NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Reactions to Certain US Ballistic Missile Defense Programs
director Of central inteuigence
UNITED STATES IWEIUGENCE BOARD5
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Reactions to Certain US Ballistic Missile Defense Programs
REACTIONS TO CERTAIN US BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAMS
To estimate thc immediate anti longer term foreign reactionsS decision to deploy ballistic missile defenses.
US will within lhe next year or soecisiondeployment of ballistic missile defenses, either:
small program, along with such other defensive measuresfall-out shelter plan. This program would be intended anddescribedefenseight, unsophisticatedattack, or
much larger program, together with other defensiveextensive than those envisaged under the smallerlarger program would bc clearly intended to provide abut not complete, defenseoviet strategic
program could be subsequently expanded.
US will not have an initial operational capability underuntil the.
I Most cinuilrics would nuke ito ilnlimtton Ulwevn tlx-iimrd pro-g-ry svskiW nut lieticvvUS daimIImh inmilc defense* imiply lu guard agjuwtnim*licy wimM looktin-rogram us meld) ihr first stage nf" Aecurdiiigly, riniiuili.ilc reactions wouldinfluenced imiri: liv lhc decision In deploy tlian 1lhu sito ill tin: program
tin* iiiui-CominiuiLvt world, initi.il iv.ul ton* Ui tlie US ihiisimi would
depend lo some extent mi how thc progiampublicly d If k
announcedogical development in llw US military rflocl andjninv lo Soviet progress in lhc ABM field, and especiallyeir were prior ton suit at ions with friendly governments.in general piobablyild and not unfavorable. Then- would he. nevertheless,avorable reactions, lint we believe thitt those ton wtmltl he generally mild, uf short
duration, ami unlikely toignificantun theof these
euonlrics with llie US.'
I. THE USSR
Any such program would certainly be reported fully in US news media, particularly the military.industrial trade journal* In addition, thc purpose and nature nl tha program would lie described in public announcement! and in news irports attributed to official sources. Thus, the Soviets probably would correctly estimate the general capabilities of rilher of the assumed programs, but they would be unlikely to accept eBk-tal US explanations lhat the smaller program was m: ended primarily to counter tlie type of threat which maybe posed lay Communist China The Soviets almost certainly would sre any US piogiam for ballistic missile defense'ove to reduce the euectivc-neMi of their sliiitcgic aitack forces and would lake into account its ellect upon their strategic position.
In assessing the significance of ihc US decision, the Soviets would beby the value which they attach lo ballistic missile defenses and.egree, by the status of tlieir own program Thc magnitude of the Soviet ABM cflotl pointstrong desirn to obtain missile defenses rapidly. Wc belicvo that the Soviets have no such defenses operational at present, bui wu know that lliuy arc pushing ahead withnd I) eflort. They linve made,tionger attempt in the last yearo to convey tlse impression lhat thev have succeeded in developing HIctIivt ABM systems II tlie Soviet program were progressing well at the time thc US decision is announced, they probably wouldalmer vkv of tlse US move than if their program were lagging It is possible that they would see the US announcement as having been precipitated by recent Soviet claims in lhc area of missile defense.
micsemiiion.. UirvcKir ol Iiitelllecnee ami llii.sttli. Department o( Stnfo.
Tin; Soviet assessment would gn beyond tlic militaiy significance of ihe US decision andell polilical motivations. Tlir Soviets wiHild first ul all view the decision as evidence tli.it the US was intent upon maintaining ils strategic [wsitionis the USSR. While they wouldhat Iheir iiwn ABM program hadnited In tlse US decision. Ilscy wiiuld Judge lhat the US in this instance was willing toi al least sawy to avert.ontinuation of the arms race. Further, it is conceivable lhal they svuuld viesv Ibe. decision asove to force them to make militaiy expend)lures svhich would keep their economy under strain. They might even interpret itign that the US considered nuclear war somewhat more likely in the longer lerm. particularly if the announcement cameime of crisis in, for example. Vietinim. Associated expenditures, furhelter program would prolkthly strengthen the voice of lltnsc advocating this iuterpielation. The Soviets would be likely to interpret tin; cnupliiig of the US announcementisarmament proposal for, say, reducing strategic deliverys part and parcelcheme designed to restrict their strategic capabilities.
Iu lhe* propaganda field, the Soviets almost certainly would charge the US with reducing the prospects for disarmament, and probably svould accusc the US of seeking to increase its capabilities for nuclear war. Over thc longer term, howevci, tlie Soviets probably vs'ould slreu two propaganda lines: one, (luil the concept of "Fortress America" was again gaining Ascendancy in Hie US; the other, that Soviet missile defenses were superior to those of thc US. and that Ihi- latter could not copeoviet strategic missile attack.
In their military planning, the Soviets probably Iiave ;drvndy taken into account the likelihood lhat the US would develop an ABM capability.ihey would feel compelled to respond lo the US move in several ways.which they would consider include; improving the penetration capabilities yf their strategic ballistic missile systems- expanding their ICBM and SLUM development programs beyond present plans; adopting targetingmaller number of key targets, whose defenses ihey would seek to saturate; placing greater emphasis on stialcgic bomber systems and cruise missile submarines, in order to complicate the US defenses; seeking to develop space weapons, and finally, intensifying work on then ABM piogram. It should Ih: noted, however, that lhe Soviels will probably undertake sunic of these advanced weapons programs even if the US implements no ballistic missile defense piogram.
b'. Alternatively, it is poosiblc that, in view of internal Soviet policy debates stemming from the resource demands of tin* military, the US decision might increase pressures on tlie Soviet leaden to stabilize sonic aspects uf anus cotnpe-tiliun. In thisimultaneous newrms control mighl have-somee rale lhe chancesositive Soviel reaction, however, as low.
U. Iu liny event,believe that lhe US decision to deploy ballistic mivsile defenses, hy itself, would not significantly worsen US-Soviet relations. Nor
l lie likely In liave any (liicel in basic clleet on Sovieln existing |inililemit. Vietnam or Iterlin. And we lielieve thai the US decisioni mt change anyhein ants ol Soviet policies toward West-em ftirupr or Communist China.
II. COMMUNIST CHINA
he Chinese missile ami unclear programs art: in such early stage* of (levclopmcill lhal Ihr US decision would have little immediate impact on them. Wc haw estimated lhal llie Chinese could nut have an ICBM strike capability until sometimeeanwhile, the Chinese would be likely lo piisist iu their efforts tohorter rangeapahilily and proceed to experiment and exploit' in thc field of advanced weapons. If in time, huwrvci, thc Chinese would tome In judge the US halli.stic missile deleuscs as highly effective, they uiighl makeoken deployment of any crude ICBM or submarine-launched balli'lic missile system wliich they might develop, svhile eunliiiuingu more suphislicatcd sysiems. We heb'eve thai the US decision in itself would not cause (hr Chinese toubmarine-launched cnii.ve missile licet to thioiileu therogram which they might in any evcnl undertake.
flic political field, Peking would exploit those exaggeratedChina's miliiary strength which would arise from the public discussionsmaller programefense against China. At thc same time, Ihccertainly would claim lhat lhc US was stepping up its efforts alTbc US decision, however, might increase Ihe anxieties oflenderst: US intends ultmtalely to attack China.
III. WESTERN EUROPE
believe that West European reactions lo tlie US decision wouldmild * Tbcie would be some initial, unfavorable public commcntaiy,
DireclorntellupiHi: amirxli. Dc|Uiriiui.-ni ul Slate, believes Hut lliit net ItirlgnH'Ot Ic overly re-muring comer ning the .lU'Crw lean Hint tvlnili toiilil he set in inutloii, iii tarying degrees, in1 in Frame. Oriiiany. and England.
If Western liurout:iain without bullion- unsS'lc defenses, while Isolli llie USn- USSR were deployioi; them.elements io Eurnpe would ut* lo fitl ih.it ton-sii.iintt to ilie inilialion nf miilcurliail dim in idled, ilmt IjiciiI nppit'livnikiiu inei US )tnli;mcnis in themi|<ht In- |ii>tili<il. iliat the inulltbillioii dolUiieixhturet for limnc tleluiw icfletU'dfurther dnvr.unn ol US ilra'cgii: tiiliic-tt anil iup|xirt li'Mii tin' NATOihat ivissibili'.Hi loi tviurtly nriiiOj^-nH'iiU outside llie iraniatuiiitt framework should tieiKiI. and lliat l'Uiro|icaiit >lioultl in aoy caseilicmsclvci from any involvement in US-USSII confianiatiom oiitsiih' ol Europe.
These rcsiitBuv. wonioIHm.iI contest wlm-li mold generate qhIti dami* in Bonn for jo imicno) Mo regie idle, giuniin eonvieliOn in Pari* that it oaultl Succeed inupli'ng iriislinjr. NATOmi greater jwrssures in laMtdonnanefront poliiK.il
M'jipoit oi tlie USiturn: Uide|H'ildi-iiI ink- inVei( relation*
While llrf-se problems may mil be iutui immutable, llie Dlmlor of Inldlieencc and llesearili, IX-paOineni of Si.il', Ix-lk'n that they wuuld Ikn-aii-rin lands llie ilmii iml lunger termllow*..
primarily fiom cimiccmi imi hlc intensification nl (he unm nil'urther (hiiiiiHiliiHt nl llx- pmspccls Iinsl-Wcst detente. Thu concern would prnhnhly In- heightened hy Suviciicliim- iiikI. ii.tt-luuUnly. by fcurshe USSH would mil. ihaslic rcsp.discsilitary uaturc. iiiiscniHcptions .iIhmiI (Ih- limiiaiimis .mil mililaiy sigmfu ,iih llistieilili iim' mighto (licse Ic.iiv 'I Ih- aiinoiineiininl of llie decision might Im used in mmim-Hurler* as pruul ull hi US |tolnj Inward aArnciica .ind mn tli.il (Ir US wasning lo think iiikUji i-t |Ik* lunger Icnn Tlirrr would aha lie. ..og'* amount ulv iijj.iidnig the iIvcimi*'. umv mM
West Euro [ten is of .tilleanings <igjrd litegeneral nuclear
mote In .iiltliintii ifl.ui limn were gisuiie US in advance or at llie liinc of the puhlit announcement. uiif.it or able reactions caused byUncle* could Im- dampened.
hose Wesl1 officials who assert there already is aluMween US .ind West European sfialegie lult-rcjils wouldIhc US decision at fuithi'i (nstifk-.ilinn of thiii position If the USof lhe smaller program cmphasi/cd defemu ngninstallies uf US |Mihcy svould allege that incicatitig AmericanMia would, vonucr or later, compel die US I" reduce
Western Europe. De Caulk and Ins stippottci* would assiduously propagate such views. On (lie other hand, those government* and oflkial* svImi favor dose relations with the US and coot mi ic lo plate tlicir trust in US vrilhrigncra to defend Western Euiopeoviet attack would ptolialslv support lhc US decision- Tltrv svould regard Iht-ployim-nt of lullrstk mivt-ilr drfetw> as enhancing American capabilities to defer fhe USSH. They unuld probably sec no lessening in the ability of tlte US to indict unacceptable damage on the USSH, even if the Soviets res|iondetl bv strengthening their nllcnsivc missile forces or intensifying work on llteiirogram. Over lhe longer term, wc see little likelihood that the Wesl Euroitiansinclude that improved US defenses weakened Ihe deteiients to the outbreak of nuclei" wai. Iuwc believe that the deployment oi hallidic missile defenses by the US would notajor lactoi inuropean rclIn tliefuture
he UK would |noh*hly he intin-*lidiiimig iiiii*ik- tU-lciucv hut it would not Ik |ire|>aiedeiiil much mnrtrveployment programighly effective system wat avaibhtV. Allhuugh lhe West Ciini.ni Cmxtn-HKilt would aim support tin* US tlrttiim. Itnund proltalily lienlia.itt US strategic missile defense mid ils own clcfcnselcssncss .igaiml Soviel missile* Some Wi-sl German nlhoal* might argue that the "isks uf gineial war would mi longer be shared eipialty with the US, and thev would be encoiuagcd in this aigumenl by de Caidle. fliuv, lhe already growing Westesire fur more Inlhiencc In the nuclear strategy of the Weslerlliance migln in the longer term helengthened bv the US decision These same West Ci-imau official* might even express a
desire Co acquire missile defenses, bul tlx* majorily view lo (lie jyivcimnenl would prol>al)ly Ik- againsttep, al least until there was convincing pioof that such defenses svould actually Ik; efleetivt against lhc Soviet threat tu WcAt Ceniuuiy.
sian reactions tu Ihe US decision probably would lie inise<l.ince most Asian* are more concerned svith the Chinese Cihimhi-nist lliie.it tluin with that posed by the USSR, the fact that the US rated the Chinese nuclear threat as re.[iiiiing an "anti-Chinese" ballistic missile defense would tend lo heighten fears of Communist China in some quarters. On the other hand, some Asians would lie likely to view the US decision asontinuing US policy to contain China. At thc papular level, then-would bc even more apathy aboul Ihe US action than in Western Europe, anil nny unfavorable public icactions probably would be short-lived. Those Asian governments and officials who now support most US policies would accept the US decision, and those who do not would oppose it. We lielieve that, on balance, thc US decision svould have no basic or significant effect on USwith the Asian nations.
ver thc longer term, as Chinese strategic capabilities became more apparent, Indto and Australia might wish lo obtain ballistic missile defenses from the US, but high costs would probably discourage them. Tlic geographic situation of Taiwan would make its defense against ballistic missiles mostnevertheless, tlie CRC mighl seek to acquire such defenses. The Japanese, although not presently as concerned as sonic other Asians that Chinailitary threat In them, might develop an interest in obtaining ballislic missile defenses.
believe that most of the Latin American and African governmentspeoples svould noi react strongly, if at all. lo the US decision. Theysee lhe US move as another manifestation of American militarygeneral, however, any US action implying that Communist China hadlo attack llu: US with ballistic missiles would considerablyin the opinion of Ihc Latin Americans and Africans.
THREATS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES
arc. at present, no counlries oilier than the USSH andwhich might acquire missile forces which could atlack the US and have the motivation to do SO. Tlie possibility will always exist,
'Taking inlo account the negative CHitluV'aliwi adducedrngiap)ii IShe Director of Jnit-llleeii,* Itcwanri. UiipiirliiwnlSinie. believes tin- net aiiewmeid re-
fli.i'li'il In e ovedy ii-.nuuiiiif.
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White House National Security Council Deportmenl of Stoto Department ol Defense Alomk Energy Commission Federal Bureau of InvestigationOriginal document.