CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE AS SANITIZED
SPECIAL NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
EMPi.ACPfM FNT OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ON THE SEABED
DIRECTOR Of CENTRAl INTELLIGENCE
Concurred in by Ihe UNITED STATES INTElllGENCE BOARD
di^seniir.alian will be made.
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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
SUBJECT: EMPIACEMEKT OP WEAPONS OF MASS
DESTRUCTION ON THE SEABED
To estimate the cuptibilities of US Intelligence tooo on thc ec-placemcnt of weapone of ones destruction on the seabedefined as the ocean floor outside territorial votersand to ceticate the likelihood of Soviet or third countryof ouch weapons, during thc nextearn or co.
For the purposes of this estimate, the following types of wenpoRB nre assuaed to be prohibited:
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n. Manned or unmanned installations containing nuclear veopons or missiles, encapsulated nuclear missiles, and nucleor mines, resting on, anchored to, or imbedded in the seabed.
b. Nuclear weapon systems designed to operate primarily on thc seabed but having the cbaracteristic of mobility.
While chemical or biological weapons of boss destruction could theoretically be emplaced on the seubed, the problems of their detection ond identification would be thc some as in the cose of nuclear weapons. Likewise, tho considerations affecting Intent would be virtually the same. Hence in this estimate, only nuclear weapons ore opeclfically discussed.
Mobile strategic offensive and defensive weapon systems of mass destruction whose principal object ia to make use of the seas, no opposed to the seabed, are assumed not to be banned ond are, therefore, beyond thc scope of this estimate. Neither will the temporary anchorage of ship* or submarines to the seabed, whether for emergency purposes, for purposes incident to navigation, for purpoces ofetection, or for preparations to Launch missiles, be considered in this estimate.
believe that neither the USSR nor ony otherduring the period of this estimate, deploy weapons ofon the seabed ln violation of an agreementdeployment. If any signatory decided that it could nothe restrictions imposed by the agreement, vcit would abrogate the agreement openly rather than tryprobably after making covert preparations for thcemplacement in advance of the announcement.
time required for detection and verification ofwould vury with the nature, size, and location ofdeployment. It would be difficult for us toseabed weapon system as such prior to deployment. predcployment activity, however, and of support systemsassociated with installation, checkout,end command and control, would Arouse ourwould probably lead to eventual detection andthe prohibited deployment.
C. We believe tlwft deployment unJ.tr the open ocean would b* detectedarge number of missiles becaaic operatiorwl. Thc deploymentmail number might eocape detection for aome time after they became operational. jf*
after detection of deployment, verification ofwould probablyostly and time-consuming process,
assessing our ability to cunltoi an agreement ofbeing considered here, it must be remembered that wcwith the development and deployment of radicallysystems, tbc characteristics of which we can onlythe basis or our knowledge of relevant UH ont Soviet technology-
Essentially, ue are faced with consideration of two general types of weapon systems, ttie first wouldissile deployed on the senbcd and Launched,istant target. ystcm would be highly sophisticated and would use new technology and new methods of operation and control. The other type would consistuclear weapon emplaced on the ocobed near lta intended target to be exploded without ejection from the water. In the natureine. The characteristics of any ouch systems would be much different from the characteristics of those weapon systems upon which our post aonitoring experience is based. In this respect, any Judgments which we make with respect to our capability toeabed weapons ogrccnent oust necessarily be tentative.
2. Our regular sources of intelligence information SIGIWT, overhead photography, and human sourcesouldlgnificont part of our detection capabilities^
TI. THE LIKELIHOOD OF SEABED WEAPONS hEPtiytHEhl
Tim conclusion or on Gfrrot/menttlne thcOf venpons of fanes destruction on the sennet would, we believe, Glftnlfy that tht signatories had decided to accept, at leastine, the prohibitions it imposed. If ony Rignatory violated the agreement through concealment or deception, we believe that its aim vould be to improve significantly its strategic position. Given the present and foreseeable strategic situation, such on
orimple type of missile-launching vehicle, and would
olutoiiL certainly be limited In deploy men I. to shallowown
i'ice free fatera- Considerations of security
improvement for the USSJi would require tt Large scale program liivo.Lvl.ivt devci'Al nucidred weapons. Other countries couldimprove their otrategto position with far fewer weapons.otecisive military capa billty dgalitai-major power. It could acteterrent,ignlfica.it capability against another lessere'-. clandestine dopLoyiooiL. however, would have oo political
tho necessity for reliable cunaoufld and control would beU'i'.IUii -in/.liiiiti.Ki'/iii'iiftuous
ii iv "iddlMrtn, aoy countryar weapon* capability could develop andudefir mine, but such weapons, to be effactltc,be deployad near rJiatr Intended targets ond, unless Intended for uGOredetermined Lime, would require aandMyatfm- This would uwike clandestine tteploy&wutyL'TIujH.
comraltmoocariety oi lund-hnccd <ais?;ile systems and to thu new mien lie submarine program suggests tliiiL Soviet leaden; view these Byuteias au thc most fruitful lines to inpi-fiu>:- Theand urea of thu IITJ-'iH, and thc few taG-fr-se
areas adjacent to thc USSK which might be used for deployment of seabed weapons, would seem to provide little motivation forof seabed systems, most of which would be leso effective ond more costly, complex, and unreliable than current land or sea-based systems.
8. In planning to develop or deploy seabed weapons inof an annn control agreement, thc violating nation would have to count on successfully concealing the programoint where it could achieve the desired improvement in its strategic position. Thc possible advantages, costs, and risksajor clandestine weapons program vould have to be weighed against the alternatives of compliance with the agreement or of open abrogation ond unconstrained deployment. If any signatory decided that it could no longer tolemte the restrictions Imposed by the agreement, we believe that it would abrogate the agreement openly rather than try secret evasion, probably after making covert preparations for the prohibited emplacement ln advance of the announcement.
III. THE HOKITORINC PROBLEM
A. Detection During the Development Phase
10. With respect to an entire seabed missile system, either fixed or mobile, we believe that we would detect some steps io its development, since It would almost certainly involve developmentrototype launcher and considerable testing of thc whole nyateta prior to deployment. It would probably be difficult,to Identify tbe system specificallyeabed system. Testing ofystem would be difficult to distinguish Trom thc testingew aubroarlnc syotcm or of one intended for use in an inland body of water.
B. Detect lor. of Violations
11. In general, the time required for detection und verificationiolation vould vary with the nature, size, and location of thc prohibited deployment. arge-scale effort, for example, or one Involving tho development of an entirely new weapon system^
Jwould increaae the,likelihoodchance of detecting
deployment activity is better ln thc open ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea than In enclosed seas such aa the Block or Baltic. Our capability to detect underwater activity at long ranges is virtually nonexistent ln the Southern lied sphere and is better In tbe deep ocean than In anallow
J Our capability to verify aonce we had determined lta approximate location la better In shallow water than ln the deep ocean. It vould be more difficult tololitlon in the cone of mobile than of fixed syoUovj, not only because of the difficulty inobile system oii
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the seabed once deployoent hod been detected, but alco because of tbc difficulty ln proving thatoobllc system was designed specifically for use on the seabed. In any case, verificationiolation la likely tooatly and tlow-consuming process.
checkout, maintenance, resupply, andcontrol proccdurca would afford us our best opportunitiesand determining tho location of violations, especially
ln the case of manned systems. Theee procedures would necessltote the use of unique, though not necessarily readily Identifiable, auxiliary craft, support facilities, and radio, acoustic, or coble communications. Detection of support systems snd activities would arouce our suspicions, particularly If preceded by detectable teotlng, and would probably lead to detection nnd Identification of the prohibited deployment sooner ln the case of large-scale deployment, later in thc case of email scale.
view of the above considerationo, we believe thatof missiles under the open ocean, whetheror in missile-launching vehicles, would beIdentifiedarge number became operational. of detection and identification would be considerably leea
in the cose of deployment under enclosed
i'l. The construction of fixed missile installations on the seabed vould be eaaler to detect and identify than other methods of deployment. If surface ahlps vere used In the coootructloo of auch installations under the open ocean, ve believe that we would detect, locate, and Identify the construction activity/
J In the unlikely event that submarines alone were used in tbe construction of such inatallationa, detection and identification would be much more difficult.
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C. Future Capabilities
15. Our capability toeabed veapon system In the development stage lo not likely to change significantly during the period of this estimate. Planned and proposedIn our submarine detection and deep submergence search and recovery capabilities vould Improve our capability to monitor deployment of seabed weapons, but ve cannot estimate the extent to which this would reduce the amount of time required to confirmiolationeabed agreement had occurred. Any new undersea weapon systems are likely to Incorporate Improvements which, to some extent at least, vould offset expected improvements in our surveillance and detection systems.
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