Created: 4/28/1972

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Trends in Military

Trends in Military

Trends in Military


Intercontinental Attack

ICBM Force Developments

Missile Submarines


Expenditures for Strategic Attack

Strategic Defense

Air Defense Improvements

ABM Developments

Expen< tures for Strategic Defense

Soviet Strategic Concepts and Perceptions .

Soviet Motives at


Forcas Opposite

Forces Opposite China



Antisubmarine Warfare

Out-of-Area Operations

Expenditures for General Purpose 15


Table 1: Soviet Intercontinental Attack2 Current US Intercontinental Attack Forces


Table 2: Soviet Strategic Defenseurrent US strategic Defense Forces

Table 3: Soviet Honeral Purpose Naval7 Current US General Purpose Naval Forces

Tabic 4: USSR and US Military Manpower






SYrs (SI

RAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligenco




The objectives underlying Soviet military policies cmi be described today in much the same wayecade ago: preserving the security of tho h .eland; maintaining hegemony over Eastern Europe; and fostering an image of strength in supporttrong foreign policy aimed atSoviet influence.

The military policies that support thesehowever, have shifted markedly. Thepolicies of Khrushchev, who downgraded the importance of conventional forces and tried totrategic nuclear deterrent cheaply, gave way in the- mid-Sixties to more functionalof military power underd Kosygin. Soviet military policy was also influenced by fundanisntal changes in the way the USSR viewed its ownin relation to the other majorof the world, by its estimate of the external threat, and by the impact of new technology on Sovieton the capabilities ofenemies.

> Military Policies

In broadest outline, the major trends inmilitary policies over the past decade have been these:

Hue neiorc.ndun nas prepared fci/ the Offioe of strategic Research and coordinated within CIA.

Expansion and improvement of stratogicand defensive forceso point that the Soviets now regard themselves as having achieved rough strategic parity with the US.

Continued maintenance of strong ground, air, and misnile 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,onsequentof military forces along the border since the mid-Sixties.

Development of missile-equipped naval forces increasingly able to operate in distant areas, both to counter Western naval forces and to show the flag.

Trends in Military Sponding

These policies ledradual increase inspending. Total Soviet oxpenditurec for mLlitary purposes grew from an estimatedillionillion dollars)3 to aboutillion rublesillion dollars) ncrease of aboutercent.* The graph opposite shows the trend in Soviel military spending and conpares it to US expenditures over tho years.

The year-to-year changes in Soviet militaryhave been shaped mainly by the Soviet drive to catch up with the US in strategic arms. Much of the rapid growth6rom increases in outlays for strategicand defenre programs, and particularly for military research and development. ecline in strategic atLackeveling

*"lhe rvlTa figaren are estimates of what the USSR pays for its military foroee and programs. The dollar figures are estimates of what the Soviet forces and programs would cost if purchased and operated in the US.


in ICBMprimarily responsible for the low growth rate ofercentoviet defense expenditures2 are expected to reach5 billionercent more than

he most dynamic element in Soviet defense spending has bee. military research and It has climbed sharply andor overarcent of the total dollaration of the Soviet defense effort. Historically the us has outspont the Soviets in this area, but9 this relationship has been reversedesultcontinued growth of the Soviet effort while us spending oneclined. (See Graph)

Trends in Military Manpower

Soviet military manpower lias increasedovert decade, movingotal ofillion2 toillion this year. The increase resulted largely from the growth of ground forces to reinforce the border opposite China, and from the expansion of strategic forces.

US military manpower ha.arkedlytrend and is nowiilion nen below the Soviet total. Manpower for strategic forces has declinedhile general purpose forces peaked during the height of the Vietnam War and then f tho Annex compares US and Soviet military manpower trends.)


In the of the Cuban missile crisis and the failure of Khrushchev's effort to improve the USSR's strategic position at one stroke, Soviet leaders saw the ba ldingignificant deterrent force as Lhoir most pressing military requirement. It was to them that their small force of ICBMs, heavynd missile submarines was being grossly outnumbered by US missile and bomber deployment programs, and that their strategicwere becoming outmoded. Their response was


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toassive effort to redress this growing imbalance by deploying large, survivable strategic attack forces and improving their strategic defenses.

Intcrcontinental. Attack Forces

At thehe Soviet intercontinental attack forces was composed ofeavy bombers,oftaunchers, and lessundred short-rangeaunched ballistic missiles. The only expansion under way was in the ICBM force, and that war, moving slowly. The US, in contrast,omber fleet of,tlas and Titan ICS*is,olaris missile submarines carryingissiles each. Moreover, the Minute-man ICEM was on the verge of large-scale deployment, and Polaris subraarin production was continuing.

Several new Soviet weapons systems were already in research and jvelopment at that time, and tlie decision wasmbarkustained high-priority deployment effort centering on three of then1.: the large, high-yieldCliM; the relatively smellCBM; andlass ballistic missile submarine. Bc-iabers were retained as part of the fore; mix, but there was to be no effort to watch the US bo:tbar fleet numerically.

In tho decode to follow, the Sovietsramatic improvement in their strategic postureto th> US. US deployment programs leveled off in the raid and late Sixties, and thegan to catch up. Tiio graphs opposite illustrate this trend for the ICliM am* missile submarine forces.

ICBM Foreg_Pevelopmer'%. By the endhe Sc^.Tets""hau readied victual parity with the US in numbers of operational ICBMs, most of them now in hardened silos, and by the time SALT began in9 they were moving well ahead. In the fallhereajor switch in the ICBM d: ploymcnt program. Construction of additional standard silos was abruptly halted,ew groups of silos were even abandoned before they were finished. Inster.d, the Soviets introduced two new types of silos designed

Exp end it tiros for stra'--igic Attack. In dollar terms" tFio Soviets have spent about theount on intercontinental attack forces ineriod as the United Steves. The Soviets, however, have olsoubstantial effort onattack forces which have no exact counterpart in tho US, and whenxpenditures arc included overall Soviet expenditures on strategic attack foreriod were about one-third more. Since US spending for intercontinental attack forces peakedhllu Soviet spending did not reach Its peakhese comparisons understate the long-term US effort to srxze extent. (The graphic oppositehews the trends in US and Soviet expenditures for strategic attack.)

Strategic Defense

Defense of the hor land from strategic attack has historicallyigh priority in Sovietplanning,uch higher sharo ofthan do strategic defenses in tha US budget.VO Strany, the Soviet strategic defense organization, could aire*. oast that it wnsthe largost airce organization in the world, havingAM launchersircraft. Moreover, construe :ion had begun or. UN defenses around Moscow.

But the massive Soviet investments in missiles, aircraft, and radars were being undermined byUS offensive capabilities. New US weapons andpenetration of bombers carrying long-range standoff weapons, and penetration aids and MIRVs on ballisticproblems not 8'itiftfaclori'solved to this day. The story of PVO Strany during tho past decade is oneigorous butffort to upgrade its forces to counter the fact-p. cod changes, in the US offense.

Air Dpfonre Improvements. Unlike the US, tho Soviets" have ad<Teu steadily to their air-defonse weaponry in recent years, hey havefive new types! of fig! iter-interceptor a, and production is continuing on two of them. The avr-defenso missile force has also continued to expand

and improve. Deployment programs are still infor the long-rangeystem and the SA-3designed for low-altitude defense. New radars, communications systems, and hardened controlhave also been added. These improvements have plugged manyn Soviet air defenses, but they have not closed off tlv; threat of low-altitudeby attaching bombers.

vplopntents. The decision to beginABiTs around Moscow2 gave the Soviets an early start, but it saddled then;ystem based on technology that was soon to be overtaken bynnovations. The dish-type radar used for target tracking, for example, is capable of engagingew target:ime. The Soviets apparently soon recognized that the system could be overcome by multiple warheads and penetration aids, and47 they abandoned half of the ABM sites begun around Moscow.

he Soviets began experimenting with new types of ABM radars capable of handling manysimultaneously,ear later, work startedrototypeompletely new ABM system using this kind of radar. The new system is cheaper than the cumbersome Moscow system and could be deployed in much shorter time (construction of the sites at Moscow tookears) . The range of this system appears to be considerably less than that of the Moscow system, and it could be used for local defense of key target areas or possibly ICfeM fields. Meanwhile, new ABM missiles have been undergoing tests since

So far, none of the new ABM equiprr.ent has been put into operational use. Satellite photography has not revealed any evidence of operational ABMin the Soviet union beyond the Moscow are< .

Expenditures forefense. Sovietoperating their strategic defenr;s, as valued in dollars, have been nearly three times those of the US during the past decade. (The graph opposite shows the trends for bothhis difference is accounted for largely by the USSR's larger commitment to airreflection of the fact that there confronteduch


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bomber threat than is the US. The totalof the two countries on deployment of ABM sy; terns have been about sane. In the ADM field, of course, expenditures on RftD in both countries have greatly exceeded the deployment and operatingincurred so far, but it has not been poasiblo to make meaningful comparisons of ABM R. 'o spending.

Soviet Strategic Concepts and Perceptions

The way the Soviets have developed, deployed, and operated their strategic forces says several things about how they view the utility of these forces:

They consider those forces primarilyeterrent. The major effort has been on programs which assure tho ability of these forces toS strike and still be able toevastating blow.

They nevertheless plan for the possibility that deterrence might fail. They give high priority to strategic defenses, and they apparently target their strategic attack forcos primarilymilitary-related installations rather than population and industry per se. In their doctrine, the preferred use of strategic attack forces is tois, to launch an all-out strike against the enemy's forces when the enemy clearly is about to launch his own attack. launeh-on-warning" strategy has also been advocnted by some Sov twriters, but others have warne- of tho risks involved.

They do not contemplateudden, bolt-from-the-blue, first strike on the US, nor do they expect one on themselves. They hove not acquired forces with the necessary combination ofeld, and numbers to be effective in thia role, and there is abundant evidence that they do not maintain their strategic forcestate of constant alert. (One of the enduring tenets of their

doctrine is that any general war would beby an extended buildup of tensions that would allow time for preparation-)

Soviet strategic doctrine also appears to reject the feasibility of graduated nuclear warfare.. In their writings and statements on the subject; Soviet stiategistr. ate consistently skeptical that it isfor two nuclear powers to exercise restraint once nuclear weapons have been en-ployed.

The Soviet leadership has probably concluded that for the foreseeable future neither the US nor the USSR will be capable oftrategic superiority sufficient to ensure success in confrontationictory otheryrrhic oneuclear war. Nevertheless, there are those inho believe that the US is striving to obtain some relativein terms of political-military leverage and actual warfigiitlng capabilities. The US doctrine of "strategic sufficiency" and emphasis on MIRV programs have been interpreted in some Soviet quarters asin this direction. There are also voices calling for the USSR to striveeasure of advantage.

s probably no unanimous view in the Kremlin,n to how the strategic relationship should be measured. One senior member of the Soviet SALT delegation complained that someilitary men still tend to think as though they are counting "rifles and cannons" and pay too little attention tofactors in looking at the strategic equation. At tlie same time, there: is evidence that the Sovietssophisticated war-gaming analysis in much the same way as the US does. Whatever the me- lures, it is clear that the Soviets attach, great importance toosition oi- "strategic equality" with the US and having it recognized by the US and other nations.

SovietuMotives at SALT

The Soviet decision to enteras induced not only by the evolutionougharity between the two opposing strategic



arsenals, but alsoumber of interrelatedand political considerations. As SALT has progressed over theven rounds, Sovietin an arms limitation agreement has come into sharper focus.

One of Moscow's primary interests has been to stabilize tiie US-Soviet strategic relationship and to gain US recognition of the principle of "equal security with no military advantage for eitherlthough the strategic forcas of the two sides are asymmetrical, tho Soviets apparently believe them to be comparable in terms of overall capabilities, and undoubtedly appreciate that this acknowledgement at SALT would buttress their claimole in world affairs equivalent to that of the United States.

Moscow's decision to enter SALT aiso reflected its de;,ire to limit certain aspects of US-Soviet competition through negotiation. The negotiating record has indicated, however, that the Soviets did not enterwith the intent of ending strategic competition between the two countries. Rather, they have attempted to narrow the focus of this competition and limit it chiefly to thearea of research and development. They have also insisted that force modern!ration be allowed to continue, at least under the terms of an reer.ient.

In spite of the Soviet buildup in strategic forces tv.-orecide the share of GNPto defense fell toercenthis declining military burden indicates that purely economic considerations have not forced the Soviets toALT agreement. The Soviets nay, hope to realize some savings in terms of high-quality physical and humanthat are needed to modernize the civilian economy and boost productivity.


The structure and posture of Soviet and Warsawheater forces at the tine of2 Cuban

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crisis reflected Soviet docr.rine which had evolved in the late Fifties and early sixties. This doctrine was based on the belief that any war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact would immediately escalate to nuclear war.

in the Pact strategy for nuclear war in Europe, the mission of the ground forces was to exploitnuclear strikes delivered the depth of the theater by advancing rapidly across Western Europe- Ground and tactical air forces were equipped to provide greater mobility and concentrared, short term combat power. The ground forces were entirely mechanized and provided with massive numbers of tanks. The numbertactical aircraft was reduced, and equipment modernization programs emphasized airand tactical nuclear delivery capabilities. This focus on nuclear warfare resultedecline in conventional firepower.

he Soviet view of war in Europe hadignificant change.In response to the NATO flexible response strategy, Pact planners have corns to believe that the initial periodar willi NATO could be fought without the use of nucar weapons. They still cling to the view that anNATOarsaw Pact counteroffensive--wOuld compel KftTOrt to tactical nuclear weapons. The Soviets see the con venthase, therefore, asrelude to nuclear war. The Sovietsmoreover, that NATO does not intend toa Enroi-ean conflict to the use of tactical nuclear weapons only andimited nuclear response on the part of the Pact would onlythe West the opportunity toassive and decisive strategic nuclear strike.

Soviet acceptanceossible nonnuciear phase of hostilities has led to somen force structure. Division artillery, loras been *nc revised by aboutercentact tactical aircraft, however, continue to be characterized by relatively snail payloa<is, da-spite some improvements in current Soviet fighters.

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Shaddock mobile* missile systems with ground forces in the area. Ultimately the Soviet forces along the border will probably have about the same proportion of tactical nuclear weapons as the forces opposite NATO.

Some Soviet strategic missiles and bombers are almost certainly tsrgeted against China also.

Naval Tor

Tho requirement for anticarrier forces was the major influence on the development of the Soviet general purpose naval forces from thethrough the mid-Sixties. Subsequently tho emphasis broadened to include improvement of antisubmarine capabilities and expansion of out-of-arc-a.

Anticarrier Forces. The Soviets decided to counter Western carrier forces primarily with anti-ship cruisorather than building their own carriers. 2 the Soviet Navy alreadyargo force of nissile-armed medium bombers and had be>jun deploying cruiso missile submarines. During the early and mid-Sixties the cruisemarine forcebuilt up rapidly, and tho naval air forces received new tyj.os of missiles and Long-range cruise miss lealso were fittedumber of new majorombatants.

During the lant half of theLies" the Sovietsariety of new systems with improved ASW capabilities, while continuing to strengthen the anticarrier forces as well. The new weapons systems includedcarriers, long-range ASW aircraft, and twe new classes of nuclear-powered submarines.

Despite these efforts, the Soviet Navy has made little progress in ASW. It has not solved the probleminitial detection of submarines, either through uco of ASW forces or by an ocean surveillance system. esult, current Soviet ASW forces do noterious threat to the US ballistic Diissilc submarine forco. Furthermore, this name deficiency leaves Soviet naval surface forces vulnerable to Western attack submarines.



Out-of-Area Operations. Concurrently with tho ASW programs, tho Soviet Uavyajorto operate its forces in distant waters. In the early Sixties the Navy rarely ventured outside its coastal waters, even during major exercises. As lateoviet surface combatants, attacknd naval auxiliaries spent onlyhi -days on out-of-area operations. During the last halt of tho Sixties, however, Soviet naval operations expanded rapidly. The graph opposite shows this tro;tdompares it with US naval

eriod olao saw an expansion of SovietcUvlty into new operating areas. The Soviet Mediterranean Squadron, for example, was ( rat established4 and grew intoe Soviet navalresence in the Indian OceanS,eries of deployments to the Caribbeanndan what hasmallpresence off of Wcct Africa.

Naval air operations have expanded also. ir forces received newaircraft ando conduct long-rangeover the open ocean. Inoviet naval air squadron wasn Egypt, and0

naval reconnaissance aircraft began to make brief visits to Cuba.

Shipbuilding. Duringeriod, the Soviets iSuii't more major naval ships than the US, but their ships wars generally smaller. In contrast to UShe Soviets havereference for relatively small multi-purpose ships, withmphasis on speed and firepower at thet ranurj, endurance, and sustained combat capability The only major area in which they have surpassed the US is In numbers of attack submarines, as shown in tho following table:


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Number and Tonnage


Surface Combatants


Amphibious Ships


The Soviet Navy does notajor mission of projecting forces ashore, as does the US Navy, nor is it as concerned with protecting extended sea lines of conrnunicatio: s. esult, the soviet Navy has been able to concentrate its main efforts on systemsto attack and destroy other naval forces.

Expenditures for General Purpose Force?

Soviet spending on general purpose forces hac-grown slowly during the past decade but: has remained well below US expenditures in this category. (The graphs oppos'te illustrate this trend.) Before the US made large-scale commitment in Vietnam, USfor general purposes forces average-e" aboutercent above the dollar valuation ofSoviet spending. During the height of theas aboutercent higher. Since then US expenditures in this category have dropped sharply, and1 they were less thanercex. above the Soviet tCtal,



2 End8 pril?



At ICBM complexes.

At MR/IRBM Complexes**

Jo 1J





Mi ssileLaunchlass


Heavy Bombers Bear Bison






Ifctof ^CB!Jc and ballistic missile eub-

marinss, <m'3ot include others under construction al the times indicated. At the endof example,ICBMSO of them for theere under construction andlass submarines were under constructs or out. As there wereew-typeilos under construction andv clas3 submarines underr fitting out.

"These probably are intended primarily for attack againsturope and Asia.

uinute man Titan



a Hi stssi le Submarines


6 launch tubes)




AIR :j_

Interceptor Ai rcraf t

(including Air Notional Guard)

Surface^to-Air Missile_Laur.chcrn

Kike Hercules (including



Ballis Lie Missile Early Warning Radars (BMEKS)Radars

SoteUite Early Warning Systems




2round stations

llllWSYrs (S)




8 2 Totals




carriers Helicopter carriersL and CLG


Destroyers Escorts

Submarine Forces







Torpedo Attack

r Forces

Missile carriers Reconnaissance/bomber Patrol/ASW aircraft ASW helicopters


j'.-eh* K'jnda and Krestaaonitsnlij identified as light cruisers because of their sur face-to-surface miaatles, but they are about the same size as'a USiikiile frigate. They are less then half the sizeS light cruiser.

The L'S Havy's air ar<r< cannot be censored meaningfully to Soviet iiai>al Aviation because of the major differences in missions and equipment. vii-.ts3 for extriple, havei>al fighter aircraft, uhile :ho OS has no long-rangesite carriers ec-tnparable to the Soviet typiv*







Air Forces



6 Development


4 Itiolii'lco Sovilt Naval Infantry and US Marines.

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Original document.

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