Soviet Nuclear Doctrine:
"oncepts of Intercontinental and Theater Ufa
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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Directorate of Intelligence
ipproTcd lor celeasa through tbc HISTORICAL BTVTEW PWSSAH of. tha canttal Intelligence Acsacy.
Soviet Unclearoncepts of Intercontinental and Theater War
This paper was prepared in responseequest froa the US Department of State for en exposition of Soviet nuclear doctrine as deduced froa Sovietstatements, and actions over the past few years.
The paper seeks to answer principally thequestions: What purposes do the Soviets see their nuclear forces as serving? How do the Sovietsusing nuclear weapons? Bow do the Soviets see the relation between thoir intercontinental and theater forces? And how do the Soviets decide "how such is enough"?
Thia rautarch paper was prepared in the Office of Strategic Reaaarah. ,
Summary of 3
Basic Objectives and Strategic
Soviet Doctrine for Nuclear Warfare.13
Limited Strategic Nuclear Warfare
Concepts for War in
Conventional Phase 1
Linkage With Intercontinental. 23
Strategic Attack Plana 24
Tactical Nuclear Capabilities25
Soviet Decisions on Force
Strategic Arms Limitation
Implications of the ABH
The OS-USSR Strategic
Chinaactor in Soviet Strategic
Men enturn and Interaction in Research
Economic capabilities anduch Is
Summary of Conclusions
Four principal questions relating to Sovietwar doctrine are treated in this paper. The conclusions of the paper on theseunber of subordinate questions are summarized below.
1. Whato theheirforce*vingt
The raain objectives underlying Soviet strategic policy amy be described In broad teres as similar to thoseecade ago t to protect the security of the homeland, to deter nuclear war but to wage war successfully should deterrence fail, to project .an image of military strength commensurate with the positionroat world power, and to support foreign policy aims if only by checking strategic forces of potential opponents.
i* th* relative weight of euoh faator*ontidaration* of prestige or influence, and ue* of nuclear weapons in war*
It is difficult to separate these factors and assign each an exact ranking of significance. The pattern of development, deployment, and operation of- the strategic forces, however, suggests howoviets view the utility of these forces. ey objective. The major effort has been on programs which assure the ability of these forces toS strike and stillevastating blow. The Sovlete nevertheless plan for the possibility that deterrence may fail, although they do not'contemplateudden first strike on the DS or expect one on themselves. Their strategic buildup over the past decade shows that they are unwilling to remainosition of marked strategic inferiority relative to the US. Theyconsider that their larger policy alms would bo prejudiced byosition.
i* th* implication of th*orgoing anesult of the ABM tr*atf/1
Soviet agreement to this treaty- probablyesire to limit competition in an area where the us had significant technical advantages and stood to lengthen its lead. In this regard* the Soviets would believe that they gave up little and gained substantial benefits.
The ABH Treaty, however,ewinto Soviet planning for aerospace defense: tho potential effectiveness of the extensive Soviet air defense network is undermined in the absenceomplementary ABM defense. If the treaty remains in effect over the long term, Soviet air defenses will be susceptible to disruptionrecursorattack. This consideration nay affect future air defense system procurement. It may have already done so, in view of the absence of new strategic air defense weapons systems at test ranges for the past several years, although the evidence is inconclusive at this point.
A second implication of the treaty is that thc USSR has limited the use of active defenses to deter or counter third-country missile attacks outside of Moscow and has chosen to rely primarily on theinfluenceuperior offensive arsenal.
2. flow do the Soviets decide hou much ie enough?
The ultimate objectives and intentions underlying Soviet strategic arms programs will continue toubject of uncertainty,ynamic strategic environment characterized by continuing competition on both sides, each attempting to prevent the other fromeasurable advantage, and in the absence of ams control agreements sufficientlyto restrain that competition.
Soviet spokesmen have often stated in recent yoars that the USSR's basic aim is toondition of "equal security" in relation to the US. This concept is not capable of preqise definition. Possession by the Soviets of an assured deterrent
capability, even though clearly recognized by the US, is evidently not "enough" if the deterrant forces stand in Marked quantitative inferiority to those of the US. Similarly, the lag behind the US inqualitative aspects of strategic weaponry, such as MIRV technology, is probably also unacceptable.
Even if the intention is only to strive toa relationship of rough strategic equality with the US, Soviet arms programs are bound to be vigorous and demanding. This is in part because of existing asymmetries, which may appear to the Soviets to justify certain quantitative advantages for the USSR, forin land-based ICBMs, to maintain "equalngoing US development and deployment programs aro probably also seen as requirements for offsetting action by the USSR. The Soviets would like toargin of strategic advantage over the US in some form, but we do not know what particular weaponthe Soviets would consider most likely to affordseful advantage over the US or how they might assess the risks and costs of such programs in view of possible US reactions.
any doctrinal or eonoaptual limit on force six* or compaaition? Or are tha limitation' thm result of auch practical coneideratione at coat, teohnology, and eetimafa of US raaationT
Thererowing body of evidence that Soviet decisions on force goalsomplex Interplay of many factors beyond rational and objectiveof strategic needs. The political leadership has the final say on those natters it considers, but it operates in the presence of other influences,competing policy positions, special interest groups, Kremlin politics, bureaucratic pressures, and technological and economic constraints. Decisions are worked out on an incremental basis, and choices are susceptible to change from one year to the next. The decisionmaking process itself is veiled in secrecy, and evidence Is often lacking on the substance and influence of positions taken by key institutions and individuals.
Consequently we do not know precisely whatcriteria nay govern Soviet force size and composition. It is possible, however, to circumscribeough way the range of choices available in the light of Major factors that the Soviets must take into account in planning for the future of their strategic forces. These factors include the provisions ofarms limitation agreements and the manner in which these agreements alter or appear to alter the strategic, political, and economic conditionsthe USSH; tho leadership's sense of stability or change in its strategic relationship with the US,interaction in research and development* the ace and scope of technological change; economicand the Chinese military threat.
What it tha impact of SALT on Soviet Btrataqie doctrinef
The ABM Treatyhange from Soviet doctrine emphasizing active air and missile defenses against all threats. Otherwise, there is no evidence available at present to indicate whether or how the strategic arms limitation agreements have affected Soviet strategic doctrine.
3. Sou oould tha Soviate envision using nuclear weapons?
Do thay sea uting them at allt Fopretaliation, preemption?
There is good evidence that the Soviets do notudden first strike toorkable strategy. The Soviets have not deployed counterforcc weapons In sufficient numbers toirst-strike damagestrategy feasible. At the same time, the Soviets evidently do notudden first strike by thc US. Their propaganda continues to cite the threatS surprise attack, but the observed day-to-day readiness posture of their strategic forces indicates that the Soviets do not, in fact, expect such an attack.
tions: preemption, Xaunch-on-waming, and retaliation.
Preemption is often presented in Soviet military writingsesirable strategic option, but these discussions fail to address such factors as the OS early warning systems and massive retaliatory Given the immense risks involved, the Soviets probably would not attempt to translate this theoretical conceptractical option.
Launch-on-warning evidently has been consideredtrategic option, but It is rarely mentioned by the Soviets. The concept may be seen asertain psychological value in reinforcing deterrence, butolicy it would present command and control problems. The Soviet leadership is unlikely tothe authority touclear attack or to accept the unpredictable risks of accidental orlaunch inherent inolicy.
Retaliation is the oldest declared Soviet strategy and the one most frequently advocated by the top party and government officials. None of the Sovietabout preemption and launch-on-warning have come from the upper levels of the civilian leadership. The Soviet strategic buildup over the past decode has madehoroughly credible doctrine. Theunderlying the leadership's view of retaliation, as reflected in the Soviet position at SALT, are that the OS and OSSR possess more than enough nuclear weapons to bringorld-wide catastrophe, that the sidefirst wouldetaliatory force capable of annihilating the attackers's homeland, ondar between the US and USSR would be disastrous for both.
Do the Soviets see using nuclear weapons for devastation in retaliation or for military effaatT Vhat military affects would be valued mostt
Both counterforce and countervalue targets are Incorporated in Soviet planning. The basic targets
axe identified as missile launch sites, nuclear weapons production and storage facilities, other military installations, systems for controlling and supporting strategic forces, and military-industrial andcenters. Explicit references to the destruction of enemy population, as such, are notably omitted from available Soviet listings of strategic targets. The list obviously implies, however, the direct targeting of major American cities and therefore massive civilian fatalities.
Po the Soviets envision use of nuclear weapons* all ai ones op in someashion? Is there any evidenoa of Soviet thinking about war. efforts to use nuolear weapons to areata oiroumstances for bargaining, ds-ascalation?
In the context of intercontinental warfare, there is no indication in available materials that the Soviets accept the feasibility of limited strategic nuclear warfare or war bargaining. At leaat in public they have consistently rejected the possibility that either the US or tbe USSR would be able bo exercise restraint, once nuclear weapons had been employed against Its homeland. Despite these disclaimers, the Soviet strategic arsenal couldtrategy of controlled strategic attack, raising the possibility thatontingency may be included in Soviet targeting and attack planning.
In the context of warfare in Europe, Soviet doctrine on escalation haa been modified since the mid-Sixties. An earlier position that any war Involving NATO and the Warsaw Pact would automatically escalate to theater-wide nuclear war has been altered to allow for an initial conventional phase. Soviet writings and Warsaw Pact exercises have paid increasing attention to theof having araed forces equipped and trained for conventional as well as nuclear tactical warfare, Pact planningar in Europe recognizes the possibility ofonventional or nonnuclear phaseuclear strike phase, pact planners apparently believe that successful conventional operations by the Pact would force NATO to resort to nuclear weapons, and they emphasize the importance of the timing of their initial use.
Soviet military writers have given little attention to the concept of controlled nuclear war in Europe. They emphasize the decisiveness of an initial nuclear attack and the need for affective coordination. The first salvo of intermediate- and medium-range ballistic missiles by the Strategic Rocket Forces evidently would be the signal for nuclear strikes by other Warsaw Pact forces.
For the Soviet politicalroader range of options is likely to exist than is evident in Pact exercises and documents. Authorization for the scale of fighting to be pursued, the use of nuclear weapons, and the scope of permitted nuclear operations would rest with the political leaders. Under actual combat conditions thay could decide to employ nuclear forcesore carefully controlled manner than Indicated in military writings and exercises.
4. Bow Jo the Soviet* the relation between their intercontinental and theater forces?
It there any way of judging which tha Soviete might believe mora likaly to be used? Ia there any evidence of Soviet views as to coupling ar decoupling?
We do not have good evidence on how the Soviets view the possibility of an intercontinental exchange between the US and the USSR if theater nuclear warfare erupts in Europe. The Soviets would presumably prefer toevel of combat that would involve massive strikes on their own country. Their willingness to ascalata to global nuclear warfare might depend largely on what they expected the US response would be to events in Europe.
Until the mid-Sixties Soviet declaratory doctrine heldar between NATO and the Warsaw Pact would automatically escalate to theater-wide nuclear war ln Europe and possibly to global nuclear war. Some Soviet military writers hava continued to express skepticismuropean conflict could be kept limited. At the same time, other Soviet military writings hava
paid increased attention to thc possibilities ofar in Europe. In view of theof their doctrine on escalation, Soviet planners may have become more willing to considerar in Europeirect US-OSSR intercontinental con frontation.
Basic Objectives and Strategic Concepts
The objectives underlying Soviet military policies may be described today as much the same as thoseecade ago: to protect the security of the homeland, to deter nuclear war but to wage war successfully should deterrence fail, to maintain hegemony over Eastern Europe, and to foster an image of strength in supporttrong foreign policy aimed atSoviet influence.
The military policies that support these however, have shifted markedly. The policies of Xnrushchev, who downgraded the importance offorces and tried totrategic nuclear deterrent cheaply, gave way in thc raid-Sixties to more functional concepts of military power under Brezhnev and Kosygin. Soviet military policy was also Influenced by fundamental changes in the way the USSR viewed its own power in relation to thc other major countries of the world, by its estimate of the external threat, and by the impact of new technology on Soviet weaponry and on the capabilities of potential enemies.
In broad outline, the major trends in Soviet military policies over thc past decade have been thesei
and improvement of strategicand defensive forces to the point that
' the Soviets now regard themselves as having achieved rough strategic parity with the US.
Continued maintenance of strong ground, air, and missile forces opposite NATO, but with increasing confidence that NATO does not pose an imminent military threat.
Growing concern over the possibility of armed conflict with China,onsequent strength-
ening of military forces along the border aince the mid-sixties .
Development of missile-equipped naval forces increasingly able to counter Western naval forces and to show the flag.
In the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis2 and the failure of Khrushchev's effort to Improve the USSR's.strategic position at one stroke, Soviet leaders saw the buildingignificant doterrent force as their most pressing military requirement. Politically and ideologically hostile to the US, and thinking and behaving as rulersreat power, they recognized that their strategic military forces were conspicuously Inferior to those of thoir most dangerous rival, the US. It was evident to them that their small force of ICBMs, heavy bombers, and missile submarines was being grossly outnumbered by US missile and bomber deployment programs. Their response was toassive effort to redress this growingachieveelation of roughdeploying large, survlv-able strategic attack forces and Improving theirdefenses.
In the decade to follow, the Sovietsramatic improvement in their strategic postureto the US. US deployment programs leveled off in the mid- and late Sixties, and the Soviets began to catch up. The Sovietsarge number of ICUMa In order tothen tonumber of US ICBMs, and also to increase thethat many would survive an initial US attack. They built missile-launching submarines which are highly'aurvivable when deployed, and theyanned bomber force as yet another option.
The way the Soviets have developed, deployed, and operated their strategic forces indicates how they probably view the utility of these forcesi
They have shown by their effort over the last five years or so that tbey are unwilling to remainosition of narked Inferiority, and
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that thay consider their larger policy aims to he prejudiced byosition. They have stated explicitly that they will not accept less than "equal security." Whether they believe that their political goals In the worldreat deal more than that is uncertain.
They consider deterrence the key objective for their strategic forces. The major effort has been on programs which assure tho ability of these forces toS strike and still be able toevastating blow.
They plan for the possibility that deterrence might fall, but they do not contemplatea sudden first strike on the OS, nor do they expect one on themselves. They have not acquired forces with the necessary combination of accuracy, yield, and numbers to be effective in this role, and there is good evidence that they do not maintain their strategic forcestate of constant alert.
Soviet Doctrine for Nuclear Warfare
In an examination of Soviet concepts ofnuclear war, one of the critical questions is how the Soviets envision the start ofar, and another is how they would use their strategic attack' forces in the war.
First Strike. There is good evidence that the Soviets do notudden first strike toorkable strategy. Over the years Soviet party and government officials have consistently maintained that thc USSR would never be thc first touclear attack and that its strategic attack forces would be used only in retaliation. At SALT, Soviet
spokesmen have asserted that the Soviet Union does notirst-strike capability, and they proposed an agreement that neither side would initiate the use of nuclear weapons.
These statements might be discounted were it not for the physical evidence that the Soviets have not deployed counterforce weapons in sufficient numbers toirst-strike strategy feasible. Only one weapon system, theCBH, has an accuracy and warhead yield sufficient to giveigh probability of knocking out US_TCBHs.
arms limitation agreements. Theforce asdeployed is not large enough to be decisive against thc US Minuteman force, evenurprise first strike. The other XCSMs and the submarine-launched ballistic missiles in the Soviet strategic arsenal do not have thc necessary combination ofand yield to be highly effective against hardened targets, andeavy bombers have little chance of catching any of the US attack force on the ground.
At the same time, the Soviets evidently do notudden first strike by the US. Although their propaganda continues to cite the threatS surprise attack, the observed day-to-day readiness postures of their strategic offensive and defensive forces indicate that the Soviets do not, in fact, expect such an attack to occur. None of the Soviet heavy bomber force, for example, is regularly on alert, and these bombers are clustered at five home bases. Similarly, about two-thirds oflass missile submarines are normally in port at just two bases.'* At the ABH complexes around Moscow, onlyof theaunchers are loaded. And at the soft ICBM sites, missiles are seldom observed on the pads. The Soviets would not maintain this kind of low--and highlyposture if they had real fearsurprise attack by the US.
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One prominent line of reasoning in Soviet strategic writings has expressed the expectation that any-major war with the West would be precededuildup in political tensions, allowing tine for Soviet forces to be brought up to appropriate readiness. Hot all military writers have concurred, however, in theof rising tension" thesis. InB an article in the restricted circulation version ofMilitary Thought, the chief theoretical journal of the Soviet General Staff, argued that tho possibility ofurprise attack had increased while detection capabilities had been decreasing. More importantly, the article suggested that rising political tension would, not necessarily precede the initiation of nuclear war. Itfor the purpose of misinformation and deceiving public opinion, the enemy night act to improve relations and, under cover of this maneuver, suddenlyar.
Given either the generally accepted expectation of rising tension or the dissenting viewossible deceptive improvement of relations, the questionwhat strategic options the Soviet leadership has considered regarding the use of their nuclear forces. In this regard, the Soviets have discussed three such options: preemption, launch-on-warning and retaliation.
Preemption. Soviet military writings have fre-quently discussed the possibility of strategic Their descriptions of Western Initiation of nuclear war are often followed by statements calling for the "forestalling* or "frustrating" of such antho other side to the draw. Theof preemption will probably continue to appear in Soviet military writings. Asideirst-strike strategy, preemption offers the mostor leastto use Soviet strategic forces for the traditional military objective of destroying the enemy's means of waging war.
This is not to say that preemption is very high on the scale of likelihood. If Soviete done, any realistic simulations of the outcometrategic nuclear exchange, and there is evidence
that they have, they would almost certainly havethat even after an all-out Soviet preemptive attack the OS could inflict enormous devastation on the Soviet Union. For example, in US simulations it has been found that SLBMs and alert bombers included in US programed forces could alone kill nearlyercent of the total USSR population evenirst strike on the us strategic forces by the most advanced Soviet force.
Although preemption is presented in Soviet military writings as an advantageous strategic option, it fails to address such factors as the US earry warning systems and retaliatory capabilities. The bruntreemptivedesigned toSnecessarily fall on OS ICBM launch sites and bomber bases. Vet, if US early warning systems functioned as intended, the Soviets could not bethat their nuclear warheads would reach US targets before the US couldounterattack.
Given the immense risks involved, the leadership would need to be absolutely certain that the US was about to attack before ordering preemption. It is not known what kind of evidence the Kremlin leadership would think solid enough toreemptive attack. Agent sourcos have reported that the Soviets claim they are confident their intelligence network would provide strategic warningS surprise attack. In view 'of the retaliatory capabilities of the US and USSR, however, it is difficult to envision circumstances under which the political leaders would feelof their opponent's motives and intentions that they would initiate general nuclear warfare.
Launch-on-Warning. Another strategic option that the Soviets apparently have considered is the concept ofis, launching an all-out attack when there is clear evidence that an enemy attack has already begun.
Veiled references to launch-on-warning havein Soviet writings since the early Sixties but have become more specific over time. 0 two Soviet civilian spokesmen, the director of
tho DSA Institute and the deputy director of the Institute of World Economics and Internationalasserted in discussions with members of US research institutes that launch-on-warning is part of Soviet military doctrine. It is difficult,to judge how seriously this option is considered at the top decisionmaking level. oncept with which to confront the US, it may be seen toertain psychological value in reinforcing deterrence.enuine policy, it would present command and control problems.
In, G. A.eading Soviet civilian writer on military af fairsno ted in an unclassified Soviet journal that in launch-on-warning the usual process of decisionmaking would have to be set aside In favor of an automatic,counterattack upon detection of incoming missiles. He went on to warn of tho dangers of an accidental catastrophe which would, as he put it, "turn the gloomiest prophecies of military science fiction into sinister reality."
All the evidence on military decisionmaking in the Kremlin points to the preeminence of the civilian leadership and Its firm control over nuclear weaponry. Furthermore, Soviet statements at SALT and elsewhere have shown that the possibility of accidental nuclear war isource of serious concern for Soviet loaders. It would be out of character for the Soviet leadership to delegate the authority to launch aattack or to accept the unpredictable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch inherent in apolicy.
None of the Soviet statements about eitheror launch-on-warning has come from the upper levels of the civilian leadership. When Brezhnev and his Politburo colleagues talk about Soviet nuclear attack capabilities, it is In the context of what they termis, retaliation.
Retaliation. Retaliation is the oldest declared Soviet strategy and the one most frequently advocated by the top party and government officials. In its
initial form this strategy was apparently based on the assumptionsassive nuclear surprise'attack by the US was the least likely case, that such anmost probably would come about by extremeand that the USSB could control the level of provocation and thus pull outituation that might lead to an attack by US strategic forces.
More recently, while the emphasis onnot changed, the Soviet strategic builduplate Sixties has madehoroughlydoctrine. The current assumptionsthe leadership's view of retaliation have been
fleeted in the*pf ficial soviet position athesc assumptions are that the US and the USSR already "pos- ess joore than enough nuclear weapons to bringorld-wide catastrophe, that the side first subjected to attack would inevitablyetaliatory force capable of annihilating the attacker's homeland, andar between the two superpowers would befor both.
Targeting. There are numerous references over the years to indicate that the primary mission of Soviet strategic attack forces remains the traditional one of destroying the enemy's wanaaking capability. Host of the evidence on Soviet targeting of strategic forces indicates that both counterforce and counter-value targets are incorporated In the planning. The .Soviets have consistently identified the basic targetsof their strategic attack forces as missile launch
sites, nuclear weapons production and storage facilities, other military installations, and military-industrial and administrative centers. The Importance of attacking thc enemy's systems for controlling and supporting strategic forces is also frequently stressed.
Explicit references to the destruction of enemy population, as such, are notably omitted fron Soviet listings off strategic targets. Attacks upon USindustry, as well as political and administrative centers, however, would obviously involve the direct targeting of major American cities and result incivilian fatalities.
The evidence on Soviet deployment of air defenses indicates that similar priorities apparently have been used in deciding what locations to defend. tudy of the SAM deployments reveals that the Sovietsprotection of military installations, military industry, and basic military and civilian administrative control centers, rather than population as such. Some sizable population centers have been left without local SAM defenses.
Command and Control. One question about Soviet targeting that is largely unanswerable at present is the degree of flexibility the Soviets would have In planning andtrike. That some flexibility exists""is indicated by the observed ability toCBMs on different azimuths and to different ranges. There are also clear indications that the Soviets devote considerable effort to the problem ofand coordinating their strategic attack forces and,once they are brought to peak readiness, minimizing the reaction time of those forces.
The Sovietsighly developed communlca-tiona_svstem,
_ cne Soviets couia
ige TrofiTto another is uriknown..of the characteristics of Soviet missile guidance indicates that, with the exception, of theoviet
ICBMs are not adaptable to rapid retargeting. anossibly could be done inoinutes. This ls an estimate, however, and it may take much longer. If so, this would prevent thefrom adjusting tho targeting planarge number of missiles immediately beforetrike. There would be time to retarget the forceeriod of gradually mounting international tensions.
He do not, however, have good evidence regarding the degree totrategic attack could beto fit rapidly changing contingencies, nor the degree to which Soviet choice would be limited toattack* plans. In the midstrisis the 'Civilian loaders-would make theHe do not know how these decisions might be constrained by prior planning and weapons system limitations. Nor do weood feel for the degree totrategic attack could be orchestrated toarticular contingency.
Limited Strategic Nuclear Warfare. Whateverthe Soviets may be building into theirattack forces, there is no indication inthat they accept the feasibility ofnuclear warfare. In their writingson the subject, they have consistentlythe possibility that olthor the US or thebe able to exercise restraint once nuclearbeen employed against its homeland. Despitethe Soviet strategic arsenal couldstrategy of controlled strategic attack, raisingthatontingency may beSoviet targeting and attack _
Concepts for War in Europe
European Theater. During the late Fifties and early Sixties, Soviet military thinking heldar between NATO and the Warsaw Pact wouldescalate to theater-wide nuclear warfare and possiblylobal nuclear war. This doctrine was largely responsive to the Soviet expectation that NATO woulduclear attack against the Soviet Onion at the outseturopean conflict.
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The ground forces and tactical air forces vhich evolved from this doctrine were structured to be- able to conduct theater-wide warfareuclear Nuclear strikes, rather than massed artillery and infantry, were to create gaps in NATO's defenses and destroy its reserves. Large bank forces andrifle formations would move through these gaps and advance rapidly through Western Europe, bypassing or encircling any remaining NATO forces. This scenario continues to characterize the Soviet concept of warfare in Europe, should nuclear weapons be widely employed.
Since the mid-Sixties, however, Soviet doctrine on the escalationuropean conflict has been modified. The earlier position that any war involving the participation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact would escalate directly to theater-wide nuclear war has been altered to alloweriod of conventional conflict preceding nuclear hostilities. Sovietwritings have paid increased attention to the importance of having armed forces equipped and trained for conventional as well as tactical nuclear warfare. This recognition of the possibility of limiting wax in Europe has also .been evident in some Warsaw pact exercises.
Various Pact exercises and classified documents indicate that current Pact planningar in Europe recognizes the possibility of both aor nonnuclear phaseuclear strike phase.
Conventional Phase. The duration of tho conven-tlonal phase, while termeds normally two or three days, but some documents have suggested that it could last uprays. Despite the limited period involved. Pact planners evidently expect the conventional phase to play an important role. This period, according to some classified Pact documents, would be marked by attempts to improve political and strategic positions, including the mobilization of reserves and the reinforcement of troops.
The same documents also stress the importance of using the conventional phase to improve the Pact's
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nuclear position relative to NATO. Pact air forces are slated to be used as the principal means for- an attack by conventional weapons on NATO nuclear forces in order to limit NATO's capability to escalate the conflict to nuclear war. Fire from conventionaland tank formations would be directed against NATO tactical nuclear capabilities.
The Soviets and their allies would almostprefer to see any European conflict remain nonnuclear, and they would probably expect to have the advantage inonflict. They have evidently concluded, however, that-successful conventional oper^ ations on their part would compel NATO to resort to nuclear weapons. onnuclear opening has been introduced into Pact exercises, this period has thus far been treatedemporary phase of an escalating conflict.
Transition. Guided by the belief that NATO will bo forced to introduce nuclear weapons, Warsaw Pact exercise scenarios and Soviet military writingsthe importance of the timing of the initial use of nuclear weapons. The significance assigned to the transition to nuclear warfare is evident in theplaced on battlefield preemption.
One of the main precepts guiding Pact exercises since at leastas.-been the .preemption of NATOthe use of nuclear^
J^Jrnere xa. however. no good evidence regain mg the precise criteria that would be used for determining thathreat existed. Moreover, although .preemption ln the European theater appears to be the preferred option of Pact military planners, political authorisation at the highest level would be necessary to turn the option into an operational strategy.
The Nuclear Strike. Once the nuclear threshold has been crossed. Pact exercises and Soviet military writings emphasize decisiveness in the initial attack and the need for effective coordination.
Exorcises and documents indicate that thc initial nuclear strike wouldaddition to medium -and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, medium bombers, andercent of the tactical nuclear missiles and bombs available to the forces in the forward area. of several documents suggests that Soviet planningactical nuclear warheads and bombs to the ground forces and tactical air forces intended for use against NATO's Central Region. Of these, ould be used In the initial massive strike to supplement thether nuclear strikes planned in the theater. Xt is not clear whether the Soviet plans call for astrategic nuolear strike against targets in the US.
Tho nuclear forces presently available to the Pact doimited capability to wage nuclear warfarecale short of theater-wide nuclear war. These forces include nuclear weapons for air delivery and tactical-range rockets and missiles. They do not include nuclear tube artillery and sub-kilotonnecessary for lower level nuclear conflict.
No evidence available to us Indicates Pactplanning for controlled transitional steps from conventional warfare, through nuclear weapons ofgreaterr yield, to generalwar. For the political leadership, however, a'broader range of options and possibilities is likely to exist than is evident in Pact documents and exercises. Authorization for the scale of fighting to be pursued, the use of nuckear weapons, and the scope of nuclear operations would rest with the political leaders. They could decide, under actual combat conditions, to employ nuclear forcesore carefully controlled manner than indicated in military writings and exercises.
Linkage With Intercontinental War. We do not have good evidence on how tha Soviets view the possibility of an intercontinental nuclear, exchange between the US and the USSR If theater nuclear warfare erupted in Europe. Although Soviet writings on this question often stress the danger and likelihood that war in
Europe would escalate to global nuclear war, the Soviets presumably would want toevel of conflict that could lead to nuclear strikes on their own country, and therefore would want to keep the war limited to Europe. Their willingness to escalate to global nuclear war or toore limitedcould depend largely on what they expected the OS response would be to events in Europe.
The Chinese Theater
There is very little evidence on how the Soviets view the problem of armed conflict with China or what contingency planning they have done. Judgments in this area are based primarily on analysis of Soviet nuclear and conventional forces along the border and on what can be observed about Soviet exercises opposite
China's emerging nuclear attack capability has clearlyactor of growing Importance to Soviet military planners. The Soviets have improved their air defense near the border with China and have expanded the coverage of their ballistic missile early warning system to include the approaches from China.
Strategic Attack Plans. He have virtually no evidence concerning Soviet plans for strategic attack ,against China's interior. The Soviets are likely to have adopted the same combined counterforce andvalue targeting evident in their plans for war against tbe Hest. Presumably some of their medium bombers and ICBMs are targeted against China, but the proportions are unknown.
In recent years. Long Range Aviation units have practiced deployment from the western OSSR toin all border areas. During this same period, however, all MRBM and IRBM sites in the Soviet far east were deactivated. These sites were close to the border and may have been considered too vulnerable. With the growing inventory of ICBMs, the Sovietsfelt less need for these older systems, and
It appears that aboutf theaunchers, which were among the lest to be constructed, could be targeted on China. Whether some Sovietmissile submarines were targeted against China has not been determined. The areas where theseroutinely patrol, however, suggest that they are not.
In tho summerhen Sino-Soviet tensions wereeak, unconfirmed reports alleged that the Soviets wereo-called "surgical strike" against China's nuclear and missile facilities. At oneoviet diplomat asked contacts io Washington what the DS reaction would be toove. Whether this Idea was given seriousor whether the Soviets were trying to puton the Chinese through ominous hints has not been ascertained.
Sinceoviet officials on two different occasions have noted China's developing strategic nuclear capability and have suggested that the possibilitysurgical" first strike against China has been removedoviet policy option. In December the head of the Soviet External Relations Division at the UN notediscussion that the "splendid superiority" necessaryoviet disarming capability against China was rapidly receding if not already out of view. Onublic lecturer in Leningrad stated that China had acquired 'a "second-strike" capability and had eliminated tha threat of "surgical" air or land attacks on itsby relocating them in hardened silos farther from the border.
Tactical Nuclear Capabilities. Soviet forces along the Sino-Soviet border are capable of conducting tactical nuclear warfare against Chinese forces, f theoviet divisions along the border have been identified as having FROG tactical rocket units, and there are three and possibly four brigades equipped witb the Scud tactical missile In addition, the Soviets have deployed longer range Scaleboard and Shaddock mobile missile systems
with their ground forces ih the area. In Soviet exercises near the border, tne participation of_ FROG and Scud units has been detected in scenarios which show the Soviet forces repulsing attacks by tho Chinese on Soviet territory.
Soviet Decisions on Force Goals
Soviet decisions on weapon systems and strategic concepts emergeomplex process of interactions in which many groups and individuals become involved, and final decisions are the result of organizational and personal politics as well as objectiveof strategic needs. Although the political leadership has the final say on those matters itit operates in the presence of other influences. Including competing policy positions, special interest groups, bureaucratic pressures, and technological and economic constraints. Moreover, decisions are worked out year by year on an incremental basis, and the choices that appear appropriate this year may look different next year. Ibe process itself is veiled in secrecy, and evidence is often lacking on the substance and influence of positions taken by key institutions and individuals.
.. So far, wa have been unable to determine precisely what conceptual criteria may govern Soviet force size and composition. It is possible, nevertheless, to circumscribeough way the range of choicesin the light of certain major factors that Soviet planners and policymakers will' have to take into account in planning for the future of their strategic forces.
Strategic Arms Limitation Accords
Soviet strategic planning will be affected not only by the specific provisions of the SAL agreements, but also by the manner in which these agreementsor appear tostrategic, political, andconditions and opportunities confronting the USSR.
The SAX. accords have been publicly hailed in the USSRuccessful Manifestation of the current Soviet policy of detente, and many of the topleaders have identified themselves personally with the accords. Consequently there are incentives to avoid actions which, though not actually violating the agreements, might jeopardize them.
This is not to say that the Soviets would be inhibited trora pursuing any permitted options they considered necessary in order to keep pace with the US. The leadershipersonal and political state in ensuring that the USSR suffers no real or apparent erosion of its relative position, and it will want totrong bargaining position for the follow-on negotiations and to develop new options in the event that future talks break down.
Implications of the ABM Treaty
Soviet agreement to the recent ABM Treaty probablyesire to limit competition In an area where the US had significant technical advantages and promised to lengthen an already commanding lead. The Soviets would believe that, relative to the US, they gave up little and benefited substantially. In other terms, however, the Soviets haveolitical price and may haveignificant new consideration into their force"posture planning.
The Soviets are technically able to deploy an ABM system with substantial capabilities against threats from France, China, and England. This is in part the result of only limited progress in the ballisticmissileof missiles, theof penetration aids and multipleof these countries. By signing the ABM Treaty the USSR has limited the use of active defenses to deter or counter third-country siissile attacks and has chosen to rely primarily on the deterring influenceuperior offensive arsenal. Thishange from traditional Soviet doctrine which hadactive air and 'missile defenses against ail threats.
The ABH Treaty alsoew consideration into Soviet planning for aerospaceeffectiveness of their extensive air defenseis underminedomplementary ABH defense. Classified Soviet literature of the early Sixties shows that the Soviets anticipated the deployment of an ABM system to extend their defenses against all aspects of the aerospace threat. If the ABM Treaty remains in effect over the long term, Soviet air defenses will be susceptible to disruptionrecursor missileonsideration which may affect future air defense system procurement.
It ls tooowever, to determine the exact influence that the ABM Treaty provisions will exert on the scope and pace of future Soviet air defense programs. No new development programs for strategic air defense systems have been detected at test ranges for the past few years. This limits the opportunities for acquiring new weapons and could indicate that the Soviets are changing their traditional views toward active defense.
On the other hand, new air defense weapons may emerge from the extensive, but presently unidentified, RtD activity at Sary Shagan. In addition, thereurrent procurement program for air defense which we estimate will include limited acquisitionfnd theoxbat fighter interceptors. he Moscow ABM system will probably be expanded toaunchers authorized, in the ABM Treaty, and the air defenseis likely to press strongly for construction off theauncher complex permitted by tbe ABM -Treaty to protect ICBMs. Conflicting Soviet statements during the latter sessions ofndicate that construction of the second ABM site hasisputed subject. What the final soviet decision on this site will be remains uncertain.
The OS-USSR Strategic Relationship
onsequence of the SAL accords, and of the opportunities and risks they present, future strategic
programing decisions will probably bo nore directly influenced than in the past by tho Soviet leadership's sense of stability or change in its strategicwith the US.
The Soviet leadership probably has concluded that for the foreseeable future neither the US nor the USSR will be capable oftrategic advantageto ensure success in political confrontation,ictory other then Pyrrhicuclear war.
Soviet writers on military affairs, however, will .probably continue .to assert that the US ls striving to obtain some relative advantage in terms of political-military leverage and actual warfighting capabilities. The US doctrine of strategic sufficiency and emphasis on MIRV programs have been interpreted in some Soviet writings as pointing in this direction. There are also those in the Soviet Union who argue that the US has long been striving for "strategicheir position is articulated in Fir atook published It seeks to document tbe thesis that the US has historically tried toecisive first-strike capability against the USSR and has been frustrated only by the growing capabilities of Soviet forces.
inimum, tho clement of tho Soviet military advocating development and deployment of coun tateapons such as hard target MIRVs will probably seize on reports of US work in this field to press its case in policymaking councils. On the other band, advocates of arms control might cite such reports as demonstrating the need for negotiating limitations on qualitative improvements in strategic weaponry. Xn any case, the prospect of improvedapabilities for the US strategic arsenal is likely to influence Soviet planning.
Attempts to correlate specific Soviet strategic weapon programs with developments in US strategic forces have not produced conclusive results. Soviet strategic force planners have, however, evidently reacted at times to US strategic progams that were only in the planning stages when the key Soviet deci-
sions were Bade. As anikely explanation Cor the development of the multiple-warhead versions of thendCBMs is that they were intended to penetrate the countrywide area defense ABM system which was initially proposed for tho US prior to the decision to concentrate on defense of Minuteman fields.
There is no direct evidence available on how Soviet planners project OS strategic forces for the remainder of the decade. inimum, however, they would certainly assume that the improvements presentlymade public through congressionaland pressbe carried out. Inthe Soviets would probably consider it prudent to allow for the possibility that toward the end of the decade the US will press beyond current force goals.
There is probably no unanimous view in the Kremlin as to bow the strategic relationship should be measured. One senior member of the Soviet SALT delegationthat some Soviet military men still tend to think as though they are counting "rifles and cannons' and pay too little attention to qualitative factors in the strategic equation. At the same time, there is evidence that the Soviets perform sophisticated war-gaming analysis in much the same way as the OS does. Whatever the measures, the Soviets attach great importance toosition ofequality" with tbe OS and having ity the US and other nations.
Chinaactor in Soviet Strategic Planning
Soviet leaders must not only consider how far they may wish to press their own programs lest they provoke countervailing programs in the US, but must also assess tbe present and future threat from China. Their massive deployment of theater forces to the border area over the last several yearseasure of Soviet concern with the Chinese threat. Thishowever, has thus far had little discernible effect upon Soviet strategic forces. page*)
The question of how the Soviets will respond to Chinese strategic developments introduces uncertainties concerning Soviet strategic policy and the future size and disposition of Soviet strategic forces. Por many years to come, however, Soviet strategic planning is likely to be concerned primarily with the OS arsenal, in terms both of the strategic threat it poses and the diplomatic and political leverage it affords.
Hereon turn and Interaction in Research and 0
Soviet military planners must deal with thechoices available to them in terms of the weapons that can be developed and the feasibility of procuring and deploying them. esult of the SAL accords, the main questions about the future of Soviet strategic forces will probably center more than ever on the pace and scope of technological change.
The rapidity of technological advances and their potential for providing new and improved weaponand capabilities haveigorous military research and development effort in both the US and the USSR. Moreover, every important new strategic weapon system is extremely complicated and expensive, andong lead time from its inception to Its eventual operational deployment. The technological contest between the OSSR and the OS is one of invention, .development, testing, deployment, and intelligence, and above all one of anticipation! each side seeks to provide not so much against what its adversary bas at the moment, but against what it mayoears hence. Technological rivalry takesife of Its own, and therm is inescapable pressure to give high priorityigorous development effort.
The very large Soviet effort in research and development will increase the technical options open to the Soviets in the future, which may in turn enable them better to anticipate or to react to developments in US forces. The Soviets are certainly aware that, although they have "caught up" in intercontinental attack delivery vehicles, their forces do not have
the flexibility and capability of the US forces. Nor can the Soviets fully match US manufacturing technology and tha capability to produce complex and sophisticated hardware systems in large volume. Over the next decade they will seek ways not only to counter OS forces, but also to develop new capabilities of their own. The most important of these Improvements are likely to be in the accuracy of missiles, in MIRVs, and in the survivability of land-based ICBMs.
While the number of options open to Sovietwill increase, the full range of technicalopened by research and development is unlikely to be exploited. Some lines of investigation may be pursuededge against possible USbut not carried through to operational deploy-Bent. Moreover, as strategic weapon systems become ever more complicated and costly, the Soviets will be forced to choose from among the moreecessity that will be reinforced by the demands of the economy and other military claimants.
Economic Capabilities and Constraints
One of the broad limitations on future Soviet arms programs is economic* the resources of the OSSR are not unbounded, the civilian economy demands its share, one weapon competes with another forand intercontinental attack forces compete with strategic defense and general purpose forces. No precise limit, however, can be placed on what the Soviets would spend on their strategic forces if they were prepared to make tbe requisite sacrifices in other areas. For the most part, physical capacity does notonstraint- The plant capacity of Soviet industry, existing or under construction, appears to be adequate toubstantialin defense output.
Economic considerations can, nevertheless,uide, ifough one, to the defense burden which the Soviets could or would be willing to assume.
Estimates of defense spending in various categories for the lastears reveal how rapidly the Soviets have expanded priority weapon programs and total defense spending. Past growth rates provide useful yardsticks for putting bounds on the likely pace and magnitude of future weapon programs. The Soviets would probably be unable, for example, to accelerate spending for intercontinental attack much beyond the rate of growth of the past five years withoutother programs.
The desire toew round ofexpenditures, particularly those
might be required to counter the US deployment of new and more advanced systems, was probably one of tho principal elements influencing the Soviets to enter into SALT. Also, the Increasing technical complexity of the military forces, together with the growth of military research and development and space programs, hasapid increase In requirements for highly trained technicians and managers and the most advanced equipment and materials. The Soviets almost certainly hope through arms control to realize some savings in terms of these high-quality physical and humanthat axe needed to modernize the civilian economy and boost Tbe military's first claim on these scarce resources has contributed to the difficulties that the Soviets have experienced in introducing new -technology-into the civilian economy and, to some extent, to the decline In the productivity of new investment.
The perennial problem of resource allocation is likely toajor Issue in deliberations on Soviet--national policy in the next few years. Given the great size of the economy, however, even relatively low growth rates would increase available resources substantially. Although increases in military spending might slow future growth and modernization, the USSR would not likely be obliged, for purely economicto forgo any military programs Its leaders saw as essential.
"How Much Is Enough?'
Soviet:at SALT have often stated that the USSR'sa is toondition of "equal security" for themselves in relation to the OS. Although the concept of equal security ls not capable of precise definition, possession by the Soviets of an assured deterrentthough clearly recognized by thoevidently not "enough" if the deterrent forces stand in marked quantitative Inferiority to those of the US. Similarly, being behind the US in significant qualitative aspects of strategic weaponry, for example, in MIRV technology, ls probably also unacceptable. The Soviets haveat SALT that differences in geography, doctrine, and international commitments have led to certainas the US deployment of forward-based systems and numerical superiority in heavybetween US and Soviet forces. But they have also said that such asymmetries must not be allowed to give eithertrategic advantage.
Even if the Soviets' intention is only to strive toelationship of rough strategic equality with the US, their arms programs are bound to beand demanding. This is in part because of the existing aaymmatries, which may appear to the Soviets to justify, foruantitative advantage for the USSR in ICBMs toondition of "equal .security." In their strategic planning the Soviets 'must not only take account of present US strategic forces, but must anticipate what the US can and may have in the future. In this respect, ongoing US development and deployment programs are probably seen as requirements for vigorous offsetting action by the USSR. .,
This is not to say that unilateral restraint by the OS could halt Soviet arms programs. Slowdown or termination of US programs would, in all likelihood he interpreted by the Soviets as involuntary action, forced upon the OS by internal economic, social, and political factors. easurable degree of superiority if perceived by the Soviets as attainable, might then be judged desirable.
The Soviets would like toargin ofadvantage over the (IS in some form, but we> do not know what particular weapon programs the Soviets would consider most likely to affordseful advantage over the US or how they might assess the risks and costs of such programs in view of possible US reactions. The ultimate objectives and intentions underlying Soviet strategic arms programs will continue toubject of uncertainty,ynamicenvironment characterized by continuingby each side to prevent the other fromeasurable advantage, and in the absence of arms control agreements sufficiently comprehensive to restrain that competition.