The Readiness of Soviet Ground Forces
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE AS SANITIZED
THE READINESS OF SOVIET GROUND FORCES
.ThiS 'nteraBcncV 'n'ellieence Memorandum, approved by (he
National Foreign Intelligence Boardn2 was
commissioned by thc Director of Central Intelligence in response lo a
request by the Sectary of Defense for an in-depth analysis of the
readme* posture of the Soviet Cround Forces.art rej(.archjn m
thrn^L^ M bv NFIB> are throughout the Memorandum, (u)
The Memorandumumber of comparisons of Soviet and us torces. These are included only loramework for reference in viewing Soviet readiness. The reader should no. conclude from these comparisons superioiiIy on eilher side jn m
requirements. The reliability of data on Soviet forces varies considera-
*Oan0thw> particuUrlV for weapons Inventories (see
This Memorandum does noi address in detail the readiness of non-Wtpact forces or problemsn organizing and executing coalition warfare. Nor docs il address warning of war Th limes assented with the mobilization and preparation of forces forhis document should not be interpreted as warning time, (o)
" Produced under the auspices ofIntelligence Officer (or General Purposey an interagency workmg counting ofhe Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligencethe Assistan. Chieffftc licence Departmem ofCjonlribuljonj were provided by ih, VSForeignicchnology Center and thentelligenceMemorandum was drafted
Research .Defense ^
andhe Directorate ofl.al Intelligence Agency
Bicijjocod - i
Tbe Sovicl Rcadirvm
Assessment of Readiness
The Force CctirataUon
Forcewide Readiness and Combat
Force Readiness by
arbetween "ready" and "noi
ready portions of their ground forces:
-"Ready" units are ihe most highly manned and the best equipped and trained, and Ihey are al least minimally prepared for combat operations with little or no mobilization.
- "Not ready" unils require extensive mobilization and probably would not be available fo. immediate combat operalions. While lhe necessary reservists can be mobilized quickly ihc Soviet reserve system does not immediacy convert "not ready" units .nlo cohesive fighting units. Rather, the units must train if ihCy are to perform proficiently in high-intensity combat.
the USSR.o.omed rifle and tank divisions in Eastern Europe one airborne and three motorized rifle divisions in Afghanistan, and tank division in Mongolia:
divisions are manned at or near full strength, are fully equipped, andull annual training program. They
penc out of in Jo loours.
ivisions located primarily along the eastern and western borders of the USSR, are maintainedeacetime
u, at somewhat lower manning and .raining levels. These couId complete the mobilization and dispersal process in two lo four days bui would noi be as fully preparer) for combat because of .heir lower peacetime training status.
sntnZZ " aS much visional
support sl.uclure. are no. ready" for combal in peacetime;
skeletal element of the force requires substantial prepara-
to overcome deficiencies in manning, equipment, and
raining, par.icularly if lhe umts are to be commi..ed to
oltcnsive operationsombat environment such as ihat expected in Europe
The time required for these units to complete thc mobilization process and move to dispersal areas would vary fromays We believe, however, that they would requireoays of training to be trained lo the "ready" divisions'standard for offensive combat. Thc Soviets believeeriod of prchostllilies tension probably will provide lhe time necessary for "not ready" units lo mobilize and prepare for war.
The Soviets may increase lhe readiness of selected elements of their "not ready" forces prior to full-scale mobilization, thus shortening post mobilization preparation time.
Although they could do so withinays, thc Soviets do not necessarily intend to mobilizeivisions at once. They stress lhe initial availability of forces in each theater of military operations, but the force generation process is designedtoteady flow of well-trained and well-equipped units into the battle area. By maintaining large strategic reserves and skeletal units, the Soviets can generate additional forces torolonged war.
Tbe Soviets have two basic options in preparing their forces for combat Between theseange of potential trade-offs between ibat proficiency and force availability
- They could choose lo commit forces as soon as ihey have completed the alert and mobilization process Should they opl for thisarge number of divisions would not haveevel of training equivalent to that of the "ready"and the Soviets would have toegradation in the combat potential of the mobilized force
Alternatively, thc Soviets couldore deliberate, phased approach, allowing time to more fully prepare and train their forces, thus increasing their combatmore than SO percent for theivision force
Although circumstances would determine which option the Soviets chose, we believe thev would opt for tbe more deliberate process when they had some control over time and events
Om findings on lhc readiness of forces opposite NATO's Central lies-Kin are as follows;
an offensive against NATO, thr Wai saw Pact could--as noted in NIF,JI (Warsaw Pact Forces Ovpositc
its forces in Eastern Europe into three fronts as the first echelon and those in the western USSR into two frontsecond echelon.
Ultimately, the readiness and combal potential of Pad forces opposite NATO would be heavily dependent on tlie non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) forces that would make up over half of the divisions in lhe three first-echelon fronts,
Soviet planners could elect lo begin hostilities with the three first-echelon fronts before thc two second-echelon fronts from the USSR were in place and available.
could ready the Soviet elements of thc Pact three-frontlisthree to five days, excludingtime. These forces would not require additional training Although we have not assessed NSWP readiness in detail, we believe that some NSWP divisions (six East Germanew Polish and Czechoslovak) could be mobilized as quickly as the Soviet divisions We do not believe that all non-Soviet forces could be as fully prepared in asime as their Soviet counterparts stationed In Eastern Europe.
the Soviets were willing to make units in the USSR available for combal immediately after alert and mobilization, the two fronts in the western USSR could be readied inoays plus whatever movement lime was required. Many of the divisions, however, wouldelatively low combatdue to low peacetime training levels.
the Soviets choose to tiain "not ready" units toigher level of combat proficiency (consistent with minimum requirements for offensive operations againsthetime for the two fronts In the western USSR and thusull five-front force would be phasedonsiderably longer period of aboutays Thc additional time invested in post mobilization training for the "not ready" divisions would increase the theoictical combat potential ofdivision force by as much asercent.
Our findings on the readiness ol lorces opposite Southwest Asia arc
-unh the ejveep ion of airborne divisions and those divisions ominmedfghanistan, the majority of Soviet forcesfor offensive operations in Iran and the Persian Gulf are
poorly equipped (relative to their counterparts opposite NATO's Central Region) and maintainednot ready" status in peacetime.
The Soviets could mobilize inoorce of the size we believe they would require for limited operations into the Azarbayjan region ot Iran (three to five divisions plus supporthe forcesull-scale invasion of Iran (somer more divisions) could be mobilized in five to six days. Toigh level of potential combat proficiency, however, they would require additional time for post mobilizationWithout such Iraining theivisions would have the combat potential of only seven to eight of the better equipped and trained Soviet divisions in Eastern Europe.
We believe the Soviets would take whatever time was available lo train these forces up lo higher proficiency levels: someoays of training after mobilization could double the combat potential ofdivision force.
Our findings on the readiness of forces opposite China are as follows
Twenty-five of theoviet motorized rifle and tank divisions in the Far East opposite China are maintainedready" status in peacclime. Many of these "ready" divisions are nearly as well equipped as their counterparts stationed in Eastern Europe
We believe the Soviets could mobilize theseready"in the Far East and complete iheir training in seven to nine days.
The Soviets could mobilize thenot ready" divisions inays but these divisions would require extensive training toevel of proficiency comparable lo that maintained in peacetime by the ready divisions.
Thedivision force could be mobilized and trainedinimum level of proficiency we judge sufficient for offensive operations,0 day period. This additional training thco-letiriilK would increase the combat potential of the total force by sonicercent.
The Soviet logistic, manpower and equipment mobilization,and maintenance systems all are gearedapid mobilization and short, intense war Allhough we question the long-term effectiveness ol
ihe repair and maintenance system, we detect no shortcomings that would affect initial force readiness. The maior factor affecting initial readiness is the semiannual (spring and fall) rotation of new conscripts into units to replace troops completing their active duty tours. Foronth after troop rotation, new conscripts (aboutercent of the ground force manpower) receive basic training in provisional training units. This practice resultsemiannual degradation In unitcohesion, and readiness
The foregoing text is classified
This Memorandum assesses thc readiness of Soviet ground forces and estimates the time required to convert the forceseacetime to wartime posture and to engage in operationsid-to-high-intensity combalt focuses on ihose situations in which the Soviets have tbe Initiative in planning and preparing their forces for offensive operationsime and place of their choosing. It also assesses the theoretical combat potential of the forces boih upon mobilization anderiod of
The Memorandum does noi attempt to isolate tbe most likely scenario under which thc Soviets would prepare for combal or to predict their decisions regarding (he extent and duration of these preparations Rather il assesses the relative costs andQuantifiableSoviet choices, which range bclween two basic options
The Sovicls could commit iheir forces as soon as they had been alerted and mobilized Should they opt for this approach, they would have toegradation in the combat potential of the mobilized force due to the low peacetime training levelsrge portion of the force.
Alternatively, lhe Soviets could allow varying amounts of time following alert and mobilization to more fully prepare and train iheir forces. This would extend overall preparation lime but would enhance the total force's combat potential^ar*
While wc believe the Soviets would prefer to make deliberate, time-phased preparations prior to committing their forces, the point at which they would consider their forces prepared for offensive opera tions would depend on lhe region in which the conflict was to take pLice. the nature of the opposition, and other scenario-dependent
Soviet military doctrine has berm heavily influenced by World War
when the lack of preparedness and initiative resulted in a
idodint nuchal,uhlWrnnli coiilln
three-year campaign on Soviet soil against invading Cerman forces with devastating territorial, human, and economic losses- Soviet writings and exercises stress the ability to respondurprise attack and touccessful emergency defense of the homeland. Today, the Soviel readiness and mobilization systems emphasize speed and efficiency to maximize the initial availability of forces and to assure that any ground is not fought on Soviet territory-jsf*'
The maintenancearge standing army in peacetime, concepts for thc echelonmcnt of forces, the existenceuick-reaction mobilization system,octrine that emphasizes offensiveate all designed toecurrence of the catastrophe the USSK suffered during the initial stages of World War II. Postwar developments in weaponsthe availability of nuclearonly increased the emphasis Soviet planners place on the decisive nature of the "initial period ofonetheless, the Soviets expect their forces to be able to respondull spectrum of situations and have structured and equipped their forces for aconflict. Thc Soviet force generation process is designed toteady flow of well-trained and well-equipped units into the battle area. Hy maintaining large strategic reserves and skeletal units, the Soviets can generate additional forces lorolonged
Soviet and US definitions of combat lead mess are similar, focusing on the capabililynit, force, or equipment to perform the missions or functions for which it is organized or designed tn its most basic terms, readiness Involves two essential elements: thc availability of forces, as determined by such factors as alert status and manpower and equipment levels, and the preparedness of forces, which depends on such factors as maintenance, training, logistics, and weapon system capabilities. This Memorandum addresses readiness in its broadest sense, taking into account both availability and preparedness, (u)
The development of coinbal leadiness in ils broad sense involves two key factors or variables: forcethe eon version ol forceseacetime to wartimethe development of combat potential Force generation isunction of time involving those actions necessary to aleil. mobilize, andorce for combat. Combat potential, simply defined,orce's assessed capability to carry out its warlime mission More specifically, it is the product of numerous factors, including the effectiveness of weapons, lhe ability of personnel to opetale iheir weapons and cquipmenl, and skill in carrying nut integrated and coordinated maneuvers. The first
factor is unction of technology; the latter two estafrlished. maintained, and enhanced by
In assessing combat potential, this Memorandum takes intoboth lhe weapon systems available to Soviet divisions and the training status or proficiency of the divisions. It distinguishes between the combat potential of high-strengthas those in lhe groups of forces in Easternthat nf divisions in the interior of the USSR. These latter divisions suffer by comparison with the forward-deployed divisions on two counts First, they are equipped for lhe most pari with older models of equipment and frequently lack maior items such as armored personnel carriers. Second, they are unable in peacetime lo develop the same level of combined-arm* skills as high-strength divisions because of their lower level of peacetime manning and training Thc skilb required to approach or achieve full proficiency could be developed by increasing peacetimo manning and thentraining programs, or byeriod of post mobilization training before the units enter combat Jjr
Combal potential also is affected by lhe capability of the force's command, conirol. and communicalions system, leadership and troop morale, and the abilityogistic base lo sustain combat operations. These factors are assessed in general terms, but they are not quantified. In assessing and comparing lhe readiness of Soviet units in quantifiable terms, thc Memorandum focuses on the time required for divisions and nondtvisional support units to move through the force generation process and on thc combat potential of these forces in terms of weapon effectiveness and training
Theater VVur; The Soviet View. Soviet doctrine far theater warfare emphasizes numerical superiority, offensive action, massed fueprmer and maneuver. Defense is considered merely an expedienl orhase until an offensive can be mounted Emphasis is placed onined arms operations involving lhe coordinated use of armor, avialion, artillery, and motorized infantry to breach enemy defenses either from the mareh or in breakthrough operationsj0/e
To sustain continuous and powerful offensives, the Soviets echelon tlwii forces and assign specific missions and forces lo each echelon The siicics* nl the Soviets echelonmcnt strategy is largely dependent on t'flcclive liming and the ability to develop ihc quick, imwerfulvttitillated by their doctrine Although lhe Soviets stress the rapid offensive in their doctrine they also recognize lhe necessity for planning
Soviet Alert Stages
Cor.it.nteadlnc; ihcpeacetime rcadinw. al.tut ol lha Sovusi aimed force. Routine iraimng and activity uie place. Uayawu may bo granted nl commanded' discretion
il III; unH pimmI arrIrom leave or TDY. andlubun.t. .ondixitin*lr.ut.ncto rimtoa MobahutaoaW pUmnd updated bv Kail- Unrt penomwl .mew etM.pmeMrate ind bepn to prepare rrcrpl.on punU for rewtvMU. Tt*ieM commind IX* (CP) is partially manned and deployed loditpcraal aira Slafllnc ol Ihe Riruton command cenlei ii inc< rated
Thrcat-of-war combat readiness; urn I. deploy rrom Barrlwn to diipenalhc control of thorawfctied fr.xn lhe (arriion command center lo ihe field CP Selected icwr villi with specialized ikiilt may win the unit.
Full combalake* place and rewrvurt tout theirEtniwraeM mot-hied lor tbe ooH abou calablith theiraamiii j. coetiol. andniacrwe At ihu. the aim diaper-ul. and mobilisationomplete
and preparingrolracted conflict and have structured their forces accordingly
The Force. The Ground Forces constitute the largest component of tlie Soviet armed forces The peacetime force structure consistsivisions at varying levels of manning and readiness, includingnactive mobilization base divisions, consisting of pre-posilioned equip-incnl configured in unit sots. Motorized rifle and tank divisions are the basic tactical maneuver formations. Ground units are most heavily concentrated in the groups of forces and the military districts of the weslern USSR opposite NATO and opposite China^f*
The Soviei Readiness System
The Soviet and US readiness systems boih divide units into "ready" and "not ready" categories The Limed States generally has more demanding manpower requirements for its "ready" units The SovieU however, require full equipment sets in all "ready" units, while marginally, ready IS units can lacfc up to about one fourth of their equipment. Equipment opeialional icadiness rate reqiiiremenls are loughlv comparable in Soviet and IS ready units. Thereajor dilfeieiK-i- in approach, howevei, inv Soviet and US officials rate Ihe contribution of training to overall readiness, and US standards appeal mi.re
let ready" units are at leastll. prepared lor combat openitHtnslittle- or no mobilization. "Nntnits, however.
anning in Soviel Division*
ew ICO prcou ol Miliar* aurhorind mtwaih
lnrlurSrsdinvm Hi imv.pl ol lorco
TOmmMlmm:i Inr'ted in boidci airai ol USSB Total- S3 JMeM
Saw elenirnii or cadieoilftmam
fT>peicvnl cd warlime mlr-uircd Urenrlh lii>'l>.ds ill ii.inin* dlmtom
Oo* aacrorlardm etch oaotartaedunaal
educed ilrennh Total- SI divitiniH
5-tS percent atcodn manpower concent nlod in Mill nlrmenlinvti/mechanic ilJk
1 dr. wee*
Nd petminxiilvmiAV etleeMed mtkm Totil
would require large-scale mobilization and therefore would not be available for immcdiale combat operations This system is also found In microcosm within largeivision might be composed of one or more "ready" regiments while all other regiments are "nothere alsoistinct difference between peacetime and wartime authorized manning levels in most Sovietotal of six discernible manning level* have been identified in divisional units, and nondivi-sionat units are apparently mannedimilar fashion (sec tablehe units that are most combat ready and that have the highest strength are airborne divisions, divisions in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan, and,esser extent, divisions along the western and eastern borders of the
In addition to classifying units as "ready" or "not ready" for combat, lite Soviets maintain their units in one of four alert stages (see inset) thai dictate their peacetime activities These alert stages provide for and define an orderly, manageable transition for Soviet units from then normal peacetime posture to full combat readiness
Together, thc unit categorization system and formal alert stages reflect the Soviets' approach to readiness:
They have an orderly approach to the management ofand materiel, and concentrate them wiih "ready" units located in regions where Soviet interests are most vital or perceived threats are most severe.
They apparently expect warning of war and will lake advantage of the period prior lo hostilities to systematically increase both the preparedness and alert conditionortion or all of their
Readiness Reporting and Monitoring. The Soviet readiness reporting and inspection systemystematic but inflexible and burdensome approach to monitoring manpower availability, training status, and the technical condition of equipment. When conscientiously applied, the system can give commanders valuable tools wiih which to manage resources in order to meet standards Inspections are stringent and competently administered in the groups of forces outside the USSR, allhough grades are somewhat inflated Throughout most of the interior of the USSR, however, unit readiness is far more dependent on individual command emphasis than on any forma) monitoring system. Readiness reports are often greatly inflated or falsified and inspections are Irequently lax, perfunctory, or circumvented ^pf*"
In both thc Soviet and US armies, unit readinessommandSoviet commanders, however, delegate most equipment readiness authority to technical officers. No single Soviet readiness reporting document equivalent to the US unit status report is known to exist, but divisions doonthly report that summarizes training accomplishments and conditions beating on the "internal order ofhere is no evidence thai Soviet commanders are required^ orprovide subjective evaluations of unit^
Determinants of Reodiness
Manpower. Manpower availability should notonstraining factor on overall Soviet force reiKliness The Sovietsarge manpower pool upon which to drawell-organized and efficient mobilization system Variations inound throughout lhe ground lorces. but it is difficult to predict whether leadership deficiencies would be more prevalent in the lessforce elements Moiale problems exist in peactfitipr but calculating their overall impact tin readiness or perli'titiancr in combat is problematic Nonetheless, the nationwide problem nf alcoholism and the evident
morale and discipline problems in units in Afghanistan are factors that the Soviets must take into account in their own readiness assessment jW Soviet law requires universal male military service, and few qualified males escape some form of military service. Conscripts are discharged into the reserves automatically after completion ofservice and remain subject to callup untiloreoviet males are estimated "fit" for military service. Of this total, at leastillion arc reservists who have been added to tbe reserve pool sincee estimate that all active Soviet divisions and nondivisional units, as well as inactive mobilization bases, could be mobilized to their wartime authorized strength without depleting (he pool of reservists who have served as conscripts in the groundof the armed forces within thc last five yean^at^
Mobilization System. Historically, thc Soviets have succeeded In meeting their military manpower and equipment needs, most notably during World War II. Their ability to respond lo crises under conditions of partial mobilization were tested during thc Czechoslovak crisis and most recently during the invasion of Afghanistan. In these and other instances of partial mobilization, the manpower and equipmentsystem functioned well The Soviet mobilization system has not been testedarge scale, however, since Worldonetheless, if Soviet planners have the initiative and time to prepare deliberately for military operations, ihey should be able to minimize the difficulties ihat would be likely toarge-scale emergency mobiliza-tion^aSf*
Train inc. Premilitary training has been obligatory8 and consists of an abbreviated basic training program designed to ease the transition of youlhs into military service. Postinduction training is conducted accordingommon set of regulations, and lhe annual training program is divided into winter and summer periods Each six month cycle begins when conscripts are rotated into units lo replace conscripts completing their active duty lours- Foi aboul the lirst monlh after troop rotation, new conscripts receive basic training in provisional training units formed within each division. This resultsemiannual degradation in unit proficiency, cohesion, and
The unit training program formally begins when new conscripts complete their basic naming and aic tntegrnted into units Heavy, empliasis is placed on individual, squad-level, and pUtoon-loelFieldlo perfect individual and collective skills
and to train commanders and their staffs in simulatedconsidered essential lo forge unit integrity and proficiency Themanning of units determines the extent of the training program which ihey actually can accomplish in peacetime "Ready" divisions carry out the full training program and appear to accomplish thc required number of exercises. Other divisions train to the extent possible with their assigned personnel but cannotull training program
The Soviel reserve systemarge pool of manpower with military skills. Reservist training, however, is of uneven Quality and frequency at best Individual reservists seldom participate in thc full number of callups allowed, and rarely train wiih the same unit more than once. The bias of the reserve system for conscripts with recentservice leadseavy turnover on unit mobilization rosters and limits the development of cohesion in low-strength units. Uponthese units would require training to achieve or approach lhe levels of training proficiency attained in peacetime by "ready" units^psrt^
Eauivment. Soviet ground force equipment is designed to satisfy both technical and tactical requirements on the battlefield Each new system or product Improvement is desigmrd to enhance lhe system's capability on the battlefield, to bearge numbers, and to be equal or superior to comparable existing or projected WesternA program of continuous product improvement and Incremental development makes maximum use of each piece of equipment or subcomponent during its life cycle Soviel designers, however, have demons Ira led they arc capable of much more than incremental product enhancement whm the situation demands ii Soviet design practicesroduct that is usually quite reliable and repairable
The size of the Soviet force structure requires anlo the fielding of new equipment which resultsackcomplicates thc problnn of providing spares,and maintenance skills to match requirements, and makes itfor tlie reserve system to match man and machine
The practice of peact'tlme storage of large quantities nf weapons and equipment to leduce wear and lear and conserve resources distorts the demand lor rsrpail part* and maintenance lhataced in wartime. The repuii -uppK sislcm supports an artificially low vehicle population tliat would gicatIy expand in wartime There is onl> minimal stuckagrepaii pails bcltm division level, so lhe system is heaviK dependent on motor transport
The Soviet system for maintenance support of combat units is well suitedast-moving conflict with frequent replacement of frontline units, but the system is dependent on this rotation for repair and maintenance of equipment. Divisions forced to remain in mid-to-high-intensity combat for longer than five to six days could begin to encounter serious maintenance problems as losses overwhelmed repair capabilities. The Soviet maintenance organization, however, is tailored to support Soviet tactical concepts that do not require sustained maintenance support for frontline divisions. Jftt
Suslainabilttv. The Soviets have stockpiled large quantities of ammunition and POL to satisfy their operational concepts forand sustaining committed forces. The Soviets also recognize the needlexible and responsive transportation system to move supplies when and where required. Current assessments indicate that the Soviets have sufficient quantities of ammunition and POL to supply their initial wartime needs.^if
Assessment of Readiness
The Soviets have two basic options in preparing their forces for combat. Should circumstances dictate, they might choose (or be forced) to commit their forces as soon as they had completed the alert andprocess. Should they opt for thisarge portion of the force would not haveevel of training equivalent to the "ready" divisions and the Soviets would have Ioegradation in the combal potential of the mobilized force. Alternatively, the Soviets couldore deliberate, phased approach, allowing time to more fully prepare and train their forces. Although circumstances would determine which option the Soviets chose, we believe they would opt for the more deliberate process when they had some control over time and events. yiT
The Force Generation Process
The Soviets have developed an orderly, systematic process to convert their forceseacetimeartime posture. This process is designed to provide units xvitli sufficient manpower, equipment, and training to engage in effective operations Soviet/Warsaw Pact exercises oftenrehoslilities warningbetween several weeks and severalwhich preparatory unit training could occur. Following the commencement of hostilities, theol uncommitted forces could continue Historically, the Soviets have recognized the need to prepare their forces for combat and have done so to the extent that time was
The force generation process beginsnit's peacetime status. The completion of the alert and mobilization process, however, does notully combat-ready force The lime required torepared force is the sum of lhe time rtecessary to alert, mobilize, train, and move the force, and to accomplish final preparations andiaf
A/err. Dispersal, and Mobilization. The mechanism forthe force is the formal alert system, which involves the transition of units through four alert stages. The time required to execute measures associated with each alert stage would vary depending on the threat. In an extreme emergency, such as reaction lo for anticipationurprise altack. an attempt would be made lo mobilize rapidly and accomplish required alert measures on compressed time lines Under less extreme circumstances the process would be accomplished
onal Mobilization. The time required for Soviet maneuver divisions (tank, motorized rifle, and airborne) to complete thc alert, dispersal, and mobilization process would vary between onealf and nine days. Aboutercent ofoviel divisions could complete this process in sixalf days, bui many divisions would require additional training to increase their proficiency to levels comparable to the full-strength ready divisions. Within onealf lo (woalf days, however, the full-strcnglh ready divisions could complete preparations, vacate their garrisons, and move to nearby dispersalf
Sondivtsional Units. The lime ro aleil -nd mobilize lhe large nondivisional supportassigned al fiont and army level-would range fromours to over six days. These units include artillery, missile, engineei, signal, chemical defense, intelligence,warfare, air defense, and logistic
Command and Control Structure. We estimate it would lake almut three to five days lo establish the command and conlrol structureront and its subordinate armies in the groups of forces in Eastern Europe and aboul seven loays lo lhe internal military districts of lhe USSR.^T
If tune were available, we belike Soviel units would conduct ixttiinobilization (rainingimprmrroficiency. Reduced siienglh and cadre units would require individual refresher training for rocivists. unit training andmi staff I
command postincrease their proficiency to levelsto full-strength ready divisions. The duration and type of training actually conducted would depend on the time available and the unit mission jtytff
Divisions in thc Croup of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSFC) and other groups of forces are the most proficiently trained in tlie force structure. At the end of tlieir semiannual training cycles, when they are at peak proficiency, we believe they would meet Soviet standards for commitment to offensive operationsid-to-high-intensity combat environment fn our analysis of the semiannual training cycle of these divisions, we have established three milestones that we use yardstick for assessing the proficiency of other divisions:
Minimum Proficiency: The lowest level of iraining proficiency,
which occurs at troop rotation. We believe that,hoice, the Soviets would prefer not lo commit divisions at this point, but would do soituation in which they did not have control of time and events.
Standard for Commitment to OffensiveOccurs about three months inlo the training cycle, after conscripts have completed basic training and company- and battalion-level training is well underAt this point, we believe, divisions have achieved sufficient cohesion andfor commitment to offensive combatid-to-high-intenslty combat environment.
Maximum Proficiency: Occurs at the end of each training cycle, when all required Iraining has been completed.
The amount of training required by Soviet divisions to attain GSFC standards varies depending on peacetime manning levels and the proficiency level desired If sufficient time had elapsed since troop rotation, "ready" divisions would require either no Iraining at all or up to live days of training to achieve minimum proficiency for offensive operations, while "not ready" di* isions would require fromo more thanays of training to achieve the same standard. If the required training were conducted after mobi lira lion, division availability for commitment to combat would vary from onealf days (for full-strength ready divisions) to moreays (for mobilization bases) (secT
Major variations in weapon effectiveness occui between "ready" and "notdivisions andegional basis "Ready" divisioas
generally are belter equipped, with newer, more capable weapon systems andull complement of weapons. "Not ready" divisions, particularly low-strength cadre and mobilization base divisions, are equipped with older weapons and do notull complement of equipment.egional basis, the Western Theater of Military Operations (TVD) facing NATO's Central Region not only contains more divisions than other TVDs, but its divisions typicallyigher overall equipment effectiveness. Soviet divisions opposite China iu the Far Eastern TVD in aggregate are the next best equipped in thc force structure, followed by those in the Southwestern TVD. those in tlie Strategic Reserve, ami those in tlie Southeastern and Northwestern TVDs (secivisions opposite areas of lesser threat clearlyower priority for more modern and effective weapon systems^sf'
Overall Combot Potontial
Combat potentialunction of numerous factors, including mission proficiency (determined byquipment effectiveness; command, control, communications, and intelligence; leadership and morale; and the logistic support base While thc last ihree arein assessing opposinghave not attempted tu quantify these factors. Therefore, our analysis focuses on two key quantifiable factors: equipment effectiveness and mission proficiency. Although weapon effectiveness generally would remain static during the force generation process, missiontherefore overall combatincrease through training, the more lime allocated for forcegreater the payoff in terms of combat potential 'i*T
We believe that the Soviets plan essentially to employ only those forces stationed in the vicinityiven operational TVD. reinforced perhaps with reserves from lhe military districts in the central USSR. There is little indication that they contemplate major redeployments of high-read mess units from one theater command to another In fact, the major variations in overall readiness and combat potential between the
TVDs suggest thai each is uniquely structured, manned, and equipped
to meet contingencies peculiar to that*
egional basis divisions In the Western TVD would have the highest overall combat potential upon completion of alert and mobiliza-
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eh.ivn-ocee durfl, by ihe<.<
Hon, due to the large number of highly trained full-strength ready divisions and the concentration of modern weapon systems Divisions in the Far Eastern TVD opposite China would have the second-highest combat potential, followed by those in the Southwestern. Southeastern and Northwestern TVDs and the Strategic Reserve mT
With postmobilization training overall combat potential could increase anywhere fromerceni bl the Western TVD to moreercent in the Strategic Reserve isee tablehis gain in combat potential would vary according to tbe ratio ofto "not ready" divisions in each TVD and wouldost in terms of force availability Not ready divisions require fromo more thanays of training (plus time required for alert and mobilization) to achieve minimum standards for commitment to offensive operations "Ready" divisions require little or no trainmc to reach this same level of mission proficiency jfft
Forcewide Readiness and Combat Potential
The Soviets appenr lo have systematic and effective procedures for alerting and mobilizingorce- The completion of the alert and .nob. nation procesv. however, doe* notully trained, com pletely combat-ready forceheferenees in the combat potential of "rea.lv and "not ready- divisions afterwe believe that the Sm ,eban* additional time available lor naming prior tocommiiiin*ready" units loid to high-intensity combat environment ^
We believe the Soviets could alert and mobilizef theirwithin II days. Upon completion of alert and mobilization alone, however, many ofivisions wouldreatly limited combat potential. Overall, this force would have less than half of thecombat potential we believe could be generated. Most of this Initial force capability would be provided by theready" divisions,
Completion of the minimum training we estimate would be necessary to prepare for operationsid-to-high-intensitywould extend the availability time forivision force toays. However, this wouldhased process, and more thanercent of the4 divisions) should be availableays after alert. Thetime taken lo Irani "not ready" divisions theoretically would increase the overall combat potential of the force byercent.
Force Readiness by Theater
The Soviets have structured and deployed their ground forces for theater warfare and would rely primarily on those forces in-thcater to defeat any enemy. Specialized forces, such as airborne divisions, and central reserves could reinforce one thealei or another, but Soviet forces basically are designed to operate in each TVD independently.therefore, isheater problem lor the Soviets and is most usefully assessed on that basis The three Soviet theaters that encompass the bulk of Soviel fotces and most ol the Soviet frontier are the Western, Southeastern, and Fai Eastern. Ol ihese. the Western TVD is unique* it is the only one of the three to which non-Soviet allies contributeoverhe first-echelonf^
The Western TVD. Theielievear inprobably would occureriod of heightenedwhich they would lake* I" increase the readiness olm the Westernl: cinnmstances. we believecould phase their pii'p,-Mt(uiiv bunying various elementsfoices to fill! coinkit readiness sequentially. For anNATO, the vV-u'sa" I'.h'. ,dinitially', could organuein Fasteni Fneipc iuti>lS and those in theSSI. i il, in-
with three fronts before the two rciufureins fronts from lheSI!in placein-oncept of operational and strategic echelotimenl is dt-simied t" provide for the time-phased
Readiness for Operations in the Western TVD. The Soviets have Iwo options in preparing to conduct operations in the Western TVD: they could initiate operations immediately aflei completion of the alert and mobilization of sufficient units to flesh out the required force; or they could take additional time lo conduct training and improve the proficiency or lhc mobilized force, increasing its combat potential W'
If the Soviets were willing to commit units immediately after alert and mobilization, they could generate the Soviet componenthree-front force in the forward area wiihui three to five days. The two Soviet fronts in the western USSR could be readied ino II days, excluding movement time (secndf the Soviets chose to train "not ready" units toigher level of mission proficiency (consistent with minimum requirements for offensive operations againsthc preparation time for the Soviet portionive-front force would be phasedonsiderably longer period of aboutays The training undertaken by "not ready" divisions would increase the overall combat potential ofdivision Soviet force by aboutercent
Ultimately. Ihe readiness and combat potential of the three fronts in the first echelon would be heavily dependent on the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (NSWP) forces tlial would make up more than half of the divisions in the first echelon Polish and Czechoslovak divisions would be particularly important because they would provide the bulk of the forces on the northern and southern flanks Although we have not assessed NSWP readiness in detail, we believe that some NSWP divisions (six East German divisionsew Polish and Czechoslovak divisions) probably could be mobilized as quickly as the Soviet divisions Wc do not believe that all non-Soviet forces could be as fully preparedasime as their Soviet counterparts in the groups of forces ji-f"
The Southeastern TVD. Soviel planning lor operations inAsia differs substantially from that lor war in Central Europe, but the Soviets probably would not accept the risk ofastily assembled, poorly prepared force For operations in this region, the Soviets couldimitedran to seize Azarbayoinbtned-arms army (three to live uivisjons) and support elements Large-scale operations, to seize contiol of Iran and thc northern littoral of ihe Persian Gulf, would requirer more divisions and wouldccomplishes! in two phase- secure northwestern, central, and northeastern Iran, including Teh tan. and consolidate, resupply. and utleploy tactical aiicrafi to captured airln Ids. then seize the Khuzestan oillield region and secure control ol the Strait ol Hormuz. The phased
Peacetime Readineat Posture of Soviel Division* in lhe Western TVD
reidy Reduced-strengthmgih ready II
Ready" llnh^ucnglli cadre Lthv-ilrcttglh cadre
Ktcludciairborne(till-Iicitrlh readyainingtvufcl be employed in thi) or o'her thealcrv
approach cf)iild also be combined wiih an earlyf lhe strait by licliborne or airborne forces, although ihevl risk until reinforcements arrived overT
Readiness for Operations in the Southeastern TVD. The Soviets could generate the number of divisions requiredimited operation against Azarbayian within aboulo SI) hours after alert, and the forces required for large-scale operations within five lo sis days (secmiithout training, howevei, the combat potential of these forces would be extremely low. and the most combat-ready divisions would be those currently located in Afghanistan Failure to provide training would add lo the substantial risks inherentampaign in this region. If training were provided the Soviets could almost double the combat potential nf the uilal force inoaysthe initial alert
The Far Eastern TVD. Soviet optionsino-Soviet conflict range trom targe-scale raids with limited objectivesull-scale invasion of western and northeastern China We believe that military as well as political cnnsideialiiiu*ould discourage the Soviets Irom pursuing the total defeat and mi inl China nr attempting the loitiilei in milium occupation ol (lie Chincve
Soviet ground operations probably would be interspersed with short defensive periods during "huh eneirij inclusions would be
Peacetime Readiness Poslucc of Sovietn the Somhcadcrn
rttjdi nca State
llfiliitcii iiteneih ready
E.tcludcfnll-it'(jicf% leadt allium, diiiiiomuM
l-miitoi til HifiDlhri llirilr'
lions, Soviel forces probably would beito three primary fronts in the Far East, Transbaikal, and Central Asia Military Districts, andeserve front in the Siberian MD.jjtf
lert, the full ild be mobilized and integrated into tincture which cvists inould need additional training to ;tenl with oflensne operationshe "ready" divisions couldeven In nineafter aleri but re between ihree tn viv weeks for
Readiness Jot Operations in the Far Eastern TVD. The Soviets could alert and mobilizeready divisions iu the Far Fast within four days (see tablenddivtsion force in the Far Eas the theater command and cont Once mobilized, however, thisevel ofid-to high-intensiti einiromr
tivehombat potential ol their forces upon ie Soviets would lie likeh to optnpletc trainingajor lluet-fnml ollnisive.ore limited ever, they could choose tn launch iniiial crnss-horder
1 1 !i:'tr
.ieiil lime lo prepare I'dHow-hii force; fur commitineiit reiiuiieil Atff
While the Soviets havealli in of stivK urnmul loive"-growth over tin'ears Isomeew division* or mnhilfealioii
I able 5
Peacetime Readiness Posture of Soviet Divisions in thc Far Eastern TVD
cadre Len.-ii length cadre Mobtiiutton lair
Eacludraoat thai it net deployedoriented fo. vperaltaoa >i
tlvnaori most China.
bases have beenhere has been no appreciable change in the overall read.ness posture. On thc contrary,21 thererop ofercent in the proportion of "ready" to "not ready divts.ons in the forces (seeew divisions have been upgraded from "not ready" to "ready" status, most
"Ready" and -Not Beady- Maneuver Divisions in the
4 -jtt in ro so "tl
divisions have been either manned at cadre levels or are being maintained as inactive mobilization base divisions ^
We do noiajor, permanent change in the readiness posture of the Soviet forces over the next five years unless theyubstantial and lasting alteration of ihr threat in one region or another. Any effort to substantially upgrade their readiness posture would be problematic The Soviets will continue to face dwindling manpower resources through the end of the decade,ajor Increase in peacetime manning (except on an emergency basis by recallingin one region might require consequent reductions in other regions.