Soviet Naval Doctrine: Continuity and Change

Date of Graduation

Spring 1996


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


This thesis examines Soviet naval doctrine. A summary of pre-Soviet naval doctrine sets the historical context for Soviet naval doctrine. From the outset, and in some continuity with history, the development of Soviet naval doctrine was characterized by offensive land support operations. The next major change in Soviet naval doctrine occurred when the revolution in military affairs that incorporated nuclear energy and nuclear missile technology into Soviet naval force structure further emphasized the offensive nature of Soviet naval doctrine. In the 1960's after adjusting to the changes brought by adaptation to the revolution in military affairs, the decision to deploy the Soviet Navy globally was made in accordance with warfighting doctrinal requirements. Further doctrinal requirements directed the Soviet Navy to become a military instrument designed for nuclear war with the United States. This capability was enhanced in the 1980's through military modernization and the adoption of a combined arms doctrine. In continuity with Soviet doctrine, the modernization of the Russian Navy continues in the current decade despite economic difficulties. Soviet naval doctrine has changed somewhat, but its continuous characteristic remains a dedication to the successful offensive execution of war.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Patrick Harding