Thegreements and Future Soviet Weapons Programs:
A Framework for Analyzing Soviet Decisionmaking
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence2
Thegreements and Future Soviet Weaponsramework for Analyzing Soviet Decisionmaking
During the negotiation and ratification of theide spectrum of attitudes arose about likely Soviet behavior within an arms control environment, centering on the question whether the Soviet Union would adhere to both the terms and the spirit of the agreements.
At one end of the spectrum are those whoow probability to Soviet compliance withagreements, and fear that the Soviets have entered into SALTreconceived plan to gain advantage by secret noncompliance. At the other end of the spectrum are those who assume an intense desire on the part of the Soviet leadership to fulfill not only the terms, but also the spirit, of the About midway between these extremes are those who believe that, although the Soviets will probably refrain from strictly prohibited conduct, they will pursue vigorously every opportunity not specifically limited by thegreements, and will squoeze the maximum out of thoso 'gray areas' of nonlimited activity which represont contentious issues notthrough negotiation.
None of these premises is usefulasis for analyzing Soviet behavior within the confines of an
note: This paper woe produced solely by CTA in the Office of Strategic Research.
arms limitation environment. The first premise ignores the link between SALT and the larger Soviet policy of detente with the West. The second premise, on the other hand, is naive in presuming that the Soviets are motivated more by altruistic concerns than by self-interest. The third premise is more realistic, but does not accountumber of factors, such as bureaucratic pressures, which may come into play when decisions on strategic systems are made.
This working paperonceptual framework for analyzing how Soviet decisionmaking on military policy could be affected by SALT. It distinguishes four types of activity relevant to the SALT I 'grayanctioned,our-zone model to suggest how future decisions on Soviet forces and research and development programs might be made. Hypotheses are then developed on how Soviet behavior could be influenced within this new SALT framework, depending on where in the model decisions are taken.
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The Moscow Agreements
Prohibited and Regulated Activity
The ABM Treaty
The Interim Offensive Agreement
Contentious 'Gray Areas' of Activity
The New SALT Framework: Models and
Zone 2. 'Gray Area' of
Summary of Soviet ICBM Launchers Operational
and Under Construction,2
SALT Framework for Soviet Decisionmaking
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The Moscow Agreements
uridical sense, the twogreements signed in Moscow on2ange of conduct within which Soviet decisions on strategic forces will now be made. This rangemutually agreed on as prohibited orontentious 'gray areas' of activity notlimited,anctioned activities including specific available options.
Prohibited and Regulated Activity The ABM Treaty
The general effects of the ABM treaty have been to establish quantitative and functional symmetry between Soviet and US ABM systems, and to prohibit the deployment of thick, nationwide ABM defenses.
To prevent the emergence of such area defenses, the treaty limits each side to only two ABMareas, eachadiustatute miles) and separated by no less8 miles) . One of these areas is centered on the national capital, while the othor is for the defense of an area containing ICBMs. Within each of those two areas, no moreBM launchors and interceptors can be deployed, and ABM radars will be controlledand qualitatively to prevent their growthase which could be converted to an areain the event the treaty is abrogated. have also been placed on the power-aperture product of certain other large phased-array radars (OLPARs) to restrict their use in an ABM role.
The ABM treaty also places certain constraints on ABM research and development activityimitation on the number of test range launchers and prohibitions on SAM upgrading and on the development of ABM interceptors which are sea-based, air-based, space-based, or land-mobile or which employ more than one independently guided warhead.
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Summary of Soviet ICBM Launchers Operational and Under2
Launchers under construction
fatal hard SS-7
SS-lls at Dcrazhnya and Pervomaysk
ach with 2
adjacentites, oach with 2
ites, each with
3 adjacentites, each with
3 adjacent silos
Dispersed, hardened silos
roups, each withilos
6 groups, each withilos
type silos At Derazhnya and
5groups, each with 5
Total ICBM launchers, operational and undor
* Thirteen of theoft eiteo areeduced atate of readinaea, andf theaeitesfacilities ere being dismantled.
The Interim Offensive Agreement
The five-year interim agreement limiting strategic offensive weapons freezes further expansion in theof ICBM launchers and places ceilings on theof nuclear ballistic missile submarines and SLBM launchers. The replacement provisions in the agreement's protocol may eventually result in reductions in the Sovietndorce.
ICBMs. Under the provisions of the freeze, the Soviet ICBM force is limited to the number of ICBM launchers operational or under construction as The Soviet ICBM force currentlyeployed launchers, ofre presently operational. (See table at left.)
Within this inventory, qualitative improvements are allowed through the modernization of launch facilities and replacement of obsolescent systems, with theprovisos:
Under Article II, the parties have agreed not to convert land-based launchers for "light" ICBMsissile about the size of ther for ICBMs of older types deployed prior4 <SS-7s, SS-8s, and Titans) into land-based launchers for "heavy" ICBMs of types deployed4 (ther its equivalent).
Any increases in silo dimensions which occur in the process of modernization may not exceedoercent of the silo's original dimensions.
SLBMs. The protocol to the interim agreementaseline* of Soviet ballistic missile submarines
* The baseline agreed toaunch tubes, which includesLBMs onlass Submarines andLBMslass submarines. Thus, when the nuclear-powered submarine containing the st launch tube begins sea trials, the Soviets must start to dismantle or destroy an equivalent number of older ICBM or SLBM launchers. This point could be reached as early as the first half (This projection assumes that the SO SLBM launchers on thelass remain operational, that alllass units started will be the IB-launcher lengthened variant, that eachlass will be under construction about two years before beginning sea trials, and that the construction program continues uninterrupted ai it3 recent average of sevenlaas submarines per year.
and launch tubes. It also permits the Soviets to continue producing and deploying modern ballistic missile submarines beyond this baseline and upeiling of niteLBM launchers. withst launcher on these submarines, the protocol requires that the Soviets dismantle or destroy an equivalent number ofndaunchers, SLBM launchers on thelassor modern SLBM launcherslass submarines Destruction or dismantling must have begun by the tine the new submarine begins its sea trials.
The older,lass submarines are not affected by the agreement. The launchers carried by those units are also outside the agreement unless they are modernized (that is, equipped to carry thehe SS-NX-8 ew long-range naval missile) Should launchers for any modern SLBMs be installedlass units, they would be counted withineiling and, if abovoaseline, must beby corresponding reductions in older ICBM or SLBM launchers.
Contentious 'Gray Areas' of Activity
Whereas the SALT agreements have been directedeasonably well understood range of prohibited conduct, no agreement was reached on mobile ICBMs or definitions of "light" and "heavy* missiles. Although outside the scope of the direct controls established by the accords, these are contentious questions whichotential risk to the viability of the.
Mobile ICBMs. The Sovietsosition against includTng mobile ICBMs in the offensive agreement, ostensibly because of its limited duration. The US agreed to defer the question of limiting operational land-mobileaunchers until the subsequenton more complete offensive limitations, but the delegation stated unilaterally on 2 that the US "would consider the deployment of operational land-mobile ICBM launchers during the period of the interim
agreement as inconsistent with the objectives of that agreement." The motives behind Sovieton this issue are unclear. At the Moscow summit meeting, Brezhnev said that the USSR would not "build" mobile ICBMs, but he may have been referring only to tho deployment of such systems.
Volumetric Constraints. Another issue notwas the definition of "heavy" missiles. the Soviets have agreed not to convert "light" ICBMs into "heavy" ICBMs in the process ofthey have refused to acknowledge anyfor light and heavy missiles, insisting that national means of verification are adequate to differentiate between them. There is an informal understandingeavy missile equates to the size of an0 cubic meters)ightapproximates the size of an SS-11oubic meters). The problem arises in the area between these two limits: at what point does an ICBM cease to be light and become heavy?
nilateral statement made the day the agreements were signed in Moscow, the USwent on record as considering "any ICBMolume significantly greater than that of the largest light ICBMperation on either side toeavy ICBM" (emphasisiven the agreed understanding of significant in silo dimensions to be any exceeding oercont, the above statement implies that the US would consider any Soviet missilesolumeercent greater than theo be in the heavy category.
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Apart from tho strict limitations on certainof offensive and defensive deployments, the SALT agreements have prosontcd Soviet plannersumber of explicit options they can exercise, among which are:
deploying an ABM system in defense of an area containing ICBMs
trading in older ICBM and SLBM launchers for modern SLBM launchers once the established baseline is exceeded
lass submarines and counting them withinLBM ceiling.
If exercised, some of these options, however, would require tradeoffs between weapon systems.
Thegreements allow for ongoing programs in all major elements of Soviet strategic offensive and defensive forces. On the offensive side,is made for modernizing the ICBM forces of the SRF, construction can continu^on ballisticsubmarines of the Navy within the established ceiling, and no restrictions were placed on strategic bomber developments in Long Range Aviation. of the Soviet ABM system, within limits, is also allowed.
Recent evidenca | J
| indicates that the Soviets are in factumber of qualitative improvements to their ICBM force. These improvements include the identified testing of new or highly modified ICBM systems and an ICBM ailo-hardening program for increased survivability.
indicated that the Soviets had one or perhaps
two missiles under development as replacements for thend suggested that the work on them was further advanced than mere design.
One of the replacementis the MRV variant of os-ix jj
which has probably completed its flight test program and could be ready for operational service. The other system could be in its flight tost stage at Tyuratam where it appears that two, or possibly three, new liquid-propellant missile systems are under These systems probably are being developed for the new more survivable silos which employconstruction techniques. One (possibly two) of these missiles is about the size of thehile the otherarger missile in thelass. The launch phase tests of these missiles have already taken place, and downrange flight testing of the smaller missile may have begun as well.
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SALT Framework for Soviet Decisionmaking
Riin-.miactors Influencing Decisions
area activity Sanctioned activity- NoMfmitcd activity'-
Systems/ orograms afioctod:
Nor*o'ooYcates rt-iime degree o/ influence
Mint io-ii cia
Factors Influencing Decisions
* Direct control ol weapons decisions bv political leadership
of research andby political leadership
The New SALT Framework: Models and Hypotheses
The range of conduct defined by the SALTcan be conceptualizedontinuum comprising four decisional zones, each of which relates toweapon systems and issues discussed at the negotiations. (See diagram at left.)
According to this conceptual scheme:
-- Moving from tho high risk zone of prohibited conduct toward theend of the continuum, the impact that decisions will have on the viability of the agreements is reduced.
Factors affecting the decisionmaking process will vary from zone to zone.
The effects of the four zones on Soviet behavior and decisionmaking are detailed in the following sections.
The zone of restricted activity is defined by the formal prohibitions and regulations which thegreements have placed on the further growth of Soviet ADM, ICBM, and SLBM programs. iolation in this zone wouldoviet intent not to comply with the terms of the agreements, implying that they had decided to abrogate. Such activity would include;
Soviet ICBM silo starts
increase in the Soviet heavy missile force by emplacement ofr missiles of similar volume into modernizedrilos
roduction and deployment of modern ballistic missile submarines beyond tho ceiling ofnits
/ 3 -
ransfer of ABM components to an Rast European nation
with national technical means of verification.
The greatest infusion of political influence into the Soviet defense planning process will occur in this zone, primarily because thegreements, which are an Important element of the Soviet Union's policy of detente toward the West, have enhanced the integration of military and foreign policy. proposals for military programs directly violating the terms of the SALT agreements will be strongly inhibited and decisions to pursue them would be made at the highest level of politicalthe Politburo.*
In this connection, it is likely that, through the process of negotiation and ratification, powerful pressures for compliance will have been gonorated within the Soviet governmental, party, and military bureaucracies by the time tho agreements havo entered into force.
These pressures wouldroad consensus in support of the agreements, developed throughand concessions. Soviet efforts at consensus building wore reflected in tho composition of the Soviet dolegation, which uppoared to giveat the negotiations to those interests directly
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affected by the outcome of SALT. This consensus, however, was not easily arrived at and probably was based, at least in part, on assurances given toelements that SALT would not resultecline in the Soviet strategic position.
Compliance will bo roinforced by the political commitment of the Soviet leadership to the success of the accords. This would be particularly true in the case of Party General Secretary Brezhnev, who has publicly beon identified with SALT. These men willtrong incontivo to enforce strictwith the terms ot the agreements, especially in the early stages when precedence and practice are being established.
Available evidence on whether or not the Soviets will strictly comply withgreements is scanty and somewhat contradictory. ecent'development,
J leaving tne bOVlOtfl Withompleted
launchers--the number thoy are permitted by the ABH treaty.
A decision by the Soviet government to violate or abrogate the agreements, however, would probably be preceded by lengthy ond difficult negotiations toew consensus among interestedgroups. Moreover, this decision would beprincipally by political considerations rather than technical or military ones and most likely would resultar-reaching realignment of Sovietpolicy.
At lower levels of the bureaucracy, the constraints imposed by the agreements have assumed the force of lawouncil of Ministers directive in2 ordering all affected Soviet agencies to comply with them. This, in turn, maysychology of inaction which would inhibit any overt behaviorthe viability of the agreements.
Zone 2. 'Gray Area' of Activity
The 'gray area' includes activity which, although not specifically limited by the agreements, represents contentious issues not yet resolved through negotiation. Should the Soviets engage in these activities, it would not necessarily imply their intent to abrogate, but would represent behavior not consistent with the spirit of the agreements and presenting some potential risk to their viability.
The initiation by the Sovietsarge-scale development and deployment program for mobile ICBMs, although technically not barred by the interim agreement, would carry withigh risk that the SALT agreements would collapse. Similarly, the developmentissile significantly larger in volume than theould involve the same kind of risk.
Because of the vested interest of the political loadership in tho success of the agreements, it can be expected to impose tighter political control over the management of Soviet military research andon new strategic weapon systems. This would ensure that decisions on weapons programs that might be potentially sensitive because of the agreements are approved and monitored at high levels of politicalthe Defense Council or perhaps thethan handled as matters of organizational routine.
The foundation for increased political control ofanagement may have been laid in0 when Colonel General N. N. Alekseyev was identifiedeputy minister of defense. Until hisAlekseyev was believed to be the second-ranking officer in the Scientific and Technical Committee of the Generalody concerned with weapons research. Although his exact responsibilitieseputy defense minister are not known, his extensive background in weap-
uggests that his present positionheld in the early Sixties by Colonelwho was Deputy Minister of DefenseTechnology and believed to be the topof. This positionnd its responsibilities werethe General
The elevation of Alekseyev to the deputy minister level may have reflocted the importance the Soviets attach ton an arms controlto provide hedgesossible breakdown of thealso their recognition that certain weapons programs could be potentially sensitive because of SALT.
The prerogatives of the political leadership in defense program planning may be somewhat circumscribed by the bargains, concessions, and understandings that were struck with various groups during the negotiating and ratification process. The Soviet refusal to include mobile ICBMs in the interim agreement, for example, may have been determined to some extent by the Strategic Rocket Forces, which have an institutional interest and investment in the development of such mobile systems as thend During the period of SALT negotiations the SRF probably lobbied to protect this position.
The political leadership, in turn, may have deemed it necessary to hold open the option to develop mobile ICBMs in order to ensure the military's support for the SALT agreements. If so, the overall consensus for the agreementsrice. While the leadership might feel it politically prudent to prohibit all work on mobile systems to avoid providing the US with any incentives to abrogate, it would probably be under pressure from various groups in the military to authorize some developmental work on mobiles.
This may account for recent activity at Plesetsk.
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sites being readied foror Trew-cesx-program. If siteas, inlaunch point for these tests, its pastwith the
bility tnat tne Soviets are continuing to experiment with the mobile ICBM concept.
While the SALT agreements strictly limitand defensive deployments, they also provide Soviet plannersumber of options they can exercise. Decisions on these options will be less sensitive politically than those involving 'gray area' activity or prohibited conduct. Therefore, group interests will weigh more heavily in theprocess and, in this connection, inter-service competition over the apportionment offorces allowed under the agreements could be expected to come into play. This competition would probably center about the ICBM/SLBM replacement provisions.
If the Soviets were to opt forLBMs allowed by the protocol to the interim agreement, as manyand-based ICBMs might be dismantled ormore than the total force of olderndissiles. Of thesere located at vulnerable abovegroundrade for additional SLBMs attractive from theof survivability. This estimate assumes,that the Soviets choose their force posture on the basis of value-maximizing decisions, and ignores such other variables as service rivalries.
Recent studies* have indicated that interservice rivalry is an important component of the Soviet mili-
* See particularly The Formation of the SovietRockettudy of Interservice Rivalries, SR-IR2 (fop Secret
ome of these sites are being dismantled. Seeon page 6.
tary policymaking process. Given the replacement provisions in the protocol, the Soviet Navy and SRF can be expected to compete vigorously with one another to have the eventual force mix resolved in its own favor. In this situation, the General Staff would probably be called upon to provide its recommendations, and these are likely to be based on factors such as cost-effectiveness, relative vulnerabilities, command and control implications, and strategic requirements. It is possible, however, that the resultant force structure will be asunction of theinfluence of the affected services as it is the result of decisionmaking based on objective
Another option whichotential for rivalry between competing interests involves the second ABM site allowed the Soviets for the protection of ICBMs. Although tho Soviet leadership attempted to convey the impression at the Moscow summit that it would pursue thoso programs not specifically limited by thegreements, the evidence from therecord on this issue is contradictory and suggests that the Soviets may have been undecided whether to develop and deploy an ABM system in defense of ICBMs.
The existenceobby in favor of ICBM silo defense was suggested r
inu jinn treaty may how provide persuasive argumenta-tion and legal justification for these interests. Although it is not known for certain what arguments these interests would advance for developing and deployingystem, they probably would include some or all of the following:
Deployment of an ABM system to defend
ICBM silos would,inimum, preserve the image of aquality established by the ABM agreement, especially since the US had insisted on such defenses for itself.
It would present an opportunity to expand Soviot ABM technology by exper-
imentingew system concept and gaining operational experience in the field.
New options would be developed for use in case the agreements break down.
development tnere atay eventually be intended forole. The system presently lacks hardened facilities and high acceleration
missiles for terminal intercepts, but its projected launcher-radarorrelates well with the launcher and radar restrictions for ICBM defense in Article III of the ABM0adars comparable to those being constructed at the Grand Forks Safeguard site, andmaller radars).
On the other hand, evidence indicates that the Soviets were interested in defer-ring their second ABM site providing the US agreed to defer ABM deployment around Washington.
" The US aonaept of hard site defense involves the defense of an area containing hardened facilities, such as ICBM silos, by an ABM system incorporating hardened radarc and high-acceleration Sprint missiles which accomplish their intercepts at low altitudes.
Soviet activity may come to be concentrated in this area, with an emphasis on qualitative lanning for their forthcoming strategic weaponry, the Soviets will have strong incentives to keep pace with US technology andMTPVonly to avoid dotorioration in their relative strategic position, but also totrong bargaining position for the second phase of the SALT negotiations.
These incentives, however, may be diminished by the prospects for comprehensive arms control agreements growing out of SALT which, together with the policy of detente andh Party Congress resolution toubstantial upswing in the people's material and cultural livingrobably havethe position of such interests as the economic managers who have long been arguingedirection of resources in favor of the consumer.
Whether SALT willeasurable impact on the Soviet economy is not yet clear. inimum, the Soviets may plan to achieve some increases inby redirecting technical resources into the
The foregoing model and hypotheses suggest that thegreements will influence Soviet defense planning by affecting the internal environment within which decisions on military policy and programs are made. This environment includes pressures forwhich have been generated within the Soviet governmental, political, and military bureaucracies. The decisionmaking process is viewed as aone in which factors affecting the outcomes of decisions will vary according to what weaponand programs are involved.
According to this approach, certain decisions, because of their impact on the viability of thegreements, will be strictly controlled and monitored by the political leadership. Such decisions would include activities and programs directly violating the terms of the ABM treaty and interim agreement. Therefore, because of SALT, the political leadership may find itself involvedreater degree in the details of military planning than previously was the case.
Other decisions involving less sensitive areas, such as specifically sanctioned activity and nonlimited activity, probably will be more affected by group interests and bargaining. If this is the case, Soviet decisions with regard to sanctioned and nonlimited activity would be less predictable than decisions to engage in prohibited or 'gray area' activity.
Ml /RETOriginal document.