PROBABLE INTELLIGENCE WARNING OF SOVIET ATTACK ON THE US (NIE 11-3-57)

Created: 6/18/1957

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

jr.b

NATIONAL IN1ELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

7

(Superiedes)

PROBABLE INTELLIGENCE WARNING OF SOVIET ATTACK ON THE US

.iubmiited bp the

DtJtCCTUK OFMIK;ENCE Tha loOouMng Intelhgmre oreoxuslicni parhclpoied Ot tht pr'?<i'alicr, of Ihu al mate The Cental Intelhgenee Agency and tht InteUigence oroanitattens of the Department! of State, the Army, tht Havp. the Air Farce. Tht Joint Stall, tha Atomic Energy CommUiim. and the Federal Bureau

of Investigation. Concurred tn by the

INTELLIGENCE ADVISORY COMMrTTEK

onuneConcurring mere the Special AirUtantDepartment of State; the Assistant Chief of Stall intelligence. Department Of the Army; the Director of Naval intelligence; the Dlralor of Intelligence. USAP; the Deputy Director forhe Joint Stag; the Atomic Energy Commtulon Represen-.atite to the IAC; and the iMtthvil Director, Federal Bureau Of Investigation

1

CENTRAL INTEL JQENCE AGENCY DUjSEMLSA'-'lON NOTICE

his estimate was disseminated by ;he Central Intelligence Agency. This copy is for the information mid use of tlie recipient indicated on thc front cover and ofunder his jurisdictioneed to know basis. Additional essent'.al dissemination may be authorized by the following officials within their respective departments:

a. Special Assistant to thc Secretary for Intelligence, (or thc Department of State

h. Assislant Chief of. for the Department oi the Army

of Naval Intelligence, for the Department of the Navy

of Intelligence. USAF, 'or the Department of the Air Force

Director for Intelligence, Joint SUIT, for the Joint SUIT

I. Director of Inielligence, AEC, for the Atomic Energy Commission

to the Director, FBI, for the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Director for Collection and Dissemination. CIA, for any otheror Agency

This copy may be retained, or destroyed by burning In accordance withsecurity regulations, or returned to tbe Central lntelltger.ee Agency bywith the Office of Collection and Dissemination. CLA.

When an estlmato ts disseminated nvrrseas, the overseas recipients may rcUin iteriod not in excess of one year. At thehis period, the estimate should either be destroyed, returned to the forwarding agency, or permission should beof the forwarding agency to reUin it in uccordanee with2

i> rsrao N

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

THE

GENERAL

VARIABLE FACTORS AFFECTING TBE PROBLEM

OF

Circumstances In Which thc Soviet Decision to Attack Is Made

Effecteriod of

Functioning of Intelligence Under Crisis Conditions

Effect of Soviet Deception

Variations In the Character of the Initial

WARNING FROM PREPARATIONS FOR ATTACK7

Attacks by Long-Range

Attacks by Guided

Attack on Western Europe by Soviet Forces in East Germany.

General

Clandestine

Defensive

Other

WARNING FROM THE EVALUATION OF INDICATIONS

IN

CHANGES IN THE WARNING PROBLEM BETWEEN THE

PRESENT AND

PROBABLE INTELLIGENCE WARNING OF SOVIET ATTACK ON THE US THROUGH

THE PROBLEM

To estimate thc warning which could be provided by intelligence in the caseoviet initiation of hostilities against thc US between the present and

SCOPE

The warning of Soviet attack discussed in this paper is that which intelligence might be able to give prior to the actual launching of an attack. Warning which might be obtained from US or allied early warning radar or other tactical detection devices is not discussed. Nor do wc discuss the possibility of obtaining chancefrom sources whose primary mission is not earlyeather stations, naval and commercial vessels at sea. The possibility that the USSR might resort to an ultimatum and thus itself warn of attack in the eventejection is alsofrom consideration.

CONCLUSIONS

In the absencoigh levelof the Soviet government, theof attack given by intelligence must be the end productrocess offrom incomplete evidence, and it thereforeudgment of prob-

ability. Under the most favorableintelligence might be able to state that the degree of probability ofwas very high; in other cases the judgment might be only that the chancesoviet attack were somewhat better

ommittee huurvey of sources of warnlne Informationhow full, and promptly present and potential collecUon methods, sources,o "dvR1,ce""'oBovlet Bloc hostiletoe^scm^sMmati prepared U to Judgment.

0 notttniated capability or IntenUon of the USSR to attackat that time It la chosen to mrte this paper parallel atudlea ot aortal capabUlUea SSprojected about three years

even; in many situations intelligence might be able to do no better than to say that the USSH possibly intended toThe warning actually given willupon the particular context of events, upon unique features of suchincluding even elements of pure chance, and upon certain variables which cannot be fully anticipated orfor by prepared

and successivebe given by intelligence whicha cumulative effect. Even ifnotirm conclusion thatintended to attack, they mighta basis for criticallymilitary, or intelligencefn thc crisis situation likelyan attack, the ability ofto give more reliable warninglargely on exceptionalrequiring prior policymeasures would providepossibly of great value, onand readiness, andperhaps on Soviet intentions

constant factor inaffecting warning is ourof Soviet capabilities,level of military readinessthe time. We have examinedof military preparationsmight obtain which woulda basis for giving warning ofkind of warning given wouldon the apparent pace ofpreparations and themilitary andssuming the USSRattack now, we conclude that:

a roughorce up toaircraft could probablyconcurrently withoutindications permittinggive warning of possible attack.speaking, the probability ofwarning indications wouldthe numbers of aircraftis no basis for Judging atthc chances of receivingwould be about even; wehowever, that if the number oflaunched concurrently wereas, the chances ofwarning indications wouldgreater tlian even. Ifthese indications wouldintelligence to warn ofours beforecould reach radar warningwould always be possible, however,movement to and out ofractice maneuver rather than )

of the employment ofguided missilesautical miles,launched from submarines, is )

c Warning of possible attack onEurope by Soviet forces stationed in East Germany would vary seasonally,on whether units were at home stations or at some field-training phase of the annual training cycle. Warning based on movements of units to attack positions would probably vary as follows:

ew hoursew days in April and inbut possibly none.

From two to five days in May-August.

From five to seven days In

a Soviet attack was precededmobilization, warning of possiblecould probably beewadvance. We might during themobilization be able to forecastdate at which militarywould be complete, but itbe possible for the USSR toits ready forces at an

of attack bywould depend primarily ohthat some part of theplan had miscarried ordiscovery. Thus there couldassurance that intelligence wouldto warn of such forms

be general effect of the development of Soviet capabilities estimated as likely to be developed0 will be tothe chances of obtaining significant warning indications. The key factors will be the degree of modernization achieved by Soviet armed forces and the state of readiness which they normallyIf higher levels of generaland activity are maintained, there would be fewer indications derived from preparations prior to attack. To thcthat ballistic missiles of intermediate or intercontinental range may beto the USSRhe warning problem would be further complicated, since intelligence is unlikely to be able to give ndvance warning of tho use of such weapons.)

DISCUSSION

CONSIDERATIONS

arning given by Intelligence must be based on thc collection and evaluation ofabout Soviet preparations forand about Soviet behavior prior toGiven the considerable effort by the USSR to limit the collection of Information concerning Its plans and activities, suchwould probably always beand concerning some Soviet activities would be elUier fragmentary or unobtainable. Nevertheless, the varied collection methods available to Intelligence would almostyield some evidence, probably discrete Items of Information, pointing to Increasing military readiness. These latter would not necessarily, In and of themselves,oviet Intention to attack, Inasmuch as they might also be consistent with anto threaten, to deter, or to be ready to defend and retaliate. Only penetration of the Soviet government or military command

igh level would be likely to produce full and reliable information on Soviet military plans and Intentions. It Is unlikely that such information would be available.

hus, Intelligence must reason from many kinds of indirect evidence In order to reach conclusions about the USSR's actual andcourses of action. In thesewarning ls the end product of aof reasoning from Incomplete evidence,t thereforeudgmentudgment would rest In the first instanceeighing of Indications of Soviet activities to establish whetherointed to one or another course of action. The warning Judgment would also proceed in part from the then prevailing estimate ofSoviet capabilities and intentions. The latter woulduide to the alternative courses of action which might be entertained by the Soviet leaders. The ability to givewarning would therefore depend upon the

OH-

completeness and accuracy ol this estimative background, as well as upon correctof the available specific indications which mightoviet decision to adopt one specific course of action from amcng the available alternatives. If the currentwere inconclusive, warning would of necessity have to rest more heavilyeneral appraisal of Soviet intentions and probable courses of action.

The constant factor In Judgments affecting warning Is our measure of Soviet capabilities, specifically, thc level of military readiness prevailing at the time. It Is ln this area of physical preparations that Intelligence Is best able to gather significant evidence. The likelihood of attack could normally be judged as minimal so long as tho Soviet militarywas judged not to haveeasonable stage of general readiness forAfter this stage had been reached,warning would almost certainly have to come from military Indications ofpre-attack preparations and from non-military indications pointing to anlikelihood of attack. Indications of last-minute military preparations would be highly significant In arrivingudgment ofSoviet intent to attack.asic difficulty in judging Soviet intentions under these circumstances would be inonclusion that these Soviet activitiesexclusively an Intent to attackid not reflect an Intent to deter, or to be ready to retaliate Ifn additional difficulty would be that many of these final preparations would be made so close to the launching of the attack that there would be only the shortest time to obtain theto assess It, and to communicatewithin the US government

Inonclusion with respect to their significance, indications of Soviet last-minute military preparations would not be considered in Isolation, since thesewould always occurontext ofpolitical and economic activities. Some indication of these latter activities wouldcertainly be detected, so that Intelligence would be able to Judgo the significance of mili-

tary preparations In lightorepicture of Soviet behavior at the time. In general, the more Indications ofmilitary and nonmilitary preparations Intelligence has, the more certain It could be of forecasting the probable course of action which they portend.

Is evident from tills summarythe manner in which warningbo made that the warning givenneither complete nor unequivocal.there are various preliminary kindswhich could be givenighof certainty and reliability. Forcould probably give reliableof potential danger In situations,either from Soviet actions or reactionsactions, which could lead lo ato attack. Intelligence couldwarn of military and otherraised Soviet capabilitiestageat which attack became Anfeasible course of action. It mighta technological breakthrough whichincreased Soviet capabilities for attack.

Valuable as such warnings would be, the critical task of warning would always be toimely judgment regarding Soviet intention to attack. In this area, it Ismore difficult toighof certainty. The judgment concerning the likelihood of Soviet Intention to attack might be expressedarning of possible intent to attack, probable Intent to attack, or clear intent to attack; the uncertaintycould therefore range continuously from the minimal case ot judging that aattack wasossibility to thecase of being virtually certain that an attack would be launched.

Wo believe that Intelligence would almost certainly not be able to give warning of clear Intent to attack because the USSR'scould also be Interpreted as Indicating an intention to threaten, to deter, or to defend itself. The most that could reasonably beof Intelligence wouldudgment that attack was the probable Soviet course of action. Under the most favorableIntelligence might be able to state

5

the degree of probability was very high; In other cases, the judgment might be only that the chancesoviet attack werebetter than even. In many situations, Intelligence might be able to do no better than to say that the USSR possibly intended to

thc categories of probable andIntent to attack, the warningalso vary in regard to thc particulars of

. the attack Itself. Some Indication of the form, scale, or timeossible attack might be ascertained from the character and pace of Soviet preparations, even though Sovietwere so unclear as to preclude athat an attack was probable. However, just as Soviet behavior and preparatorywould rarely, if ever, permitto give warning of clear intent toso too the time, scale, or form of thewould invariably be uncertain in some respect.

This is not to say that warning cannotseful function unless It canattack with complete certainty.of lesser degrees of certainty may be given inay that they have aeffect. Such successive warnings, even If they did notirm conclusion that thc USSR intended to attack, might stilla basis for critically importantmilitary, or intelligence decisions. They might be adequate, for example, to Justify undertaking diplomatic moves to copeeveloping crisis, placing US military forces at one or another stage of alert, or Invoking special intelligence collection measures intoasis for firmer and more complete warning.

The process of warning Is complete only when warnings given by intelligence are acted upon by decision-making elements ofIntelligence must bo able to earn credibility for its warning Judgments among officials who are not regularly Involved with intelligence. It must therefore be concerned to make as complete ashowing of evidence for any warning given. Awhich did not carry conviction to respon-

sible policy officials could be as much anfailure as no warning at all.

Is evident from the foregoing thatwill depend upon the particularevents, upon unique features of suchIncluding even elements of pureupon certain variables which cannotanticipated or compensated for byprocedures. Some of the variablewhich affect thc warning problemin the following section.

VARIABLE FACTORS AFFECTING THE PROBLEM OF WARNING

Circumstances In which Iho Soviet Decision lo Atiack is Made

important variable factor affectingproblem is the kind of situationlead to the Soviet decision toalternatives arc conceivable.beoviet decision to attackwell in advance of the actualthe attack, and in the absence of anyan immediate challenge to vitalinterests.ecision might bethe Soviet leaders believed that theysoargin ofthat they could anticipatethe US without the USSR itselfunacceptableajorto some offensive or defensivewhich could not be countered bywould permit the USSR such aintelligence were to get evidence thathad been made, this factwould alert Intelligence and possiblythc basis for giving general warning.to get evidencereakthroughprimarily on the kind ofIf some knowledge of the factbreakthrough was obtained, our abilitymore specific warning would dependpreparations and the time necessarythe breakthrough operationally, and

'We have estimated the Soviet capacity for future, scIenUflc advances and the likelihood of awithin lhe period of this esUmate inf, "Capabilities and Trends of Soviet Science and Technology".

thc effect that Its exploitation would have on other preparations which would be necessary lor attack.

The Soviet leaders might also decide ror war If they believed that thc US was planning an eventual attack on the USSR and that their best chance of surviving lay InfirstIn this case, as In the caseechnologicalecision toif made well hi advance of the attack, would enable the USSR toong period to prepare. This would provide thecommunity with time toroader range of indications and these might progressivelyeaningful pattern. Initially at least, such preparations would probably not have an emergency character and would probably be regardedormal development of military capabilities. At some point in thc course of this period ofhowever, certain actions might be taken clearly at variance with the paceormal development of capabilities or thc character of the world situation. Toward the end of this period, actionsast-minute character might be observed which, together with earlier warnings, would Increase our ability to give warning. Thus, while an atmosphere oftension characteristicrisis situation might not be presentate stage,might be alerted at an earlier point during the period of preparation.

The USSR might alsoecision to attack thc US In response to developments in some local crisis which neither partyintended to lead to general war. The USSR might decide to atiack because Itthat an actual or threatenedIn its sphere of vital interest could not be countered by limited means. Or lt might conclude that the USSR had become engaged beyond retreat in some area where thePowers would be prepared to risk general war. In cither case, the Soviet leaders might

Our views of tbc Soviet estimate of the world situation and probable Soviet courses of acUon relevant to this point are set forth Inoviet Capabilities and Probable Courses or Action3. See especially.

decide that general war was preferableerious reversal and that It would be lo their military advantage to attack first. In this situation the decision to attack would in all probability be accompanied by someof political tension,ery high degree, which would In Itself give rise towarning. However, the time period overocal crisis reached an acute stage could vary considerably, and this would affect the ability of Intelligence toeaningful pattern of Indications. If the crisis developedrief period of time, and If Soviet military readiness was already advanced or If the Soviet leaders decided towith only minimum preparations, the indications obtained might be few. If, on the other hand, thc USSRertain amount of lime to prepare and position lis forces, further and more specific warning might be obtained from the pace and nature of thc last-minute preparations. In the latterigher degree of probability could beto the warning of attack.in each case, thc nature of the warning given would depend alsoudgment as to (a) whether the USSR considered that thc concrete situation presented an unacceptable challenge to Soviet interests, and (b) whether thc Soviet government would take anycourse of action short of war which was open to It and which could preserve Its

t ls also possible thatocal crisis the USSR would decide to engage US orforces locally while hoping to avoid general war. Tills course of action would restalculation that Soviet objectives could be achievedimited application of force and that thc US would be deterred from Initiating an attack on the USSR Itself. There would clearly be great danger thatituation would develop into general war. The Soviet leaders would have to recognize that tho US might conclude that expansion of hostilities was Inevitable and therefore Itself seize the advantage of launching the first attackeneral war. Faced with this possibility, the Soviet leaders might at some point decide to launch such an attack themselves. Thismight be in some respects thc most

7

or all for warning purposes. Once Its forces were Involvedocal action, thc USSR could decide at any phase to make the hostilities general. Tensions would be very high, and while this might assist Intelligence In some ways, it would also make thcof indications extremely difficult in the given circumstances, Soviet forces would presumably be close to full readiness andsecurity precautions would be Inertain degree of Intelligence and military alert In the US would also obtain, based on warnings as to the growing Sovietin thc local crisis. Any warning ofIntent to expand the local crisiseneral war would have to. be Inferred from evidence of Soviet lasUminute preparationscale, character, or location at variance with those required for the local engagement in progress.

Effecteriod of Tension

he degree of political tension thatwould also be an Important variableeriod of rising tension would in itself constitute warning of an increasingof war. It would produce morebring intelligenceigh degree of alertness, and perhaps lead it to tikemeasures lo collect Information on Soviet activities. On the othereriod of tension also creates difficulties in theevaluation of information about Soviet activities and about Soviet interpretation of US activities. For example, most of the USSR's political and propaganda actionsto attack on the US might not differ greatly from those which could be expected in any period of heightened tension. These could include: diplomatic approaches tostates to persuade them to abandon their alliances with thc US; explicit threats against countries furnishing bases to the US; massive "peace" propaganda directed at theof Western states in order to undermine their will to resist or to destroy theirin the motives and Intentions of the governments; plausible new proposals to ban nuclear weapons; intensified propagandato the Bloc populations to prepare them

psychologically for "resistance touch actions could In themselves beas defensively motivated or as partar of nerves, and they would thus notthat the USSR had the intention lo attack. However, taken in conjunction with other kinds of indications, they might enable intelligence to give warningelatively greater degree of certainty. For example,would view seriouslyeriod of rising tension, that Communist parties had been instructed to stand by for the execution of sabotage and subversion missions, and this type of evidence might be in hand.

A period of rising tensions would also make it more difficult lo interpret indications of Soviet military preparations as evidencepecific intent to attack. The USSR might be carrying out military preparations, not on the basisirm decision to Initiate war, but for purposes of mtimidatlon or in order to Increase its defensive readiness and its ability to retaliateS attack which it feared was impending. It is alsothat Soviet preparations for war might be undertaken because of aof US policies, by which the Soviet leaders considered that they were about to bo forced to go to war, against their real desire. The Importanceorrect US estimate on this point would be very great, yet it would be particularly difficult to make such an estimateeriod of rising tension.

arge number of militarymight notarning of probable attack. Intelligence could say that theof war and the USSR's readiness for attack were Increasing. Ifituation was protracted and if enough indications were obtained, intelligence could probably project the trend of Soviet preparation toward aof maximum danger.

Functioning of Intelligence under Crisis Conditions

warningroduct ofare variable human factors whichtaken into account. Alertness would vary

8

on lhc manner In which the crisis developed, lis Intensity, and duration. There are manys ways in which thc alertness andof Intelligence Increases under crisis conditions. For example, Heldand Intelligence analysis become sharply focused on thc crisis situation; new sources of information held in reserve for sucharc put into use; resources of thecommunity are more closelyto deal with tho crisis, and, Intelligence is increasingly disposed to consider whether current evidence indicates hostile Intent. On the other hand, in the eventongcrisisigh degree ofkey personnel would be subjected toand strain. If at one stage or another apparently mistaken warning Judgments had been made, undue caution might come into play.

risis situation arises, the volume of reports Increases and their reliability on thc whole declines, thusarge number of ambiguous reports from Inadequately Identified sources and of uncertain reliability. There Is also an increase In the number of reports from sources of known reliability, some of which' sources come into playesultrisis situation. In these circumstances, communicationsmay bo overloaded, with resulting delays In the transmission and tlie receipt ofHowever, it Is not possible for theofficer to suspend judgment until more complete and satisfactory evidenceavailable, because of the pressure of timeeveloping crisis and the demands of Intelligence consumers for guidance.onsequence, tlie intelligence warnings given may be less reliable or more tentative.

Intelligence could employ emergencyprocedures under conditions of crisis

'It Is possible that preliminary warnings would result In us precautionary measures which would lead the USSR to cancel orlanned attack. In this case, what appeared toistaken warning would In fact haveorrect one. Intelligence might have accomplished Its warning mission completely, yet not be able to demonstrate that lt had done so.

in order to improve thc quantity and quality of Information available. Photographic and electronic reconnaissance over Sovietterritory could be undertaken. Agents held In reserve forituation and equipped with special means ofcould be activated. New locations and devices for monitoring levels of activity at Soviet air bases and other militarymight be available. Some of thesewould providepossibly of great value, on Sovietand readiness, and lnferentially perhaps on Soviet intentions to attack. SomeIn tills category, in particular aircould have the effect of Increasing tensions or even of provoking Soviet attack. For Intelligence to employ them wouldrequire policy decisions; these might or might not permit their use and would in any case cause delay.

Effort of Soviet Deception Attempts*

It seems almost certain that, whatever form the initial Soviet attack took, tholeaders would wish to achieve surprise. Therefore, Ihey would probably attempt to mislead Western Intelligence as to theirto attack, or even as lo theirand readiness for attack. This could be doneariety of ways. For example, the USSR could make diplomatic moves orlis propaganda in order to reduceIt could make plausible proposals to negotiate the Issues which had given rise to the crisis. It could simulate reduction of its military preparations, or even actuallysome of them. It could arrange for Western intelligence to obtain falseas lo deficiencies in Soviet readiness and capabilities.

It Is impassible to predict whether or not In any actual situation attempts at deception would be successful. Intelligence might still

rsSoviet Capabilities for De-cepUon" (isuller discussion of the deception problem.eal with deception in connection with attacks on thoUS.

able lo delect the continuation of specific military preparations. Such preparations. If delected, could be explained by Soviet caution and mistrust, but they would also point to the possibilityeception maneuver and they might be particularly significant as evidenceossible Soviet Intention to achievein launching an attack. Even if adeception attempt was not whollyhowever, thc warning problem would be complicated. Because of contradictoryIntelligence might not be able to give warning as promptly, firmly, oras It could In the absenceeception attempt.

Variations in the Character of the Initial Attack

s we have statedajorproblem for intelligence stems from the fact that the actual Soviet plan for attack would almost certainly not be known to us. This means that intelligence could notcategorically that the particular degree of readiness which we estimated had been reached had brought Soviet preparationstage of near completion. It would therefore become necessary to use the Information we had, first, to point to the character of the various attacks which the USSK could launch, and second, to assess thc probabttffj/articular attack would bo launched. Beyond this, many specific elements bearing on the character of an initial attack and affecting the warning problem could not be precisely estimated, for example, the weight andof attack which the Soviet leaders would consider necessary and at the same timewith surprise, what delivery systems other than aircraft would be used in initial attacks, the allocation of forces to continental US targets as opposed to targets elsewhere, and the bases from which Initial attacks would be launched. In any given situation, thcobtained by intelligence wouldvary In frequency, number, and kind, and would havo to bo related lohypotheses as to thc form and scale of the Initial attack.

WARNING FROM PREPARATIONS FOR ATTACK7

have estimated elsewhere, andconcerned here, with Soviet strategyevent of an attack on the US.Inwe discuss the warningIntelligence may be able to obtainof various elements ofwhich could be used In an initial

AHacks by Long-Range Aircraft on iho Continental US and Various US and Allied Targols in Eurasia and Its Periphery

a nrst example, thatdecided to launch In an Initialwhole force, or virtually its wholean estimatedercent down for' We believe that the state ofand readiness in Soviet Long-Rangeis such that probably several monthswould be required prior toof this scale. Accordingly,be derived from Increasedigher level ofactivity, and possibly the preparationweapons. Moreover, since SovietAviation consists primarily ofnn attack on the continentalalmost certainly involve use ofIn the Chukotski. Kamchatka, Kola,Arctic areas. Indications ofwould probably be derived fromat or associated with these bases,the Increased frequency ofof larger groups of aircraft to andthese bases. During the period overthese preparations were proceeding,li they were carried out with great

NIEspecially.

SNIET, "Soviet Gross Capabilities ror AlUek on the Continental US In,or the last agreedof the strength of Soviet Long-RangeA new estimate will be made ln aNIB. 'rhe view of the nircclor ofUSAF,hat the present ilrcngth Is.

10

Intelligence would almost certainly be able to-warn with Increasing firmness that Soviet Long-Range Aviation wasa stage of readiness at which the entire force could bo utilized In an Initial attack.

Suppose,econd example, the USSR were to launch an Initial air attackorce which It would be able to mounturther period ofIn this case, since there would bybe no further extended preparations of aircraft, crews, or bases prior to thewarning would have to be derived from Indications of thc final movement of aircraft immediately prior to launching of the atiack, and from such other related activities as might occur. Tlie chances of obtaining such indications would depend mainly on theof aircraft employed concurrently In an attack, andesser degree on the extent to which forward bases were used. Ourto give warning of attack would be largely dependent upon the operation of two related factors; the character and level of air activity which the US had come to consider as normal; and, the ability of the USSR toair activity above that level. Thc higher the level of air activity which had beenby the US as normal during theprior lo an attack, the greater the number of aircraft which could be deployed forwithout being considered abnormal. The presenf estimated level of Soviet Long-Range Aviation activity in and out of forward bases and peripheral areas of the Soviet Bloc is low, no single flight to the forward areas having exceeded an estimatedircraft. The present level could be raised somewhat without being considered abnormal, and, In addition, the USSR could probably conceal the launching of some bombers from both thcand the interior bases.

ough estimate, we believe that atorce upong-range aircraft could probably be launched concurrentlyproducing Indications permittingto give warning of possible attack. Generally speaking, the probability ofwarning Indications would Increase as the numbers of aircraft Increased. There ls no

basis for judging at what point the chances of receiving warning Indications would bo about even; we believe, however, that If the number of aircraft launched concurrently were as great as, the chances of their producing warning Indications would begreater than even If received, these indications would probably permitto warnossible attackours before attacking aircraft could reach radar warning lines. It would always be possible, however, for the movement to and out of forward bases toractice maneuver rather than an attack.

an attack of this scale, as of anyrelated to Soviet air operationsas distinguished from theweaponing of thc attack bombers,provide indications of preparationsperhaps as much as several daysan attack. Such preparations mightthe Imposition of very strictair traffic; quicker and more decisivereactions to accidental or strayenforcement of regulations for airgates Into Soviet air space, suchBerlin corridors; and unusual activitynear supply bases serving SovietAviation. Such indications,they occurred concurrently and withinperiod of time, might providereliminary warning earlierwhich might be given based onof the bombers themselves.

Attacks by Guidod Missiles

present, the USSR could probablyin an initial attack someguided missiles up to rangesmiles.We have no reliableto the numbers of these weaponsbe available or the location ofIt Is possible that,eriodpreparation for attack, activitieswith these weapons would beSuch indications would be offor gauging the Soviet state of

Sf. "Sovlat Capabilities andPrograms In the Guided Missilearch USD.

11

for war. Once these weapons were positioned for launclilng, warning of their use would be unllkdy.

warning from tacticaldevices is outside the scope of thissuch consideration Is necessary Into guided mtssllo submarines (SSQ)of the extreme unlikelihood ofwarning by any other means.mayew guided missilebut there ls no definitivetho war-readiness status of thisSortiesubstantial numberfrom either the Baltic orother than through the InlandSystem to thc White Sea, wouldjeopardize the achievement ofln an attack. However, theconsider that it could employ amissile submarines from Itsnnd Pacific Heels without unduealerting us prematurely. Ifpossible submarines were detectedSound Surveillance System, ASWback-up could confirm identificationcontacts as submarines. If sowe would be alerted and the timeas much as five days prior to possiblelaunching points, This wouldspecific warning of attack byguided missiles, althoughof such attack would have toln the warning given.

Attack on Western Europe by Soviet Forces Stationed in East Gormany

forces In East Germanyigh state of readiness, andwould be necessary toattack. The period of preparationnot exceed two to sevenesire to maximize the chancessurprise. Warning of unusualactivity would be obtained Ifelements were actually assembled lnpositions. Time to accomplish thiswould vary seasonally, dependingunits were at home stations orfield training phase of the annualcycle. Warning based on movements of

units to attack positions would probably vary as follows:

a few hoursew days Inin September-October, although theexists that there would be no warning;

two to five days In May-August;

five to seven days in

Genoral Mobilization

If the USSR undertook to mobilize Its full warreat variety ofwould be obtained. They would relate to such activities as call-ups of reserves,of annual classes beyond the time ofrelease, redeployment of units to forward areas, and intensified training programs.measures would be taken affectingprograms, allocations of materials and labor supply, and utilization of transport. Many of these measures would have to beby public Instructions andand therefore the fact that mobilisation was proceeding could not be hidden from

At some point during the totalof Soviet nalional life, both theof mob libation and the pace at which it was proceeding would almost certainly be detected by intelligence. In this case, there would probablyeriod of at least six months during which Intelligence could give warning of progressively greater readiness for war. However, It is uncertain that theof Indications would justify more specific warning at any time during this period.

In view of tlie economic costs andInvolved, evidence that tlie USSR was fully mobilizing thc military establishment, which we estimate could be accomplished In aboutays, would almost certainly have to be Interpreted as Indicative of Soviet"of hostilities, and Intelligence might be able to forecast the approximate date at which these military preparations would be complete. However, it would always befor the USSR to attack with its ready forces at an earlier date.

12

Attack

The USSR could also comrolt acts of war against thc US clandestinely. In ah initial attack lt could, to take thc most serious case as example, employ nuclear weapons which had been introduced clandestinely into the US or Into overseashe ability ofto give warning of an Initial attack launched by tliis means would dependon the possibility that some part of the Soviet clandestine plan had miscarrieday which would provide disclosure, that some Individual privy to tho arrangements had defected, or on chance discovery.that the USSR was attempting toa nuclear weapon Into the US or one of its bases would lead Intelligence to give its firmest warning of Soviet intent to attack, Similarly, discovery of Communist plans for systematic sabotage of civil andiven time would provide very firm indicationsommunistto attack.

Clandestine activitiesesser order oftrikes, minor actsarge scale, etc.might contribute to our ability to give meaningful warning. We could not be certain, however, that such activities had been organized in conjunction With an attack on the US.

Defensive Preparations

view of the threat posed bypower, thc Soviet leadersundertake certain defensivemeasures which could be takenalerting of air defense forces andto them to prevent confusionlaunching of the Soviet bombers; airmeasures for military units andreconnaissance by submarines andto locate US carrier forces. Ifas these were not taken, thetoetaliatory blowseriously handicapped. If they weremight be detected as muchays prior to thc Soviet initial attack.

See,.

Civil measures which could be taken might include activation of civil defense andof key personnel and possibly elements of the population from potential target areas. The USSR might decide to foregohort time before the Initialin order to Increase chances of achieving surprised If, however, such measures were taken earlierubstantial scale they would be detected. Since these would involve high economic cost and risk of causing panic In the population, they would greatly Increase the dcflnlteness with which warning would be given.

risk which the USSR would beacceptesult of neglecting some orthis type of defensive preparationsin part on the degree of successSoviet leaders expected their ownto achieve. We believe that Inprudence they would beforego preparations to receive aespeciallyherefore,indicators of this type wouldbe obtained.

Other Considerations

the foregoing paragraphs anbeen made to describeenera!evidence which might becomevarious kinds of Soviet militaryfor attack, and to estimate thetime before attack that such evidenceavailable. In addition, however, theand urgency of the warningactually be given by Intelligenceupon the following factors:

a. The rate, or pace, at which Sovietfor atiack appeared to beWe have frequently estimated that Soviet capabilities for attack are continually increasing as Soviet weapons and weapons delivery systems gradually improve underSoviet policies of military development. Such preparations do not produce warnings that an attack Is likely. However, aacceleration of the tempo of suchespecially if pointed to achievement at on early dateegree of readiness thought

13

be adequate for attack, would lead toof considerable urgency.

ndications In political, economic,and other fields which wouldaccompany evidence of Increasingreadiness for attack. All thesewould have to be weighed together with the strictly military evidence, and they would exert an important influence on the certainty and urgency of the warning which wasgiven.

WARNING FROM THE EVALUATIONNDICATIONS IN COMBINATION

In, we considered the activities which the USSR might undertake In preparing to launch an attack, and theof these activities which we might get from Soviet preparations for various forms or elements of an attack. We have also discussed the warnings which intelligence might give based on these indications. Ine pointed out the problem confronting us because of the fact that the USSR could select from among variousalternatives in planning its Initial attack. Whatever form and scale of initial attack the Soviet leaders eventually decided upon, an actual attack would probably Involve several of the various kinds of preparations discussed earlier, carried on concurrently In order to bo ready for all contingencies.

Indications received by intelligence of preparations undertaken concurrently would permit their evaluation in combination.which might be obtained of such multiple preparations would tend to bereinforcing and could provide the basis for warning that was more certain and timely than that estimated above based onof preparations taken separately.

CHANGES IN THE WARNING PROBLEM BETWEEN THE PRESENT AND

general effect of thc developmentcapabilities likely to take place bybe lo reduce warning times. Thewill be thc degree of modernization

achieved by Soviet armed forces and the state of readiness which they normally maintain.oviet Long-Range Aviation probably will have Improved its air crew training and support facilitiesoint at which virtually the entire force could be employed on short notice against the continental US andbases on the Bloc periphery. If only the elements kept In constant readiness were used, few if any Indications of attack could befrom air preparations. If thenumber of planes were to be used in the attack, there would be increasedof detection of some of thc preparations which an operation of this scale would require.

ery high level of readiness, the chances of detection would depend on the area or areas from which attacks were launched. Possibilities of detection would be greatest if aircraft were staged throughbases, less if aircraft were launched from home bases only, and least if an attack employed only aircraft regularly present at forward bases. Assuming detection of the movement, it would still be difficult toit as an atiack, especially if high levels of air activity had become normalesult of intensive training operations over anperiod.

The USSR will probably develop0 which will permit other forms of attack than those discussede have estimated that the USSR could probably have ballistic missilesangeautical miles in operational status beginningnd that it couldew lnter-continental ballistic missiles" The numbers of these weapons available0 and limitations In their reliability andmake it unlikely that the scale of attacks by aircraft would be appreciably changed by that date. There might be indications of preparations of the launching sites over an extended period, but warning of the actual launching of the missiles could almostnot be given.

hc use of missile-launchingIs likely toore important clc-

aras.

In an Initial attack than at present, and some of these submarines wouldbehe latter would be more cUitlcult to detectlow speed approach to tbe launching area, because the entire run could be made without coming to the surface. We are unable to give aestimate of the number of submarines the USSR would consider it safe to employ without jeopardizing surprise, but we believe that it would beew. The possibility of detection would probably extenderiod up lo two weeks, depending on the areas attacked and the inclusion of conventional-powered vessels in the attack force.

he warning problem with respect to the other forms of attack discussed earlierby Soviet forces stationed ln Germany

,

or full-scale attack after mobilizationwill probably not change greatly betweenny major politicalwhich resultedew pattern offor Soviet forces outside the USSR would of course present different problems.

n Paragraphbove, we pointed out that thc certainty and urgency of thewhich would actually be given bywould depend especially on the rate, or pace, at which Soviet preparations forappeared to be undertaken, and that warnings In various degrees of certainty would depend upon the correlation of indications of all kinds, military and nonmilitary. This will be the case throughout the periodlthough the relative influence ofindications on the warning Judgment may well vary.

EC

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA