Created: 4/1/1982

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are the soviets interested in deep reductions in strategic forces?

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Are the Soviets Interested in Deep Reductions in Strategic Forces?

Thit memorandum "asv

llice ol Soviet Analysis. It was cooed im led with Ihe Aims Control Inlellieence Staff and the National Intelligence Council. Comments and queries ai welcome and may be directed lo

Are ibe Soviei* Inleresied in Deep Reductions in Stratcfk Forces?

Soviei commentaries about possible future agreement on "deep cuts" in (he level aa* US and Soviet strategic airru have become inore frcqueni during lhc pail year. In least, ihey arc intended to respond to US criticism ihai the ceilings negotiated in SALT II are relatively high and to demonstrate interest ia the Sttaiefic Arms Reduction Talk* (START)

Moicow has claimed, however, that iti willingness to negotiate deep cuts would depend on satisfactory treatment of Soviei concerns about US "fot ward-basedhe ptospceiive deployment of US crotind- and *ea-launched cruise missiles, and ihe nuclear forcei of the United King-dotn, France, and China. Even If these matters were resolvedthe Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) talks ealher than START could prove to bz the locum- i, is doubtful that the Sen wis "Odd accept cuts muchntttcontmental delivery vehicles

Arc (he Soviets Interested in Deep Reductions in Strategic Forces?

cpiy to President Reagan's November letier on US arms control proposals. Sraviet President Brezhnev asserted thai the USSR is in favor of reductions in strategic arms bul claimed thai SALTlready provides for "very substantial" cuts. Further reductions, he stated, must lake into account "all factors that determine the strategics well as the principle of equality and equal security

This Qualification has often been expressed in the pasi By SovietIt typically means from the Soviets' point of viewTART and/ Of INF agreement must deal with three particular Soviet concerns. These are US "forward-based" systemsotential US cruise missile deployment, and third-country nuclear forces.

Sovietyear. Moscow's view of deep reductions was frequently explained in

injournals and press accounts. Mosi or the commentaries were

skeptical of US intentions and emphasiicd the following ptunl.C

Moscow had historically championed the idea of deep cols and had gone further than Washington in advocating the elimination ol all nuclear weapons and stockpiles.

-Deep cuts could be negotiated only accordinghe principle of equality and equal security and wouldesolution of the Soviet coneerns


Soviets doubted the seriousness of US proposals

Despite such reservations. Moscow continued to signal its interest in deep cuts in discussions held wilh Western officials in variom arm* control foruml. In1

Jihai the Soviets mighj well look with favor at the idea of reductions below the ievels in the unratified SALT II Treaty^ Jclaimed that when President Carter had proposed the lower levelshe timing had been wronn. and .he US handling of the proposal had been clumsy. He indicaied that if the possibility of such reductions werein. Moscow would be more reccpti'c

In1 -Soviet ad.ner to the SALT Standing Consultative Commission (SCOS coonleipait that Ihe USSR was P'epa'ed lor deep reductions in intercontinental delivery vehicles. The proof of this ntiiiude. he said, was Moscow's agreement lo the SALT II Treaty. He doubted US readiness for such reductvons

To further fan Washington's intcresi In resuming strategic arms talks. Breihnev addressed another maroe USNovem ber In anpuMishedegW. h* ind-ated that "given confidence' the iwo nations easuM negotiate some type of cooperative measures to augmentcho real in<ani of vesication. .

In January

indicated to C

Jthat the Soviets were willing toeiplore the idea of deep cuts. He asked rhetorically what had happened to this idea and whether it had faded away. He added thai the USSR would icgard any such US proposal favorably

Brezhnev again stressed the importance ol strategic armt talks in2peech to the So.iet Trade Union Congress His remarks can be viewedilium of inducements and threats, apparently aimed at ncouraging Ihe arms control dialogue, preserving the -positive eicmenit of the SALT II Treaty, and eapteising growing impatience wiih -hai Moscow regards as Washington's few.-dragging on START. Bierhnev'a letters to ihe Australian and Japanese "peace" g'OW in February ind March also teflwt some of theseicmi.

Whyon Congress speechwrtwsarly raoie-orth,

of ihe sense of urgency in his remarks on strategic arms lalkt

Without an agreement soon, he -nrned. both aides cocks develop new types off mas* destruction thai might undermine the current opportu miles for limitation. reduClinn. and verification

The So-ei leaden bchevc thairms control policy since iheas bioughi them both military and political gams, particularly in restraining US delense ptogiams. Irsce ihe inva;.ion of Afghanistaii and the more lecenl involvement in Polish affaire reeogn.rcdccp-ceaied and unfavorable sh.ll las occurredi.iudeihc USSR and nanonal security pohcy They seevriive US administrationthis Shift and pursuing ddc-v. progiarm bem on reversing the strategic gains ihe Soviets have: ta* past decade

Moscow'* Condition* for Serious Negotiation*

new aims control agreement would be valuable, in Moscow's view, because il would offer an opooriunily to rejjutaie US programs and possibly to siaanale compel it ton in areas where the United States mightechnological advaniage-eruisc missiles. anilbalUstic miss.lea. andweaponry. Resuming or slowing US programs would racihtaie Soviet planmnR. reduce weapons costs, and. in significani areas, mtnimirepossibility of technological lurprise. These results translate dtrecily inio mililary and military' ind at trial benefits.

The Sovietsew strategic armseven the prospect ofalso yield political and economic benefits. They might anticipateenewed ttfaieajie arm* dialogue couldore favorable political cbrnaie, which could arrest the trend toward Wesiern sanction* that began -iih their invasion of Afghanistan and was broadened by Ihe declaration ol martial law in Poland. Moreover. Moscow has lone believed thai strategic arms negotiation* contribute lo warmer Soviel-US ties generally, which in lurn facilitate Soviet access lo Wesiernnd technology, and Ihui miiigate economic problems at home and in Casicrn Europe. Ai became clear In, the Soviets expectavorable arrangement loconlinue regardless of their activities in the Third World. Because ils economic problems are becoming serious. Moscow probably attaches as much importance to the political and economic benefit* lhai might result from renewalialogue as il docs to any limitation?S strategic programs thai might eventually be negotiated

The Soviets have indicated they would be amenable lo diaeussmg deep cms in START if ihe INF tall* or START addressed lheir concerns about US FBS and third-country nuclear forces They are more interested in those concerns than in the particular forum, butbecause Ihe INF talks are under way and START isare insisting that Ihese forces should b. negotiated in the INF framework. They claim, moreover, that British and French nuclear forces are an internal pari of an existing European balance in "medium-range" forces

uch Might Moscow Agree To Reduce?

of these argument* on US IBS and third-countr- nuclear forces hark back to positions (he Soviets first established during the SALT negotiations. At thai time they beean espousing their view ofequal security, arguing that an agreement must consider not only US intercontinental systems, but also any Western systems thai could strike the USSR

esult, the Soviets see US deployf thousands ofmissiles worldwide as incompatible with any agreemen-reductions in intercom incntsl sysiems. They indicated

would not cut bat* their strategic

sc-verylevel in the SALTreaty without an

extension of therotocol (which eventually expired al the end of IMIlora resolution of such Protocol issues as the deployment of eround-and sea-launched cruise missiles. More recently, an article in the2 issue of K'asnaya Zveido stated:

should a- no tfouWevenompltu rtoUielion of USplfifoe ihr drployntni oferulst miiillis noi cotrtd by an ageeeme".ebfrtii't dUT'tuliin ia iht paihubstantial rrduclton in uraitpe


In his speech at the Tiade Union Congress. Breahnev unde.seored Sovietbout such US plans byan on sea- or ground- aunched cruise missile deployment pending the resumption or strategic arms talks.ooial waseiteration of agoverning these types of cruise missiles in the Proiocol. which the Soviets still believen integral pari of the SALT ll Treaty

long with the SALT IIoint statement for SALT III was negotiated, which called for "significant and substantial reduction* in strategic arms. The Soviets have never specifically spelled out whaMhey svould consider *uch reductions to be. During the SALT II negotiations, the,S attempt tooal for SALT III limiting strategicvehicles. claiming thatroposalpredeiermtne future negotiations. They stated, howler, thatuts should be "significant" and not "token

The Soviets have thown some flexibility in negotiating lower total numbers for intercontinental delivery vehicle They rejected cut*eSvery vehicles which the United Siaies proposed in7 during SALT llut Ihey drdevelnhis figureei* lhan the limit originally negotiated at Vladivostok4 andess than Iheir current inventory. The Soviets may wiih to cxpreis interest now in deep reductions in intercontinental force* tothen position on radically reducing INF in the Geneva negotiation*

We do rot believe the. Sovieii will accept cult much belowdelivery vehicles They probably would ittrxtubililutc other uniti of accounting (throw weight orwnrheads, for example) for launchers if ihe lubsliiution wouldforce well below thai number of delivery vehicles.ould disrupt the SovieU* ongoing eflorts to modern ireSLBM, artel bomber forces.erlioeofo jiil retain all of their opcriiional MIRVed systems (theBMi.and iheS SLBM) end retire their

unMIRV'cd. lets accurate misailesi Ihe,.. andl The Soviets' present plant probably callIRVed missile force at or near the SALT II ceilingackers for such missiles They will reach ihis level wuh their current MIRVed systems and theLBM when it is deployed in theOs

The Soviets may also want io preserve the opt on ofeavy bomber with air-launched cruise missilesnder ihe SALT II ceilingor MIRVed missile launchers and ALCM-equipped heavy bombers together, they would be able touch bombers without reducing iheir MIRVed missile launcher lotal

In addition to thisIRVed missiles and ALCM carriers, the Soviets would want to retain at least several hundred single-RV ICBMs and SL BMs for such targets as enemy launch control centers and bomber bases c

3oviets may also have plans to replace lhcliis SSBNs with another ttngle-RVSLFlM

If the Soviets accepted an agreement to reduce tbe number of their delivery vehicles. this would not only preserve iheir modernisationould compel ihe United Slates io cut in force by aboutercent (the SALT II Treaty would not have required any USuch an agreement would provide Moscow with political benes welt. It could advertise its willingness to agree to reductions below SALT II levels as ev.dence of good faith and of interest in sustaining therms limitation process

The Soviets probably expect the Uniied Stale) to propose limits on warheads and leTue missiles in any agreement calling for deep reductions. They are aware of the US view that without such limits the Soviets could circumvent reductions by installing more warheads on existing missiles or deploying additional missiles. They may try to convince Washington that their willingness lo accept such limits is directly linked wiih USin seeking drastic revisions to the basic framework of the SALT ll Treaty.

Although Moscow may be receptive lo cuts in overall deliverySALT II levels, il will probably not agree to large cuts in itsforce, such as those proposed by the Carteru forceaunchers for the SS-IB is nowwith the Modhich carriesIRVs" an

^JiTie Soviets viewed Ibe US proposal on heavy

ICBMt as one-sided and probably would reject another attempt to severely limit this force. They might agree to some reduction, however, if ihe United Slates were prepared to make concessions on future MX,r cruise missile deployment

Original document.