Created: 12/1/1983

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Soviet Wartime Management: The Role of Civil Defense in Leadership Continuity

[Dtcrajcrocy InleHlgeoot Memorandum VolumeJudgments





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National intelligence issuances on Sovid civil defense haveIhe effectives, scope, and pace of the program and its likelyin reducing damageuclearhile these estimates concludedarge percentage of the leadership wouldarge-scale US nuclear attack on the USSR, they did not address in detail the specific role of civil defense in Soviet plans tocontinuity of their leadership.

In this Memorandum we assess the Soviet civil defense inf rastruc-ture and measures for leadership protection and relocation as an integral partroader national command and control system. This national system would provide strategic direction of theater and intercontinental forces and for the defense of the USSR from nuclearWe have assessed the Soviets' progress in tnaking the necessary preparations that would enable their management structure to function according to the USSR's strategy for nuclear war. In our analysis wc have relied heavily on reporling from human sources who served in the system, as well as on evidence from other sources of actual relocation and command and control facilities and of operational exercises in which these facilities have been used.

f this Memorandum contains the Key Judgments derived from the detailed analysis In Volume II. distributed separately. The Memorandum was prepared under the auspices of the National Intelligence Officer for Strategic Programs. It was drafted by the Defense Intelligence Agency with the participation of representatives from the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Photographic Interpretation Center, .the Office of the Assislanl Chief of Slaff, Intelligence, for the Department of the Air Force, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Thiswas coordinated by lhe Interagency Working Group on Soviet Civil Defense

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The Soviets' confidence in their capabilities for global conflict is probably critically dependent on their assessment of the survivability and continuing effectiveness of iheir leadership during anduclear attack. To this end, the Soviels have been making therequired to facilitate the transition from peacetime to wartime and to give their leadership tbe potential lor effective performanceuclear conflict. These preparations are intended to provide for:

Continuity of party, government, military, and economicat all levels.

Mobilization of human and material resources

Support of military operations.

Continuity of essential economic activity.

of postattack recovery operations. The Soviets have made considerable progress in:

Delineating the wartime management system and theof Soviet leaders at all levels.

Preparing tho civilian leadership toapid transition to their wartime roles through the use of special organizations that plan, train, and exercise during peacetime.

Providing their leadership with hardened urban commandxurban relocation facilities, and redundant, hardened communications. (Relocation facilities are those exurbanposts to which military and civilian leaders and their staffs will relocate in wartime for the purpose of exercising command and management functions.)

Concept and Organization

The Soviet wartime management organization (seen pageould consist of:

National Command Authority and other national-level leaders who would direct lhe military, political, and economic activities of lhe nation.


The leaders of theilitary districts who would have the key role in wartime territorial administration, management ofoperations, and in providing continuing support of military operationsarge-scale nuclear attack.

The leaders of those regional organizations responsible for vital services such as transportation, communications, and electric power.

The leaders of theoviet republics who would be responsible for supporting the war effort and maintaining the integrity of the multinational Soviet state. As shown in figurehe Soviet republics would nol be in the chain of command from the National Command Authority to key territorial organizations.

The leaders of oblasts. the basic territorial elements, who would be responsible under military district supervision for directing rescue and recovery operations and for military support tasks.

The leaders in cities, rural areas, and at individual installations who would operate under oblast control.

We estimateotalfficials (seen pageonstitute the leadership that would be responsible for the continuity and survival of the nationuclear war. The key elements of Soviet leadership would be primarily those at the national, military district, republic, andndividuals, including0 full-time civil defense staff personnel.

The USSR Civil Defense organization is intended to provide the wartime management systemommand structure staffed by military personnel with the professional expertise necessary for civilian leaders lo carry out their assigned wartime roles. The legal basis for this largely military.structure to perform its wartime mission would derive under Soviet statutes from declarationspecial period,"to martial law in World War II.

The Communist Party would continue to function in wartime as it docs in peacetime, with primary responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policy. Its parallel structure with the statefacilitates party conlrol of administrative functions. In wartime, patty officials would also be present on the military councils of the military districts, the highest regional politicomilitary authority in wartime.

The Soviets do nol expeel lhe entire national leadership to be destroyed in wartime. Should national-level control be temporarily


of lhe Sotlel Wartime leadership


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defense naff

fltuieoe ihe rafliury diitnct includes SOO officers la (heir civil defense components plaa senior command peraoenel.

The wul fiitaio Include* (be lop niuooal leaden bui col military officer!tbe level of ibe Miniilry of Delete. ciccp< (cr Ueae al miliury dttuicu and ia chi defense tufts. Abo. lhe loulnclude civil ran leaders at individaal iaslallauOos.

Tbit tahte

interrupled, however, lhe military district would have the means and, wc believe, the authority for decentralized operations. Moreover, the highly structured, bureaucratic, and authoritarian nature of the Soviet system, which is widely perceived as hindering peacetime performance, would greatly facilitate the management of the nation under the catastrophic circumstances of nuclear war.

Transition to Wartime

The Soviets believeuclear war would be preceded by aof international tension and probably conventional conflict.we concludedarge percentage of the leadership on which the Soviets would rely for wartime management would probablyarge-scale US nuclear attack with as littleew hours' warning. Under these circumstances the Soviets are probably confident that they could make the transitioneacetimeartime management posture prioruclear attack on the USSR. That transition would be governed by changes in Soviet armed forces readiness levels. The corresponding changes in the Soviets' civil defense posture are shown in tabic 2.

Relocation Fociliiies

During the nasi few years, we haveetterof Soviet wartime management concepts and have identified more relocation facilities for the higher levels of Soviet wartimemilitary district, and key regional

Table 3

Sorlet Leadership Relocation Facilities *

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Communications Suvvort. Communications support for the war management system is provided by both the Minisiry ofand the Minisiry of Defense, supplcmcnled by the KCB. These ministries have iolntly developed redundant communications networks, supporting facilities, and operational procedures that are aimed at providing the national leadership with the means lo maintain continuity of control over all activities in the Soviet homelanduclear attack- Other measures that the Soviets have taken to enhance the survivability and dependability of wartime communications include providing mobile signal support systems, construct ing hardened reserve telephone exchanges in major cities, installing underground intercity cables to circumvent vulnerable urban areas, building bunkered cable switching points and network control centers, and developingregional communications control centers. Despite these efforts, the Soviets expect their communications systems to suffer damageuclear attack and have made preparations for poststrike restoration of communications services


Cotts. We are unable to estimate tlie total coits of Sovietfor wartime management. One measure of the magnitude of the Soviet investment in their program is the cost of lelocation facilities:

Wc calculate the total cost of construction and equipment at the single- and dual-purpose facilities we have identified to date to be at) rubles. If these facilities were built in the United States, the cost would be some US

Using these calculations and the number of relocation facilities we believe have been constructed nationwide, we estimate that the total cost of construction and equipment for relocation facilities since the Inception of the program inanges from atillion toillion rubles, depending on whether there are one or two facilities for each leadership entity. Tliese costs would6 billion if the sites were duplicated in the United States This estimate does not include the costs of civil defense personnel, supporting communications networks, or hardened urban facilities. We believe, therefore, that the overall cost of the program would be significantly greater than the atillion we have estimated for relocation sites alone.

Vulnerability. Despite tbe extent of their preparations, theof the Soviets' wartime management will depend heavily on the vulnerability of their leadership facilitiesS nuclear attack. Most of their urban and exurban facilities would be vulnerable to destruction if they could be located and were attacked by US weapons (seeardened urban command posts for tho leadership have not been emphasized in our analysis because they would largely be vacated during the period prior to nuclear attack. Thus, locating exurban command and control sites and supporting communications is key to the potential vulnerability of the Soviets* wartime management structure.

Achievementigh probability of severe structural damage to almost all types of Soviet hardened underground exurban leadership facilities we have located would require multiple high-yield, accurate weapons. Deep underground facilities like those at Sharapovo and Chekhov near Moscow for the National Command Authority wouldifficult targeting problem. (The composition of the National Command Authority is shown inecent reassessment of

these sites indicates that they are harder, deeper, and much less vulnerable than previously estimated. For moreecade the Soviets have been expanding and improving these sites, but have concealed the extent of their activities1^


Trends and Implications

We expect the Soviets will continue to improve the facilities required to give the leadership the potential for effective performance



in wartime, increasing both the number and hardness of fixed sites and improving communications support at all levels. They will probably concentrate on further improvements in the capabilities of military districts to integrate active and passive measures for defense against nuclear attack, to assure manpower and logistic support required by the war effort, and to direct poststrike recovery operations. The military district will remain the key clement of Soviet wartime territorial administration.

The Soviets may believe that deep underground structures such as those near Moscow will assure the survivability of the toppriority objective of their wartime management plans. We have not yet assessed the implications oferception by Soviet leaders. Nonetheless, their confidence in the effectiveness of their overall wartime management structure is almost certainly tempered by the belief that civilian as well as military leadership facilities would be high on the list of US targeting prioritiesuclear conflict]

in Soviet wartime management preparations may include greater use of mobile command posts and communications equipment,for some of the top national leaders. We doubt, however, that the Soviets could carry out their wartime management plansarge-scale nuclear attack relying only on mobile facilities. We therefore believe that they will continue to base their program around an extensive network of fixed, hardened facilities and to engage in concealment practices that make many facilities difficult to detect.

Destruction of those leadership sites thai we have located at therepublic, and military district levels, together with their related communications nodes, coulderious effect on the Soviet wartime managemenl structure, particularly In lhe Moscow area.




In sura, the scope of therogram for leadership conKnuily in nuclear war and the investment it has received over the pastears indicate that the Soviets are serious in their efforts tourvivable and effective wartime management structure. This structure is intended lo exercise control over whatever national assetsuclear attack.apability would be vital to their plans for favorably concluding the war effort and for postwar recovery.

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