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Birth place and Date: San Francisco, California, 1 January 1914.
University, 1950; Ph.D., Georgetown University, 1954; Naval War College,
Senior Strategy Course, 1954-1955; various USAF and RAF Service Schools. Military Background: Entered military service, 1942; Group Intelligence Officer,
Bombardment and Troop Carrier Groups, European Theater, 1913–1915; Air Staff, Headquarters USAF, and various schools, 1946–1955; U.S. Air Attaché, American Embassy, Moscow, USSR, 1956–1958; Chief, Special Advisory Group to ACS/Int., Hq. USAF, 1959; Member, Coolidge Committee for Disarmament Policy Review, 1959–1960; Staff Officer, JCS; Air Force member of U.S. Delegation to 10-Vation Disarmament Conference, Geneva, 1960; Member U.S. Delegation to Summit Conference, Paris, May 1960; Advisor at McCloy-Zorin talks, Moscow, June-July 1961; last assignment before retirement on 1 September 1962: Director, Sino-Soviet Region, Office of Assistant Secretary of De
fense, ISA, 1960–1962. Principal Activities: Former journalist (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1936–1941),
and member natural science expedition (Panama, Amazon Valley, 1937) ; Private pilot; yachtsman; occasional lecturer on Sino-Soviet affairs and strategic problems at National War College ; Industrial College Armed Forces; Air War College; Naval War College; Army War College; Inter-American Defense College; Air Command and Staff School; Foreign Service Institute; Russian Institute, Harvard University ; Center for International Studies, Harvard University ; Russian Institute, Columbia University; National Security Seminar, Ohio State University; Harvard-MIT Joint Arms Control Seminar, and other
institutions. Writings: Author, Soviet Strategy at the Crossroads, Harvard University Press,
1964; Soviet Power and Europe: 1945–1969, Johns Hopkins Press (in press). Co-editor and translator of V. D. Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy, Prentice-Hall, 1963. Contributing author to American Strategy for the Nuclear Age, Doubleday, 1960; Soviet Nuclear Strategy, Georgetown Center for Strategic Studies, 1963 ; Détente: Cold War Strategies in Transition, Praeger, 1965 ; The Military Technical Revolution, Praeger, 1966; Sino-Soviet Rivalry, Praeger, 1966 ; Eastern Europe in Transition, Johns Hopkins Press, 1966 ; Prospects for Soviet Society, Council on Foreign Relations, 1968. Author of various articles and reviews in: Foreign Affairs, Current History, Orbis, Air Force Magazine, The World Today, Survival, Problems of Communism, Slavic Review, Russian Review, Army, Journal of Modern History, Temple Laro Quarterly, Europa Archiv, Ost Europa, Interplay, Saturday Review. Author of various RAND re
search memoranda and papers. Membership: American Political Science Association; Institute of Strategic Stud
ies, London; American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies;
The Cosmos Club; The Annapolis Yacht Club. Decorations: Legion of Merit with OLC; Commendation with OLC; Theater
STATEMENT OF SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MELVIN R. LAIRD BEFORE THE SENATE ABMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ON THE STRATEGIC BALANCE AND ARMS LIMITATION
May 12, 1970 Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee :
Dr. Foster, Admiral Moorer and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss with this Committee key aspects of the strategic balance, and the relationship of United States strategic force programs to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) which we are conducting with the Soviet Union.
President Nixon, in his report to the Congress on U.S. Foreign Policy for the 1970's, characterized these talks as "the most important arms control negotiations this country has ever entered.”
I want to emphasize that I, as Secretary of Defense, and our military leadership hope that SALT will be successful. The President has stated the fundamental purpose of our strategic forces:
The overriding purpose of our strategic posture is political and defensive: to deny other countries the ability to impose their will on the United States and its allies under the weight of strategic military superiority. We must insure that all potential aggressors see unacceptable risks in contemplating a nuclear attack, or nuclear blackmail, or acts which could escalate to strategic nuclear war, such as a Soviet conven
tional attack on Europe. This purpose is independent of SALT. One way to accomplish this purpose, however, is through SALT. The purpose of these talks is to determine whether it is possible to find an agreement-acceptable both to the Soviet Union and to the United States—which can improve the security of both countries, reduce the likelihood that nuclear war will occur, and reduce the portion of our national resources devoted to strategic weapons. We believe that it is possible to reach a historic agreement with the Soviet Union on the limitation of strategic arms. We believe such an agreement should be acceptable to the Soviet Union provided the Soviets do, in fact, share our objective of deterrence.
It is my responsibility as Secretary of Defense to recommend those programs that are deemed appropriate for preserving national security. In formulating these recommendations and in presenting our programs to Congress, we have outlined the rationale underlying the strategic programs proposed in the fiscal year 1971 budget.
As I noted in my Defense Report, and have reiterated elsewhere, we believe that today we do have sufficient forces for deterrence. However, we are very much disturbed by what we have observed about the character and rate of buildup of Soviet strategic forces. Thus, our concern is not about today, or even next year. Our concern is about what the future may bring.
Let me summarize briefly what has been happening in the past several years in the changing relationship between U.S. and Soviet strategic forces and, in particular, the accelerated momentum that the Soviets have achieved since 1965.
In 1965, the Soviet Union had some 220 older-type missile launchers somewhat similar to the 51 TITANs we had. Today, the situation with respect to this type of missile is about the same.
In 1965, the Soviet Union had no small ICBM launchers comparable to our MINUTEMAN force, for which we had established a force goal of 1,000 launchers. Today, the Soviet Union has over 800 operational launchers similar to MINUTEMAN, and the Soviets could have in excess of 1,000 launchers within the next two years.
In 1965, there were no operational launchers for the large Soviet SS-9 missile for which the United States has no counterpart; today, there are some 220 operational with at least 60 more under construction, and testing of a multiple re-entry vehicle the triplet version-continues.
In 1965, neither the Soviet Union nor the United States had a depressed trajectory ICBM or a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System. Today, the Soviets have tested both configurations and could have an operational version already deployed. We have nothing like that under development .
Since 1965, the Soviet nuclear-propelled ballistic missile submarine force has grown rapidly from about 25 missile launchers to over 200. Two years from now, some 400–500 “POLARIS-type" missile launchers should be operational, and by 1974-75 this force could exceed the constant U.S. force of 636 SLBM launchers.
While the Soviet heavy bomber and tanker force has remained relatively constant at about 200 in the past five years, the U.S. force of heavy bombers has declined by over 200, giving us a total of about 550 heavy bombers.
Today, we believe that 64 Moscow ABM launchers are operational. In addition, testing for new and/or improved ABM systems continues, while several of the large surveillance radars, that have an important early warning and tracking function in the Soviet ABM weapons system, are already deployed. The United States has no operational ABM components in place. We have reoriented and slowed down the deployment of the ABM system authorized by Congress in 1967—then SENTINEL, now SAFEGUARD.
What these facts show is that the Soviet Union, in the past five years, has multiplied its strategic offensive missile launchers from around 300 to about 1,500, a five-fold increase. In the heavy bomber area, the Soviets still have about the same number that they had in 1965—200, of which 50 are configured as tankers.
The United States, by contrast, has made no increase in the force level that was established around 1965 for strategic offensive missile launchers—1710– and has actually reduced its heavy bomber force in this period by more than 200—from 780 to about 550.
In terms of total force megatonnage, the Soviet Union achieved a four-fold increase during this period. In contrast, the United States has reduced its total force megatonnage by more than 40 percent.
We are concerned about the future because of the momentum in this Soviet buildup. The rapid Soviet buildup in the past five years has reached the point where there is reason to wonder what the Soviet goal is. It also raises a serious question in our minds about the future adequacy of our forces. Advances in Soviet deployments and technology could threaten the survivability of our ICBMS and bombers.
Our concern is based on the fact that our restraint in weapons deployments during the past five years, and the Soviet buildup in that same period have led to a current situation where we are, in essence, at a crossover point in the strategic balance. What gives this concern urgency is the momentum behind Soviet deployments and developments in major strategic systems that could carry them well beyond the crossover point in a short period of time, unless we take major offsetting actions.
In planning our forces, we also must recognize that the recent launching of a satellite has reinforced our judgment on the potential capability of Communist China's ICBM technology.
In considering whether our forces will be adequate, we cannot assume no matter how high our hopes—that a SALT agreement will be reached, nor can we know what its provisions might be.
At the same time, we also want to insure that we do not complicate SALT by our own actions.
As President Nixon has said, all U.S. systems are subject to negotiation. But it is even more important for all of us to keep in mind the fact that we do not yet have an agreement that preserves our security.
The problem is simple to formulate, but difficult to solve: we must keep open options that would be appropriate either if an agreement is reached, or if there is no agreement at all. In other words, we must preserve flexibility on strategic programs for any possible outcome:
(1) For those programs that will still be required even if there is an
(2) For those programs which we would need relatively soon if agree
ment is not reached, recognizing that we can stop or modify these
programs if agreement is reached. And (3) For the research necessary for programs that we might need in the
future, regardless of the outcome of SALT. We have been guided by these considerations in formulating our programs for the forthcoming year.
Most of the recent discussion has focused on our recommendations to proceed during these talks with additional minimal deployment of the SAFEGUARD Anti-Ballistic Missile program as well as deployment of the Multiple Independently-targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) for MINUTEMAN and POLARIS which were previously approved and funded by the Congress.
There are two overriding reasons for our recommending these programs. One concerns the preservation of our deterrert. The other involves our negotiating position in Vienna. Let me say a few words about this latter issue first.
Much argument has been put forward that we should stop the previouslyscheduled MIRV deployments and defer additional SAFEGUARD deployment at this time, in order to enhance the prospects for a successful agreement.
I do not find this proposal inconsistent with the spirit of strategic arms limitation—but I do believe that it is inconsistent with the purpose of the arms limitation talks, which is to sit down at the table with the Soviet Union and work out an agreement that provides essential security and is acceptable to both sides,
Were we to forgo deployment of the programs deemed necessary for the preservation of our deterrent posture in the absence of a SALT agreement, I believe we would convey to the Soviets the impression that their strategic buildup is tolerable-when, in fact, it is a matter of great and growing concern. It would suggest to them that we are prepared to postpone unilaterally and indefinitely these programs, while they continue their deployments with the momentum I have just described.
Such a course of action could also encourage the Soviet Union to maintain, and perhaps even accelerate, the pace of those programs. It is apparent that our restraint in not going beyond the level of missile launchers decided upon five years ago has not caused the tempo of Soviet strategic deployments to slacken,
It is essential to the conclusion of a mutually acceptable and meaningful agreement that the Soviets be willing to constrain the offensive deployments that could threaten our deterrent. If we were to refrain now from moving to protect our deterrent, the Soviet Union would have achieved a one-sided arms control limitation without agreeing to any constraints on its own forces. I believe that such a prospect would be a most serious reverse incentive to the Soviets to negotiate a meaningful agreement.
It has been suggested that, as an alternative, we should propose to the Soviet Union an immediate cessation of MIRV testing and a halt to the deployment of MIRVs and other strategic systems. Virtually everyone endorsing this view bas agreed that adequate verification should be provided. But I would point out that this proposal raises such complex questions that negotiating it could be as complicated as the negotiation of a durable and comprehensive agreement.
Turning now to the second reason for proceeding with the modified SAFEGUARD program and the deployment of MIRVs, some have argued that the United States and the Soviet Union both possess an adequate deterrent today. I agree. But I should point out that weapons in inventory which can survive and penetrate today would not necessarily have that capability five or seven years from now. We must ensure that these forces cannot ever be eroded to the point where there would be serious doubt about our capability to retaliate effectively after a surprise attack. In other words, we must guarantee the survival of sufficient forcesunder all foreseeable conditions--so that the Soviet Union knows it would be a grave mistake to attack the United States, today or in the future.
I believe there are two ways to achieve such a guarantee, through negotiations, and through appropriate force planning and deployments. We are pursuing both paths. Naturally, there is a close relationship between the two. I do not believe any of you would view a strategic arms agreement that would place the United States at a disadvantage as acceptable to our security.
The same reasoning is applicable to our strategic programs. As I noted, we must base our planning on the situation that we perceive, since we do not have an arms agreement. Naturally, we have no way of knowing conclusively that the projections of future Soviet strategic weapons deployments which we must consider will, in fact, become a reality. But the momentum they have established makes it imperative that we preserve our strategic options. The programs that we have recommended and are recommending are designed to preserve the availability of necessary options.
Let me review the two important programs which have received emphasis in the current debate over strategic armaments—SAFEGUARD and MIRV.
In this transitional budget year, the modified Phase 2 SAFEGUARD program is the only additional step we are recommending to preserve the survivability of our land-based deterrent. We chose this course in order to avoid the necessity this year of either adding to our offensive potential, or taking other steps which would complicate the proliins of arms control. The suggestions made last year that we either increase our offensive forces or assume a posture of "launchon-warning' are examples in the first case of the hard and difficult decisions the fiscal year 1971 program is designed to postpone, and, in the second case, of a situation which no President would want to face as the only course of action available in an impending crisis.
SAFEGUARD is not provocative to the Soviet Union. It does not threaten the Soviet's offensive forces in any way if their objective is deterrence, It clearly does not provide a heavy defense of our cities.
SAFEGUARD is designed to provide us the options to fulfill any or all of several objectives, including: to preserve the survivability of our land-based deterrent forces, to defend against the potential ICBM threat from China, and to defend against accidental launches from any source.
If there is a SALT agreement, it could be consistent with the deployment of SAFEGUARD.
If a SALT agreement precluded any ABMs, then we could halt the deployment or dismantle the SAFEGUARD components. If we did, we would have to regard SAFEGUARD as money well spent, since it may have encouraged agreement at SALT. In any case, its continuation today is necessary insurance that we must have.
This is true because if there is no SALT agreement and we did not have the SAFEGUARD deployment or some other offsetting action underway, we would have lost the lead time necessary to counter effectively the growing Soviet threat to our land-based deterrent forces.
Turning now to the other strategic program of importance, we are continuing the previously approved program of deploying MIRVS for POSEIDON and MINUTEMAN for two reasons:
1. To make sure that an adequate deterrent survives in the face of the
increasing vulnerability of MINUTEMAN and bombers to the Soviet
strategic threat. 2. To insure that our surviving retaliatory forces can penetrate Soviet
defenses in the future. In designing our MIRV programs we could have chosen to use our technology to develop a very major increase in our hard target kill capability, thus giving the Soviet Union grounds for anxiety about whether our intentions included preparation for a major counterforce capability. We have not followed this path but have instead used the technology to enhance our ability to penetrate Soviet ABM defenses and to cover soft retaliatory targets with fewer surviving U.S. missiles. Thus, our scheduled MIRV deployment is designed to preserve our deterrent in the least threatening way in the face of growing Soviet offensive and defensive capabilities.
If we did not plan on actions to offset the expanding threat-I would, as Secretary of Defense, have to face the possibility that, in the mid-to-late 1970's, we might no longer be able to rely on either the Bomber or MINUTEMAN force to survive a suprise attack. In such a situation, without MIRV, we would be left with only the POLARIS deterrent force in our strategic arsenal for high-confidence retaliatory purposes.
Many people overlook the fact that a very large percentage of our retaliatory power (measured in terms of both warheads and megatons) is carried by our bombers and land-based missile forces. As I noted in the Defense Report, we have some 4,200 strategic nuclear weapons in our strategic force today. Only about 15 percent of those weapons are carried by the POLARIS SLBM force,