CAPABILITIES OF THE WARSAW PACT AGAINST NATO (SNIE 11-17-68)

Created: 10/8/1968

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SNiE8

SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

8

Capabilities of the Warsaw Pact

Against NATO

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN FULL

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

Concurred in by Ine UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD Ai Indicated8

iTi^prT

mu

The /ofJowing inlc/dgenee organization* porlicipoted in tbe preparation of this estimate:

The Control Inlelligence Agency and lhe intelligence organisations of lheoi State and Detente, and the NSA.

Concurring.

Vice Adm. Rufui Taylor, Deputy Director, Central Inlelligence

Mr.ho Director of Intelligence ond Reteareh. Oeportmeni of

Vice Adm. Vernonowranos, for lhc Director, Defense Intelligence Agency Dr. Louis W. Tordello, for lhe Direclor, National Security Agency

Abstaining.

Dr. Chorlet H. Reiehardt, for iho Atwlont Generol Manager. Atomic Energyond Mr. William O. Cregar, for lhe Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Invettlaolion. the wbjecl being outside of their jurisdiction.

i8ECBEL

CAPABILITIES OF THE WARSAW PACT AGAINST NATO

SCOPE NOTf:

Tliis paper addresses the effects of the intervention inon thc disposition and capabilities of Warsaw Pact forcesNATO in the Central Region. Longer range developments will be examined in the forthcomingSoviet and East European General Purpose Forces."

CONCLUSIONS

Pact capabilitiesis the Central Region ofbeen altered by the deployment ofoviet divisions fromUSSRrom Hungary into Czechoslovakia, and byaboutdditional divisions in thc western USSR up to fullto move out.

effect of the indicated redeployment of Soviet forces,with the current loss of confidence in the Czecha net increase of five combat-ready Warsaw Pact divisions inarea opposite the Central Region of NATO. There isdifference in the substitution of Soviet divisions forIn the eventilitary confrontation with NATOfurther reinforcement, some of this net increase in strengthrequired to control thc situation within Czechoslovakia.the current disposition of Warsaw Pact forces in theis skewed in relation to preintervention contingency plansagainst NATO. Almost certainly the Soviets havetime developed plans, for the employment of Warsaw Pactthey are now disposed to meet any emergency, but no doubtprefer to rectify their present deploymentonfrontation with NATO. They could do so quickly.

C. Thc Soviels now have in Uie forward areaivisions that were not there before, ihey have brought additional divisions in the western USSHigher state of readincis to move out, and their mobilization and deployment system has recentlyealisticand test. We estimate that in these circumstances the USSR could deploy an additionalivisions to thc forward area in about two weeks orhe forward Warsaw Pact force thus created would amount to someivisions, not counting the Czechs.

ecent events may have made the Soviet leaders less disposed than in thc past to rely on East European armies, and this could result in broad changes in the future posture and disposition of Warsaw Pact forces.

DISCUSSION

Warsaw Pact Actions in the Intervention

The intervention in Czechoslovakia hasedisposidoc of Warsaw Pact forcei opposite the Central Region of NATO, strong reinforcement from western USSR, and selective mobilization of combat and support units still in the western USSR.

We estimate that thc Soviets moved II divisions from the western USSR lor the Intervention in Czechoslovakia,ivisions from the Carpathianrom tlie Baltic MDivision Irom Relonmu. The Soviets alio movedighters from lhe western USSR, most of them into Czechoslovakia, bul some into Poland.

We estimate that, at iu peak during September, (he Warsaw Pactforce located Inside Czcclwsktvakia or in the immediate Hast Gentian-Czech border arearmies wllh aboutivisions. Of theseivisions.ere Soviet:eployed from therom East Cermany,romo estimate that the Polesivisions, and that the Hungarian and Bulgarian units together amounted lo the equivalent of 1If any East Cerman elements entered Czechoslovakia, all bulon was quickly withdrawn.

We estimate thatoviet aircraft were deployed lo Czechoslovakia, includingom tbe USSR andrawn from Soviet tactical air forces in East Cermany, Poland, and Hungary.

' Thu would axled* at lout eight drtsfeos fromUtary District (UD) not preMotuir eMlmaUdulorremeoti tor the Crotnl Rfpoc. 'Om of thetr Soviet divirion* has oow returned le Hungary

-SECRET-

S. These forces piobably comprisedm The Sovietsdid not deploy into Czechakl, ihc /ronf-level service support units which would be icquiied by such huge forces in sustained combal; this was not required in tbe circumstances The intervention forces are apparently receiving much of llieir logistic support front thc preexisting logisticast Cermany. Poland, the Carpathian MD, and Hungary.

6 The overwhelming size of thc intervention force was probably basedoviet desire to discourage any idea ol resistance, to crush the Czech Army very quickly should armed resistance nonetheless occur, and to lubslitute Soviet lor Czech forces lacing NATO on the Czech-West Cerman border.

deployments were accompaniedubstantial rnobilfzatiooforces In the western USSR. Available evidence indicatesf tbcdivisions bad been under strengthnd were fleshedrmibilirJtioo, and thai up toore Category II divisions were broughtfull strength prior to tbe intervention In Czechoslovakia. Adding 5Intatuseady reserve of up Ioivisions inUSSR. We do not believe tlut any substantial mobilization tookthese numbers; there is evidence thai some divisions fnwere not mobilized. However. Ibe possibilityew rnore arefull strength oa.mot be ruled out. The mobilizaj'oo of those additionalresulted from the Soviet realization that tbeir intervention woulda period of high tension io Centra) Europe. Tbe Soviets probablyat least to replenish their depleted reservesike number ofa high stale of readiness for any NATO vs. Warsaw Pact contingency.

The Now Miliiary Situation

In tbe present military situation there hashift in lhe weight and composition of lhe Warsaw Pact forces in Central Europe. Previously theWarsaw Pact forces in East Cermany. Poland, and Czechoslovakia had totaledn East Cermany and PolandnOf these,ere Soviet andere East European. The present estimated number of combat-ready divisions in the sameot counting thc Czechs, but there hasajor thill southward in orientation. Of theseivisions.re in East Cermany and Poland, whilere In Chechoslovakia;re Soviet andrc East European.

The current status of tbc Czechoslovak forcesey factor In Warsaw Pact capabilities for both urimediatc aad reinforced nulitary action against NATO. At present the Soviets almost certainly would no! count on these forces in any serious contingency. Further, should armed conflict with NATO occur io present circumstances, tho Soviets would probably feel it necessary to use loinc of Ihcir own forces for occupation duty in Chechoslovakia. Tha unreliability of tho

Czcciis is probably highly disruptive to Warsiiw Pact militaiy planning. Tlie Czechoslovak Army and Air Forcei were among tlie best oi the East European theater forces, and wereey role in Warsaw Pact militaiy plans-Twelve Czechoslovak divisions with supportighter aircraft were to form tlie southern of three fronts opposing NATO in the Central Region. They were crpectodinimum to contain NATO forces in thai area until Soviet armies from (he Carpathian MD could reinforce.

Copobilities fur Military Action Against NATO Wilhoul Further Reinforcement;

hc effect of the indicated redeployment oi Soviet forces, in conjunction with the current loss of confidence in the Czech Army,et increase of five combat-ready Warsaw Pact divisions io the forward area opposite the Central Region of NATO. There isualitative difference in the substitution of Soviet divisions for Czech divisions. In the eventilitary confrontation with NATO without further reinforcement, some of this net in crease in lUength would bc required to control the situation within Czechoslovakia. Moreover, tho current disposition of Warsaw pact foroes in the forward area is skewed into preintervention contingency plans for operaUons against NATO. Almost certainly the Soviets have by this lime developed plans for use employment of Warsaw Pact forces as tney are now disposed to meet any emergency, but no doubt they would prefer to rectify their present deployment before becoming involved mconfrontation with NATO. They could do so quickly.

Reinforcement Capabiliiies

InCapabilities ol Soviet Ceneral PurposeECRET, we estimated that in the eventilitarywith NATO the Soviets would wish todivision striking force in tbe forward area with an additional SO divisions in theater reserve in Poland. We estimated thatdivision force wouldzechoslovak divisions and overivisions from the USSR, andeeks would bc required for deployment.

Tho Soviets now have in tho forward areaivisions that were not there before, tliey have already brought additional divisions in tho western USSRiigher slate of readiness to move out. and their mobilization and deployment system has recentlyealistic exercise and test. We estimate that in these circumstances the USSR could deploy an additionalivisions to tbe forward

areaeeks orhe forward Warsaw Pact force thus created would

amount to someivisions, not counting the Czechs.

would Include at lout eight rlivirlocu fiom tho Kiev MD not previously eronutod at rWnToiccatcnti for the Central Region.

Ncar-Term Developments

here is no firm basis on which lo Judge lbc (mure size and poslure of Warsaw Pact forces in the Central Region The Soviets probably hope eventually to restore the reliability of the Czechoslovak forces, but will probably leave atrmiesivisions) in thr country for both military and political purposes. They will restore tlie preinvasion posture of their forces in East Cermany as quickly as thc situation in Czechoslovakia permits. Tho Polish. Hungarian, andrven ti on forces will probably return lo their home stationsew weeks. There are indications thai elements of the Soviet auborne divinon have abeady returned lo tbe USSR, and thai one of tbc Soviet divisions and some tactical aircraft have returned to theii borne bases in Hungary.

Ootioral Implications

lie Soviet leaders themselves have probably not yet reached firm decisions as to the future Warsaw Pact miliiary posture. We believe that tbey must now reexamine tbeir decision of theo place much heavier reliance on East European armies In operalions against the Central Region, of NATO. Tlie Czechoslovak situation is but thc lalesteries of developments putting in question tbc reliability of East Europeaninsubordination, the abortive liulgaiian military coup, and Polish military dilgruntlcmeot atin the Middle East crisishe contribution of each East European country would have to be weighed separately by the Soviets since there ara wide variations in reliability. Soviet concern on this account may result in broad changes in Warsaw Pact organization and troop dispositions, but il is still too early to predict them.

5

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