Created: 9/4/1963

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W. Averell Harriu_ Under Secretary for Political Affairs Department of State

Possibility of Soviet Ground Force Reductions

You will want to give the attached memorandumscrutiny. It seems certain that the Sovietsto take some step to check military expenditures;paper represents our best guess as to how theyabout

The foreign policy implicationsovietparticularly for NATO planning, arepage

Special Assistant to the DDI







SUBJECT, Possibility of Soviet Ground Force Reductions*




A number of factors of domestic and International policy suggeet that tbe USSR Intends some decision which will check the growth of Soviet military expendituree or perhaps even reduce tbem- We cannot tell which military forces might be affected, but one likely target lo the ground forces, which might be reduced along the lines of the program launched In0 end suspended inf so, Khrushchev is likely to put this move to political useajor public announcement. Thia would confront NATO plonnlDgew complication.

* This memorandum heo been coordinated with CRR end OCI

xc^uoed^from automaticI' downgradi

C Timing

eeverol recent conversations withhas spoken of halting the upward trend In Sovietend perhaps even accomplishing reductions. The trend

of internal Soviet politics, aevelopaeats la economic policy, and the new phase of relaxed international tensions all suggest that come new move in this direction, perhapsew round of force reductions, may he on the agenda.

have pointed out elsewhere* that last winter,wake of the Cuban crisiG, Khrushchev's authorityand bio. policy initiatives balked. At that tice,

he spoke defensively to consumers about tbe primacy of military needs and hinted strongly at increased military spending. The burden of hie remarks was that hie long-standing planseallocation of resources away from defense to the civilian economy had to remain on the shelf.

3- In the interveningumber of political indicators suggest that Khrushchev has regained strength and feels able once again to press his Initiatives in the Presidium. Be is again talking about the relationship between military spending and the requirements of the economy, but inifferent fashion

CIA Memorandum, "The New Phase of SovietugustSECRET.

than lost February. Nov he outlines to visitors largeprogress which he has prepared for tholon and the next Controlee plenum, and relates these directly to the opportunltioo for holding down military spending.

It. With tba signing of the partial test ban, Khrushchev has altered the International atmepbar*ay which will help him to Justify otearrangement of priorities at the expense of defease. If he puts throughecision. It would be characteristic of Khrushchev toajor propaganda occasloa of the matter, intending to inspirit the Soviet population, fortify the image of his personal leadership, and encourage tbe West to make boos reciprocal adjustment to NATO military programs or at least slacken projected buildups.

What Kind of Cutback?

5. We have no basis thus far for Judging reliably what might be the nature of the change In Soviet militarywhich Khrushchev might undertake. Els views on military natters regularlyoncern for cost, and hisemphasis on tho deterrent role of strategic forces suggests that he favors lower goals for long range striking forces than those proposed by bis military advisors. His recent references to "overkill"ufficiency of "rockets" coy,inimum


explanation, reflect cerely the achievement of planned roxec goals In certain nicsllo programs, such ss ther the MHBM/lRBM force. But they mayarger import ao reflections of dcclolons to fix at come moderate level force goals for other weapons, such as ICEMe, which previously bad been left open-eoded, or decisions actually reducing previously agreed goals.

6. With reopect to ground forces, Khrushchev's eaccept of tbo Bhort war characterizedecioive nuclear exchange provides scant supportassive standing army or on extensive cobiliza-tlon base. Economy measures here would probably Involve, notcaling down of future plans, but also actual reductions in current strength. In feet, Khrushchev is on record asa reduction io total military manpowerillion, whereas we estimate present manpower et5 million la the wake of tha suspension, inf tbe force reduction program be launched Should that program now bethe ground forces would have to absorb the bulk of the reductions and would probably fall from the present estimateilllin uts on this scale might well be ag^AZjtfrlod' by

* As an illustration,orce could be ecnBol.Ufltadl into

r so fully modernized divisions (which n't eiaiier thnn US divisions)ombat ready statusa jmCivielooal support, perhaps backed up by the territorial oilItIn system once advocated by Khrushchev. Alternatively, if tho Soviets continued to rely on skeletonized active unite for mobilization, this manpower would be organized into more divisions which would be less combat ready end less well supported with regular cadres.

withdrawals of some Soviet ground forcee fron Eastern Europe, these currently cuoherivisions.

7- Although our recent analyoes of defense speeding have stresoed the demands of stoteglc defense and offense for scarce, high quality resources, the substantial expenditures still devoted to ground forces should cot be overloosed. After cany years of increasing stress upon long range attack and nlr defense, the ground mission still resales, according to our estimates, the most expensive mission ic the Soviet forces; it accounts forercent of the personnel expenditures for active military forces and about one quarter of the tool procurement bill. Thus, the cost of maintaining, aoi continuing tootaldd Soviet and East European line divisions is far from ln-slgnificant" For example, afterecode of production of the current armored personnelarge portion of Soviet and East European divisions are not yet fully equipped vita this Item,aseation of this program vouldignificant increase In, soy, truck allocations to agriculture.

Foreign Policy Considerations

8. The Soviet Amy is on lapcertant factor in European politics,roject to reduce ground forces involves questions

of international policy. There vould almost certainly bo Internal disagreements over tho relative weight of political and military factors. The US, for example, has been urging NATO to look upon the Soviet ground forces oc lose than ocnlpotent and to make extra efforts to increase NATO conventional strengthevel which could match Soviet conventional capability in Central Europe. This might be taken la the USSR as an argument against any Sovlot reductions at this time; certainly coot of the cnrohals can be relied upon to stress this point. Alternatively, the Sovleto might sec an opportunity to undermine the US case by an announced reduction, particularly one which cut Soviet forces in East Cerreny and would be taken ae diminishing the threat facing NATO.

9- In foreign policy, the Soviets currently ore seeking to sustain on atmosphere of relaxed tensions while working toward European agreements on terns useful to themselves. If thoy are considering force rcductione for reasons of economic requirements and military doctrine, they will also wish to put them in theof their European objectives. They have already proposed reciprocal reductions of troops stationed In the two Germaniee, hut they probably have little hope of achievingeaent oa this. Khrushchev, however, appears to be ready to consider

unilateral Soviet cute. Be recentlyisitorrevious Moscow debate on this point of unilateral versus negotiated force reductions, in which he argued successfully that the Vest not be allowed to control the Soviet decision.

10. The Soviets night believe that unilateral reductions, if they Involved Soviet forces in East Germany, would provide some new incentive for NATO members to consider agreedermany. The USSR'6 present proposal. In which static control posts remain linkedenuclearization schemene-third reduction la foreign troops In Germany, ie generally regarded as on unacceptable package. nilateral Soviet reduction, followed by some modification of this package (sey, static control poetsreeze on troop levels In both Gercanies) might have appeal for some NATO members, since the combination of agreed limitations and control posts would offer,ough parityey forces in Central Europe.

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