• Heritage Action
  • More
Backgrounder #509 on Russia

May 13, 1986

U.S. -Soviet Arms Talks: A Primer

By


(Archived document, may contain errors)

509 May 13, 1986 US--SOVIET ARMS TALKS A PRIMOR INTRODUCTION Washington and Moscow have just begun the fifth round of the current series of Geneva talks on controlling nuclepr weapons progress was ma de in the round that ended in March. Both sides remain far apart conceptually on how to reduce strategic forces despite little apparent difference about the magnitude of the cuts.

This series of talks began in March 1985 and their pace quickened as last Novemberls summit approached. In October, Moscow proposed cutting strategic nuclear forces by 50 percent in return for a U.S agreement to halt the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) . Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev repeated this offer in his thref-stage plan for global nuclear disarmament made public this January tabled its proposal in November and February No The U.S 1. William Drozdiak Shultz, Soviet Premier Cite Lack of Progress S i nce Geneva," The Washinnton Post March 16, 1986, pp. Al, A30 2. Michael Dobbs, "Gorbachev Publicly Presents Missile Reduction Proposal," The Washington Post, October 4, 1985, pp. Al, A20; Paul H. Nitze, "The Soviet Arms Control Counterproposal Current Pol icv, No. 758 3. Don Oberdorfer and Walter Pincus Moscow Proposes a Timetable for Nuclear Arms Ban,"

The Washington Post January 16, 1986, pp. Al, A29 4. Lou Cannon, "Reagan Announces Arms Plan The Washinaton Post November 1, 1985 p. Al; Bernhard Weinraub R eagan Offers Moscow a Plan to Cut Missiles," The New York Times. February 24, 1986; Don Oberdorfer U.S. Plan Would Abolish Intermediate-Range Arms," The Washineton Post February 24, 1986, p. Al. The proposals now on the table in Geneva deal with strategic and intermediate-range nuclear forces INF) as well as space-based missile defenses. On the latter, the positions seem irreconcilable given the fact that MOSCOW~S key objective is to halt SDI and that its offer to cut strategic forces by 50 percent is bein g used as bait to gain U.S compliance. Aside from being unacceptable on these grounds, its force reduction proposal shelters areas of Soviet advantage while placing the U.S. at a lopsided strategic disadvantage. It exacerbates U.S first-strike vulnerabilit y , undercuts extended deterrence, and emaciates the least vulnerable le of the strategic triad, the missile-carrying submarine force. Above all, key provisions of the Soviet proposal are inherently unverifiable interest in an equitable and stable force bal a nce, which is the basic objective of the U.S. proposal, little tangible progress can be expected Unless Moscow shows The U.S. should not feel compelled to advance another proposal at this time. Instead, it should stand firm until Moscow o alters its unacc e ptable definition of strategic nuclear systems which constrains all U.S. nuclear systems but limits only long-range Soviet systems o accepts cuts of its heavy SS-18 and SS-19 land-based missiles o o drops the linkage between offensive weapons cuts and hal ting SDI accepts verification procedures adequate to ensure compliance with a future agreement; and 0 complies fully with existing arms accords.

Unless these minimum requirements are met by Moscow, a new U.S proposal will be bound to compromise the U.S. position and result in an arms agreement that does not enhance U.S. and allied security.

SOVIET ARMS CONTROL OBJECTIVES The Soviet offer to cut total nuclear weapons by 50 percent seems tailored to accomplish at least four distinct, yet complementary obj ec tives 5. Barry Schneider and Michael Ennis, "Strategy, Policy, and the U.S. Arms Reduction Proposal Armed Forces Jou rnal InternationaL January 1986, pp. 63-64 21) To force the U.S. to abandon the SDI program in exchange for offensive force reductions 2) T o prevent the modernization of U.S. strategic forces, protect Soviet advantages in crucial categories of strategic forces, including its own right to field new nuclear systems 3) 90 drive a wedge between the U.S. and its allies by stimulating NATO anxieti e s over the impact of SDI on European security and the prospects for arms control and encouraging the West Europeans to press Washington for concessions on SDI 4) To undermine the U.S. guarantee of nuclear deterrence of attacks on NATO by forcing Washingto n to choose between deploying its nuclear weapons in Europe or in the U.S.

THE SOVIET ARMS PACKAGE The current package60f Soviet proposals was unveiled last October and expanded in January. The package's key elements are A. Reductions and Bans 1) A ban 'on all research and development of strategic defense weapons as a precondition to offensive arms cuts 2) The inclusion as "strategic systems" of all nuclear systems capable of striking the territory of the other side in calculating the permitted number of o f fensive weapon systems intermediate-range U.S. Pershing I1 and ground-launched cruise missiles would be counted in the U.S. total as would U.S carrier-based aircraft such as the A-7s or F-14s normally deployed in the European theater and capable of carryi n g nuclear weapons over 2,000 similar Soviet aircraft and more than 300 Backfire bombers would not be counted toward the permitted total, presumably because they cannot reach the U.S. from their present bases, though they easily can strike Europe's NATO na t ions This means that the Yet 3) A 50 percent cut in long-range nuclear systems as defined by Moscow, resulting in a combined total of 1,680 for the U.S. and 1,250 for the Soviet Union 6. Background Briefing by Senior Administration Official, White House, O ffice of the Press Secretary, October 8, 1985; Paul Nitze, OD. cit, pp 1-2 3I 4) A maximum ceiling of 6,000 of what Moscow terms "nuclear charges,In7 of which no more than 60 percent, or 3,600 weapons, may be carried on either land-, sea-, or air-based de livery systems.

Gravity bombs and short-range attack missiles carried by U.S. bombers would be counted toward the overall limit 5) Reduction of intermediate-range nuclear forces (INFs) to levels consistent with the principles of llequality and equal sec~ri ty This would allow the U.S. to keep 100 ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) in Europe during the first stage of Gorbachev's three stages of reductions, while Moscow would reduce its SS-20 force to the combined total of French and British systems 6) A ban on all delivery systems that have not been flight-tested by the treaty's signing date 7) A ban on all long-range cruise missiles defined as unmanned drones with ranges over 600km (about 360 miles 8) Reciprocal cuts in offensive delivery systems condit i onal upon agreement-in-principle to halt work on "space strike" weapons B. Moratoria 1) On development, testing, and deployment of ''space strike and small new nuclear weapons and a llfreezenn on development of nuclear ahs currently in production 2) On de p loyment of additional U.S. and Soviet medium-range missiles in Europe 3) On deployment of nuclear weapons in third countries U.S. REACTION AND COUNTERPROPOSALS The Soviet package seemed attractive at first. The White House 2 Moscow set an overall and equa l ceiling detected a number of positive elements. Among them: 1) Moscow had accepted the Reagan principle of deep reductions in the nuclear arsenals of both powers on nuclear warheads that capped expansion of Soviet land-based systems 7. In its proposal, M o scow introduced this term rather than using the term warhead. It is much broader and thus applies to nuclear-armed aircraft of intermediate-range deployed within striking distance of the Soviet Union 4 I and thus, at least indirectly, limited throw-weight . 3) Moscow conceded, for the first time, the U.S. right to deploy intermediate-range nuclear forces in Europe 4) Moscow effectively dropped the linkage between agreements on strategic force reductions and on nuclear weapons in Europe by proposing separate talks between Moscow and France and the United Kingdom In response to MOSCOW~S October package, Washington in November proposed 1) Cutting offensive arsenals by 50 percent. By using a definition of a strategic delivery system that differed from MOSCOW~S t h e U.S. proposal would allow a total of 4,500 missile warheads with up to 3,000 permitted on land-based intercontinental missiles, in contrast to the 3,600 warhead limit in MOSCOW~S proposal 2) A ceiling of 350 strategic bombers and 1,500 air-launched crui s e missiles to be deployed initially on 75 B-52 bombers, allowing each side between 1,600 and 1,800 strategic delivery systems including about 1,450 strategic missiles contained in MOSCOW~S proposal 3) A freeze on INF deployment in Europe with eventual cut s of systems in the field establishing a common ceiling of 140 launchers permitted each side, including 38 Pershing-11s and 102 ground-launched cruise missile launchers with four missiles each. This would precede their elimination pursuant to the February 1 986 proposal, whereas MOSCOW~S proposal would eliminate all Pershing 11s and leave only 100 GLCMs, presumably on 25 launchers No similar ceiling is 4) Soviet throw-weight reductions to about 3 million kilograms, or roughly one-half of the present total an d slightly more than can now be carried by U.S. missiles. The Soviet proposal imposes no throw-weight limits 5) Prohibiting the modernization of existing heavy ICBMs or the construction of new ones missiles The Soviet proposal bans only new heavy 6) A ban o n mobile ICBMs including Soviet 88-24s and SS-25s and the proposed U.S. Midgetman single warhead missile that is scheduled for deployment in 1992 EVALUATING THE TWO PROPOSALS Arms control proposals must reconcile the goals of weapons reduction with the mi l itary requirements dictated by political objectives and commitments, military doctrines, and geostrategic conditions. Overall levels of nuclear arms are less critical to a 5stable strategic relationship than the quality and configuration of these forces. Force reductions for the sole purpose of cutting nuclear arsenals may actually raise rather than lessen the danger of I nuclear war.

To enhance deterrence and to further U.S. security needs, an arms control agreement must meet at least the following criter ia 1) IT MUST NOT PRECLUDE DEVELOPMENT OF STRATEGIC DEFENSE TECHNOLOGIES THAT CAN REINFORCE DETERRENCE AND LESSEN RELIANCE ON OFFENSIVE RETALIATORY THREATS Soviet Pronosal Moscow seeks a complete ban on all research, development testing, and deployment of so-called space-strike weapons. In effect this bans all strategic defense related systems. But Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) can contribute to strategic stability in ways that offensive weapons cannot because even limited strategic defenses can deprive an opponent of the ability to execute a disarming first strike. Deep cuts in offensive nuclear weapons add to stability, moreover, only if accompanied by anti-missile defenses.

Otherwise, such reductions could increase incentives to strike first.

In the absence of missile defenses, lower force levels encourage cheating and thus require verification standards that may be unattainable.

U.S. Pronosal The U.S. offer does not constrain strategic defense research beyond the restrictions imposed alre ady by the 1972 ABM Treaty on testing and deployment of missile defense systems furthers the goals of arms control by providing incentives for weapons cuts and ensuring a margin of safety in verification Strategic defense 2) IT MUST ENHANCE STRATEGIC STAB ILITY BY DECREASING SOVIET I FIRST-STRIKE CAPABILITIES; IT MUST NOT PREVENT EXISTING ARSENALS FROM BEING MODERNIZED IN WAYS THAT BOLSTER STRATEGIC STABILITY; AND IT MUST BAR THE INTRODUCTION OF DESTABILIZING NEW WEAPONS SYSTEMS.

Soviet Pronosa MOSCOW'S pac kage fails to reduce the tremendous Soviet advantage in missile throw-weight, or payload capability for warheads, thus preserving the Soviet ability to launch a "first strike" that would devastate the U.S. retaliatory capability. Throw-weight thus is a ke y issue, as it has been for a decade and a half of arms control talks.

The Soviet Union currently enjoys a 3 to 1 lead in nuclear throw-weight, fielding 11.9 million pounds compared to 4.4 million 6pounds for the U.S. This enables the Soviets to place seve ral thousand more nuclear warheads on existing missiles than can the U.S. without significantly reducing yield or accuracy By contrast, the U.S. essentially has exhausted its ability to The extra Excess Soviet throw-weight also add warheads to its missile s . The U.S. Minuteman I11 long-range missile, for instance, originally was tested with seven warheads, but the Pentagon decided to fit it with only three warheads warheads, concluded the Pentagon, would have required that each warhead yield be reduced too much allows Moscow to stuff devices on its heavy missiles that would help warheads penetrate missile defenses.

The Soviet package even could increase MOSCOW~S throw-weight To retain some of its intermediate-range nuclear missiles lead INFs) in Europe, the U.S. will have to cut strategic systems with much larger throw-weight than fielded by INFs. If the U.S. decided to retain intermediate-range systems at current levels, it would have to cut its land- and sea-based strategic missiles more than Moscow would.

The Soviet throw-weight advantages allowed in MOSCOW~S package could destabilize seriously the strategic balance, for they could enhance MOSCOW~S ability to destroy U.S. missiles based in concrete-hardened silos on land warheads (technically known as reen try vehicles) against each of the 1,030 land-based missiles in the U.S. This 6-to-1 ratio could double even if Moscow reduced its land-based missile force to 3,600 warheads. This is because the U.S. might be required by the terms of the Soviet proposal to cut its ICBMs to as few as 300 missiles, if it elects to keep its INFs deployed in and close to Europe and its strategic bomber force at current levels Soviet forces currently can aim six Even if the U.S. retained its entire force of 450 Minutemen-I11 Exp erts ICBMs, each still could be attacked by six Soviet warheads calculate that, on average, only two warheads are needed to destroy a missile inside a hardened silo. Thus to knock out all of the U.S.

Minutemen 111s in a surprise attack, Moscow would have t o expend only 900 warheads, or only 25 percent of its land-based warheads. It then would have more in reserve than it would under present U.S.-Soviet strategic balance arsenal. Banned would'be the weapons systems recommended by the President's Commission on Strategic Forces (the Scowcroft Commission in April 19

83. The Soviet package bars development of untested weapons. Thus while this would permit deployment of the MX missile and the B-1 bomber, it would prohibit fielding of the D-5 sea-launched ballisti c missile (SLBM) to replace the current C-4 missile and the mobile Midgetman single warhead ICBM that is designed to restore the survivability of the land-based strategic deterrent The Soviet proposal would prevent the U.S. from modernizing its The U.S 7- I Advanced Technology Bomber, or Stealth bomber, that is largely invisible to Soviet radar would have to be cancelled with the proposed ban on long-range cruise missiles, cancellation of the Stealth would cripple the U.S. bomber force, reducing it to extr e mely expensive carriers of Iliron bombsll and short-range attack missiles. Exempt from the'ban, of course, are those Soviet systems that already have been tested, such as the mobile 10 warhead SS-24 the single warhead SS-25, the sea-launched SSN-23, and t h e Blackjack strategic bomber In conjunction U So Pronosal The ceiling of 4,500 missile warheads and subceiling of 3,000 warheads on land-based missiles requires Moscow to cut more than half of its warheads deployed on its monster-size SS-18 and SS-19 ICBM s.

The U.S. proposal also prohibits fielding new versions of such I'heavyll ICBMs, while the proposed halving of Soviet throw-weight will move Soviet force modernization toward l11ightera1 missile systems that cannot destroy hardened targets in the U.S. Fi nally, the U.S.-proposed subceiling of 3,000 on land-based warheads encourages a gradual shift toward sea-based nuclear missiles that, despite their growing ability to destroy hardened targets, still remain primarily retaliatory second-strike assets.

The U.S. proposal would permit modernization of strategic forces and would allow the U.S. force to counter MOSCOW~S decade-long extensive qualitative force improvements modernization could contribute to strategic stability by allowing both sides to tailor the i r strategic forces to the new arms ceilings resulting force structure would be for retaliatory strlkes, thus removing destabilizing fears of a first-strike attack More important The 3) IT MUST RESULT IN AN EQUITABLE FORCE BALANCE THAT GIVES NEITHER SIDE S IGNIFICANT MILITARY ADVANTAGES.

Soviet ProDosal MOSCOW~S arms package gives Soviet forces a significant advantage submarine-based strategic deterrent (concentrated on a small number of The U.S. would be left with a predominantly aircraft and 8. Force moder nization is not bad E as critics charge routinely. For instance since the 1960s the U.S. has reduced throw-weight of nuclear systems by nearly 75 percent and cut forces deployed by about 30 percent in the process of fielding more advanced and safer nuclea r systems 8submarines whereas the Soviets would be ablp to retain and modernize their inventory of large land-based missiles. The U.S. retaliatory force is thus highly vulnerable to Soviet destruction in a surprise attack. Such vulnerability decreases subs tantially in times of crisis because submarines will leave port, yet the Soviet proposal still enhances the coercive value of Moscow's strategic nuclear deterrent.

The Moscow package gives Soviet forces an advantage in a number of ways. For one thing, it i ncludes all U.S. weapons systems that can reach Soviet targets but excludes many comparable delivery systems on the Soviet side. For another, most U.S. warhead reductions would have to be made in the sea-based nuclear deterrent, which currently consists o f approximately 5,500 nuclear warheads deployed aboard 37 ballistic submarines (SSBNs) carrying 600 nuclear missiles. The U.S would have to withdraw about 2,000 of these warheads to get down to the maximum of 3,600 warheads or 60 percent of the permitted c eiling.

To be sure, the Soviet proposal for a 50 percent cut in delivery systems wouhd leave the U.S. with 1,680 systems compared to only 1,250 for Moscow. But this advantage for the U.S. is as real as a Potemkin Village. Excluded from the Moscow proposal are about 2,000 Soviet medium-range missiles and aircraft that could attack NATO's European members. Excluded too are the fleet of more than 300 Backfire bombers that Moscow.stil1 insists unconvincingly are not strategic weapons. In terms of raw numbers a l one, therefore, the Moscow proposal would give the Soviet arsenal a sizable advantage over the U.S Even worse, the Soviets would retain all 308 of their SS-18 missiles and a large number of their SS-19 force, the backbone of their first-strike capability. The U.S. strategic deterrent, by contrast, would contain fewer quick-reaction forces and more warheads delivered by relatively'slow airplanes and cruise missiles.

The ban on long-range cruise missiles (CMs defined as those with ranges in excess of 600 km would force the U.S. to dismantle CMs carrying B-52 bombers and to terminate advanced CM development for the B-1 bomber. This will affect the future capability of the U.S. bomber 9. This results from Soviet failure to draw a distinction between "fast-flyi n g" missiles and "slow-flying" aircraft and cruise missiles (CMs). The latter are inherently less threatening and, therefore, are preferable in terms of crisis stability. Without this distinction and corresponding subceilings on these qualitatively differe n t systems, it is difficult to establish a stable free mix on both sides 10. Moscow counts 3,364 "relevant" nuclear systems on the U.S. side but only 2,504 strategic" systems for itself. The U.S. total is comprised of 2,215 ICBMs, SLBMs and bombers, 560 ca r rier-based aircraft, 380 medium-range dual-capable aircraft stationed in Europe and 209 medium-range nuclear missiles 9-force to strike Soviet targets cruise missiles will become increasingly vulnerable to the Soviets defense force of more than 12,000 sur face-to-air missiles and more than 2,500 interceptor-aircraft;-the newest models equipped-with look-down/shoot-down radar.

The ban on long-range CMs also would prohibit deployment already begun by the U.S. Navy of sea-launched CMs on battleships and Anaele s class attack submarines proscribe deployment of ground-launched CMs in Europe. It was U.S determination to proceed with cruise missile deployment, in fact, that prompted even the Carter Administration to insist that SALT 11's moratorium on long-range CM deployment be only temporary moratorium has expired Without an advanced version, the U.S The ban additionally would This The Soviet ban on long-range CMs would not affect MOSCOW~S arsenal of shorter-range CMs. The Soviet package thus would penalize the U. S., given the fact that most Soviet targets are far inland, but leave Moscow free to target major U.S. cities with shorter medium-range CMs based on the many Soviet submarines that routinely cruise off the U.S. coasts.

U.S. Proposal The U.S. offer distingu ishes between qualitatively different weapons systems by establishing separate ceilings for missile warheads, strategic bombers, and air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM carriers. It thereby establishes equal or comparable capabilities for both sides while p ermitting sufficient flexibility in configuring national forces to take into account differing requirements and traditional preferences for specific delivery systems 4) IT MUST RECOGNIZE THE DIFFERENT GEOSTRATEGIC CONDITIONS THAT CREATE DIFFERENT FORCE RE QUIREMENTS FOR EACH SIDE. IT MUST PERMIT THE THREAT OF WHICH PROTECTS ALLIES FROM SOVIET INTIMIDATION AND AGGRESSION.

UoSoI FOR EXAMPLE, TO MAINTAIN CAPABILITIES FOR FLEXIBLE RESPONSE, THE Soviet Proposal MOSCOW~S package overlooks the unique burden the U. S. carries in protecting allies thousands of miles from American shores. The package therefore denies Washington the flexibility it needs to fulfill these commitments. Example: The blanket 50 percent reduction that Moscow seeks would force the U.S. to cho o se between cutting strategic" missile systems and l'tacticaltg nuclear systems based in Europe and those based in the Pacific. This is because Moscow defines a strategic system as any that can strike the other side. Almost all U.S. nuclear systems in West e rn Europe, of course, can hit the USSR and thus are covered by MOSCOW'S definition. This means that, if the 10 - U. S. wanted to maintain its 1,149 intermediate-range systems abroad it would be able to retain only 531 intercontinental systems divided amon g ICBMs, SLBMs, and bombers. Moscow, by contrast, would be allowed 1,250 strategic systems, for it would not have to make any deductions for intermediate missiles since none of them could strike the U.S.--although they could hit Western Europe. With only 5 3 1 strategic systems, the U.S. would not be able to protect its global geostrategic interests power because it would lack the military means to back up a global foreign policy The U.S. thus would cease to be a global Conversely, if the U.S. opted for equal ity with Soviet intercontinental strategic forces, it would have to reduce dramatically its forward-based internediate-range forces systems to 430 or about 40 percent of their present level.

U.S. with only about 20 percent of Soviet intermediateorange forc es eroding U.S. ability to deter aggression against allies and friends Moreover, U.S. ability to bolster allied conventional defenses would also suffer. For instance, most U.S. aircraft can carry both conventional and nuclear ordnance and, accordingly, wo uld have to be withdrawn from abroad.

Washington to choose between strategic parity with Moscow and the forces needed for the security of the U.S. allies This would leave the The Soviet proposal thus would force U. S. Proposal The U.S. proposal reflects the consistent U.S. argument that a sys t em's Vangell should determine whether it is subject to treaty limitations. This criterion is enshrined in past agreements. In accordance with this, the U.S. proposes to cut all strategic systems by 50 percent and to eliminate intermediateorange nuclear mi s siles altogether. The U.S. proposal has triggered some objections in NATO as eliminating the entire category of intermediateorange nuclear weapons would mean the removal from Europe of Pershing I1 and ground-launched cruise missiles that were deployed to reassure the allies of Uip. nuclear commitment and to enhance deterrence of Soviet aggression.

U.S. defenses. It is for this reason that Washington, in its February This could be seen as a decoupling of European and 11. James M. Markham, "West Europe Cool to Removal of U.S. Medium-Range Missiles The New York Time& February 25, 1986, p. A3; German Press Review, No. 8, February 28 1986 11 response to the Sovies reductions in Europe. proposal, linked nuclear and conventional force 5) ARMS LIMITATIONS MUST BE VERIFIABLE TO REASSURE THE PARTIES THAT THE AGREEMENTS REMAIN IN FORCE AND, AT LEAST THEORETICALLY, TO PROVIDE SgME WARNING IF TREATY VIOLATIONS BEGIN TO ENDANGER NATIONAL SECURITY.

Soviet ProBosal Verifying the Moscow package is very problematic long-rang e cruise missiles with a range of more than 600 km, for example, is almost impossible to verify because these small drones can be easily concealed and can be deployed on and launched from a variety of platforms shape and mode of deployment, while nuclear- a rmed long-range cruise missiles are essentially indistinguishable from those with conventional warheads difficult to verify, as indicated by the SALT I1 experience. SALT 11 among other things, limited the number of new missiles either side could deploy, b u t these restrictions have been violated by Moscow. The most certain method of verification would be a ban on all test firing of all ballistic missiles. But this is very impractical, for without periodic testing, confidence in the reliability of existing s y stems erodes The ban on Their range also is not readily apparent from their The proposed ban on force modernization is also exceedingly As for the Soviet's vast arsenal of SS-20 intermediate-range missiles and Backfire bombers, upgrading them to intercont i nental range would escape verification. Soviet mobile SS-24 and SS-25 ballistic missiles, meanwhile, are virtually impossible to verify without on-site inspection of production facilities 12. Speaking at the East German Communist Party Congress in April, M ikhail Gorbachev announced a sweeping plan for conventional arms reductions in Europe. Its details have not been spelled out and it remains to be seen whether the proposal is a direct response to the linkage established by President Reagan to allay allied concerns about the decoupling" effects of INF removal from Europe. Jackson Diehl, "Gorbachev Stresses Issue of Area Disarmament Jim Hoagland, "Gorbachev Targets NATO Unity The Washinnton Post April 22, 1986, pp. A17, 18 13. Verification standards for a tr e aty using nuclear warheads as "units of account" are exceedingly difficult to meet. Clearly, the present counting rules for determining the force-loadings of multiple warhead missiles are inadequate. For instance, although the SS-18 missile is counted as c arrying 10 warheads because it has never been test-fired with more warheads, Moscow has reportedly rotated the warheads among the 14 "warhead-bays" on its "bus" from which they are released on their independent trajectories 12 - U.S. ProBosax To facilitat e the verification process, the U.S. long has distinguished between strategic-range and nuclear systems of lesser range. Shorter-range missiles, normally small and mobile, can be concealed easily. Thus the U.S. proposes to eliminate all intermediate-range m issiles and to verify short-range missiles by on-site inspection in combination with so-called national technical means To verify strategic missiles, the U.S. proposes similar procedures and a ban on all mobile land-based missiles. Such a ban also will pr e vent circumvention of the limits on strategic systems similar to Soviet deployment of SS-20 missiles in the 1970s I Using llwarheadsll rather than launchers as strategic units of account, as both the U.S. and the Soviets have proposed, poses serious probl ems for verification numbers of warheads per missile are easily circumvented as the Soviets have demonstrated in the case of the SS-

18. Preferable is a combination of launchers and missile throw-weight be limited by constraints on force modernization mode lled on the formula for determining a IInewIl missile entailed in the modified SALT I1 Treaty The counting rules to determine the The latter could 6) AN ARMS CONTROL AGREEMENT MUST NOT IMPOSE MORATORIA ON FORCE MODERNIZATION OR STRATEGIC DEFENSE.

Soviet Pronosat Moratoria have long been a staple of Soviet arms control proposals, reflecting Soviet emphasis on arms control to diminish Western military readiness and public support for defense spending.

The Soviet package thus proposes moratoria on the develo pment testing, and deployment of new nuclear systems and strategic defenses halting current force modernization programs (including U.S deployment of intermediate-range systems in Europe and terminating U.S. cooperation with the United Kingdom on Trident 1 1 U.S. ProBosal The U.S. proposal accepts a moratorium on intermediate-range missile deployment in Europe, provided Moscow agrees to cut its SS-20 missile force to equal levels or to abandon this entire class of nuclear systems in conjunction with strict l imits on nuclear missiles of shorter range because of their detrimental impact on U.S. attempts to restore the strategic balance with Moscow and their crippling effects on strategic defense All other Soviet-sponsored moratoria are rejected 13 CONCLUSION B oth U.S. and Soviet proposals would limit the growth of superpower nuclear capabilities and reduce existing nuclear arsenals.

The effect of MOSCOW~S proposal would be to preserve the most significant areas of Soviet superiority, diminish strategic stabilit y and undermine nuclear deterrence. Most important, the Soviet proposal would give Moscow qualitative advantages and call into question U.S ability to maintain "extended deterrence" as the basis of U.S alliances.

Verification standards on any treaty deali ng with nuclear warheads as units of account are exceedingly difficult to meet current counting rules for determining multiple warhead missiles fail to give the assurance of full compliance verification is imperative, especially at lower levels of nuclear armaments where the relative benefits of cheating will have serious military repercussions for nuclear deterrence and actual warfighting.

The substantive provisions of the Soviet proposal are seriously flawed. They represent the very antithesis of arms co ntrol based on the question for the U.S. to consider exchanging the Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative for promised Soviet force reductions force modernization program sea-launched D-5 missile, air-launched cruise missile modernization and the move towar d the Midgetman or other mobile'missiles. But the U.S. proposal also could lead to roughly equal levels of U.S.-Soviet throw-weight and number of warheads. This virtually would eliminate Soviet first-strike capabilities against the U.S. land-based deterren t The But confidence in effective the concepts of balance, equity, and stability. As such, it is out of The U.S. proposal has far-reaching implications for the U.S.

It could halt deployment of the new There is a wide conceptual gap separating the U.S. and Soviet proposals. Both aim at drastic offensive force reductions but for totally different ends tying deep cuts in offensive nuclear arsenals to crippling restrictions on missile defense programs. Moreover, MOSCOW'S proposal establishes its outright strat e gic supremacy over the U.S., thus revealing Soviet disinterest in a stable and equitable force balance with the U.S. By contrast, this is the goal of the U.S. proposal and indeed, should be the true purpose of arms control Moscow seeks to halt the U.S. SD I program by Moscow has unmasked its real objectives in arms control. Any new U.S. offer would be out of place at this time and would lay the foundations of a bad agreement. If Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is indeed as serious about cutting nuclear forc e s as he tries to make the world believe, then he will jettison this unacceptable offer and substitute a replacement that can serve as a basis for real 14 -negotiations. Until regardless of summi progress at Geneva Q that happens pressures and the U.S. sho uld stand firm popular desire for imaginary Manfred R. Hanun Senior Policy Analyst 14. Edward L. Rowny On Arms Control, Gorbachev Knows Where He's Going," The Washinnton pest May 8, 1986, p. A

24. Soviet chief negotiator Victor Karpov has called upon the U.S. to put forward an imaginative new proposal, suggesting that Moscow is not willing to recast its own proposal.

Heritage's daily Morning Bell e-mail keeps you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.


The subscription is free and delivers you the latest conservative policy perspectives on the news each weekday--straight from Heritage experts.


The Morning Bell is your daily wake-up call offering a fresh, conservative analysis of the news.


More than 450,000 Americans rely on Heritage's Morning Bell to stay up to date on the policy battles that affect them.


Rush Limbaugh says "The Heritage Foundation's Morning Bell is just terrific!"


Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says it's "a great way to start the day for any conservative who wants to get America back on track."


Sign up to start your free subscription today!