Soviet Military Forces in the Far East
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE AS SANITIZED
MEMORANDUM TO HOLDERS
SOVIET MILITARY FORCES IN THE FAR EAST
THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE.
THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS.
The following inteBigcnce organization, participated in the preparation of ihe Estimate;
The Centra! InteUigence Agency, lhe Defense InleSnenco Agency, the Notional Security Agency, and the intelligence orgnniiotioo of the Dcportmeni of State.
Ihe Assistant Chief of Staff for Imelugence. Deportment of the Army The Oirector of Naval InreKgence. Deportment of the Navy Ihe Assistant Chief of Staff, Mergence, Oepartment of the Air Force The Director of intelligence. Headquarter', Marine Corps
sound The Memorandum outlines recent major trends in the region and provtdes tnfonnation on Soviet ground, air, naval, and stxa'egtTmi^le forces deployed over the past threealf veaVs
. -Soviet Militaryhe Faras pu Wished inlthough there have been rievclopmcots since the Fatimate was published, the basic kidgments remain sound. The Key Judgments stated:
"The Far East is second only to the Euroiwan theater in importance for Soviet military policy."
the last several yean the emphasis on the two theaters as reflected In force moderniza-tion has. If anything, shifted slightly more toward Europe. Soviet policy Ita* beenwith countering NATO plans for nuclear modernization. Chinese and other regionalhave posed no comparable new threats in the Far East Frequent leadership turnover coupled with European developments may have prevented Moscow from reassessing Its strategy to meet what Is perceivedess urgent threat from the East.
tbe long, slender supply line, the Trans-Siberian Railroad, is dangerously closeostilevulnerable to attack and disruption."
still true, tho Soviets have madeprogress on the ttalkal-Amur-Main--lirsehich will alleviate total reliance on the Trans-Siberian east of Lake Baikal When tbe BAM becomes oper.tiooal in the, it will increase rail capacity byercent (see figure IX
- "Although the Soviet military position us lhe Far East is now reasonably secure, the Soviets ptoba-bly see growing rJullengcs. They observe no basic change in China's hostile posture toward the USSR, and at thc same lime see Intensified US pressure on Japan toreater security role in Northeast Asia, evolving Sitto Japanese trade and pobtical ties inimical to Soviet goals, and an evolving US-Chinese military relationship djxectcd specifically against the USSR. They have aboeaffirmation by the United Stales of its conunitrnerat to maintain sizable
forceo lo South Korea and to strengthen Seoul'i political, economic, and military structure"
Most of Ihe above judgments have been borne out by events of thc Last threealf years. Today. Moscow has some reasons to nope for small-scale improvements, but its basichas not elunged subsUntJaDy
-The US commitments to regional powers-Japan, South Korea, and the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nationsbeen strengthened, andcontinues to warn of the dangersPacificodernization of US air and naval forces, especially new submarine- and ship-Uuriched cruise missiles, has continued The Soviets probably recognize that as long as baste reaponal trendsthen own military buildup and tbe Vietnameseofcountries will continue lo look lo the United States forassistance.
-Moscow may hope the United States will lose its miliary facilities in the Philippineseauli of deteriorating economic, social, and political conditions and the strong possibility Marem will be replacedovernment more hcetile lo the United States. Moscow probably expects it. attempts to increase access to the Philirspinea lo bear more fniil in the future, as indicated in5 by Mara lawilling nes* -foroviet merchant ship lo be repairedhipyard south of Manila The Soviets probably also hope to laiHtalitc on the crisis in the Australia-New Zealand -US alliance, caused by New Zealand's "nonmiclear" policy, by erKouraglng anli-US attitudes among countries in the southern Pacific
- Benin* mil sees its northern, neighbor as Iu mam enemy, and continues to pursue annonaligned policy, but has also gradually eipandrd diplomatic and economic contacti
Baikal-Amur Mainline Railroad (BAM)
Moscow. (See Memorandum lo Holders ofh* Changing Slno-SouUt Re-Utionthtp.ies with Japan and the Untied Stales have increased, including expanded miliiiuv cooperaiion symbolized bv mutual visits In high-ranking miliiary officers The Soviets have refused lo budge on lhe keyMoscow's support for Vietnam, and Soviet forces near the Chinese border, especially inthecue as "cJWacles'ignificantin relations. Moscow's own regional arms eonirol proposals have won support only from iheir Asian allies
- Moscow* support for Vietnam continues lo sour relations with China and the ASEAN countries Although there ha* been no reneti-lion of ihn Sino-Soviet eonlrontallon thaiChina'* punitive attack on Vietnamensions on tbe Sino-Vietnamesehave remained high Largelyesult ol this,1 the Soviet* have been allowed to expand Cam lUnh Bayaior Third Wotld have It is now homeariety of air and naval assets, includingedium range bombers capable of striking South China, the Philippines, and strategic sea lanes; up In eight TU-U5 andong-range reconnal*-unce and antisubmarine warfare (ASW)quadron of3 interceptor*,an average ofoaval vessel*.
including riudeau-Doweicd submarines and guided-missile surface ships (we furoren the eventegional crisis, the facilities at Cam Ranh Bayossible for the Soviets tu expand their military asseti Quickly.
-fccacow appears to have gained ground in the perennial Jockeying with Beijing for Influence over Northisit in4 by .Deputy Foreign Minister Kapitsa reportedly resultedilitary agreement, and was followed by unprecedented )oiot reeonnais-sanee-collection missions by Sovietbothndtheofighters. These were the first aircraft deliveries since tbe, and may ultimately be built upegiment ofircraft. Closer ties with Pyongyang serve to remind tbe Chinese of Moscow's deteTBsination toay in the future of tho Peninsula, and give the Soviets valuable opportunities lointelligence over live Yellow Sca.
hc Kremlin's response to these devclopmonlt has been to try to intimidate countries in the region bv continuing to build up its military, especially tts power-protection and theater nuclear capabilities:
n addition to otbertfse Soviets hadith regiments on Sakhalin Island and at Petronav-
"3Theare concentrated on units assigned to Pacific defenses rather than on those along the Chinese border.
Since the Air Force reorganizationrontal Aviation in the Far East has improved ils ground-attack capabilities byew rcgimciH, now being rccquipped wllhighter bombers Another regiment is beingloight bombers, bringing lhc
1 the Soviets have added three active divisionsew type of army corps, and have extensively upgraded their combat rupportincluding improved short-range ballistic missilesrear services structure (or the force.
a-i deaeuvanonO recent a, rvevnslbmk in
ast could be related to
The Pacific Ocean Fleet's capabillies have been increased with more capable surfaceecond Kiev-class aircraft carrier,2lass nuclear-powered ballisticsubmarines (SSBNs) were shifled to patrols in the Sea of Japan bul were subsequently trans ferred to the easternlhe US coast -as pari of lhe "aiulagous resrsrjnse'" to NATO deploymenl of Pershing and cruise missiles in Europe From the Sea oflass SSBNs could be used against China and against US targets as far away as lhe Philippines Two regiments of navalitnow stationed in the Far East to threaten US carrier battle groups and military bases. In addition, the deployment of newer I) class SSBNs capable of striking Ihe continentaltales from launch positions in live north west Pacific and lhe Sea of Okhotsk haa led to
number ol Fencer rojriciienU along lite holdersubstantial strategic reserves became of ils
eight- Three former fighter regiments havewiih NATO. If tbey advanced deep
ew primary mission of aroundChina, Soviet Ground Forces wouldell-
A nd numerically superior enemy at the
l the number of attack , _
i i. oi long and tenuous supply lines. The Soviet Navy
lyiuunlyincreased by almost , TzTl ., .
2 a . o l j probably concentrate on detendinx dose-m
[*icenl bach active Ground Force division _ . .
, , , and otbei sea-control/sea -denial areas out to
brum equippediuailion ot ccnci.il .. ,
u j ti. i, iloroctms. butunliley
pose, assault, and atUck . .
to allocate stgnilicant resources lor open-ocean opcra-tions beyond theseaval air and submarine
3 Further improvements over the next fewhowever, wouldignificant threat to US
..ill probably include deployment of Flankernd lo carrier task forces as they approach
Fulcrumnd additional advancedSoviet Union,
houndighterscok down/shoot ,
j . , , , The reorganitauon of Soviet Air and Ait Defense
capability, sea- and air-launched ciuise missiles, _ j .
... w. bcajrininc0 gave Far East authorities
hud naval liackfiie rewmcnt.5 _ , J, ,,
i. ., control over elements olnes All medium
large aircralt carrier, possibly with conventional take- , -
ir ji j- . c and nearly half of the light bomben Inr
oil and landing (CTOIJ aircraft, could become_ , , ,
i ji .i .rT n are now part ofh Air
twnal with the Paafle Fleet These , _
., . atwhich is conliolled Iry the Supreme
would greatly eipand thc reach ol Soviet . . .
Command In wartime, however, most of these
and nuclear power, primarily lo counter lhe , . . ,
ca.iabllltles of US Pacific forces andiedge rxcteljy be alkxa^to lhe Far East High
not inoicated changes in the basic Soviet approachar against China ot other regional powers Soviet forces presently in place continue lo possess the capability lo stop any Chinese offensive and to mount limited offensives into northernajorlo include searing and holding Beajtng. could be I
undertaken if substantia! reinforcements were avail-
able or with the use of nuclear weapons. In,olMEcmuihowever, it is unlikely Moscow would grami larniajl iheS
Soviet Older of Battle io tlie Far East
itnce/ ewmooie cooatmeikiir Hafcactoi
naxWthe ntUanSakhalin Uaad, -defease dl-Ufar, on (b* XanJxiM In il* toul an not rurloaed orxxoil. Oum.
Sovtnlone thc boeoor mWotofc-vet. olillAboulerceor ol tbe Avisoa* to the Farve. hall of their -artboe noortb and bavo aolauiDraoot Other acOv.
tower ouiuiowfr and oquiprDcrtf levek An eHeadve owliiLnUno olUn .ear leevtoa would be roquked foi Uh. Soviet Union to ongaae In majorperation, aciio* Cblaa
bailor* mtoU. .nbcurtna
aod amd uhourino
takeoff and Undiw alroUI carrier.
iIbcohI utioi tonibflUnti
takeoff .nd laadlaa Cmiam
reennoastnoe aad deem*
loAeaartae -attire tkxn!'
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