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Main Trends in Soviet Military Policy
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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Main Trends in Soviet Military Policy
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE PROBLEM 1
I. RECENT PROBLEMS IN SOVIET MILITARY POLICY 5
Problems of Strategy and
Problems of Resource Allocation
The Balance of
II. FACTORS AFFECTING FUTURE SOVIET MILITARY
TRENDS IN MILITARY PROGRAMS
Strategic Attack Forces
OF MORE DRASTIC
MAIN TRENDS IN SOVIET MILITARY POLICY
To review significant developments in Soviet militarypolicy, and programs, and to estimate main trends in Soviet military policies over the next six years.
This estimate focuses upon broad trends in Soviet military policy and doctrine. It does not attempt to recapitulate existing NIEs on Soviet strategic attack, air defense, and genera! purpose forces. Our most recent detailed estimates on the size,and capabilities of these principal components of the Soviet military forces are as follows:
: Soviet Capabilities for Strategic Attack.OP SECRET (Umiled Distribution)
oviet Bloc Air and Missile Defense Capabilities Through1nd Memorandum to Holders of.oth TOP SECRET
apabilities of the Soviet General PurposeECRET
A. The Soviets see the present situation as one in which both sides are deterred from deliberately initiating general war or from knowingly initiating courses of action which would involve grave risk ofar. They undoubtedly recognize the superiority of the* US in strategic power, but they are confident that theyredible deterrent based on both their massiveagainst Eurasia and their growing intercontinentalforces. Thus, the Soviet leaders do not regard the deliberate
initiation of general wareasible course of action either for themselves or for the West. Moreover, despite increased Soviet attention to the possibility of limited wars with the West, wo believe that they will remain very reluctant to commit their own forces to such wars.
recent years, there hasontroversy in thethe size and kinds of forces required to safeguard thethe nation and to support its foreign policies.is heavily concerned with the political uses of militaryemphasized the deterrent role of nuclear weapons, hasreliance on nuclear missile forces, and has soughtback other forces In order to hold military spending inhas been opposed by most of the seniorwho have been more concerned to havear should deterrence fail, including largefor use in all stageseneral war.
resulting policy has been to build up strategicand defensive capabilities while maintaining andgeneral purpose forces. Costly new requirements forweapons have been superimposed upon the demandslarge existing military establishment, and spending onspace activities has increased by an8he political leadership hasconcerned about growing economic problemsconsiderable measure by the rise in defense expendituresthe growing military demand for scarce material andof high quality. Economic problems have nowand the Soviets have embarked on large newscheduled to run through the rest of the decadeof these programs are certain to clash with those ofincluding defense. )
believe that the Soviets will strive to hold downspace expenditures. Wc think it very unlikely that thewould halt or sharply cut back programs to producestrategic weapons to which substantial resources arecommitted, although stretch-out could occur foror technical reasons. The Soviets will continuemilitary research andatter ofbut we believe that they will use more selectivity in in-
troducing expensive follow-on weapon systems, and that they will decide to postpone or stretch out some military or spacewhich are now in planninghases. Despite Soviet cflorts to economize, we do notubstantial decline in defense expenditures, and they may continue to rise. But the rapid growth rate of recent years will probably not be maintained.)
do not believe that the Soviets expect to achieve aposture which would make rational the deliberategeneral war. We believe that their objective will bethe credibility of the Soviet deterrent through abuildup and improvement of strategic forces,Our evidence does not indicate that the Soviets areto outstrip or even to match the US Ln numbers ofdelivery vehicles, but their development of highweapons and compatible delivery vehicles stronglythat they may be seeking to improve their positionthe West by increasing the destructive power of theirinferior strategic attack forces. We believe that byof the decade they will have several hundred ICBMsizable force of missile submarines,ignificant,force of bombers. If our estimates are correct,will not be able totrategy of destroyingstriking forces prior to launch, but they will have aof attacking major US cities and soft militarywellapability for retaliation even after an initial
addition, the Soviets might hope throughdeployment of an antimissile system to offset USto some extent. The Soviets have beenflort in the antimissile field, but we dothat they have yet succeeded inystemagainst strategic missiles which is effective andto justify the vast expenditure of resources requiredABM deployment. It is possible, though by nothat the Soviets will achieveystem withinof this estimate. When and if they do so, theycertainly wish to defend key urban-industrial areas, and
they may seek to defend some portion of their ICBM force in order to strengthen their deterrent. We believe that the Soviets intend toapability to counter US military satellites; they couldimited antisatellite capabilityew months by modifying existing equipment, but we have noofevelopment.
believe that some manpower reductions will beat the expense of theater forces; but these forcesremain sizable through the remainder of thetheir modernization will continue. It Is possible thatnext few years, the Soviets will seek to improve theirlimited capabilities for distant, limited militaryUSSR will continue to improve Its ASW and anticarrierprimarily through the application of improvedsystems and long-range aircraft to these missions.however, that Soviet capabilities to conduct surfaceASW operations in open oceans will remain
have considered the possibility that, contrary tothe Soviet leaders will decide onajoror decrease in their military effort during the nextorajor increase seems very unlikely in viewSoviet economic situation, the unlikelihood that such anwould add measurably to Soviet military security oropportunities, and the probability that the US wouldmatch or even overmatch the Soviet effort. If,research and development should produceignificant improvement in theircapabilities, the Soviet leaders would seek toand undoubtedly would consider an increase in militaryA substantial reduction in the Soviet militaryseems very unlikely, in view of the Soviet interests andthat operate against large-scale unilateral militarythe inhibitions on Soviet accession to arms reductionwith adequate provisions for verification.think that the Soviets will probably continue to seek waysthe arms raceoderate degree by "mutualunilateral, uninspected moves by both sides. )
I. RECENT PROBLEMS IN SOVIET MILITARY POLICY
A number of factors have long affected the character of Soviet military policy. The Communist world outlook and its view of the role of military power have made the building of powerful armedrimary objective of the Soviet regime. Oeography and the traditions bound up with historical experience have Inclined the Sovietsilitary preoccupation with Western Europetress on large-scale ground combat. The capabilities and structure of opposing forces, particularly those of the US, have influenced both the size and shape of Soviet forces, and In recent years have enlarged and complicated Soviet military requirements. Perhaps most important, the technological and economic base of the USSR has offered prospects for more effective weapons, but has also Imposed limits beyond which military forces could not be built without great sacrifice in other national programs.
We have clear evidenceontinuing controversy about military policy in the USSR over the past several years. The central issue in this controversy has been determination of the force structure required to safeguard the security of the nation and to support its foreign policies. The most Important viewpoints have been those represented byon the one hand, and most of tho senior military leaders, on the other.
Three major differences have distinguished Khrushchev's approach to defense policy from that of these military leaders. First, Khrushchev has emphasized the deterrent role of nuclear and missile weapons and he has concluded that the growth of these weapons makes general war inadmissible in the present era. while the military arc more concerned to have forces adequate toar should it occur. Second.has asserted thateneral war did occur, it would almostbe short, with conventional forcesuite secondary role. Finally, Khruchshcv Is far more concerned than the marshals to keep military expenditures in check in order to meet pressing needs in the civilian economy.
All these considerations have been involved in Khrushchev'sefforts at reorganization and reductions in the Soviet armed forces, along lines which he first publicly advocated In0 Broadly speaking. Khruchshev hasorce structure which placed main reliance on nuclear and missile forces, and which permittedreductions in the strength of other forces and an accelerated retirement of older weapons. He has argued thatorce structure was best suited both toar and to light one If necessary; more-
over, tc would release badly needed resources to the civilian economy. Khrushchev's concept of force structure and Its strategic justification have been opposed by most of the military leadership. Fromhimself, we know that the force reductions Initiated0 were accepted only reluctantly by the military, and our evidence indicates that the reductions had stalled even before they were publicly suspendedstensibly because of the Berlin crisis.
Problem* of Strategy and Doctrine
The controversy over force structure both reflected andebate over military doctrine and strategy for general war.has been supportedinority among military writers, who have adopted his "modernist" view, stressing the primacy of nuclear and missile weapons. These writers have contendedeneral nuclear war is likely to be short, with the outcome determined by events In the initial phase. The "traditionalist" and majority view among thehas been that despite the advent of new weapons, general war is likely to be protracted, that ground combatass scale willto be of major importance, and that victory will require theaction of all arms.ultl-million man army. Out of theompromise has emerged which embraces the views of both of these schools.
On the question ofeneral war might begin, most Sovietwritings assume deliberate, surprise attack by the US. although some consider escalation from limited warew allow for the possibility that general war would begin accidentally. The criticality of the initial perioduclear war and the importance of surprise have led some military writers toorm ot pre-emptive action by thespoiling" or "blunting" action launched coincident with or slightly before an enemy attack. However, the doctrinalof which we are aware do notoviet first strike In the standard scenario, the USSRuclear attack, regains the initiative, and goes on to prosecute the war.
Current Soviet doctrine holdseneral war will inevitably involve the large-scale use of nuclear and other weapons of massbeginningtrategic exchange which may decide the course and outcome of the war in its initialelatively brief but not clearly defined period of time. To the Soviets, the importance of this phase implies the necessity to use all available forces at the outseteneral war; the doctrinal writings available to us have noted and rejected such US concepts as controlled response and damagestrategies. Moreover, no restraint is evident in targeting concepts for the initial phaseeneral war; while enemy nuclear striking forces are evidently to be the primary targets or Soviet nuclear strikes.
powerful nuclear blows are also lo be directed against communication and control centers, industrial and population centers, and groupings of enemy armed forces.
the primary role attributed lo nuclear and missileSoviet doctrine envisions the commitment of large theaterat the outseteneral war. It is argued that, even ifis relatively short, large forces of all types would be requiredcomparable enemy forces, to overrun base areas, and toin Eurasia. Moreover. It Is also held that the conflict mayrather than brief and that, in this case, extensivewould be required. Thus, current Soviet doctrinemilitary policy emphasizing strategic attach and defensesupports as well the maintenance of large general purposeuse in all phases of general war.
we believe that debate continues, not only over subsidiarybut over central tenets of doctrine as well. Certain key issues, such as the decisiveness of the initial phase, evidently remain unresolved. Moreover, certain vital questions" seem to have been ignored. Forwhile purporting to deallobal war in which all types of weapons are employed, the current military writings to which we have access concern themselves almost exclusively with theater forces In Europe. Adequate consideration is not .given to the effectstrategic nuclear exchange on subsequent operations. Virtually no attention Is given to the way ineneral war might be broughtuccessful conclusion; it seems to be assumed either that US society would collapse as the result of the initial nuclear attack, or thatong war the Soviet system would prove the more durable.
The doctrinal debate, as far as we know, has not dealt with limited war. It is possible that discussion has been limited by official attitudes. Public Soviet statements have usually insistedimited war which involved the major nuclear powers would inevitably escalate intowar. Official pronouncements to this effect have almost certainly been designed in large part to deter the West from the local use of force, but they have probably also reflected Soviet fears of becoming involved in limited war. The Soviets now appear to be modifying their position to allow for the possibility thatimited war involving the major nuclear powers would not necessarily escalate to general war. They may now be persuaded that in the present strategic situation, the initial military reactionsocal crisis would be limited, and that it is therefore not in the Soviet national interest to be doctrinallyto inevitable escalation.
These developments do not mean that the Soviets have reached the conclusion that they now have greater freedom to initiate limited military action in areas where Western forces are likely to become in-
volvcd. In view of the increasingly grave consequences of escalation, we believe that over the next few years the Soviets will remain veryto commit their own forces to limited warfare against Western forces. Should they nevertheless become directly involvedimited war with US or allied forces, they would almost certainly seek to prevent escalation both by restraint in the employment of their own forces, and by political means, Despite recent Soviet references to theof limited war Involving tactical nuclear weapons, we consider it highly unlikely that the USSR would introduce such weaponsimited conflict.
n the other hand, the Soviets have repeatedly expressed approval of another type of limited military conflict, which theywar of nationaln which pro-Soviet or anti-Western forces seek to overthrow colonial or pro-Western regimes. The USSR has rendered active assistance In some cases and little or none in others, depending upon broad political considerations and such practical factors asand the risk of defeat. For the most part, the Soviets have provided little in the way of significant military aid to supplement their moral support. But, sometimes, as in the case of Indonesia and the UAR, the Soviets have provided advanced military equipment and personnel to existing governments in the belief that Soviet politicalcan be increased or "national liberation" struggles against Western positions developed. As new and favorable opportunities arise, the USSR will continue to ofTer various kinds of assistance, including both clandestine support for "anticolonial" dissident movements and overt military assistance to friendly non-Bloc regimes. Ic may do this more frequently and aggressively in the future; we believe it unlikely, however, that the Soviets will openly commit their own forces to conflicts In which theyirect confrontation with US forces.
Problems of Resource Allocation
n general, Soviet military policy in recent years has been to build up strategic offensive and defensive capabilities, whileand improving large general purpose forces. The effect has been to superimpose costly new requirements for advanced weapons upon the demandsarge existing military establishment. Ourindicates that Soviet defense expenditures,ecline, increased in each of the last six years. We estimate that Soviet defense3 were5 billion rubles, or aboutercent higher thanf incurred in the US, these costs would have beenillion, orercent of comparable US expenditures. As indicated in the following table, the main Impetus
' Our estimates ot Soviet defense expenditures include coses of nuclear weapons. Space, andnd D. much of which isn Soviet budget accounts other than "defense."
for this growth has been provided by the continuing buildup in forces for strategic attack and defense and by extensive research and
ESTIMATED DISTfitBUTlON Of SOVIET DEFENSE'
Command and Support
Most of the figures In this utile are derived from detailed calculaUons of the estimated magnitude aod cotU of individual programs to deploy and operate elcmenU of the Soviet mUiUry establishment. These caleu-UUons produce numbers whichigh degree of accuracy. In fact, however, these numbers are subject to consWeraKe uncertainty and should not be considered at precise measures.
estimated expenditures for reserve training. militarizedforces irtd para.-ni.itary training In additionHiaiMd UHl support for the active mlllUry esUblUhment
xpenditures .'or military equipment, nuclear energy, and all space programs. These ftgures are derived from analysis of published Soviet financial data, and do not represent deUlltd calculationscUvltles.
Estimated Soviet defense expenditures in recent years have taken on the order of one-tenthrowing GNP or roughly the same share as in the US. However, they haveuch greater impact on the economy than this comparison Implies. For one thing, we estimate that Soviet GNP is roughly half the size of US GNP. Moreover, the newer, more complex weapons systems, which account for most of the increase in military expendituresequire high quality, scarce material and human resources. We estimate that procurementfor missiles, nuclear warheads, and ground electronics3 were as large as the total of all military procurement8 The burden of defense programs on certain key sectors of the economy is also greater in the USSR than in the US. For example, defense consumed aboutercent of Soviet durable goods production3 astoercent in the US.
Soviet military programs of the past several years have also levied new requirements for military manpower upon the economy. Since the low point which resulted from0 force reductions, there has been
a slight increase in the total size of the military establishment, which now stands at an55 million men. More important, inyears there has been an increased demand for skilled personnel,because of the growth of missile-equipped elements of Sovietforces. Sincehe estimated number of men assigned to strategic defense has increased by one-third, and the manpower in strategic attack forces has at least doubled. The lengthy training needed to supply such personnelubstantial training pipeline for these forces. Further, these forces must be maintainedigh degree of readiness and at full strength at all times. The resulting personnelare difficult to meet, and arc likely to remain so.
1C. The USSR is noweriod of increasingly severe competition for resources among the various sectors of its economy. Increased defense expenditures have greatly contributed to the squeeze on resources, and have also restricted the kinds of expenditures which might haveeconomic growth. As the economic situation has worsenedhe Soviet leaders have attempted to restore the growth rate to its previous high levelsumber of moves which were, lo* the most part, short-range expedients and largely unsuccessful. The situation has now reached an acute stage, as unusually severe agricultural difficulties have exacerbated the cumulative effects of declining rates of growth inand industrial production.
The Balance of Power
The course on which Soviet foreign policy launchedas built on the expectation that the USSR, for the first time In thestruggle, was about toajor advantage in strategicKhrushchev was evidently persuaded by this prospect to believe that the West could be forced into concessions. The intervening five years have demonstrated, however, not only that the US was capable of resisting this challenge, but also that it could outpace the USSR in the field or strategic weapons, while at the same time strengthening itspurpose forces.S military and intelligence programs ledituation in which both sides, and indeed much of world opinion, understood that the strategic advantage did not lie with the USSR, even though the ability of the USSR to damage the US was Increasing. It was against this background that the Soviets undertook theof strategic missiles to Cuba. Through this venture, they sought touick and relatively inexpensive advance in both the image and substance of Soviet power. Instead, both the deployment and Its reversalacit public admission that the USSR wasosition of strategic inferiority.
In the aftermath or the Cuban crisis, the Soviet leaders were still confronted by the very problems which their Cuban missile venture had been intended to solve. The overall balance of power between Past and
West remained unfavorable. The economic strain of the armsloomed as costly as ever. There is evidence of considerableand re-evaluation in Soviet policy since the failure of the Cuban missile venture, although since aboutumber ofhave occurred which suggest the general direction Khrushchev proposes to follow. In the economic sphere, short-term plansave been revised in order to shift resources, notably to the chemical industry. Consistent with this hashange in foreign policybeginning with the test ban, in an effort to relax East-West tensions. The attempt toore favorable international climate. In turn, has allowed Khrushchev to secure reductions in the overt defense budget as well as to propose some reductions in military manpower. The sum total of these various steps in related fields suggests that Khrushchev has settledeneral line of policy to contain the arms race, if onlyimited way, and to reduce some of its burden on the Soviet economy,
strategic terms, this line of policyecognitionnecessity lo accept the general balance of power which emergedCuban crisis. Presently, and for some time to come, theforces will be numerically inferior to those of the US andto attack. The Soviet leaders must recognize, therefore,US wouldonsiderable advantage should il strike first,the relative Invulnerability, the fast reaction time, and theof US strategic poweroviet first strike completelyNevertheless, In assessing the military balance, the Sovietsthat theyredible deterrent based on bothcapabilities to devastate Eurasia and their growingstriking power. Thus, the Soviets see the present situationin which both sides are deterred from deliberately initiatingor from knowingly initiating courses of action which wouldrisk ofar.
II. FACTORS AFFECTING FUTURE SOVIET MILITARY POLICY
decisions as to force structure and military programsseveral years are likely to be made in the context of aIn which, although the USlear strategic advantage,of rough mutual deterrence exists. The Soviets will seektheir strategic capabilitiesis the US, however,will be Influenced by the continuing strain on economicand the pressure arising from competition with the US Inand technological developments with military applications.will be greatly influenced also by the Soviet estimate ofsituation, the opportunities which it affords, and thewhich military power can make to the realization of these
We believe that in these circumstances the primary concern ot Soviet policy will be to continue to strengthen their deterrent against US attack primarilyradual buildup of ICBMs, hardening of sites, and increased mobility through missile submarines. At one tune the Soviets may have considered an attempt to achieve capabilitiesto neutralize US strategic forcesirst strike, and they almost certainly have also considered the lesser goal of achieving rough parity with the US in intercontinental weapon systems. In the aftermath of Cuba they may haveubstantial increase in theireffort. Our evidence does not indicate, however, that the Soviets are presently attempting to match the US In numbers ofdelivery vehicles. Recognition that the US would detect and match or overmatch such an effort, together with economic constraints, appears to have ruled out this option. On the other hand, available evidence on the development of large nuclear warheads and compatiblevehicles strongly suggests that the Soviets may be seeking to improve their position relative to the West by increasing the destructive power of their numerically Inferior intercontinental strategic attack forces.
Continuation of present lines of policy will ensure the Sovietsrowing credibility for their deterrent. However, the dynamism of Soviet policy dependsreat extent on the proposition that theof forces in the world is shifting in favor of the Communist world. The Sino-Soviet rupture has already badly damaged this thesis, as has the inability of the Soviets to match the West in military power. It is conceivable that at someoviet leadership would come tothat they had to forego their expansionist aims, unless they could greatly improve their relative military strength, or at least refurbish the world's image of this strength. They might even be willing to make new economic sacrifices or assume some risks in order to accomplish this. What precise programs they might undertake in pursuit of such an aim we cannot now say, but we cannot rule out that changes in the scale or character of Soviet programs would come about in this way.
Internal political considerations resulting from changes in the leadership could have Important consequences for military policy. It is likely that Khrushchev will have passed from the scene by the end of the decade, and the ages of the marshals suggest that there willholesale replacement of the top military leadership In this period. What the attitude and policiesew set of leaders will be cannot be estimated with any certainty. If, as we believe likely, economic and military questions are still paramount issues when Khrushchev departs, the professional advice of the military is likely to grow in Importance. The chances for important changes in military policy may improverotracted succession struggle develops, but we believe it unlikely that radical departures would occur unless at the same time there werechanges in the economic or strategic situations confronting the USSR.
ost of other changes and opportunities could alsomilitary policy and force structures. For example,hostility toward the USSR could retard reductions Inforces by strengthening the arguments of the traditionalistsposing the need for augmented garrisons near the Chineseaddition. Communist China's unremitting challenge to theleadership of the world Communist movement may increaseto support "wars of nationalituationswhich would offer the Soviets an opportunity for extendingcapabilities through foreign bases or logistic facilities. Astrengthening of NATO would probably also increase Sovietwith respect to reductions, as might the further loosening ofhold on its European Satellites. Soviet militaryalso be affected by shifts In the political and militaryWestern nations, or by new criseseightening ofWhile developments such as these are unlikely to bringchanges in Soviet military policy, they would probablypace of evolution in policy and force structure.
We believe that over the next several years the Soviets will strive to hold down defense and space expenditures so as to release scarce resources to other sectors of the economy. Despite Soviet efforts to economize, we do notubstantial decline in Soviet military expenditures, and they may continue to rise. But the rapid growth rates of recent years probably will not be maintained.
The announced four percent reduction In the overt defense budget4 does not necessarily mean that Soviet defense spending will in fact be smaller than before. In the past, planned and actual Soviet military expenditures have differed. Moreover, the published defense budget has covered only about two-thirds of estimated Soviet defense expenditures In recent years. The announced reduction in the defense budget may reflect to some extent anticipated savings from reductions in military manpower, although we have no evidence that forceare currently underway. In the longer term, some reductions in military manpower will almost certainly be made. But. while reductions in manpower alone could effect some savings, even drastic cuts would not solve the basic Soviet economic problem: the scarcity of high quality resources.
The Soviets could make scarce resources available to the economy in the short term by sharply cutting back or abruptly halting current programs for the production and deployment of major weaponsto which substantial resources are presently committed. Such extreme measures would be highly wasteful of resources, however, and they would almost certainly encounter strong resistance from the mlll-
tary. Considering the reliance which Khrushchev apparently places on the deterrent effect oi strategic weapons, we think it unlikely that he would propose drastic interruptions in current deployment programs, but stretch-out could occur for either technical or economic reasons.
It seems to us more likely that the Soviet leadership sees theas an advantageous time to plan for longer term savings in scarce resources by canceling, curtailing, deferring, or stretching out theand deployment of some of the follow-on weapon systems which are now under development. Our evidence indicates that certain very large programs are approaching completion. The deployment of MRBMs and LRBMs appear to be virtually complete; while wecontinued improvement of these systems, lt seems unlikely that they need to be completely replaced by follow-on systems in the next five years or so. The deployment ofefenses will probably be substantially completed in the next year or two, and it appearsthat deployment of the low altitudeill reach the scale of therogram. Thus, completion or near-completion of these very large programs will probably make resources available for other uses.
Programs for follow-on offensive and defensive systems are almost certainly under continuing review. Potential military claimants for additional resources include follow-on ICBM and missile submarineantisubmarine warfare systems, advanced aircraft for various purposes, another round of new equipment for theater ground forces, and military space systems. If the Soviets program early anddeployment of such systems, many of the resources freed by the completion of other major military programs would be absorbed. But it is also possible for them to adjust military programs so as to channel resources into nonmilitary sectors of the economy.
Overshadowing all other potential military claimants forhowever, would be the deployment of ABM defenses. In this field, the evidence strongly suggests that despite intensiveefforts over many years, the Soviets have not yet been successful inystem for defense against strategic missiles which they consider satisfactory. The Soviet leaders have apparently thus far authorized only very limited deployment, and we believe that they have not yet decided whether to commit the vast resources needed lo provide ABM defensesajor portion of their population andConsidering the long lead times involved in the deployment of soystem, it is possible that,ecision is delayed two or three years,arge ABM deployment program would not begin toajor impact on the economy much before the end of the decade. If at that time. Soviet strategic striking forces have reached planned
levels, resources could be diverted to an ABM program. Unless some such diversion of resources can be made within the militaryany large-scale ABM deployment program willtrongpressure on Soviet military expenditures.
Soviet space program must also have come underthe Soviet leaders in their search for the high-quality resourcesfor economic expansion. The space program to date hasuse of military facilities and hardware. The programscarce resources, however, and ambitious future spaceinvolving more specialized facilities and hardware, wouldincrease the drain on resources. Limitations in availablealmost certainly prevent the Soviets from pursuing all thewhich would be within their technical capabilities withinWc do not expect any major and obvious cutback inactivities, but the resources pinch may cause the Soviets tostretch out certain expensive, long-term space programs .whichcontemplated.
The high and increasing cost ofnd the current budgetary squeeze will undoubtedly force some reappraisals by Soviet planners, especially on highly expensive developmental projects. Some programs considered to be of marginal utility may be cut back orHowever, evidence available Indicates continued large-scale efforts in the major categories ofnd D: ballistic missiles, ABMs. nuclear submarines, ASW, aircraft, nuclear weapons, and CW. Further, we see continued efforts of considerable magnitude on the scientific fronts supporting military requirements, such as computer technology, meteorology, oceanography, geophysics, and electronics. This evidence Indicates that reductions in the present level of Soviet expenditures forre unlikely, although there is some evidence that the rate of growth is declining.
The Soviets almost certainly consider that they can Ill-afford to fall behind the USn advanced weapons systems. Further, Soviet statements and writings have suggested that the Soviet leaders see in technologicaleans for possibly improving their strategic position relative Lo the US. They will continue to makeresearch andatter of high urgency, andemonstrated capability to concentrate human and material resources on priority objectives. Even with economic factors imposing restraints on military policy, the Soviets will seek urgently to develop newor weapons which give promise of significant military and political advantage. Such weapons or concepts, if successfully developed, would be prime candidates for rapid addition to the Soviet arsenal. We do
not believe, however, that Soviet policy can be based on the expectation of achieving technological advances or breakthroughs of suchthat they would reverse the strategic balance within the period of this estimate.
III. FUTURE TRENDS IN MILITARY PROGRAMS
preceding discussion forecasts no drastic Increase orthe total Soviet military effort 'within the present decade. Ouron current Soviet military development and deploymentpointsresent Soviet intention toargeand to continue improving its capabilities.force structure, this continuation of policy by no meansstatic situation. We believe that the next several years willchanges in the Soviet military posture, but thatare more likely to be evolutionary than revolutionary in nature.
the buildup of strategic strike forces, the Soviets havebeen placing major emphasis upon weapons forparticularly ICBMs. We believe that by the end of thewill have several hundred ICBMizable force ofsubmarines,ignificant though reduced force of bombers.ICBM force, qualitative improvement will be emphasized; wethe Soviets will introduce follow-on systems characterized bylarger payloads, better reliability, and easier handlingWe believe that they will also attempt to improvebyreater proportion of their ICBMs in hardproviding their submarines with submerged launch ballisticlonger range than their present surface launched missiles, and bythe readiness ot their strategic forces. If our estimatesthe Soviets will not be able totrategy ofnuclear striking forces prior to launch, but they will have aof attacking major US cities and soft military targets, as wellcapability for retaliation even after an Initial US attack.
3d. We believe that Soviet strategic attack forces intended for Eurasian operations are nearing planned levels. The large missile forces deployed primarily against Europe will probably remain at about their presentut survivability will be enhanced through hardening and possibly by the introduction of ground mobile systems. The medium bomber force will probably decline in size over the next several years, but capabilities will probably Improve with the continued introduction of supersonic aircraft. Thus the Soviets will maintain massive forces for strategic attack in Eurasia and will improve the quality of these forces
Although the Soviets are aware ot planned reductions in US bomber forces, this threat willatter of great concern for the period of this estimate. The massive defenses deployed over the past several yearseasure of the Soviets' concern with thisand our evidence Indicates that the Soviets are continuing to strengthen these defenses. The total number of Interceptor aircraft will probably decline,arger percentage of the remaining force will be all-weather types. Deployment of theor low-altitudewill continue, probablycale sufficient to supplement the existing medium and high altitude defenses around the more important targets and astride what the Soviets consider to be the more likely peripheral penetration routes. It is possible that more attention will be given to sheltering the civil population from fallout, but in view of construction needs in the economy, we doubtarge-scale shelter program will be undertaken.
The Soviets might hope through development and deployment of an antimissile system to offset US strategic superiority to some extent. The available evidence leads us to conclude that the Soviets have not yet been successful in developing effective and reliable systems for defense against strategic missiles. We believe that the Soviets would not regard as acceptable for wide-scale deployment any ABM system that does not have continuous readiness and an almost Instantaneous reaction time togetherery high level of accuracy, reliability, andConsidering the effort devoted to ABM development, it Is possible, though by no means certain, that the Soviets will achieveystem within the period of this estimate. When andatisfactory system is developed, the Soviet leaders will have to consider the great cost of large-scale deployment. They would almost certainly wish to defend key urban-industrial areas and they may seek to defend some portion of their ICBM force In order to strengthen their deterrent. Beyond thesewe cannot estimate the extent to which they would commit resources to ABM defenses.
of general purpose forces and prime reliance onand missile weapons have been recurring themes inon military policy. Manpower reductions are likely toprimarily at the expense of theater forces. There are nothat such reductions will be any more palatable to thethan tour years ago. While we believe that Khrushchev isprevail and that some reductions will be made, the Sovietscontinue to maintain sizable theater forces through theof the decade.
The moderriization of Soviet ground forces will continue. The extent of improvement, however, will be closely related to trends in total size; the larger the forces which the USSR elects to retain, the more it will have to contend with obsolescence and shortages. The Soviets may, therefore, choose tomaller number of ground divisions which could be keptigher state of readiness.he Soviets decide that they must seriously respond to the contingency of non-nuclearthey will probably provide increased combat support as well as Increased service support. Present trends in the ground weaponsprogram pointontinuing emphasis on firepower and mobility. The Soviets could probably have the numbers of tacticalweapons which they would consider requisite for theater forces within two or three years, unless priority Is given to air and missilewarheads. Soviet procedures for the control and use of such weapons are likely to improve significantly. More and better general purpose vehicles and increased reliance on pipelines will reducethe Soviet dependence on rail lines for logistic support. -
In recent years, the USSR has increased its concern 'with areas remote from Its borders, and the Cuban venture shows that it can deploy small ground and air contingents to distant areas and maintain them once deployed. However, there is no evidence that the USSR hasany special military component trained and equipped specifically for independent small-scale operations, and it is severely limited Inseallft. and naval support suitable for distant, limited military operations. It Is possible that over the next few years the Soviets will seek to improve their capabilities for distant, limited military operations through the designation and training of appropriate forces, and the development of equipment specifically for their use and logistic support.
We believe that the numerical strength of Soviet naval forces will remain fairly stable over the next several years. Capabilities foroperations at long distance from Soviet shores will continue to rest largely upon the submarine force. The effectiveness of this force will improve as the numbers of nuclear-powered units Increase. Surface forces will continue to be strengthened by the addition of offensive and defensive missile armament and by the introduction of new classes of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) and mine warfare ships. Theof the fleet will probably be enhanced by the further deployment oftenders for mobile support.
Much of the impetus for change in the Soviet Navy has come from the USSR's concern over the threat posed by US carrier task forces and missile submarines. The USSR will continue to improve its ASW and anticarrier capabilities, primarily through the application of improved submarines and long-range aircraft to these missions. The effectiveness
of surface units at distances beyond the range of land-based fighter cover will probably be strengthened through the addition of SAMDespite these improvements, however, we believe that theof the Soviet Navy to conduct surface operations In open ocean areas will remain severely limited. Moreover, in the period of thisIt probably will achieveimited capability to detect, identify, localize, and maintain surveillance on submarines operating in open seas.
In theuclear test scries, the Sovietssatisfied their most pressing weapons test requirements. Research and development In this field over the next few years wlli probablyto focus upon the exploitation or these test results, and theirinto weapons. The Soviet weapons stockpile still consists largely of weapons developed from tests conducted before the moratoriume estimate that, ininimum of about two years is required after testingew nuclear weapon begins to entei stockpile. Thus, some weapons developed inest series arc probably now entering inventory, with priority probably given to strategic weapons, particularly ICBM warheads. Probable trends in stockpiled weapons include higher yields for strategic weaponsroader spectrum of weapons for tactical use. As the stockpile of fissionable materials grows, restrictions on the availability of weapons for tactical use and for strategic defense will ease.
that the Soviets observe the limited test banwill be restricted in the development of nuclear weapons totests and laboratory research. Research and developmentimprovements in efficiency and yield-to-weight ratios,special effects, work on pure fusion devices, improvement ofand other existing weapons, and research on thewarheads and other missile components.
believe that the USSR nowubstantia)capability based on extensive stocks of CWarietymunitions, including warheads for tactical rockets anda wide range of defensive equipment. The Soviet CW researchprogram continues to be activecale generallywith that in the US. Current efforts arc focused onnew toxic agents and munitions for their delivery. The lack ofmethod for timely nerve agent detection remains aMany studies potentially applicable lo discovery andof nonlethal incapacitating agents are in process, and aof this type could appear at any time.
On the basis of evidence presently available, we are unable to determine the existence of Soviet plans or programs for the military use of space, apart from the Cosmos photographic satellites, whichperform military support functions. However, we believe that the USSR almost certainly is investigating the feasibility of space systems for offensive and defensive weapon systems. Soviet decisions to develop military space systems will depend on their expected cost andas compared with alternative systems, possible political advantages or disadvantages, and the Soviet estimate of US intentions andin comparable fields.
For accomplishing military missions, we think that within this decade, orbital weapons will not compare favorably with ICBMs in terms of reaction time, targeting flexibility, vulnerability, average life, and positive control. In view of these considerations, the much greater cost of orbital weapon systems, and Soviet endorsement of the UN.resolution against nuclear weapons in space, we believe that the Soviets are unlikely to develop and deploy an orbital weapon system of military' significance within the period of this estimate. If they should nevertheless do so developmental testing should be observable atear or two prior to attainment of an accurate, reliable system.
In the defensive weapons field, we believe that the Soviets intend toapability to counter US military satellites. By modification of existing equipment, including air defense early warning radars and ballistic missiles, the Soviets probably couldimited anti-satellite capabilityew monthsecision had been made to do so. We are aware of no evidence indicating that the Soviets have madeecision. We believe that to achieve success withechnique they would need touclear warhead in violation of the test ban treaty. The Soviets could also be workingystem designed specifically for satellite interception, but we think it almost certain that no such system is operational at present. The use of co-orbiting satellites or other advanced techniques during the period of this estimate seems much less likely.
IV. CHANCES OF MORE DRASTIC CHANGE
have considered the possibility that in the light of theand strategic situation the Soviets might conclude thatsecurity could be adequately guarded with forcesthan those they had hitherto planned. Over the pastthey have found that, essential as it is for their position into maintain powerful strategic lorces. the possession ofdoes not always translate into tangible political gains.they might believe that by devoting the resources saved to solving
their urgent economic problems, they could advance their general aims more effectively. The Soviets might also hopeelaxation of tensions to check the US buildup, or by means of advantageousagreements even to reduce USajorin the total military effort could be pursued either unilaterally or through international arms control agreement.
We consider any substantial unilateral cuts very unlikely,because of the interests and attitudes that operate in Soviet decisionCommunist world outlook and its view of the role of military power, the immense vested Interests represented by the armed forces, the inertia of policy on such matters in any great power, and the long-established fear of capitalist aggressive intentions. Progressinternational arms limitation agreements will probably be slow. Nevertheless, we think that the Soviets probably will continue to seek ways to curtail the arms raceoderate degree by "mutual example"nilateral, uninspected moves by bothoping thereby to reduce the military burden on the economy.
We have also considered the possibilityajor increase in the scale of the Soviet military effort. This seems very unlikely for aof reasons in addition to economic constraints. The Soviets are not likely to believe that such an increase would add measurably to their security or give them important political opportunities they do not now have. Further, they would expect the US to match, or perhaps overmatch, any higher level of effort on their part. It is conceivable that theuldifferentesearch and development should resultechnological advance or breakthrough which offered the prospect of significant improvement in strategic attack or defense. The Soviets would certainly seek to exploit such an advance to gain political and military advantage, and they would undoubtedly consider increasing their military expenditures if effective exploitation seemed to require it. But their decisions as to deployment would be tempered by economic considerations and by the realization that, considering the advanced state of US technology, any lead which was gained would almost certainly be temporary.
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Wlvle House Notional Security Council Deportment of 5latc Department or Dafcote AlomFc Energy Comntijiion Federal Bureau oi Investigation
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