Created: 3/25/1968

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The Soviet Military Buildup Along the Chinese Border

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BUlUTICTi The Soviet Hliltery Buildup Along the Chinese Bcrder*


A. The put twoalf rears hnvo wltneaeed aflout quantitative aa well aa qualitative intproreaent of the Boviot allitaxT posture near China. There basteady Increase In tbe strength of regular eonbat units along theSorlet bordoT. For the first tiae la two decades, aSoviet combat force is taldLng ebapa in HxujoLla. Certain units of tbe Strategic Socket rorcee have alaost certainly been

eaxtaarkad for potential nlaeUegainst Chinese targets.

|*aa> types of aorta* unite involved

orandun was produced solely by OA. It was prepared by tbe Office of national Uatloatee snd coordinated with tbo Office of Btrategle Baaeercta.



Indicate that the

preparing their forces not Just

containing local ewtbreaka of fighting, but even for tha eventual poaelblllty of major military operationseither conventional or nuclearagainst tbe Chinone.

B. Tbe basic decisions behind this far-reaching shift in tbe Soviet military posture appear to hare been sewde during tbe summer or early fall Tbe tine factor auggoste that these deciaions were influenced primarily by tbe failure of efforts by tbe Brexhner-Kosygin regime froa Octobero abouto DC-terete tbe Sino-Soviet dispute, and also by tbe evident continued progress of tbe Chinese nuclear end strategic weapons development program durin'jne period. In addition, tbe Cultural Revolution in China and all ita attendant uncertainties oust have reinforced tbe USSR'a deter-Bdnetlon to press eased with their own military contingency



Tbe Sovieti probably havegoals lo xind.

rlniraia, tbey apparently with to dissuade tbe Col nolo from undertaking organised military actions agaiost tho USSR or Mongolia. Beyond this, the Soviet* may believelr-abl* to develop th* capability for conducting Halted nlUtary

operations across th*order. In *ny ease, it appears


that tbe Soviet military buildup soar China will contlnuo,

for tbe near term at least, at roughly th* pace set ln late

nd fescow Is evidently beginning to ponder the long-


There ia ao longer any doubt near that be hint the alogan proclAlacd In Peking that "the wind la blowing froa tbo Eaat"orerete plan that apjarently arose In tht hoada of Moo Tae-tung and Ma associates back lnnd baa ef late been officially temed lo China "The Great Strategic Plan of Mao uaber of respects tbe "Mao Plan"reseoblco the once notorious "Tanaka,lsm devlaod by the Jepeneeo allltary for tbo conquest of Aala by gradual stages. The Maoists1 plans, and even oore thoir actions, make it posalble to aay the following. Xno proposes to include ln hla Reichin addition to china iteelfKorea, tbe Mongolian People's Republic. Vietnam, Caabodla, Laos, Xndonoela, Malaysia, Burma and several other countries in tbe area, in the second atage of ons from the Boat' expansion la planned in the direction of the Indian subcontinent, Soviet Central Aala, the Soviet Far Cast an! the Near Eaat. What la anticipated on paper for the third stage la not yet entirely clear. But the plan la aot restricted to the "Kaoltation" ef Aala. "We shall gate proudly upon fiveno of Mao Tae-tung'a qyroldona declare*. "China's today la the whole world'a

The Peking allltary autocracy is clearly dressingew celeatlal eoaplre, acting foraally under the red flag of aoclaliea but ln fact copying the ailltarlat policy Of the Chinese eoperorsthe ccoquarore and aandarlna of long-foegotteo

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Ministry) la tbe area. For several years prior2 tbe Soviets nalntatned IU ground force divisions In aroselios of the Chinese aad Mongolian borders, ofere positioned near strategic and vulnerable railroad lines east of take Beyfcai. essentiallyailroad security force. In addition, the Soviets bad available the far Bast Long Range Air Amy, the Pacific Fleet,uaber of aediua range and ioteraedlato range ballistic alsslls sites, plus air defenses; according to tbe consensus of tha intelligence commity at the tiae, however, the vast bulk of these forces was deployed against DS power in tbe JHcific end US allies in Asia and tho Middle East. To this portion Located near China, tbe Sovieteingle notarised rifle resdaent3ow-strength aotoriied rifle divisionb. Both units were laeMhnod Intended principally to backstop tbe Border Quarts. jt

3. Although tbe keynote of Soviet military preparationsis the Chinese froa Igsasl ipfl was border security, there ore eoae Indications that Soviet oilitary officers tbeo-eslves were beginning to ponder ocre serious contingencies.

[ anotber indicatortrongly anti-peking artlele which appeared lo th*3 le.uc of the restricted Ministry of defeaso journal,l' (military thought). tho author describedmilitary and political strategy asnd claimed that tbe top leadership of the chinas* cosaaaist party had "broken with .'terxiaj-le.ilr.lwas pursuing "great powernd was hoping to establish "the epoch of world dccdnation by people of tho yellow raeo".

k. the logic of tbe indicator* cited above would bev*onsiderably greater soviet allltary relnforconent than actually occurred during the period. either the ministry of defeas* failed to argue th* case before the political


or Xhruehehov refused to ba convinced by tho ergu-octrU. rtareover, farear after the fall of Khrushchev,

It Booed that ollltary relaforccacnts were about to be toralnatod. Ko oore than two Border Ouard drtaehnenta,een each, were added froaa tond three additions were nede rrobahlyeeult of decisions taken chev.

appoara that fescov waa at leaat aa anxious to prevent over-reactlone to adaor Chinese provocations te to receive tlnoly inforaatlon regarding the inddente tbcmaelvea.

Re-Appraisal under the Hew Soviet Ixaderahlr

3, This period of Soviet armed auieacence along the Cblneee border coincided with the private efforts of the new Soviet regiao both to aoterate tbe Sino-Soviet dispute and to work out ecoo type of coordinated atrategy with Peking and Hanoi toward the Vietnea war. Sy approxiaatelyhe Soviets


Mlh ttrklWefoir Leal

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mutt have realised that their relations with theere likely to worsen. The Chinese had rebuffed Moscow's overtures for united action, end they bad given evidence of pushingwith their nuclear weapons development progr&a; the second Chinese nuclear device was detonated in Hay Cnebruary, tho Rev China News Agency had warned that there are groups "even here in China, who believe in Khrushchevtatement which suggested tbe imminenceurgecre hostile attitude toward tbe USSR. Aoutside tbe Soviet Enbasey In Peking in5 suet have Increased Sovietaven acre.

6. 5 the Soviets bad become concerned about the potential Chinese threat to the1 million) buffer etate of Hongolla. Tbe Mongolian sraed forces numbered no more thanen, including border guards, (in contrast to moat Coaauniat countries, Mongolia baa no significant nan-power reserve.) There were0 Chinese in Mongolia at the tiae, most of tbea men of combat age, plus nunerous Mongolian opponents of the Tsedeobal (pro-Soviet) wing ef tbe Mongolian Oomnunlst Party. Mongolia was thus vulnerable, not

blneao Coosarnist invaaion, butoking inspired coup. Clearly, Hosccw would bare to help. The whole natter was probably discussed during She lop In'e visit to Mongolia In5 and during Taedenhal's visit to Moscow In April of theear.

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The,Second Phase

7. The evidence indicates that during the late suaiacr or early fallhe Brezhnev-Koaygln leadership,after extensive consultation with tbe Soviet General Staff and the KGB, approved tha Initiation of major deployments of regular Soviet military unite to tbe border area. Inn amy corps headquarters waa transferred from the Afghan to the Sinkiang border. This was qualitatively different fron previous Soviet military mores; it presaged the creationultidivlaioo force, with various combat support units. evel of forces would presumably acquire tactical nuclear weapons oupport vlthln its organization. And ln fact, two ground force divisionsalf dot en airfields have since been added to the corps' present aroa of responsibility. The

I airfield* facilltat* supply of tlw tnUtlnfforocs, and allow for rapid raloforotaasat. If aa eat

8. ha Soviet* decided, prior to thatbe Scviet-dtaogolian Treaty of friendship, fc^pemticn and

Mutual Assistance la6 (with BrubDar and tho fioviot Defeaae Minister preaeat ln Ulan Bator for th*ot only to upgrade the capabilities af the Mongolianut alao to station acrsxtingant of ground forces ind eoabat support unit* In Mongolia. fhU dacialon logicallyoaplsawatary augoacrUtion of tha rear area to tbe north sadolUth* TrantbayKai Military District. Th* accmtlcc to th* TraMbayaal-^tefplia area haa been both quantitativeaa aatay aa six taor* divisions, pin* tactical air and air defaaae aunport,raded*lrfl*ld* ia ojoalitatlvej foro*cow placed th* fcrnar lat Sepvtgr CtanHalar of tha Croup of Scrtat Foroea la Otfaaay ia

' eonannd tbar*.

i If I ti! I f I'

I i. iff if- TPjimf t - t

a coaplooeotary measure, tbe soviets began at about the ssae tiae to flseh oat tbe eight ground force divisions in tbe vicinity with equipment tod apparently manpower; indeed evidenoo aocjadred eincendicates that the soriet* are in the proeese af eetahllemng a* many a* three more ground force division* along th* mancburisn border.

10. in order to enhance the nuclear capability of soviet combat force* near china, no*cow decided to station scalebosxd ausii* unit* in at least three of the four soviet military district* alone the chinese border, the alee ilo* any be theall*, or alaauat of longer range. thee* units sre manned by personnel of tbe strategic rochet roroe*ut it la not clear vhether they will ranaln under control of

moxtMiUn in Moaoow,o tat local Mlltery district connender, orassigned to son*atttaorlty. So far, four Bcsleboard oonplaxai have bean discovered

ut Ir. rlaw of tlw complexity of the weep one end support, skaeoov* th* basicear orin advance of the actual deployment. Th* fact that the Bcaleboard taw not yet been ldantlfied elsewhere In th* Soviet eraed force* underscores the Increased allltawy priority which th* Soviet* now accord to th*ear China.

11. Bine*5 nor* Ba Border Ouard* have arrived, la Asian frontiar areasew Border Ouard district ba* been ereated near the junction of th*aa-HBnchurian border*, th* Soviet* oleln that because incident* continue to occur, it ba* becoa* neoessary to "beraetloaUy seal" the Boviet-mnilent andiijrlan horder*. Bat Hotoov's amin concern since5 bas been tbe potential threat

I t 1 1

posed fay regular Chinese ailibaryather than by an



ocosdlonal foray of Bad Ouard* raving little red booksorder station, or "aooniiki" by th* bank* of th* abut. 2k the regular Soviet solitarylong tb* Chinese

border Incident* with the Chinese here been bandied on the authority of the local Soviet nlUtery district courier rather than through KDB Border Guard Headquarter* in Ho*cow.

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i the major lnprownent of to* ussr's military strength aaar china appear* to ba fyrnmitalng at tha rata sat lnha chines* an inollhnot. aware of noat of tbe soviet efforts; although tbey have not tried to natch tbe soviet reln-fcrceawnt, tbey are undoubtedly concerned.

pan propaganda notwithstanding,

th*robably do notoviet attack. but tbey probably napact with son*that moacow intend* to intiaddat* tbaaal aad to inhibit than specifically from intervanlng more actively in south and south oast aala.

the nombar of soviet ground force dlvialone now deployed china olaoat *ooala tha norber of soviet ground force division* in eastern as many asivisions have been added to the border area sine*u but on* oflnce major alsmsriti of at least five of these division* are aacan to have been sent from tb* western ussr. the origin of the other six has not yet been determined (see

[). Given the present aenpower shortage in Siberia, and the potent Ul for flrtnin eubsesla Central Asia,ikely that lex cow baa chceea to draw units primarily from nu-opaan, !iuvic area-, viewedhole, the Soviet exouad foroe* near China are la all Urallhrv* presently inferior io aanpoaar and aejalrsaant to tha Soviet dlvlalona lo Eastern Europe, nevertheless tbe forsjer are known to bene equipaent la quality to thoae provided Soviet foroae la Weatern


(be measure


in connection with the restitution7 of the poet of couoandex-In-chief of Soviet Ground Forces (or at least tbe fillingoet which bad been vacant. Instead of choosing afrom one of th* acre iaportant allltary districts in the western USSB, or from the Group of Soviet Forces in Oernany, tha Soviet* aalaoted th* comoaoder of tha Far Bast Military District, th* nost lrgortant districtChina. Another development, referred tooviet military Journal ina th* apparently recentof tha "Far East Theater of Military Cfcerationa". Thiserm which Implicitly covers all regular military and border guard unit* near China, plus Mongolian armed forces sod tbe Soviet units now In Mongolia. At present th* Tar Eaat Theater" Isoncept than aa actual allltary echelon. It lllus-

trates, however, that military planners in Moacow hare coos to

1", 1 '! 'Ill

view the strategic reojilremants of th* region as sui goner la.

Rm Soviets soft allow for tha possibility, howeverhat Nk> aad "tha stinking cultural revolution group" could order th* Chlaaa* erned forcea to attack th* USSB. Although Iteaart* possibility at this point, th* Chines* could optasslve Intervention In Southeast Aala,esultant Sioc-UB confrontation leading to Soviet involvaoaot. Or, if th* Cultural Revolution continuea, tbe political order lo China could collapse entirely, pes log for Moscow to* question of whether or not to intervene la sea* manner, Of coura* the Soviet leader* are entitled to exprea* th* bop*ss tbey dothat hho will soon leave th* acene, thusew Chlosss leadership, rational of aiod sad socialist of heart, toh* course ofrelation*. But for th* near tun, at least, th* Boviot Oaoeral Staff can hardly base Its solitary plsaalag on such hep**.

ran ta board op mnceu, ranwTtsi


Motorized Blfle

Timu cof Hot errant


of ^

Sinkiang bordor, Turkestan MD

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of tbeaa dirialona are probably not, at this tine, equivalent la strength or quality to the Soriet divisions now stationed In Eastern Europe.

Original document.

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