Created: 7/3/1962

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Thinorking paper, the seconderies of CAESAR reports on problems of Soviet military thought and policy. This paper deals with Soviet strategic doctrine for tho starteneral war.

naln within the IRONBARK coiemunity. trit tion within USIB agencies should therefore be confined to normal readers of IRONBARK reports. This study may not be quoted in briefings or publications without prior consultation with the originator.

Although this paper has not been

other offices, the author has benefited muchof the topic with colleagues in M

|It should be

aloneis responsible for the paper'swhich arc controversial.

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IllWM 'tor* ivvirtfilotion

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A. The

3. Tbe Principal Sources



War Will

Importance of the First Attack

"Tryhort War, Prepare for

a Long


Nov Doctrinal

of the Concept in Secret

Strategic Target

on the Use of Strategic

Feasibility of


uide to Force

Notes on Estimating Force Levels ..

Problem of

Command Machinery





Both classified and open Soviet military sourcesthe USSR bas added to its strategic concepts thepre-emptive attack. This istrategyeaningful course of action in the event(or ls thought to have failed). We have found nothe military materials examined for this study that thedeliberately to initiate direct military actionWest at any time except under the threat of imminentthe West, or in responseestern attack. Butthe decision to go to war is still the prerogative ofleadership in the USSR, it would be imprudent toconclusions about Soviet intentions from the

The doctrine of pre-emptive attack, which was evidently added to the extant doctrines of deterrence and retaliationives theore flexible strategic posture, orebasis for military planning. Deterrence undoubtedly remains the first mission of the Soviet military establishment, but Soviet military leaders see an urgent needre-emptive capability, as their confidence in their capability to retaliate has diminished. Chary of suggesting that the USSR might initiate war, Sovietspokesmen have tended to avoid the term "pre-emption." they have made it abundantly clear that the USSRtrike-first-if-necessary doctrine which bears importantfor the planning of Soviet strategic forces.

Our findingoctrine of pre-emptive attack has been adopted in the USSR is based mainly on the following evidence:

Defense Minister Malinovsky's incorporation of theformula on pre-emption in the stated mission of the Soviet armed forces for the first tiae at the CPSU Congress ln (The formula ls: urprise attack by dealing thetimely and devastating blow.")

The frequent reiterations of that formula in recent open publications of the USSR Defense Ministry.

The evolution in top secret Soviet publications, from hints0eedre-emptive doctrine, to virtual acknowledgment of its existence by





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The public disclosure1 of the adoptionoctrine that stresses the possibilityecisive initial phaseuture general war. In conjunction with this,the assigning to the strategic missile forces (privately0 and publiclyhe mission of achieving the principal goals of warcrv_ short time. (The Soviets hedge against the possibilityrotracted war by maintaining large,forces.)

The priority given couoterforceenemy missileofficial strategic target lists published ln top secret Soviet materials.

The doctrinal provisions that strategic missiles should be used suddenly, purposefully, en masse, against the most important enemy objectives.

The pivotal problem in Soviet military planning, it is clear. Is that of preparing the armed forces to deal with the possibility of an attempted Western surprise attack. Soviet political leaders might have little genuine fear that the West intends tourprise attack against them. But theleadersery serious view of the problem ofattack. It is their task toar, shouldfail, and the probable enemy they face Is an awesome one. Theyapidly expanding nuclear attack force in the United States and feel the blanket of secrecy over their own strategic forces gradually receding. They are faced with the prospect of not being able to deliver an effective second strikeuclear war and they are aware of this. They seem to reason, in drawingoctrine for the start of war, that only by striking first, by blunting much of the enemy's attack forces, can the USSR survive the first nuclear phase of the war. The programming in the United States of immense nuclear attack forces may thus be said toual effect on the USSR: on the one hand, the possibility of deliberate Soviet resort to war is reduced; on the other hand, the possibilityoviet pre-emptive attack has increasedourse of action, should deterrence fail or be thought to have failed.



in niSSFM

Soviet loaders evidently believe that a strategic doctrine of pre-emption is feasible: that ln all probability they will have sufficient warning time to initiate military action. tbe fact tbat unofficial opinion is divided as to how much and how good warning will be may reflect irresolution on

the question on the official level. In any case, we cannot answer the critical question, as to what kind of evidence tho

Soviet leadership will act on pre-emptively. We think tbat, owing to the improbability of their having incontrovertible evidence of an irrevocable Western intention to attack, the

Soviet leadership would act on less than certain evidence. The risk to them, they may reason, is too great not to attack

first; there may nothanco to retaliate with sufficient

force to enable the USSR to pursue the war.

The Soviets have already taken steps to speed up the process of making the decision to go to war as well as the implementation of that decision. These steps include the assignment of the strategic missile forcesupreme High Command, which exercises exclusive control over theirand use, and tbe placing of Khrushchev at the head of the country's strategic arm in tbe post of Supreme High Commander. This post, we think, enables Khrushchev personally, without prior consultation with the ruling collegium, to push the war button.

ncluded ftorr outonotit

To tho Soviets, pre-emption means moreast-moment attempt to unleash existing weapons in tbe face of an imminent enemy attack. octrine, itasis for militaryuide to the developmentorce structure. It defines the mission and role of Soviet strategic forces in a general way. But the doctrine of pre-emption isar plan that defines specific missions lueprint tbat dictates precise numbers and types of weapons. Weon the basis of the doctrino alone, estimate theof weapons which the Soviets regard as necessary tothe tasks outlined by the doctrine. In arriving at force levels, however, the Soviets use equirements approach, taking account of the numbers and types of important enemy targetsasis for calculating Soviet force needs. The targeting emphasis is on the enemy's means of nuclear attack,trategic as well as tactical scale; industrial and administrative objectives are included, but purely population targets apparently are not.




Soviet classified documents which we have examined for this study, taken together with the open military literature, offer us insights into the thinking and planning of Soviet military leaders for future war, and specifically for its Initial phase. We can reconstruct, on the basis of the Sovietmaterials, the main elements of strategicdoctrine of the USSR for the start of war. Our conclusions, umber of cases, must be inferential owing to tbe circumspection with which the critical question of the first attack is generallyin the private as well as in the public discourse.the classified documents used for this project have been classified top secret by tho USSR Ministry of Defense, they do not betray the highest militaryof the USSR; they do not discuss official war plans; they do not give numerical data on existing or projectod Soviet force levels; they give no detailed data on the use and deploymont of Soviet ICBMs, etc.

Hence, ln this paper, we do not presume to duplicate Soviet war plans; the available evidence does not enable us to do this. Nor does it fall within our competence to comment on the actual present orfuture capability of the USSR to mount anfirst strike', There ls notirect correlation between doctrine and capability. Rather, our aim in this study is to describe and analyze Soviet strategic doctrine for the Initiationossiblewar, as tbe doctrine has emerged sincend then to relate the doctrine to the problem of force structure in order to determino the path being taken ln the development of the strategic missile forces.

When we speak of Soviet military doctrine, we have in mind the Soviet meaning of the term- It is generally understood touide for military planning,



O rtllSFM

for defense policy and strategy. In this sense,doctrine describes the character of future war; outlines basic strategy for the war, and Indicates the kind of force structure needed to fight the war

military materials bear out. bas to lie. This may seen paradox obsession with socrecylassified literature confi for nuclear war was largely speeches of Khrushchev (beg in the speeches and orders fensc Marshal Malinovsk?

doctrine, as thearge extent been made pub-ical in view of the Soviet illtary natters. Yet the ros that the current doctrine

formulated in the public inning innd of thfi USSR Minister of

doctrine process.

our task. then, is to discern the doctrinal concepts that guide Soviet plannersake-up of the strategic forces. We leave the muchcomplex task of estimating numbers of existing and planned missile sites to more competent hands, but one of many inputs in the estimating

We wish to note also that our paper focuses on problems of the starteneral war, which, in the Soviet view, will inevitably involve the mass use of nuclear missile weapons. The paper does not deal with problems bearing on the outbreak of limited or lo-ralized conflicts involving Soviet forces. In point ol




fact, there has been no discussionocal war role and mission for Soviet armed forces in either the open or available secret Soviet military literature. Local war is discussed only in terms ofriggerlobal nuclear war. This is not to say that local war doctrine and operational plans do not exist in the USSR. We know from open sources that Soviet military cadres have been called upon to study the experience of local wars and Western local war doctrine. Undoubtedly there areplans for the employment of Soviet troops in limited actions. But inasmuch as Soviet politicalrules out the use of Soviet troops in "nationalstruggles in underdeveloped countries, it isthat thereilitary program for the use of Soviet troops in those places.

in this


O DtOOrfrt A

of the classified Soviet materials usee itudy are dated later than1


horn cwlomoill


The main concern of Soviet military leaders is that ofar, should it break out. Yet, the nature of modern warfare is such that the questions of deciding when to initiate war and how to fight it have becomelinked. In the USSR, the military leaders have hencetrong professional interest ln theunder which future war might begin. Technicalsuch as the need for short reaction time in the initial employment of strategic weapons, have tended to Increase the influence of the military in the making of critical strategic decisions. While the finalln the launching of the first attack will, of course, be exercised by the jealous political leadership, the mil-itary--chargod with reading and interpreting the military-

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indicationsossible enemy[tftONBARKlexert important influence in the making of the fatoful decision. As we shall demonstrate shortly, they haveoice ln determining the timing andfor the launching of the first attack. They havease and they have, from all indications,the approval of the political leaders for aof pre-emptive attack.

of Soviet Intention to go fall within the scope of this ecision to go to war ls the the party-government leadership, underscore thise can-about Soviet intentions to in-the basis of the availableowever, Identify the elements ine that will guide the USSR in the start of war, and that will tary action should be Initiated.

War Will Begin

general war will begin, the Soviets predict,urprise attack. They give heavy odds, so to speak, that the first attack will take the formssi'd nuclear strikes by one major power against another In no aviiilable Soviet source is thereraceintormal declaration of war might under anyprecede the outbreak of hostilities.

tfe find no indication in any of the Soviet materials, open or classified, that tho USSR plans tomilitary actions against the West deliberately, without serious provocation, andime entirely of their choosing. However, there is good evidence, which we shall discuss shortly, of the existenceoctrine that calls for the initiation of war by the USSR under conditions of threat of an imminent attack against the bloc by the West. The USSR may initiate war, in short,



but only If the war is Justified as "defensive"oliticalhis does not rule out the possibility that Soviet leaders night fabricate grounds fora preventive war. While there is nothing ln the sources in our possession to suggest the possibilityilitary deception on tho part of the Soviets, one



The classified as well as openestern effort tourpriseattack as the most likely triggeruture war and the most dangerous throat to the security of the USSH We cannot say with certainty whether thisenuine estimate of Western intentions. Sovietloaders on the one band may harbor very little real fear that the United States willurprise attack against them. Khrushchev, it will be recalled, had told

presents no real problem for the USSR. ADefense Ministry book, "War and Politics" (signed to pross, has alreadya possible first-strike stratogy for the USSR within the framework of "defensive" warolitical sense:

"Contemporary methods of conducting wars have greatly increased not only the significance of surprise but also the role ofis the basic and sost important way of conducting war, and of providing for the decisive destruction cf the forces of the enemy and the preservation cf one's own forces. Attack In the military sense of stratogy by no moans cootradicts the defensive character of war in defense of thefatherland from tbe political point of view.

"Marx and Engels constantly advised Communistsust war, defensive in character, does notstrategic attack operations but on the contrary presupposes them."

G*OUP Ionto*t"


an American8 that

the United States could notlDlUaTo war because of its constitutional system, although he has rocently made several public allusions to tho dangerousof President Kennedy's statement that the United States might initiate nuclear war under certain Khrushchev's major military concern, too,to be that of deterring probable enemies of the USSR froauclear conflict and heredible deterrent force for the USSR.* If he is satisfied, as he appears to be, that the United States is deterred, then he would have no logical roason to. surprise attack. His estimate of thefuture correlation of forces may, of course, be different. Soviet military leaders, on the other hand, may look at the problem somowhat differently. Their professional concern is principally that ofar, should deterrence fail. Hypothesizingar will take place, for purposes of preparing for it, the military specialists conclude that the probable enomy will attempt to gain Important advantages in the war by striking first. From this, they draw conclusions about the high probability of an attempted surprise firstnot about the probability of war Itself. Hence, their representation of surprise attack as the main dangerprepore-for-the-worst" philosophy in planning for future war. The force structure,and vigilance that will result from propariog above all to forestall an enemy surprise attack, the Soviets seem to think, will prepare the armed forces optimally for any other genoral war contingency.

The possibility of war by accident orhas also been acknowledged in oponbut it has not been taken up ln the secret We do not know howiew Sovietplanners tako of this possibility. But it seems, in any case, that the stratogic requirements placed on

credible deterrent force is one that can withstand an enemy surprise attack and retaliate with suchas would be unacceptable to the attacker.


0*OUP 1


O ui53em abuqaV/agecm


Iironbabki the state to deal withontingency are probably

much tho sane as tbe ones for dealing with an enemyattack.

Much has been said in the propaganda about the grave dangerocal war escalating rapidlylobal nuclear war. In his speech atd CPSU Congress, Marshal Malinovskyigid formula on this problem: any armed conflict, he said, willdeveloplobal nuclear/rocket war should the nuclear powers become involved in It

No explicit allowance has been madepause" in localized hostilities between the superpowers, in whichessation of hostilities could be brought

implicit in the state-

an attack againsi

couiti "scarcely" be confinedocal war and would "most probably" leadorld war. Thisess rigid formulation than the one presented by Malinovsky atd CPSU Congress last October, as far as we can discern, the Soviets regard the possibilityocal war escalatingeneral nuclear conflict as part of tho problem of surprise attack. Forewarned by the existencehreatening period in the form of localized hostilities, the Sovlot military leaders would probably expect the enemy to use the element of surprise in order to mount an attack against strategic targets in tho USSR should the local war situation becometo him. (American doctrine has been made


clear on the point of initiating nuclear warfare, buteneral nuclear war, should the Soviets take advantageocal preponderance of conventional forces to overrun NATO positions.) Soviet strategy would thus have to be that of denying the enemy the opportunity of striking first. Thus, theocal war involving forces of the major powers, as the Soviets probably see it, is that the pressing consideration ofossible enemy nuclear attack may be translated into actioneaceful settlemont of the local fracas could be arranged

B. The Importance of the First Attack

Soviet concern over the importance of the first massed nucloar strikesuturo war hasdemonstrably in recent yoars. The heightened concern has emergedackdrop of significant increments to US strategic attack forces and theof tho veil of secrecy surrounding Soviet strategic forces. The subject of sorious debate ln Sovietcircles untilear ago, tbe question of the importance of the opening phaseuture general -nr. has since been answered by official military opinion. Uilitary doctrine now assigns overriding Importance to the Initial strategic operationsuture nuclear


The extant doctrine on the start of war was publicly revealed for the first time by Defense Minister Malinovsky in his speech atd CPSU Congress last October, and has subsequently been reaffirmed and The principal elemonts of the doctrine Illuminating Soviet official thought on the vital importance of the oponing operations are as follows:

(a) The Initial period of future nuclear war might be decisive not only for the course but for the outcome of tbe warhole. (Malinovsky, KOMMUNIST, No.


m mrlonolK




nuclear missilo weapons,play tbe primary role in the initial period ofmake it possible to attain the strategichort period of time." (Mallnovsky,

1 speech atd CPSU Congress; Hoskalonko, RED STAR,.

very first mass nuclear strikesof predetermining the whole subsequentthe war and could lead to such losses ln tbeamong the troops as would putviet7the country in an exceptionally1 speech atd.

So serious is the Soviet military view of the initial phase of war,that Mallnovsky in his speech at the Party Congress last October took the rare stop of invoking the authority of tho CPSU Presidium inthe need to give "spocial attention" to the initial period in the course of military study and training. This step might also have been taken with tbe aim of conveying the impression tbat the political and military leaders nowommon view of the problem.*

It should bo noted that the doctrine does not say categorically tbat tho first strikes will decide the war: the problem is stated in terms of "possi-billties" and "capabilities." The emphasis placed on



initial operations does; of course^ suggest an estimate of ajfairly higfijprobability that the irst phase of the war will be the decisive one. erein lies an important guide to military planners in determining the future composition of Soviet forces: strategic forces are of cardinal By the same token, the allowance made in the doctrine for the possible indecisiveness and lnconcluslveness of the first phase of war alsouideline for the structuring of the armed forces: asis is thereby laidore flexible and varied military force than would be neededhort nuclear exchange.

In stressing the importance of the initial phase of war, the doctrine is primarily concerned with tbe possible effects of the first Western nuclear strikes against tbe USSR. At the same time, theis formulatedort of objectiveto bear on theof the United States to withstand the first nuclear blows from the USSR. In either case, the doctrineigh premium for the first massed nuclear strike. It Indicates that Soviet military planners fully appreciate the advantages ofthe first as opposed to the second blow, but is not in itself proof of the adoptiontrike-first-if-possible strategy.

C. Hedging: "Tryhort War, Prepareong QnF[

Consistent with the doctrine which stresses the importance of the first phaseuture war is the doctrine on the anticipated duration of the war. We arelear picture of this latter doctrine by tho classified materials. It is, lnoctrine of hedging: it says that strategic planning must take account of the possibility ofhortrolonged war.



Afirr.pmiKir. mf qni y.

future war will be long or short was

few hours few days." Others that the initial

for someone of contention in the open periodical press and in the top secret "Specials well. Some officers, wholitzkrieg strategy for the USSR in the top secret organ, predicted that the hostile state or coalition of states could be deprived of the capability to resist "ln the courser, at the outside,rgued equally categorically operations would not predetermine the outcome of war,ar between two world systems "cannot be of short duration." Host contributionsosition somewhere between the two extremes, saying that the war might be relatively short; that It might evenast-moving "blitz" character, although this washat the war would "not necessarily" be prolonged; but that ln any case the USSR must prepareprotracted, hard war."

might be added that this doctrine has, in substance, been made public although not spelled out. It was incorporated in Malinovsky's speech atd CPSU Congress last October: theMinister at that time stressed both the


Eicfu<Ud bom (rriomotk dttloMiCcottaa




importance of the initial stage of war and the

continuing need for varied and large armed forces. And he reiterated that position most recently in an article in the May (No. 7)2 KOMMUNIST.

Thus, calculated to finish the war in the shortest possible time, tho doctrine isupon the assumption thai the strategic

missile forces will play the decisive and

cipal role in the war. But considering

possibility that the strategic missile forceso bringecision in the short .j- *

the doctrine calls for the maintenance of

types of forces (equipped with nuclear weapons and operating as combined arms) which would be prepared to wage extended war.

One of the spokesmen who supported this cautious strategic concept explained theunderlying it. wrote in an article that past experience teaches that enemy strength at tho beginningar have usually proven incorrect and thatingle war has ever gone the way it was planned." He also pointed outumber of strategiccould turn out to be unreliable, and only partially fulfill the immediate tasks of wara decisive result. In this eventuality, the author said, during the time needed for restoring the combat capability of strategic missile troops, the ground troops and aviation would play the decisive role. This ls the most acceptablehe said, despite the fact that it is the costliest in expenditures, both before and during the war.

One cannot, we think, draw the conclusion from the doctrine ofis, preparing






forong or shortthe USSR plans toual capability for either nuclear or conventional general war. Theof the older branches of service, which have been re-equipped with nuclear missile weapons, is depicted as necessary to meet the requirementsrotracted nuclear.war, exclusively There is nothing in the military lrteratufe^ classified or open, to suggesteparate body of doctrine on-nuclear war being retained. Rather, the literature has on many occasions underscored the inevitability of employment of nuclear weaponseneral war: that nuclear rocket weapons will play the main role inar is an unquestioned article of doctrine. Only within the frameworkuclear war does the literaturelace for conventional weapons.


Euluded liea outeaotkl dcwnQrodine end



A. Tbe New Doctrinal Formula

It has already been pointed out that Soviet military planning for future war focuses primarily on the problem of preparing to ward off an enemy surprise nuclear attack. The Soviets say that an enemy surprise attack, if carried out, would place the USSRery great disadvantage in the war. The problem is also in terms of the immediate strategic aims which the USSR will try to attain in the first phase of the war. Accordingumber of statements, carried in open as well as classified military sources,or at least repulsing, an enemy strategic attack, andrushing counterblow, will beamong the immediate strategic Soviet aims inwar.

There are two ways of "preventing" an enemy surprise attack, according to the Soviet viewpoint. The first, and evidently preferred, method is towar itself from breaking out by deterring the enemy. Deterrence is, of course, the first mission of the Soviet military establishment. This has been made abundantly clear in numerous Soviet statements. For example, the Party-Government appeal of2 on the question of raising meat and milk prices stated, in justification of heavy defense expenditures, that

the imperialists are used to respecting force only, and if so far they have notar, it is only because tbey know our economic and military might, and know that the Soviet country now has everything necessary to cool down the militant ardor of any aggressor.

The second method of preventing an enemy surprisemethod that would be used should deterrencethat of destroying the enemy's nuclear striking force, or as much of it as possible,

i^Qnbap^ intime. The best and perhaps only way tohis is by striking the enemy first, that is, byhim. Such was the thinkingroup of Soviet military theorists who,dvanced the viewurprise attack could be frustrated if the enemy were himself surprised as he prepared to strike. This is now. from all Indications, the thinking of the Soviet military leadership, and it is reflected ln recently pronounced doctrine for the start of war.

Atd CPSU Congress last October, Malinovsky said that the Soviet armed forces must be prepared "above all else" for the eventualityestern surprise attack. With clear allusiontrategy of pre-emption, he said that1 posed as the main task "the study andout of the means of reliablyudden nuclear attack by the aggressor and also the means of exploding hjs aggressive plansimely andblOw againstlthough less authoritative sourcet have implied the needre-emptive strategy in the past, this statement represents the first time that tbe concept of pre-emptive action was incorporated in the stated mission of the Soviet armed forces. The new doctrinalls about as far as the Soviets can go in speakingre-emptive strategy without suggesting that the USSR might initiatesince been reiterated several times in other authoritative contexts. The statement on the need to "wreck theplans" by dealingtimely blow" was, for example, cared in a. RED STAR editorial2 and again in RED STAR, onay, in anon Soviet military doctrine. The latter source described this mission as "the most primary, the most important and the main task of the armed forces." The doctrinal formula has also been carriod ln various signed articles ln consecutive Issues of KOMMUNIST OF THE ARMED FORCES in recent months. Malinovsky too, in an article in the May KOMMUNIST, the authoritative CPSU organ, came close to repeating the formula in speaking


EfduoW <iom awtoawit

dowAgfodlog ond

I ronbarhI of Soviet strategy "to nip in the bud" the enemy's plans for aggression and in underscoring the possibleof the initial nuclear phase of war. ASS English language review of the Mallnovsky piece onay called the point on the decisiveness of the first stage "the basic proposition" of Soviet military doctrine.) The open military press has also hinted that command-staff exercises have been "recently" held under simulated conditions ofre-emptive strategic strike against the enemy. According to KOMMUNIST OP THE ARMED FORCES, March (No.

on the basis of recently held exercises, methods were worked out for the reliable rebuff of an enemy surprise attack and the explosion of his aggressive plans by means of the timely deliveryrushing blow against him.

B. The Evolvement of the Concept in Secret Discourse

Various articles in the top-secret "Special Collection" also throw light on this question, suggesting that Malinovsky's thinly-veiled reference to astrategy in1hange in military policy. To the then existing doctrine ofand retaliation was added the doctrine ofwhich, in our view, callsarger force than was previously envisaged and one which iscounter-force in mission. More will be said later about the force implications of the new doctrine.

Thereiscernible evolution in the way in which the question of strategic pre-emption was treated in succeeding issues of the "Special Collection"0 Among the articles in theCollection" publishedeumber of hints of the possible need to engage in pre-emptive actiontrategic scale. Thus various articlesin that year listed counterforce targets, notably

o mssFM a

rocket bases, first among the objectives of Soviet strategic missile strikes. Also several articlesa blitzkrieg strategy gave logical grounds forigh premium on striking first.

Several articles1 treated the question oftion more directly. Two articles carried in the first issue of the top secret organ1 (signed to the pressanuary)tra^egy of pre-emption. An

lmnM that the chief task in the event of" an enemy attack will be to "prevent" mass nuclear strikes by the enemy, Instantly tocrushing nuclear strikes, and to initiatemilitary operations by all types of armed forces. Pavlovsky's method of disrupting an enemy surprise attack entailed the deliveryowerful first blow against him. The blow, he said, must be directed against the enemy's industrial and economic centers; against his missile, aircraft, and naval bases; against his stockpiles of nuclear weapons, aircraft, nuclear submarines, missile vessels, and aircraft carriers; and against the most important groupings of his ground troops, radar facilities and other By delivering its "first" massed nuclear strike "at the righte said, the USSR could "considerably weaken" (blunt) the strikes of the enemy, paralyze his operationsertain time, and under favorable conditions, force him to cease active military operations. In his view, theoftrike would depend on (a) theof all forces and weapons used to deliver it, (b) the validity of information on the objective to be destroyed, (c) the proper selection of those and (d) the skillful use of the nuclear weapons


^^rave threat to the USSR. HeWest as now

deterred from striking first by its inability to prevent I'EQhtaA.ftKI the USSR fromdevastating counterblow."*

But he admonished that this situation could not be. He expressed fear of thehen the "est "will"reater capability tourprise massive nuclear strike which could "destroy the mostand crucial Installations of the country,national control, disrupt mobilization andof armed forces, and severely reduce the combat effectiveness of the army and the countryhis prospect Is so serious, he said, that "everymust be taken in order that, if the imperialists try toar, it will not beginurprise massed enemy nuclear strike." Rather than wait for the new conditions to come about, he argued forew strategic concept now; that concept ls clearly pre-emption. He said that "if it becomesthat aggressive forces have decided on war, and that the initiation of military operations isuestionhort time, and if we fall to prevent the aggressor's attack by diplomatic means, then lt is necessary to wreck the enemy strike by all our available forces and means during the first days of the war." What should be done "now ande emphasized, ls to prepare Soviet Intelligence and the armed forces lnay that they will be in astate of readiness to deliverre-emptive7 blow against the aggressor."

Unfortunately, the writer does not elaborate on the implications of the strategic concept which he recommends for Soviet force structure. He does say, in concluding his discussion of the first attack, that

*"The strategic missiles at their disposal clearly cannot satisfy the requirementsajor war and their quality is not high, since, according to assertions by Americans themselves,f the missiles launched reach their target."



o pi&sem

the possibility of havinglast minute" of enemy preparations for attack necessitates approach" to the "preparation andtage of readiness of Soviet means of attack-

a *'new of the

pre-emptive action still more directly, not ln tne form of argumentation, but as if it were nowdoctrine. He saidounterstrike,trike tourprise enemy attack" would be carriedby strategic missileupon the decision of the party-government leaders-Hetrategic concept for operations of troopsront after the launching ofcounterstriketrike tourprise enemy attack/1 Hewidespread" point of view that front nuclear/missile weaponsnuclear weapons) must participatecounter-strikeirst nuclear strike/* The phrase shows that the writer aBsumodH the existence of thestrategies of retaliation and first strike.



in nissFw

the other hand, the fact that official strategic target lists are not exclusively counter-force ln composition but include Industrial and administrative objectives, points up the versatile character of Soviet strategic doctrine: the target lists are evidently designed to promote the war effort in the most effective way, whether the USSR strikes first or second.

on the Use of Strategic Missiles

addition to the above-mentioned targetother Soviet concepts governing the employment of the strategic missiles are also fully in keepingtrike-first-if-necessary strategy. Sovietdoctrine, as unfolded in the top-secret "Special Collection" materials, dictates that nuclear missile weapons must be used suddenly, effectively,economically, and en masse. Designed tothe leading role in the initial period of war, the missile forces will have the principal aim of radically changing the strategic situationholefirst of all, ending the war in the shortesttiae.s

?re ls general agreement

that strategic missileight De ci

ipon to support armed combat in theaters of operations,

strategic missile tain tasks, and theof the front will be served by them only if suitable reserves of their means exist. It seems to be generally understood, ln short, that the strikes of the strategic missile troops will be mainly directed toward attaining the principal goals of the war.





Mil OCT Jill


Official Soviet military thinking also stresses tho importance of concentrating the massed nuclear blows against the "mainnd striking at "the most important objectives." Maximum destruction of the enemy, the annihilation of whole countries, was not included among the official missions of thestra-_teglc missile forces. This is despite claims |

tllfBgffBBJ by

fo "wipe any aggressor from the face of the earth" or to reduce small countriesradioactive desert."

E. The Feasibility of Pre-emption

Before exploring the meaning and implications of strategic pre-emption, let us tie together the threads of evidence to be found in Soviet military literature in support of our hypothesisoctrine ofattack was adopted by the USSR sometime We have thus far founded our hypothesis upon

(a) the incorporation of the concept in the stated mission of the Soviet armed forces for the



first time, in Malinovsky's speech atd CPSUlast October;

doctrine that stresses the possibilityecisive initial phase of war;

the doctrine that assigns the strategicforces the mission of achieving the principal goals of warery short time;

the priority given counter-force objectives ln official target lists; and

concepts calling for the use of themissiles "suddenly, purposefully, en masse. against the most important objectives of the main


This same body of evidence suggests that themilitary leaders regard strategic pre-emption not onlyesirable course of action but alsoracticable one. But does their outlook make good sense in the light of U. S. plansassivestriking force composed mainly of Hinuteman and Polaris ballistic missiles?

Thereelief among Western students ofstrategy that as the size of the U. S. long-range striking force grows and its vulnerability decreases, the advantages of striking first diminish. Thisis perfectly sound, it would seem, as regards the question of deterring the USSR from initiating awar. Indeed, this reasoning. strategy of deterrence: the enemyhopo to knock out all or even most of ourattack forces with the first blow and isdiscouraged from embarking on the path of premeditated war to attain his foreign policy alms.



But, in our opinion, such reasoning does not make the choicere-emptive strike any the less desirable to the Soviets": On the contrary, it seems to us that an important reason why they arere-emptive strike capability is because the United States has undertaken to build an immense missilethough it was conceived here asa retaliatory one. Rather than discourage the Soviets from planning for pre-emptive action, the trend toward more powerful and less. nuclear forces compels Soviet military planners to tailor the characteristics of their strategic forces to the target requirements. One effect that the trend in U. S. weapons (developments has had on the USSRis the stepplng-up of the Soviet ABU program.

The Soviets probably reason thatissile forces are becoming so powerful that there may noteliable alternative to striking first. In other words, should the United States succeed ln striking first with its massive forces, the USSR may not have the opportunity to strike back with the force necessary to continue in the war. On the other hand, should the USSR succeed in striking the first blow, while lt would surely be subjected to powerful strikes from numerous. forces, it might bo afforded the opportunity of carrying on the war and winning it.

It could be said, ln short, that. weapons program isual effect on the USSR: On the one hand, it reduces the likelihood of war by assuring the Soviet leaders of widespread nuclear devastation should they elect to launch premeditated war; on tho other hand, it tends to heighten Soviet concern over the first nuclearand elevates the importance in their eyestrategy of pre-emption.

To bere-emptive attack need not result in the absolute destruction of the enemy's means of nuclear attack. The available evidencethat Soviet military planners will settle for


much leas than the absolute destruction of the enemy in the first massed nuclear strike. Nowhere ln the

na^the^Tnougn^ii^en expressed that the USSR might emerge barely scatheduclear uny condltlona The one contributor

Iwho called forcountry-busting blows to the enemy (he hadcountries ln mind) framed his strategy on the assumption that the USSR would be struck first.


contributors who addressed themselves lo thein the "Special Collection" wrote that apre-emptive blow could substantiallynemy retaliatory strikes and "underconditions" even cause the enemy to cease active military operations. olonelade the bald statement, without reference to stra-tegic pre-emption, although he may have had this in mind, that it ls neither possible nor necessary to destroy all the states comprising the enemy coali-tlon. Tolitzkrieg, the writer said, it is necessary to strike with nuclear blows only "the main partners" of the enemy coalition; to take out "the most important" of the enemy objectives; and to destroy tho minimum number of targets necessary for the success of the operation.


A. Pro-craptIonuide to Force Structure

None of the materials In our possessiona clear-cut explanation of the Sovietof pre-emption. Vet, from what we know of the Soviet conception of military doctrine, we can conclude that the doctrine of pre-emption servesuide for the planning of the USSR's futureoffensive-defensive forces. What we areis that pre-emption means more to the Sovietsast-moment attempt to unleash the country's strategic attack weapons in an effort to blunt an imminent enemy attack. To the Soviet military leader, pre-emption is more than an action; ittrategy on which military planning is based. Its recent adoption as official doctrine is bound to have an effect on the size and shape of Soviet strategic forces programmed for the future.

A few examples from the Soviet materials will illustrate our point about the link between the doctrine and force structure.

trguea in eany xaoie adoption by the USSRnew" Not stopping there, he called forin the intelligence collection system and for other unspecified measures to be taken to bring the armed forces into line with the doctrine which he proposed. That he had in mind as one of thea sizable increase in strategic missiles is suggested by the thrust of his reasoning. To call flatlyarger strategic missile force than was already programmed might have been considered too presumptuous an actecond-level military leader, even within the covers of the closely held journal. The first order of business, as probably saw it, was to sell the ideaeedoctrine of pre-emption; therein would be the policy guide to the force structure, and the battle would be partly won.


downgrading ond


Later, after the adoption of the pre-emptive doctrine, Col. I. Sidelnikov, in an article in the2 RED STAR,trong pitchorce structure that would meet the requirements posed by the new doctrine of pre-emption. He spoke only in generalities, but his point was clear. Defining and outlining present-day Soviet militarythe "guide" to defenseauthor stated that "it is not enough toorrect and scientifically elaborate military doctrine." The lessons of the Second World War, he said, teach that it is also necessary that the combat might andof the armed forces "fully correspond to the requirements posed by war and derived from Soviet military doctrine." As regards World War II, the author had said that the fatal Soviet error in the beginning of the war lay not in the basic tenets of Soviet militarywerebut in the fact that military combat readiness, weaponry, and organization did not conform to the "requirements of the doctrine."

The thrust of his argument, in short, was that the question of the doctrine had been settled; now it was necessary to obtain the hardware commensurate with the doctrine.

Then Marshal Malinovsky,OMMUNISTsigned to the press only four days after Sidelnikov's articlemade it clear that the question was no longer one of doctrine but of military spending and choice of weapons and forces. The question as to "how and in what direction to take the construction of the armed forces" had already been worked out by Soviet military doctrine, he said. He went on to present an unusually explicit defense of the military budget, which could also be taken as an argument for continued high allocations or even increased He declared that Soviet military expenditures are "absolutelyhat they are "strictlynd that there cannot be anyof them.

iinriBni fnin nisim


EidWad ham ov*oinoiic


The Malinovsky and Sidelnikov articles, as it igQNfcAP<l turned out, preceded by less than three weeks aannouncement of an Increase in meat and milk prices. The announced price increase was, uns-for-butter docision. It made it plainocision had been reached to provide additional funds to agriculture without diverting resources from either defense or heavy industry. But it is not clear whether the decision also signified the planning of further increases ln the military budget to buy the hardware needed for an effective pre-emptive capability.

In short, doctrine is closely tied to the planning of forces and weapons in tho USSR. And the decision made sometime1 to adopt aof pre-emption bore far-reachingfor the planning of the strategic forces of the USSR. It was but oneumber of Important military policy decisions that were taken ln thatincluded the suspension of the troop cut, the resumption of nuclear testing, theof tbe (overt) military budget, the frustrating of efforts (mainly Khrushchev's) to divert resources

from heavy industry to consumer welfare. Taken together, these measures signaledajorof the military needs of the country had taken place.

B. Some Notes on Estimating Force Levels

A knowledge of the military doctrine guiding tbe development of Soviet strategic missile forces is an essential ingredient in the process ofSoviet force levels, but lt ls not sufficient for that purpose. Estimating force levels ls notatter of extrapolating numerical data from military doctrine. The estimating process is far more complex and requires other types of inputs which

cannot be analyzed in this paper. What we do gainnowledge of Soviet military doctrine is, aboveough idea of the mission and role designated for the strategic missiles. Thisa sound foundation for the other building blocks of the estimating process. This foundation has been laid, we think, in the preceding sections of this paper.

There is yet another important service that the Soviet materials render as regards the problem of estimating force levels. While devoid of hardon the size and composition of present or projected Soviet strategic forces, the classified sources do offer insights into the Soviet methodology of planning strategic forces.

First there is goodln the form of Soviet targetthe "requirements approach" is being used by the Soviet military Perhaps the most explicit statement to this effect is the following extract from an article by



(alluded fron suWWii dowfig'odlnghi fir.

Thla approach ta also reflected ln statements In

bearing on strategic weapons. |for example, chided hisfor talking Imprecisely about having "sufficient quantities of weapons" without saying what this means in terms of numbers. In his view, the numbers of weapons noeded will depend "entirely" on how many weapons the enemy has. Moreover, there is nothing in the materials to suggest that the USSR would count on the absolute destruction of the enemy's means of nuclear attack ln tbe first massed nuclear strike. As pointed out earlier in this paper, doctrine stresses the economical and purposeful use of strategic weapons as well as the importance of destroying "the mostenemy objectives.

Also, there are strong indications that the USSR is approaching the problem of preparing Its armed forces for the startew war not in terms of all-offensive weapons but in termsersatile mix of weapons systems to meet the challenges posed byin Western weapons technology. trategic force structure are calculated in terms of an attack-defense equation. Doctrinethat "the success of nuclear/missile strikes, on the one hand, and of operationsof the PVO Strany, on the other, particularly at the beginningar, will determine its further developmentreatPavlovsky) Through active and passive defense the USSR evidently hopes to minimize the loss of life and general destruction expected to accrue from the enemy weapons not taken out in the Soviet first strike. It would seem from the impetus given the ABM program ln the USSR, not necessarily to the neglect of offensive weapons, that the Soviet planners are placing increasing emphasis on their defensive requirementstrike-first as well as retaliatory capability ln view of the trend toward. attack systems.



iron atitanotil

i- and

These Insights permit us then to reconstruct, in part, the kind of methodology that the Soviet military planner uses in determining the forceappropriateoctrine of pre-emptive attack. First, he has to take into consideration the size, hardness and mobility of the enemy forces, as well as their communications and control systems. He must also weigh such factors pertaining to his own offensive weaponsield, reliability, and assurance of delivery to target. He must consider his active defense (ABM and SAM) and passive defense capabilities and programs. And finally, he must take the value judgement as to what level of damage the USSR could absorb and stillreat power, in order to determine the minimum force needed to do the job of pre-empting.


C. The Problem of Warning

There are,ofumber of prerequisitesuccessful pre-emptive actiontrategic scale. These include such factors as advancedigh state of readiness, the proper hardware in the proper amounts, the reliability and accuracy of the delivery systems, the timing and evenness of the first volley, and so forth. Tor the purpose of this report, andto the limitations imposed by our sourcewe shall discuss only two of the prerequisitesre-emptive strike: warning and readiness of the high command.

The classified materials air unofficial military views on the problem of warning, but shed little light on official military thinking with regard to how much warning they expect to have and how good the evidence will be regarding an attempted enemy surprise attack. The materials do not provide the answer to tho criticalwhat evidence would theecideto Uuoc|>yr^MUv^tl|Cl(? Articles in J


narp difference of opinion overhreatening period wouldestern effort tourprise attack. Some writers said categoricallyhreatening situation wouldoccur, even if very short ln duration. Othersthat it would be foolhardy to count on aaggravated international tensions. One writer stated that "if the armed forces are ready when there is no threat period, then they will always be ready when there is one." But he did not spell out what he meant by readiness when there is no threat period.

It is probably the case that the difference of views among individual militaryH|^|

reflects uncertaintyon th*' Id any event,

Soviot military planners must reason that theof having ample advanced warning of an enemy attack is great enough to justify the adoptionre-emptive

doctrine. This is not to say, however, that Soviet military leaders necessarily count on having certain advance knowledge that the enemy is irrevocably com-mitted to an imminent attack; having such knowledge in this day and age is unlikely. Rather, they will probably decide to act on loss than certain evidence. It ls our conjecture that the Soviets, appreciating as they do the importance of launching the firstblowsuture war, regard it as tooisk to wait for incontrovertible evidence of an enemy attack. This may only come with the first enemy nuclear explosions. And the first attack might, in their view, decide the outcome of the war.

Soviet warning systems arc not discussed in any of the available Soviet sources. But several articles

discussed some ^le^Types^oT^evTo^no^tnsiTTiight be indicative of an imminent Western surprise attack. Thus, pjipj

several writersenemy might use {he cover of NATO exercisesto military operations witb tbeand weapons. They consequently urge aof readiness for Soviet forces during timesmaneuvers. According to one devious viewbyin thehe Pentagon may engagea provocation as that of dropping bombs onand blaming tbe mischief on the USSR. Thewarned that the attack would come ineriod of extended darkness, andwith the discharge of an older class of

A number of writers have also discussed an aggravated internationi in termshreatening situation but haverisis in itself can be taken as reliable evidence of an impending enemy attack. Rather, certain of the writers recommended heightened combat readiness

itludod iiom automatic

dwarvJiro ond


duringhroat period. They nade suchas putting forcestate of readiness for "immediate" employment, protecting troops, issuing them ammunition, giving them advanced orders, and, "abovexercising secrecy in these matters. But the criticalwhat evidence would the Soviets attackremains unanswered. There is the possibility that the minimum thresbhold forthe fatal decision to attack pre-emptively may not yet be determined ln the USSR. For the party leadership jealously guards the prerogative of deciding on war, and might be loath to relinquish this decisionixed set of criteria that would automatically cause military action to be initiated. What the political leadership has done to safeguard Its prerogative is the subject of the concluding section of the paper.

D. Strategic Command Machinery Streamlined

There ls good evidence that the Soviet leadership has already taken measuresommand andnature designed to speed up both the process of deciding to initiate war and the implementation of the decision. These measures enhance the feasibilitytrike-first strategy, whether or not they were taken for that purpose. They Include the establishment in peacetimeupreme High Command, the direct andsubordination of the Strategic Missile Forces (and possibly Long Range Aviation) to that authority, and the placing of oneits head in the post of Supreme High Commander.

From their inceptioneparate organizational entity in the USSR military establishment, the strategic



missile forces have been centrally controlled. The establishment of "rockets the "main" type of service, it will be recalled, was first announced by Khrushchev ln his speech on the new doctrine in Public statements by Khrushchev and Marshal Grechko ln0 made it clear the missile troops had their own command administrative structure comparable to other component force headquarters. But not until1 was it made public, by Marshal SokolovskyASS interview, that the missile troops were divided into separate strategic and tacticaland that it was the "strategic" missile forces which constituted the main branch of service. The classified materials throw additional light on this matter. They indicate that in thehad already been taken to establish the "strategic missile forces"eparate component force controlled exclusively from Moscow, and to subordinate tactical-operational rocket units to the Ground Troops and other major force components. They also indicate thathad been made at that time for the creation in peacetimeupreme High Command to exercise control over the strategic missile forces.

The post of Supreme High Commander was apparently established more recently. In public statements made last fall, first Marshal Mallnovsky and then Marshalof the tactical missile andto Khrushchev as the "Supreme High Commander." None of the classified materials which we have thus farof which werebefore lastthe title.


Eideclad from


*we use the terms "rocket" and "missile"in this paper. "Rocket"iteralof the Soviet "roteta"; "missile" is the preferred American translation of that term.

unngnnnirirrfnnmn usf nta r

Both that post and the institution of the Supreme High Command existed during World War II. Stalin, of course, wore the mantle of Supreme High Commander of the armed forces, relinquishing it at the end of the war. The revival of this command structure inis an extraordinarylt seems, by the nature of modern warfare. It is the Soviet view, apparently, that the vital requirements of constant readiness and of greatest speed in deciding on war and in implementing that decision do not permit atransition to an alternate commandat least so far as the strategic forces of theare concerned. Moreover, these requirementsthe placing of the decision-making power in the hands of one man. The assumption of tho post of Supreme High Commander byof course implies his personal favor for the doctrine of pre-emption-effects the union of the highest political and military authority ln one person, and givestature and authority comparable to that of the President of the United States.* Previously, the highestmilitary authority in the USSR was In the person of the Minister of Defense, who held (and probably still holds) the title of Commander-in-Chief of tbe Armed Forces. The highest actual military authority in the past (in the post-Stalin period) was, of course,in the ruling Party Presidium. Now, however,personally hasperhaps more correctly,

*Khrushchev recently alluded to his personalto Initiate future war. ally ln Sofia onay, Khrushchev said, with reference toKennedy's statement on the circumstances under which the United States might initiate nuclear war: Does not this statement mean that the President of the United States wishes to urge me towith him in who will be the first to push the button?


has beenpower personally to make the decision to initiate military action, and if necessary to circumvent the ruling party collegium in doing so. This, of course, has important political implications in that it undermines further the principle of collective leadership. Inasmuch as Khrushchev has alroadyefinite style of rule and has concentrated great powers in his ownhe heads the government, the party, bureau for the RSFSR, and the Supreme Militaryassumption ofof the military will probably not result ln any major changes in the internal political situation.* We surmise that, time permitting, Khrushchev would consult with the other Party Presidium members, or at least thosethe Party on the Supreme Military Council. |

Khrushchev's occupancy of the highest militaryalso has important implications for the political-military relationship in the DSSR. As pointed outthe technical nature of modern warfare, notably the need for short reaction time, has tended to increase the influence of the Soviet military ln the making of critical strategic decisions. In placing himself at the head of the military establishment, the country's political leader counters this trend and re-asserts party-political supremacy over the military.

But should the institution of Supremeermanent one, as lt seems to be, lt mighterious problem in the struggle for succession after Khrushchev leaves the scene.

At Khrushchev's disposal are the strategicforces. AccordinR to articles-he strategic missile forces are under th^direc^operational control of the Supreme High Command and are designated as "Reserve of the Supreme High Command." ecent openOP THE ARMED FORCES,hemissile forces as the "instrument of the Supreme High Command.") Theyizable with all the staff and support servicesassociatedull-fledged branch of the armed forces.

The decision regarding the objectives, the timing and the force of the strikes of the strategic missile forces is said to be entirely the prerogative of the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command. Thewill depend on the Soviet capability at the time to use the strategic nuclear missile weapons as well as on the nature of "the total situation." In this latter regard, the "political" factor is said to be the decisive one. It will, in short, be Khrushchev's decision.

I'torn oviemotie


Original document.

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