven Step Process.
Chapter 6 - Conclusion
18. This study seeks to extrapolate Game Theory precepts in the domain of military decision making process in the Indian Armed Forces. The study has attempted to address one of the key challenges of building a pay off matrix for competing CsOA. This concluding chapter summarizes the research and the final outcome as it emerged from the arguments presented in the research paper / survey of participants. Examination of nature of Game Theory features which favour its application and key challenges in its application have been included in the chapter besides recommendations on areas for further study and research.The nations of South Asia share geographical contiguity and historical, cultural and religious ties. However, the region has a long history of war and insurgency, civil strife and ethnic rivalry. Poverty and illiteracy, an increasing gap between rich and poor, violence between castes and creeds are posing threats to state and society. Minority discontent often explodes into armed insurgency. Endemic poverty is another common feature throughout South Asia. India's security environment is not a self-contained region. The power asymmetry and the geographical Indo-centricity of the region make it a brittle strategic environment. Our territorial disputes with many of our neighbours complicate the situation. The strategic environment in South Asia has been remarkably conflict laden, characterised by wars or hostile relations between each other and especially between India and her neighbours.
19. Is practicing nuclear deterrence prudentially preferable to not practicing it? Does prudence in the end counsel maintaining or abandoning nuclear deterrence? This is the central question in any examination of the fundamentals of nuclear weapons policy. The relevance of nuclear deterrence in the Indian context and to suggest if any change is required in its present nuclear policy is but an exercise in the choice of ends and means on the part of the nation state and being a dynamic process will keep changing as per existing scenario. My dissertation will just be a process of putting forward a few known facts and their relevance, to come to, in my opinion, a viable nuclear option.
"Autonomy of decision-making in the developmental process and in strategic matters is an inalienable democratic right of the Indian people. India will strenuously guard this right in a world where nuclear weapons for a select few are sought to be legitimised for an indefinite future."
"India should remain in a position to retaliate if nuclear weapons are used against us."
Background and Justification for the Study
War, is presupposed and predetermined by many psychological theories, as being innate to human nature. Hence, there is little hope of ever escaping it. Psychologists argue that human temperament allows wars to occur only when mentally unbalanced people are in control of a nation. They are of the opinion that leaders who seek war like - Napoleon, Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Stalin were mentally abnormal. Yet they fail to explain the thousands of free and sane people who wage wars at their behest. Some psychologists believe such leaders are the product of the anger and madness repressed in modern societies. As people elect and support such leaders, suggestions have been made that very few people are sane and that modern society is an unhealthy one  .
Game Theory (or more appropriately Games of Strategy) which entails interactive decision-making is relatively new field of science having come to fore only in later part of 20th Century. However, it has found vast and varied application in diverse fields such as economy, politics and social sciences. Its application in military decision making process and in examination of politico - military strategic issues has been at low ebb, more so in the Indian context. Decision making is one of the most important roles of military commanders at all levels and they often face decision dilemmas to choose from competing CsOA. More often than not their choices in such situations are based on intuitive quality judgements based on experiences of individual commanders.
Game Theory is the science of interactive decision-making. Decision making is one of the most important facets of military commanders at all levels as decisions are essentially the means by which a Commander translates his vision of end state into action. The process of decision making entails, knowing if to decide, then when and what to decide  .
The First World War, its resulting ideologies like Communism, Fascism, and Nazism, and the Second World War, saw such devastation that the thought of war became taboo. This resulted in the Treaty of Versailles, and the formation of the League of Nations as an attempt to form deterrence against such carnage. Though these proved unsuccessful, they did give rise to an idea.
The word 'deterrence', variously described as 'avoidance', 'prevention' and 'preclusion' is as old as the origin of mankind. It evolved along with the capacity of the human beings to inflict pain and to anticipate the other person's capability to inflict such pain. But, this term - 'deterrence' is accredited to Bernard Brodie through his book 'The Absolute Weapon', in which he stated that the main purpose of military was not to win wars, but to prevent it. The holocaust of World War II as well as the conventional forces of Soviet Unions presented a credible threat to the existence of Western Europe. The political and social cost of attempting to defend Western Europe with conventional forces being prohibitive led to the adoption of nuclear deterrence strategy by the USA  .
Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev announced together in November 1985 at Vienna, that a nuclear war could not be won and hence must never be fought. Subsequently both the USA and USSR initiated substantial measures to reduce the possibilities of war in other areas. But this has not eliminated war elsewhere.
The unstable peace and chaos of the post-cold war era are caused by innumerable instabilities. The causes include increasing poverty, starvation, widespread disease and lack of political and socio-economic justice. The consequences are seen in such forms as social violence, criminal anarchy, refugee flows, illegal drug trafficking, organized crime, extreme nationalism, religious fundamentalism, insurgency, ethnic cleansing and environmental devastation  . These conditions tend to be exploited by militant reformers, civil, military bureaucrats, terrorists, insurgents, warlords and rogue states for their narrow purposes.
Statement of the Problem
The most essential issue which the world faces today is thus the search for a security system which shall replace the nuclear deterrence strategy of the cold war era. Does the global security lie in replacing nuclear weapons with more precise and highly lethal conventional weapons in the matrix of deterrence logic? Have nuclear weapons become unusable and thus irrelevant? Are their any other emerging strategies? This dissertation propounds the hypothesis that the present world matrix will not permit the nuclear war, therefore will India's nuclear deterrence loose its relevance and the role of conventional forces and weapons in the overall deterrence framework continue to grow.
The research attempts to analyse the relevance of India's nuclear deterrence vis a vis developing a strong conventional deterrence in the Indian sub continent. This shall be attempted by exploring application of Game Theory for nuclear decision making with focus on its usefulness in facilitating selection of optimal COA by decision makers.
Possession of Nuclear Weapons is likely to provide a deterrence to India against potential adversaries.
The hypothesis proposed above will be discussed under the following heads:
Evolution of deterrence doctrine and inherent flaws.
Issue of future conflicts and nature of future wars.
Role of conventional forces.
Deterrence in Sino-Indo-Pak context.
Hypothesis testing using Game Theory.
The process of data collection commenced with the scanning of literature on the subject and research papers / thesis by the premier Service institutions like College of Defence Management, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis and United Service Institution of India. Websites were accessed for the Concepts and Relevance of Nuclear Deterrence since its evolution during the World War II and changes it has undergone over the history coming into the 21st Century. India's draft Nuclear Doctrine and that of the nuclear weapon states like
USA, China and also Pakistan which were available in the open domain were examined for relevant inputs. Advise and valuable inputs from the mentor DS and guest speakers visiting the college have also been obtained on the subject. A survey of participants has been undertaken to gauge awareness, aptitude and inclination of officers in adopting Game Theory in decision making.
Case Study Method. A case study approach has been adopted to place the subject in perspective and keep the arguments interesting, thus, avoiding monotonous reading. A Seven Step process envisaged for application of Game Theory has been validated with a Case Study based on a conflict situation between India and Pakistan.
Hypothesis Validation. Hypothesis has been validated with the help of a Questionnaire. A real life case of OP PARAKRAM situation was painted to the respondents who were asked to determine the payoffs of various outcomes from Indian and Pakistani CsOA. Thereafter, the problem was analysed with 'Seven Step Process'.
The research paper will be covered in the chapters as shown below:-
Chapter- 2. Evolution of Deterrence Doctrine.
Chapter - 3. Deterrence in Sino-Indo-Pak Context and Role of Conventional Forces.
Chapter- 4. Game Theory Model for Selecting Optimal COA.
Chapter -5. Hypothesis Testing.
EVOLUTION OF DETERRENCE DOCTRINE
Deterrence aims to prevent an enemy power taking the decision to use armed force; put in more general terms this means compelling him, when faced with a given situation, to act or react in the light of existence of a set of dispositions which constitute an effective threat. The result which is desired to be achieved is therefore a psychological one and is sought by means of a threat  .
This psychological result is the product of combined effect of a calculation of risk incurred compared to the issue at stake and of the fear engendered by the risks and uncertainties of war. The fear springs from complex psychological factors of a political, social and moral nature. These factors are closely linked to the material calculation but, on occasions, may be independent of it  .
First Official Mention of Theory of Deterrence. The idea that atomic bombs could be used in a strategy of deterring an attack was broached by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of USA in June 1946. This declassified document reads," It is remotely conceivable that the atomic bomb provides its own deterrent - in that fear of retaliation by atomic bombs against a violator who uses them will make the potential violator pause and consider before he decides to go ahead. "
Strategy of City Bursting (1947). This strategy was evolved during the Truman administration in 1947. It involved deterrence of attack on US vital interests by drastic threat of atomic destruction. It was supported by plans to use Strategic Air Command bombers to destroy largest soviet urban-industrial centers. Major advantage of this strategy was that it played to US strength and Soviet weakness. The Soviets knew that they could not be prevented from seizing all of Europe, but they also knew that mother Russia could be destroyed in bargain. It thus offered relatively cheap way (politically and economically) to maintain peace and freedom of Western Europe. A national policy of deterrence was formally approved by the National Security Council of USA on November 1948.
Berlin Crisis. During the Berlin crisis in 1948 USA dispatched its B-20 and B-29 squadrons to Germany and UK. Although US government press release described the B-29 flown overseas as atomic capable, they were actually not modified to carry the atomic bomb. Although this was a military ruse, it established the practice of nuclear deterrence in advance of its theoretical enunciation by US war planners  .
Extended Deterrence  (1948). This involved the use of nuclear power by US to protect non nuclear allies. This was developed to protect Western Europe against Soviet Union. The final victory of communists in the Chinese civil war, and the first atomic explosion by the Soviet Union made America more anxious about their relative security.
Strategy of Massive Retaliation  (1953-54). This strategy implied deterrence by threat to launch all out nuclear retaliation. US experience of Korean War was also responsible for bringing about this change.
Strategy of Graduated Deterrence  (Post 1954). The local aggression was to be deterred by making it sufficiently costly to the initiator so as not to be worthwhile. It aimed to develop a form of limited nuclear war that would deter future Korean sized offensives but, it never became an official US doctrine.
Strategy of Flexible Response  (Early Sixties). US wanting more options in conflict, reduced reliance on nuclear weapons. The US administration also accelerated spending on achieving second strike capability. The USA also adopted a Triad strategic force. In 1980 US deployed the fourth leg of the triad -
the cruise missile.
City Avoidance  (1961-62). Adversary was to be deterred by threatened destruction of his military forces, not his civilian population. This gave US more options in conflict, for example US could respond to soviet nuclear attack in Europe without necessarily initiating mutual exchange of attacks against cities. It was said to provide more credible threat because USSR was seen as placing higher value on its military forces.
Assured Destruction  (1964). Deterrence rests on retaining capability to inflict unacceptable damage on adversary even after absorbing surprise nuclear attack. The growing US missile superiority allowed US planners to establish quantitative criteria for determining size, characteristics and effectiveness of US nuclear forces.
Mutually Assured Destruction  (Mid Sixties). Deterrence now rests on ability of both sides to destroy each other even after they have been attacked. This concept was economical as US did not have to strive for nuclear superiority. It provided incentive for seeking arms limitations agreements.
Sufficiency  (1969). To destroy USSR and China, Nixon administration inherited much larger nuclear force than needed. Policy provided rationale for not having constantly to increase nuclear power.
Finite Deterrence (Minimum Deterrence-1970). Deterrence to be achieved by maintaining only a minimum level of nuclear force, which would inflict "unacceptable damage."
Flexible Targeting  (1970-74). Deterrence to be achieved by developing wider range of strategic options against military targets. This
provided ways in which US surplus of warheads could be put to `good' use.
Countervailing Strategy  (Late Seventies). This strategy was adopted in the hope to convince Soviets that no use of nuclear weapons and at any stage of conflict could lead to victory. New policy was seen as more 'moral' (people not targeted directly).
Horizontal Escalation  (1983). Soviet attacks against vulnerable US military interests to be deterred by threatening to retaliate against equally important and vulnerable soviet interests.
Simultaneity  (Late Eighties to Nineties). US had fear that in major conflict with soviets, it might not have time to shift forces from one region to another. The capability to fight on all fronts could only deter Soviet aggression.
Emerging Strategic Environment. With the dismantling of USSR, USA emerged as the only superpower. The campaign in Iraq followed by Kosovo and subsequently post Sep 11 events in Afghanistan demonstrated the awesome power of the USA. Its global strategy from Prevent, Deter and Defeat has now shifted to that of neo-imperialism wherein USA abrogates to itself the global role of setting standards, determining threats, using force and meting out justice. Proponents of nuclear deterrence argue that it remains a recessed feature that continues to impart stability in relations among China, Russia and the West.
Flaws In Deterrence Doctrine
General. Nuclear deterrence doctrine is the main stated reason for proliferation of nuclear weapons. It suffers from doctrinal flaws, vague notions, some questionable assumptions and diverting scarce resources away from development. Misgivings about it stem from doubts that balance of terror actually served to deter than in the manner often assumed by proponents of nuclear deterrence.
Deterrence and Defence. Nuclear deterrence strategy replaced the conventional force deterrence prior to the invention of nuclear weapons. This was done without giving adequate thought to the fact that the conventional and the nuclear situations are fundamentally dissimilar. In the past and even today, conventional weapons were amassed to deter an aggression before actual war and they were used to defend against that aggression if deterrence failed. Today the practical utility of nuclear weapons which can wreak havoc at an unparalleled state is highly questionable should deterrence fail. Conventional forces are still required to defend.
Rational Actor  . The second serious problem with nuclear deterrence has to do with the notion of rationality. Considerable evidence has been accumulated which suggests that the rational actor model does not prevail across the board in international politics. High level decision makers frequently do not act rationally, particularly under the stressful conditions inherent in crisis situations. Even if decision makers were to be rational, nothing can be said about the accuracy of information employed in rational calculations.
Problem of Credibility. Proponents of nuclear deterrence strategies argue that the threat must be credible to work in the way it should. Henry Kissinger stated the case even more strongly in 1979 when he said," It is absurd to base the strategy of the West on the credibility of the threat of mutual suicide".
Notions of Sufficiency. Development of nuclear weapons is often justified by invoking the strategy of deterrence, yet no strategic thinker can say with any degree of certainty as to how many and of what kinds of weapons are sufficient for deterrence. The result is an upward spiral of the arms race which was frequently justified on the need to continue to deter the other side.
Uni-Dimensional Character. The nuclear deterrence theory relies on instilling fear in an opponent to change his behavior. So, it disregards all other factors which may influence a foe's behavior.
Inherent Danger. Policy of deterrence relies on threat and people can react differently to threats. Ironically the very weapons which intended to deter war could well accelerate it with consequences intolerable for the civilization.
Case Studies: Successful Application of Nuclear Deterrence
In Aug of 1945 began the nuclear era. The race between USA and USSR to dominate the other countries led to the era of cold war wherein the world has gone through lot of high tension dramas. During this period many wars have taken place but the established nuclear states have not gone to war. The involvement of the two super powers can not be ruled out but they were generally behind the scene and resorted to proxy wars. However, there have been some cases wherein the world came close to war between two nuclear states but that was averted and the credit could easily be given to nuclear deterrence. Some of these instances have been discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.
First Atomic Bombing.
The surprise destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by using nuclear bomb led to Japan's capitulation and the World War II was over.
The rapid collapse of Japan in August 1945, was due to atomic bombing. Though Japan was planning to surrender before 31 December 1945, but delay was due to the fear that the Americans would in turn ask for trial of their emperor for war crimes. Soon after the dropping of the first atomic bomb the Japanese surrendered.
Korean War. On 25 June 1950, the Korean conflict began. More than 100,000 North Korean troops charged across the thirty eighth parallel into South Korea. America responded by sending Mc Arthur, who executed a daring landing on the Inchon beach in September 1950 forcing North Koreans into a retreat. South Korean troops crossed the thirty eighth parallel on 01 October 1950. Americans followed suit on 07 October 1950. Fearing the worst, probably at the behest of Stalin, Chinese crossed the Yalu River on 26 October 1950.The Peoples Republic of China, a non nuclear power was not deterred from attacking a nuclear power. However, President Dwight D Eisenhower who took office in 1953 has suggested that the fear of American nuclear power brought China to agree to end the war.
The Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was the most famous case in which nuclear deterrence played a significant role. An analysis of this event reveals that Soviet deployment of missiles on Cuba represented a major success of United States policy of deterrence.
After the Cuban revolution in 1959, the Soviet leadership gradually began to exploit it as a projection of Soviet power into the western hemisphere. This resulted in significant military build up in Cuba. A two phase arms build up involving the most advanced Soviet weaponry commenced in July 1962.
These weapons were to be fully operational by December 1962. All this activity was clandestine. A U-2 reconnaissance plane on 15 October 1962 discovered the construction of nine new missile sites in Cuba with launch position for 24 Soviet medium range and 12 intermediate range ballistic missiles. It was expected that these sites will become operational by 22 October 1962. President John F Kennedy had to take decision in this time about the American response. Six options were considered:
Submit an American appeal to the UN.
Undertake a secret approach to Fidel Castro.
Arrange a blockade of Cuba.
Conduct a surgical air strike to eliminate the missile site.
India Pakistan Crises. Two countries made preparations for war over a territory that had already caused two of the three wars between them. Pakistan, had grounds to fear a conventional invasion that might have "liberated" a large chunk of its territory, for which the 1971 Bangladesh war provided a vivid precedent. The stakes could not have been any higher for Pakistan in 1990 and in 2002, during OP PARAKARAM. Furthermore, both India and Pakistan were technologically inferior to other nuclear weapon states, which the logic of non-proliferation suggests should lead to pressures for the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons. Despite these conditions, war did not break out in 1990 or in 2002.
Application of Game Theory
The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. Period of 14 days which spanned the crisis was marked by consideration of various options under a nuclear overhang. How the two sides averted the collision could be understood by modeling it on lines of Game of Chicken.
The Crisis as Game of Chicken 
"We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked" were the eerie words of Secretary of State Dean Rusk at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. He was referring to signals by the Soviet Union that it desired to defuse the most dangerous nuclear confrontation ever to occur between the superpowers, which many analysts have interpreted as a classic instance of nuclear "Chicken". The goal of the United States was immediate removal of the Soviet missiles, and U.S. policy makers seriously considered two strategies to achieve this end. These were, firstly, naval blockade, or "quarantine" to prevent shipment of more missiles, possibly followed by stronger action to induce the Soviet Union to withdraw the missiles already installed. The second option was "surgical air strike" to wipe out the missiles already installed, as far as possible, followed by an invasion of the island. The alternatives open to Soviet policy makers were either "Withdrawal" of their missiles or "Maintenance" of their missiles.
Replicating with Chicken Model
In the given situation the basic model of Chicken can be used to represent the options of the two players (US & Soviet Union) as follows:-
UNITED STATES (US)
SOVIET UNION (SU)
( W )
( B )
( A )
(US Win, SU Loss)
Analysis of the Model. The strategy choices and probable outcomes presented in model above provide only a skeleton picture of the crisis. However, most certainly the two sides must have considered a number of other options concurrently. For instance SU attached conditions such as demand of guarantee that US will not invade Cuba and also US will pull out its missiles from Turkey. Notwithstanding, as is evident the model appropriately represents the main options, their interplay and reasoning of eventual compromise. Yet, there is no way to verify if the outcomes given in the model were probable or valued in a manner consistent with the Game of Chicken. It may be argued that if SU had viewed an air strike on their missiles as attack on their vital interests, the AW option may well have ended in nuclear war giving it the same value as AM. The model also apparently glosses over exchange of communication between the two super powers during crisis by assuming that the players choose their actions simultaneously. Nevertheless, most observers of the crisis believe the two super powers were on a collision course and that neither side was eager to take any irreversible step, such as the drivers in a game of chicken. Ultimately the game ended in a compromise as SU was forced to withdraw missiles from Cuba in return for an assurance from US that it will not invade Cuba.
Alternate Model. The crisis could be represented with an alternate model with minor modifications by assuming a different ranking of outcomes by the US.
UNITED STATES (US)
SOVIET UNION (SU)
( W )
( B )
( A )
("Dishonourable" US action, SU thwarted)
These ranking may be interpreted as follows:-
BW (3, 3). Compromise outcome. Blockade by US and withdrawal by SU.
BM (1, 4). In the face of a US blockade, Soviet maintenance of their missiles leads to their victory and US capitulation.
AM (4, 1). An Air Strike that destroys SU missile is an honourable US action and their best outcome and thwarts the SU, their worst outcome.
AW (2, 2). An Air Strike that destroys missiles SU was withdrawing is a dishonourable US action (their next worst outcome) and thwarts the SU (their next worst outcome).
Analysis of Alternate Model.
US did not prefer Air Strike and possible invasion vis a vis blockade. It is evident from the fact that US agreed to Soviet proposal of
not invading Cuba. Hence, the rationale for BW (3,3) being preferred over AW (2,2).
Statement of Robert Kennedy that, "If they did not remove those bases, we would remove them." Clearly indicates US preference of Air Strikes to blockade, given that SU would maintain missile bases. Hence, in alternate representation, AM (4, 1) is preferred to BM (1,4). However, in original Chicken representation BM (2, 4) is preferred over AM (1,1).
AW in alternate model has been marked as the next worst outcome as it defies the logic of gradual use of force by US as against Chicken where it is the best strategy (4, 1).
Overall this model offers a more realistic representation of the Crisis.
DETERRENCE IN SINO-INDO-PAK CONTEXT
AND ROLE OF CONVENTIONAL FORCES
Many countries have developed the nuclear weapons since its advent in 1945. Besides this a number of so called rogue nations also are feared to have procured some nuclear bombs or the capability to build one. This part of the world is yet to mature and their systems of governance yet to stabilize, therefore their fragile system pose a potential threat to initiate the nuclear war. Amongst all, Asia seems to have most of the potential conflict areas and hence it is important to study the nuclear philosophy in context of India, China and Pakistan. This will be analyzed as under:
China's nuclear strategy.
Strategic susceptibilities of China.
Effect on Indian security perceptions.
Likely Indian nuclear force structure.
Pakistan's security perceptions.
China's Nuclear Strategy  . China has declared a "no first use" policy, stating that it would not use nuclear weapons first against any nation and that it would never threaten to or actually use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations. China has not, however, ruled out the use of nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack. This is the essence of a minimum deterrent strategy.
Strategic Susceptibilities of China. Strategic susceptibilities of China due to external compulsions are as under:
Threat of armed intervention by United States of America in the garb of continuation of its policy of preemption, or for promotion of human rights in Xingjian or for liberation of Tibet.
A likely American reaction to Chinese efforts to seize Taiwan.
A joint Russo American threat with Russia providing the land force component and America providing the air and naval components to down size the rapidly growing economy of China.
A threat from NATO rapid reaction force to Chinese sovereignty for preemption of human rights violations.
A threat from Japanese Navy to its sea lines of communications.
A threat of limited objective attacks from India, South Korea and Vietnam.
Effect on Indian Security Perceptions. A study of relative force levels of United States of America, China and India reveals that while China's conventional forces have only a miniscule capability against America, its capability against India is significant. Thus, any militarization by China may not increase its deterrence capability against United States of America, but will definitely be viewed with concern by India. Further, the decision by the United States of America to revoke the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty and commence development of Theatre Missile Defense constitutes a reduction in deterrent effect of Chinese missiles. Efforts by China to indulge in achieving force symmetry with USA will unleash an unending spiral of militarization and 'nuclearisation' of the Asian continent. India will thus have to achieve a conventional as well as nuclear 'deterrence by denial' capability against China. Since conventional forces are prohibitively costly India will have to respond to Chinese military build up by acquiring a second strike capability against Chinese value targets  . Simultaneously a threat of Pakistan - China collusion will force India to acquire deterrence by punishment capability against Pakistan as well. Thus efforts by China to counter US threat will act to force India to seek greater strength; the cheapest way of doing so is to obtain nuclear weapons and matching delivery capability.
Likely Indian Nuclear Force Structure. In the light of the foregoing India will have to acquire the dissuasive conventional force and a viable nuclear capability which could be to destroy a few major industrial centers and some of the ports capable of servicing SSBNs. This will have to be acquired to prevent China from launching a war against India.
Indo - Pak Matrix
Sino - Pak Relation. India and Pakistan fought four wars since their independence and twice came close to fight wars, whereas India has had one war with China. Geographically it is so located that it has border with large No of countries but its relation with China and Pakistan are sour on territorial disputes. China though a nuclear power is presently totally focused on economic development and is keen to canalize all its resources and energy on development and looked particularly keen to resolve the border disputes. A considerable progress has been made in this direction but at the same time China appears to be keen in restricting India's aspiration to become a regional power and for that it has Pakistan as its strategic partner.
US - Pak Relation. On the other hand, Pakistan realised after 1971 ops that it is too weak in conventional military to achieve any tangible victory over India and the only way out in its perception were to go nuclear. Americans, who were using Pakistan as its strategic partner in resolving Afghanistan issue, also looked the other way and ignored Pakistan's quest for nuclearisation. Pakistan had to then procure its nuclear bombs clandestinely with the aid of probably China or some other rough state, which again is a sore point between the two partners, Pakistan and America.
Indo - Pak Nuclear Stand Off. India and Pakistan nearly fought a nuclear war in 1990 and in 2001 during Op PARAKRAM, during a crisis over the rapidly escalating insurgency in Kashmir and attack on the Parliament. According to Seymour M. Hersh, Pakistan "openly deployed its main armored tank units along the Indian border and, in secret, placed its nuclear -weapons arsenal on alert." As a result, "the Bush Administration became convinced that the world was on the edge of a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India." Hersh quotes Richard J. Kerr, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as saying: "It was the most dangerous nuclear situation we have ever faced since I've been in the U.S. government. It may be as close as we've come to a nuclear exchange. It was far more frightening than the Cuban missile crisis." Robert M. Gates, President George Bush's deputy national security adviser, reportedly told Hersh that, "Pakistan and India seemed to be caught in a cycle that they couldn't break out of. I was convinced that if a war started, it would be nuclear". William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem essentially re-tell Hersh's story and add that "Indian nuclear forces" were also "on alert".
India and Pakistan were deterred from war in 1990 and in 2000 by each side's knowledge that the other was nuclear weapon-capable, and therefore that any military hostilities could have escalated to the nuclear level.
Pakistan's Security Perceptions. Efforts by India to acquire lethal conventional and nuclear force are viewed with suspicion by Pakistan and force her to acquire deterrence by denial capability against India. In as far as conventional force structure is concerned she already has a dissuasive capability and is likely to have acquired sufficient number of nuclear weapons to target India's strategic assets in close vicinity of the international borders. In addition Pakistan, in order to maximize the deterrent effect of its forces will have to project a larger probability of its usage; at the slightest provocation- brinkmanship will thus continue to remain a pillar of its state policy.
Conventional Force Modernisation and Development of Nuclear Capabilities
Balance of Conventional Power. The deterrence stability on the Indian subcontinent can be greatly attributed to the inability of India, Pakistan and even China to prosecute and win major conventional wars  . India's gross numerical superiorities vis-vis Pakistan are misleading and do not enable it to win a major war within a short period. The Sino-Indian balance along the Himalayas is similarly stable for now, because the Chinese do not have the numerical- technological superiority and logistics capability to sustain major conventional conflict in support of their complete territorial claims. India with strong positional defence along the international boundary, coupled with superior air power is capable of defending the existing positions but do not posses a credible offensive capability to liberate occupied areas or alter the existing defensive line.
However, Indian and Chinese innovations in the realm of technology, organization and war fighting doctrine could change the status quo in conventional force deterrence. Such changes are possible with China and India rapidly growing in economic terms. The resulting economic prosperity will lead to increase in national power with states allotting more resources to acquire new military capabilities.
A similar set of transitions are also possible in nuclear deterrence in the subcontinent which will be more pronounced in the Indo-Pak context as compared to Sino-Indian nuclear deterrence. The principle elements that will influence stability are centered on the type of nuclear weapon, delivery systems and the deterrence doctrine being developed by both countries.
Chinas Coercive Strategy
Of late the dramatic, highly visible increase in Chinese military power is a cause of concern for India. This could result in an increased Chinese capability for coercion that will have a bearing on Sino-Indian political relations and resolution of outstanding disputes. Growing Chinese capabilities will compel India to modernise and expand our military capabilities as a deterrent to potential coercion by China instead of being dissuasive. This direct Sino-Indian competition will automatically alter the prevailing strategic balance between India and Pakistan.
Role of Extra Regional Powers
The role of extra regional powers could also be a cause for conflict generation in the subcontinent. The United States has a major role in influencing anti-proliferation strategies and pattern of interaction between India and Pakistan. China also plays a crucial role being the vital supplier of conventional, nuclear and missile technologies to Pakistan. Deterrence instability could occur if Pakistan perceives American and Chinese interest in the region as providing an opportunity to settle old scores with India. A similar logic though highly improbable, could also apply to India in the Sino-Indian context if USA for larger geo-political reasons desires to counter Chinese military ascendancy. However, more probable is that Chinese ascendancy could result in other major powers deferring to Chinese preferences and territorial claims. This will embolden China to adopt a more uncompromising stance with respect to disputes with India, leading to an increased potential for conflict.
GAME THEORY MODEL FOR SELECTING OPTIMAL COA
Military War Fighting & Two Person Zero Sum Game
The basics of Game Theory are not being covered in this paper and it is understood that all readers have a basic understanding of Game Theory. Most situations in war fighting specially in operational and tactical domain can be related to ZSG model. As is often said; there are no runners up in war. Game theory further assumes the two players are rational actors and each is trying to maximize his gain or minimize his loss. These assumptions closely resemble the assumptions of the military decision situations. It will therefore be pertinent to examine the procedure for solving this Game.
Two person ZSGs are solved through saddle points and dominance. Essential steps are:-
Check each course of action for dominance over the other courses of action. Large games can often be reduced in size by inspecting the pay off matrix to discover strategies that should never be used. Such poor strategies are dominated by other strategies. A strategy may be eliminated if there is another which is as good or better when pitted against every strategy the opponent may use.
Ascertain Saddle points through Maxi Min and Mini Max criteria. When max min and min max values are equal a saddle point is said to exist and optimal strategies are those corresponding to the saddle point(s).
Mixed Strategies are worked out where there are no saddle points. Mixed Strategy is a way of using two or more courses of action on
different plays of the game. Mixed Strategies could be worked out using graphical method or linear programming.
Game Theory in Indian Armed Force
A survey of participants (Refer Part 1 of Questionnaire attached as Appendix A) was undertaken to gauge Awareness, Aptitude and Perceived Utility of Game Theory by officers in Armed Forces decision making. Detailed findings of the survey are attached as Appendix B. Key findings are enumerated in succeeding paragraphs.
78% of respondents had no knowledge prior to Course.
87% respondents felt there is no awareness of Game Theory in the Environment.
100% respondents opined that Game Theory is not being used by Commanders.
30 % respondents opined that quantitative tools are used sometimes by Commanders.
65 % respondents opined that at present decision making is qualitative / judgemental and 35 % respondents opined it to be on intuition / gut feelings.
Perceived Utility Indices.
74 % respondents opined that Game Theory can be used 'sometimes' and 26 % opined it to be used 'often' in decision making (selection of COA).
Strategic level decision making is more amenable to application of Game Theory.
Game Theory has limited application in War Games & Time Critical Situations.
Lack of awareness about Game Theory in the environment is clearly evident. Lack of application of Game Theory in military war fighting can be largely attributed to the key challenges viz. Peculiarities & Intangibles of Military Situations and Quantification of Pay Offs. This Chapter would develop a case study model of strategic decision making between two adversaries (India and Pakistan) in case of a nuclear stand-off and seek to build a decision making model and procedure based on two person zero sum game theory to improve strategic decision-making by facilitating selection of optimal COA.
Preparation of Pay Off Matrix
Ten Step Method. Literature review indicates that not much work has been done towards exploring application of Game Theory models in war fighting domain. Lt Col Gregory L. Cantwell, United States Army in his work titled, "Can Two Person Zero Sum Game Theory Improve Military Decision Making Course of Action Selection?" envisaged a ten step procedure for preparation of a payoff matrix  . Procedure suggested can be summed up as under:-
Step 1. Select the best case friendly course of action to achieve a decisive victory.
Step 2. Rank order the friendly courses of action from the best effects possible, to the worst effects possible.
Step 3. Rank order the effects of enemy courses of action from the best to the worst across each row, in terms of the friendly player.
Step 4. Determine whether the effects of the enemy course of action will result in a potential loss, tie, or win for the friendly player for every combination across each row. Write the result of this determination in each box.
Step 5. Place the product of the number of rows multiplied by the number of columns in the box corresponding to the best-case scenario for Player One.
Step 6. Rank order all of the combinations from best case to worst case that are marked win, from step 4. Use the product obtained in step five as the highest number and assign values in descending order based on the best to the worst case effects anticipated for each combination marked win.
Step 7. Place the number one in the box corresponding to the worst-case effects anticipated in terms of Player One.
Step 8. Rank order all combinations marked loss, from Step 4, from the worst case to the best case.
(j) Step 9. Rank order all remaining even combinations from the best case to the worst case.
(k) Step 10. Transcribe the matrix into a conventional format with each course of action listed in ascending order while maintaining the appropriate values for each combination.
Comments. The above proposed ten-step method organizes the information obtained in mission analysis and allows the commander to prepare the model of pay off matrix which can be subjected to further analysis with Saddle Point and Dominance principle to determine the optimal strategy for a military situation. However, the principal drawback of this method is that it arranges CsOA in purely ordinal form and then allocates pay off values which can not be said to be true representation of actual worth of COA outcome. The problems of accurately assessing enemy capability, intention and his precise COA are not adequately addressed. The model relies heavily on the outcome of mission analysis for its matrix of pay offs. Besides to judge interaction of a COA for outcomes such as Win, Tie and Loss may be misleading and infeasible. Notwithstanding, the model is incisive and can be a useful tool to aid selection of COA.
Seven Step Method for Solving ZSG in Military Situations
Quantification of Pay Offs with Key Decision Factors. Having examined the Ten Step procedure and its drawbacks, a Seven Step procedure is proposed below for aiding selection of CsOA amongst competing CsOA by the Commanders / Decision makers:-
Step 1. List out own and enemy CsOA based on mission analysis of the decision situation.
Step 2. Selection of Key Decision Factors / Attributes (KDFs) by the Decision Maker.
Step 3. Establish inter se priorities to KDFs by allocation of Attribute Weighted Coefficient (AWC) by the Decision Maker assisted by experts / advisers employing Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) technique. Decision Maker may also choose to allocate values as per his own value judgment.
Step 4. Examination of own CsOA actions for the KDF with respect to enemy CsOA. Allocate values on scale of one to five (Can be altered by the Decision Maker depending on complexity of the situation). Decision Maker can seek inputs from experts / advisers and also allocate values as per his judgment.
Step 5. Prepare a Synthesized Matrix of AWC and Values generated at Step 4.
Step 6. Translate values from Step 5 in to two person ZSG matrix of payoffs.
Step 7. Solve the two person ZSG (See steps at Para 26 / Chapter 2).
Advantages. Following added advantages are visualized with the Seven step method:-
Facilitates de novo examination of CsOA by experts and Decision Maker based on KDFs chosen by the Commander / Decision Maker as against heavy reliance on mission analysis in ten step procedure.
Facilitates quantification of likely pay offs by pitching own CsOA against enemy CsOA.
Facilitates quantification of qualitative perceptions of KDFs with AWC.
Values generated for likely payoffs are on ratio scale.
Overcomes subjectivities in classifying a outcome as Win, Tie and Loss.
Illustrative Application of Seven Step Method
Situation. Menace of terrorism reached its pinnacle when on 13 Dec 2001, in a high-profile attack, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists struck Indian Parliament. The attack was foiled with apt security mechanism which was in place. The attack led to the death of a dozen people (5 terrorists, 6 police and 1 civilian). On 14 December, the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed for the attack. Home Minister LK Advani claimed that Pakistan and Pakistan-based terrorist groups were responsible for the attack on Indian Parliament. The same day, in a demarche to Pakistani High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, India demanded that Pakistan stop the activities of LeT and JeM, that Pakistan apprehend the organisations' leaders and that Pakistan curb the financial assets and the group's access to these assets. In response to the Indian government's statements, Pakistani forces were put on high alert the same day. On 20 December, considering the gravity of the situation and in order to apparently nail the State sponsorship of terrorism by Pakistan, the Indian Government ordered a full scale mobilization of defence forces. This was India's largest military mobilization since the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War and led to "OP PARAKRAM" which witnessed prolonged deployment of Indian Armed Forces in high state of readiness for close to a year. It is proposed to ascertain the likely payoffs of the outcomes of Indian and Pakistani options employing Game Theory in order to facilitate selection of best COA for India especially for a nuclear stand-off. We will examine as to the optimal COA as per the game theory ZSG, whether that option was exercised by the two countries, if nuclear deterrence played a role in deciding as to rejection / acceptance of that COA.
We all are aware that despite the high level of military preparedness, India and Pakistan did not actually go to war. While this is attributed to a range of reasons, including external influences, diplomatic parleys, economic considerations, the constraining influence of the presence of nuclear weapons is not something that can be overlooked. Neither side was able to discount the possibility of the conflict escalating to the nuclear level and leading to destruction far higher than anticipated. Therefore, after a yearlong mobilization, the war machinery was wound down. It is evident that instances of military adventurism by a weaker adversary follow the acquisition of nuclear weapons. Both Kargil and the attack on the Indian Parliament took place within four years of May 1998. In both cases, Islamabad was emboldened to take the step in the belief that India's military prowess would not be able to come into play against Pakistan. Indeed, Indian decision-making had to take into account the presence of nuclear weapons and weigh its actions accordingly. New Delhi also realized that far from making the bilateral relationship stable, the presence of nuclear weapons in Pakistan's quiver would increase t
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