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of Okhotsk. The inclusion of Japan in this Soviet "sea-control" area underscores the Soviet threat to Japan.
The rapid economic development of Japan and the newly industrialized countries of the East Asian rim, together with the growth of the Chinese economy, continue to broaden the basis for developing the self-defense capabilities of friendly regional countries. The United States is pursuing economic and security policies that tie our countries more closely together, while assuring that technology transfer does not redound to the West's disadvantage.
In view of these positive economic trends in East Asia, with the notable exception of Soviet allies or clients, the long-term regional trends appear favorable from our perspective.
The Middle East/Southwest Asia region's critical geostrategic location, its considerable petroleum resources, and its proximity to the Soviet Union combine to make it an inviting target for Soviet expansionism. The Soviets maintain significant ground and tactical air forces in their military districts contiguous to the region and have been active in developing support bases for Soviet navy presence in the Indian Ocean. Since 1979, the Soviets have been using military force in their attempt to subjugate the Afghan people.
The immediate Soviet threat to the region in a global conflict consists of 30 active ground divisions, including some 5,450 tanks, over 1,400 fixed and rotary wing tactical aircraft, and numerous mobile missile launchers. Long-range bombers from air and naval units stationed outside the Southern Theater of Military Operations could also be directed to interrupt our projection of forces to the region. Soviet proximity to Southwest Asia provides them with a significant advantage in the balance, but the determination of the regional states to maintain their independence and the extremely difficult terrain partially offset these advantages. Furthermore, we estimate that the long lines of communications the Soviets would have to maintain to control the region's oil-producing facilities would be vulnerable to both air and unconventional ground interdiction, and would require a substantial investment in personnel to ensure local security.
As with other regions, our national security objectives in the Middle East and Southwest Asia include: deterring and, if necessary, defending against Soviet aggression; countering Soviet moves to gain power and influence; and protecting free world access to resources. Since 1981, we have improved our capability for projecting military forces to the region. We have built our potential force allocation to more than six ground divisions and over 600 tactical aircraft, and we now have the capability to deploy rapidly about four divisions (largely through our acquisition of U.S.-based fast sealift and maritime prepositioning in the Indian Ocean). To test these forces and our rapid-deployment concepts, we have conducted a number of successful exercises with friendly regional states. Part of our continuing plan to assist regional states defend more effectively against Soviet aggression calls for the forward deployment, in peacetime, of certain Central Command forces. To date, political problems and access limitations have limited our success. Regional states awareness of the range of threats to their security, however, has
made them receptive to our military assistance programs, foreign military sales, and military exercises.
Our improved capability to project significant forces quickly into the region helps to deter Soviet attack. Should deterrence fail, we could successfully defend the region with substantially fewer ground forces than the Soviets would need to seize and occupy it, provided our forces are heavily supported by tactical air. We would need to be supported against a common foe by our friends and allies in the region and elsewhere by nations whose very existence depends on the West's continuing access to the oil fields. We would need to come to rapid accord with them regarding access and host nation support, and the continued flow of defensive military strength for our defensive military operations.
6. The Maritime Balance
The Navy's capability to protect our sea lines of communications and to project power remains crucial to Western security. Almost any type and level of conflict involving U.S. interests will require movement of forces by sea. Although the Soviets seem intent upon improving their naval forces and capabilities, our substantial shipbuilding program and use of effective strategies to exploit Soviet operational concepts result in an overall maritime balance favorable to the United States.
The Soviet navy concentrates on protecting its SSBN forces and destroying opposition nuclear-capable forces, such as U.S. SLCMequipped submarines and surface ships, and aircraft carriers. As Western platforms are becoming more numerous, capable, and dispersed, the Soviet capability to find and attack U.S. and Western SSBNs and SLCM-platforms will likely decline.
The Soviets continue to modernize their SSBN force and upgrade the quality of their attack and cruise missile submarines. By the mid-1990s, these improved submarines and the more capable surface combatants now being built will represent a significant percentage of the Soviet navy. The land-based contingent of Soviet naval aviation (SNA) continues to receive new Backfire missile-carrying aircraft, and Soviet air force Backfire and Bear-G aircraft continue to augment the SNA's antiship capability. It is likely that Fencer and followon tactical ground attack aircraft will enhance Soviet antiship forces in areas closer to land. The sea-based leg of naval aviation is pursuing V/STOL aircraft development, both with Kiev-class carriers operational now, and probably with a follow-on carrier that may be operational in the early 1990s. The new carrier may eventually support the introduction of conventional take-off and landing aircraft into the Soviet navy. The continuing development of Soviet high-performance antiship cruise missiles on their submarines, surface ships, and aircraft will stress our fleet defenses, but similar Western systems will severely complicate Soviet defensive problems as well.
Maritime superiority is critical to the United States because of our need to deploy and support forces by sea in almost any contingency. It is at least as critical for the Western alliance as a result of the role of reinforcement from the United States in the NATO plans. U.S. programs enhance our maritime capabilities in several key areas. The 600-ship Navy program as currently structured will provide 15 deployable aircraft carriers; substantial numbers of Aegis air-defense cruisers and destroyers; more, and more capable,
Los Angeles-class submarines, with the Seawolf-class in the mid 1990s; more amphibious lift in newer and more capable ships; new mine warfare ships; and new ocean surveillance platforms. The modernization of land- and sea-based naval aircraft continues, as does the effort to enhance cooperation between the Services to improve the effectiveness of maritime operations, notably by providing aerial tanking and surveillance support. The addition of these carefully balanced forces will greatly improve our ability to deal with the evolving Soviet threat.
The Soviet navy's major roles and missions are to assure that Soviet SSBN forces will be able to launch their missiles, and to deny the West access to sea areas from which forces can be projected into the periphery of the Soviet Union. These "sea-denial areas" have been expanding as the Soviet navy has grown, and now include the southern Norwegian Sea and northwest Pacific. The force-projection missions of the United States and its allies, and the sea-denial missions of the Soviets and Warsaw Pact are therefore quite asymmetrical, and our apparent force structure differences more readily explained.
The Soviet navy's predominant character as a navy designed to support submarine warfare in a sea-denial role is one result of this mission asymmetry. This emphasis will continue, though the size of the Soviet submarine force will decline slightly. The new platforms and support forces will actually improve the overall capabilities of the submarine force at the same time the Soviets are enhancing surface and air/mission forces.
Though the overall balance is favorable today, thanks to our naval expansion and the significant maritime contributions of our NATO allies, it is becoming more complex. The antisubmarine warfare picture will be complicated by the improved platforms on both sides, with a declining U.S. ASW advantage. Fleet air defenses will be increasingly challenged by improved antiship missiles entering both inventories. The United States, however, will retain significant advantages. The Soviet emphasis on the mission of SSBN protection limits forces available for other tasks. Despite improvements in the Soviet submarine force, the United States currently maintains an ASW edge. The U.S. Navy will continue to hold considerable advantages in tactical air and sustainability at sea, and in its ability to operate the new and more sophisticated ships entering the inventory. Continued pursuit of these competitive advantages and attention to changes in Soviet naval forces and strategy are necessary to preserve a favorable maritime balance in the future.
7. The Power-Projection Balance
Deterring war across the conflict spectrum, assuring war outcomes that do not compromise our interests, and improving, or at least maintaining, alliance cohesion are all goals that depend upon our ability to project force. With respect to areas outside the periphery of the Soviet homeland, our capability to project forces
ne Soviet capability. However, the Soviets' continental location and large military establishment give them an advantage in applying force in Western Europe and along the Soviet periphery, while U.S. forces, in almost any type and level of conflict, would have to "project" from the continental United States (CONUS).
We have significantly improved our power-projection capabilities in the 1980s. Airlift capacity has been expanded with the acquisition of the C-5B, the KC-10,, the procurement of increased stocks of spare parts, and the stretching of the C-141 fleet. Additional power-projection enhancements are programmed with the advent of the C-17 and improvements to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) (see
alift is a mixed picture, as the decline of the U.S.-flag merchant marine has continued, and the mix of ships remaining in that dwindling force is not ideally suited to military purposes. The majority of our 'sealift shortfalls have been addressed by increasing the size of the Ready Reserve Force (RRF). Eight large and fast (SL-7-class) container ships have been converted to rollon/roll-off (RO/RO) configurations, and the Army and Navy are jointly
blem of unloading and moving cargo once it arrives. The third contributor to mobility, in addition to airlift and sealift, is prepositioning. Three squadrons of maritime prepositioning ships with unit equipment and stores have been procured to support Marine Corps deployments in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
In addition to these mobility improvements, forces are being reconfigured to support rapid deployment more readily. The Army, for example, is fielding rapidly deployable light divisions. Amphibious lift will be increased with the advent of the new LSD-41 and LHD-1class ships, and the Navy is accepting delivery of their first air cushion vehicles which will greatly enhance ship-to-shore movement of Marine Air-Ground Task Forces.
Soviet power-projection forces are also improving, although some programs are moving more slowly than we had anticipated. Two aspects of the power-projection balance provide reason for concern. First, new Soviet force developments significantly enhance their ability to compete with the United States for influence in areas far from its
borders; second, the Soviets are employing a variety of other means (such as ambiguous aggression) to gain access to, and make inroads in, Third World areas where there is little danger that they will encounter United States or competent local forces.
Important Soviet power-projection developments include: new and, in some cases, unique systems to move or support forces; continued upgrading of their merchant marine with militarily capable shipping; modest improvements and near-term additions to sea-based air forces; their continued role as a major arms supplier to the Third World; and expansion of Soviet facilities and bases overseas to support deployments.
The Soviets have developed and will be deploying the C-5A-size CONDOR heavy airlifter. Coupled with the C-141-size CANDID that has been replacing AN-12 CUBs in Military Transport Aviation, this will considerably expand the capacity and extend the range of those forces. The CANDID is also being deployed in a tanker version. The Soviets are also in the early stages of operationally deploying the first of a new class of vehicles, "wing-in-ground-effect" or WIG craft, that apparently will enter the force as amphibious transports. The speed and range of these units could provide the means for a relatively small (regimental perhaps) but significant intervention of naval infantry beyond the immediate Soviet periphery. The Soviets continue to lead the world in the deployment of air cushion vehicles in their amphibious forces. These capabilities allow them to use merchant lift to augment organic naval assault shipping in deploying naval infantry or army units.
The Soviet merchant marine continues to expand and modernize, in stark contrast to that of the United States (see Chapter III.E.). For example, the current Soviet inventory of roll-on/roll-off and roll-on/float-off ships comprises over 100 units. This represents an addition of eight to nine ships per year since they first entered the inventory in 1974. The average RO/RO in the Soviet merchant marine can carry 125 medium tanks. The RO/RO ships alone can move up to five Soviet Motorized Rifle Divisions in a one-time lift. This would be in addition to the large remaining pool of merchant ships in the Soviet inventory, most configured with military use in mind.
Additionally, while Soviet sea-based aviation is still in its infancy, over the long term it could provide a significant complement to Soviet power-projection forces. Work continues on the new, possibly nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which we anticipate will be the vanguard of a follow-on generation of larger, more capable carriers. The Soviets also continue to explore the possibilities of using V/STOL aircraft on rapidly reconfigured RO/RO ships. Currently, the Soviet power-projection forces cannot realistically operate outside of land-based air protection, or where our sea-based air might intervene. With the integration of Soviet sea-based air support, power-proiection forces will operate with increased confidence at greater distances from the Soviet homeland.
The Soviets have been very active in indirect forms of power projection. Using their merchant marine the Soviets have become a leading supplier of arms to the Third World. These arms transfers are but one element in a concerted effort that includes propaganda, aid. trade. covert and overt (Afghanistan. Ethiopia, and Angola) activities, security advisers, and proxy troops. That the Soviets are engaged in a determined effort to project power worldwide is aptly illustrated by Chart 1.B.5.