WARNING OF WAR IN EUROPE: CHANGING WARSAW PACT PLANNING AND FORC

Created: 9/1/1989

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN9

Warning of War in Europe: Changing Warsaw Pact Planning and Forces

National Intelligence Estimate Memorandum to Holders

This Memorandum to Holders represents the views of the Director of Central Intelligence with the advice and assistance of the US Intelligence Community.

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Warning of War in Europe: Changing Warsaw Pact Planning and Forces

Information available as of9 was used in ibe preparation of this Memorandum to Holders.

The following intelligence organizations participated in lhe preparation of this Memorandum: The Central Intelligence Agency The Defense Inieliigence Agency The National Secunty Agency

Bureau ot Intelligence and Research. Department ol State

alsopantcipating:

The Deputy Cruel of Staff lor intelligence.

Department ol the Army

The Director of Naval Intelligence.

Department of the Navy

The Assistant Chief of Staff. Intelligence.

Department of thc Air Force

The Director ol Intelligence. Headquarters.

Marine Corps

This Memorandum wdS approved lor publication by the National foreign lotetttgcoce Board.

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Warning of War in Europe: Changing Warsaw Pact Planning and Forces

The warning times we associate with possible Warsaw Pact preparations for war with NATO in Central Europe have increased significantly from those set forth

Pact military planners would prefer and are most likely to attempt toell-prepared attack involving five to six fronts with four fronts in the first strategic echelon. We should be able lo provide about four to five weeks of warning of such an attack.

We recognize that circumstances could cause the Pact to commit its forces to an attack after the completion of mobilization and movement, but before completing the postmobilization training necessary for minimum offensive proficiency. The warning times would be shorter, but the Soviets would judge such an attack as highly risky.

Soviet and non-Soviet Warsaw Pact unilateralif completed, and given no reduction in NATO capabilities, should significantly extend preparation time because oftheneed in the first echelon for currently low-strength divisions from the western USSR.

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Projected Warsaw Part Echelons in the Western Theater of Military OperationsFour-Front Attack

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Key Judgments

The warning times we associate with possible Warsaw Pact preparations for war with NATO in Central Europe have increased significantly from those set forth inhese changesirect consequence of Soviel assessments of improved NATO military capability, our improved understanding of the Soviet process of transitioning to war, and changes in Soviet peacetime readiness. Accordingly, before unilateral Ibrcewc assess that:

Pact miliury planners would prefer and are most likely to attempt toell-prepared attack involving five io six fronts with four fronts in thc first strategic echelon. We should be able to provide about four to five weeks of warning of such an attack. The increased time needed to prepare this attack option results from increased reliance in thc first echelon on "not ready" divisions from the western USSR.

An aitack with three fronts in thc first echelonossibility in some circumstances. Wc should be able lo provide aboul two lo three weeks of warning of such an atiack. Our assessment of ihe increased lime needed io prepare these fronts for sustained offensive operations results from new judgments about Ihe time required to prepare Soviet forces based in Eastern Europe.

Wc recognize that circumstances could cause thc Pact to commit ils forces to an attack after the completion of mobilization and movement bui before completing postmobilization training necessary for minimum proficiency for offensive operations. If so. we could provide al least two weeks of warningour-front attack or at least one week warningess likely three-front attack. Wc believe, however, (hc Soviets would judge attacks before completion of postmobilization training as highly risky because of thc reliance on reserves lacking such training.

Figure 2

Announced Warsaw Paci Unilateral Force Reductions in lhe Western Theater of Military Operations

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Announced Soviet and non-Soviet Warsaw Pact unilateral forceif completed, should significantly extend preparation time because of the greater need in thc first echelon for currently low-strength divisions from thc western USSR. Warning of our assessed most likely attackfronts in the firstincrease by about two weeks. If thc Soviets elected to attack after only mobilization and movement, warning times would increase byeek.

These preparation and warning times after unilateral reductions assume that NATO capabilities remain at current levels. Unilateral NATO reductions could diminish Pact perception of (heir requirements for success and, therefore, reduce warning time.

Thc ongoing Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Talks are likely to result in an agreement establishing numerical parity between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces below current NATO levels within the Atlantic-to-the-Urals zone. From peacetime parity, the Soviets would have tomajor forces in order to generate lhe capability to attack successfully and sustain thc offensive lo thc depth of thc theater. This requirement would increase preparation time considerably over what wc have assessed in this Memorandum. Alternatively, (he Sovieis could increase theand combat power of residual forces through higher manning levels and acquisition of modern equipment. This would require reinvesting lhe savings achieved by reducing Iheir forces under CFE into defense and restructuring their forces and redistributing their cquipmenl. Theseforces would be capable of launching attacks for limited objectives with warning times more like wc arc accustomed to today. Wc do not believe such attacks for limited objectives would be attractive to Pact planners because the risks, to include escalation to nuclear war. would far outweigh any potential shorMerm gains.

Wc are confident thai for the period of this Estimate wc will be able toand report significant disruptionseversal of present political, social, and economic trends in (he Warsaw Pact countries. Although these indicators will remain ambiguous with regard lo actual national war preparations, they will continueignal (hat thc potentialrisis had increased.

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Original document.

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