Created: 11/25/1958

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Momorandum To Holders of

The United States Intelligence Board has reviewed the most recent national Intelligence estimate on Soviet ICBM capabilities, which was set forth inf: SOVIET CAPABILITIES IN GUIDED MISSILES AND SPACE VEHICLES8 (TOPhe Guided MissileCommittee ol the USIB and an ad hoc panel of consultants to the DO have participated in this review.

On the basis of this review, the Director of Central Intelligence, with the concurrence of the United States Intelligence Board, has modified the estimate In the following principal respects:

to downgrade still further the possibilityimitedcapability with comparatively unproven ICBMs

to change12 the more probable date at which it ls estimated that the USSR could achieve an operational capabilityCBMs.

attached summary estimate, reflecting the aboveis submitted as supersedingndf.ffshould also be modified accordingly. It shouldf the attached summary represents nothe previous estimate of probable characteristics of the


ICBM Capabilities

I. Since tht completion of, we have conducted an Intensive rc-cxamlnatlon of the Soviet ICBM test firing; program and ita Implications- On the basis of sufficientcoverage to establishigh degree of confidence the number of Soviet ICBM test firings, lt Is clear that over the past year this number has not been as great as we had anticipated. Nevertheless, considering the Soviets' progress In the whole field ofand the capabilities demonstrated In their ICBM, earth satellite, and other ballistic missilee continue to estimate that the USSR will probablyirst operational capability withrototype ICBMs at some time during thehile it Ls possibleimited capability with comparatively unproven ICBMs might have been establishede now believe tliis to be extremely unlikely.

hen it first becomes operational, theICBM system will probably be capable ofuclear payloadaximum range ofautical milesith an accuracy (CEP) ofeliability of aboutercent after(Some additional percentage ofwhich we are unable to estimate, would prove unsciviccable beforee estimate that the Soviet ICBM Is designed touclear payload ofounds, although thereossibility that "it isto carryounds.will probably be considerably improved by thes. At the beginning of thehe CEP could be. with radio command/mertlal guidance, and could be reduced tom. later in that period., anEP. will probably be available.

e believe that Soviet planners intend toizeable ICBM operationalat thc earliest practicable date.wc have insufficient evidence to Judge

the magnitude and paceoviet program to produce and deploy ICBMs. Considerable preparationsulld-up of operational ICBM capabilities could already have been made without detection by Intelligence, as Implied by Khrushchev? recent statement that the production of ICBMs has beensetn our re-examlnatlon, we have considered those factors which wouldan operational ICBM bulld-up, Including the Soviet capacity to produce missiles and associated equipment, and concurrently to complete launching faculties, establishlines, and train operational units. These factors have been considered In the light of such Indirect evidence as does exist.

axing into account the complexities of the tasks which would have to bewe believe that the Sovieis could achieve an operational capabilityCBMs1 about three years after firstcapability date. Based on our estimateirst operational capability willbe achievede therefore believeapabilityCBMs could be achieved some time With overriding ptiority and exceptional success In tbeir test and production program, this capability might be achieved in as little os two years after first operational capabilityome time uild-up in three years from first operational capabilityapabilityapabilityCBMs1 would be achieved inearalf;ould be achieved inear. The achievement of operational capabilities such as these within the time periodswould require an extremely high order or planning "nd accomplishment, and would also require au increase in the average rate ot ICBM firings for test and training purposes.

numbers of ICBMs are se Ice Led arbitrarily In order lo provide some measure of the Soviet production sod deployment capacity; they do not if present an estimate of the probable Soviet requirement or stockpile.

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