CIA CONTRIBUTION TO PRM/NSC-6

Created: 2/18/1977

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7 CIA Contribution to PRM/NSC-6

Follow-on Study -

The Warsaw Pact's military posture has undergone only evolutionary change since tho US approach to MBFR was developedears ago. The Pact's military capabilities have continued toin soiu- functions--but the pace has been slower than in tha late sixties and has been in the form of qualitative rather than quantitative improvements. Theseadvances have had only fractional deployment as yot, but they are substantially affecting the Warsaw Pact posture because of the Pact's existing numerical advantages. The Pact's force improvementsrend that dates from the mid-sixties and that was identified in documents used in developing the US approach to the MBFR negotiations.

Tho changes in Pact forces have occurredackground of important constants.

The USSR continues to support the maintenance of large Warsaw Pact forces as protectionerceived threat from NATO,eans of enhancing controlast European allies, and as an instrument of political pressure on Western Europe

he Soviets expect that Central Europe would be thetheaterATO-Warsaw Pact conflict and that combatflanks would be secondary if not"4

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Soviet doctrine Is offensivo-oriented. Plans call for quickly achioving favorablo local force ratios, for using large numbers of tanks, mochanizod infantry, and artillery to break through, and for thon pushing rapid drives deep into NATO torritory.

hose offensive plans depend critically upon the forces of Bast European satellites of doubtful enthusiasm for involve-mont in an expeditionary campaign, especially one risking nuclear retaliation. More thanf SB) of the PactIn the NGA aro Eost Europoan.

Still, changes2 have continued to advance Pact capabilities for such an offensive. The forces have remained basically static in size but have been improved qualitatively.

For conventional war, the Pact has been enhancing the nobility, firepower, air defense, and capacity for protracted combat of its ground forces, as well as the range, payload, and ordnance of its tactical air forces. The gains have been achieved chiefly by replacing obsolescent equipment with improvedome of it equal or superior to NATO's--and have been sought to complete the changeover of the force from one intended merely to mop up after nuclear 'exchangos to one equipped toon-

ventional, more protracted war. Ground-force improvements In Soviet forces include2 tank, self-propelled artillery, greater numbers of tanks end towed artillery, bettor and more

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numerous APCs, and more and bigger trucks. Deployment is gradual and has far to go. About half of Soviet motorized riflein the area now have the now APCs(nd SP guns still comprise only someercent of their weapons inventories. The additional trucks, however, have perhaps doubled Soviet transport capabilities and havo effoctivoly removed the logistical weaknessears ago.

East European ground forces also have profitedradual modernization, though less extensive than that of the Soviets. Replacement weapons have included some new APCs, antltanl* guided missiles, and self-propelled artillery.

Of all Pact theater force elements, air and air dofenso forcos have made the greatest technological gains. The continuing-sinco tho lato-sixties--acquisitionew generation of aircraft and weapons is enabling the Pact to change tho traditional air-defense orientation of its tactical air forcespectrum of both offensive and dofensive missions. Tho effect has beon enhanced by further improvement in firepower and mobility of the ground-based air dofense systems. The number of such modernas tho,, and improved Fishbeds has increased from aboutercent of Soviet air forces in the NGA2 to aboutercent today. Theobile, low-to-medium altitude SAM system, had just been introduced2 and has now spread to about half of the Soviet force. Deployment of an alternative weapon, thaas now started. Doployacnt

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of theeplacement of thaith Soviet forces has slowly grownrigades2rigados today. Modernization and expansion of AM holdings has continuedradual paco.

Perhaps the changes of most oninous portent have been tho USSR's improvement of its capability for thoator nuclear war.

vidence hos accumulated that the Soviets havethe allocation of warhosds to tactical missions, are storing them in Eastern Europe, have now or expect soon to have large-tube nuclear artillery rounds, and--conslstcnt with the improved capabilities of their tactical aircraft and availability of the Backfire bombor--have shlftod to groater reliance on air delivery vice less accurate and shorter-ranged SSMs.

eployment of the mobile, MIRVedRBM, now beginning to replace thosend SS-Ss targetod on Western Europe from the USSR,rofound potontial impact because of the weapons' greater striking power and--above all--the launcher's enhanced survivability. Perceptual Changes

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Two other seemingly important alterations in Pact posture2 apparently have been changes of perception, not of reality.

NATO estimatod Eastern nanpowor in the NGAenut the estlmato has since beenimes

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aon. In fact, tho true monpowor, which probably lies in the vicinityen, almost certainly has increased no moru thanarly estimates woro too low bocause manpower is both acutely difficult to count and of doubtful valueoasure of military capability. Before MBFR, the intelligence community had preferred to focus its sourcos and mothods on suchvalid measures as equipment counts. Barly changescorrected the initial error, whereas the smaller recent incroasos emergedATO estimating mechanism dominated by "intelligence" organisations who view threat estimates principally as influoncos on defense budgets.

--Ho havo corno to recognize that, contrary tohe Soviets do not regard prior reinforcementrerequisiteeneral Warsaw Pact offensive

Central Europe. In other words, Soviet plannors apparently regard thoivisions in tho NGA as capable not only ofATO attack but also ofenoral offensive beforo any of thedditional divisions the Soviets intend to conait arrive from the western USSR. Still, assessors of the so-called "standing-start attack" must take account of several potont inhibitions to Pact capabilityudden onslaught. These constraints includo:

eacetime undermanning of East European and Soviet units.

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ho need to sot up tho conaand and control apparatus to control the buildup nnd deployment of tho forces.tho need for the Pact countrios toeneral mobilization involving the caliup of millions of resorvists and tons of thousands of trucks, andthe Soviets' concern with preparing the USSR tor the likely consequouces of their setting off World War, getting the Soviet Navy out to sea, alerting and securing other forcos not'directly involved in the attack, and taking civil defense measures in anticipation of nuclear war. No judge that such{considerations would extond Warsaw Pact buildup time well beyondours. Evenituation of high tension where the Sovietshreat of hostilities breaking outonsequence of events not entirely in their control, we estimate the Pact would need atays toorce ofn circumstances where the Soviets could determine the tine and manner ofar, we Judge they would take more time toar footing.

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Pact Projection

Current Pact force trends are unlikely to change substantially between now and the early eighties.

The military burden Dears heavily on the economies

of the Pact- countries, especially in Poland, and there is strong pressure for more consumer orientation in all of the Pact societies. There are hints that the East's "doves" are gaining heart and hope. But these signs havo long beon visible, and the contrary signsontinuing dominance by the military leadership havo proved to remain the more accurate indicators to date. Thus, the repressive Eastern regimes probably will continue with the momentum of military modernization now under way, at least until tho current suite of improved weaponry has substantially filled the tables of equipment.

Continuation of the current momeatum is likely to bring the following results by the early eighties:

round2 deployment comprising perhaps half of the Soviet tank inventory in the NGA, .but possibly littlo.if any with Bast Hiropean forcos.

Self-propelled artillery deployed in at least regimental strength in most Soviet divisions in the NGA. Iaan increase of aboutercent in the number of artillery pioces in Soviet units.

Air and air defenseompleteof such older aircraft as the Fresco and early model Fishbed and Fitter with the modern aircraft now entering the force and probably with some of tho next generation. Substantially complete deployment with Soviet forces of the current package of improved air defense weapons and some penetration of those into the East European inventories as well.

heater nucleareploymentaunchers equipped with moreissiles. Quitearge Soviet

park of nuclear artillery, achieved through develop-

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mentuclear round for the widelym howitzer.

If the trend were in fact to continue, its most significant impact almost certainly would be felt in the nuclear sphere. As noted earlier, the

survivability of theould have profound effect were the weapon deployed in large numbers. This survivability would act to docouplo Soviet-based systems fromonventional conflict go nuclear--might thentrictly theater nuclear war fought with tactical woapons within the NGA. That is, thes capability, with warning, to move to an unidentified lounch site would lessen both any US propensity to hit those weapons with astrike when initiating theater nuclear war and any Soviet propensity to fire first outoncern to "shoot them or lose thca."

The growing acceptance of strategic.nuclear parity, the above-mentioned docoupling, and the apparentlySoviet readiness for theater nuclear war all will act to lower tho credibility of the US nuclear deterrentATO-Warsaw Pact conflict and thus to focus attention on the conventional deterrent. MBFR, with its potential for lessening the conventional threat, will of course also be spotlighted.

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Original document.

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