TO: The Editor,
The Washington Post
1'Eually when CIA analysis Is reported inaccurately, we must suffer ln silence. Bowever, In the case of Stephen Rosenfeld's Sovcaber 18 column "Knockdown of a Soviet Buildup," because we prepared an unclassified version of our work on trends in Soviet defense spending for the Joint Economic Committee of the Congress, I aa able to put in proper perspective Mr. Roseofeld's account of oar analysis.
Be suggests that our analysis of the Soviet defense effort portraysteady Soviet performanceelatively low level" and that the Soviets used detente "to give themselves something of a alanced examination of our testimony conveys no such
We stated explicitly to the Committee that "our latest comparisons of US and Soviet defense programs show thst despite somewhat slower growth In recent years the costs of Soviet defense activities still exceed those of the United Statesarge margin. 1 the dollar costs of Soviet defense activities were 45 percent greater then US outlays; procurement costs alone were alsoercent larger." Moreover, the Committee was reminded that the Soviet defense effort still Is running betweenndercent of GNPthat Is, over twice the percentage of GNP devoted to defense spending In the United States .
We also stressed to the Committee that "trends in Soviet military spending areufficient basis to form judgments about Soviet military capabilities, whichomplex function of weapons stocks, doctrine, training, generalship, aod other factors importantotential conflict. The cost estimates are best used to identify shifts In priorities and trends in resource commitments to military programs over an extended period of time. Horeover, the spending estimates do not give an
appreciation of the large stocks of strategic and conventional weapon systems already deployed. Indeed, current levels of spending are so high that despite the procurement plateau noted, the Soviet forces have received5CBHs and SLBMs, over tactical combat and interceptor0 tanks and substantial numbers of major surface combatants, SSBKs, and attack submarines."
Finally, it is worth pointing out that Soviet efforts to develop advanced weapon systems continue ln the eighties at least at the rapid pace of the previous two decades. Among these are fighter and airborne control aircraft, ballistic and cruise missiles, space systems and submarines. The new systems cover the full rang* of technologically advanced weaponry the Soviets will need to modernize all major forces.
In sum, Mr. Rosenfeld's description of our aoalyals does not provide a balanced account of our testimony to the JEC. Our costing of the Soviet defense effort is very complex and susceptiblt to misrepresentation and misuse. Thoss who or cite out of context our work ln this Important area do not contribute to needed public understanding of these Issues. They also do an injustice to tbe professional, independent analysts in all of the agencies of tha Intelligence Community working to broaden our knowledge and understanding of the Soviet defense effort.
George V. Lauder Director, Public Affairs OfficeOriginal document.