Created: 10/1/1989

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Status of Soviet Unilateral Withdrawals



Status of Soviet Unilateral Withdrawals

In forma lion available as9 was used in the preparation of this Memorandum, vvhtch was prepared by the National Intelligence Officer for General Purpose Forces. The Memorandum was coordinated wuli representatives of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intchgencc Agency, coordination was chaired by the National Intelligence Officer lor General Purpose Forces


Status of Soviet Unilateral Withdrawals

Soviet reductions in Eastern Europe are proceedinganner consistent with Gorbachev's commitment; they will resultignificant reduction in the combat capability of Soviet forces in Eastern Europe.

Current Soviet activities comprise four simultaneous processes: withdrawal, reduction, restructuring, and modernization.

In Eastern Europe the Soviets, at roughly halfway through the period, have withdrawn about SO percent ofthe equipment and units promised. Percentages are much lower for reductions in the overall Attantic-to-the-Urals zone and for east ofthe Urals.

Soviet restructuring and modernization activities wiltmaller, more versatile, standing force optimized for defense, but still capable of smaller scale offensive operations.

This iitformatioM It Seem-



paper presenis (he latest assessment of the ongoing unilateral Soviet withdrawal of forces from Eastern Europe and reductions in thc so-called Attantie-tc-the-Urals (ATTU) zone. It provides the latest figures of forces withdrawn and reduced, the current understanding of tbe restructuring of the forces remaining, and thc best estimates of the factors affecting the combat capabilities and potentialof those residual forces.

We have reached two bottom-line judgments. First, we believe lhat tbe Soviel withdrawal is real and that il will resulteduction io the combat capability of thc remaining Sovicl forces in Eastern Europe;all of thc changes we are seeing, and those we anticipate, arc consisieni with our undcrsunding of General Secretary Gorbachev's policy objectives-reducing Western perceptions of the Warsaw Pact threat,elaxation in NATO's defense efforts, achieving an agreement on Conventional Forces in Europend lowering ibe defense economic burden on Ihe USSR.

Allhough "withdrawal" orarc lhe terms generally associated with the current Soviet activity, there are actually four processesithdrawal of Soviet units and equip-mcnl from the traditional "forward areas" io Eastern Europe;eduction in (he overall Soviet force posture,articular emphasis on Ihose areas facing NATO;estructuring of the remaining forces intended io bring their capabilities inlo line with anticipated missions, objectives, and conditions: and.onlinuation of programaticintended to raise lhc combat effectiveness of Soviet forces. All of this activity is totally unilateral. The Soviets arc undet no formal obligation to carry through and ate free to adjust the process as ihey proceed Nevertheless. Gorbachevtrongin demonstrating (hat he is fulfilling his promises.

In assessing what is going on, the best place to start is wilb the8 speech at the UN by Gorbachev. He made tbe following key statements of Soviet intentions, that over the next two years the Soviets would:

(be overall size of their armed forcesersonnel.

thc size of their forces in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary0 personsanks. This was later increasedanks with ihe inclusion of reductions in Soviet forces in Poland.

0rtillery systems,ombat aircraft from Eastern Europe and (he Western USSR (the ATTU zone).

Withdraw and disband six Unk divisions from East Germany. Czechoslovakia, and Hungary.

Withdraw assault landing fonrtaiions and units and assaull river crossing forces.

Restructure Ihc remaining forces to present an "unambiguously defensive" posture.

He made additional promises concerning Asia.

Gorbachev's speech was met with many questions and much skepticism in the West, Between late December and late February, official Soviet spokesmen assericd that the six Soviet divisions to be withdrawn from Eastern Europe would be withdrawn in their entirely, lhat all of their combat equipment would beand lhal (he other tanks removed from Eastern Europe would be destroyed or convened.

A* tbe withdrawal* and reiuociuring haveii hat become increasingly clear thai,Ihc SovieU are generally moving towardinitial commiirocrui, (hey are not being implemcnied in ibe manner described by aome subsequent spokesmen. The Unk regiments, other anils, and all of tbe Unks or (he three divisions scheduled for removal9 have been withdrawn, along wiih many Unks from otber divisions. Otheralmost all of ihc artillery and armored troop carriers- however- are being used in theofthe remaining divisions, each of which is losing iwo battalions of tanks ai one tank regiment is convertedotorized rlUc regiment. Moreover, the Unks being removed from Eastern Europe arc not being destroyed.

Thc Soviets are beginning to acknowledge deviations from some of iheir sUtemcnu. but they have still not been entirely forthright about some of thcnotably.

That the aitillery in the remaining divisions is being iacreased by (he addition of one artillery battalion in unk dmsioai and that artillery batulions la divisions are being expanded from IS touns.

That tbc restructuring of the remaining divisions may eventually require the introduction ofdditional armored troop carriers.

Most of what lhc Sovieis are doing makes miliury sense. Indeed, it is generally what wc would have expected until ihe Soviets began making additional sutcmenis. Despite iheie devialions. thc overall result will stillciy significant reduction in thecombat power of Soviet forces in Eastern Europe.

How close have the Soviets come to meeiing7 December promises as we approach the midway point? Tables II illustrate our answer.rovides ihe soofccird (or forces withdrawn from Eastern Europe Column one gives ihe reportable items: column two. lhe total number of those items in lhal area atthree, the specific redvettom announced for each of Ihe items; column four, ihc reductions Ihc Sovieu haveasoUmn fire, our assessment of ieductmm avnd. finally, column sn provides ihe percentage Ihat our

assessment represents of Ihc toul announcedAt halfway through tbe period, (be percentages are in tbc noizbborbood oferceni complete. We believe that upombat aircraft; tour air assault units; aad two assault crossing uniu have been withdrawn; aad three Unk divisions have been removed from the force structure. No percenUgc is offered for artillery because no specific withdrawal of artillery from ihe forward area was promised inpeech.

Turning to UWecimilar picture, although the pcrceiiUges are somewhat reduced. For example, we have not detected that the Sovieu have reduced the toul number of Unks in the ATTU zone-to the same degree that tbey bare withdrawn thc promised number of unks from Fas tern Europe. Finally.icture of the sutus of lhefrom east of'rah Overall, the Soviets, within thc hmiu of our ability to observe and assess.

seem to be proceeding with tbe uniblcral withdrawals

as outlined by Gorbachev.

Questions have arisen concerning tbe spirit and letter of their promise Arc tbey doing what ibey promised? Is the force size really changing? Even if it is, arc tbc residual Soviet forces more capable? In short, is there less here lhan meets the eye?

Let us look at Ihe tank issue first. Following7 December speech, statements by Sovietindicated Ibal most or all of the ofanks to be withdrawn from Eastern Europe would be destroyed and thai most ofthers to be reduced in the wetlern USSR would be converted lo civilian use. Some subsequent sutemenu havelhal Unks would also be placed in storage or used to upgrade uniu. The inconsistency andof ihese suiemenu make il difficultetermine how many Unks the SovieU now intend to dismantle or destroy, bui virtually all of them will tie older models from within the USSR and not tbe reUtively more modern unks being withdrawn from Eastern Europe- Mccwr. some evidence indicates thatis planning toigmncani nembr* of tbe tanks removed from units in ihc ATTU rone can of


im include* loreei lhe So-mt tie remorini fron Fjiiern Europe, ll doet not include (he dupotiiron of ihew form in lhe Sanei Union

'Aaaill touli arr it1

1 Ma (Or efaaacau of iheTank Drnunc (TDl iM (lad Caanb Tao* Dwwot fffB| ianliihaa. al uaU aad the au icfUac idpancai irroanaiiuoce Miialioa. and mohipk lotlei lianehev batiariun Irom eachdeparted IromGermany. Both diniioni iraniferrrd Iheir moioriied nBe retimcal lo another division,ank regiment from iheie divjiioni aai rtmoved in ibeir place Moil of ihe irrilWry and virtually all mole lied rifle ctemrnii from Iht 1Mb TDd OTD probably bawanaeiiuaie ibe mi*aciof rrirjm-uj Cmad Iaaia

MamperVara all ib Gaartt Taal Dmiiondrr-artod fromlanfaiy Oaly laakt from ihe diviinn. howcei. lute brrn idemifiod al bawl in Iht USSK.

Soviethave ind^icd ihslOOaoli arc be<a| orbeen mihdriwn Iroma eteh lauaaee. ibex uiiuaon miuaai rrno>rd donreex tail Maacorta Mcai iroratli aaaihcr Seaari taolcuaiaa lUiod ui X Uatv bad aepaoed from Eaurraaaki ffom ati Ave lunruiri leeiCMaiiiftir^iment marrpaled fitMit Huncar> rThiMMal ii lot all Sciei0 imn and abare. including nunari. mnliiple roctei Ugiiihe'v and amiiant Kum

IJt titled ihaijum" Of artillerylun' horn wiihdrawn flamheir title-menu either ipcoheilly or probably include artillery removed fromuropeMcMfOliii

' Becancof (ori* lecuireneriu.tctf-protvM innWrr bocir.l'.pk Facte; Uacoen "nr dunM oe rulctri

depanaa (rem taw OWM

milrittucki i

uelnmen hart itaicd ihai (ram MO to ]J| torabat aiiciili vill be tmuvrd (rem Cetiern'So-iei spotnmrn have Htied ihil 'remombat aircraft have beenremheir sraiemrnu tuber tiKCi'Mallv or probably ioclude ai'Cili removed Irom eastern Eurapt aod Mongol u

' In addition ia (on' ti' lllauli biiillMm irftrrMly reirovrt (ion Eauciami Coubatail Qajajrajrajt lbcia) arataMl*been cknaatieC from ihr aix'i'i cf ihe Wencra CxMnfiafome(ram naWnut hMI ctmwac battabeau anarchi

l> have been reaui("iBd io un<it nruiM| la tail Germany

ipokcinwacamcn have btw unhdra-'iheir iiaicmeali probably include personnel icniovid Irom Catirrn FuMi* Mongolia One ipolnman inn5ih.ilMOM men hud deparl'd from fUii Germam

Urals There i$ also evidence thai the Soviets will upgradehe USSR, including those in the ATTU rone, wiihmodern tanks withdrawn from Eastern Europe

In general, wc believe ihai lanks withdrawn 'ram Fa stern EurnjH- jrc replacing older larks lhal hadin cudrc unn> or sioi.ige in i'ic USSR To ihe

best of our knowledge, (he Sovieis are taking the opportunityy ihis withdrawal lo retain ihcir mOSl modem equipment in ihcir residual forces Thus, in Fast Germany, ihc residual force will be entirely oquippeche. and lhcds thai had



Ubte Includesimes! appaienlly reamed from lhc fore* bul iriwi of "bitlt lemaini unaccounted foi

li i"8

' Soviet spokesmenialed thil asalf of Soviet G'ocnd loieoll be eliminated

Thismom thatlli disoaaded at dcaciniied ia awfetiialioad IOAE iin ihm) An aoa>iKT>al hi ipputBd) ire i* iw tracm e* dishiiviim o< dcaetmlMf

CDO0 unkieeoffcen eastern Fiu ope (tee TaMt I. loot non fj Moil ofte IMi. which have been accounted fc< in tmiK or bases in tM USSR.dditional laiiklf liBMi it moved (com army core* or divisionsui ihibsndirif intern

Savin Union Mailii lints mim .nKeounltd loi.

'Thli toul Inelwlei intitini. guns in units and aililiery pieces stored in depe<i

This toial titladet lie he ow en. lea biieitomb-en. tankers, and AW ACS

* These utiiiltbeen reeled from tewve enior Sonet oflket hai ladicaied that some of lhat* lirerall -LI be scrapped, some Bled far irissnc or at tyiae. laraan. Md scan* evata baiter) Ta date, aa serapplag has beca coedwad. Tkn wul lacUdcilaeGrouad farom j'l.OuOAsrr.e.n lhe Air Fo-ca.n thc Navy: andn ihe Stntefic Rockel Fetors II docs not inelode comirueilon aad railroad, iroops oi civil defense and internal accuiiiy lortcs.

held for many years in cadre units or in long-lerm depot storage in ihe interior of thc Soviet Union and cast of the

VVhal does this mean for Sovici ca pa bill lies? There has been no net increase in the number20 tank* in the forward area, and only modest increases are anticipated in the neat few yeanihe overall number of "most modern tanks" is not affected by ihe restructuring In fact, lhe net number of tanks is being reducedignificant number of older, yet fully4 lanksthe Soviets had JO divi>ion>aneuver

regiments before the withdrawal began, after lhe wuhdrawals are concluded ihey will haveivisions withaneuver regiments.

Thchich (he Soviets arc carrying out their restructuring has. however, provoked serious questions that have not yci been answered. Clearly, although they have adhered to their promise totanks nnd have removed three divisions from their force structure in Eastern Europe, equipment other Ihan tank* from those units is being used io modernize and expand the equipment holdings of the remaining divisions

The inconsistency of certain feat ares of the reduction and rest rutin ring programs with some Sovietof Ihese activities probably reflects adjustments made hy ihe Ccneial Staff as thc programs have

table include! oQuinnwei Bcoiitnii> (amoved from ihe (ore* but nuii al which remuay unaccounted lor

anuary Ivll

' TWi wu! <wdwocs am> corps rxoMnun thai tax beta

fliiln'jrj liivi Th? dntbOM

dinaie lo ihe army core* hair oni all hern disbanded. They aie Included in ihc fiiuies (oi divisions An additional aim) mi pi may br deactivating

The Soviets have tnnouaccd testivisions be eliminated lit Ihe USSR That Un aaaHi. which inn iad fareea areibeUSSR Bacaate Scmci wttlenoec sho Have siateC ihu ai iriny as half caTallOiound Force) dnmom will be eiimirMKC. this would total II of ihe it division* rail of iM Urals if tht leduction is apportioned

fhe lower percent! ft ruludei forte reduiinns resulting, from ihc A'fKiafrom the "cauern* USSR uul ihe bather ecssrt laaMet these rcdxtioan

'Thai soul includes aa(uai am! an

undcttinuncdof intllei) piecesatibei leu thin IPO mm sicaed in

t Thil total ciclude* hei>coe*cii. wituied nail air. heavy bomb ers. tankers,CS

Tbis total includes lhe fourad so be wiUdrawa Irons Haaajlai. Tha Sonets hat an inec.ied >Uch other rt(oneau and how maay ledHional aircraft an aadadtd

These ii" "iii have beenliumnm and icma nfee Rocaesc Ihe Soviets have ace specified iht number of aircrafte reduced,aoiux deieiminc "hitt of ihe toul ihey plan to eliminate

iTho total include*he (wound Force) ISIOOOia ihe Aw0 in iht AirCO0 in the Navy; iad i0 iihe Sraita* BocWi Forces It does not nctalt cocsiiaciioa aad railroad iieona a> onl defense aad lairtiu-arcarity Sorcea

' ThB unil .ncluCkshc cueta" USSR indor the "tmiihetn" USSR,cina. sernctmrndrum from Afgaanittait

Wiih ihc withdrawal program originallybeen imposed from above, the General Start probably has been given considerable flexibility in organiring remaining Soviet forces within theimposed by "defensive" resirucioring.

The character of Use restructured residual force, therefore,ajor question To discuss ibai force, however, lequircs some explanation of lhe overall Soviel motivation for lhe pioccss We believe thai (he ongoing unilateral reductions and rcsiruciuring arc intended largely ioerception of reduced threat in the West and in maintain the momentumFE agreement thai would allow Gorbachev

to reduce his forces funher. reap potential economic benefiti. and simultaneously reduce NATO force capability We believe the Soviets remain committed lo this end game and will not yeopardire it in an effort to obtain short term military advantages thai almosi certainly would be quickly discovered by lhe West.

Gorbachev's economic agenda is an overridingas wc assess ihc scope of the Soviet'sind -ithdijwati Butof thend modeini/Jtron' As kmc ago as the, lhc Soviets recofinired that lhe lype of war lhal would probably be foughl in Cenlral lluiope had


Statements on Soviet Tank Reductions8

Major General Lebodev ot the Soviet General Staff stales that entire units with their materiel will be withdrawn from Eastern Europe. The units will be disbanded, and much of theirincluding the latest modelbe scrapped. Tank engines and auxiliary equipment will be turned over to the civilian economy.odev's suiement was referring specifically to the Unks in the sii divisions to be withdrawn; however, the context of his remarks indicate he may have been referring to all tank units removed from Eastern Europe.)

Marshal Akhromeyev stales that six tank divisions will be withdrawn from East Germany.and Hungary. Innks will be removed from Soviet motorized rifle divisions and other units in Eastern Europe.nks to be withdrawn will be destroyed, and most of the tanks to be reduced west of lhe Urah will be dismantled.

Marshal Kulikov asserts that "withdrawn forces" will not be sutioned in the western miliuryalthough some would be stationed east of tbe Urals.

General Secretary Gorbachev announces that half of0 unks will be destroyed and half will be convened io civil use.


Deputy loreign Mtnisier Karpov says thai, of0 unks to be reduced, half would be scrapped and the other half convened io civil or training use. Thc reduciion involvedO of the "most

modern" tanks and, ofould be from divisions remaining in Eastern Europe.nks in tbc six Unk divisions withdrawn from Eastern Europe would be -dismantled."


Army General Snelkov. commander of Soviet forces in East Germany, stales that lhc Unks removed from lhc GDR will be sent beyond ihc Urals; some will bend somefor use in lhc national economy.


Lieutenant General Fursan. Chief of Staff of Soviet forces in East Germany, announcesnks arc already beyond lhe Urals, where they will be turned into bulldozers.


Colonel General Chcrvov of the Soviet Oeneral Suff states thai, of0 tanks loill be destroyedill be used as towing vehicles or urgets for firing practice.


Soviet General Suff Chief Moiscyev says thai Moscow reserves Ihe option lo rcuin rather than destroy equipment withdrawn from Eastern Europe.


General Markclov. Chief of the General Suff Press Center, announces that older, wcenout Unks will be smelted, and that newer Unks will be remodeled to serve as tractors for civilian purposes. He also slatesice] works at Chelyabinsk in thc Urals is already smelling tanks.

Key Statements on Sarin Tank Reduction! (continued)


Mijot General ShcbcpuL Chief of Siaff of (be Soviel Central Group of Forces, stales (hat some of2 tank* removed from Czechoslovakia will be scrapped or convened for civilian usetbc Black Sea port of Novorossiysk in the North Caucasus Military District.


General SufT spokesman Li cot aunt General Petrov states that moreanks and artillery pieces have been dispatched to storage bases or for destruction.


Colonel Geneial Omelichcv, first Deputy Chief of the General Staff, states (hat morenks luve been withdrawn from Eastern Europe and Mongolia. He adds that uniu being withdrawn wiU be disbanded and some of ibeir equipment wil) be destroyed, some transferred to storage bases, and some used in tbe national economy.


Defense Minister Yazov states that some Unks withdrawn from Eastern Europe are being used io upgrade units in lhe USSR, some arc being rnothballed. and "old" unks made inre being destroyed.


Colonel General Knvoshcycv of (be General SurT slates lhal lhc smelling of tanks has begun and that their engines and other components are being used in (he economy, olher unks arc being converted for civilian useill be scrappedill be convened Those being scrapped arc heavy tanks likehich arc unsuitable for civilian use.

changed. Where once ihc use of nuclear weapons was expected, causing the Sovieis lo plan for rapidand cxploiution, Ihe Sovieu began loargely or wholly convenlional war. where both sides' nuclear arsenals might be checked by parity. At ihc same lime, tbey saw changes io NATOforces that made those forces more and more capable ofonventional Sovietopcrttioa. With (he advent of densely do-ployed, relatively cheap, and highly effective antiunk weapons systems, the SovieU began to talk about "gnawing- rather than "sltdog" through NATOAs Soviet General Sufl attention turned (oward the demandsigh-tech convenlional battlefield, (hc SovieU recocniwd an increasing needrain for defensive operations. Tbey also saw ihai (heir heavy unk forces were becoming morebut only after the December initiative did tbey alter the planned expansion of their unk forces. In general terms, the current Soviet military response to NATO convenlional capabilities is more infantry and artillery up front, backed by lank forces.

Il is the reduction in Ihc force and lbc change in Ihe missions i( is structured lo perform ihat reflectimpact. Gorbachev has reasserted the Party's leading role in determining thc sociopolitical content of Soviel military doctrine. The Communist Party and iu leaders decide matters of national security,the potential opponents, thc strategic likelihood of war. and tbe resources to be allocatedefease. Gorbachev's views of Soviet economic problems, and his assessment ihat near-to-midiertn conflici with the West was unlikely, led him to concludeeasible method of contributingis ecooomic and political objectives


Soviel leadership's reductions and restructuring programs will produce over (be ocal few years lbc most .ientrkani changes in Soviel cencral purpose forces opposite NATO since Khrushchev'i draslic force reductions of (bend;

a consequence of decisions by (be USSR and its Warsaw Pact allies lo cut their cencral purpose forces over the next two years, (he offensiveof Pact (heater forces will decline through tba first half of.

The announced withdrawals of Soviet forces from Central Europe, when completed, will significantly reduce Soviet prospects for attackingess than fully prepared force posture and lengthen considerably the amount of time required for the Pact to prepare and posilion forces for sustained offensive operations against NATO.

Residual forces would be sufficient toastily constituted but still effective defense againsi NATO forces until reinforcernestu could beand moved forward.

As the Soviets move to an infantry-heavy forcethrough restructuring, there mayramatic increase in (he number of BMP infantry fighting vehicles. Allhouch effective in combal operations. BMPs arc noi tanks, and wcegardless of how lhe Soviets choose to restructure their forces, ihe loss of half the unks previously tutioned in Eastern Europe will significantlyPact offensivearge addition of well equipped infantry would noi totally ofTsei this loss of armored striking power.

The Soviets, nevertheless, have no intention ofthemselves, nor do (hey intendaintain obsolete forces. Qtite tbc contrary. Gorbachev'sreforms, if successful, would prevent such outcomes. It is consistent with suted objectives,simuluneously to withdraw unks. reduce (be size of forces overall, and restructure and modernize residual forces using existing equipment lo rnaximize their potential effectiveness against NATO.

Although weretty good perspective oo tbc general impact of these changes, there are still some impofUnt uncertainties. We do not know the actual shape that Soviet forces will like. Will Sovietfor tbeir restructured forces change? Tbey seem unlikely toapability to conduct breakthrough operalions withoutthat change? Will ihe residual forces be maintainedigher level of readiness? On all these questions, opinions will abound, but until evidence or trends appear, conclusions are premature.

Wc conclude (he Soviet withdrawals andobserved to date are generally consistent with Gorbachev's initial statement. Wc also conclude (hai Soviet restructuring and modernizationwith emerging Soviet miliury doctrinal views ol war in Europe and lhc nature and capability ofresultmaller standing force opli* mi ted for defense, but still capable of smaller scale oiTenuve opcratiofis.orce wouldassive and lengthy mobilization in order to perform deep strategic offensive opcialions against NATO.


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