THE MILITARY BUILDUP IN CUBA

Created: 9/19/1962

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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

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[The Military Buildupuba

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DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE .

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UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD j [ Ai Indlco'eJ

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THE MILITARY BUILDUPjN CUBA

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THE PROBLEM |- 1

To assess the strategic and political significance of the recen* military buildup in Cuba and of the possible futuredevelopment of additional military capabilities there.

tje believe that the USSR values its position inrimarily (or the political advantages to be derived fromnd consequently that the main purpose of the presentary buildup in Cuba is to strengthen the Communist regime :ji there against what the Cubans and the Soviets conceiveanger, that the US may attempt by one means or an-jrj other to overthrowhe Soviets evidently hope to deter 'j any such attempt by enhancing Castro's defensiveties and by threatening Soviet military retaliation. At the same time, they evidently recognize that the developmentn offensive military base in Cuba might provoke US military intervention and thus defeat their present purpose. {Paras.

B.'i In terms of.military significance, the curreiit Sovietdeliveries are substantially improving air defense and coastal defense capabilities in Cuba. Their political significance Is that, in conjunction with the Soviet statementhey axe LUtely to be regarded as ensuring theof the Castro regime in power, with consequentto the opposition at home and Lnhe threatnherent in these developments is that, to the extent that the Castro regime therebyense of security at home,

y c- the buildup continues, the USSR may beo establish in Cuba other weapons represented toive in purpose, butore "offensive"'light bombers, submarines, and additional typesj! ;rangc surface-to-surface :missiles (SSMs). ecisionrovide such weapons will continue to depend heavily oni | Soviet estimateias to whether they could be introduced ". j.without provoking'military reaction. )

: i 'D. The USSR could derive considerable military e from the establishment of Soviet mediummediate range ballistic missiles in Cuba, or fromoviet submarine base there. As between'two, theubmarine base wouldlikely. Either development, however, wouldcompatible with Soviet practice to date and with Sovietas we presently estimatet wouldarwillingness to increase the level of risk in US-Sovietthe USSR has displayed thus far, andhave important policy implications with respectareas' and; other problems in

, E. The Latin American reaction will be to the evidence of an increased Soviet commitment to Cuba, rather than to the technical implications of the military buildup. Many Latin Americans will fear andoviet militaryinto the Hemisphere, but will regard the problem as one to be met by! the US and not their responsibility. Wethe chances are better now than they were at Punta del Este to obtain .the necessary two-thirds OAS majority for sanctions and otheiv steps short of direct rnilitary action aimed at Cuba. Ifecame clear that the USSR was establishing an "offensive" base in Cuba, most Latingovernments would expect the US to eliminate it, by whatever means were jnecessary. but many of them would still seek to avoid direct Involvement. ) j

DISCUSSION

NDERLYINGIN

j ; e believe that ihe USSR'value- Its posl-

In Cub* primarily for the politicalantages to be derived Iron it; and that the jmain purpose of the present military buildupIn Cuba la to strengthen tha Commu-'lstime there against what the Cuoans and the

oviets conceive toanger that the U3

attempt by one means or another tothrow it. The Soviets evidently hope to deter

any such attempt by enhancing Castro'scapabilities and by threatening Soviet military retaliation. At the same time, theyvidently recognise that the development of an offensive military base In Cuba might pro-^voke US military Intervention and thustheir present

he Soviets consider .that thej Revolution and their association with It have jtlsevercly damaged the prestige of the USreatly enhanced that of the USSR,out the world. They see Inithe case of Cuba ikU effective demonstrationln thecolonial" people canfi the "ImperiaUst yoke"ith theaid and protection of theuccessfully maintain Its Independence againstmperialist"hey especially Rvalue the effect of this demonstration Inmerica and also value Cuba as anase for. the support of radical revolutionary .elements In Latin America. '.

*lthough Initially the Soviets were 'guarded In their relations with theegime. In the past year both they and Castro have undertaken moves which make their ties i'much closer. Thus Moscow's commitment to the survival and success of tha Cubanla deepening. The Soviets haveconcluded that they must Invest more heavily to protect their stake In Cuba.

ecause or heightening Soviet concern over the state of the Cuban economy. Moscow last spring agreed substantially to expand and liberalize Its economic assistance program to Cuba. Indeed, Soviet economic aid to Cuba now Involves an extensive program planned lo sustain and gradually'to develop the The Soviets have thus clearlytheir belief that Cuba, with Soviet support, can achieve sufficient progress to servetimulus for revolutionariesin Latin America.

S. During roughly the same period (lasthe Soviets also apparently concluded that the Castro regime rrould have to bewith accelerated military aid. Castro almost certainly haduch more substantial Soviet program. Morehowever, we believe the decisionSoviet concern that its expanding role in Cuba might be terminatedS move to overthrow the Castro regime. The rapid mUltery buildup In Cuba was thus Intended In large part to Impress the US with thecosts and risks of any attempt to overthrow the Cuban regime by force.

C. in line with ihls objective, the Soviet statement ofeptember was In partto dissuade the US from making any decision to Intervene In Cuba. Bye "defensive" nature of the Cuban buildup. It sought to convince the US (and the world at large) that the military buildup In Cuba does nothreat. At the same time, however, by raising the spectre ofwar. lt stressed the gravity of the risks involved in US intervention. The statementhole Isubstitute for the

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Ihey are willing. Indeed anxious,eflate US prestigeower In Latinean opinion and to provide trie Cubans with the economic Instruments of survival and progress, but they remain wary of provoking theof allowing Castro to provoke the jjgoing too far and too fastary buildup. In their II September;hey sought to undercutbout Soviet missile bases In Cuba for possibleuse against the US by. inter alia, stressinghe defensive nature of armamentsuba and by denying any military heeduch bases In view of theiroack the US from their ownij jhile Soviet policies In Cuba maynitially been devtjed almost entirely In termsj of Cuba and Latin America, Moscow nowviews the situation In terms of theast-Westhey relish thetrallon that Soviet power can be extendedn area adjacent to the US. and axe usingtrong US reaction to Justify their owniment of theS bases on theeriphery. Further, In their Hi September statement, the Soviets Implied that US actionagainst Cuba would be countered byoves elsewhere in the world and forirst time publicly linked the Berlin and Cuban .crises. The Soviets are also aware!rastic heightening of tension over Cuba Is Important factor In their general relations with the US and has an Impact on various other issues.Thus developments In the Cuban situation probably Influenced theSoviet decision to let the Berlin situation simmer, rather than boll, for the time being.

current Soviet buildup markschange of pace In Soviet operations,

of poll-to insure

the survival of the Castro regime. However, we believe that the military buildup which began In July does notadically new Soviet policy toward Cuba, either in terms of military commitments or of the role of Cuba In overall Sovietithout changing the essentially defensive character of thebuildup In Cubaithout making an open pledge to protect Cuba under allthe Soviets have enhanced Cuban military capabilities, repeated In stronger terms their warnings to the US, and tied the Cuban situation to the general question of the East-West confrontation, j

Soviets themselves are probablyabout their future militaryCuba. Indeed, they probably intendUS and Latin American reactions asAt the same time they aretailor their policy to minimize risks ofwith tht US. avoid frictionand maintain the best possiblestance In the eyes of Latin Americaworld In general,

analysis of Soviet policygiven hero Is based oh anof Soviet interests and Intentions andof Soviet actions In and withCuba to date. While It Is oureven In the light of recentpolicy remains fundamentallywe cannot exclude the possibilityis at leasthangepolicy. Consequently, in thefollow, we examine In some detailthe Soviet military buildup in Cubaand possible developments In thatmight follow, but also the natureof military assistance which the

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.Soviets couJrl provide'policy.

iIn.the buiiow to oate'I

n the first phase of'the provision orsupplies,0 loSoviets concentrated on substantial amounts ofconventional combat weapons for the ', groundumber or Bloc technicianssuppliedraining program furCuban military personnel washe buildup proceededeliberateand eventually, after some training or Cuban

aboutet fighter aircraft wereiled to Cuba. In addition! some submarine-

.and motor torpedo boats werehis phase was largely completed by

2 with the result' that Cubanwere much better prepared to handle:Incurslons upon their

In July the Sovietsapidto strengthen Cuban defenses against airand major seaborne invasion. Between

! 'mid-July and early September someave delivered various, types or militaryand construction equipment, and more ships are en route. These new shipments

consisted In part of .further- types of weapons already availablerorces. More tanks,and other ground lorte equipmentsupplied. But the bulk of theIs related to the- establishmentsurrace-to-air missiles' (SAMs).form the basis for a' new air-ir

hus far.AM sites have been Installed in the western half of the Island-It la likely that similar coverage will beIn the eastern half. Some missile sites could now behe Soviets are alsoumber of more advanced Jet Interceptors;I's may hove been delivered. The standardfor this type of ulrcralt Includes two

Infrared homing air-to-air missilest la likely that such missiles havethes to Cuba.

he current (buildup also reflects an effort to Improve "Cuba's coastal defenses. For this purpose, the Soviets have frovided the "Komar" class paldcd-missile patiol boats which carry tworuise-type missiles, primarily for use against shipping. This boatange ofut Is designed primarily lor use in coastal waters. omar" class boats have already been delivered and other similar craft may be on the way. Inand-based cruise-type missile Installation has been observed near Banes. Our evidence does not establish all the characteristics of the missile system employed, but its range Is likely to be limited. by Its radar horizon. This range might be extended by Installing the radareight, or by employing ships or aircraft for forward observation. Wethat this will prove tooast delense Installation and that others or this type will be deployed, but we cannot estimate at present the ultimate size of this program.

qually Important, particularly in terms or overall Soviet involvement, is theIncrease in the number or Soviet military specialists in Cuba, fromarly this year to the current level of. We anticipatearge proportion of this group will remain In Cuba'for some time. Six monthsear would be required before thend other sites could be operated solely by Cuban personnel.

ecause of the extent and rapidity of current deliveries and limitations In ourcoverage, we cannot yet Identify all of the new equipment which has beenRecent shipmentsreat deal or electronic gear, with many vans, crates, and large boxes which could contain various types or this equipment. There Is tenuous evidence or the presence or air defense ECM

i equipment. Although we have no specificof It. we cannot exclude the possibility that COM2NT and ELINT equipment Is also now present In Cuba. , j _jj

Implications of 'he Current. In terms of their military significance, the current Soviet deliveries are substantially Improving capabilities In Cuba for air and coastal defense and defensive surface naval operations. When operational,AMs will assure that interception can be attempted under any weather condition, at altitudes up0 feet, with more limited effectiveness ' up0 feet. The system Is probebly not effective beloweet. The' has generally better performance characteris-; tics than the earlier MIGnd:will : considerably augment defenses againstflying at medium and high altitudes.1

he large number of Soviet military 'personnel in Cuba will provide the technical

and training necessary to bring the

newer weapons to operational readiness In the near future. If .necessary. Sorletould be employed to operate them before Cuban personnel are fully prepared to dot Ls likely that training and experience havelready raised the proficiency of CubanForce personnel somewhat above the lowoted InThe Situation and Prospects Inl2 , . Soviet guidance and train-

vill continue to raise the combatess of all branches of the Cuban military

establishment. ; v: J' 1

ome of the new weapons in Cuba could be used for oilenslve as well as defensiveitEO flghteis can be equippedround attack operations and anllahlp mls-

ora detailed descrlpUon ot theneeof these weapon interns, saa

the foriheomtna-. -soviet B'.oc AircCUalle Defense Capabilities throuah 'WJd-IW7."

'. scheduled for UBIB conaideratlmieptember.

slles can be employed againsttargets. he presencecould release some fighter aircraftattack missions. Nevertheless,of Soviet military aid to datedesigned to strengthen the defensesisland, thereby protecting thebeachhead In the Westernand raising the price the USto nay to eliminate It by militaryThe overall composition of tne Cubantary establishment remains essentiallyin character; It has not yetignificant strike capability.over, the Cuban armed forces still lackair and seaUft necessary for militarytlons on any significant scale interritories.

imited as the offensive capabilities of the forces In Cuba are, an.Increased sense of security Instilled by Soviet public statements and by the presence of new weapons maythe Cuban regime to engage in small scale filibustering expeditions. It might also encourage them to make new demands on the-US regarding the naval base at Gu an tana mo and to engagerogram of harassment of the base.

III. POSSIBILITIES FOR EXPANSION OF THE BUUDUP

The Sovitts could expand the present buildup to Include additional types ofHowever, they are well aware that the Question of offensive as opposed to defensive weapons in Cuba hasajor political issue. Their recent statement Indicates that theytrong political case can be sustained for supplying "defensive" weapons In Cuba. Conversely they seem to realize that to provide certain other types of weapons to Cuba wouldhallenge to which the US rnlr.ht forcefully respond.

Among the weapons which the Soviets might believe they could add to the Cuban

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dltlonal types of short-range missileson whether the Soviets estimateweapons can be Introduceda US intervention. Theythat the nature of the US reactionnot only on types and numbersbut also on the offensivethe total military establishment In ii :

of Cubaoviet Strategic MitsiU flcia

he establishment on Cuban soil ofnuclear striking forces which could be used against the US would be incompatiblewith Soviet policy as we presently estimate It. It wouldar greater willingnessncrease the level of risk in US-Sovietlons than the USSR has displayed thusnd this would have Important policylons ln other areas. However.lanners have almost certainly considered the contribution which Cuban bases mighto the Soviet strategic posture and. inonnection, the feasibility and utility ofloying nuclear delivery systems toherefore this contingency must be examined carefully, even though It would run counter to current Soviet policy.,

oviet planners might see some utility Ln deployuig MRU Ms a. id IRBMs to Cuba in order to supplement the limited number of ICBMs now believed to be operational In the USSR and to reach targets beyond the range of submarine-launched missiles. Cuban-based MRBMsa rangeJTl. could reach targets as far north as Philadelphia and Cleveland and as far west as Oklahoma City;. IRBMs could reach all USexcept some points in the PacificAll of these targets can now be covered by ICBMs launched from the USSR.MRBMs or IRBMs deployed in Cuba would permit nuclear blows at an Increased number of targets and would Increase the total weight of the attack which could be delivered against the US in the event of general war.

The establishment on Cuban soilignificant strike capability with suchwouldharp departure from Soviet practice, since such weapons have so far not been Installed even In SatelliteSerious problems of command andwould arise. There would also have toonspicuously larger.number of Soviet personnel in Cuba, which, at least initially, wouldolitical liability in Latin America. The Soviets might think that the politicalof defying the US by stationing Soviet nuclear striking power In so menacing awould beood deal'if they could get away with it. However, they would almost certainly estimate that this could not be done withoutangerous US reaction.

A Soviet submarine base In Cuba could be of considerable military value to the USSR. Submarines operatinguban base could be maintained nn station off the US coast for much longer periods than can now be sustained In operations fromleet bases. orward base wouldSoviet missile and torpedo attack both conventional and nuclear-powered, more readily to conduct routine patrols off the USt Is possible that the Soviets might seek to establishase ln connection with the provision of some submarines to the Cubans. They might reason that even when Soviet use becamethe US, with naval bases at Holy Loch and Guantanamo. would beoor'position to pretest. In terms of both feasibility and utility, the establishmentovietbase appears more likely than theof Soviet nuclear-armed missile forces to Cuban soil. Even so. the Soviets would probably calculate the risk of USas too great for such an undertaking at the present tune.

lthough the Soviets may see someadvantages In Cubatrategic strike base, the risks would be great and the political

.implications would run counter to theof policy they are actually pursuing In LatinAmerica. They do not propose to winegion for earnmunlsrn by military conquest. .They count Insteadrocess of political action which willass following for Communist or Communlst-allled leaders who .'would then be capable of replacing existing government*. ';

IV. LATIN AMERICAN REACTION AND ITS -j]!ueh of tha Latin American "public will react to the military buildup In. Cuba and to evidences of Soviet Intent to protect Castro without taxing account of the particular weapons Involved or of their capabilities and without reading between the lines of Soviet statements, bios: of these Latin Americans will consider thisfan extra-continental power toad thing In Itself, but at the same time will regard the problem as one to be met by tha TJS and notponalbility. Any disposition on the part of the Latin American governments to doabout It would depend greatly upon the lead given by the US. and this disposition would tend to fade If the US failed to come up with feasible courses ofome Latin Americans, of course, will be quick to note that the Soviets had Intruded Into theand will infer that the US had failed to rebuff this Intrusion because It lacked the power or the will to do ao.;

n the Caribbean states there willuch more pronounced tendency thanto Interpret the military buildup In Cubairect threat. They are not likely to expect that missiles will be fired at them, but that Soviet weapons and Soviet support will encourage Castro to Intervene In their countries on behalf of radical revolutionists.

mong Latin American governments there are wide differences of opinion aa to the roles Individual government* and as members of the OAS should play iu theiltuatlco. We estimate the chances are bettr: cow than they were at Punt* del Este to obtain the two-thirds majority In the OAS required for sanctions and other steps short of direct military action aimed at Cub*. If It became clear that the Soviets werean offensive base In Cuba most Latingovernments would expect the US toand eliminate it. but many of them would still seek to avoid direct involvement.h

n the longer run, If the Castro regime remains securely In power and the Cuban economy Is developed substantially withhelp, the cohesion of the tnter-Amerlcan system will probably weaken further.countries would probably assume anposition like that of Brazil. They would thereby position themselvesloser accommodation with the Soviet Bloc, If and when desired, and would attempt to obtain assistance from both aides, in* the manner of India and Indonesia.

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