Created: 1/12/1977

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Soviet Strategic Objectives









Thm following inielligence organizations partidpated in Ihe preparation of Ihe Estimate;

The Central Intelligence Agency, the intelligence ego nit at .om ol rha Deportmonls o( State. Defense, and Treasury, lha NoKoncJ Securily Agency, ond the Energy Research ond Development Admini Miction.


The Deputy ro the Director ol Central Irtfelr.gmco (or the interllgence Community.Oioirmon

Ihe Deputy Direete* ol Central Inielligence representing Ihe Central iMeaigenee Agency

Ihe Director ol Inielligence andnarch representing tho Department of Stole Tho Director, Defense Inlfriligenco Agency The Direcior, National Security Agency

The Deputy Assistant Admlnlifralor for Notional Security. Energy Unearth ond Development Ad ml nil la lion


Ihe Spceiol Assi'stont ro lhe Secretory foe NoSonal Secwiry. Department of the


The Assistant Director. Federal Bureau al Investigation

A/so Particlpatingi The Astitlonl Chief of Staff foreporiment of lha Army The Director of Novo! Intelligence, Department of the Navy

lheChief ol Staff, Intelligence. Deportment af ihe Air







ajor Factor* Entering Into Soviet

The Soviet View of the USSR'i lntetnal Situation

The Soviet View of Military Power and War

The Soviet View of the US

The Soviet View of

The Soviet View of

The Soviet View of Detente

Arm* Control

III. The Pace and Objective* of Current Soviet Military

Stralegic Force*

Force* Facing

Force* Facing China

General Purpose Naval

Force* for Distant Operalions

Research and

IV Synthesis



This Estimateummary unalysis ol how the Soviet leaders perceive the USSH's position and piospccts in the world and what* objectives underlie iheir foreign and military policies. It drawsumber of other Estimates, listed below, which provide much more detailed discussions of thc major components of this question. Alongarge measure of agreement, this Estimate sets forth some differences of view within the Intelligence Community; these are summarized in the final section entitled Synthesis. In most cases, we have not attempted to attribute specific views to individual agencies; differences exist within agencies as well as among them.

. Soviet Forces for Intercontinental Conflict Through the

. The Soviet Assessment of thc US -

oviet Military Policy in the Third World

arsaw Pact Forces Opposite NATO

oviel Naval Policy and Programs

, Soviet Delcntc Policy

. Trends in Soviet Military Programs

. Soviet Civil Defense

This Estimate continues the trend of the last few yearsore ominous interpretation of Soviet strategic objectives. The single most influential factor in thb continuing reevaluation has been the fact lhat neither the creation of an acknowledged Soviet deterrent nor lhe achievement of acknowledged rough equivalence has caused any observable reduction in the trend and vigor of the Soviet program to improve the USSR's militaryrogram which has grownore or less steady pace for |w0he Intelligence Community will have as its highest priority lhe continuing collection and examination of evidence bearing on these questions and the many subquestions that underlie them.

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Estimate addresses two closely related questions:

Do thc Soviet leaders now basethe programs and activities which flowa belief that lhe USSR will-continue to make substantial gainsosition of overall dominance in the world? Do they now expect lo achieveosition in the next ten years?

Have they come towill theyaggressive actions on their part carry lower risks lhan earlier, and that these risks have become low enough to be acceptable lo prudcnl yet ambitious men?

is in the Intelligence Community agreement' onrelevant to these questions and disagreement on others.areas of agreement:

The aims of Soviet global policy are far-reaching. The Soviet leaders' basic perception of the world stilltruggle of two great systems, in which theirs will ultimately prevail. This outlook is reinforced by both defensive and expansionist impulses derived from Russia's history and boosted by thc remarkable growth of Soviet power and prestige since World War II. Neither in its foreign policy nor its miliiary policy does the USSR aim at long-term equilibrium between thc two systems; instead itontinual enhancement of its own power and influence.

In prosecuting the struggle on multiple fronts, the Soviets see military powerey instrument which can be used to attain strategic objectives without war.

The Soviets have never accepted the concept of mutual assured destruction, with its connotation that some finite level of force is sufficient for deterrence, although they recognize mutual deterrenceresent reality thai will be very difficult to alter. Moreover, trying to forge ahead of the US and at the same time

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fearful of falling behind ii. (hey arc little disposed to adjust theit military programs unilaterally so as to foster stralcgic stability, or to moderate them lest they provoke US program reactions.

The Soviets aim at advantage in their military forces. They continue to press forwardroad and vigorous program for improving their military capabilities to support their political objectives.

The striking thing about these programs is not that they have accelerated in the last few years but that they have grownore or less steady pace for two decades. We expect this growth to continue. Neither the creation of an acknowledged deterrent nor the achievement of acknowledged strategic parity has caused ihe effort to falter. Soviet military doctrine calls for capabilities to fight, survive, anduclear war.

At the same time, the Soviets worry that they may fall behind in lhc qualitative military competition, and this further reinforces lhe priority of their research and development'effort.

In the struggle, they are conscious of weaknesses on their own side, particularly ihose arising from economic and technological deficiencies and conflict wiih China. They are working to overcome these weaknesses, bul they do noi presently expect to remove them in the next decade.

On lhe other hand, beyond their obvious military strength, they credit ihemselves with other important assets; disciplinedsocial cohesion, and perseverance.

C. Among our major disagreements:

Sonic judge that the Soviets arc persuaded that lhe US and the West, despite periodic rebounds, areong-term decline that will be reflectedlagging of political resolve, military efforts, and economic growth. Others think lhe Soviets hope for this but do not count on il, and indeed may think lhat US and Western miliiary effort is again on the rise.

Some believe thai, in improving iheir miliiary forces, lhe Soviets pursue the acquisitionar-winning capabilityealislic objective. Others believe lhat lhe Soviets have no realistic expectation of attainingapability

These disagreements lead lo conclusions that, while noi diamelrically opposed, present significant differences of emphasis.



D. One tine of argument holds that, in the Soviet view, the global correlation of forces has inhifted in the USSH's favor and that this trend is likely to continue. Thc US and its allies have enteredew stage in the "general crisis of capitalism" that will prove irreversible even if there are periodic recoveries. The problems of the, Soviet economy and the dispute with China are serious but. on the plane of international competition, noi debilitating. In this situation, the Soviets aim to achieve the degree of military superiority over the West needed to permit them to wage, surviveational entity, andonventional or nuclear war. The Soviets see their improvements In survivability and in counlcrforce capabilities, air defense and ADM development, and broad hardening and civil defense programs in particular, and their improvements in conventional forces in general, as all contributing to this objective. While it is uncertain when the Soviets expect lo gainecisive strategic superiority, they view this abjective as practical and attainablerogramed fashion. They expeel to move closer to this goal over the next ten years. This (rend, they believe, will increasingly enable ihem to deter,US initiatives and to inhibit US opposition to Soviel initiatives, thereby'advancing the Soviet objective ofosition of overall dominance In the world.

K Another line of argument holds that, in Soviet thinking, lhe question is much more open. It too perceives an increased Soviet confidence, stemming much more from the achievement of parity in strategic forces than from other, nonmilitary trends. But this analysis holds that the Soviet leaders give greater weight than the preceding argument allows to the handicaps represented by lhe USSR's economic and technological weaknesses and its conflict wiih China. It believes that ihey attribute gieater resilience lo the capitalist economies and do not discount the recent turnaround in US defense spendinghort-term phenomenon. In this view, Soviet military programing and research is bent upon keeping pace with that of its adversaries as well as seeking margins of advantage wherever feasible. Bul Moscow does notealistic expectation ofar-winning capability, particularly in thc nexl decade. Expecting Soviet foreign policy to be assertive, this analysis nonetheless holds lhat Moscow's experience with the complexities of the external world does noi at this point lead the Soviets toeries of advances that, by the, will cumulateinally decisive shift in the struggle. In short, this analysis attributes lo the Sovielsrogrammatic design for military superiorityore pragmatic effort to achieve advantages where they can. andore palicnl approach to continuing tough



competition togetheredication to high and steady levels of effort in the elements of power. Moscow's calculus of lhe risks attending forward action may decline, but this has not yet happened and. if it does, the process will be slow and subject to cautious testing.

This Estimate is obviouslyet assessment, jnor our judgment of the likely outcome in East-West competition. Itummary of the range of Community perceptions of Soviet objectives and Soviet views of the prospects for significant gains in this competition. We agreeide range of Soviet objectives short of decisive military superiority over the West. Our differences are over the Soviet leaders' perception of the feasibility of achieving such superiority. Finally, we agree that Soviet risk-taking abroad in any specific situation will continue to be governed by Moscow's perception of interests and power al the particular time and place.


To analyze the strategic objectives underlying Soviet military and foreign policy, with particular attention to the next ten years.



aims oi Soviet global policy areSoviet leaden' basic perception of the worlda struggle of two great systems, in whichultimately ptevail. This ideological outlookby both defensive and opansionistderived from Russia's history and boostedremarkable growth of Soviet power andWorld War II. Neither in its foreign policymilitary policy does the USSR aim atbetween the two systems; instead itcontinual enhancement of its own power

ihcre is disagreement In theil Is nut over this basic judgment. Norreal dispute over thc important corollary lhatleaden are prudentne to minimand to seek to advance only when they judgeof success to be high. Currentinstead onsets of questions:

Has lhc last decade, lo thc Soviet leaden,eriod of decisive change in the compeiiiirin nf systems? Do ihey believe that their programs and activities will leadystematic fashion to the achievement ofsuperiorityosilion ot* overall dnminartcc in the world' On they eapectchieve this position within theen years'1

Translating (his problem into the sphere nf international behavior, do the Soviets

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will (heythe USSR can push its interests harder without facing higher risks' Cranting their prudence, have they come towill theyaggressivenn iheir part carry less risk lhan earlier, and in fact now have become low enough to be acceptable to prudent yet ambitious men?

this Estimate, wc consider the majorenter into Soviet calculations of theseon the Soviet appraisal of lhe elementsthey habitually refer to as the "correlationmainlv military and economicorganisation and will, andinal section seeks lo define, in Ihethis analysts. Soviet strategic objectives anddifferences of judgment on this question.


The Soviet View of the USSR's Internol Situation

they survey their own country, the Sovieisstrengths and weaknesses These factorsfor their eiternal outlook andas they relate to Western strengths

The Soviel leaders regard iheir political system as strnng and stable They'view pnlitical dissidence ot an embarrassment lo their foreign policy, nut it challenge to (heir rule. They see nationalist sentiments among the minoritiesore sermut problem, but are confident of their ability tn cope with it. Succession politics may come tn preoccupy them, but they do not expect siiccessirin torisis for the syslem

Beneath thii genuine feeling of confidence (here seems to lie an abiding worry lhat lhe Soviet syslem. while vlrong. may also be brillle. Such mallei* as (he harping on Ihc legiiimacy nf parly rule, (he very pervasiveness of conlroland the lively fears about tbe penetration of Western influenceontinuing aniiely aboul how ihc syslem might (land up to crisis. As they contemplate Eastern Europe, Sovietof this sort are doubtless much stronger. These concerns might be an inhibiting facior in any Soviet decision about Initiating major war.'

The Soviets regard their system as givingubstantial competitive advantage. Its rigorous centralization permits little debate andexcludes challenge'frommall political elite This, they believe, makes for steady, purposeful decisionmaking andand coordination In Ihe execution of

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policy. In particular, they regard (heir system asustain the priority of defense al presen( and perhaps even higher levels of effort.

The Soviet leaders do not discount Iheitproblems They know lhat theiris backward and that-industrial productivity is low. Theyeneral lag In (he application of advanced technology in (he economic seclor and fear (ha( II may be growing, 'lhe Soviets sec these problems as becoming more complex and more difficult to solve and. while Iheyoderate rote of growth, (hey no longer speak of overtaking thc leading capitalist economiestated period of time.

S. Particular importance attaches to the question of whether the Soviel economy can sustain current or higher tales of growth in military spending in comingn addition lo lhe general economic problems mentioned above, modern military spending Isdriven by the technological complexity and qualify requirements of advanced weapons, and these arc. in general, areas in which the Soviet economy does not enjoy an advantage over lhe US. The Soviet leaders worry aboul this problem. But it seems clear from their present military programing, and from lhe research andpmenl efforts lhat heraldand depigment of future systems, that they do noi now feel compelled to reduce the priority of defense for Ihe sake of olher economic goals. Their concentration upon military power Isong lhat onlv severe and prolonged economic stringencies could force them lo iclax this priority. On ihis mallet, lhe shared background and values of Soviet political

and military leaders leave little room for internal dispute.

The Soviet View of Military Power and War

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thinking, and military power bulk) large in Soviet policy. Th* Soviets explicitly Kate that their militarythey deline as "official views and positions determining the direction of militaryand the pieparation of the nation and its armed forces forpremised upon the notion that war Is an initrumen! of policy, and success in war,uclear war. is attainable. Whileisagreement over Ihe eilenl lo which military doctrine determines political decisions on military matters, wc do not believe lhat the Soviets aim at war. In lad. they aim lo avoid not only general nuclear war. but also direct armed conflict with live US that risks escalation lo nuclear war. They recognize that, even if they enjoyed military advantages lhat seemed to constitute, in Iheir perceptions and those ofeneral strategic superiority, nuclear attack on the USSR would pul al risk all their achievements and prospects.

But thc Soviets strongly believe tlia! the implied or actual threal of lhc use of forceay to influence the attitudes and decisions of stales and to attain strategic objectives without war. Moreover, they see miliiary powereans of ensuring that their gains in lhe wodd will not be reversed They intend their miliiary might to secure iheir homeland and Iheir position in Pastern Europe and lo deter iheir opponents from interfering againit those processes of political change, particularly in the Third World, lhat ihey ate promoting, in par; with iheir own military resources Wiih regard to North America. Western Europe, and Japan, they see their military strength as having political utility in enforcing tespeet for Soviet power and receptiveness to Soviet policies.

orld characterized by struggle, the Soviets expect conllirl. most probably arising out of local disputes hut oflen involving Ihe superpowers and. al leas) implicitly, their total military strength In this context. Soviet military doctrineoal of creating war-wlnnlng cupahilities and thenns posture us ihe hesl deterrent. Thc Soviets have never accepted the concept nf mutual assured destruction, wiih ils connotation that some finite level nfs sufficient for dcleirence. although ihey recognize mutual deterrenceresent reality lhat will he verv difficult In aller Moreover, dying to forge ahead <rf the US and ol live same lime feaiful of falling behind it. they ate lilllr disposed to adjuvl Iheir mililaiy programs unilaterally so as tn foster strategic stability.

oi to moderate them fesl they provoke US program reactions Ikyond these points, however, there are differences of view in the Intelligence Community as to whether the Soviets see as an achievabletrategic relationship in which Ihey escape the constraints of mutual deteiieqce. These differences are discussed in paragraphs

inally, it is difficult, and in the end perhaps noi fiuitful. lo Iry to separate offensive and defensive elements and purposes in the Soviet approach to military power, as Soviet military doclrine looks at them In an Integral fashion For example, the Soviets see nuclear weapons and lhe long-range means of delivering Ihem as both offensive and defensive, in lhat they can atiack the enemy's military forces, thereby reducing his capability to attack the USSR.

Thc Soviet View of lhe US

n ihis subject-there are within thc InteUigence Community points of agreement and divergence

greement that the Soviets admire and (ear American economic capacity and technological prowess Further, theyespectful apptecialion of US mlhtaiy strength, current and potential The Soviets see the US as having considerable advantage over the USSR in the economic and military potential of the NATO Alliance In comparison with ihe Warsaw Pad. Al lhc same time, they see weaknesses in US society that they altribule to the factors ofand materialism in Americaneluctance in make sacrifices for state goals and aa Inconstancy in policy deriving from the play of plural interests They ar- scornful of what they seeublic appetite for sensationencial dlsiespect for authority.

In lurcign affaits, lhe Soviets see the US as enjoying great influence by virtue of ils economic and military power, and ihey lay special stress on US abilily lo impose its views on its allies because of thai power In the Third Worid the Sovieis see thc US as enjoying sironger economic and political lies than ihey do. as well as having substantially greater potent ml I'll projection of military power. But they also clearly perceive differences between the US and ils aides And ihey are eager to discover hewthe wake ol Vietnam andUS is determined to uphold ill interests and commilmenls abroad when these ate challenged.

Thc rJivcigencici within lhc Intelligencearise From different emphasis upon Ihese themes.

One line of analysis holds, that (he Soviets have probably conclurled that the US has already passed its zenithompetitor and that, given skillful Soviet policies, the chances are lhat this trend can be made irreversible. While acknowledging countervailing(he Soviets believe thai in the long run the US will be forced by inherent delects in the American and international economy torogressive" less effective compelllor They believe they are gradually overcoming thc US advantage in technology. They expect continued long-run erosion, relative to their side, in the Western military, polilical, economic, social, and moral spheres They think they will be able to plan their programs nnd conduct their policies in the expectation of greater opportunities resulting from this continued slow Improvement in the global "correlation of forces" In particular, they see USthe denial of oil and other raw materials, amongin the Third World, and they eipect Increasingly to be able to exploit theseinal element of this interpretation of their view ts, however, tha! the Soviets feat ihai as the US sees its position weakening, it may strike out to redress lhe balance In this period. Ibetefotc. the Soviets require superior military forcesareful weighing of risks

Another line ol analyiis holds that, even when these factors ate taken Inlo account. lhc Soviet view of these matters is much less optimistic. It notes thai nothing in the Soviet outlookeakening ol US advantages In the area of science and technology. Recognizing the vigor and scope of Soviet militaiy programing, this analysis adds that, in Moscow's eyes, the USormidable militaiy competitor that is seeking to improve rfi counietforce capabilities, and even thinking about strategic superiority, considering wch US programs as the Bl.CBM. and strategic curse missiles It argues that the Soviets perceive indications of US recovery ffOtn the disillu-sionmenls of recent yean, ate impressed by the tecuperatlve poweii of lhe US and thc world economies, and appeat genuinely concerned lhal tlie current dcfemi1 budgel and political discourse in the USore than temporary increase In competitivenessls the USSR. By this reading. Ihe Soviels may hopeontinued slow improve-

men! in their relative position, bul noiace thai justifies new global calculations or substantial new departures In iheir own behavior.

Tho Soviel View of China

On ihis subject, thc Inielligence Community shares some uncertainties but has no major

The aims of the USSR's China policy ate dear enough:

to combat and reduce Chinese influence both among nations and within lhe international Communitt movement;

to limit Sino-US rapprochement.

tomilitary ptesiute designed to deter Chinese jabs along thc border while impressing upon Chinese leaden thc folly of making the Soviet Union Iheir enemy;

meanwhile toublic poslure of readiness lo normalize relations againsi thc lime when Mao's successors might unfreeze China's implacable hostility.

schism wiih China has severelySoviet sense of insecurity and undercutposition. We have considerablethat Moscow sees no prospect of aof the relationship of; this isai well As fot lhe possibility of anof active competition, thc Sovietsbe mote glum than hopeful

evertheless, this will be the aim of Soviet policy, and indeed their tactical moves In the weeks after Mao's death have been intended lo begin this process The rooti ot lhc dispute ate deep, and ihe USSR in its conciliatory approach is not prepared to give up lhc option of militaiy pressure Bul if we Ity toecade ahead, Iheteood chance of lome normalization, probably at thc level ol stale relations, which would make lhe conflict lesi butderaome lobal policy.

n miliinry>slrulcgic terms, however, wc doubt that the Soviets during this period will judge that they can afford to reduce the forces devoted lo the Chinese problem, or lo exempt ihem fiom Ihc normal pace of modernization We feci confident lhal. al least, that is

own present outlook. And depending upon China's. post-Mao course, it is entirely possible that fears of Chinese collusion with lhc West, or evenlab in Ihe back in thc event of war elsewhere, will continue lo burden Moscow's policy as heavily as ihey do today.

Ihc Soviet View of Europe

llimalcly the Soviets would like lo become thc dominant power in Europe through Ihe breakup of lhc NATO Alliance and the elimination of US influence and forces in Western Europe. Viewed in (hc light of what is achievable in the next decade, however, they Intend lo work lo reduce US power and influence and lo undermine the cohesion of NATO, thereby creating more room for the expansion of their own influence. The Soviets hope lo manage this processay lhal avoids the emergence of Wesl Cermanynited Europetrong. Independent rival io their policies. Moscow's detente posture has parlicular application to this region, and to the related Soviet objectives of acquiring technology and credits from thc developed Industrial states and encouraging reduced defense efforts. The Soviets meanwhile seek military forces lhat will increasingly influenceEuropean attitudes through the reality and proximity of Soviet power.

hile Ihe Soviets applaud thc growing strength of Communist parlies In Weslern Europe, they are concerned about their increasing Independence. They toleraie Ihc anil-Soviet gestures of these parties only wich great difficulty; they are concerned thai powcr-shiiring belween Communists and non-Communists would undermine orthodoxy in Eastern Europe: thev worryightist backlash if the process moves loo fasi. On balance, however, they see more gains than losses for themselves in this trend, realize thai it is nnt within iheir control, and will assist it cautiously. As for Yugoslavia, they would like to bring that couniry closer lo their own camp after Tito's death but are also concerned to ensure that it not move westward. They may apply miliiary pressure to this prnblem. but thev probably see major local dangers nnd international risks in the actual use of force.

Ihe Soviet View of Detente

n its broadest aspect, detente is looked uponramework fcr nurturing changes favorable lo Soviel

interests while avoiding direct challenges io the US and ils allies thai would provoke them into concerted and effective countermeaiures. Detente provides for limited spheres of cooperation and lelaxation ol tensionsarger context of conlinuedII is mean! to facilitate more specific policies designed:

to give the West, .and particularly thetake in fruitful relations with Ihc USSReans of limiting Western interest inwith China againsi Soviet interests;

to develop precedents and mechanisms for consulting with the US during crises and influencing its behavior, thereby reducing lhc likelihood of nuclear war;

to develop an atmosphere lhat would serve to reduce public and parliamentary support for Western defense efforts; .

loolitical climate in which economic relalions, andlow of Western ciedils and technology, can Improve thc Soviel economic base and provide militarily useful technologies:

to sustain formal Western acknowledgement of lhe USSR's postwar gains in Eastern Europe, lo extend Soviel influence in Western Europe, and to weaken alliance cohesion.

At the same time, the Soviets have slated from the-outsel -and emphasized recently in response to Westerndetenle. like "peacefuln no wayenunciaiion of Soviet support and assistance to "progiessive forces."those engaging in armed struggle in thc Third World, but in factolitical climate thai enhances the prospects for these forces.

ince thisairly durable set of Soviet interests, we expect Moscow to continue to adhere to tfie detente line. They regard the improvement of Ihcir position, and particularly their gains in strategicas having forced lhe West to accept the dcrcnte fmmework and enter into ncgol in lions wiih die L'SSR Specific policies arc onollier matter. Moscow has been reluclant lo accept Western prcsciiphciiM about the proper contentetente icljtionship The Soviets have suffered Iheir own disappointments with it. particijlarlv in US trade

legislation ond Middle Eastern diplomacy. They ate ictuilive to increasing Western skepticism about detente, and evidently would like to ice this Itend reversed. But their diplomacy ii extremely patient, and if ihey do eventually make concessions to Western demands, these will usually be forthcoming only after prolonged bargaining, during which the Soviets will have thoroughly tested the Western position and discovered the response needed on their port to sustain momentum.

Arms Control Policy

hc Soviets have both strategic and political objectives In pursuing arms control negotiations. On the political side, the USSR is assiduous in initiating proposals in this area in order to appear os the champion of disarmament and to determine as much as possible the subjects chosen for negotiations. Moscow has at times seen Soviet security objectives served simply by propaganda on possible arms conlrol arrangements. Tlie Sovieis. for example, evidently calculate that proposals to ban use or first use of nuclear weapons might appeal lo public opinion and allecl Western policy and strategy even In the absence of negotiations Thc very process ofthe USSR believes, strengthens its imageuperpower equal lo the US and increases thc chances lhat the West will reduce the vigor of Its military programs

n disarmament negotiations thc Soviets are zealous in protecting their miliiary and security interests, androven leeord of being very hard bargainers. They view SALTeans through which ihe USSR may be able further to Improve Ils strategic posilionis the US. particulorly if they succeed in limiting US weapon systems now tn development In negotiating on ABM, Moscow evidently judged thai, In view of the US technological lead and potential, severe limits on deployment would be to its military benefit. The Soviets have sought to use MBFR largelyehicle for constraining Cerman os well as US force levels, andecrease in defense spending in NATO Tbeyhope thereby ultimately In affect NATO slrategy and to obslrucl possible future European defense reoperation Security concerns have also accounted for the seriousness of lhc Soviet approach to nudror ptoll feral ion

evertheless, the Soviets recognize that Ihe process of arms conlrol negotiations is continuous, thai periodic agreements are needed to sustain it. lhal they cannoi always counlavorable outcome at each stage, and thai partial agreements can often advance fheii interests. And while they are prepared for prolongedey would be highly dismayed al lhc prospectteakdown In the negotiating process, not only for its militarybut also for its implications for detente and for Western concerns about Soviet miliiary programs These considerations played an Important part in Moscow's agreement lo lhe Vladivostokthey proved willing to accept equal quantitative ceilings,light reduction in their own forces, and to defer thc question of forward-based systems, largely in order to sustain the momentum of SALT and detente after lhe US changed presidents int is possible lhat such consideration! also might lead the Sovieis to be niore forthcoming on SALT II after lhe new US administration comes Into office*

he Soviets will see- in coming years lo drasv the US and others into specific oegotiations on some of the broad array of arms control proposals that they regularly purvey. These efforts will be meant to pursue the same poliiical and military ends that SALT and MBFR now serve for them, plus broadening lhe agenda as insurance against thc consequences of failutc in any single forum.


n this section we examine Soviet miliiary programing lo see what definable objectives emerge from thr evidence and whether the pace in recent yeats has increased, slowed down, or remained constant. We do nothorough description nf these programs, which is available in other Estimates From this standpoint we esamine strategic

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and defensive forces, ground and air forces facing NATO and China, naval forces, forces for distant intervention, and research and development activities.

Strategic forces

he USSR, having succeeded over the past decade inarked inferiority, continues to press forwardroad and vigorous program for improving its strategic capabilities. In offensive forces;

The ICBM force Is becoming more survivable and flexible and better able to attack hard targets through deploymentew generation of ICBMs (many with MIRVs) and through modifications to deployed systems ando( yet newer ones.

Thc introduction of successive new models with longer-range missiles has Increased the capability and survivability as well as thc size of the SSBN force. Soviet SSBNs will, in the near fuiure. acquire MIRVed missiles,ew. large ballistic missile submarine may be under con-struclion.

In bomber aviation, older aircraft are being retained In service, thc Backfire is beingand there is evidence of the developmentew long-range bomber.

On thc defensive side, the USSR continues;

to expand capabilities for obtaining earlyof missile attack;

to pursue developmental work on ABM systems;

to Improve capabilities against air attack,low-altilude attack;

tn search Inr ways to solve the antisubmarine warfare problem, including those based on novel possibilities;

tn improve, by hardening nnd other means, thc protection ol command ond control facilities:

In carryivil defense program that is more extensive and hdter developed than was prcvinusly hclicvcd and that includes measures that, if effectively carried out. wouldignificant impact on both US and Soviet

peicepllons of the likely outcomeuclear exchange;'

to acquire capabilities to interfere with US space systems.

striking thing aboul these -programs isthey have accelerated in Ihe lasl few yearsihey have grownore or less steady pacedecades. We expect this growth tothe creation ol an acknowledged deterrentachievement of acknowledged strategic paritythc effort to falter. Soviet militaryfor capabilities lo fight, survive, and winwar. There it disagreement regardingto which Soviei slrategic policy andare determined by this doclrine.programs arc compatible with efforts toobjectives. Soviet positions at SALT. In turn,rule out these same doctrinal objectives.Butsame time it must be recognized lhat. frompoint of .view. US military technology isthai conttanl Soviet efforts are neededkeep pace, that US SALT positions do notdynamism, and that arms control measuresmany qualitative advances appear In anyThus the Soviet stress has shiftedfrom quantity to qualily.

are divided In our views as tothe Soviets have set for themselvesIn iheir strategic capabilities.

n one view, Soviet strategic programs arc fundamentally the result of decisions in support of Soviet slralegic doctrine and objectives ofar-winning capability, and are not merely reactions to individual US weapon programs. These programs arc extensive, embracing improvcmenls inand in countcrforce capabilities, air defense and ABM development programs,road hardening and civil defense effort, and each comple-

' The Otiettoi.of tntttltgencr end" Rettaith. Ocporrmenr ef. thneiat*,rain ihr tiktl; Impael Iff Sovieldrfrmt effom. Hr fcefcecrr iho,ffort,noi moltrlally iweae Sower tUlf&^nm relraonrf irttt not unrfrrmme iht dtifrtM mftte of US ntoiti* attack /eve,.

* TheJim'iiNnennA.if Stale ihu iriiiener rWrf her SoKri murium ui SALT nrrunts' range of poiallife ahfefUttt tncfarJhui mainicmte timet,c'iri- with

Ihe most important one We consider these broadet issues further in the final section of this Estimate.

Forces Facing NATO

n Ihe European theater, the Soviets aimapability thai will enable therri. should war occur, lo prevail quickly at either lhe conventional or theater nuclear level They see themselves as havingin conventional forces in Central Europe, bul they are aware of the complexities and uncertainties that tactical ait power and nuclear weapons Introduce into such assessments. They are substantially improving forces for defending the seaward approaches to thc Soviet Union and conducting offensive operations against NATO's northern and southern flanks and againsi the North Atlantic lines of communications. They ate preparing for the possibility that, in the event of war, lhe Wariaw Pact would conduct major offensive operations without pilot reinforcement (torn thethereforeinimum oforthcoming* Estimate will examine this problem inut. mindful of theof nuclear conflict in particular and of the uncertainties about expansionroad European or intercontinental scale, they ate inclined to be very cautious in considering the use of military force in Europe.

ubstantial quantitative advantage over NATO in such elements as divisions, tanks, artillery, and combat aifcraft. the USSR conceives of fuiure compctlllon between the Warsaw" Pact and NATO primarily in qualitative terms In Ihis regard, the Sovicis are impressed by NATO's strengths and potential in such areas as antitank weapons, tactical nuclear weapons, anil combat aircraft Their own modernization programsroad spectrum and

" fir Dun ii" Huitn" nf ln/rWic'nre andtare liethtvi ihai r'muttiauiUe*rr(WetNATO. While ihtfo^ert(Arte mboJf aj ertrfrnre thai ihtn'titieaiiieihtii retiring of. the batnnce nnrl

lhal I'irv believe ihey hunt itawt litt,hei ihrtrnWrrrW i- lheumirt h




feature greatly improved airlysterra. arlf-propelled artillery, and tactical aircraft with greater range and payload. The Soviets also have substantially increased the nudeat strike capabilities of their theater forces, providing ihem with new options for limited nuclear warfare at the theater level and reducing their dependence on USSR-bated nuclear forces.

e assess the overall pace of Pact programs for Improvement of conventional forces as steady and high We doubt that the Soviets nowatked change in the present complex balance in live next decade Theit hopes for any such change test primarily on political factors, suchlagging of West Euiopean effortseakening of the US commitment to NATO."

Fotces Facing China

he main Soviet objectives in this tegion ate:

to deter the Chinese from provoking armed incidents, ot incursionsegion where Soviet cities and railroads arc close to the border:

to be capable ofajor ground thrust actoss the border, although not of occupying all China,

torge lead in tactical and strategic nudear capabilities:

to maintain military pressure on Pekinghange in its hostile policies.

hc buildup lhat began inas evidently met these requirements, and the growth of Soviet fotces in thc Far East has slackened. The Soviets are however, continuing lo Improve their Far Eastern naval forces capable of operations against Chinese domestic and foreign tea lines ofThroughout its course, this buildup was not allowed In affect significantly the development of forces facing NATO. Given their concerns over China.

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we doubt that the Soviets feel themselves able to plan to diaw on these forces in the evenluropean war. or vice versa; they seem instead to regard II as necessary to be able lo fight on eilhetboththe forces already thete. The future growth ol Chinese nuclear capabilities will reinforce Sovicl motivations to maintain and modern Ire their fotces facing China.

General Purpose Naval Forces

n Ihe decade following Wotld War II, the Soviets' main objective In developing their general purpose naval forces was lo acquire capabilities to defend Soviet coastal waters and key approaches Irom thc open oceans against any naval force threatening the Soviet Union. Since the,ronounced shift In emphasis has taken place. The Soviets are now also developing forces capable of offensive action throughout the" worldontinuous-long-term presence In the Mediterranean Sea arid lhe Indian Ocean and increasing the range of their overseas Involvements. These developments strongly suggest thai the Soviets hold,ontinuing objective, Ihc development of an open ocean force capable of performing, to varying degrees, the traditional functions of major naval powers. The pace of this expansion has been measured and evolutionaty. and is expected to continue unabated over the next decade, wiih somewhat great ct emphasis on cor recti on of iheir present deficiencies In logistic support forces to permit moic flexible employment of their growing globalThc tesult willroader range of options available to Soviet policymaker* lo use or threaten to use naval forces in pursuing iheir global interests

Forces for Distant Operations

oviet military objectives in this category derive fmm Ihe USSR's view of thc Third World as an arena of Easl-Wesl struggle The Soviet* are convinced lhat. despite setbacks, these legions are shifting from thc cupllulisl lo the socialist camp, and lhat this process is contributing to Soviet national security Two decades' experience nf (licenses and failures, however, have givenealistic view of the complexities of the Third World, and their behavior is pragmatic and alert lo opportunities to exploit Western vulnerabili-liev

Among the means for expanding Sovietin this arena, military instruments have piovcn by far thc most effective

Military assistance programs have built ticsumber of important states and political movements, resulting in dependence upon the USSR that has often, though not always, provided political leverage.

Naval deployments Into new waters haveested the global scope of Soviet might and affected regional calculations of power.

Thc USSR is able to airlift and sealift miliiary aid lo clients at war.

It has someyet only marginallyintervening with its own forces in distant conflicts.

The Soviets have used these militaryto provide assistance lo its clients In Third World crises and have even intervened abroad wiih their own military forces. Thc Soviets have also endeavored to inhibit possible US actions and toisible symbol of Soviet support by interposing naval forces. They have been concerned, however, noi to confront Western interests in the Third World directly: thus they are working for change by providing military aid lo legitimate governmentsumber of guerrilla movements throughout Ihe world.

Thc Soviets will continue to strongly suppori lhe process of change in the Third World and will expand their military instrumentsteady but moderate pace. Over ihc nexl decade, force improvements will continue to enhance Soviel capabilities to assist clients by supplementing local defenses. Tlie USSR will be able to make more credible demonslralions.ol force and Ihe Soviel navy will have belter capabilities for interposition. The Soviets will also improve Iheir capabilities for direct assault- 8ul beyond lhe range of land-based air support, Soviel capabilities will still be deficient lo cairyirect assault againsi delermined opposition by sizable armed forces "

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Research and Development

he inherent limitation, of evidence present us wiih more uncertainly about the scope and progress of Soviet military research and development than about programs lhat have reached the stages of testing and deployment. It is nevertheless cleararticularly high priority.

hc Soviets are well aware of the importance of basic scientific research, and they support ilThey also have devoted major resources to building up industrial technology in support of RorD goals for Ihe military and in space. They have decreased, but not eliminated, their dependence on foreign technology in such key areas as iiutiumenta-tinn and computers. Recent Soviel statements reflect special altentlon to the impact of technological developments on Ihe strategic military balance.

In Iheir approach to weapons development, the Soviets have traditionally, emphasized long-term evo lutinnaiy development of existing syslem concepts or narrowly focused efforts to develop specific types of systems. While some of their programs in the past have involved innovative concepts and some of their deployed systems are technically advanced, until Ihehey tended to concentrate on programs lhat had direct weapon system applications.

Since the, however, llw Soviets have in addition embarkedroader rangerograms. This approach, while it runs thc riskower percentage of successful applications, offers lheelter basis for evaluatmg Western technologicaletter base fnr lhe evolutionary development of existing systems, and improved chances for technolngical

examples of Soviet interest inlech no logical concepts are in the areas nfand diiecled-energy weapons, tn bothhigh-energy lasershe Soviets haveHAD effort in prngiess. even thoughIn terms nf practical weaponsuncertain. The ASW efforts involve investigationvariety of techniques that seemingly havefnr Micceii^^

"^Tlie Sovicls ore also conducting basic research


iii technologies reo the nonnuclear clecttomag netic pulse end particle beam weaponAlthough therearge body of evidence for the existenceoviet HEL weapons ptogram, there Is no such body of evidence on the other directed-energy concepti Some of the laser work is being done under sponsorship of the ait delcnxe fotces, but the development of HEL for practical applications is not likely before

hete is little douhl that bolh their own ambitions and theit fears of US advances willigh-priority Soviet effort in military BftD during this period. The Sovietsteat deal mote about lhe direction and progress of out military RAD than we do aboul theirs Even so. the scientific and technological uncertainties that abound In this atea almost certainly prevent Ihem from teaching any confident Judgment now as to whether, over the nexl ten years, either side will achieve breakthroughs lhat will be perceived as alleting lhe strategic balance


hat, then, of Ihe questions will- which we began?

On the Soviet leaders now basethe ptograms and activities whichelief lhal the USSR will become the world's strongest single power? Wllhin the net! ten years?

Have they come lowill theythat aggressive actions on theit part carry lower risks than earlier, and thai these risks have become low enough to be acceptable to prudent, yet ambilious men?

There ts disagreement on some matters and agreement

on others, tn the latter categoiy

The Soviet appioach to lhe external wotld remains one of stiuggle between two systems, in which Moscow believes il will ultimately prevail.

In prosecuting lhe struggle on multiple fconls. the Soviets see militaty powereywhich eon be used to attain strategic objectives without war.

The Soviels aim at advantage in their rnilitaty forces However, (hey worry that ihey may fall

behind In the qualitative military competition, and Ihis further reinforces the priority of theit research and development effort.

the struggle, they ate conscious of weaknesses on their own side, particularly those arising from economic and technological deficiencies and conflict wiih China. They ate working lo overcome these weaknesses, but ihey do not ptesenlly expect to remove them in the neat decade.

the other hand, beyond iheir obvious militaty strength, ihey credit themselves with other important assets; disciplinedsocial cohesion, and perseverance

the Soviet strategies ate noi the same as those ol the US. Ihey do noi seek to build forces corresponding tn those of lhe US across the entire spectrum. For example, they place much higher priority on strategic forces and fotces opposite NATO than on forces for distant military intervention.

Among our disagreements:

Some judge thai the SovieU axe persuaded lhat the US and the West, despite periodic rebounds, arcong-term decline that will be reflectedlagging of polilical resolve, military affotts. and economic growih. Others think the Soviets hope foi this but do nnt count on It. and indeed may think the US and Western military effort is again on the the.

Some believe that, in improving their militaty forces, the Soviets pursue the acquisitionai-winning capabilityealistic objective. Others believe lhal (he Soviets have no realistic expectation ot attainingapability

hese disagreements lead lo conclusions lhat. svhile not diumetricaUy opposed, present significant differences ol emphasis. The following discus* Usn simplifies ihese diffocneea by grouping ihem Into Iwo


ne line of argument holds that, in lhe Soviet view, ihe global cottclalmn of forces has inhifted in the USSR's favor and that Ihis trend is likely In continue The US and ils allies have enteredew stage in the "genetal ensn of capitalism" that will prove irreversible even if there are periodic

recoverics. Thc problems ol lhc Soviel economy ond Ihe dispute with China are sciioui but. on Ihe plane of International competition, not debilitating. In this situation, lhc Soviets aim to achieve the degiee of military superiority ovci lhe Weil needed lo peiniil them lo wage andonvenlional or nuclear war. The SovieU tee iheii improvements In survivability and in countcrforee capabilities, air defense and AIIM development, and broad hardening and civil defense programs in particular, and iheir improvements in conventional fnrces in general, as all contributing to this objective. While it is uncertain when the Soviets expect lo gainecisive strategic superiority, they view this objective as practical and attainablerogramed fashion. They expect to move closer to this gnol over the next ten years. Although Soviel capabilities (or the projection of military power will continue In have significant shortcomings within the foreseeable future. Moscow not only Is prepared to employ Its present naval, merchant, and air forces in seeking objectives in areas of high Soviet interest but also is developing additional forces moic capable of influencing events In distantThis growing propensity lo use military forces as instruments of foreign policy, coupled wiih lhe perceived favorable trend in the strategic balance, will, in the Soviets' viesv. increasingly enable them to deter US initiatives and to inhibit US opposition to Soviet initiatives. Iheieby advoncmg tbe overall Soviet strategicofominant posilion in lhe world

nother line of argument holds that. In Soviet thinking, (he question is much more open. It too perceives on Increased Soviet confidence, stemming much more from the achievement of parity in stralegic forces than ftom other, nonmilitary trends But this analysis holds lhal lhe Soviet leaders give greater weight than the preceding argument allows to (he handicaps represented by the USSR's economic and technological weoknesses and ilsh China, ll believes lhat they attribute gteotcr resilience

to the capitalist economies and do not discount the recent turnaround in US defense spendinghort-term phenomenon. In this view, Soviet military programing and research are bent upon keeping pace with that of ils adversaries as well as seeking margins of advantage wherever feasible. But Moscow does nntealistic expectation ofar-winning capability, particularly in the next decade. Expecting Soviel foreign policy to be assertive, this analysis nonetheless holds thai Moscow's experience wiih the complexities of the externalparticularly with the Intractable force ofnot at thb point lead the Soviets tocries of advances that, by the, will cumulateinally decisive shift in the struggle In short, this analysis attributes to the Sovietsrogrammatic design for military superiorityore pragmatic effort lo achieve advantages where they can. andore patient approach to continuing tough competition together wiih ato high and steady levels of effort in the elements ol power Moscow's calculus of the risks attending forward action may decline, but this has not yet happened and. if it does, the process will be slow and subject to cautious testing.

his Estlmalc is obviouslyel assessmcnl. not our judgment of tbe likely outcome In East-West competition. Itummary of the range o( Community perceptions of Soviel objectives and Soviet views nf the prospects for significant gains In this competition. We agreeide range of Soviet objectives short of decisive military superiority over lhe West. Out differences ore over lhe Soviet leaders' perception of the fcasibilily nf achieving such superiority. Finally, we agree that. Soviet risk-taking abroad in anv specific situation will tor-tin ue tn be governed hv Moscow's perception of interests and power al the particular time and place.




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