]]]]]]]]]]]]]]         MILITARY UNSERIOUSNESS TODAY       [[[[[[[[[[[[
                           by Angelo Codevilla            (12/14/1989)
                        (Remnant Review, 12/1/89)
   [A. Codevilla, a former aide to Sen. Wallop, is now a Senior
                   Fellow at the Hoover Institution]

               [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 93401DORM]

       At the threshold of the 1990s, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff 
reassured the American people that "The warfighting capabilities of 
the Armed Forces of the United States, currently at their highest 
peacetime levels in our history, are adequate to protect the U.S. 
homeland and its territories."[1] A natural deference to military 
rank, a decade of talk about the "Reagan military buildup," the 
evident disarray and loss of nerve within the Soviet Communist Party, 
the rush by Eastern European communists to deny their heritage, all' 
lead Americans to accept the Chiefs' judgment. In fact, however, the 
American people have never been so outmatched militarily. Ten years 
ago the Soviet Union's armament gave it a good chance of destroying 
most of America's missiles and bombers in a first strike, and of 
defeating U.S. forces in Europe, all without inflicting, or suffering, 
casualties on the order of World War II. Today the relationship 
between the Soviet Union's and the United States! armaments has much 
increased the Soviet Union's chances of such a victory. If present 
trends continue during the 1990s the Soviet Union's military advantage 
is certain to grow.
       This is not alarmism. There is simply no other way to 
interpret the hard facts. During the Reagan buildup, the Soviet Union 
outproduced the U.S. in key weapons by the following ratios: 
intercontinental missiles, 4 1/2 to 1; air-defense missiles, 6 1/2 to 
1; bombers, 4 to 1; tanks, 3 1/2 to 1; artillery, 8 1/2 to 1. In some 
categories, above all the production of anti-missile devices, there is 
no ratio. Soviet production lines are turning out high quality 
products, while the U.S. produces nothing[2]. The Joint Chiefs do not 
deny the ratios, they simply claim that they are offset by U.S. 
advantages in "operational planning, leadership, training and 
morale."[3] The U.S. government makes no attempt to explain by what 
kind of miracle forces that are so outnumbered and outgunned could do 
themselves or their country any good.
       I am not arguing that the Soviet Union is chomping at the bit 
to use its military superiority against the U.S. On the contrary, 
Soviet policy today seems to be in a Brest- Litovsk phase, i.e., 
emphasizing retrenchment. Nor am I denying that ever since about 1985, 
Mikhail Gorbachev has been flirting with internal political forces 
that could well lead to the destruction of the Soviet Union. My 
argument is quite simply that Soviet military developments have been 
quite insulated from the domestic turmoil, and hence that Soviet 
military power relative to that of the United States and HAT0 has 
increased substantially, that all signs point to yet more relative 
increases, and that only the Soviet Union is resolved, somebody will 
inherit control of a military machine that is worthy of attention on 
its own terms. Military power is not the whole story. But it is a part 
of the story that people neglect at their-peril.
       Today more than ever, military power is the Soviet Union's 
only outstanding trait. But that should comfort the American people 
about as much as someone who runs into Mike Tyson in a dark alley 
should be comforted by the realization that Tyson seems to be a 
troubled, one-dimensional fellow. My point is that, the military 
threat to the American people is what it is, and is growing, not so 
much because of the U.S. government's inability, but because of the 
U.S. government's inability to take it seriously. To understand where 
we are we must consider how we got here.

The Problem in 1979
       Since about 1964, the U.S. government, under the influence of 
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, had thoroughly misunderstood the 
role of strategic weaponry in modern warfare. McNamara, following 
Bernard Brodie's lead[4] had posited that nuclear weapons could not be 
used to any rational purpose whatever. Because they could only be used 
to destroy, but not to defeat, an enemy, they simply guaranteed a 
peaceful "ba-lance of terror" forever. Thus, McNamara and his 
successors made sure that the U.S. would not build any missiles with 
the combination of nuclear yield and accuracy necessary to destroy 
Soviet missiles in their silos. Instead, American missiles were 
designed as efficient city-killers. In addition, McNamara and his 
successors under Richard Nixon made sure that the U.S. would have no 
means of intercepting Soviet missiles once launched. In sum, we were 
to prepare to kill primarily Soviet civilians, the Soviets were to 
prepare to kill primarily American civilians, so nobody would kill 
       This line of reasoning was codified in the SALT I Treaty of 
1972, which the U.S. foreign policy establishment hailed as the end of 
the U.S.-Soviet strategic competition. The whole framework, however, 
was premised both on the Soviet Union's willingness to deny itself the 
fruits of technology and on the ability of nuclear weapons to destroy 
the world. On closer examination with the passage of time, neither 
premise stood up.
       Many, including Donald Brennan, Leon Sloss, and myself 
(included in these pages) argued that these premises were at variance 
with reality from the beginning. During the 1970s, reality slowly 
forced its way into the consciousness of U.S. Strategic Planners. 
McNamara had defined "destruction of the Soviet Union" as killing 25% 
of the population and 50% of the industry of that country. But as-U.S. 
officers picked the targets to be hit, it became obvious not just that 
the world as a whole would not end, but that no matter what the U.S. 
did, the Soviet Union would still be there. The question was: What 
kind of Soviet Union? The goal of 50% industrial destruction was 
unattainable. As for population, it made a big difference which 25% 
died and which 75% lived. So, if American strategic weapons were to 
deter war, they had to threaten to do something that would be to the 
advantage for the U.S. to actually do. That would mean eliminating not 
innocent civilians, but the most important people in the Soviet Union. 
But these were almost as well protected as Soviet missiles.
       On the other side of the ledger, during the 1970s the U.S. 
noticed that the Soviets were doing exactly what the U.S. had entered 
into SALT I to prevent: they were acquiring a fleet of missiles 
designed, not for armageddon, but, to destroy American missiles on the 
ground. Because of this, the specter of a Soviet first strike, and of 
an American defeat, was becoming more real by the day.
       So, near the end of the 1970s, a chorus of conservative 
critics, aided by the pressures of reality, convinced President 
Carter's Secretary of Defense, Harold Brown, to stop thinking in 
McNamara's terms, and that the most reasonable way of using U.S. 
missiles was to threaten to strike at those Soviet missiles that the 
Soviet Union had not used in a first strike. The idea was to warn the 
Soviets that they would not be able to retain a reserve force with 
which to coerce America, and this to deter the Soviets. President 
Carter embodied this realistic Revolution in Presidential Decision #59 
in July 1980. But P.D. 59 was no more than an intellectual step in the 
right direction.
       The trouble with P.D. 59 was that U.S. missiles, unlike their 
Soviet counterparts, had not been designed for the peculiar 
combination of yield and accuracy needed for counter-force work. 
Second, it was highly doubtful that President Carter's proposed remedy 
for this, 200 MX missiles in semi-mobile, semi-hidden carriages, would 
have been enough even to accomplish Brown's modest goal. Third, by 
1981 the Soviets had long since begun programs to put their reserve 
intercontinental missiles on trucks and railroad cars, making them 
untargetable. The Soviets had gone a lap ahead. P.D. 59 was too 
little, too late. But once the intellectual divide had been crossed, 
one both public opinion and the U.S. government realized that the 
threat facing the U.S. was defeat rather than destruction and that the 
u.s. could engineer its own safety by a judicious choice of weapons, 
the way was open for serious solutions. The Presidential election of 
1980 was fought in part on the issue of seriousness with regard to 
strategic weapons.

Solution and Dissolution
       The point was to undo the Soviet strategic advantage, and to 
protect the American people. The Soviet ICBM force had to be prevented 
from doing its intended job. By 1980 it was already too late to do 
this by out-doing the Soviets at counter-missile forces. The Soviets 
were too far ahead.
       By 1980, however, everything was in place for a technological 
end-run: the establishment of a serious American anti-missile defense 
that would make impossible a successful Soviet disarming strike, and 
would substantially protect the American people in case the Soviets 
had been so foolish as to try one. Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-WY0) had 
been quietly working with Pentagon officials to marry pointing, 
tracking and optics technology of the KH-11 intelligence satellite 
with a Navy chemical laser to produce a space-based weapon. He had 
also been promoting several programs in the U.S. Army to build an 
infra-red, anti-missile versions of the Airborne Warning and Control 
System (AWACS) aircraft, along with optical guidance for anti-missile 
interceptors. The Pentagon officially stated that if certain 
decisions, that Wallop was recommending were taken (namely to 
concentrate on actually building one) the first space-based laser 
weapon could be tested in space by November 1986.[5] Later that year, 
a high level Pentagon study group stated that the U.S. could have a 
fleet of missile-killing lasers in orbit by 1990.
       By 1982, the General Accounting office reviewed U.S. anti-
missile laser programs and concluded that the most efficient use of 
money would be to focus on building one. In both 1981 and 1982, 
Senator Wallop's amendment to the annual defense authorization bill to 
require just that, passed the Congress handily. Note well: These were 
not amendments to require research. They required the construction of 
actual anti-missile weapons. And they passed despite the opposition of 
the Administration.
       What was on the Reagan Administration's mind? very little. 
Chiefs of the Army, Navy, and `especially the Air Force, saw anti-
missile weapons as a competitor for funds, and persuaded both 
President Reagan and his secretary of defense to oppose any plan for 
building them. But by 1982-83, the Administration was in deep trouble 
with regard to Strategic policy. In 1980 it had promised to restore 
American military superiority the "margin of safety" this country had 
always enjoyed. It had criticized Carter's 200 semi- mobile MXs as 
inadequate. But its own plan of October 1981 was underwhelming. After 
the hoopla and the billions for the Chief's favorite military 
constituencies, the difference between it and the Carter plan boiled 
down to adding 100 B-1 bombers and subtracting 100 MXs -- except that 
Carter had had a strategic rationale for his. Reagan had none. Thus, 
the Reagan plan appealed to no one. President Reagan would point to 
the Soviet missile buildup and say that it must be countered. But when 
he and his advisors were asked how his plan made America safer, they 
had no answers. Thus, throughout 1982 and early 1983 the nuclear 
freeze movement swept this country unchecked.
       On February 11, 1983, Ronald Reagan met with the Joint Chiefs 
to discuss precisely how to "sell" the strategic program. Among the 
ideas batted around was that of a modern anti-missile defense.[6] 
Reagan seized on it and started the process that led to his speech on 
March 23, 1983, in which he announced that anti-missile defense, later 
called S.D. I., would henceforth be the centerpiece of U.S. strategic 
policy. It is pointless to ask what, if anything, beyond public 
relations Reagan had In mind. Perhaps he really did not distinguish 
between speaking and doing. It is beyond doubt, however, that his 
senior military and senior civilian advisors were all longtime foes of 
anti-missile defense and, to a man, intended to limit the President's 
program to a combination of public relations and research.
       As public relations, S.D.I. was a smash hit. Instantly, the 
ground was cut from under the "peace" activists. Instantly, the 
President mobilized big majorities on the polls behind his defense 
policy. Almost instantly, the Soviets started to ask the U.S. 
government what it would have to promise in order to avoid S.D. I. 
becoming reality. But S.D. I. as actually pursued by the Reagan 
Administration was the very opposite of a military policy. President 
Reagan rhetorically defined it as something that at one stroke, would 
make nuclear weapons obsolete and guarantee the American people's 
safety. Nothing can possibly do that. An anti-missile defense will 
protect more or less well according to how the attacker attacks, how 
much and how well one has built the defense, and a host of 
circumstances. One cannot exclude the possibility that it will protect 
totally. But under no stretch of the imagination can anyone guarantee 
       Reagan's promise to guarantee protection, however, played into 
the hands of his military advisors, who then set standards for S.D.I. 
equipment which present technology could not possibly meet. So. the 
actual S.D.I. program became a technological tail-chase without end. 
This transformed the chief issue of the strategic policy, i.e. what 
are you going to do about the Soviet war-fighting missile force, into 
a pseudo-technical issue: When will this or that crazy requirement be 
met? This transformation provided a convenient cop-out for both 
President Reagan and President Bush. When asked about S.O.l., they 
have consistently put off making a decision until all the information 
is ready. Consider how unserious an attitude this is.
       The U.S. had concluded that contrary to the expectations that 
underlay the area's control treaties (NATO, SEATO, etc.), the Soviets 
had acquired the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war. Then U.S. 
officials had struggled for over a decade with the question: What is 
to be done to avoid living under this unilateral sword of Damocles? 
They had to come up with only one answer: Anti-missile defense. But 
S.D.l. officially consisted only of a decision not to decide to take 
the only open path. S.D.l. is also a decision to pursue no other path 
while S.D.l. research is open. Thus, virtually from the outset, S.D.l. 
ceased to be a reasonable prescription to provide the defense one 
could with the tools available, and became the principal excuse for 
marking time in the face of continued Soviet strategic dynamism.
       Another factor has contributed to this paralysis: Mikhail 
Gorbachev. But Gorbachev is not an independent variable. He did not 
come out of a clear red sky, to do battle with the leaders of the 
Western World for the hearts and minds of free people. Rather, he got 
his credentials of good faith from the only person in the world who 
might possibly have granted them: Ronald Reagan. Again, it serves no 
purpose to ask what, if anything, led Reagan as early as 1985 to 
declare that Gorbachev was .an asset to the West. For our own 
purposes, it is necessary only to note the military effects of the 
fact that he did.
       The foremost of these results is that it is virtually 
Impossible in today's Pentagon to have a serious conversation about 
how the Soviets might best use what they have and how we might best 
protect ourselves. Ho sooner does one begin than the conversation 
turns from hard military substance, i.e., how we and they might use 
our weapons to the best advantage, to soft Sovietology, namely 
speculation on Gorbachev's future. In other words, the U.S. military 
has "bet the farm" on Gorbachev: turning the Soviet Union into a non- 
threatening thing.

The Changing Strategic Balance
       Let us begin with strategic forces, both offensive and 
defensive. What matters here is the capacity to destroy the other 
side's forces while protecting one's own, and protecting one's own 
society from collateral damage. Hence, the basic term of reference 
must be the number of one side's counterforce warheads[7] against the 
number of the places in the other's country where strategic weapons 
and command and control centers are located, plus their "hardness.
       The United States' "hard" strategic targets include 50 MX 
missile silos, 950 Minutemen silos, some 100 locations in two dozen 
ports where about twenty ballistic missile submarines and perhaps 
fifty cruise missile-firing attack submarines may be located on any 
given day, some 100 locations on about 25 airfields where the United 
States 98 B-1 and 300 B-52 bombers are located, and about 800 
radar,communications, command, control and intelligence targets. To 
hit these 2,000, places the Soviets have at least: 3,080 counterforce 
warheads aboard 308 55-18 ICBMs, 552 warheads aboard 138 SS-17s, 1,950 
aboard 350 SS-19s, 100 aboard a like number of truck mobile SS-25s, 
and about 1,000 on perhaps 100 rail mobile SS-24s. That amounts to 
over 6,500, or a 3.5 to 1 ratio -- from about 2.5 to 1 a decade ago. 
In addition to this, the Soviets have perhaps another 5,000 non-
counterforce strategic warheads. On our side, the only warheads with a 
counterforce potential equal to the Soviets' are the 500 atop our 50 
MXs. Given that Soviet "hard" strategic force targets number at least 
4,000, the ratio is 1 to 8. Not good.
       In practice, this means that a decapitating first strike is a 
serious option for whomever has power in the Kremlin. but none at all 
for the U.S. It also means that after such a strike, the U.S. would be 
left with very little strategic power other than the perhaps 2,400 
submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) warheads at sea at any one 
time. How might we use them? The Secretary of Defense's recent annual 
reports give no reason to doubt the common-sense judgment that there 
is no way that would do any good to the U.S. Remember the rule of P.D. 
#59: "Shoot at missile silos." But our current SLBM warheads would 
only blow the dust off silos. Then what else?
       The #1 priority of the Strategic Air Command today is, not 
unreasonably, the Soviet control structure, namely top leaders. But 
Soviet Military Power (1988) has pointed out, the top Soviet 
leadership's command centers are so deep underground that not even the 
world's biggest nukes would reach them -- never mind our puny 40 to 
100-kiloton SLBM warheads. The Secretary of Defense's annual report 
for 1988 vows bravely "to hold at risk those assets that the Soviets 
value most." But these `are precisely the ones that we can't hold at 
       So, what can be the meaning of the 1989 Joint Military Net 
Assessment's claim that U.S. Strategic forces are sufficient to 
"inflict unacceptable damage to the USSR under all conditions of 
retaliation?" It means a rhetorical return to the McNamara years, only 
without intellectual coherence or the hardware to back It up. At best, 
Robert McNamara was intellectually honest enough to lay out his 
assumptions. Today, it Is clear only that the sole rule of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff's reckoning Is that In the end they must grant 
themselves a passing grade, no matter what.
       This balance is in the process of changing because of two 
factors. First, arms control. If present trends in strategic hardware 
were simply to continue, the Soviet Union's additional gains would be 
marginal. It already has the virtual certainty of reducing the U.S. to 
not much more than 2400 warheads. A 10 to 1 ratio against present U.S. 
Strategic forces would only squeeze that number a bit.
       The importance of the proposed Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty 
(START) is that as it cuts down the number of missiles on both sides, 
it would very likely squeeze the United States allotted number of 
warheads into perhaps 400 strategic targets, or fewer. Most likely 
there would be 50 fixed, or semi-fixed MXs, perhaps 100 vulnerable 
bombers, and perhaps 15 submarines, only 8 of which would be at sea at 
any given time. The Soviets would have some 4,000 counterforce 
warheads to hit them with. That would mean a 10 to 1 ratio, but 
against a much smaller target base. The result is that the U.S. might 
well be reduced to counting on far fewer than 2,000 surviving 
warheads, and conversely that the Soviets would have far fewer than 
2,000 warheads to worry about.
       Enter the second major change: Soviet anti-missile defense. We 
are seeing something of a replay of what happened in 1972. The U.S. 
possessed the technology for a state-of- the-art anti-missile system. 
The Soviet Union persuaded the U.S. not to use it by promising cuts in 
offensive forces, and then the Soviets went ahead and built precisely 
the defensive system that the U.S. was going to build (plus, of 
course, gaining the advantage in the offensive field as well).
       Today the heavy construction for a Soviet ground-based ABM 
system is well-nigh complete. In addition to the ultra-modern ABM 
system in Moscow (that employs some S.O.l. technology stolen by James 
Harper in 1984 and that covers a sizeable chunk of European Russia) 
the Soviets have built nine Pechora class radars, all far more capable 
than the best of the United States' ABM radars of the 1970s. The 
production lines for the local radars and interceptors associated with 
this system are running, and the products are going who knows where. 
Then there are the mobile SA-10 and 5A-12 surface-to-air missile 
systems that have been tested repeatedly and successfully against 
ballistic missile warheads. Working together with the big radars each 
one of these systems could protect a small area against a light 
attack. And there will be hundreds of these units. Indeed. Mikhail 
Gorbachev's number-one military priority has been the anti-missile and 
anti- aircraft defense service. the P.V.0.
       One might almost say that one of the principal reasons for 
Perestroika has been the Soviet leadership's realization that for the 
P.Y.0. to do its job well in the 90s it needs Western technology. But 
note: Even without new Western technology, arms control and 
counterforce might well reduce the American threat to the point that 
the PVO might well handle it, especially since it is backed by a civil 
defense system that spends the equivalent of 7 billion U.S. dollars a 
year, with $200 billion of shelters and equipment already in the 
ground. The U.S. has none.
       In 1986 through 1988, the U.S. Secretary of Defense's annual 
statement said: "left unchallenged these trends will, over time, 
remove from risk an increasing portion of those (strategic and 
command) assets which the Soviets consider vital in retaining control 
over their society and achieving their wartime goals. "But because the 
U.S. is challenging those trends, the Soviet Union is more and more 
likely to achieve its wartime goals. One of the foremost is to make it 
very unlikely that the U.S. would intervene were the Soviets ever to 
decide to use force against Europe. The balance is already such that a 
U.S. military intervention in Europe has become unthinkable.
       Today, the politics of Europe have totally broken out of the 
post-war mold. No one can know how the realignment that is now in 
progress will end up. But a prudent maxim for unsettled times is this: 
keep one's eves on who has what guns.
       The biggest change in the conventional military balance in 
Europe is the progressive denuclearization of U.S. forces in Germany. 
The key event was the IHF treaty. The Soviet Union gave up perhaps 441 
55-20 launchers, each with at least one reload and thus perhaps 2700 
warheads. The U.S. gave up 108 Pershing II warheads and 454 ground-
launched cruise missiles. The trade, as regards shorter range missile 
forces -- American Pershing 1As and Soviet SS 22s and 23s, was even 
more lopsided. while the Soviet Union gave up only a small part of its 
ballistic and cruise missile striking force in Europe (it retains the 
variable range SS-25s and 24s as well as the 3,000-odd 55-21 missiles 
whose 500 mile range covers 80% of European targets), the U.S. gave up 
everything it had that could shoot beyond Germany. This has united 
West Germany in the firm determination to get rid of the U.S. Army's 
few lance rockets and nuclear artillery. The U.S. forces eliminated 
under the INF Treaty were not much. But they were the only hint of a 
possibility that the U.S. might strike the Soviet Union with nuclear 
weapons in case of war in Europe. Now even that is gone.
       It is a common misconception[8] that the Soviet Union is "de-
valuing nuclear weapons," especially in Europe. In fact, the Soviets-
continue to produce about 500 SS-21s every year. So, each year's 
production carries as many short range (500 miles maximum) missile 
warheads as Gorbachev has promised to withdraw from Europe. In 
addition, the Soviet Union's production of nuclear-capable artillery 
outnumbers ours by about 17 to 1. No, the Soviet Union is de-
nuclearizing Western Europe, not Eastern Europe.
       This of course lets the rather old-fashioned Soviet numerical 
superiority exercise its full weight. Note that the Soviet Group of 
Forces in East Germany still has more divisions than the entire U.S. 
Army. The historic reason for the Atlantic Alliance has been precisely 
that American nuclear weapons make up for the conventional forces that 
the Europeans were once unable, and are now unwilling, to provide.
       Now that U.S. nuclear power has effectively been rendered 
irrelevant for Europe, the only hope is that the Soviets will somehow 
willingly reduce their threat faster than U.S. and allied conventional 
forces melt away. (In 1989 the U.S. announced the first of its major 
two withdrawals from Europe: 10% of the total, heavily weighted toward 
combat units.) But the most reliable index of future military power, 
i.e., current military production, tells us that relative Soviet 
military power on the Eurasian continent will continue to grow.
       Conventional wisdom has it that Gorbachev is converting the 
Soviet military economy to civilian tasks, but this is not so. Tank 
production actually rose a bit from 1986 to 1988, to 3,500 units 
(against a U.S. total of about 700). This means that the announced 
elimination of 5,000 tanks from the Soviet inventory (old T-55s) is 
made up by the little more than a year's production of state-of-the-
art T-80s. Gorbachev has announced a cut of 50% in the rate of tank 
production. Even if that happens, the rate will be nearly 3 times that 
of the U.S. Production of fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft has 
actually risen a bit, to some 700 per year, while that of armored 
infantry vehicles and self-propelled artillery has risen substantially 
to 4,550 and 1,100, respectively.
       The Soviet armed forces are in the process of one of their 
periodic "revolutions." There was one in the mid-1920s, another in the 
late 1940s, and a big one between about 19xx and 1964. These 
revolutions consist of eliminating old weapons and concepts while 
introducing better ones. They always involve some shrinkage in 
quantity and a substantial increase in quality. The current 
"revolution" seems cut out of the same cloth. As Soviet military-
industrial complex look to the future, they are eliminating less-
trained personnel (some of whom, from Central Asia, don't even speak 
Russian) and are trying hard to raise the quality both of the 
equipment it produces and of the people who are to operate it. In 
other words, Soviet conventional forces are not becoming weaker, they 
are preparing to win the next war.

The Political Context
       The Soviet Union's troubles are, above all, political. These 
troubles are most likely to raise. not power. the importance of 
military power. Of course, the economy is a mess. But as every 
Leninist who remembers 1921 (as well as every free market economist) 
knows, it could be improved simply by the State's withdrawal from 
economic life. But the whole point of Gorbachev's, as of every other 
dictator's activity, is to control society. Ever since 1985, Gorbachev 
has waged a spectacularly successful struggle for control of the 
organs that control Soviet society, namely the Communist Party and the 
KGB. His purges have been as thorough as Stalin's, though unbloody. He 
has replaced almost two- thirds of the Party Oblast, District, and 
Republic Central committees, and some 70% of the Secretaries of these 
organs. In Moscow, 63% of the personnel in the Party's city district 
committees were replaced. To do this. Gorbachev has had to literally 
turn the country upside down by allowing, even encouraging, 
unprecedented criticism of the Party and unprecedented freedom of 
political organization. Gorbachev has also weakened the Party's 
Central Committee, Secretariat, and even the ministries. In the 
process, the prestige and cohesion of the Communist Party have been 
shattered, perhaps irremediably.
       What has Gorbachev built up? The KGB, the military, and, at 
the top of the pyramid, a little-known but enormously powerful central 
organ known as the Defense Council. It controls all the guns and the 
truncheons in the land: the Ministry of the Interior (whose special 
troops have been augmented by paratroopers), the KGB, especially the 
Second Chief Directorate that controls the lives of Soviet citizens, 
and the Third Chief Directorate that controls the Armed Forces, plus, 
of course, the armed forces themselves.
       There is virtually no possibility of Gorbachev's being 
deposed. He is infinitely better-entrenched than Khrushchev was. The 
real question is: How will he govern a country that seems to be coming 
apart? The answer seems to be that he is preparing to govern it as 
China's Deng xiao Ping and Poland's Wojtech Jaruzelsky governed their 
countries: dispensing with the party as cumbersome baggage, and 
relying primarily on the networks that control violence.
       No one can reasonably pretend to foresee the future of the 
Soviet Union. We can only see what is before us now: a country 
underfed, overarmed, filled with many hatreds that run very deep and 
cut across one another, and in which violence is likely to play the 
dominant domestic role. It is impossible to foretell what sort of 
international behavior will flow from this. The U.S. government, 
however, has premised our entire National Security policy on the 
assumption that the Soviet Union will undergo a slow, steady, peaceful 
evolution into a social-democracy, and that it will be a factor for 
peace in the world. And if it doesn't?

       There is nothing inevitable about our military predicament, 
deep though it is. The Soviet Union really is backward and poor. The 
Soviets could not maintain themselves in a position to fight and win a 
war were the u.s. to do but a fraction of what it could do for itself. 
For example., while building an anti -missile defense would not solve 
all our problems, it would deprive the Soviet union of the "top cover" 
for the rest of its military activities. Turning all of our missiles 
into counterforce missiles, and putting all of them on roads, rails, 
or under the sea, would also help.
       Without the assurance of being able to drastically reduce u.s. 
strategic power at the outset of a war, no military action in the 
world, not even the suppression of recalcitrant allies, would be safe 
for the Soviet union. Most important, our own physical safety would 
be, if not guaranteed, certainly much enhanced.
       The situation of the u.s. forces in Europe would also be 
improved by a u.s. ballistic missile defense because it would restore 
some possibility that u.s. Strategic Forces could come to the aid of 
NATO. Nevertheless. to make NATO militarily viable again is a tall 
order indeed. under present political conditions, in which uncertainty 
is being, presented as the guarantee of long-term safety, it is 
probably impossible. The first and most fundamental step would have to 
be an anti-missi1e defense for Europe. Beyond that, NATO would have to 
actually carry out all of its plans for technical modernization (e.g. 
"smart" weapons) radically increase basic equipment such as armored 
personnel carriers, air defense missiles, etc. and redeploy in a 
militarily rational manner. But there is virtually no chance of doing 
any of these things in Germany. That country's political evolution is 
beyond our scope here.
       Suffice it to say that since it may be impossible to give u.s.
troops in Germany the capacity to defend themselves, withdrawal may be 
the most reasonable option open to the u.s. France, and Britain, 
however, may be willing to join the u.s. in militarily realistic 
plans. France, for example, is already at work on an anti-missile 
weapon, the 5A-9O. There is every reason for the u.s. to refocus our 
European military plans on France and Britain.
       The U.S.. government does not lack technology. The debate over 
S.D.I. was highly misleading. The choice before us now is the same as 
it always was and always will be: Do we use today what we have today. 
or not? The sight of the Soviet union already using stolen S.D.!. 
technology should be sobering. But it is overwhelmed by the sight of 
political turmoil in Eastern Europe. Nor does the u.s. lack money. We 
are now spending 5.3% of GNP on defense. In our economy, each 
percentage point is worth over SO billion dollars. If we spent simply 
at the rate we did in the prosperous early 6Os (i.e., about 8%), we 
would have about 200 billion dollars per year more to work with. The 
u.s. government lacks something more precious than technology and 
money put together -- namely, seriousness about military affairs.

1 Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989 Joint Military Net Assessment, P.ES-11, 
     Washington, Department of Defense, 1989.
2 Department of Defense, Soviet Milltary Power, 1900, p. 34.
3 ibid., p. 96
4 Bernard Brodie, et al., The Absolute Weapon (New York: Harper & Row, 
5 Letter by William Penny, Under-Secretary of Defense, to Senator John 
     Culver, Chairman, Subcommittee on R & D, Senate Committee on Armed 
     Services, June 24, 1980.
6 lncidentally, a debate between Senator Wallop (and myself) and Hans 
     Bethe on this subject had been featured on the front page of the 
     Washington Post's Outlook section the previous Sunday, February 6, 
     1983. The Sunday Outlook section is required reading in Washington.
7 That is, those with the coordination of yield, accuracy and speed 
     necessary to Destroy the others' forces in their silos.
8 Spread by, among others, Robert Jarvis, The Meaning of Nuclear 
     Revolution. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984).

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