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4 The Impact of New Technologies and Noncentral Systems on Offensive Red action Reg i mes Alexander H. Flax . I would like to discuss the broader military environment in which the strategic competition exists. There is a tendency to view it in isolation; as my title implies, ~ am going to deal with so-called noncentral systems, meaning all nuclear and nonnuclear systems other than American and Soviet long-range strategic nuclear systems. ~ will address the issues that are brought about by technological change. These issues are not all the result of radical new breakthrough technologies. More often, they stem from the kinds of technological advance that occur through incremental improvements over many, many years. We think we have something new in the cruise missiles now in Europe. In fact, 25 years ago, we had nuclear-armed cruise missiles in Europe. The Matador, as it was called, was about two or three times the gross weight of the present cruise missile and had less than two-thirds the range. Technological improvements, mainly in the warhead and guidance accuracy, allowed cruise missiles to shrink, become more highly proliferated, and harder to verify all charac- teristics that we have referred to during this seminar. ~ ~ . 27

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28 REYKJA VIK AND BEYOND I am going to cover those aspects of many systems. I am not going to address the ABM question, but ~ will refer to air defense. When we use the loose term "strategic defense," people imme- diately think of an ABM system and, more particularly these days, of the space-based ABM system; but in fact, there is a very large and expensive system of air defenses in the Soviet Union. These air defenses comprise thousands upon thousands of surface-to-air missile launchers and thousands of interceptors and all the racier equipment. that goes with them. In a massive attack, these systems are not counter! on as being very effective, but as the size of the attack shrinks, one must rethink the question. Let me make it clear that a certain sense of unreality always obtains when one talks about large numbers of nuclear weapons. In my mind, one nuclear weapon that could be delivered with assurance would be quite a deterrent, and I note that former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara has recently made that statement in a number of places. That certainly was not the way things looked when we were sitting there in the Pentagon in the 1960s trying to decide what was a reasonable level of deterrence. The way in which one looks at problems outside the government is always different. It is always more detached, more rational, and so forth- and with no respon- sibility. One can make one's arguments and hope that the arguments will not prevail if they do not make sense. Our discussions in this seminar involves! strategic weapons re- ductions to the level of 6,000 warheads, which is still a very, very large number, and from there to perhaps 3,000 and perhaps 1,000 (that number has been mentioned). Let us then Took at the impli- cations. The force structure on both sides, possibly as a result of technological history, consists of a so-called triad. The triad consists of bombers, and lately bombers plus the cruise missiles; submarine- launched ballistic and cruise missiles; anti land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The triad has developed a rationale of its own: that this is a means of providing a high degree of assurance against technological and operational uncertainties and surprises, including those associated with command and control, because the command-and-control situation for each of these is, in fact, different.

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29 IMPACT OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND NONCENTRAL SYSTEMS Many people do not realize, however, that we have put more and more operational constraints on the command and control of bombers and {CBMs in the last 15 or 20 years, to the point that it is no longer possible, for example, for two men in a silo to attempt to launch by turning their keys simultaneously. Even with the cooperation of all the other people in their launch wing, they cannot launch because they have to have a certain code, which normally they do not have. This safeguard, by the way, is in addition to what you have heard about the go-code. Similarly, the bombers can take off, but they cannot drop a nuclear weapon until they have that code. When the command authority decides to give them the code is another matter, but it gets to the problem of command and control, which ~ will say, without attempting to justify it here, is most severe for the most survivable weapon, the submarine-launched ballistic missile. When balancing up the forces, when making reductions, one has to think about all of these aspects. In addition to the difference in the way these triad weapons survive, there are also differences in the way they reach their targets. The bombers and cruise missiles must go through the opponent's air defenses, and the TCBMs and sub-launched ballistic missiles must go through ballistic missile defenses, if there are any. As it happens, there are some ballistic missile defenses in the Soviet Union, but they do not exceed 100 interceptors and thus are permitted under the ABM treaty. Again, at the levels we are talking about here- that is, thousands of warheads these defenses hardly make any difference. If you go to shrinking down to smaller and smaller numbers, the so-called ragged attack, it would matter or could matterbecause certain selected targets could be protected. There are certain possibilities that people argue about: unanticipated technical advances in submarine detection; anticipated improvements in guidance accuracy, with the result that hard silos could be destroyed even with nonnuclear warheads; failure ofthe ballistic missile warning system on which the bombers depend. The point is, we have assumed that these will never all happen simultaneously; thus, the insurance factor is there. As you reduce your forces, however, that factor has to be looked at very carefully. The main point ~ want to get to is that the numbers being discussed are total numbers of warheads. Because of operational and economic

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30 REYKJA VIK AND BEYOND factors ~ will make a rough estimate, and there are refinements one can make- really, only about half of those can be counted on in a retaliatory strike because of the different alert rates of bombers, submarine-launched missiles, and land-basec! missiles. Thus, when we talk about 3,000 warheads, we are actually down to 1,500 that would be available for retaliation. As one gets down to those levels, we may be talking about having the entire ballistic missile submarine force consist of about six to eight submarines, of which three to six might actually be out on patrol at any given time. In this case, we would be putting our reliance on the deterrent in those small numbers that is, if we keep to the present concept of Trident subs carrying 24 missiles and 7 warheads per missile, with the terrible destructive power that has been described. Actually, this is the most economical way to do it. You may have noticed this during the debate on whether Midgetman, the proposed small, mobile ICBM, should have one or three warheads. The whole controversy was largely an economic argument. The economic way, then, is to go for economies of scale. Yet from the standpoint of assurance, robustness, survival, you do not want to do that. For example, similarly, at this level of 2,000-3,000 warheads, we might have 15 bombers on alert, all told, out of a total of 45 bombers. The problem that I am going to focus on in the remainder of this discussion is that the noncentral systems, particularly with techno- logical improvements, improvements in structural weight, propel- lants, guidance accuracy, and so forth, have residual strategic possibilities. Many of these are clual-purpose systems, even ballistic missiles you may note that ballistic missiles fly between Iraq and Iran these days with conventional warheads. For example, consider the Soviet SS-20 intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) with three warheads, that we are talking about phasing out in an INF agreement. If we take two of those warheads out and leave one, the missile almost has intercontinental range that is, it is now a single-warheac! {CBM. Thus, it is very important to eliminate those if you are talking about (leep cuts. Similarly, all military aircraft inclucling all of our fighters are tanker-refuelecl many times when they are flown to Europe. That

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31 IMPACT OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND NONCENTRAL SYSTEMS is how they get there. Thus, they have intercontinental range. You may have noticed in the raid on Libya out of the United Kingdom, for example, the Ferris were repeatedly refueled to go all the way around the Bay of Biscay and into the Mediterranean because they could not cross France. You may also have noticed that the little Voyager that flew around the world without refueling was only a 12,000-pound vehicle. Now, admittedly, it flew at very low speed, but its achievement shows the potential in some of the more advanced structural composite technologies and also in our propulsion technologies. Thus, we have to worry about intermediate-range missiles, if they exist, when we get down to small numbers. We also have to worry about tactical aircraft, and even tactical transport aircraft like the C-14l, C-5, and the C-130, which has a shorter range. All have cargo doors in the rear that open for parachute extraction so that loads can be dropped to troops in the field. Those doors are also very good for extracting cruise missiles. They are also good for extracting anything else. Potentially, they can become bombers without much physical change. My argument here is not that this all makes a treaty impossible but rather that a much more intrusive, more widely encompassing verification regime is needed. I might also say that even space-launch vehicles, which originally were all converted ballistic missiles, are perfectly good ICBMs. And one can test all of the elements except the reentry vehicle by conducting a space launch. Space launchers thus are another worry, and here there is an asymmetry between ourselves and the Soviet Union. Some people say that the Soviet space program is better and bigger than ours because they have 100 launches per year to our 10 or 12. Yet their spacecraft do not last very long in orbit. Nevertheless, they have large production lines and big launch facilities for space launchers, which, although not very good for retaliation, are quite effective if the first strike is the name of the game. Again, intrusive inspection is going to be very important in this area. Modern cruise missiles such as our Tomahawk, for example, have both conventional and nuclear roles. The antiship missile the same missile, practically carries a much bigger conventional warhead to

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32 REYKJA VIK AND BEYOND put a hole in a ship with armor. As a nuclear delivery vehicle, it can sullenly expand its range by a factor of about three and fly from Europe to the Soviet Union. Years ago, we did have cruise missiles that flew intercontinentally They were called Snarks. They were not very good, but with modern technology, they too wouicl be possible candidates for a nuclear role. Again, they are small, they are difficult to find, and they can be tested on a racetrack instead of over full range. There are all kinds of problems that argue for a much more cooperative and highly intrusive relationship in verification. The other thing ~ want to address from the standpoint oftechnology is the survivability of the lancI-basecl force. ~ am not going to go into all the potentials for antisubmarine warfare (they are highly complicated ant! mostly cIassified). We ant! the Soviets, instead! of relying on ICBM silo hardness, are increasingly "going mobile," either by road or rail, and both countries either have in process or are planning ICBM systems of that kind. It is easy to say we will put mobile ICBMs on this much territory, and they wit! wander around, they will not be seen. Certainly, in the present situation, our overhead systems and our commancI-and- contro} systems could not do a credible job of real-time retargeting. It is almost certain, however, that in 10 or 15 years, they will be able to do that. Thus, we will have that problem, that future window of vulnerability for the mobile land-based system, and what we will do about it is not at all clear. All of these problems must be considered. We cannot write treaties with vague, ill-considered clauses as we did in the first strategic arms limitation treaty (SALT I) (and even in SALT IT, in some cases) and then worry about the problems later. Such a process creates ill will, fear, ant! suspicion; it really is counterproductive. It is really quite important to recognize some of these factors as we move in the direction of deep cuts in strategic offensive forces. Because of the relatively small numbers of launch platforms that may be involved as we go to 3,000 warheads and below, we really have to consider modifying our launch platform concepts. We probably do not want Trident submarines carrying 24 missiles. We probably do not want big bombers carrying 20 cruise missiles. It is not going to be the most economic approach. It could be that we

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33 IMPACT OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND NONCENTRAL SYSTEMS will end up with a force of one-third the size of our current force, costing roughly what the present strategic force costs. Nevertheless, everybody should realize that that is a problem that needs to be considered. One final point: I want to comment that I am not unmindful of the problems of third-country forces. I deliberately excluded them as a limiting factor because ~ think some of these other things will come into play even before the third-country forces.