HOW THE SOVIETS VIEW US STRATEGIC POLICIES AND FORCES AND HOW THEY REACT TO THE

Created: 12/9/1969

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

fmmm:

FORASF. DATE: MAR-2CC*!

99

(s)

Bow the Soviets View US Strategic Policies anTTorce3 anc Hbv They React to These Views,

as

9

Hew the Soviets View US Strategic Policies and Forces and How They React to These Views

Ah?tract

The following comments--basedide variety of source materials and methods ofour response to the questions posed in Dr. Kissinger's9 memorandum to the Director of central Intelligence.

Soviet strategic force deployments reflect the view that US strategic forces are not targeted exclusively on either tho forces or the cities of the USSR, but rather that the US haB developed its targeting doctrine to optimize its war fighting capabilityroad range of scenarios. (See

present Minuteman has been referred to by the Sovietseapon targeted against theirmissiles. Me cannot be certain how they view the capabilities and targeting objectives of Minute-man III and Poseidon. Conflicting reports about these systems in the US press will probably cause some Soviet leaders to be concerned about the survivability of their fixed land based forces. (Sec

evidonce is scanty on exactly how their perceptions of our forces and doctrines enter into their strategic force decisions. Their development and deploymenthardened lCBMs,based missiles, and defensivethat their view of the potential OS threat weighs in their decisions. Other factors, such as the third country threat and economic considerations, alsoole. (See

is no direct evidence available on the Soviet rationale or targeting objectives in developing multiple reentry vehicles. Thea Soviet "worst case" point ofprovide an ability to penetrate likely US ABM defenses probably is the primary reason for the Soviet efforts to develop multiple reentry vehicles. (See

theorists appear to be nearly unanimous in their belief that limited war employing tactical nuclear weapons is the least likely and most unstable variant for war in Europe. There is, however, some recognition that if NATO were to employ nuclear weapons for limited objectives, their use might not rosultoneral nuclear war. (See)

also is some' evidenceoviet concern that future Western initiatives might take the form of selective strategic nuclear strikes or the threat of such strikesargaining device. (SeeJ

a background of experience with Soviet policy, wo sometimes receive sufficient evidence to identify and explain decisions with considerable These are generally decisions whichextensions or small modifications of previous lines of policy, or which make major changes in policy but take effect slowly and have effects which cannot be disguised. (See pages)

somethe most tightly held decisions of radicalis frequently inadequate for firm conclusions. In some other cases, such as deferred decisions, tho evidence may be ambiguous, but the basis for an informed judgment usually exists. Although gaps remain, our fund of information for reading Soviet policy decisions has expanded in the last rew years. (See

of the available information, however, relates to decisions which are already made and arc being implemented, rather than to impending ones. Moreover, the "hardness" of our evidence concerning all types of Soviet decisions dwindles as we approachsummit of the decision process. (See pages)

improvement in our ability to anticipate and understand Soviet decisions depends in part on how much insight we can accumulate on the attitude of key individuals, the relationships among theseand the Institutional and" sures that influence the decision making process. (See

Nature of the Problem

Iaingle precise view of US strategic policy which is fully acceptedorking basis for formulating Soviet policy decisions?

One of the important tools in defining anstrategy is what he says about his piano and goals. Given the nature of public commentary on US strategic policy, it would not be surprising if the 'Soviets found it difficult tonified, clear view of US strategic policy. Furthermore, the variety of special interest groups represented in the top councils of the USSR suggests thatully accepted view does not exist, and that various key Soviet officials have views which differ in one or more important respects. As their relative influences change, shi'fts in the Soviet view of the US may bo sufficient to frustrate the useostulated single Soviet view of US strategic policy to predict future Soviet decisions on strategic forces with high..

One of our ongoing responsibilities is to assess now evidence on various Soviet views of US strategic policioe. We shall update judgments on our ability to understand Soviet choices on weapons systems and deployments on the oasis of such newas insights that may be derived from statements by the Soviet SALT delegation.

Nature ot the Evidence

Wo do notona fido document whichtatement of the Soviet view of US strategic policies to bo used as the basis for Soviet policy decisions at the highest level. Because of this, we must base our assessment of the subjectide variety of source materials.

" Much of this information is derived from what the Soviets say in their public media to audiences at home and abroad and what they say privately to foreign officials, both Communist and non-Communist. We realize that much of what is said in theseis for the purpose of fostering Soviet Nevertheless, some of what isperhaps notreflects some aspects of the . rue Soviet view of us strategic policy.

Isoviet

We alsojournals and documents wnicnluui'o fccur"?i* now Sovietat least part of the official SovietUS strategic policy. Some of these documents also are biased in that they appear to be written to support particular policy proposals o? one element or another within the Soviet In this context the prevailing Soviet view may be indicated by the argumentation against it

Finally, the hard intelligence we collect on the nature and scope of Soviet strategic forces servosirm basis fo? assessing alternativeof Soviet views of US strategic policies.

Questions and Responses

Whatdo thev think is our tarnetinq doctrine? -Do-Chev think our Minutemen are targeted on theirtheir torces_?

There arcin Soviet

Lthe view that US targeting docUIn* lbhese statements about our targeting doctrineconvey the message that the US would carryuclear war in the most effective way available StathM She US strikes first, second, or simultaneously.

xm

are, nevertheless, articles in tne open

.military literature that focus onOS attacks on Soviet population centers. This theme is occasionally highlighted by Soviet civil defense spokesmen in particular, and the self-serving nature of their analyses is not very difficult to discern.

Soviet strategic force deployments providesource of hard evidence on this question. have built their strategic defense forcesimportant political and militarythose centers in the command andas well as major population or Moreover, they have undertakencostly orograms to ensure thetheir strategic strikeexample,of their ICBM force, and the development offorce.

conclude that bovleL judgments On usoctrine result from roasonably balanced assessments based on close observation of what the US says both officially and unofficially about its strategic doctrine and forces and what it does in itseployment programs, and strategic force exercises. We believe that their judgment is that the US has not focused exclusively on either preemptive counterforco strikes or on retaliatory countervalue strikes, but rather that it has developed its targeting doctrine to optimize its warapabilityroad range of scenarios which include both countervalue and counterforco targeting for its strategic strike forces.

IrirnricifiiT mm*

"The Soviets probably boliove that the Kinutcman III will be intcndod /or both hard and soft targets. The Soviets are well aware of the USln particular those made in the annual publication of tho US posturethe MIRV capability of Mlnuteman ilia and Posoidons will reduce the importance of the Titan II, which is useful against undefended large soft targets. Tbey probably are also convinced from their observation of US MIRV tests to date and from public discussions in this country that US MIRV developments could result in 'accuracies that would pornit then to be used against bard targets.

How do_ their perceptions of our forces and "TToctVirieg entciF into thoir own strategic 'force decisions?

have also made

Bcrijce rorcp

Although our information on exactly howmake thoir strategic force decisionsscanty, the kny features which enterown decisions stand out clearly. Forsetting about to rodroos the strategicexisted in tho oarly Sixties, theyconcerned not only with tho number ofto each side, but also with theiraa reliability,and accuracy. They have discussed

oble as possible by hardening their ICBMs andizable force of strategic missiles at sea.

We know that features other than their perception of the US threat play an important rolo.

Increasingly, tho potential strategic threat from China is being taken into account. -For example, the deployment of soma of tho ABM forward radars ia clearly designed for defense against the Chinese.

Statements by senior Soviet military officials also convey concern about the strategic implications of changes in tha European power balance.

Economic considerations also probably playrole. Discussions in the open pressa sharp competition between advocatesand civilian proarflmi for limitpdto be substantiated)

Moreover, the military press revealslmTTar competition exists between strategic force advocates and conventional force advocates within the military

Would theyeed toIRV to respond to our Tcbm force?

There is no direct evidence available on tho Soviet rationale for developing multiple reentry vehialos.

Wc are, however, awareosition taken by some Soviet military planners which calls into question the offectivoness of Soviet ICBMs as first strike weapons against US ICBMs.

lat least some Soviet planners believe it would be very difficult to destroy US Minutcmon because of their quick reaction time. IT"

/In itselfoviet "mirv capability would not alter this situation. This, of course, does not rule out the possibility that the Soviets would see MlRVs as an enhancement of their counterforce capability.

The Soviets probably do noteed for HIRVs to maintain their second strike capability in tho face of the praee-nt US ICBM threat. Theoviet "worst case" point ofprovide an ability to penetrate likely US ABM defensosis the primary reason for the Soviet efforts to develop multiple reentry vehicles.

It is possible, however, that thoy might alsoIRV capabilityesirablo offset to the Minuteman III and Poseidon deployment. If they believe that fewer of their ICBMs wouldS first strike, they probably would want to increase the damage potontial of their surviving ICBMs by providing

themIRV capability. Proliferation of deployment of thendCBMs could also be related to planned US MIRV deployment. It has the advantageIRV response of alsothe number of aiming points.

What is their current view on the kinds of situa-

a war

tions Pi'which we might uso nuclear weap

or

thoy expect quick use oi theater weapons._in_ in Europe? Do they see "bargaining" strikesikely device in abetween the US and the USSR?

rat least some Soviet strategists

believe that the existence of rough strategic nuclear equality between the US and USSR has diminished the likelihood of general nuclear war.

These Soviet strategists appear to consider that the recent achievement of rough nuclear equality has significantly altered the essence of the Soviet nuclear deterrent. Since the late Fifties, the USSR has boon claiming the capability to severely damage the US with nuclear weapons in the eventS first strike on the USSR. The Soviet leaders probably did in fact believe that they would bo able to reach the US with at least some nuclear weapons in the event of war. On the other hand, they also were fully aware that the US had an overwhelming nuclear superiority and that tho USSR could be much more severely damaged than tho USuclear exchange. In short, the USSR recognized that its nuclear deterrent was minimal at best.

An important implication

inimal

Soviet deterrent may not 'bo enough because in the eventonfrontation the side with superior nuclear forces will be tempted to use thorn even if it recognizes that it probably will incur some nuclear damage itself. This comes very close to the proposition of Western military strategists who maintain that nuclear capabilities

MDUA

must be viewed in the specific contexts ofT crisis management and crisis stability as well as in the general context of assured destruction.

A state of credible mutual deterrence based on "nuclear equality" could significantly alter the long held tenet of Soviet military doctrine which maintainedS-USSR military conflict, even if it is begun conventionally, would rapidly escalateeneral nuclear war.

Soviet theorists appear to be nearly unanimous in their belief that limited war employing tactical nuclear weapons is the least likely and most unstable variant for war in Europe. The US use of tactical nuclear weapons, in their view, would merelyloy to achieve US strategic goals while protecting US territory.

is

some recognitionif NATO

nuclear weapons ror use might not resulteneral nuclear war.

Regarding the threat of strikes as athere is some evidenceoncernWestern initiatives might takeorm. in theParty theoretical

journal Konmunietthen discounts thea "diplomacy of force" could be attempted aqainst the socialist community by the "manipulation of threats" which would ensure the attainment of political demands "at the cost of the risk of nuclear war, but not at the cost of war."

Elements of Continuity and Change in Soviet Strategic Thinking and Practices

Over the long term Soviet evaluations andof the strategic relationship change as now weapons developments alter specific aspects of the nuclear balanco; as the Soviet leadership evolves; and as other developments in domestic goals and priorities occur. External challenges stemming from otheras is now occurring in tho case oftake on new meaning that affects Soviet decisions related to tho US-USSR arms balance.

Some Soviet military practices and strategic theories are slow to change, however, and we have found It useful to identify au many of these elements as possible as aids in analyzing new Soviat concepts and in evaluating how the Soviets aro reacting or aro likely to react to particular political andevents.

s/69

wTPP-SfiC&jn' UMBRA W

Capability to Analyze Soviet Decision Making

Our ability to decipher Soviet policy decisions at the time they are made varies considerably from case to case. Two main variables affect the speed withecision may be recognized and the confidence with which it may be interpreted. One is the degree to which the decision flows from and is consistentattern of previous Soviet con-luefc. f

sufficient evidence to The changes thev bring

Most Soviet political decisions representor small modificationsprevious lines or policy. We generally have

recognize suchre often forecast.

a recent soviet increase in support of the anti-Israeli Arab guerrilla movements. The interpretation of such evidence must be weighed against other evidence about Soviet purposes, in thi3 case, by evidence suggesting that the Soviets stilliddle Eastern settlement.

We are alsoood position to interpret Soviet decisions which mako major changes in policy but tAke effect slowly and have effects which cannot be disguised. For example, the early decisions of the present Soviet leadership to alter Khrushchev's policy and offer military aid to Banoi were signalederies of indicators, beginning with the Soviet cultivation of Phan Van Dong in Moscow in4 and the change in tono in the Soviet press toward tho DRV. After that, inane tho first photographic evidence of Soviet weapons in North Vietnam, the visit of Kosygin to Hanoi in February,

-T UMBRA

com irming

continues introduction or soviet weapons and experts. Although other analytical problems aroso In connection with the sporadic Chinese obstruction of Soviet aid to Vietnam, the nain outlines of the new Soviet policy toward military aid to tho DRV were clear from the start.

A different problem arises in cases where Soviet decisions are closely held until some predetermined date when the effects of the decision are to be made visible. In such cases Soviet policymakers restrict knowledge of the decisionmall number of people and ensure that neither the Soviet media nor diplomats leak the story. Tho conspiratorial traditions of the Soviet Communist Party and tho formidable disciplinary powers of the Soviet state facilitate secrecy.

are rare. One major example was the removal of

TiTu Vmrr"ir-:

from office in Knowledge of the decision to attempt to oust him was confinedabal of Politburo members, senior KGB officials, and one or two senior military men. We had long known of considerable Politburo dissatisfaction with 7hrushchev--as did Khrushchev. But neither we nor Khrushchevource within the small grouplotters.

In concrete terms, neither the US intelligence community nor Khrushchev could foretell that tho two henchmen Khrushchev had assigned to supervise the Soviet securityandbetray him and agree to use the KGB against him. Suchthat of Khrushchev's protege Shopilov ininnately unpredictable to tho foreign analyst, although it may bo expected that they will continue to occur from time to time in the Soviet Union.

the other hand, after tho information became available1!

sufficient

permit us to reconstruct the sequence or events with some confidence.

Another example was the closely held decision to invade Czechoslovakia in Ke knew that the Soviet leaders had long been weighingove, that they had been hesitating, and that there were imposing factors both urging them on and holding thom back. Military movements revealed the Soviet capability for rapid intervention but did not .provide evidence as to whether the Soviets had docided to intervene or merely to continue military pressure on Prague. We did not have specific evidence from the Soviet decision making bodies which would have enabled tho US intelligence community tothat military intervention was certain or likely..

There are also Instances where we know the Soviet decision makers areiven issue but seem unable toonclusion. Examples are the recurring debates over resource allocation, the months of vacillation8 proceding the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the seeming uncertainty9 as to how to handle the Chinese border problem, and the shifting attitudes,8oward the SALT talks. On occasion, Soviet decision makers sc.cat to temporize- because all available alternatives seem unacceptable. Soviet policy toward Czechoslovakia before the invasion mayase in point; the USSR sought unsuccessfully to force the Czechs into line without tho need for an invasion with its expected adverse consequences. Soviet decisions may also be deferred while waiting for the resolutionelated problem. It is possible, for example, that one factor in Soviet delays inate to start the SALT talksesire to wait and see whether the Chinese border problom would assume crisis proportions.

In instances where Soviet policy decisions are being deferred for some reason or another, close study of the Soviet press becomes especially importantindicators from other sources tend to be scarce, in the past, the press has been particularly useful in furnishing clues on certain of the disagreements within the leadership. Such clues, however, are rarely so clear-cut as to rule out differences in interpretation. When dealing with deferred decisions, the analyst usually will have evidenco to work with, but it will bo opaque and ambiguous evidenco, and the analyst's judgments are likely to be tentative.

The "hardness" of our evidence concerning all types of Soviet decisions dwindles as we approach the summit whore the decisions aro mado. For ex-

only occasional inferential evidence from public statements and other sources as to the thinking of

various Politburo members which would directly affect their votes on such critical questions.

in jagg, ve received several indications

rwhich suggested that the Evicts had begun" ^oTuTn-Wnf an attack on Chinese nuclear installations. D

J Howevor,

the thinking of the members of the Sovietbodies on the consequences of such actionnot available. Previous

remarks by Politburo membors on their China proDiem were too general or wore notroper context to fix with any precision how serious the Soviet leader might bo about an attack and to what extent they wer merely trying to intimidate the Chinese.

Our ability to anticipate and understand the most difficult Soviet decisions, therefore, dependsegree on how much insight we can accumulate on the personal political attitudes of and the relationships among the handful of men who make up ynajor Soviet docision making bod io s.

Politburo advise Administration.

the Institute of the USA, headed by Yuriy Arhatov, have suggested that differences of view existSoHhhuro advisers in their Appraisals of the present

By and large, tho specific content of documents providing policy advice and intelligence assessments written for the Politburo by the Central Committee apparatus and its consultants, the apex of the Soviet intelligence system, is unknown, on the disarmament issue, we can perceive only the broad outlines of the differences of view among contending groups about acceptable foroc structure. Details are unavailable on the range of positions taken by key individuals, the form in which presentations reach different policymakers, ond tho extent of coordination of differing views.

In sum, wo have made substantial progress in our ability to interpret Soviet decisions in recent years. ackground of experience with Soviet policy, we receive sufficient evidence to identify and explain most decisions with considerable owmost tightly held decisions of radicalis usually inadequate for firm conclusions. In some other cases, such as deferred decisions, the ovidence may bo ambiguous, but tho basis for an informed judgment usually oxists. Although gaps remain, our fund of information for reading Soviet policy decisions has 'expanded markedly in the lust fow years.

-

I

i

I

i

the institute ot the Ut>A, headed by Yuriy Arhatov, have suggested that differences of view exist among

Politburo ^viners in their appraisals of the present

Administration.

By and large, the specific content of documents providing policy advice and intelligence assessments "written for the Politburo by the Central Committee apparatus and its consultants, the apex of the Soviet intelligence system, is unknown. On the disarmament issue, details are scanty on the range of positions taken by key individuals, the form in which presentations

-

reach different policymakers, and the extent of coordination of differing views. Wo can, however, perceive with some confidence the broad outlines of the differences of view among contending groups about acceptable force structures.

In sua, wo have made substantial progress in our ability to interpret Soviet decisions in recent years. ackground of experience with Soviet policy, we receivo sufficient ovidence to identify and explainecisions with considerable ewmost tightly held decisions of radicalmust apply insight against very limited avidence. In some other cases, such as deferred decisions, the evidence may bo ambiguous, but the basis for an informed judgment usually exists. Although gaps ramain, our fund of information for reading Soviet policy decisions has expanded markedly in the last few years.

warning

This document contains classified Inlomiation affecting the national security of the United States within the meaning of the espionage laws. OS Code... The law prohibits Its transmission or the revelation ol Its contents in any manner to on unauthorized person, as well as its use in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States.

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA