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Romania Table of Contents


Military Strategy

According to the assumptions explicit in its military doctrine since 1968, Romania's greatest likelihood of future military conflict is a defensive war fought on its territory against a more powerful aggressor. Thus, Romania's strategy aims at victory achieved not through a military defeat of an invading enemy, but through massive, prolonged resistance that denies an enemy the possibility of a rapid, successful military operation against Romania. During a protracted war of attrition against a foreign occupation, Romania would seek international sympathy and support for its struggle to throw off its invader. Strategists hoped that the aggressor would suffer international political opprobrium outweighing any conceivable strategic benefit of a continued occupation. Meanwhile, Romanians would drain the morale of occupying forces through constant harassing actions. As a result, an invader would eventually withdraw or retreat from Romania to cut its political and military losses.

To execute this strategic concept, Romania's political and military leaders have developed a particular type of military organization and tactics. A strategy of prolonged resistance against invading forces depends on the ability of the relatively small regular armed forces to slow an advancing enemy and to provide time for paramilitary units to mobilize. Although the latter's effectiveness in combat is uncertain, Romanian experts assert that one-third of the country's population can be put under arms in a national emergency and that it would require an army of 1 million men to maintain an occupation of Romania, much less to pacify it. Romania's leaders have elaborated the basic operational and tactical principles that underlie this strategy. Foremost among them, Romania would fight a more powerful invader on terms that would neutralize the latter's numerical and technological superiority. It would avoid large battles between its ground forces and the enemy in favor of small-unit attacks on an invading army in areas where it is unable to deploy large forces.

Romania placed confidence in its ability to choose propitious times and favorable terrain for battle. The use of surprise and night attacks would help the paramilitary forces offset the preponderance of a conventional occupation army. Familiarity with the country's rugged terrain would also favor Romanian defenders. The narrow valleys of the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvanian Alps, which cut through the center of Romania, could serve as a formidable base of operations for protracted guerrilla warfare against an invader. Finally, Romanian doctrine calls for the local population to follow a "scorched earth" policy throughout the countryside along the enemy's invasion route to deny it sources of supply and to complicate its logistical support of an extended occupation of Romania.

Data as of July 1989