NIE 11-3/8-76: SOVIET FORCES FOR INTERCONTINENTAL CONFLICT THROUGH THE MID-1980

Created: 12/15/1976

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

MICROFILMED

MEMORANDUM FOR: CIA Member, National Foreign Intelligence

Board

SUBJECT

: Soviet Forces for Intercontinental Conflict Throuoh the

Tho subject estimate Lz on the NplD schedule forndecember. After hearing adversarial presentations, the NFIB will consider the Key Judgments andf the estimate.

On the wholo, wn aroh the Key Judgments and volume I. This estimate is characterized, however,lethora of dissenting positions on scversl contentious issues, 'ihe numerous Air Force footnotes are particularly egregious.

there ore no Ize' and composition of rcontineutal conflict in part, theoncorn Soviet strategic ture impact of specific pace ondvelopment, and the impli-ee.

nlike manyresclved issues about"uture Soviet forces for intc this estimate. For the most jssues in this year's estimat objectives, the status and fu Soviot woapons programs, the Soviet weapons researchf Soviet civil dofen

X Copy No.

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IMPOSSIBLE TO

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issuo of Soviet strategicprobably tho most critical one in theare in agreement with tho main text whichdistinction botween ultimate goals and Wo believe that, while the Sovietsoptimistic about both the capabilities andwhich their current strategic forcesthem, they aro aware that uncertaintiesUS behavior, as well as their owncapabilities relative to those of thetheir settingractical- policyattainment of strategic superiority over the US

pecific period of time. State's dissent avers that the Sovioto aro mainly trying to keep pace in the qualitative competition with tho US, whereas DIA and the three services bol:.eve that the Soviets regard their ultimate goal of dominance over the Westealistic one, and that they expect to move closer to this goal over tho next decade. The services believe that the ultimate goal servesracticalfor Soviet strategic force development.

Tho Backfire issue waa even more hard-fought this year than last. There are substantialover the capabilities of the aircraft and over Soviet intentions for its employment against the US. All except DIA, Army, and Air Force believe itthat Backfire would be assigned tomissions. DIA, Army and Air Force contend tho Backfire clearly has intercontinental capabilities and these should bo the prime factor in assessing its missions. Air Force further believes that some portion -of the Backfire force will be assigned missions against the continental US.

Soviet ADM efforts aro the subject ofature of "j

J new large radars at

disagreements over foviet civiltne same ones expressed in tho recentof that subject. The services believecivil defense programs will have anon the strategic balance; Staterudent hedge against attack; our posi-

' tion is between those extremes.

extremism of tho Air Force's positionestimate is best illustrated by Generalon the ABMone of thecoups in modernnd on the potential significance ofof particle beamthe most

J important strategic undertaking since the development of the atomic I,.

issues are listed in Attachment B.

recommend that you concur in thisthat you resist any efforts which might be madeForce or others to change the main text orthe polemical tone of portions of the estimate.

memorandum has been coordinatedwho concurs in its recommendations.

C 3

Attachments:

Volume I

Key Issuei

bin Representative

Attachment B

Other Key Issues In, Key Judgments ond Volume I

la Utility of Forces (Vol. I, Air Force alone believes that there is a siiablo asymmetry in the curront strategic balance--in favor of the USSR-which gi%es thegrowing ability to coerce at all levels of confrontation."

SALT (Vol. I,. The Air Force dissent argues that 'the Soviets regard SALTeans to achieve strategic superiority over the US."

Military Expenditures (Vol. I, pp.ir Force criticizes the CIA cost estimates as being unrealistically low in tho past, and believes that several percentage points could be udded to the Agency' estimate of the portion of Soviet GNP devoted to defens spending. The Air Force justification for its position is in arror when it rejects the findings that Soviot defense industries are "les- efficient than formerly believed." Our determination that the ruble costs of Soviot programs were much higher than we previously thought by definition indicates that this is true. The Air Force is also in error in asserting that the

costs of numerous development programs are omitted. Costs for all such programs aro included conceptually in our estimates of Sovietof the most rapidly growing elements of Soviet defense outlays.

eployment (Vol. I,. Only Air Force believes that silo-basedro replacing.

Capability to Refire ICBMs (Vol. I,. Air Force alono judgos that tho "coldechnique and othor evidence indicate Soviet plans foror part of thendorce. .

B-l

Iobs (Vol. I, p.. open tho possibility that the Soviets will

retrofit thonto about half oflnss submarines. All others doubt that the system will be extensively deployed.

Modification of SA-5 (Vol. I, p. Air Forco continues to believe the Soviets may hove

covertly provided on ABM capability for tho SA-5.

Defenses Against Aircraft and Missiles at Low AltitudeSTl Thereew relatively minor dissents in this section, including some of our own, but tho main -Judgments are not new. The Air Forco tends to rate future Soviet capabilities against cruise missiles as higher than does the rest of the community. CIA and the Air Forco believe that the new Soviot strategic SAM system under development could not defend against low-altitudv SHAMs, while DIA, Army, and NSA believe it may have some capability.

Concealment ond Deception (Vol. I, pp.ast year, CIA joined the State Department' in the view that tho risksarge strategic concealment and deception program would deter the Sovietr. fromit. This year's text accommodates our view by stating that the possibility of an extensive program could not be excluded if the Soviets thought they could accomplish it without our knowledge and couldignificant advantageou may want to join State again this year.

10. Prospects for anVThe "Fratricide" Question (vol. I, pp. The Air Forco believes that the Soviets would concludeV attacks by different missiles to compound damage are not operationally feasiblo because of nuclear environment and attack timing considerations. All other agencies conclude thot "fratricide" effects and attack timing should be treated in the came manner as other, uncertainties such as accuracy and warhead yield.

B-2

11. Residual Forces (Vol. I,he Air Forco believoa that tho kind of hypothetical nuclear exchange considered in this sectionurprise counterforco attack by ICBMs only) "can be misleading and does not belong" in an NIE. Wo believe the analysis and its assumptions, however, aro sufficiently spelled out so as to avoid misunderstanding, and ara critically Important in assessing trends in Soviet capabilities.

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