CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE AS SANITIZED
Soviet Capabilities for Strategic Nuclear Conflict0
tdligrnec Estimate Volume
SOVIET CAPABILITIES FOR STRATEGIC NUCLEAR CONFLICT0
THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE.
THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS EXCEPT AS NOTED IN THE TEXT.
The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparation of Iho estimate:
The Central Intelligence Agency, .he Dtpor.rnenM of Stole ond Energy, the DeW Intell.gence Agency, ond rheecurity Agency.
istont Chiefo, Inlelligence, Deporlntent of th. Army Th, Director of Novol Inlelligence. Deportment1he Novy TheChief of Sloff, intelligence, rjeporirnent cf the Air force Tho Director of Irrteftgcnee, Heooquortert, Marine Corps
i^PFHGVED FOR RELEASE CIAGRAM
This Estimate of Soviel strategic forces is produced annually by the Intelligence Community It assesses Soviet policies and doctrine applicable to strategic nuclear forces for intercontinental altack, peripheral atlack, and strategic defense. It presents estimates of the numbers, types, characteristics, and capabilities of Soviet offensive and defensive forces for strategic nuclear conflict and of their supporting elements over the nextears.
To meet the needsariety of consumers, the Estimate consists ol three volumes. Thc first summarizes thc main developments and trends in Soviet strategic programs, and assesses the implicalions ofSoviet strategic forces, which should be of value to senior planners and to many policymakers. It also contains Key Judgments intended for the President and his key advisers oo foreign policy. The second volume comprises sii chapters addressing current and future Soviet strategic forces, programs, and capabilities in detail, along with relevant aspects of Soviel doctrine, policy, and operational concepts The third volume contains supplementary annexes and tables of fuiure force protections. These last two volumes are intended for use by military planners and
:ii. r- lysr-
The cutoff date for information and analysis innd II ishe date of information for volume III is
Judgments of the Director of Central
Judgment! Coordinated by the Intelligence Community
OLICIES UNDERLYING SOVIET STRATECIC NUCLEAR FORCE
Present Soviet Perception of the Strategic
Doctrine and Strategy for Nuclear
C Other Factors Influencing Soviet
Stralegic Weapons Procurement
Soviet Views on
D. Soviet Policies for the
II FORCES FOR STRATECIC NUCLEAR
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile
Medium/lntcrmcdlate-Range Ballistic Missile
C Future Weapon Systems for Strategic Nuclear
Ballistic Missile System
Strategic Air Defense
Defense Againsi Ballistic Missile
AND EMPLOYMENT OF SOVIET STRATECIC
and Bailie Management Capabilities
of US Intelligence
H Wartime Operations ol Strategic
Operations in Theater
Operations in Inletcontmental
I. Limited Use of Nuclear Weapons in Intercom mental
I The Possibility of Protracted Nuclear
V TRENDS IN FUTURE FORCE
of Intercontinental Altack Forces
The General Nature of the
Impact of SALT on Future Strategic Offensive
of Strategic Defense
Ceneral Nature of the
Forces for Air and Missile
Projections of Forces for Peripheral
VI. CAPABILITIES OF PROJECTED SOVIET STRATECIC NUCLEAR
and Qualitative Indeies of Soviet Forces for
Capabilities ol Soviet Of Ienure
of Soviel Offensive
D Residual Potential of US and Soviet Offensive
E Capabilities of Soviet Forces lor Peripheral
F. Capabilities for Active and Passive
C. Possible Soviet Perspective
These Key Judgments consist of two sections. This year theof Central Intelligence has added his own key Judgmentshich have not been coordinated with the Intelligence Community. He docs not hold major disagreements with thc key judgments coordinated hy the Intelligence Community agencies (section B) or with the basic analysis in the Estimate. He docs not believe, however, that the findings indequately emphasize those areas of key importance to the President and his principal advisers on foreign policy. His keytherefore, address what the basic Estimate tells us about the following four issues of cardinal importance to US policy on strategic forces:
How the strategic capabilities of the two sides compare.
What actions the Sovicls may take as they view thc comparative strengths of thc strategic forces.
Whether and how thc balance of strategic forces prompts the Soviets to pursue strategic arms control agreements with the United States.
Whether or not the advantages that the Soviets seem to have in ICBMs6 would induce or pressure them to exploit what they might perceivewindow of opportunity" before those advantages may be erased toward thc end of this decade.
A. KEY JUDGMENTS OF IHE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAl INTELLIGENCE
Soviet Perceptions of tho Strategic Environment
1 The comprehensive nature of Soviet strategic offensive and defensive programs, the emphasis in Soviet military doctrine ontouclear war. and assertions that general nuclear war can be won indicate that some Soviet leaders hold the view that victory in general nuclear war is possible Tlie Soviets asserteneral nuclear war will probably bo brief, but we believe that they have
contingency plans for protracted conflict. Soviet military writings and exercises imply that victory would be an outcome that preserves the Communists' political control, permits reconstitution of their economy, and leaves themuperior miliiary position on Eurasia, whilelhc United States and undermining the political and social systems of their weakened adversaries. Despite their growing strategic capabilities, the Soviets are aware that they could notarge-scale retaliatory US nuclear attack from causing lens of millions of casualties and massive destruction of urban-industrial and military facilities in the USSR. Whether ihey view this as contradictory to what ihey consider to be their definition of "victory" is difficult to gauge.
e see the Soviets as basically pleased with the generalthat they have achieved at least "parity" or perhapswiih thc United States in strategic weaponry and thcof superpower status which this confers. The Soviets must also sec that they hold certain advantages in the strategic force competition with the United Slates that will help iliem maintain their present position.
Theyassive,rganization,arge number of new programs, as well as an expandingcapability, all of which provide options for fulure force growth and improvement. There are, for instance,esign bureaus engaged in developing sometrategic, tactical, and space systems or system improvements.
In lhe defensive area, ihey are continuing an activerogram; aticmpting to solve problems of defense againsi low-flying aircraft and missiles, against SSBNs. and against satellites; continuing to expand ihcir civil defense program (however, this effort relies heavily on massive evacuation and would likelyipoff of Sovietnd striving lo achieve technological breakthroughs in laser and directed-energyto solving defensive tasks
the area of command and control, the Soviets continue to enhance their ability to flexibly conlrol stralegic forces. They are constructing redundant, hardened, and mobile command and communication links to enhance force survivability. Their early warning system, though suffering from somecontinues to improve, and the Soviets have thelo employ their strategic nuclear forces in both initiative (bolt-from-the-blue or preemption) and responsive (launch-on-tactical-warning or retaliation) strikes.
The greater weight of Soviet effort in these areas also contributes to the perception of Soviet parity or superiority.
l the same lime, the Soviets could he apprehensive about whether they can hold on to their hard-won gains because:
They are enteringecord of decliningin the industrial sector, with reduced levels of outputumber of important raw materials such as coal, with a. sharp drop in the rate of growth of the labor force, with the prospecteak andecline in oil production, and with increasing demands for economic support to their client states in Eastern Europe They would prefer to avoid thestrain which increased competition in the strategic arena would create
Thc Soviets must anticipate that if the SALT process does not collapse entirety, negotiationsew strategic armsagreement willong time The Sovicis view SALT IItep toward avoiding greater tensions with the United States than tbcy wish to risk and. they hope, toward reducing the possibilityS surge in thc strategic arms race.
feel that they now face an aroused US public which is willing to spend more on defenseew administration that is likely to increase US strategic programs. This is particularly distuibing to them because of iheir respect for US technological prowess and industrial capacity.
arc concerned with the range of major US strategicthat are in process. They argue that MXoveirst-strike capability; that modern iTation of tactical nuclear forces in Europe is much the same because of the short time of flight of those weapons to targets in tbe Soviet Union; and that the cruise missile and Trident programs further compound their problems of defense against attack by nuclear weapons.the multiple protective shelters being considered (or the MX missile will substantially increase the number of weapons requiredoviet counterforce attack-
The Soviels also contend that theyonsiderable threat from third, fourth, and fifth nuclear powers, while the United States faces no such threat. The Soviet concern with this threat
hasonstant thread in the positions the USSR has taken in SALT.
The strategic environment that the USSR may perceive is, then, one in which the trends in tbe strategic balance could shift against it later iu the decade when programed US force improvements are deployed. In this environment we conclude that there is substantial likelihood that lhe leaders of lhe USSR will be looking at their next Five-Year Plan, which they are currently formulating,iew toward acouiring even greater strategic forces than they mii*Iil haveear ago
Who. Does "Parity" or "Superiority" Mean, ond Who) Condition Prevails Today?
considering how the Soviets and others view thebalance today, there are three type* of measures forforces:
First, static indicators, such as the number of units, their size, range capability, and so forth.
Second, quasi-dynamic indicators which describe the fighting or destructive potential of the forces. These are. in effect, measures of what the forces could do if unleashed.
Third, dynamic measures, such as war games, that attempt to forecast how opposing forces would actually be used and to what end result.
In this Estimate we use the first two measures to compare US and Soviet strategic forces. Adequate means of conducting war-gaming on this scale and of translating the results into estimative conclusions have not yet been achieved.
with static indicators, the four most useful arefigure I:
Number of delivery vehicles. Thisimple indicator which has been the basis for SALT negotiations to date. Thc upper left-hand graph shows that the Soviet buildup of thendut the USSR ahead of the United States, which during this same periodretiring older systems.
Number of weapons. This measure dictates how many targets can be attackedelivery vehicle carries more thanomberumber of bombs or air-launched missiles, or an ICBM with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicleshe upper right-hand graph shows the United States hasubstantia! lead throughout the decade Allhoueli the Soviets have been closing this gap. the United Stales still hasercent more weapons than the Soviets have today
- Equivalent megatons. Thisough measure of thecapabilities lhat weapon yield and number of weaponsagainst soft area targets Thc lower left-hand graphrowing Soviet advantage beginning in the, whichirect result of an increasing number of ICBMs with large throw weights.
Accuracy of each side's best ICBMs is another rough measure of the trends. The lower right-hand graph shows that the newest Soviet ICBMs have now surpassed lhe best US ICBM accuracies, thus eliminating the historical US advantage in this characteristic.
In sum, according lo these measures the US force excels only in the number of weapons. The Soviets lead in numbers of vehicles and their size, and have now surpassed the United States in ICBM accuracy, thereby closing this technological gap.
exl, quasi-dynamic indicators in effect combine rhese four stalic indicators into two measures of the destructive potential of a
Thc first of these is known as lethal area potentialhis is the area of land In which reinforced concrete buildings would behis calculation is purely theoretical; that is, the targetominal,pecific urban area, and no battle conditions or tactics are considered. Figurehows that the Soviets have been ahead in LAP throughout the decade. This is because of their large throw-weight advantage [
3 Figure II also shows, however, that lhe US urban area is more than twice ;hat of the Soviet Union.
parable to those of missileigure III shows that when we consider both the lethality of .he large Soviel warheads and their improving accuracies!"-
Onilanlould bei entire area.her tide -Oolri JClujIlv opcud all ill weapon; In luchack.
all lit weapons in alurlii on hardwily.
HTP. Figure HI also comparesP of both sides with the respective number of hardened silos. This comparison shows that theoretically the Soviets now have almost twice as much hard-target potential as the United States has silos.L.
>n(hf cjpsbilii.ol,ui lt.it
ilon iha* irrpmoti' iintil. inMl
he critical issue lhat dominates perceptions in this country, however, Ls indicated on figure IV. The left-hand graph displays the vulnerability of US ICBMsirst strike by the Soviels and assumes thai the United States does not launch its ICBMs on warning: Today
o discern the full meaning of the vulnerability of US ICBMs, we must look at tbc total forces the Soviets would have to expect the United States to have left,oviet surprise first strike eliminalcd most US ICBMs. Would surviving US forces be adequate either to detertrike in the first place or to wage nuclear warfare thereafter? To examine this issue, we use residual analyses of Soviet and US forces and proiecl them out into the decadehese residual analyses are, again, theoretical calculations. They depict how many forces of one side wouldirst strike by the other and how that would compare with the forces that would still be lefl to the attacking side for other missions.'
ihese Ailriibiiom wc assume lint ihe Soviets> tkir one new missile oeniulierl under it--
SALT II le.no.inediura-iixe, solid, urnprllan'. .Ilc-hased ICHMm.lc IIV ralrwr Ihai. (he. olV. whichennillrd The Uniied Slain IsinX mbu.lnUased
- The respective arsenals aie reduced br subrratune. those ICtlMs needed lor ihe altack and Ihese retaliatory forces destroyed in Die nuii 'homlo-r* and iSiis. noi on alerl or ai tea ere assumed
lie tOlMi et lhe sulr attackedanurnci!niir out ihr ali act without leini bunched
resMhiilsare on-cud noienliali. calculated wilhoul considc-ng such (acton as specif ie Urgeuro doctrines, command and eonlral degradation. itlritinr. by an or ASWnd olhervariables.
the calculations in the analysis do nor ailempi io ii mull re actual conflict outcome*'
They seek tu display corn para live cembiliin ind limiiil-onsanner most'relevant le nuclear deterrence in ils most elementary lorm ihai u. luured destruction.
Thc analysis lllustiales tlie retaliatoryv.ie-.lulide eontrrnalalin* an allnck wH.ldhivf inripntm Survive on Ineacked even fnllowinii.uipeiw alwnril cajf
ler ihe ude marked.
analysts makes no estimate nfmans of iheseci of lands would likely he jiim-IoI In lelallaioiy oi second sin lei
of Soviet ICBMs To
Attack US ICBM
(Two-on-One Targeling) US
Survivability of Soviet ICBM Silos If
Attacked by US
(Two-on-One Targeting) Soviet
ToUl ICBM Stios
i } f
boil, sides could st.ll dooviet surprise first sl.ikct
igure Vf illustrates the qualitative differences in theof the two residual forces On the left, tlie Soviet force is shown to be nearly all ICBMs (until then the right, lhe US force has few (CBMs, but many SLBMs and aerodynamic weapon systems such as bombs and cruise missiles. There arc. of course, important differencesCBMs have greater speed of allack and better responsiveness tn command and control The slower aerodynamic systems would have to penetrate large, growing, and increasingly mure effective Soviet air defenses It is possible that the generally held notions of Sovietderive in partreference for tbe qualities of ICBM systrms over those of SLBMs and air-breathing weapons.
The answer lo ihc question ol* whether the residual US forces would be adequate to deter the Soviets liesubjective judgment as to conditions underoviet leadership would risk initiating strategic nuclear war. It is likely, however, lhat. considering the US residual force that is shown on the right on figure VI. the Soviets would seear asery high risk even in thehen US surviving potential would be at its lowest.
The question of whether Soviet and/or US residual forces would be adequate for war fighting relates not only to the numbers of residual weapons and their destructive ixrtenlial but also to the enduring survivability of their command, control, commuruolions, and poslattack assessment systems. For most ofhe Soviets clearly have greater endurance capability In terms of residual LAPoviet first strike, they would need greater potential in thc, if they sought to be able to damage tlie same percentage of US urban area as they could earlier in the decade. In terms of residual HTP. they have an excessrelative to the number of US hard targets, even in the.
nother point onnd VI is the sharp dropoff in Soviet residual potential In the latter half of the decade. This dropoff is
due lo the conslruclion of MX shelters, which absorb most of the Soviet warheads in their initial strike. If the Soviels perceive these trends in anything like these terms, they will certainly consider actions to prevent this potential reversal.
Soviets, as noted previously, are poised withrograms. They can move out on whatever track tbcyWe must try to deduce what they may attempt and howaffect the comparison of forces.
Soviet Options In Strategic Force Programs
considering their strategic programs for, thewill want to preserve and extend thc gains ofndand despite economic difficulties and changes in leadershipSoviet Union that are bound lo occur in this decade, they willgreat effort to continue their emphasis on militarythese assumptions, thereumber of options which theare likely to consider. Thesencouraging some formarmsbserving the SALT IIignoring the SALT II constraints and increasing fractionationtbe number of RVs carriedeployingoffensive and defensive systems. The United States has, ofvariety of options of its own, including expanding the numberMX shelters to counterbalance the Soviet options
e believe that the Soviets almost certainly prefer the first of theseencourage the ratification of SALT II or some other form of nuclear armsit is most likely to dissuade thc United States from enteringtrategic arms race Besides this, it would, the Soviets hope, alwt another of their key objectives, that of splitting the NATO allies by lulling themalse sense of security. The Soviets arc particularly worried by ibe prospect of a* buildup of NATO tactical nuclear forces with long enough range to strike at the Soviet homeland. From their point of view, the addition of Pershing II's and CLCMs to the NATO arsenal would affect their position relative lo the United States in theven more adversely than shown in figure V.
f tbe Soviets chose to observe the limits under SALT II. we believe that tbcy would probably push close to the limits under the agreement and thus hedge against an even greater need in tbe late
il>(ia'Ffillr iin) litem!ilidllc Ion* ubiccll-n
. One area for expansion within the Trealy limits is In the number of ICBM RVs. The maximum to which the Soviets can expand. an increasever tliat assumed in the previousn the left side of figure VII we show again, as in figure V, the decline of residual Soviet LAP in thender basic SALT II conditions. At the right wcraph that shows the situation if the Soviets expand*Vs. There would stillropoff in residual Soviet LAP but noi nearly as much as on figure V. We have also calculated, however, that if the United States shouldotalhelters for MX rather. the curve would return approximately to that of figure V. In short, an increase by the Sovietsarheads could be offset by the additionhelters.
, coM if .rh ftdOO RV. b> 'hootuif. lod MIRV ICBMthcil OOCICDM pnioittnf under SALT ti ralhrr thin ih* Wnatc-RV .run- timmcd In the plpvlooj ok-tibiium Tliu
mimlr inula1 r'ptue auaimtly deployedndCIIMi, thereby cituUi*-
f the Soviet! chose not to observe any SALT II limitations, especially those on fractionation, we estimate that the Soviets have the capacity to build0 ICBM RVshe consequent new curve of LAP is shown in thc right-hand graph of figure VIII (the two graphs from figure VII are on the left forlearly this would completely offset the expected decline in Soviet potential Inotal of0 MX shelters would be required to counter
this and return conditions to those displayed on the left-hand graph.
Tliere would alsoS alternative of abrogating the ABM Treaty and
ew mobile ABM system.
he options examined above put some bounds on the impact of possible Soviet and US moves. It is unlikely that thc Soviets0 RVs or thai thc United Stales would0 MX sheltersountermovc. Other alternatives exist for both sides. What tlie calculations indicate, however, is that the Soviets will have anto enterompetition to maintain their present relative status; that thc United States will then have an incentive to respond in some manner; and that these numbers00 simply represent some measure of the magnitude of the actions that would have to be considered.
21 Obviously the costs of whatever programs are selected would be considerable. Despite past evidence that economics has notrofound effect on the size of the Soviets' strategic programs, theof their forthcoming economic problems may change this They will at least try to avail themselves of lower cost options. In particular, we expect them to emphasize arms conlrol agreements and to attempt to gain as much leverage as possible from the threat to fractionate extensively. This is certainly thc option they can use most readily to pressure the United States. It is also an option they can implement relatively rapidly, and, the earlier they move to extensive fractionation, the more certain they can be of nuking the competition difficult for the United States. Ultimately, however, thc Soviets will no! let economic considerations deprive them of strategic forces they deem important to their security.
Q/jLfT fee frb-fJJ
rie deployment of MX in the US inventory willecond impact on the Soviets over and above that of actingponge to absorb large numbers of Soviet warheads. As shown on figure IX the advent of MX wili be accompaniedrogressive decline in the surv,vab.htv of Soviet silo-based ICBMs under conditionsS first strike This will then drive the Soviets to take step, to reduce .he vulnerability of their ICBM force:
step would be to deploy additional SLBMs.
would be to abrogate the ABM Treaty and expand their ABM defenses around their ICBM fields
Another would be to develop and deploy mobile ICBMs.
Still another would be to press the development of long-range cruise missiles.
It is worth noting that the means of verifying mobile ICBMs and cruise missiles under an arms control agreement are limited!"
Survivability of Soviet ICBM Silos If Attacked by US
(Two-on-One Targeting) Soviet
Total ICBM Silo<
ecause the Soviets will want,ime at least, to keep open the possibilityuture SALT accord that would constrain USwe estimate that they will approve programs for the nexl five years that:
Push their strategic forces loward the maximum levels permitted under SALT II and emphasize growthide range of strategic programs not constrained by SALT IL
Lay the groundwork for rapid expansion (even during this Five-Year Plan) of their forces in areas now constrained by SALT II. if they concluded that the Treatv were dead
n light of the stark contrast in the projected Soviel strategic position in the first half of, and the threat to it in the last half, should we expect tbe Soviets to take advantage of what some have referred to as the "window of opportunity" of the3 The Soviets have regularly exploited opportunities in the Third World and have taken those measures necessary to secure their control of Eastern Europe even before they achieved parity. They havedone this less with reference to the strategic balance with tbe United States than with their estimation of the US resolve to take counteraction. Since the Vietnam war ihey have perceived tbeof such counteraction as remote, esix'cially In lhe Third World.
ccordingly, we believe that the Soviets will continue to make iheir estimation of US resolve the primaiy determinant in the degree to which they conduct on aggressive foreign policy in the Third World Their sense of strategic parity or superiority may well, however, make ihem judge the risks to be less than they were in the past In short, the "window of opportunity" which appears to exist in theith respect to the strategic equation will make the Soviets more svillmg lo be adventuresome bul no* so much so as lo "go for broke" in I'.xpli'iilinc rvery opportunity that presents itsell in the Third World. Their perception of the slrategic balance Is unlikely lo induce them lo undertake military action in Europe or against the United Slates. Still, these judgments must be caveated by the recognition that there are several imporlant uncertainties in this estimation;
First, internal political dynamics in the Soviet Union mayless predictablerolonged period of leadership
? 'S '"PriScdefore wilh ,hc continued
strength of their strategic programs and might buildoint of such strength that they might miscalculate the prospects for successful military action.
- Finally, with theirrogram, they mightechnological breakthrough that would clearly give them' superiority.
B. KEY JUDGMENTS COORDINATED BY THE INTEUIGENCE COMMUNITY AGENCIES
this section we describe current Soviet programs andthose issues and uncertainties'that we believe will be critical toas it develops US strategic nuclear policy- WeSoviet forces and discuss some of the implications ofFinally, wc address whether the US-Soviet strategicinduce the Soviets to exploit what they may perceive as astrategic opportunity before US programs alter trendsthe USSR.
Current Soviet Strategic Programs and Policies
leaders assert the inevitable victory of "socialism" inwith capitalism, and. although they describeisaster to be avoided if possible, iheir militaryonflict can be won by the USSR. Moreover, theplan for national survival in the event ofar. Inprivate commentary, at SALT and in other forums, they haveWestern notions of strategic sufficiency and lhe concept ofassured destruction. The Soviet Union's refusal toermanent basis for the strategic relationship iswith iheir open-ended weapons acquisition system andSoviets seek strategic forces and supporting elements, that, inof general nuclear war. could:
Launch crippling counterforce strikes.
Survive large-scale nuclear atiack.
He employed flexiblyide range of targets.
Substantially limit damage to the USSR.
To these ends the USSR relies on both offensive and defensive measures Ils offensive forces consist primarilyarge land-based ballistic missile force that today has the potential to destroy the bulk of US ICBM silos,urvivable submarine-launched ballistic missile force that is growing in size and capability. Thc Soviet long-range bomber force is expected to continue toelatively smallof the USSR's total intercontinental attack capability. Seeor an illustration of the growth and composition of Soviet strategic offensive forces over the last decade.
The Soviets continue lo expand and upgrade what is already by far lhe largest air defense system in thc world. They arc developing a
new ballistic missile defense system thai could begin widespread deployment in tbe neil few years' Theyationwide civilprogram lhat would cost at leastillion per year if duplicated in the United States. Although their antisubmarine warfare (ASW)have major deficiencies, they continue to expend great efforts in seeking solutions to their problems in thu field.
Thc Soviets have long stressed the importance of theircontrol, and communications systems as critical to the fulfillment of their strategic goals in the event of war. These systems, even ifattacked, can ensure the transmission of initial launch instructions to strategic forces. Their communications systems are sufficiently redundant that the loss of any one would not severely degradeand control capabilities. Moreover, the primary communications circuits could be reconstitutederiod of several hoursew days. Improvements in command and control have been an important aspeel of tbe Soviets' efforts to enhance the flexibility of their forces.
Thc Soviets have sought to assure their ability to employforces in either initiative or responsive attacks, in either brief or extended conflicts. Which attack option thc Soviets would
< Fot on ellrmtlloc oWa> htU bu iht Dittclo,.ol InitOigtnc* aW Rmm-cA.luit, lie oaiaftph SO
Growth and Composition ot Soviet OllVnshc Strategic
select-surprise first strike, preemption, launch-on-tactical-warning. or retaliation-would depend on thc circumslances, including the warning indicators available and the Soviet assessment of potential risks and
o permit effective weapon systems to be regularly produced and deployed in support of the leadership's miliiary and politicalthc USSR's military research, development, and productionhave been largely insulated from economic problems. Atthe Soviets have under wayozen programs devoted to new or modified ballistic missile systems for intercontinentalew class of very large ballistic missile submarinesossibly long-range cruiseew ABMew generation of fighters and advanced surface-to-air missiles. Experience indicates that many of these weapon systems will be deployed; however, for technical, political, or mission-related reasons some will not While the Sovicl approachelies mostly on evolutionary steps torisks and avoid production problems, high-risk, innovative approaches are also undertaken. For example, in the defensive field direclcd-cnergy systems are being evaluated for their potential in air and ballistic missile defense and antisatellite applications. Today, the Soviets, by dint of broad and intensive research and development efforts, areood position to further modernize their strategic forces.
Critical Issues ond Uncertainties
ictory. The comprehensive nature of Soviet strategicdefensive programs, the emphasis in Soviet military doctrinenuclear wars, and assertions that general nuclear war cancombine to indicate that some Soviet leaders hold the viewin general nuclear war is possible While Soviet militaryto us deal with preparations and operations on thea war may have to im fought, thev do not specify whata politically meaningful victory ir. nuclear war. Sovietwriters devote their attention to the accomplishment ofrather than to political results, emphasizing what UScall counterforce. damage-limiting missions and culminatingseizure of key enemy military, political, and economicthai victory would be an
outcome lhat preserves the Communists' political control, permits re-constitution of their economy, and leaves themuperior military position on Eurasia, while neutralizing the United Slates andthc political and social systems of their weakened adversaries
hereivergent view that the concept of "victory" in Soviet writings is based on ideology ralhcr than on objective, operational fac-
lott To deny the possibility ol "victory" under any circumstances would challenge the legitimacy of Soviet ideology and, in effect, of the regime itself This view further holds that the existence of military missions is not proof of an operational concept ofiven the lack of any identification of the requirements or characterictory" in Soviethereecond divergent view that availableindicates clearly that Soviet poliiical and military leaders are in agreement on what would constitute victory. The holders of this view believe that the Soviet conceptilitary and politically meaningful victory calls for: the survival of the USSRiable political entity, with the Communist party and leadership remaining supreme; the strategic and military neutralization of the United States; and theand occupation of Western Europe 1
e believe that the Soviets wouldreemptivenuclear strike only if iheir leaders were to acquireconsidered unequivocal evidenceS strike was bothandbelief that the most likely way in which intercontinental conflictUnited States would begin would be by escalation from aPact theater conflict. The Sovieis apparently believe lhatStates,ATO defeat in Europe, would seek tosituation by launching nuclear strikes.
imited Intercontinental Nuclear War. We arc uncertain about Soviet capabilities and strategy for limited intercontinentalconflict. The Soviets publicly reject the possibility that limited nuclear wars can be kept limited. On this point, their publicof thc so-called "Schlcsinger Doctrine" and more recently ofas been consistent. Privately, however, some Soviet spokesmen seemed to signal5 lhat the USSR did not entirely disapprove of these concepts, and there is evidence that the Soviets plan for limited nuclear conflict al Ihe theater level. Soviet forces have the technicaland flexibility toro.id range of limited options, although we continue to believe thatlimited" Soviet strike, in keeping with the major tenets of their military doctrine, wouldarge-scale attack on US stralegic forces and command andcenters The Soviets' ability to respond in kind to limited nuclear attacks on the USSR is constrained by their attack assessmentThe improvements we expect the Sovicls to make in Iheir strategic forces duringill give them belter capabilities for limited
1 The Hra li li* Ownn. ft*wa- of MfA|mftnravfc. flraa'lWtM oj itou
n,i -vk err ike IMreeloi.tU.feimhe Semioi hMApHK*hetenlei
intercoittincrila] nuclear war, but we cannot predict thc degree ofthey will make in their attack assessment capabilities.
rotracted Intercontinental Nuclear War. The Soviets assert,eneral nuclear war will probably be brief, but they have long allowed for the possibility that it might become lengthy. In view ofxtensive activities aimed at survivability and commandcivil defense, leadership protection, force hardening and rcconsiitution, and hardened and redundantbelieve that the Soviets have contingency plans fnr protracted conflicts.!
cannot determine how thorough such planning may be or what specific preparations have been made.
ALT. Throughout thc stralegic arms limitation talks thehave endeavored to slow the pace of US strategic force development while keeping open, to the extent feasible, options consistent with the USSR's military doctrine and its force acquisition plans. Thchowever, have forced the USSR to make some trade-offs. In particular, the Soviets would not have reduced the number ofnd possiblyaunchers that we believe they planned for deployment, and would not havelass SSBNs except for the arms control process. Nevertheless, since the strategic armsbegan, the Soviets have markedly enhanced the counlerforceof their ICBMs and have continued ABM research and development.
egardless of the fate of SALT II and despite anything lhe United Slates is likely to do or not do. the Soviets will substantially increase the capabilities of their forces during the nexlears.ihey have indicaled iheir willingness, if the Trealy is ratified, to proceed promptly to negotiate further reductions and limitations, we think the Soviet leaders will be very reluctant to entertain deep cuts in land-based ballistic missiles, because this would jeopardize the strategic posture they have worked so long lo acquire. Moreover, continuation5 of the SALT II liniitalions on new ICBMs, ICBMand perhaps total numbers of MIRVed launchers would limil the USSR's ability to increase thc counlerforce potential of its ICBM force in response to projected US strategic force improvements. Wc are. therefore, uncertain whether lhe Soviets would be willing Io extend such limits5
n lhe absence of SALT limitations, particularly in light of prospective US and NATO force improvements, the Soviets probably would lake actions that would have been prohibited by thc SALT II
Trealy and associated documents. During lhe next few months the USSR could:
Begin sea trialsew SSBN without dismantling older launchers as compensation.
Test more than one "new type" of ICBM.
Increase the number of reentry vehicles on theeyond the Treaty's limit.
And in thc next few years it could:
Increase the number of land-based MIRVed launchers beyond Treaty limits.
Deploy mobile ICBMs
Increase production of the Backfire bomber.
Soviet Perceptions of the Strategic Environment in. Soviet planning seems driven by the perceived need to maintain forces adequate to prevail over any combination of opponents. There is an alternative view that Soviet force planning is based not on animperative to achieve victory in nuclear war buttrategy of deterrence through the developmentar-fightinghe Soviets can expect that through theheir ongoing force improvement programs will bring further gains in their stralegic posture relative to the United States, NATO, and China. Despite the USSR's favorable prospects over the next few years, the issues now confronting Soviet policymakers and the implications for strategic force programs inre unusually complex They are faced with discontent among allies, the possibilityeepening militaryinolatile situation involving Middle East clients, continued poor relations with China, and an uncertain future for their relations wiih the West. They alsorowing Western determination to counter improvements in Soviet military forces Key among the US and allied strategic initiatives with which thc Soviets need to concern themselves are: MX missiles in multiple protective slieltersruise missile and Trident programs,ew bomber, and planned deployments in Western Europe of new long-range offensive systems Thus, thc stralegic environment lhat the USSR may project is one in which Soviet gains ofndould be eroded later in the decade
MX/MPS is almostritical element af feeling Soviet planning for tlie. Thc MX missileevere threat to
' Thr hoidri of ih,hr Dirrrlof.ofDepat/mtnl of Stair
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lhc survivabiliiy of the Soviet silo-based force. To enhance the survivability of their strategic forces with or without SALT the USSR could, for example, increase the number of its SLBM RVs In theof the SALT II Protocol limits tbcy could also deploy largeof mobile ICBMs.
In the eventassive counterforce attack by tbe Soviets, the numerous hardened shelters in the MPS scheme would require the use of thousands of weapons in attacks on empty shelters. In response to the requirement to target large numbers of MX shelters, the USSR could, under SALT II limits, replace some of their existing MIRVed ICBMsO-RV versionissile now under development. In thc absence of SALT they could further fractionate existing ICBMs Another alternative for lhe Soviets would be to expand the role of their SSBN force to include atlacks against MX shelters. The Soviets arerogram to develop an advanced guidance system fur future SLBMs. We do not believe thai ihey will be able toard-target-capable SLBM inecause of the difficulties in achieving the necessary accuracies. An alternative view holds that these accuracies could be attained by the end of the decade.1
Lone-Ranee Theater Nuclear Forces. Prospective NATO long-range theater nuclear force (LRTNF)of advanced Pershing ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruisethe Soviets with new problems andregarding warning time and assessment of the sire and objectivesuclear attack from Europe. Moreover, these weapons could be seen by tbe Soviets as lessening the probability that they could accomplish their miliiary objectivesonflict escalated lo tbc nuclear level LRTNF deployment also serves to undermine lhe broader Sovietobjective of weakening the NATO alliance by casting doubt on the credibility of the US strategic umbrella
he Soviets will seek to slow or halt these programs bypressures, by arms control efforts, and by propaganda Militarily, they will probably seek to counter NATO deployments by continuing steady improvements in their long-range theater offensive forces, and by deploying new shorter range nuclear missiles iu the forward area ofEurope. The Soviets may also have defensive counters. They have been working, since the,ew anti tactical ballislic missile that when fully developed and touteduitable radar could have limited capabilities against some long-range theater ballistic missiles like the Pershing lis and some submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
' Thr nefifoi of thti oie* art thr Director, Delertte lainngtrnttend ihr Otttttoi ol fVawi InirlHirnir, Oepaiimeni o/ ihe (vauu
conomic Factors. Soviet defense spending has beenat an annual raleercent sincehe rate of growth in gross national product droppedercent, tbesince World War II, thus increasing the defense burden. Ihe expect the Soviet economy to continue to experience low growth rates. If, as expected, military outlays continue to rise at prevfous rates, tbc military share of GNP could reachoercents compared with todaysoercent. Thus, the allocation ofresources among competing sectors of the Soviet economy willmore difficult. Nevertheless, evidence indicates defense spending will continue to increase at the rateercent at least5 The number of major weapon systems under development and their pace have remained constant, more technologically complexhave pushed costs higher, and construction activity at defense plants isigh level. There is also evidence of planned expansion and modernization of military forces and of greater demands being made on Warsaw Pact allies for significant increases in defense spending.
if the Soviet leaders were forced by economicslow tbe growth of defense spending, we believe strategicbe the last toutback. Reductions in strategicoffer only limited economic benefits, because thedevoted to them are highly specialized and arc notto the civilian economy. If. nevertheless, some cuts hadmade in Soviet strategic programs, wc think they would choosedefer or stretch out some force improvement programs.
Projections of Soviet Offensive Forces
Our protections of specific weapon programs are based on our knowledge of programs now in progress, past development andtrends, and our perceptions of Soviel force requirement We have considered the possibility that, facedore challenging strategic environment and mounting economic difficulties, the Soviets might moderate their objectives for strategic forces and their resourceto them. We conclude, however, that the Soviets arc not likely to allcr significantly their como long-term strategic force improvements.
Impact of SALT Limitations. Certain of tlie SALT II Treaty provisions would serve to constrain tbe Soviets' options for improving theit forces. Tbe limitations that most directly impact on our projections
o increase in thc number of KVs on existing ICDMs. The large throw weight of Soviet MIRVed ICBMs. particularly of theooster, would permit much greater payloadwithout sacrificing counlersilo
one "new" ICBM,aximum ofVs. The Soviets have at least two ICBMs under development that would be categorized as "new" under SALT II. We believe that the constraints of SALT II would lead the Soviets to choose as their "new" ICBM the larger of the Iwo. Its greater throw weight would give the USSR more flexibility in selecting payload op-lions that would maximize counterforce capability under SALT.
moreaunchers for MIRVcd missiles. Wcthat the continued deployment ofII SSBN.with the deployment of the new very large Typhoon SSBN, will bring lhc Soviets to lhe sublimitIRVed-mlssilc launchers in the. Al thai lime, ihey would have to dismantle other MIRVed missile launchers lo compensate for launchers on new Typhoon SSBNs.
o take account of the uncertainties about thc future of US-Sovict arms limitation negotiations, we have projected alternative Soviel forces for intercontinental attack. We have used dates of initial operational capability (IOC) and deployment rateswith past trends, as well as our besl estimates of weapon system characteristics. Thc SALT-limited projection assumes that theimposed by the SALT II Treaty Temain in effeelcingle force, wiih an upperower bound lhat reflects our uncertainty about Soviet ICBM and SLBM deployment optionsoviet SALT-limiled force will probably fall within the range presented, the upper bound isess likely protection than the lower In the absence of an agreement to extend the SALT II terms, the Sovieis have lhe potential to expand their foices considerably in the. This potential isby lhe SALT/No-SALT projection. The No-SALT forceSoviet development and deploymenl options underIn which the SALT II Treaty is abandoned bynd lhe SALT process breaks down. Our projections are summarized in the accompanying table.
Comparison! of Soviet ond US Offensive Fortes
o illustrate the capabilities of Soviet strategic offensive forces wc use several indexes and we compare Soviet with US forces. US forces were provided by lhe Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and are consistent with programed forces except in the No-SALT examples. The US No-SALT forces provided by OSD are regarded by the Seerelary of Defense as unsuitable for use in an NIE. The Department of Defense has not produced an official eslimale of what foices il would conslruct in the absence uf SALT limitations. Accordingly, the comparisons which arc made in this area must be viewed as representative of what might
Sovicl Options for Slralegir Offensive Forces With and Without SALT
RVj and Bomber Weapont
SALT Lower Bound SALT Upper Bound
SALT Upper Bend
These numbers hurc been rounded io the .nearest M.
be done, not as specific predictions. The indexes we use include static measures of the current relativend qualitative characteristics of Soviet and US forces Wc also look at measures of the destructiveof Soviet and US forces to attack soft urban areas and hardened military targets like silos. There is an alternative view lhat the US forces used in the Estimate have no official status and therefore should not be used.*
he sialic indexes we look at include number of missile RVs and bomber weapons and equivalent megatonnage of the two forces. We also look at key qualitative characteristics, including accuracy of each side's most effective hard-target ICBMs and the hardness of each sides ICBM silos. Our comparisons of current forces indicate the following:
RVs and Bomber Weapons. The number of weaponsough indicator of the number of targets that can he attacked. The United States continues toubstantial lead. It
and the Soviets. Tlie major
factors weighing in thc US favorarger MIRVed SLBM forcearger force of intercontinental bombers.
Megatons. This measure combines weapon yield and numbers of weapons toough indicator of ihe poteniialorce to attack soft area targets. The present Soviet advantage that began in tbes primarily the resultarge number of ICBMs with high throw weights
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B IC top-See
Accuracy. Thc accuracy of each side's best ICBMsough measure of the trends in hard-larget capability.
Silo Hardness^The hardnessiloough measure of ils
JSoviet silo systems arc probably more vulnerable thanby these figures, but we still considei them to beharder than US silo systems.
In sum. the Soviets lead in equivalent mega tonnage and averageof ICBM silos, and have now surpassed the United States in ICBM
accuracy They still Lag behind thc United States in numbers of
easures of Destructive Potential. We examine the total number of missile RV and bomber weapons in terms of two theoreticalarea potential (LAP) and hard-target potential (HTP) LAP is defined as thc area of land over which an overpressure*^
"[sufficient to level reinforced concrete structures, can beTne second measure. HTP. assesses the potential of each side's totalSLBMs. and bomberdestroy hardened targets such as missile silos. While these measures indicate trends in the destructive potential of offensive forces, neither side would plan to employ its entire force exclusively for one of these missions and there is thus no pretense that our calculations are based on thcof strategic weapons to real target sets. However, because we apply the same assumptions for both sides, the comparisons arc useful in that they convey more information than presented by static forcealone.
With respect to LAP thc USSR has been ahead throughout. However, thc US urban area is twice tbc size of the USSR'sQ
Thc number anil lethality of large Soviet warheads and the hardness of Soviel ICBM silos give theubstantial advantage over lhe United Stales in HTP.
hereivergent view thai only detailed damageof individual targets can properly indicate destructivemeaningful comparison of strategic forces. According to ihisoverstates lhc potential destructive capabilitiesorcetargets arc not clustered in neal circles
overpressure can achieve maximum damage. The HTP calculations also misstate force potential because in many cases when weapons areto real targe! sels the damage achieved is less lhan thc theoretical 1ITPiven weapon.'
oviet Potential To Attack US ICBMs. Projected Soviet ICBM forces will have an increasing potential lo destroy US ICBM silos. Using two RVs against each silo, they could destroy aboutercent today and aboutercenteployment of thc MX missile in multiple protective shelters in the, however, would make the accomplishment of lhc Soviet counlerforceuch moreproposition. Although the US shelter program could dramatically
rtoMdWi af ikm mwmmre tke Dwnw.ke tfw
OffttfM m) thr military MMfM
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increase lhe RV requirementsoviet counlerforceboth the SALT and No-SALT environments- wc project thc Soviets could meet that requirement but would have to expend most of their ICBM RVs.
oviet and US Residual Potentials. The methods andres used in our analysis arc simplified ones. They do not depict the outcomeS-Soviet nuclear exchangerotracted nuclearand do not account for thc operational factors that would beto assess the performance of Soviet and US forces under wartime conditions. They do, however, illustrate the progress made by thetoward satisfying the counlerforce requirements they havefor their forces. Further, our assessment of the surviving US potential, after US forces haveypothetical first strike, is particularly important to those who see lhe key ingredient of thebalance as lhe ability of thc United States toirst strike and retain enough absolute destructive potentialarge-scale retaliatory allack.
Thereivergent view lh.il the residual analysis in this Estimate produces misleading results with respect to trends in the strategic balance, sheds little light on the question of deterrence orcontrol, and comprises an unrealistic net assessment. According to ihis view, net assessmentsS perspective areroper function of intelligence In this view, analysis basedS perspective should be accomplished within the Department of Defenseull partner, and should noi be includedational Inlelligence Estimate.*
It is the view of thc Director of Central Intelligence that lhe residual analysis in this Estimale isroper function for thc Intelligence Community. The DO believes that the Department ofshouldull partner In such assessments, but hc does not believe it in the nalional interest lhal DoD should control allof the effectiveness of its forces wild olher forces.
igure III displays the destructive potential of Sovietnd US surviving weapons, with and without SALT,urprise Soviet attack when US forces arc on day-to-dayworst case circumstance for US forces Thc charts illustrate that the potentials of Sovietin terms of either LAP orover the next few years whether or noi SALT is in effect. The sharp decline in residual Soviet destructive potential in the latter half of, shown on the charts, results from planned US strategic f
improvement, especially MX/MPS. Similar calculations show that in lhe caseS first strike, the potential of Soviet surviving forces would also grow only through the.
c have examined the potential of US forces during their most vulnerablea surprise attack by the USSR in the. Our analysis shows that the United Stales would retain significant retaliatory potential even though US residual eapabililies would be at their nadir. We have presumed mission requirements lhat surviving IIS forces be capable of destroyingercent of the Soviel economic and military base. Wc find that:
Either thc surviving US SLBM or bomber force could eachmore thanercent of Soviet economic value and the surviving ICBM force could almost do lhe same.
For retaliatory attacks against nonsilo military targets,lo have varying degrees of hardness, the mission could be accomplishedombination of surviving SLBMs. bombers, and ICBMs
These calculations have not taken into account lhe attrition caused by Soviet strategic defenses.
he Extent to Which Soviet Strategic Defenses Can Limit Damage. Inhe Soviets are expected to deploy new airsystems, particularly for low-altitude defense; furlher develop their ABM options, continue efforts to acquire effective ASWand improve their civil defenses. Despite these growing strategic capabilities, thc Soviets duringould noiarge-scale US nuclear altack by surviving US forces from causing tens of millions of casualties and massive destruction of urban-industrial and military facilities in the USSR:
Stralegic Air Defense. At present the massive Soviet air defense forces could perform well against aircrafl al medium and high altitude, bui would have little aggregate capability againstat low altitudes. In the middle and. Soviet air defenses will have the potential to inflict considerably higher attrition against US bombers of current types0 areas with adequate deployments of new systems could be defended against currently programed US cruise missiles- Inorward defense with AWACS aircraft and interceptors could threaten some cruise missile carriers prior to launch.because of numerical deficiencies, the Soviet capability lo defend against an atiack by large numbers of US cruise missiles will probably be limited over the nextears Finally,damagerior ballistic missile attack and the use of
would degrade the Overall effectiveness of Soviet air defenses. Thus, the actual performances of Soviet air defenses against combined attacks involving large numbers of US bombers. SRAMs. and cruise missiles will probably remain low during the period of this Estimate.
Ballistic Missile Defense. The Soviels could begin deployment,f an ABM system with lhe potential for one-on-one intercept of current and programed types of US ballistic missile RVs. As an example (although contrary to tbe ABMhe Soviets could haveitesbovegroundfor the defense ofoigh-value targets within four to five yearseployment decision,igh level of
The effectiveness of the missile de-
feme would depend on (Resize of the attack and the availability of target data, as well as US reactions, sucho deployment of penetration aids or the use of saturation tactics. There is an alternative view that discussions in this estimateew ABM system and possible deployment scenariosar greater knowledge than we have and do not convey the significantregarding tbe identification and current status of the components which wouldystem suitable for deployment. According to this view, there is an insufficient basis upon which to evaluate system capabilities and tbe likelihood of various deployment possibilities. Moreover, it is misleading to imply that deploymenl could begin within the next few years.
marine detection sensors is too short lo enable ibe Soviets lo detect US SSBNs in their patrol areas, and tlie capabilities of Soviet forces arc too limited to maintain continuous tracking of SSBNs once detected. Duringhe Soviei ASW problem will become much more difficuli as US SSBN opiating areas ore expanded following deployment of longer range SI.BMs on Poseidon and Trident submarines. We believe, therefore, that during tbe decade the Soviets wouldunable to prevent US SSBNs on patrol in broad ocean areas from bunching their missiles.
* rW hrjl<tf/All iva uIhinui. tlurtcyf Suit
Civil Defense. Sovicl casualties from the initial effectsarge-scale US nuclear attack could rangeif little or no time were available for civil defense prepara-tions. The benefit to the USSR of complete implementation of sheltering and evacuation would be the prevention ofillion casualties in the immediate aftermath of anUnder these circumstances the Soviet leadership and most of the essential work force would probably survive. Expected improvements in Soviet civil defense preparations inill increase the likelihood of survivalarge percentage of the leadership and essential personnel, but the number ofand fatalities among thc urban population would begreater than today. Increases in the number of Soviet blast shelters during the nextears will be offset by expected increases in Soviet urban population and in tbe number and yield of US weapons.
The Soviets credit their strategic programs ofith lessening tbe probability of general nuclear war with the United States and probably with improving the war-fighting capabilities of their forces. They probably view their improved strategic position asa more favorable backdrop than before lo tbc conduct of anforeign policy and to the projection of Soviet power abroad. Thev probably believe that their strategic forces would deter the United States from initiating intercontinental nuclear war in circumstances shortlear threat to US national survival. It is likely that theyigh risk of escalation to the nuclear level in any conflict with thc United States in areas (such as Western Europe) perceived vital to US interests. In other areas, particularly in regions where tbc USSR or ils allies would have the advantage in conventional forces, the current strategic relationship enhances Soviet confidence that lhe riskirect US military response would be low.
The exlenl to which Soviel gains in slrategic forces projected5 would embolden lhe USSR to challenge the United States is unclear, ln pari, this is because tbe relationship between the strategic balance and Soviel behavior in the international arena is uncertain. Even when they were clearly inferior in strategic nuclear power the Soviets regularly exploited opportunities in tbe Third World and took those measures necessary to secure their control of Eastern Europe. Thus, during the, when the Soviets' strategicrelative to those of thc United States would be greatest, we would expeelin theprobe and challenge the United States steadily to determine at what point it will read strongly. For
them to "go for broke" during lhe next few years would mean thai tliey had ignored the strategic equation. We think it highly unlikely that this eventuality will come to pass. Their perception of tbe strategic balance is unlikely to induce them to take military action against Western Europe or the United States.
hereivergent view regarding the implications of Soviet strategic programs. The holders of this view believe that tbe overall pattern of Soviet force improvements, whileigh degree of military security, also enables the Soviets to create and exploit foreign policy opportunities for expansion. They believe lhat thcas greater potential for Soviet challenges to Western influence than indicated above. They further believe that the Soviet leadership is now confident that thc stralegic military balance has shifted in the Kremlin's favor and that the aggressiveness of its foreign policy will continue to increase as the Soviet advantage grows. Tbe Kremlin is likely to accelerate pursuit of its global ambitions, weighing the local "correlation of forces" in those regions where it wishes to increase its influence or gain control.10
" TV r.. .
f Iht Military .
silosirst strike while retaining largeol weapons for Other missions
I- POLICIES UNDERLYING SOVIET STRATEGIC NUCLEAR FORCE PROGRAMS A. Tho Present Soviet Perception of the Stralegic Environment '
The Soviets view strategic arm! policy in the contextung-term stiuggle with capitalism that drive them to compete with the United States for glo-bal power At the same time, because the USSRontinental power. Soviet leader* pursue strategic and other miliiary programs that can counter threat* from any olher Eurasian stale, especially the NATO nations and China. Although they legard nuclear war wtth the United Statesisaster ihat mint ba avoided ifthe Soviet leaders also believe thaiar could occur and that thev need strategicenough to enable the Soviet Union lo emerge as the victor Thus. Ihe Soviets have been striving to acquiir and maintain strategic forces and luppoitiiig element* tii ii. in tlie evcnl of central nuclear wai, could:
Launch crippling counlerforce strikes.
Survive large-scale nuclear attack
Be employed flexiblyide range of targets
Substantially limit damage to the USSR.
2 To further these objectives, the Soviets have moved through steady elloitsosilion of stralc gle inferiority in ihendresent position in which their strategic nuclear co-pabihlies are widely reeognired as al lean militarily equal to those of the US Increases In numbers of offensive weapons and programs to enhance theand suivlvabilily of command, conlrol, and communications facilities have improved lhe Soviets" capability to employ their lorces flexibly under iof circumstance* They have hardened ICBM nlos and deployed more ballistic missiles on submarines, Increasing the number of offensive weapons likely toarge scale US nuclear attack Advances in technology have aho permitted lhe Sovieu to greatly Improve the Qualitative characteristics of iheir forces For example, Improvements in ICDM accuracy have tiven the USSH Ihe potential to destroy tlie bulk af US
coneetm nuclear loim
' See iMraffieIneroic InidliRnweintnvretalions oformne andwt Se SovtHi' prmotiom nf indlirir HrainH-
espiie these growing capabilities, lhe total number of US weapons likely toirst strike by thc USSR has not changed significantly during the past several years, although the makeup of likely surviving weapons has shifted with the increased vulnerability of the US ICBM force. Moreover, the Soviets' submarine, air, and missile defenses and their civil defense measures could notarge-scale nuclear attack by surviving US forces Irom causing tens of millions of casualties and massive destruction of urban-Indus!rial and military facilities in lhe USSH. This situation of mutual vulnerability Is regarded by lhe Soviets as unacceptable, however Instead, ihey would prefer, and have been working consistentlya strategic relaliomhip in which lhe outbreak of gencial nuclear war is deterred by Soviet possession of war-winning eapabililies.
he Soviets credii tholi stralegic programs ofith lessening the probability of general nuclear war witb lhe United Slates Thev probably view ihcir improved strategic position asorebackdrop lhan belotc lo Ihe conduct of an assci-live foreign policy and lo the projection of Soviel power abroad, Thev probably believe that theirforces would deter the United Slates frominlercontinenlal nuclear war in clrcu instance* shorlear threat to US national survival, lt is likely lhat iheyigh risk of escalation to the nucleat level in any conlltel with the United States in areas perceived vita) to US interests such ai Western Europe In other areas, particularly in regions where the USSH or its allies would have lhe advantage in convenlional forces, the current strategic relationship enhances Soviet confidence lhat Ihe riskirect US military response would be low
Doctrine and Strategy for Nuclear
oviet military doctrineody of viewsadopted by the USSR's political and military leadership on the natuie of. preparation for. and con-duel ol war. The essence of Soviet military doctrine awl ils impact on decisionmaking can be gleaned Irom
open press, from restricted (lint is, limitedand classified writings, from ciitre.ises. fcom lhe characteristics and deploymenlerns of various weapon systems,oot Soviet ad ions In interffairs Inlruigence jodgn-ientt made on the hasis ol ihese sources are necessarily tentative, because we seldom obtain diicel evidence on whal the political-milllury leadership thinks or on lhe ealenl lo which pragmatic considerations would override the tenets of mihiary doctrine.
6 Thc most likely way in which nuclearthe United Stales would begin, accordinghe by es-
calationonventional NATO-Warsawconflkt The Soviets seem to believe lhalSlates,ATO defeal inalvage the situation by launchingSoviet miliiary theorists warn lhalor hrnilrd nucleai conflictdscjlate lo ihe intercontinental levelIhe Soviets probably have been aiming tocapabilities lo thelhc risk ol US intercontinental strikesUSSK is reduced even in circumstances oftheater nuclear warfare in Europe. Frompoint of view, however, the prospectiveof advanced Pershing ballistic missilesrruisc missiles would makear in Europe more difficuli. Theseare seen by Ihe Soviets as increasing the riskon the USSRonvent tonal war shouldto lhe tactical nuclear level The Sovietsthese systems as presenting newuncertainties regarding warninK time andof ihe size and objective!uclearEurope and in planning of retaliatory strikes
7 The Soviets have considered scenarios for nuslear wai inilialionariety of riicumstance* To ihis end. (hey
surprise US intercominenlal strikes, preemptive and retaliatory Soviet atlacks. and protracted inlerconti-rwnlal nuclear war Since5 (he Soviets have been letting capabilities lo bunch their forces upon receiptciical wurnine lhat an enemy atlack had been launched Which employ me nl option the Soviets wouldfirst si tike, preemption, launch-on-tactical- wai ning. orheavily on ihc circumstance* includingwarning indicators available and tin* Soviet assessment of potential risks and gains
Sovietsedged position on the duration of general nuclear war. The usualthatar will be relatively short is often followed by recognitionorld war could be lengthy because of lhe enormous potential of the eoali-lions involved. Evidence
anticipate thc possibility of protracted nuclear war The degree to which the Soviets could meet thefotat. however, is not cleat
Soviet miliiary doctrine deals withand operations on thr assumptionar may have to be fought, it does not specify what would
olitically meaningful victory in nuclear wai Sovietincluding the party programgenerally describearecisive clash foughl between thc two apposing socioecannmlcand assert thai lhe Soviets will emerge victorious Allhough civilian spokesmen regularly invoke |heof lhe triumph of "socialism" in lhewith capitalism, ihey have on occasion also argued lhat general nuclear war could mean the destruction of Civilization In their treatments of general nuclear war. Soviet militaiy writers devote their attention to the accomplishment ol miliiary missions rather than lo political results The military missinni include'
Destroying lhe enemy's mean* of nuclear atincL
attacks on the territory of the USSR ot on lhat ol iU allies
Obtaining contiol of stialcgically important
important militaty. economic, andcenters
II) Thc link between lhe military prerequisites for victory and their political consequences is only vaguely specified in Soviet writings Presumably an outcome lhat preserves Communist political control, permits leconstilulion of the Soviet economy, and leasn Ihe USSRuperior military position on the Eurasian continent, while neutralising the United Stales ami undermining the political and social systems of Soviet adversaries, would beictory The cornprehensive nature ol Soviet slrategic(offensive andhc emphasis in Soviet doctrine on fighting general nuclear wars, and Sovicl assertions thai nuclear war can be won combine
lo lUggest that tome Soviet leaders may not share lhe *iew that there would be no victors In general nuclear wai
ith respect lo the preceding section, those arc allcinative inlelligence judgments, based on ihe same sources, on the essence ol Soviet military doctrine and its impact on decisionmaking According lo one view, available Soviet doctrinalifficult to ana lyre because it lacks completeness and specificity However,onsistent wiih lhe view that: the Soviet aimeterrence of nuclear war; such deterrencea convincim: nuclear wai-fighting capability (in the sense lhat an adversary must not pcrccivt! ll will emerge from conflictelatively more favoiablche level oi lorces must suffice toulwark against thr thwarting of the USSR's policy goals and security interests through coercion by anSoviet writings do not establish stralegicas Ihe principal aim of its strategic programs or set forth an operational definition of "victory" in awar ('Victory'* is used to denote the conviction lhat socialism must ultimately triumph in thcevolution of social systems) Soviet recognition of the destructive nature uf nuclear war shapes itsand objectives It appears to regard mutual vulnerability, however undesirable, as unavoidable (rathern practical terms The holder of this view also believes that; in assessing the Soviel stralegic threat, more weight must be givenealiilK aiseument of lheapabilities lhan lo its doctrine 1
Thereecond alternative view which holds that lhe dominant motivation behind Soviet stralegic nuclear force policies i< olfensive and goal duecled. Thr overall objective of Soviet strategic military foices is to create military and political opportunities loi Soviet expansion. Theaccording to this view, develop their forces tolearly perceivedol dominance, whichonus effect ofIhe United Stales from reacting against Soviel Ini natives
The holders of this view believe lhal Sovietand miliiary leaden arc In basic agreement on what constitutes victory and how lo achieve It Alter evaluating available
military doctrine and strategy and Soviet strategic offensive andndholders of ihis view believe Soviet con-
1 The holji- ol ihuli lhe JV-nnr. Bweeu ol liirlhee-ie antl Heunih. Oeverlmrnl of Stale
cepts of victory and political consequencesur ocean/intercontinental war are clearly definedictory is to be achieved by Soviet counterforce strikes on US military targets in orderrce the Uniled States to accept an early defeat in lhewar. Wiih the decoupling of Westernfrom lhe intercontinental theater thus achieved, lhe Soviets would press on with iheir offensive against Western Europe aimed at sriiure and occupation of the continent.
U. The holders of ihu view abo believe thai the overall pattern ol Soviel force improvements, whileigh degree of miliiary security, alsoIhe Soviets to create ond exploit foreign polky opiiortiinilies for expansion They believe that theas greater potential for Soviet challenges to Western influence than Indicated above They further believe that the Soviet leadership is now confident that the strategic military balance has shifted in Ihe Kremlin's favor and thai the aggiessive-ness ol its lorcign policy will continue to increase as lhe Soviet advantage grows The Kremlin it likely to acceleiate pursuit ol its global ambitions, weighing lhe local "correlation of forces" in Ihose regions where it wishes to increase ils influence or gain control1
C. Other Factors Influencing Soviet Policies
Strategic Weapons Procurement Policies
IS The Sovicls are continuing to expand an alicrdy Luge military research arid development (RAD) and establishment lo piovide the weapons needed to support the leadership's broad military and political objectives At present, lhe Soviets have under way abouttrategic, space, and other military pro grains, aloxen of which arc devoted toc ballistic missiie sysiems. The Soviel HAD and production establishment has been largely insulated from th* USSR's economic problems, permitting ellec-tive weapon systems to be regularly produced andWhile the Soviet approach to mihtaiv RAD (dies mostly oa evolutionary sleps lo minimirc risks and avoid production problems, high-risk, innovative approaches are also undertaken.
Ifi From the8 theoerceni of their gross national product
TV keldeet at fkH Mr*keJW"fAferi*.the Sell" liletheme Of/mm ei Ihe mOuei, irnarri
(ONI') to (heir miliiary establishment, anduarter of ihese expenditures went for strategicuring this period lhe rale of growth of defense spendingercent per year, about lhe same as lor Iiie economyhole.hc rale of growth of CNP droppedercent per year, but defense spending continued lo increase alercent rate, making its share of CNP rise to IS loercent Ine expect the Soviet economy lo continue its long-lcrm decline, ond If military outlays continue to riseonstant rale their share ol CNP could reacho IS percent5 Thus, tbeof available resources among competing claimants in the USSR willore difficuli problem. Neverllielest,ood evidence lo show lliatspending will continue to Increase at lhe rateercent The number of major weapons systems under development and the pace of Iheir development have lemained convlant, production rates have noi gone down, increasingly lech no logically complexhave pushed costs higher, construction activity al defemc plants isigh level, and there is evsdence uf planned eipansinn and modernization of miliiary forces
if the Soviet leaders were forced bypressures lo slow the growth of defensewc believe thai strategic programs would belout kick. Reductions In strategicwould offer only limited economic benefits,Ihe production resources devoted to ihemspecialized and are not readily transferablerivillan economy. If. neverlheless. somedownward adjustments had lo be madeslrategic programs, wc think.they wouldlo defer or stretch out some force
Soviel Views on SAiT
lhe Sovietas piobably been lhe recogrutkonuperpower by the Uniied Stales andMoieover. ihese negotiations did noiSoviets to forgo essential qualitativeoffensive forces Tlie AliM Treaty indicatedto agree lo limitations on thestrategic defenses in the interest of preventingStates from using ils technologicalthis field. The Soviets, however, have noi cutresearch and development programs
he Soviels will be under increasing pressure to decide on steps to Inke if US utilisation of SALT II
Western determination lo counter improvements in Soviet military forces. The Western strategic initiatives with which the Soviets need to concern themselvesS Trident SSBNs/SI.BMs. long-range cruise rnissiies. the MX/MPS system, andewbomber, planned new NATO long-rangenuclear forces; British plans to deploy Trident missiles on SSBNs; and programs undertaken by the French to improve their SSBN loice componenls The Sovicls also realize that plans they make now for the middle anday have lo be changed if US-Sovief relations deteriorate even further or if thc United Stales rrtects the SALT II Treaty.
iven thc many factors bearing on Sovietpolicies in, we have considered thc pos-sibibty lhal. facedore challenging strategic environment and mounting economic difficulties, the Soviets might moderate their objectives for strategic
forces and iheir resource commitments to them. Wc conclude, however, that the Soviets are not likely to alter significantly (heir commitment to long-term strategic force improvements and will strive lothe prospects lhat strategic trends favorable lo ihem will continue throughout the decade* of. We believe they will:
Seek lo slow or halt US and NATO forceprogramsombination of threats, Inducements, and arms negotiations.
Continue to work to overcome currentespecially In their strategic defenses
Initiate and conlinuc offensive weaponprograms designed to give ihem options for deployment to Increase force survivability, counterlorce capabilities, and employment Herri-bill ly