FEASIBILITY AND LIKELIHOOD OF SOVIET EVASION OF A NUCLEAR TEST MORATORIUM ( SNI

Created: 12/10/1957

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SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE NUMBER

FEASIBILITY AND LIKELIHOOD

OF SOVIET EVASIONUCLEAR TEST MORATORIUM

HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN FULL

Submitted by the

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

The following inlelligence organisations participated in the preparation of this estimate: The Central Intelligence Agency end lheanlsationt of the Departments of State, the Army, the Naoy. the Air Force, The Joint Staff, and the Atomic Energy Commission.

Concurred in by the

INTELLIGENCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

onecemberoncurring were Tne Direclor ofand Kesearch, Department of State, the Assistant Chief of Staff, intelligence. Department of the Army; the Director of Naval Inlelligence; the Assistant Chief OI Staff, InteBtgence. USAF. Ihe Deputy Director for intelligence. The Joint Staff, and the Atomic Energy Commissionto the IAC. The Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abstained, the subject being outside of his

iurlsdtction.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

THE

Soviet Objectives in Agreeingest

Factors AlTecting tlie Feasibility and Likelihood of Evasion .

The Political

Thc Military

Effectiveness of the Monitoring

Present monitoring

Eflect ol peripherat expansion of monitoring

Effect of limited inspection within theomprehensive system of inspection within

the

International manning of the monitoring system . .

Soviet estimate of the risk of

Probable Soviet Policy

UCP-

FEASIBILITY AND LIKELIHOOD OF SOVIET EVASIONUCLEAR TEST MORATORIUM'

THE PROBLEM

To estimate whether the USSR would attempt towo-year nuclear test moratoriumnd to assess the capability of present and fuiure detection systems to identify and provide evidence of an evasion.

CONCLUSIONS

We believe that, if the USSR agreesoratorium on nuclear tests, its initial policy will be to abide by the terms of the moratorium. We believe this because the Soviet leaders not only would not wish to receive the opprobrium which wouldiolation but because they probably would hope that the effect of the moratorium would give them political and strategic advantages. During the early days of the moratorium theywould not be seriously tempted lo deviate from this intention, in thc light of our judgment that, between nowhey have sufficient time to complete the tests they probably feel essential and feasible.

'The Jolnl Atomic Energy intelligence Committee Ls publishingeport (Restricted Data) which discusses In detail the importance to the USSR ot continued tesUng. and evaluates detection systems.

The Soviet scientists probablyairly accurate esUmate of present US detection capabilities. They wouldthat some types of tests wouldcertainly be detected. They would probably also realize that some tests could not be detected and that in some cases It could not be demonstrated that detected explosions were nuclear in origin. Nevertheless, there would be some uncertainty in Soviet calculations of their ability to escape detection and proof of their responsibility.

If, contrary to our present estimate, the Soviets had not completed theirtesting program prior to the entry into effect of the moratorium or If, as the period of the moratorium advanced, they developed designs for much more eflec-Uve and economical nuclear warheads, we still believe it unlikely that the USSR

would evade the prohibition except by ways they considered unlikely to beWe cannot, however, whollythe possibility that they would take some risks.

c conclude that the Soviet leaders would almost certainly regard theconsequences of getting caught red-handed as unacceptable, except Incircumstances. Suchmight beleartoreat advantage over the US in nuclear weapons capabilities through some now unforeseen develop-

ment,ituation in which the West hadlear advantage over the USSR. If such cases did arise, we believe the Soviet leaders would quite possibly not observe the moratorium since they would probably feel that the military advantages to be gained by testing would outweigh any adverse political effects. They would probably attempt tothe political disadvantages ofby false accusations prior to open denunciation of the agreementIn the hope of inducing the West to take the initiative itself in denunciation.

DISCUSSION

OBJECTIVES IN AGREEINGEST MORATORIUM

Active exploitation of the disarmament issue Is one of the key aspects of present Soviet external policy. Thc USSR clearly regards this issue not only as an essenlial part of Its pose of "peaceful co-existence" but, even more Important,ossible means of neutralizing Western nuclear striking power and Inducing Its withdrawal from around the periphery of the Bloc. It is probably alsoover the potential threat to Itsin the satelliles from US and NATOpower in Europe. For these reasons the USSR haa tended to concentrate on suchproposals as nuclear testa ban on use of nuclear weapons,of foreign bases, and troop withdrawals from Europe.

By Its maneuvers on such issues the USSR clearly hopes to encourage the relaxation of Western defense efforts, help undermine NATO and create divisions among Its partners, and above alllimate inhibiting West* crn use of nuclear weapons. In addition the USSR is probably concerned about thccost of its military establishment and wouldeasure of disarmament which would permit some diversion of re-

sources to meet olher pressing needs. It may also have some concern over the possibleof nuclear capabilities by "fourtharticularly in Europe. However, we do not believe lhat either of the lallcr two concerns would be compelling in Soviet

n agreeinguclear test moratorium the USSR would be motivated by the belief that such an agreement would be anfirst step toward these Soviet objectives in the field of disarmament. Through its consistent and unambiguous advocacyest ban theas already gainedpropaganda advantage. It would gain much further credit If tests were actually suspended, especially In thc eyes of thenumber of persons fn all countries who favoran out of concern with atmospheric pollution orirst stepcurbing thc danger of nuclear war. The Soviet pose as Uie strongest exponent ofwould thus be strengthened. Above aU.nuclear test ban would createa greater psychological barrier to the use of nuclear weapons, and over thc longer

'Soviet poller toward disarmament Is discussed more comprehensively In paragraphsf NIEMain Trends In Soviet Capabilities and Policies )att-1Wl."

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ofTcr the prospect of Increasing pressures for legally circumscribing the use of nuclear weapons. At tlie same time, the USSR would recognizeest moratorium would not prevent it from continuing to manufacture fissionable materials, to apply tested principles to new weapons production, to Improve Its delivery capabilities, and to continue weapons research and development for testing at the end of Uie two-year period.

FACTORS AFFECTING THE FEASIBILITY AND LIKELIHOOD OF EVASION

the Soviet leadersest moratorium agreementlargely upon thc relative weightsto the following factors:isadvantages of getting caught,military advantages to be gainedtesting, and (c) the effectiveness ofsystem in identifying andevidence of an evasion.

The Political Disadvantages

a violation by the USSR wereto the satisfaction of the bulk ofworld nations. Uie Soviet propagandaand peaceful pose would sufferand the USSR would Jeopardizeit sought in agreeingwo-yearThe Soviet leaders wouldthat, under suchwould alienate much of Uie supportthey have won Lnthat defense preparations Incountries would probably bethat the US ln particular wouldtest program. More significantly, ifwere clearly shown lo have acted InUie chances would be greaUyother countries wouldoreagreement which would gainUSSR the moro Important objectivesa retraction of US military powercircumscribing the uses of

The Military Advantages

of the results of the Sovietwhich have been detected shows clearly

that Lhe USSR haside range of fundamental weapons concepts, that It hasigh level of sophistication In both weapons theory and technology, and Uiat It now possesses an extensive capability toa family of weapons capable of satisfyingeasonable extent most of Its majorneeds. The USSR almost certainly stillreat need for further testing In order to Improve current weapons and to develop certain additional types of weapons nnd weap-ons designs. However, before Uie endhe USSR, by continuing an Intensiveoncale, can probablythe tests which we esUmate arein order to produce workable, thoughnot optimum, solutions to most of these additional requirements. Specifically, thewould probably be able to Improve their current weapons to remove shortcomings, to develop efficient air defense warheads, and to develop weapons making more economical use of fissionable material. On Uie other hand, they probably would not be able lothe tests necessary either to refine these warheads or to assure Uie most economical use of fissionable material.*

We believe the Soviels would regard the above results as the minimum necessary priorest moratorium, and that they would probably carry through the required Intensive program, If they were now prepared toa moratorium effective9 or now foresaworatorium as likely. If, contrary to our estimate, Ihey should fall to carry through this minimum program, they would probably attempt to postpone the entry into effect of the moratorium until Uietests were completed.

On lhe assumption that their minimum testing program was successful, Soviet scl-

* Specific Soviet nuclear weapons requirement* and the tests associated with ihem arc discussed in detail In the JAEIC paper noted on pagehe capability of Ibe USSR to produce warheads suitable for ICBMs Is discussed Inhe Soviet ICBMnd genera! nuclear weapons capabilities are discussed In. "The Sovltt Atomic Fr.ergynd will be further considered In the forthcomingSI. "Thc Soviet Atomic Energy Program."

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and technicians would probably be fairly well occupied during the early part of lhe moratorium in evaluating their data and applying these data to weapons design. As the period continued, the Soviets mightilitary need for testing in at least tworespects;

the Soviets would havean efficient air defense warhead foraircrafl. they would not havethe tests necessary to develop thcwarhead for an anti-missilethe Soviets had thc other elementsfor an effective anti-missile missilein an advanced stage of development,they would regardarheadmajor militaryhewould involve at least

Soviets have given no indicationattempt to develop "clean" weapons,involving entirely or almostreactions. They mightweapons as desirable to reduce theof world-wide contamination, or tocontamination in operations where aburst is desired or where falloutSoviet-controlled territory or futureHowever, they would probablythat such weapons were crucial tonuclear posture in the shortsince the existenceestwould appear to reduce thegeneral war. Thus, thc Soviet leadersdo not have an urgent requirement"clean" weaponsestperiod.

In addition, other motivations might ariseesult of new requirements, new theories, or other unforeseen developments.

Effectiveness of the Monitoring System*

Thc Soviet view of the effectiveness of the monitoring system would play an important role In any Soviet decision regarding evasionest moratorium since it will establish thc degree of risk which the Soviet leaders would have to accept In carrying out various kinds of tests. The monitoring problem has two aspects: (a) detecting the fact of an explosion (and estimating lime, location, andb) demonstrating that an explosion wasIn both respects, the ultimate test Is the production of usable evidence convincing to other nations.

At the present time, the various parts of the existing US Atomic Energy Detectionworking together, are able, withinlimits, to detect the fact of an explosion and to determine Its approximate time,and yield. Olher intelligence collection methods may contribute to thisThe existing system has an excellentercent) for detecting air bursts ofT orood0 percent) for detecting air bursts0air0 percent) for detecting air burstsT,oorercent) for detecting air bursts of lessT. Thc presentsystem, ln addition to its unreliability for detecting low-yield air bursts, might beto detect tests occurring at altitudes in excess ofeet. In the case of tests conducted in some other uniquesuch as deep underground orthe fact of an explosion might beprimarily by seismic means, but there would be difficulty in separating suchfrom natural disturbances.

In, "Soviet CapablllUes and Probable Programs tn the Oulded Missiles, we estimated that the USSR could probablyissile system of someagainst the ICBM for operational usethe. We believe the USSR might be able to advance this date somewhat and that It might make great efforts to do so If the US deployed substantial numbers of IRBMs and/or ICBMs.

"monitoring syslem" discussed In thisla one which would operate only In the Northern Hemisphere in areas not remote from the USSR. Conceivably tests could be staged In remote areas such as Antarctica or southern waters, but such possibilities would probably be excluded by the Soviets, since various InteUigence collccUon efforts would be almost certain to spot the activities which would be associated with teat preparations. If not the test Itself.

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order lo establish conclusivelyiven explosion was nuclear In origin, it is necessary to obtain radioactive debris. This is generally possible lor tests conducted between the surface and the0 feet) involving substantial fission reactions. However, tests in unique environments and tests involving entirely or almost entirely thermonuclear reactions might not produce radioactive debris that could be collected in quantities sufficient to establish thc factuclear explosion, under any known ormonitoring system.

In order to estimate the likelihoodoviet evasion it Ls necessary to measuretesting requirements against the present and expanded monitoring systems. Theparagraphs describing lheof various assumed monitoring systems provide some guide to the likelihood of dctec tion In the event the USSR does not complete Its pre moratorium testing program or decides to test designs relevant to warheads formissiles, the developmentclean" weapon, or other designs.

Present monitoring capabilities. It Is possibleoratorium agreement might go into effect without providing sufficient time to put inlo place any additional detection equipment In or adjacent to the USSR, and therefore that it might be necessary in an Initial period to rely upon substantially thc existing system. Considering thc (Imitations of this system as defined above, the USSR might be able to avoid detection andof the low-yield fission tests we estimate that it requires in order to develop certain air defense warheads and to achieve moreuse of fissionable materials. If theleaders should decide to conduct tests in the medium or high kiloton ranges, ihese tests would have to be conducted in uniquein order lo avoid detection. Ifat extremely high altitudes, they might be particularly difficult to delect

Effect of peripheral expansion ofcapabilities. It additional facilities were established around the periphery of the USSR, thc range of Soviet maneuverability would be

slightly less, but these facilities would still not provide consistent detection of the kinds of tests noted in the preceding paragraph.

ffect of limited inspection within the USSR. The Soviet leaders have announced their willingness to accept Internationalposts within the USSReciprocal basis. The effectiveness of Inspection within the USSR would largely depend upon theto which these control posts could gain access to areas of suspected activity nnd upon the ex lent lo which they were alerted by other detection methods. It would be possible for the USSR, by denying mobility or access to particular areas, to reserve for Itself an area In which It could carry out, with no greater risk of detection, the tests which wc have noted In

Effectomprehensive system ofwithin the USSR. If it ls assumed that the USSRubstanUal number of installations properly placed wiUiin the USSR and that Utcsc installations could be equipped and staffed int would beto get at leastercent reliability on fission tests In conventional environments as low as one kilolon. in lhe detection systemhole. However, not even this expanded system could consistently detect and identify low-yield explosions occurring deepor underwater, or possibly sizeable yields at altitudes in excesseet. Thus Uie USSR could, even In this maximum situation, carry out some testsood chance of escaping detection.

International manning of the monitoring system. In assessing the effectiveness of any form of monitoring system for Uie purpose of producing evidence convincing tos important to note thatmanning of thc system would,ractical matter, greatly assist ln meeting this need. For example, if the existingsystem, unimproved, were Ininternational participation in Uie pro-

Sinceomprehensive system would lake fromoonths following Ils approval to reach maximum effectiveness, It Is questionable whether It couldolewo-year moratorium.

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curcment and analysis of radioactive debris would add substantially to the chances olN monitoring commissionajority of UN members. Moreover. Into prove the nuclear origin of those types of tests not likely to produce debris, international manning of detection facilities would assist In putting pressure on the USSR to produce an explanation of detected(for example, underground explosions detected by seismicmeans).

estimate of the risk ofSoviet scientists probably have aestimate of the presentthe US detection system, and theybe able to project the effect ofUS capabilities in the waysThey are probably aware that ourcapabilities even under maximumcould not detect all sorts ofor adduce proof that allwere nuclear. They wouldthat certain types of tests wouldcertain of detection. Theyestimate tho test-siteand environmental conditionsthere wouldeasonable chancedetection under varying typesarrangements. Yet, theybe certain of the capabilities of thesystem. They would realizetechniques for detection orexisting methods, about which theywere always possible. Thus,be some uncertainty In Sovietof their ability lo escape detectionof their responsibility.

PROBABLE SOVIEf POLICY

believe that, if the USSR agrees toon nuclear tests. Its policywill be to abide by the terms ofWe believe this because theleaders not only would not wish toopprobrium which would follow abut because they probably wouldthe effect of the moratorium wouldpolitical and strategic advantages.the early days of the moratoriumwould not be seriously templedfrom this Intention, in Die light of our

judgment lhat, between nowhey have sufficient lime to complete the tests Ihey probably feel essential and feasible. Moreover, ihey would recognize at the outset that thereubstantial category of tests which they could not conductigh risk of detection.

If. contrary to our estimate, the Soviets had failed to complete their essentialest program, and had also failed to obtain postponement of thc agreed moratorium, then the Soviets wouldrave choiceurgent military needs and the political disadvantages of getting caught In evasion. We conclude that the Soviet decision would probably be substantially influenced by the likelihood of getting caught, and that the Soviels would not conduct tests In lhcwhere there wouldubstantial chance lhat the world at large would conclude that they had broken the moratorium. Some of the tests required to complete the program could probably be conducted Ln the low-yield category or in unique environmentswhere the chances of detection and evidence werend thc Soviets might conceivably decide to evade the moratorium to the extentery small number of tests of these types. However, our present judgment Ls that the possibility is slight that the USSR will noi complete its essenlial testing program priorf. nevertheless, theof the moratorium should antedate the completion of the program, we believe it unlikely that the USSR would evade theexcept by ways they consideredlo be delected. We cannot, however, wholly exclude the possibility that they would lake some risks.

As lhc period of thc moratorium advanced, thc military motivations for violations might increase, particularly If the Soviet scientists had developed designs and theories which. If satisfactorily tested, would provide much more effective and economical warheads, such as those for an antl-mlssilc missile. This and other foreseeable testing needs might beby the Soviets so substantial as lo argue against Soviet acceptance of ancontinuation of the. moratorium. However, wc believe that the Soviets would

estimate these needs as so urgent as to compel testing Involving any substantialof risk within the two-year period.

e conclude that the Soviet leaders would almost certainly regard the politicalof getting caught red-handed asexcept In extraordinaryApart from failure to complete theirest program, discussed above,ln which the Soviet leaders would consider risking detection are: (a) If, through some now unforeseen development, therelear opportunity toreat advantage over the US in nuclear weapons capabilities,

or (b) If the West had an enormous military advantage over the USSRonsequence of advances In Western military technology and deployment If such cases did arise, we believe the Soviet leaders would quite possibly not observe thc moratorium since they would probably feel that the military advantages to be gained by testing would outweigh anypolitical effects. They would probably attempt to minimize tlie politicalof evasion by false accusations prior to open denunciation of the agreementln the hope of Inducing the West to lake theitself in denunciation.

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TCT JEGMT-

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