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The deployment of 50 of the Peacekeeper ICBMS, with the 10 very accurate warheads on each, will reduce the current disturbing asymmetry in U.S.-Soviet prompt, hard-target-kill capability. The 100 Peacekeepers, including the remaining 50 we seek this year, are not sufficient to threaten the entire Soviet ICBM force, but will strengthen our deterrent. We have also accepted the congressional desire for us to acquire the small, single-warhead missile.
A less publicized, but perhaps even more important part of our strategic modernization program serves to improve the survivability of our command, control, communications, and intelligence (CSI) systems. The improved survivability of these systems helps to deter a nuclear attack designed to incapacitate the U.S. National Command Authorities (NCA) and their control over U.S. nuclear forces.
For the immediate future, our planned offensive force modernization appears sufficient to maintain a robust deterrent to a Soviet nuclear attack on the United States and our allies. While the Soviets apparently seek a capability to combine offensive strikes and defensive preparations designed to limit greatly the damage a U.S. retaliation could do, they do not have that capability, and are unlikely to believe that they do. In deterring other forms of attack -- in particular, more limited nuclear attacks overseas or a conventional attack on NATO -- we rely on a broad array of forces, including tactical nuclear weapons and, of course, strong conventional forces.
By the late 1990s, more advanced defenses may substantially change the basis of deterrence and the nature of the strategic balance. The Soviets continue to work to secure Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) has made substantial progress in developing technologies to make defense against ballistic missiles feasible. When these efforts come to fruition, we can move away from an almost exclusive reliance on, and attention to offensive strategic forces. To the extent that defenses render offensive forces ineffective, any temptation the Soviet rulers might feel to
e forces would be overcome, not simply by their calculations about the prospect and effects of our retaliation, but by an assessment that their attack would be unsuccessful to begin with.
The Soviets have been pursuing advanced defenses, including many of the technologies being examined in our SDI. Their effort is both larger than our own and has a longer history. Some parts of it have been under way for more than two decades. The Soviets now have prototype ground-based lasers that could interfere with U.S. satellites. Prototype space-based anti satellite laser weapons and prototype ground-based lasers for defense against ballistic missiles are possible by the end of the 1980s. The Soviets, unhampered by any "scientists" who oppose their SDI, or any other unpermitted unfavorable reaction, are also continuing full-scale strategic defense research in particle beam, radio frequency, and kinetic energy weapons, and could field selected prototypes of these weapons by the mid-to-late 1990s. Nonetheless, the importance of precision manufacturing, microelectronics, and other advanced technologies for advanced defenses make this an area where the United States can draw on fundamental advantages if we are permitted to continue our needed work with reasonable funding.
5. Major Regional Balances
U.S. conventional forces are designed to help deter attacks on ourselves, our allies, and our friends. The discussion that follows focuses on those regions that are most directly threatened by Soviet aggressive behavior: Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. A principal focus of the regional analysis is on land power and air power, since these two elements of U.S. and allied forces will likely play a major role in defeating Soviet aggression in these regions. Crucial to their success, however, will be the contribution of naval power in maintaining control of the seas, and our power-projection forces in deploying units rapidly to these critical regions. Given their unique roles, both naval and powerprojection forces are discussed separately.
The conventional forces balance in Europe has historically favored, and still favors, the Warsaw Pact by very sizeable margins. For example, in terms of forces within the NATO guidelines area, the Pact has maintained an advantage of over 2-to-1 in main battle tanks and around 2-to-l in combat aircraft for the past 20 years. Over the same period they have increased their advantage in artillery from less than 2-to-1 to over 3-to-1. Since 1965, NATO has lost its advantage in surface-to-air missiles (SAMS) and combat helicopters.
The Pact currently holds an advantage in both of those categories of around 2-to-1. The Pact has consistently deployed infantry fighting
vehicles faster than NATO. Today they hold roughly a 3-to-1 advantage in those types of systems.
These increases in Pact in-place ground forces reflect weapons production rates that have exceeded those of NATO for at least the last ten years (see Chart I.B.3). These rates have allowed the Pact simultaneously to expand and modernize the maneuver elements of their ground forces.
Those modernization efforts, in conjunction with the Pact's quantitative advantages, have resulted in a continuation of the trends adverse to us in ground force combat power. By one measure, which accounts for both quantity and quality of forces, the Pact's advantage in in-place ground force combat power has increased from around 1.5-to-l in 1965 to more than 2.2-to-i today.
Collectors of esoteric isolated statistics are fond of seizing upon single indicators, such as the fact that NATO has a greater GNP than the Warsaw Pact, to give them comfort to further their thesis that we do not need to spend very much on defense. But the annual weapon output of the Warsaw Pact, and the quality of those weapons, remain the most vital statistics of all, and they should be the most energizing for the West.
While we have done substantially better in terms of keeping the Pact from improving their tactical air power advantage, we have not been able to reduce that advantage. By one measure of tactical air power, which again incorporates both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the air balance, the Pact in-place air force advantage in their Western TVD has gone from less than 1.5-to-1 in 1965 to around 1.7-to-1 today. This situation is of additional concern since it complicates our effort to use tactical air forces to compensate for insufficient in-place ground forces.
Increases in the number of Pact long-range, dual-capable surfaceto-surface missiles (SSMS) pose a new and serious threat to NATO'S air forces and air defense systems. Opposite NATO's Central Front the Pact has deployed around 600 SSM launchers with as many as four refire missiles per launcher. This threat will increase further as the Pact continues to modernize its SSM force with longer range, more accurate systems.
NATO can no longer rely as heavily as it once did on its nuclear forces in Europe to compensate for the Pa tages. In recent years, the Soviet Union has made substantial improvements across the full range of its nonstrategic nuclear forces. These improvements include a substantial increase in nuclear-capable howitzers, fielding of improved shorter-range INF systems (e.g., the SS-23), and worldwide deployment of at least 441 SS-20 missile launchers. At the same time, the Soviet Union is developing an overall force structure and military strategy which would seek to neutralize NATO's capability for nuclear response early in a conflict.
Despite these adverse conditions and trends in conventional ground and air force combat power, as well as in the theater nuclear balance, we view it as unlikely that the Soviets would judge their force advantages sufficient now to achieve their political-military objectives in the time they require. Moreover, while the Soviets desire a capability to prevent NATO from employing nuclear W we believe they have not attained that capability, and therefore that they must remain concerned with the risks of escalation.
Nonetheless, NATO recognizes that it must make greater efforts to enhance its conventional capabilities if it is to continue to deter the Soviets from calculating that they can fight and win a war in Europe. The Conventional Defense Improvements (CDI) within NATO is intended, in part, to identify emerging technologies that will enable us to improve the conventional balance. This is an example of how we are focusing our efforts, when possible, on Soviet weaknesses and enduring Western strengths. The CDI enables us to apply our technological strengths to gain the most benefit from them. This is the essence of the competitive strategy approach I have initiated within the Department of Defense (see Section 1.0.4). It has additional applicability within the framework of the NATO alliance. I intend to continue supporting this initiative in discussions with our NATO allies and urging them to do the same.
One aspect of conventional defense enhancements deserving immediate attention is defense against the increasing threat posed by Pact surface-to-surface missiles. Both our department and the NATO alliance are actively addressing this problem and we hope to develop shortly some specific near- and long-term solutions.
Additionally, we and our allies are undertaking efforts to increase the level of arms-production cooperation to get more from our collective defense dollar. We have made considerable progress in this critically important field, and I intend to continue emphasizing this approach during the remainder of my tenure as Secretary of Defense. We need to recognize that this can result in more arms purchases for foreign manufacturers, and more joint ventures. But since the result can be more and better weapons at lower cost, it is most important to make this effort succeed.
In sum, although the trends in the military balance in Europe are adverse, we see opportunities for reversing these trends if we focus our efforts on key areas, maintain a consensus within the alliance on improving our conventional defense capabilities, and ensure the maintenance of a credible, modernized nuclear deterrent.
The Soviets continue expanding and modernizing their forces in East Asia. They are upgrading the equipment of their more than 50 divisions deployed in the Far East. Their more than 40 tactical air regiments stationed there are receiving newer aircraft. The latest generation of interceptor aircraft are also entering the regional inventory. Backfire aircraft continue to augment the older inventories of Badgers, and the Soviets are deploying modified Bear aircraft in areas from which they can support Far East operations. The Soviet Pacific Ocean fleet is the largest in the Soviet navy. It contains two of the Soviet Union's three vertical/short-takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft carriers, over 80 principal surface combatants, and more than 80 submarines. These conventional forces are supplemented by a substantial number of short- and intermediate-range nuclear forces, including the land-mobile SS-20.
Outside the Northeast Pacific, the Soviet naval and air presence in the South China Sea now comprises approximately 30 ships and submarines, and 40 aircraft. Operating from Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, these and other support forces pose a significant threat to Southeast Asian sea lines of communications, and highlight close and continuing Soviet support for the Vietnamese regime in its aggressive action in Cambodia.
The Sino-Soviet military balance continues to favor the Soviet Union. It will continue to do so as Chinese emphasis on economic growth which reduces funds available for immediate defense improvements in its long-term modernization programs. Although China continues to make incremental improvements in reorganizing and streamlining its military, Beijing still relies on its large population and resource base, and geographical size as the heart of its conventional deterrent.
Even though the Soviets maintain an enormous strategic nuclear superiority over the Chinese, China's extensive use of camouflage, concealment, and mobility is likely to preclude a disarming Soviet first strike against China's relatively small nuclear force. Slow growth over the next five years will likely include the introduction of a small number of SLBMs. The effectiveness of China's strategic forces will be reduced by ongoing Soviet upgrades to its missile defense systems.
The second significant regional balance, between North and South
, is of critical interest and concern to the United States. The military preparedness of the Republic of Korea, coupled with North Korea's perception of America's resolve, have been instrumental in keeping the peace for nearly 34 years. North Korea persists in its efforts to modernize its large armed forces, despite the devastating effects on its notoriously weak economy. It is also deploying these forces forward that reduces the warning time for South Korea. Current estimates indicate that North Korea carries a defense burden exceeding 20 percent of its gross national product. North Korean modernization programs include continued reorganization and forward deployment of its army, and development of the second largest special operations forces in the world. All these forces are postured to attack in ways that maximize the opportunity of surprise.
The Republic of Korea, with U.S. assistance, has also been modernizing its forces, balancing these efforts within a strong, growing economy that is roughly four times the size of North Korea's. This economic asymmetry makes the long-term prospect for the Korean balance favorable. Nevertheless, in the face of Pyongyang's aggressive actions, and in view of the potential for Soviet intervention that would quickly upset the balance, our current efforts to assist South Korea in redressing specific military problem areas must continue.
Southeast Asia is the locus of the remaining significant regional balance. Vietnam fields the world's third largest army. With direct financing from the Soviets, it continues to occupy Cambodia, threatens Thailand and the overall stability of ASEAN, and poses a constant menace to China by deploying some 700,000 troops along the Chinese border. In exchange for base rights, the Soviets provide military equipment and continue to support the failed Vietnamese economy. Containing this threat requires our continued attention.
Although some aspects of the regional balance favor the Soviets, there are many important theater-wide considerations that favor the United States and its allies. Japan plays a significant role in bolstering democratic defenses in the region. By virtue of its key location, improving capabilities, modernizing self-defense forces, and its assumption of new missions, Japan provides a major part of its own defense and offers essential infrastructure support to U.S. forward-deployed forces. The Soviet deployment of SSBNS in bastions close to the Soviet Union magnifies the strategic importance of islands that dominate the entrances to the Sea of Japan and the Sea