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B. THREATS, MILITARY BALANCES, AND NET ASSESSMENT
of the threats to our national security that our defense programs are designed to meet, that posed by the Soviet Union is by far the most serious and the most immediate. Of course, the United States bas citizens, allies, friends, military forces, and interests abroad that can be threatened by nations and groups much less powerful than the Soviet Union, and our defense policies account for those threats as well. But the largest, and most expensive, part of our defense ellort is driven by the power and policy of the Soviet Union.
1. The Nature of the Soviet Union
Scholars continue to debate the question of Soviet motives and objectives. There is controversy about whether the Soviet rulers are truly ideologically determined to spread communism; or pretend to be so to justify their own authority; or wish to extend their own power and that of the Russian state: or merely have an exaggerated sense of insecurity, so that the accumulation of military hardware and the projection of military power to neighboring and distant countries is intended as insurance (however unnecessary) against external threats.
A prudent American defense policy cannot rest on theories of Soviet motivation, but must respond to the facts of Soviet policy and military capability. The most salient facts are these:
The Soviets have built, and are continuing to build, an
But we do know other facts about the USSR:
The avowed Soviet policy is to promote communist revolution throughout the world. Lenin described the goal as a "single, worldwide Soviet Republic." Current Soviet pronouncements support so-called "national liberation" movements, i.e., efforts by armed minorities to achieve absolute power to remake their societies without the consent of the governed. In addition to promoting such movements, Soviet military assistance and advisors, and Soviet and Cuban troops have been deployed
to preserve them in power. Some observers see in this activity something less ambitious than a methodical quest for world domination, as reflecting only a Soviet "opportunism" that seeks to expand Soviet power where opportunities present themselves. But that view means that Soviet expansionism is inhibited only when other nations' resolve denies them opportunities to practice it.
The Soviets have shown their willingness to use military force to invade and coerce other countries. The same reasoning that justifies the intimidation of Poland and the invasion of Afghanistan can be applied elsewhere as well -- except when the balance of military forces makes such policies impractical.
Certain internal characteristics of the Soviet state
These facts mandate that our military forces be sufficient to deter Soviet aggression and resist Soviet coercion against ourselves, our allies, and our friends.
2. Other Threats to U.S. National Interests
Through the rest of this century, low-intensity conflict (LIC) will be the next most likely challenge to U.s. national interests. The dimensions of the threat are tragically apparent. Since the communist takeover in Cuba, 17 other totalitarian regimes have come to power through externally supported insurgency and subversion. Indeed, there are at least nine current active insurgencies in our own hemisphere.
Terrorism and the flow of illegal drugs are also integral components of LIC. We have come to recognize that these threats are not merely isolated occurrences. Terrorism is increasingly transnational and state-supported. Drug trafficking is increasingly sophisticated and politically motivated. In both cases, there is an element of exploitation by the Soviets and their surrogates.
Our opponents use terrorism primarily as a tool of political coercion. It is used by governments, groups, or individuals to impose their will on target populations. It has proven effective as a means to destabilize established governments or institutions. The Soviet Union, Libya, Iran, and Syria use terrorism as a means to further their foreign policy objectives.
The growing threat that these forms of ambiguous aggression pose to the United States, our allies, and our friends mandates that we maintain sufficient military forces to deter such aggression, and to defeat it should deterrence fail. For a more extensive discussion of LIC, see Chapter 1.0.2.
3. Military Balance Assessment
Assessment of the military balance is not an exact science. It requires considering a very large number of factors that are difficult to measure. Comparing numbers of units, weapons, or soldiers is a start; but qualitative differences must also be taken into account, as well as their peacetime deployments, mobility, operational planning, and command, control, communications, and intelligence capabilities. The quality of leadership and training, the state of morale, and the ability to achieve surprise are also important factors. Indeed, in a number of historical cases they have proven decisive.
Although great superiority in numbers is always a major factor, it is also vital to know whether the military balance is consistent with U.S. security objectives. The following sections briefly describe the strategic balance, the military balance in each major region of potential U.S./Soviet conflict, and the maritime balance and power-projection forces that bear upon all of those regions.
4. The Strategic Balance
U.S. strategic nuclear forces are designed to deter nuclear attack and to help deter conventional attack on ourselves and our allies. Deterrence depends on the Soviet leadership's assessment of
cies, not on our own assessment. The Soviet leadership must be convinced that our response to their aggression would inflict an unacceptable cost for any possible benefit. The sheer destructiveness of nuclear forces does not by itself guarantee deterrence. Our forces must be survivable (so that an enemy nuclear strike cannot disarm us of our ability to respond), capable (so as to attack the military and command assets we believe the Soviet leadership value most highly), flexible (so that they can deter aggression in a variety of contingencies), and discriminative (so we can respond in a manner appropriate to the particular attack).
Soviet force development reflects a set of objectives for strategic and related forces that is far more ambitious than our own. The Soviets attempt not simply to deter any attack against themselves, but to erode the deterrent character of U.S. nuclear forces By modernizing their offensive forces in ways that threaten our deterrent capabilities, and engaging in a variety of defensive preparations, the Soviets are attempting to make our strategic offensive forces less secure against attack and less effective in response.
Soviet offensive forces modernization includes continued deployment of the road-mobile SS-25 ICBM and preparation for deployment of a rail-based multiple-warhead SS-X-24. In addition, three new Soviet ICBMs are being developed: a silo-based follow-on to the SS-18 heavy ICBM, a follow-on to the SS-X-24, and a new, possibly MIRVed, version of the SS-25. These land-based missiles, with their relatively high accuracy and short flight times, constitute the most destabilizing offensive systems.
The Soviet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Pleet is being enhanced by deployment of the long-range, more accurate SS-N-20 and SS-N-23 sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), as well as the more
are near deployment of the long-range SS-NX-21 submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) and are testing another new long-range cruise missile, the SS-NX-24. The Soviets are developing replacements for the SS-N-20 and SS-N-23 SLBMs for their next round of modernization.
The Soviets continue to deploy the new Bear-H bomber, armed with modern, long-range, air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMS), and are developing another intercontinental bomber, the Black jack. These systems will complicate the tasks of U.S. air defense forces and enhance the flexibility of Soviet offensive forces.
In addition, the Soviets continue to pursue vigorously both pagsive and active strategic defense programs. Soviet passive defense measures include the hardening of ICBM silos and launch control facilities (far above the strength of our Minuteman silos); the proliferation of a vast network of hardened leadership and command, control, and communications (Cd) bunkers; and an extensive civil defense effort. Soviet advantages in active strategic defense are substantial and increasing. While we maintain only limited homeland defenses, the Soviets boast a vast force of interceptors and surfaceto-air missiles (SAMS). The Soviet Union has the world's only operational antisatellite (ASAT) weapon capable of destroying satellites in low-earth orbit. It is also modernizing its 100 launcher antiballistic missile (ABM) system around Moscow, the only operational ABM system in the world. Other advances include construction of a new large phased-array radar network, including a radar at Krasnoyarsk, Siberia that is in clear violation of the ABM treaty. These Soviet defensive measures have no U.S. counterpart, which means that while our offensive forces may appear to be "equivalent" to theirs, they are not equivalent in their actual capabilities.
Measured by their dollar cost, Soviet strategic force procurement programs as a whole are considerably larger than ours, with an even greater disparity in strategic defense procurement programs (see Charts I.B.1 and 1.B.2). These estimates exclude wartime mobilization and civil defense programs, which are far more extensive on the Soviet side.
The U.S. strategic modernization program is replacing and augmenting our older systems, the majority of which have served for well over two decades. The B-1B bomber is now operational, providing an enhanced capability to penetrate steadily improving Soviet air defenses, a capability the B-52 is rapidly losing. Together with the air-launched cruise missiles deployed on selected B-52 bombers, the air-breathing leg of the Triad provides us with an effective and flexible deterrent capability, to be further augmented in the future with the introduction of the advanced cruise missile (ACM) and the advanced technology bomber (ATB).
We are continuing to build one Trident SSBN a year. The development of the improved Trident II SLBM, the D-5, remains on schedule for its 1987 flight test. The quietness, and other advanced features, of the Trident Submarine increase the already very high survivability potential of our SSBN forces. With the introduction of the more accurate Trident II. our SSBN forces will acquire new. survivable capabilities that will discourage the Soviets from contemplating an attack against our land-based forces. We are also continuing to deploy submarine-launched cruise missiles aboard selected surface ships and submarines to make it more difficult. perhaps impossible, for the Soviets tc design an attack that effectively compromises our retaliatory capability.