The impact of the destruction of 78,000 lives in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and of 35,000 at Nagasaki three days later will continue to affect all aspects of international relations during the indefinite future: political, military, legal, religious, and humanitarian. In particular, there has developed, and not necessarily to a highly refined degree, the idea of strategic nuclear warfare. From the very beginning there is a problem of definition. It is unfortunate that some term other than “strategic” has not been used to describe this type of warfare since most kinds of warfare are, in some sense, strategic. Webster defines strategic in one sense which is currently in vogue and is used here to mean warfare “designed. . . specifically for devastating bases and industrial centers and wrecking communications to the rear of enemy lines. . . ”
In addition, strategic warfare is a direct and immediate threat against urban populations by nuclear weapons delivered from the sea, from the air, or from the heartland of an enemy’s territory. This places the new kind of warfare in a unique class. (There still is today a threat of strategic conventional warfare. If B-52 bombers were to destroy bases behind enemy lines with bombs carrying conventional explosives, such action would have to be catalogued as strategic warfare.) Everyday usage, however, has slowly changed the flavor of the term strategic warfare to mean strategic nuclear warfare. It is the threat of destruction of bases, industrial centers, communications and urban centers with nuclear weapons that forms the framework within which U. S. (and Soviet) plans, systems, and force levels are designed.
There is another initial semantical problem. Military planners for many years have used the terms “strategy and “strategic plan” in the context of the overall way in which a military force seeks to achieve its objectives.
In this essay, we have in mind the influence of the threat of strategic nuclear warfare, in the sense of the capability of one nation to destroy by nuclear weapons (delivered by missiles and aircraft) targets within the homeland of another nation.
It has been generally accepted that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved that strategic warfare—in this broad sense—can be conducted efficiently and suddenly with relatively few weapons. The “immediate” surrender of Japan is used to support this conclusion. Others will argue that Japan was close to surrender in any case and that the atomic bombing simply precipitated the action.
As World War II came to a close, many people in the United States hoped, at first, that other nations would have neither the will nor resources to product these efficient weapons as a threat to the United States, but clearly such a hope could only be short-lived. In fact, the basic convictions of Major Alexander de Seversky in Victory Through Air Power (1942) provide a harbinger of the situation with respect to Russia today, China tomorrow, and who knows whom the day after tomorrow. In de Seversky’s words:
- The rapid expansion of the range and striking power of military aviation makes it certain that the United States will be as exposed to destruction from the air, within a predictable period, as are the British Isles today.
- Those who deny the practical possibility of a direct aerial attack on America are lulling the American people into an utterly false sense of safety which may prove as disastrous to us as the Maginot Line mentality proved to France.
It is to the credit of the leaders of the United States that the practical possibility of direct attack on the United States by the Soviet Union has not been misrepresented to the American people. It has been repeatedly discussed in the open literature that the Soviet Union could cause the deaths of about 100,000,000 people in the United States. The fundamental objective set by U. S. leaders for our strategic nuclear forces is to deter such action—that is, to influence the Soviet leaders not to attack the United States, because it would result in the destruction of the Soviet Union no matter how well such an attack on the U. S. were carried out. U. S. leaders have reasoned that, if we have sufficient offensive nuclear weapons and several different ways of delivering these weapons, then we would be able to destroy the Soviet Union under any circumstances. Not only must the American people know that we have the forces to destroy the Soviet Union, but also—and more importantly—the Soviet leaders must know that there is no attack on U. S. territory that can be designed by them which will take away our capability and will to reply in kind. Our hope today is that the Soviet leaders’ knowledge of our capabilities and resolution will prevent strategic nuclear warfare altogether. This hope can be nourished by designing the mix of our nuclear warfare forces and deploying them in such a way that no calculation on the part of the Soviet leaders will leave them with the feeling that they can successfully blunt our retaliatory force.
With respect to China, it should be possible to defend against small numbers of attacking missiles by means of anti-ballistic missile systems. It remains to be seen whether the U. S. will choose—in the far future—to defend against possible heavier Chinese attacks, or to rely primarily on deterrence, as we do with respect to the Soviet Union today.
In strategic nuclear warfare, attacking systems, such as bombers and missiles carrying nuclear weapons, have come to be known as Strategic Offensive Forces if they can threaten either the homeland of the United States or the Soviet Union; systems such as bomber defenses and anti-ballistic missile systems, which defend the homelands, have come to be known as Strategic Defensive Forces. Together these forces are known as Strategic Forces.
It is the purpose of this essay to describe the development of the Navy’s contributions to the nation’s Strategic Forces, including the management and control of the forces, the programs leading to these forces, and to a lesser extent, the reasoning for the necessity of continued Navy contribution.
The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki demonstrated that, in the future, wars between major powers would probably be settled not by invasion and occupation, but by the total destruction of the enemy’s resources, including the people. Removal of the enemy threat—rather than annexation of his territory—may be the primary objective. Between super-powers like the United States and the Soviet Union, such an objective may be very difficult to attain for either side, particularly in the face of a determination on the part of the other nation to prevent it. To the extent that a country’s resources, military, industrial, and population, are clustered to form a relatively compact and fixed target system, an enemy may find it within the realm of possibility to structure a well coordinated surprise attack with sufficient destruction of population, industry, and military capabilities to be decisive.
Even while World War II treaty negotiations were being concluded in 1945 and occupations were underway, military planners of the more powerful nations, especially the United States and the Soviet Union, were studying the implications of atomic weapons and the forces, systems, and planning necessary to make use of these new weapons as instruments of national power.
The Early Delivery System
In the United States military forces, the initiative to develop atomic weapon delivery systems was taken during the middle and late forties by the leaders of the emerging Department of the Air Force.
The first nuclear bombs were delivered against no opposition by Army Air Force B-29s. The bombs were very large and each weighed about 10,000 pounds. It was therefore obvious that large bombers would be the initial delivery vehicles. Large bombers were land-based and within the province of the Air Force.
The Air Force operated the B-29 Super Fortresses, the only planes capable of carrying the Hiroshima “Little Boy” atom bomb (9,000 pounds, six feet long, and over two feet in diameter) or the Nagasaki “Fat Man” (10,000 pounds, over six feet long, and five feet in diameter). The top payload of a carrier-based aircraft was 2,000 pounds. If seapower were going to continue to make a contribution to U. S. security and international affairs, the United States Navy should have the capability of delivering the most powerful weapons of the times, in this case, atomic bombs, from the sea. The U. S. Navy was behind at this juncture, but not too far. A new 60,000-ton aircraft carrier was on the drawing boards and design competition was underway for an attack plane with a 10,000-pound payload capability. The North American Aviation Company was awarded in 1946 a contract for production of the AJ Savage attack plane. These planes would be delivered in 1949, and in the meantime the Army Air Force B-29 would remain the only nuclear attack delivery system available to the United States.
However there were many naval officers who did not believe the Nation could afford to wait for the AJ to achieve a sea-based nuclear capability. One of these was Commander (now Rear Admiral) Tom Davies, one of the Navy’s most advanced thinkers. In September, 1946, Davies and his crew—in 55 hours and 17 minutes—flew the Truculent Turtle, a Navy land-based patrol plane, the Lockheed XP2V-1 Neptune, from Perth, Australia, 11,236 statute miles to Columbus, Ohio, without refueling. Could this plane, or a carrier, be altered so that the Neptune could take-off from an aircraft carrier underway at sea? The Neptune was a larger airplane than the B-25 which already had flown off a carrier. Under Davies’ persistence and after hundreds of take-offs from shore airfields made to simulate carrier take-offs, Davies led a flight of two Neptunes off the flight deck of the Coral Sea in April, 1948.
With some modifications, the Neptune was reconfigured to carry the Little Boy, the smallest atomic weapon of the time, and proved in January, 1949 the operational capability to deliver this atom bomb from an aircraft carrier underway at sea. By the end of 1949, the Navy had six AJ Savages and 12 specially altered P2V Neptunes assigned to the carrier Midway—the Navy’s first Strategic Offensive Force. The Navy had proved its point. The Neptunes were stationed ashore in Port Lyautey, Morocco, and the Savages retained on board as part of the Midway’s air group.
Aircraft Carriers as a Strategic Offensive Force
Improvements came rapidly in the next decade. At first there was divided opinion among knowledgable [sic] scientists regarding how small future atom bombs could be made. One body of opinion held that bombs small enough to be carried by carrier-based aircraft would never be made. Others felt that the new atomic devices could be reduced in weight and size sufficiently to be easily accommodated by future generation carrier attack planes. The fission-fusion bomb settled this controversy and in later years, the AEC was able to make bombs very small indeed when compared to the first bombs.
At the same time military and commercial aircraft speeds were increasing and the aircraft industry produced many high performance aircraft over the next twenty years. The United States Navy developed its aircraft carriers concurrently to be able to operate the best airplanes from carriers at sea. Increased aircraft speeds demanded either longer flight decks to provide a longer air strip for deceleration, or faster carrier speeds to get wind over the deck for catapulting and arrested landing. Better catapults and more rugged arresting gear were developed and the angled deck for aircraft carriers was adopted.
Higher aircraft speed had another effect—greater fuel consumption—requiring that more aircraft fuel be carried on board the carrier. A single engine propeller-powered fighter of the 1940s consumed about 60 gallons of fuel per hour airborne; but the twin jet A-3B Sky Warrior, for example, gulps 850 gallons per hour. The increased size and speed of sea-based aircraft, together with larger stowage requirements, more powerful catapults, and associated needs have had the following effects on attack aircraft carrier displacement:
Original Full Load Displacement (tons)
During the same period, the Navy attack planes grew in gross weight from about 9,000 pounds to 70,000 pounds.
Larger planes, larger carriers, and smaller atomic bombs thus provided the Navy with an extremely powerful strategic offensive force.
The Secretary of Defense does not include today Navy aircraft carriers in his inventory of Strategic Forces. Carrier-based aircraft are truly multipurpose forces. Not only can these aircraft deliver offensive nuclear weapons against most nations, but they can also deliver conventional ordnance and provide offensive and defensive tactical air support. They are, in fact, a highly efficient air force capable of performing just about any mission the United States may require of military aircraft.
It is probably this multipurpose aspect of aircraft carrier operations which has provided through the years a focal point for naval aviators about which they could rally in pressing a single-minded objective—maintenance of the most modern, effective, U. S. sea-based air power as a major instrument of military power. This single-mindedness is absent from other U. S. strategic offensive forces. There is a natural competition within the U. S. Air Force for resources between the Strategic Air Command and the Tactical Air Command; there is a similar competition, important to understand in tracing the development of Navy strategic forces, within the Navy for resources between proponents of Strategic Forces (single purpose) and proponents of General Purpose Forces (multipurpose).
Multipurpose forces can be applied more flexibly to various contingencies. No Polaris submarine directly contributes to the war in Vietnam. These submarines do not have a conventional high explosive bombardment capability. Aircraft carriers can be redeployed from their strategic warfare objective to engage in tactical warfare; even the B-52, primarily a strategic bomber, can contribute to non-nuclear warfare, but Minuteman remains in its silo. Strategic forces tend to be single purpose and to the extent that we hope and we believe they will never be used, there is a tendency or a feeling on the part of many military planners to restrict resource allocation to the minimum possible.
Early Experiments with Missiles
A second Navy group which looked to the future application of nuclear force was more interested in the idea of an unmanned delivery system and was not certain as to the direction it would take them. This group looked to missiles. While some missile proponents may have been farsighted enough to foresee nuclear-tipped missiles, the early proponents were probably more interested in the concept and possible uses of a new high speed weapon.
The Germans of Peenemünde pioneered modern missilery to the operational stage. The terror and damage wrought by the V-1 and V-2 missiles have been well documented. German documents, collected after World War II, revealed that several proposals for launching similar rockets from submarines had reached a high degree of development. In fact in the early days of the war, the U-511, while submerged, actually fired two dozen short range rockets, almost all of which were successful. But this experiment was designed by German Army scientists, one of whom was Dr. Ernst Steinhoff, using Army rockets, and the German Navy refused to try to extend this experiment to operational practice. Some time later, about 1942 or 1943, the German Navy tried to duplicate the rocket shots—without success.
But toward the end of World War II, the Germans did have a system under rapid development which would launch V-2 missiles against U. S. cities. The missile would be towed horizontally by a submarine in a hydrodynamically designed container to a launch point where the container would be erected for launch operations. When Peenemünde was abandoned in early 1945, the project came to an end.
Also captured from the Germans were several V-1 “buzz bombs”—short range, pilotless aircraft, powered by pulse-jets. The V-1 cruised at about 300 knots for about 150 miles, was controlled by a crude guidance system, and delivered a bomb of about one ton weight. Over 8,000 V-1s bombarded Britain and caused random damage to thousands of buildings and left over 20,000 people dead or wounded.
Improved reproductions of these rockets were made by the U. S. and called Loons. The Navy experimented with these, and eventually, the submarine Cusk was altered to launch Loon from the surface. The first launch was conducted in early 1947 off the California coast. Radio controlled guidance was added and the feasibility of a submarine launched guided missile was established. The problems of submerged stowage still had to be worked out.
The idea of firing guided missiles from a submarine was naturally attractive. Submarines could easily approach enemy shores and then launch missiles not only at coastal ports, but also at inland airfields and other targets. Submarines in the past had used deck guns with very limited ranges to destroy coastal targets, but guided missiles could increase the range and the accuracy of submarine shore bombardment and open up an entirely new primary mission for submarines. The few U. S. submariners (led by W. P. Murphy, J. B. Osborn, P. E. Sommers, F. B. Clarke, C. B. Momsen, Jr., Roy C. Anderson and F. B. Tucker) connected with the early missile firings were highly enthusiastic with this new possible role, although in those early experimental days, concepts of operations and deployments were yet to be worked out.
In 1946, the Navy also experimented with the V-2 missile both from land launchers and from the carrier Midway. Powered by liquid oxygen and alcohol, the V-2 was considerably larger and faster than the V-1 but carried about the same payload, one fifth the weight of the first atomic bomb, with 2000 pounds of high explosive. Guidance was preset to a rather large area and not very accurate. The fuel was dangerous to handle and the Navy’s interest dwindled with the stockpile of the U. S. version of the V-2.
The Regulus System—A Poor Man’s Deterrent
Experimenting with the German V-1, however, convinced the Navy in 1948 to develop the Regulus missile, first flight tested by its contractor, Chance-Vought of Dallas, Texas, in 1950.
The Regulus missile provided the Navy with its first operational attack missile. It was an extremely well managed and successful program of the former Bureau of Aeronautics under the direction of one of the Navy’s early missile experts, Commander Robert Freitag.
Regulus I was a surface-to-surface missile and resembled a small modern 21-foot swept-wing jet fighter. It was basically a pilotless airplane. Some 34-feet long, Regulus I had a range of 575 miles at speed slightly under Mach 0.9 (about 600 mph at sea level). It was powered by an Allison turbojet with take off assistance from JATO solid propellant boosters and packed a very healthy nuclear punch—over 50 times that of the “Little Boy”. The first Navy missile could be preset for a target but could also be guided by its launching ship or a manned aircraft.
This seven-ton weapon was very versatile not only in its attack capability but also in its ability to accommodate itself to various launching platforms requiring only relatively quick and simple installation.
Regulus I could approach its target in three basic ways to avoid terrain obstacles and antiaircraft defenses. The missile could be programmed to gain 30,000 to 40,000 feet altitude in very short order, and cruise at that altitude to conserve fuel or to fly over mountainous country; it could then dive to low level flight and, at tree top if necessary, come in on the target from a few miles out. Alternatively it could dive, almost vertically if necessary, directly at the target from high altitude. For coastal targets, or targets toward which the flight path was unimpeded, Regulus could come in all the way “on the deck,” but at a reduced range. Not bad for a first operational system. Regulus was considered briefly as a delivery agent for conventional weapons, but was too expensive to be considered seriously. A manned aircraft or gun could deliver such weapons at much less cost.1
During its development, Regulus I was launched repeatedly from aircraft carriers and cruisers. Two fleet type submarines, Tunny and Barbero, were taken from mothballs for conversion to operational guided missile submarines. The conversion consisted of installing a cylindrical watertight compartment, or hangar, aft of the conning tower, with hemispherical ends, the after one of which opened like a door. The hangar held two Regulus I missiles with their wing tips folded upward. Launching ramps rounded out the topside installation. Below decks, with a good deal of rearranging of equipment, including adapting the officers’ wardroom for use as a plotting table, the radar and associated guidance equipment completed the conversions. The dream of the Loon experimenters was at hand.
The Tunny was recommissioned in March, 1953, and in July she launched the first Regulus missile from a submarine. In May, 1954, the Regulus missile system became operational. Barbero joined the Fleet about 18 months later and, in addition to these two submarines, ten aircraft carriers and four cruisers were capable of firing the Regulus I by 1957. Plans were approved for providing the Regulus capability to additional submarines, carriers, and cruisers.
The Navy was proud of this system. It had a sufficiently varied base of Navy supporters among cruiser officers, naval aviators, and submariners, and it was a great operational achievement. Spurred on by the success, the Navy decided to develop a bigger, faster, and higher flying successor to its first attack missile. Dubbed Regulus II, the new missile would be 57-feet long with a 20-foot wing span, cruise at speeds in excess of Mach 2.0 for over 1,000 miles, and fly at 60,000 feet. It would carry a larger warhead than its predecessor. Its attack procedure was to be even more versatile than its predecessor; it could fly low, then high, then low again in almost an infinite variety of ways to be able to navigate the roughest terrain and avoid air defenses. The Navy also obtained, in 1956, construction authorization for two advanced diesel submarines (Grayback and Growler) which would be able to carry and launch two Regulus II or four of the smaller Regulus I missiles; and a few months later, a nuclear submarine, Halibut was ordered (5 Regulus I or 2 Regulus II). A little later four more nuclear Regulus submarines were authorized.
The first Regulus II was fired from Edwards Air Force Base in November 1957.
At this point, the broad support base of the Regulus missile program within the Navy began to break down. While developed by the Bureau of Aeronautics, the submarine arm of the Navy appeared to be reaping the benefits of new ship construction resulting from the Regulus system; many naval planners reconsidered and slowly came to the conclusion that carrier space could be better used for manned attack aircraft; there were only four Regulus cruisers; Polaris looked like it just might work; and cost of construction and research were skyrocketing. If the Regulus had not been cancelled, more cruisers would probably have been converted.
Competition within the Navy for limited funds became even more intense than before. If the U. S. was going to develop Regulus II, build several Regulus nuclear powered submarines, develop Polaris, build several Polaris submarines, where would the Navy get the funds to build more carriers, more destroyers, more nuclear attack submarines, and to develop other new weapons systems?
In September 1958, Grayback fired the first and, as it turned out, the last Regulus II missile from an operational platform. In December 1958, Secretary of the Navy Thomas S. Gates directed that all Regulus work be stopped. The authorization for the four additional nuclear Regulus submarines was cancelled and used to build attack submarines; the Halibut was too far along to do anything but complete her construction.
Secretary Gates gave Regulus a glowing epitaph:
. . . . one of the most successful air-breathing missiles developed for the armed forces . . . [but] . . . in light of rapidly changing technology in the missile field . . . [it is] apparent that the ballistic missile has greater growth potential in over all military effectiveness than have air-breathing missiles.
The first launch of a Polaris from a submerged submarine was still a year and one-half away. But the gamble to cancel an operational system, Regulus, and to place hope in solid propellants was successful.
Yet there were many who felt at the time that the combination of interactions (1) between advocates of all-purpose forces and special-purpose forces (in today’s terms, General Purpose Forces and Strategic Forces) within the Navy and (2) between the Navy and Air Force, exerted more real influence on the Regulus program cancellation than any great faith in solid propellant ballistic missiles.
The carrier and cruiser launching platforms were, shortly after cancellation of Regulus, removed from the list of Regulus launchers to increase aircraft capacity on the carriers and make room for suface[sic]-to-air missiles on the cruisers.
The Tunny, Barbero, Grayback, and Growler were transferred from the Atlantic Fleet to the Pacific Fleet in July 1959 and the Halibut, when completed in January 1960, was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. There, they formed four units (Tunny and Barbero together) which were called by the Pacific sailors the “poor man’s deterrent”. Four missiles were kept “on station” continuously until mid-1964 when Regulus was finally removed from the lists of active U. S. weapons systems. The USS Daniel Boone (SSBN-629) departed Apra Harbor, Guam on Christmas Day, 1964 to begin the first Polaris patrol in the Pacific.
An Early Study of Submarine Missile Systems
While the naval aviators were improving their nuclear delivery capability and the Bureau of Aeronautics was convincing the Navy of the need for Regulus-firing platforms, the Office of Naval Research, in early 1955, commissioned the General Dynamics Corporation to look into the future. General Dynamic’s Electric Boat Division and Convair Pomona participated in a comprehensive examination of the possibilities of a submarine missile system. The report, entitled “Strike Submarine Missile Weapons Systems Study,” was completed in late 1955. The study tried to predict 1965-70 technology. Knowing very little about combining missiles and submarines in a system designed from the beginning, as contrasted to conversion of existing submarine platforms, the General Dynamics group covered the entire feasible spectrum of alternative combinations. Nuclear and diesel submarines and cruise and ballistic missiles were studied in various combinations. Although then beyond reach, solid propellants were considered in addition to liquid propellant ballistic missiles. Various ranges for the missiles were studied, and the effect of range on the submarine design. Large submarines with many missiles and small submarines with few missiles were combined on paper. The size of the missile was varied. Should each submarine be just large enough to carry one small missile? One large missile? Several missiles? These and other questions were asked and carefully answered. Many combinations were put together and the cost of each system to destroy a realistic and practical target structure was computed. The study was one of the first of a kind which later became known as systems studies or systems analyses. To the extent possible on paper, the Strike Submarine Missile Weapons Systems Study proved the economic and, to a lesser extent, the engineering feasibility of a complete submarine strategic offensive force with emphasis on the necessity for a solid propellant missile and a ship-borne inertial navigation system.
Jupiter and the Special Projects Office
Concurrent with the ONR/General Dynamics study, Dr. J. R. Killian chaired a group which examined the question of technical capabilities in 1955. Their report, approved by the President in September, recommended that “. . . a 1,500 mile ballistic missile system be developed”. Both land and sea-basing were to be considered. Two months later, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson directed the Army and the Navy to initiate a program of the highest national priority to develop jointly the Jupiter intermediate range (1,500 mile) ballistic missile. Jupiter was propelled by a liquid fuel and aimed by an inertial guidance system. The range of the missile was dictated by estimates of what missile experts felt could be attained and by the need for the capability to strike interior Soviet targets from bases in the NATO countries.
In less than two weeks, the Secretary of the Navy directed the creation of the Special Projects Office as a single managerial office to solve the Navy problems associated with the ship-launching of the liquid-fueled Jupiter, whose development responsibility was assigned to the Army. The Navy announced a short term objective of a deployment of an operational surface ship-based Jupiter in 1965 and a longer term objective of a submarine based system.
Admiral Arleigh Burke, appointed as Chief of Naval Operations on August 17, 1955, sought a director for the Special Projects Office. The Nation will always owe Burke a deep debt for his profound judgement in choosing Rear Admiral William F. Raborn, Jr. Burke recognized the task of Raborn to be herculean and—in the spirit of sea command—gave Raborn full responsibility and authority commensurate with this responsibility. Raborn became director of the Special Projects Office on December 5, 1955.
The Ballistic Missile Submarine
By mid-1956, the Secretary of Defense’s Scientific Advisory Committee was convinced of the feasibility of a solid propellant vehicle which Lockheed scientists and engineers had essentially proved. If a solid propellant missile could be built, the liquid propellant Jupiter would be dropped because of the difficulty of handling such missiles at sea.
In quick succession, a new Navy solid IRBM (Polaris) program was directed at the highest priority; the Navy terminated its participation in the liquid Jupiter program; the Special Projects Office was given responsibility of the entire system; and the surface ship platform, for the time, was dropped from the program.
In early 1957, Admiral Burke set a requirement for a 1,500-mile missile capable of being launched from a submerged submarine to be operational by 1965. Several accelerations later and under the leadership and managership of Rear Admiral Raborn, the first ballistic missile submarine, the USS George Washington, departed on operational patrol in November 1960, having successfully launched two missiles while submerged in the previous July.
Since then about 800 submarine patrols have been conducted by 41 submarines in support of the national strategy of deterrence. The 41 submarines are made up of three different classes. The first five (George Washington class) were originally authorized and designed as attack class submarines and construction of one had started. One of the program accelerations—resulting in part from Sputnik I launch in October 1957, called for alteration of these attack submarines to Polaris submarines at an early stage of construction. The alteration was authorized by the President in February, 1958. The next (Ethan Allen) class also consisted of five submarines, the first American submarine actually designed from the keel as a ballistic missile launching submarine but still on a crash basis. The last (Lafayette) class was the largest and made up the remaining 31 ballistic missile submarines.
The George Washington class submarine is 380 feet in length, has a beam of 33 feet, submerged2 displacement of 6,700 tons, and was originally designed to carry 16 Polaris A-1 missiles (1200 nautical mile range), and 6 bow torpedo tubes; subsequently the class has been refitted to accommodate the 2500 N.M. A-3 missile. The Ethan Allen class is 30 feet longer, displaces 7,900 tons submerged and was designed to carry the A-2 (1500 N.M.) missile, but with appropriate modification can alternatively accommodate the A-1 or A-3 missile. The Lafayette class is even longer by 15 feet (425 feet) and displaces 8,250 tons.
All but the first five have four torpedo tubes. In successive classes, crew accommodations were increased, the method of launching changed slightly and the launching control and navigation equipment improved. From external appearances, very few people would be able to distinguish one of the submarines from the others.
The manner in which the Nation came to the decision to build exactly 41 submarines probably could never be reconstructed. The first ten, of course, were authorized before any decision was made as to total force levels. About three months after their authorization, Admiral Burke first discussed overall force levels during “Ruth Hagy’s College News Conference” on the ABC radio and television network in March 1959 during which he talked equivocally about 30 submarines (interpreted to mean actually on station). To keep this number on station would require in the order of 45-50 in inventory. He tied this number vaguely to the number of Soviet targets. Actually, submarines were authorized in small groups: the sixth in December 1958, the seventh, eighth, and ninth, in June 1959, and tenth through fourteenth in July 1960—fourteen in all during the Eisenhower administration. On 29 January 1961, President Kennedy accelerated the program. Five were authorized for initiation of construction prior to 1 July 1961; ten more on 19 July 1961 and six in each of the next two succeeding years. These last twelve were tentatively approved by the Secretary of Defense on 22 September 1961 and no others were planned. The missile submarines are magnificently engineered machines and for that reason relatively costly. With missiles, each submarine costs about $150,000,000.
Two Theories About Defense Budgets
There are basically two schools of thought regarding Defense Department allocation of dollars to the Services. The first holds that the total Defense budget for a year is more or less fixed in advance at the highest levels of government and that the Defense Department then divides this amount up among the Services according to some predetermined and relatively constant proportion. Then, according to this theory, each Service must pay for whatever programs it wants from this fixed amount. One might call this the fixed budget theory.
The other theory holds that each Service makes up its own budget, based on its own image of its operational requirements, and submits this to the Secretary of Defense who then approves or disapproves programs according to his own criteria, providing funds for approved programs.
Now clearly, if the fixed budget theory represents the actual way Defense money is allocated, and the President directs ten missile submarines to be constructed in one year, then the Navy must finance these ten submarines from its own budget for that year and therefore other programs will suffer. Proponents of this theory argue that the Navy has received, more or less, a constant (but not necessarily equal to the other services) ratio of the total Defense budget each year for many years. Belief in the fixed budget theory would therefore generate opposition within the Navy to missile submarines (or any other particular ship) by strong advocates of other ship types.
On the other hand, if the second theory is correct, then destroyer or attack submarine construction would not vie for dollars with missile submarine construction; but rather the Navy would make its case separately for each ship type and then funds would be made available according to the Nation’s needs.
The first group argues that without Polaris submarines today, there would be a comparable increase in other ship types; the second group argues to the contrary, that without Polaris submarines today, the Navy simply would be a smaller Navy receiving proportionally less of the Defense budget.
There perhaps is some truth in each theory; my purpose is not to resolve this dichotomy but rather to illuminate one reason for the initial opposition within the Navy to the growth of the Polaris program.
In this light, it should not surprise anyone if the statement is made that even within the submarine arm of the Navy, there was a good deal of opposition to the Navy’s increased role in Strategic Offensive Forces.
The Management Story
The submarine platforms themselves were one important part of the system; there were two other parts at least equally important. One was the missile; the other, the people who manned the system and made it work. The people, in the final analysis, were probably the most important, but are perhaps less germane to this review; and I reluctantly put aside to another time the story of the development and training of the exceptional men who man and operate the missile submarine force.
Development of the missile is however an important part of the story of Navy Strategic Forces. The original responsibility for long-range missile development was assigned to the Bureau of Aeronautics through the CNO’s Director of the Guided Missile Division, Rear Admiral (later Admiral) J. H. Sides. In the days of the Regulus development, the Navy’s guided missile chief was an assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air, (Op-05). The Regulus program, we have seen, toward its end did not justify additional aircraft carrier or cruiser construction, but did result in justification for additional missile submarines. This result came about even though the number of submarine officers in the Regulus development program was never very high. The Bureau of Aeronautics was manned mostly by naval aviators. The same was true in the Polaris program. It was not under the direction of submariners. Admiral Burke, who directed initiation of the program, was the Navy’s most famous destroyer officer; Admiral Raborn was a naval aviator.
The original joint Army-Navy Jupiter IRBM program was coordinated by the joint Army-Navy Ballistic Missile Committee at the Secretary of Defense level. When the solid propellant (Polaris) program was approved in 1956, the joint committee was disestablished and the Secretary of the Navy formed the Navy Ballistic Missile Committee, responsible for direction of the Polaris Program. Raborn was now responsible to this Navy committee. It was composed of the Secretary of the Navy, two Assistant Secretaries, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations and Readiness (who would eventually operate the system) and the Director of the Guided Missile Division, Admiral Sides. The last acted as Executive Member of the Committee and as such was responsible for coordinating all contact between Admiral Raborn’s Special Projects Office and staff members of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Commander F. W. Scanland, Jr., a submariner, worked for Admiral Sides. He was the head of the Ballistic Missiles Branch which consisted of four officers. While there were a few submariners in the total organization, none of the key spots were held by submarine officers except for Scanland, who served as Executive Secretary to the Committee.
In April 1957, Commander Paul H. Backus, (now retired) relieved Commander Scanland and became the focal point of the administrative organization. He was an assistant to the Director, Guided Missile Division and served as Executive Secretary of the Committee. Commander Backus was a destroyer officer. He was not only one of the Navy’s earliest missile experts but also an extremely strong-willed and competent personality who insisted that all contact between the Special Projects Office and the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations be made through him personally. When the complete story of the Polaris operation is documented, Commander Backus, as yet unheralded, will get a major share of credit for the initial success, along with Sides, Burke, and Raborn.
Thus, the fact that missiles were the armament of the system and the Navy’s air arm contained the leadership in Navy missiles resulted in an organization devoid of high ranking submariners with the notable exception, of course, of Vice Admiral Hyman Rickover, who was responsible for the engineering plant of the submarine.
Within the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations was a group of five submarine officers, the Submarine Warfare Branch (Op-311) under a submarine Captain. Upon the establishment of Special Projects Office, this group—primarily oriented to the submarine platform—was mildly interested in the long-term possibilities of a sea-going ballistic missile, but Op-311 was primarily responsible for current and near-term submarine operations and readiness. A year later, when the solid propellant Polaris program was started, the Submarine Warfare Branch felt that responsibility for the program, at the CNO staff level, should now be shifted to the Submarine Warfare Branch. But this small group was not very influential outside of the small submarine forces which numbered about two and one-half per cent of the personnel of the Navy, and no tampering with the highly specialized program managership was permitted. The development of a modern major weapon system is a task for technical and engineering personnel. Assumption of the program by the Submarine Warfare Branch in the early stage of development did not appear to be the best solution. They were concentrated in submarine warfare and at the time really were not prepared to take on a large system in which the submarine was only one of the problems. The others were the missile, guidance, navigation, communications, etcetera.
It was generally agreed that responsibility for operation of the system would later be vested in the Deputy CNO for Fleet Operations and Readiness (Op-03) and his subordinate Submarine Warfare Branch would then gain primary control.
Parenthetically, it is interesting to point out for the record of the management side of the story that submariners as a group in the Navy have gained considerably more influence within the Navy because of Polaris. While formerly submariners made up two and one-half per cent of the Navy, now they number perhaps six to seven per cent and probably wield more influence than the increase indicates. This is because they received a much greater proportion of the total Navy budget (about one-quarter) in the early sixties when we were building the Polaris fleet, than they had in the past.
It was decided to form the organizational unit that would later be the next echelon command of the Polaris submarines. A new submarine squadron command, under the command of Captain (now Rear Admiral) N. G. Ward came into being in the summer of 1958 with headquarters in the Pentagon. This group, which later moved to Holy Loch, Scotland, did a great deal to smooth over the management problems among the various principal organizations, Special Projects Office, Ballistic Missile Committee and the submarine officers of the Pentagon.
During the next three years, the Navy Ballistic Missile Committee continued to oversee the program through its powerful spokesman, Commander Backus, and the major part of the development work was successfully completed under this productive management arrangement.
However in 1959, it was clear that the Deputy CNO for Air no longer needed a Guided Missile Chief because there was only a small effort in aircraft oriented guided missiles under development, and his office was disestablished. Commander Backus moved to the office of the Deputy CNO for Development—taking his Naval Ballistic Missile Committee executive duties along with him.
As George Washington was readying for deployment in 1960, the Submarine Warfare Branch, under Captain (now Rear Admiral) F. J. Harlfinger, was strengthened by increasing from five to nine officers and the Secretary of Defense upgraded the rank of the submarine force commander in the Atlantic from Rear Admiral to Vice Admiral. This commander would have the task of making Polaris submarines operationally ready for sea. If traditional organizational lines were followed, CNO-sponsorship of the Polaris program would shift to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations and Readiness. Captain Harlfinger, who worked for this Deputy, believed that control of Polaris should be further vested within his Submarine Branch. He almost—but not quite—succeeded. At one point there was in fact a recommendation, approved by the Executive Member of the Navy Ballistic Missile Committee, to effect this change of control, but the recommendation was later withdrawn.
Commander Backus retired from active service in March 1961 and a submarine officer replaced him. In December 1961, there was organized a new Fleet Ballistic Missiles Division, (Op-37) within the office of the Deputy for Operations and Readiness at the same level as the Submarine Division (Op-31) (which had been given Division status a few months earlier within the office of the same Deputy and had grown to about 17 officers). The Director of the Fleet Ballistic Missiles Division was Backus’ successor and also served as the Executive Secretary of the Committee.
This arrangement lasted for two years until November 1963, when the short-lived Fleet Ballistic Missiles Division was absorbed into the Submarine Warfare Division and all submarine operations were consolidated into one office at the CNO staff level. This growing Division thus became the single CNO staff point of contact with the Director, Special Projects Office. Raborn had been relieved by Rear Admiral (now Admiral) I. J. Galantin in early 1962. Galantin had headed the Submarine Warfare Branch when the Special Projects Office was first established. In this way, after several years, control of the missile platform and the missile itself were consolidated under the leadership of submarine officers.
The Polaris Missile
Missile development in the interim went through three major phases and weapons, Polaris A-1, A-2, and A-3. The Polaris A-1 was the missile accepted as a minimum risk when one of the many accelerations of the program was directed. It was a 15-ton missile, 28.5 feet long, and 54 inches in diameter. It was a two stage rocket using a solid propellant; guided by an inertial navigation system, it could fly accurately to a range of 1,200 nautical miles after having been launched from the submerged submarine. It carried a lethal warhead many times as powerful as the first atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Polaris A-2 and A-3 were two and one-half feet longer with improved lighter motor casings (fiberglass instead of steel), ranges increased to 1,500 and 2,500 miles respectively, more accurate guidance and improved controls. The first flight test of a Fleet ballistic missile was conducted in January 1958 from Point Mugu, California, from the Navy test range. The first launching from a submerged submarine (USS George Washington under command of Commander J. B. Osborn) took place on 15 July 1960 “into the pickle barrel”. A second successful launching was conducted the same day from the same submarine. The USS George Washington departed Charleston, South Carolina, for the first deterrent patrol on 15 November 1960.
In October 1961, the first improved A-2 missile was successfully launched from the USS Ethan Allen; in May 1964, the first A-3 from the USS Daniel Webster. Success after success was recorded.
In the early days of Polaris, not many people had much faith in the potential success of this “Jules Verne” missile system. The Nation had completely developed, but only partially deployed, several missile systems, some strategic (e.g. Regulus), some of long range and some of short range. Even many in the Navy who supported the Polaris system felt that success was not very likely, and the deployment decision even less likely. There was Burke’s statement to Raborn at the time of the initial directive which promised complete support. But Burke also said: “If you reach the stage where you cannot do this thing, we will kill the project.” Not many thought Raborn could do this thing.
Operational Control of Polaris
In April 1959, after several failures, the first fully successful Polaris AX test vehicle was launched. Two months later, the submarine George Washington came down the building ways. Could this system possibly work? At about this time the Air Force requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff give operational control of the sea-based Polaris to the United States Air Force. The Air Force reasoning was that a single command was needed in order that a given target might not be hit by several weapons arriving at the same time. The debate over control raged in the Pentagon, in the press, and in Congress.
Admiral Burke explained to the Congress the need for coordinated submarine and antisubmarine operations at sea. The debate continued for about one year when, in mid-1960, Secretary of Defense Thomas S. Gates made what he himself considered one of the most important decisions of his Defense career. He established the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, with Headquarters at Omaha, under the Joint Chiefs of Staff and under the immediate directorship of the Commander of the Strategic Air Command, a four-star Air Force general with a three-star Navy admiral assigned as Deputy. As with all U. S. Joint Staffs, members were assigned from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. They would do the integrated target planning for the use of the nation’s entire atomic arsenal as directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Control of the Polaris operational forces was vested in a Joint Commander (Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Command, a Navy admiral). The Atlantic Submarine Force Commander would train, support, and prepare the submarines for operations; logistics and technical support for the Polaris system, as well as management of follow-on systems, remained the responsibility of Director, Special Projects Office. By September 1961, when the Secretary of Defense announced plans for the last twelve submarines—six to be started in 1963 and six in 1964—and the matter of control was decided, each Service was busy with the problems of developing and deploying its own missile forces.
End of First Generation Struggle for Control
Thus, Polaris was born in turmoil; an almost impossible technological feat, supported by few, caught up in the healthy, if sometimes disconcerting, debate between the Air Force and Navy, and proven in its awesome might when the Ethan Allen launched, on 6 May 1962 from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, a Polaris missile which flew to its ocean “target” and exploded its nuclear warhead. Polaris became a system fully tested operationally.
The Ethan Allen was the sixth U. S. SSBN. In the next 18 months, eleven more SSBNs were commissioned.
The Great Circle Study Group
On November 29, 1963, Paul Nitze was sworn in as Secretary of the Navy. He had been long considered one of the Nation’s original thinkers on substantive matters of strategic nuclear warfare. It soon became apparent to him that although the Navy had a very credible deterrent and a high degree of technical competence in weapons systems management and operations, there was both a lack of planning with regard to advanced Navy strategic offensive and defensive systems and little capability within the Navy to participate fully in the intellectual process usually associated with the identification and resolution of overall U. S. strategic warfare problems. This process included the nature of offensive and defensive systems of other Services, the possible contributions to limiting population damage of antisubmarine warfare in comparison with civil defense and anti-ballistic missile systems, and quantitative assessment of the interactions between offensive and defensive systems in the limitation of damage during nuclear war. Deterrence of nuclear war rather than reducing damage after such a war started was the objective of the Polaris force. Its survivability was well suited to this purpose.
This situation had come about for two reasons: (1) The Navy’s hands were full delivering the missiles and submarines which were being commissioned at the rate of about one a month, and (2) about 25 per cent of the Navy budget was being spent on Polaris and few people in the Navy were interested in spending more or continuing this rate with more Polaris submarines or other strategic systems, and thereby (if one believes the fixed budget theory) reducing expenditures on other Navy systems.
Secretary Nitze requested Navy participation in a study to be started in March 1964 within the office of Dr. Harold Brown, then Director, Defense Research and Engineering. The study was to examine all strategic offensive and defensive systems of the U. S. and the Soviet Union and the interactions between them and to determine the damage limiting potential of U. S. forces in nuclear war.
To support this study, the Chief of Naval Operations organized an ad hoc group to study “Naval Contributions to Damage Limiting”. This group became known as the Great Circle Group under the direction of one of the Navy’s most progressive and perceptive flag officers, Rear Admiral George H. Miller, then Director of CNO’s Long Range Objectives Group, probably the closest thing to a “think factory” in the Navy.
Each of the other Services and the Civil Defense organization formed a similar supporting group. The whole study became known as the “Damage Limiting Study” or alternatively as the “Kent Study” after Brigadier (now Major) General Glenn Kent, U. S. Air Force, who directed and coordinated the efforts of all the service groups. The author believes Kent to be the nation’s most informed single individual when it comes to strategic systems of all kinds and analysis of them.
The Damage Limiting Study, in addition to achieving its objective of illumination, had two direct effects on the Navy. First, it achieved Nitze’s purpose in getting the Navy to participate more fully in the discussion and analysis of strategic warfare issues. The Great Circle Group learned its lessons well in the six months of intensive work and with the support of both Secretary McNamara and Secretary Nitze about ten officers and analysts continued in existence as a group for additional work.
The second effect on the Navy was to cause Dr. Brown to urge the Navy to push forward with a new missile as a successor to Polaris. The Navy had already proposed the Polaris B-3 missile which would increase the new fleet ballistic missile size to the maximum possible compatible with the size of the existing submarine launching tube. The B-3 proposal appeared to Brown to be relatively conservative in its objectives. Dr. Brown returned the proposal suggesting that advanced warhead technology and other improvements be included in the new missile. The new warhead technology would give one missile the capability to kill several targets. The program for the new missile, called Poseidon, was announced by President Johnson in a special message to Congress on January 18, 1965. It would be six feet in diameter (instead of four and one-half) and 34 feet end to end; it would carry twice the total front end payload and be much more accurate than the first Polaris missile.
On Christmas Day the month before, the first Polaris operational patrol began in the Pacific. The Navy now had a worldwide deterrent and a new missile, Poseidon, under development. The Service had come a long way from the Loon and Regulus.
A month later Rear Admiral Levering Smith took over the reins of Director, Special Projects Office. He was a weapons specialist and the top missile expert in the Navy. He had been a member of the Special Projects Office almost from the beginning and development of Poseidon became his responsibility as the new Director.
More Tasks for Great Circle
The Great Circle Group continued its studies and in the next two years made several contributions to Navy strategic systems. First it successfully demonstrated that the Poseidon system could be accelerated by about one year at no extra cost. Mr. McNamara agreed with the conclusion and directed that Poseidon be accelerated in order to provide additional insurance that we would remain ahead of the Soviet Union which had by then started a rapid missile buildup.
Next the group showed the wisdom and economy of converting 31 missile submarines to handle the new Poseidon instead of 23 as originally scheduled by the Secretary of Defense, and the 31 Poseidon SSBN program was adopted by the Secretary of Defense. It was considered uneconomical to convert the first ten SSBNs to the Poseidon system because of the extensive alterations required.
Thirdly, on the offensive side, it produced the rationale for the development and deployment of a surface Ballistic Missile Ship. This proposal immediately met with resistance within the Navy and the Air Force essentially for the same reasons: neither wanted to see an increase in Navy Strategic Offensive Forces. Within the Navy the believers in the fixed budget theory saw what they believed to be another system with which General Purpose Forces would have to compete for funds; within the Air Force, the threat of the Navy getting a larger share of the Defense strategic budget and a greater role in strategic nuclear warfare. The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral T. H. Moorer, said to the Stennis Preparedness Investigating Committee on the Status of U. S. Strategic Power (April 23-26, 1968):
If a rapid buildup of additional survivable payload is needed, one feasible course of action could be to construct and deploy a ballistic missile force armed with Poseidon missiles. After completion of design work the first units could be deployed in about [deleted] years after a decision is made to build such a force . . . and it is extremely difficult, as we see it today, to devise a means of knocking out a mobile force at sea quickly by surprise attack.
The concept of a surface Ballistic Missile Ship as an adjunct to the mix of the nations’s strategic forces is retained by the Navy as an option in the sense decribed [sic] by Admiral Moorer. The arguments generally used against this system are that it is not as survivable as the submarine, Admiral Moorer further testified: “[It would survive] a sufficient number of hours to permit the ship to fire all of its weapons which I think is the key point.” On the other hand, it is less costly than a submarine system and also cheaper than Minuteman (see author’s article “Poseidon and Minuteman: Either, Or; Neither, Nor?” in the August 1968 U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings.)
The Great Circle Group also was active in the area of Strategic Defensive Systems. It refined its original work on the contribution of antisubmarine warfare toward damage limiting and conceived the idea of a Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Intercept Ship (SABMIS). SABMIS would be a forward based surface ship system capable of intercepting a ballistic weapon in the early stages of its trajectory. Thus, with the Safeguard (Nike-X) anti-ballistic missile system, SABMIS would provide a defense-in-depth of the United States against a nuclear attack. SABMIS is now in advanced development.
The Second Generation Debate over Control
The second generation debate over strategic systems control also came about because of the Great Circle Group. Secretary Nitze was strong in his feelings that this group had provided the necessary leadership in Navy strategic thinking and decided it should permanently be a part of the Navy organization. After several months of deliberations within the CNO staff, the Chief of Naval Operations established the Navy Office of Strategic Offensive and Defensive Systems on February 1, 1967. Rear Admiral Miller was relieved as Director, Long Range Objectives Group, and assigned as director of the Office; the Great Circle Group and other personnel were assigned to the Director of this new major staff office who reported directly to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.
Miller is a destroyer expert but thinks in terms of the overall needs of the nation. In his Long Range Objectives Office, he used to display a large blue flag on which the words, “ONE NAVY” were emblazoned —and he meant it. On February 2, 1967, the Secretary of the Navy announced regarding the new office:
. . . that all Navy strategic activities have been placed under a central authority with the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. . . It will provide over all guidance and coordination for planning development and study of the Navy’s growing strategic forces. . . The establishment of this office recognizes within the Navy Department the importance of naval forces in national strategic systems.
The STRAT-X Study and the Future
While the Director, Strategic Offensive and Defensive Systems was being established, the Secretary of Defense requested the Institute of Defense Analysis, a Washington analytical organization:
. . . to conduct a technical study [referred to as STRAT-X] of future ballistic missiles including their possible performance characteristics and missile base concepts.
Rear Admirals Miller and Smith were the Navy members and Major General Kent the Air Force member of the STRAT-X Study Advisory Group.
Two Navy systems resulted from the STRAT-X Study, one was the Underwater Long Range Missile System (ULMS) which could be the follow-on to the nation’s submarine missile system in the late seventies. Admiral Moorer said of this system to the Stennis Committee in the 1968 hearings: “The missiles will have the range to enable the SSBNs to be on target as soon as they leave port.” The Ship Launched Missile System, a conceptual successor to the Ballistic Missile Ship, was the other Navy STRAT-X system. In describing it the Chief of Naval Operations said: “They could operate in U. S. coastal waters, at sea in company with other ships, or in merchant traffic lanes. . . A means of getting more survivable payload quickly at relatively low cost, in the event of necessity.” This ship would carry an advanced sea-based ICBM.
ULMS is in early development and will come to the forefront in the next few years. The Air Force, of course, has alternatives of its own for the future.
Office of Strategic Offensive and Defensive Systems
The Director, Strategic Offensive and Defensive Systems, has gathered these new programs, Ballistic Missile Ship, SABMIS, ULMS and SLMS into an advanced sea-based deterrent program.
On July 1, 1968, Rear Admiral Smith’s scope of technical responsibility was increased by the Chief of Naval Material, from that over the Fleet Ballistic Missile System to that over all Navy Strategic programs. His title was changed to Director, Strategic Systems Project Office. At the same time the Naval Ballistic Missile Committee, by now quite inactive, was dissolved.
In addition to having executive responsibility over Navy Strategic Systems, Admiral Miller has articulated the case for these systems.
Briefly this case relies on the inherent mobility of sea-based systems, separation of the military/urban target complexes, and the immutable geography of the world. Mobility prevents an effective, coordinated attack on U. S. strategic forces afloat, such as is possible against fixed forces ashore—that is,—land-based missiles and bomber bases. This is particularly important as the opponent’s missiles get more efficient. Separation of military targets from U. S. urban industrial areas in the U. S. homeland reduces the number of targets which an aggressor could classify as time-urgent military targets. Such separation would tend to reduce civilian damage resulting from an attack on military targets. Georgraphy [sic] favors Soviet land-based missiles in that the Soviet Union has the advantage of a broader longitudinal span and more real estate in which to deploy her missiles when compared to the United States; while greater U. S. access to the oceans favors U. S. sea-based systems. To increase the extent of the threat direction, the United States must deploy more strategic forces at sea because of the relative small longitudinal expanse available to continental United States. Geographical facts of life, such as U. S. land deficiency in comparison to the Soviet Union, also point to the necessity for a Navy Strategic Defensive System like SABMIS to provide a defense-in-depth.
[signed] Dom Paolucci
1. The Russian Navy has developed something similar to this discarded option with the "Strela" surface-to-surface missile deployed on the Krupnyy and Kadin class DDGs and with the longer range "Shaddock" found on the Kresta and Kynda DLGs. Surprisingly the U. S. Navy has not developed an anti-ship cruise missile. There is good reason for this. The anti-ship cruise missile is, after all, an unmanned suicide aircraft. The U. S. with its manned high performance attack planes and accurate bomb delivery systems chose not to go this way. The Soviet antiship cruise missile force is in essence a substitute for sea based tactical aircraft. It remains to be seen if the development of a strong Russian surface fleet will force modification of this old decision.
2. Submerged displacement is the best measure of the size of a submarine. The difference between the submerged and surfaced displacement is the amount of ballast water necessary to take on in order to submerge. This ballast is outside the pressure hull but is included in submerged displacement.