SOVIET PLANNING AND CAPABILITY FOR PROTRACTED NUCLEAR WAR

Created: 2/1/1986

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Soviet Planning and Capability for Protracted Nuclear War

Interagency Inlrlligrncc Memorandum VolumeInteragency Memorandum

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NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION Unauthorized Disclosure Subject to Criminal Sanctions

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CononsultantsInformation Involved Dissemination and Extraction of Information

Conlroled by Originator This Information Has Been Authorized lor

Release to

Hfcv.wt ciat currie noM -

A microfiche copy of this oooumwiialla We fromprinted copies Irom CPAS/IMC

receipt ot Dl reports in either microfiche or printed torm con also be arranged through CPAS/IMC.

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SOVIET PLANNING AND CAPABILITY FOR PROTRACTED NUCLEAR WARfH

VOLUMEINTERAGENCY MEMORANDUM

n avallabloWOlued In the prrparatlnn ol ihn Memorandum, approved lor {iiiMicaiion5 bv thr Chairman ol tbe National IrtfrilwtNe Council.

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KEY JUDGMENTS AND IMPLICATIONS

Soviet military stratify calls (or attaining the USSR's militaryobjectives as quickly as possibleajor East-Westplanners, however, expectar with NATO wouldlarge-scale nuclear strikes and that,. they mustto execute the post sir ike operationsoccupy

Western Europe and neutralize US nuclear attack ca pain lilies.onflict, in the Soviet view, could last days, weeks. <ir even months beyond the initial large-scale nuclear attacks.^

Soviet planners believe thai the concluding phase would be fought mainly by general purpose forces. They consider thai:

Most nuclear forces would be used or destroyed in ihe firs* days of nuclear combat.

Wilhheldeserved for only ihe most important targets, would be used over the days and weeks following the initial massive nuclear strikes to help attain strategic objectives Because of iheir survivability, subinarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) probably would be withheld in considerably higher numbers,!

Soviet intercom mental nuclear strikes during the concluding phase would be designed lo preclude further US involvement in the conflict on the European Continent, where follow-onare expected to be concentrated.I

j This Increasedoperations lollowing the major initial strikes is prolubly lied totoward greaterlite

complexities of this environment. ]

have underscored the difficulties of ar with NATO.

a result of NATO's use of ratjioetecIronic warfare and direct nuclear at-tack.

Capabilities

Soviet miliury capabilities have utility for protraeled nuclear war even though thai may nol have been ihe main reason lor tlicii development. Specifically, Moscow's prolracled war capabilities have been enhanced bv measures such as;

Developmenl of lance SLBM and mobile 1RBM forces, and the ongoirh! deployment of mobile ICBM forces as well, which inherently enhance survivability.

Developmentubmarine-launched, nuclear-armed cruise missile, whose small siie enables it to be bunchedtandard-size torpedocapability that could facilitate rearming of surviving Soviet submarines.

The Soviets' highly redundant command, control, andsystem, which is probably sufficiently survivuble to ensure at least minimal control over strategic forces after an enemy attack.

The USSR's civil defense program, whichew hours' warning, probably would ensure the survivalargeul Soviet leaders

Deep underground facilities, such as Sharapovo and Chekltov. which provide Moscow's top mtUtary-political leadership with substantial protection against even direct nuclear attack.

Further, the Soviets also:

Expect some decentralization of control of battlefield nuclear weapons after the imii.il massed strike.

Plan to disperse reserve missiles, warheads, and missile propel-lant from rear depot! before escalation to use of nuclear weapons

Have stockpiled and pre-positioned communications equipment for use in the poslstrike period.

Plan to withhold some operational ICBMs and IRBMs from the initial strikes, as wellonsiderably higher proportion of

SLBMs. (We doubt that there are any plans for stockpiling and using obsolescent missiles retired from the active forces)

On the other hand, some measures such as missile reload of SSBNs and survivable poststrikeapparently been developed onlyimited extent. The Soviets also do not appear to have established alternative means of transporting missiles the long distance that would beas by road orthe potential vulnerability of the Sovirt rail network in wartime. Moreover, taking into account the problems the Soviets are likely to faceostattack environment and the apparently limited extent ofthey have undertaken to cope with tliese difficulties, wc estimate they probably would be able lo reload and refire from ICBM siloseriod of weeks or monthsin.illf the reserve ICBMs they maintain in peacetime.1

IIgreatest eihUhasiJJ ill Imlh Soviet doctrine and deployments is on the opening phases of warfare, which are considered critical to the war's outcome. Although they have developed various capabilities that are critical to protracted warfare operations, the Soviets have not pursued comprehensive, high-priority, integrated programs specifically designed for extended operations. The Soviets apparently lack detailed strike planning for the final phase because of the uncertainty associated with the earlier periods of combat. Their writings call for the advanced preparation of detailed operational plans only for the initial periods of conflict and warn that tbe first massed nuclear strike would so drastically change the situation that any prestrike planning for follow-on operations would need extensive revision. The effect of thiswith the opening period of war. however, is mitigated somewhat because much of what is designed for the continuity of operating in the initial nuclear phases would be Ix-ncficinl to protracted

There is an alternative view that the main test overstates the difficulties the Soviets would have in reconstituting their current silo-based ICBM force in nuclear conflict, given the extensive preparations

r uhen at rtthrmca thai ICBM rtjtnar Slant Ihe holder o) lhatt a, unlikel, SLBM reload foare, in Somet

' ruBaddxt-an. Ar hotter ml lhm rtrm trfoan Ike Saaeu da net man laon

and rtftit o/ SS-Sh la meet lhm UitTftrdo nol intend laoirnlr

sS Xand

AwiUm to the Pin-ttor. Bureau olmi rW-jn'i..

this view IvolcJi they have made, and that consequently they would be able toarge portion of their reserve ICBMs. The holder of this view also believes the Soviets plan for US attempts to degrade their reconnaissance capability and have prepared accordingly, thusignificant measure of reconnaissance capability, even in the most unfavorable scenarios.

The holder of this view further believes that. given the planning Lifiit 1'ilrhsivi' [lir.iMKf- lhat the Soviets have tak<n enhancesurvivability, ctmimunications redundancy, und, in this view, strategic missile systems' employment flexibility and suslainability, the cumulative effect of these and other developments suggests that the Soviets in factore viable capability for conducting protracted nuclear war than is allowed in the main

Implied ions

The Soviets assign enormous importance to ensuring continuous, centralized command and control, lielieving that enduring control itself could help determine the outcomear with NATO. They also regard itey lo continued poststrike effectiveness and probably as an area in which they hold an advantage oversource stated that NATO lags "an epoch behind" in command and control matters. The Soviets probably see their huge effort lo ensure the survival of the leadership and of its corMnunications to the operating forces in particular as also conferring important advantages in tbe final phase. |^

Many of the Soviets' preparations for preslrike operations and for operating following the initial major strikes also would benefit the USSR in an extended final phase and give Moscow some capabilities for watting protracted nuclear war. Moreover, the conditioning of Soviet officers intoontinuation of operations after ihe major strikes probably contributes to Moscow's overall capabilities for this

The holdir o) thttn* Director.tmeOuynte

In sum, although the Soviets would prefer to accomplish their political-military objectives quickly and thusrotracted nuclear war, they nonetheless see the need to plan for it Thev probably believe their protracted war capabilities could enhance their prospects relative to NATO In emerginguperior positionuclear war, bul there is evidence that they are nut confident of their ability to reconstitute their forces and iheir economy and social order after the major nuclear attacks Indeed, Moscow continues to regard thephase as one of ureal uncertainty. Although Soviet preparations for

war survival and recovery are unmatched by any parallel elforl in the West, it is unlikely thai these preparations, by themselves, would be the determining factor in influencing the USSR toar with NATO. Established Soviet nuclear war-fighting strategy probably will continue to guide Moscow's force acquisition and planning process. This concept will continue to emphasize the desirability of quick conflict resolution and the decisiveness of the early phases of warfare while recognizing the possibilities for protracted war. The Soviets probably will continue lo place high priority on destroying the US Naiional Command Authority at the outseleneral nuclearpolicy that, in their view, could bring ihe war to an early conclusion. Indeed, successful implementation of Soviet planning for the initial nuclear operations couldrotracted final phase unnecessary.while Soviet militarv requirements probably will continue lo focus most heavily on the need to prepare for conventional operations, the transition to use of nuclear aims, and the initial major nuclear operations, prudent military planning on the part of the Soviets and their uncertainty regarding initial strategic nuclear force operations dictate that they prepare also for the contingency of an extended nuclear phase.

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