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considerably earlier than expected. The launching
A true Navy success story is symbolized by the USS Ohio (SSBN-726), which teas launched in April 1979: four of the ten Trident stihmarines planned are now under construction. With the new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT 11), however, the remaining legs of our strategic Triad may he starting to wobble. If the worst comes to pass, will the Navy be our last line of defense?
!. Ar \. .
The importance of SALT cannot be overestimate1-^ SALT II will be the primary national security issue the current Congress. The debate will dominate 1979, and undoubtedly the new agreement will be one of the main issues of the 1980 presidential cam paign. And, since SALT is now a “process”—there already talk of SALT III—SALT will continue to be 3(1 important national security issue.
Considering the potential destructive force of nU clear weapons, the importance of SALT is not surpr|S ing. The arms race started in 1949 when the Soviet exploded their first atomic bomb, but concern tea > began in 1953 when they exploded a hydrogen bom ^
Sputnik in 1957 and the subsequent development intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) afl submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) accelct ated the race. By the late 1960s, parity in nudear weapons was reached and many analysts were writing about “overkill.” These two conditions, parity an overkill—to say nothing of the increasing cost oi ‘ nuclear arms and antiballistic missile (ABM) race led to the SALT talks.
This brief history does not adequately explain the importance of SALT, which, unlike some other arnlj limitations talks, is all-encompassing. Mutual afl balanced forced reduction (MBFR) talks concerning the military balance in Europe are important to c Army, and the Indian Ocean Arms Limitation tal ^ are important to the Navy, but the whole future the two services does not rest on their outcome- However, the whole future of strategic arms does pend upon SALT. Whereas SALT I dealt with iuS ICBMs and SLBMs, SALT II deals with these P|uS bombers, cruise missiles, and bans on future system5’
posed supercarrier United States (CVA-58) was
operational control of SAC; targeting (SIOP) |S fact, done by JSTPS, which is under SAC. But 1 Navy now had a clear role. Thus, with the develop ment of the SSBNs, the new ICBMs, and the ® ^ bombers, the stated strategic doctrine of the Un,:C.^ States became known as the “Triad,” for rather °dv,, ous reasons. There would henceforth be three ‘ Ie?s’j as they are called, one each for SLBMs, ICBMs, aa bombers. Triad was the concept taken into the SA talks. ■.
The SALT I talks began in 1969, were signe° 1 May of 1972, and finally went into force on 3 ber 1972. As Figure 1 indicates, the Navy’s SL ^ played a definite and important role. (These *
SALT III will probably encompass tactical nuclear weapons. In short, SALT is really synonymous with strategic nuclear weaponry—and is therefore very important.
Perceived Role of the Navy: While few would debate the importance of SALT, many would question whether it is a major Navy concern. The debate will revolve around the role of the Soviet “Backfire” bomber, cruise missiles, multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), and throw- weight. The major participants will be Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and SALT II negotiator Paul Warnke (former head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency), with the Department of Defense team headed by Secretary of Defense Harold Brown. The Air Force, of course, will be involved with debates about the future of bombers, land-based ICBMs, the cruise missile, the proposed U. S. intercontinental ballistic missile MX, and Strategic Air Command (SAC). But there will be probably very little heard from or about the Navy per se. One reason is that few question the role of the Navy’s SLBMs, and there will probably be little debate on that subject. The other reason is that the Navy is considered only peripherally involved; after all, the two Navy missions are sea control and projection ashore.
The perceived view of SALT as only a peripheral Navy problem is not surprising in some respects. Less than 10% of the fleet—the 41 SSBNs of the 460-odd ships—is involved with a strategic role. There are no fleet flag billets exclusively for the strategic role, while the Air Force has many generals involved, up to and including the four-star head of SAC. The Navy establishment also shows no major concern for its strategic role: there are Deputy Chiefs of Naval Operations (DCNOs) for Manpower, Surface Warfare, Air Warfare, Submarine Warfare, Logistics, and Plans, Policy and Operations, but none for strategic warfare.1 The Navy does have a vice admiral deputy to SAC who in that capacity often heads the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS), which prepares the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). Interestingly, although this is a key billet, it is a deputy to an Air Force officer and in a joint command.
The point is that SALT and strategic arms are not perceived as major Navy concerns by the public, by the Navy itself, or by the rest of the national security community. With less than 10% of the Navy concerned with strategic weapons, this belief is not surprising. But this perceived role does not clearly de- 'For footnotes, please turn to page 37.
lineate the true role of the Navy. The problem l>eS the phraseology of the SALT debate. The Navy does h*lV^ a clearly stated role in SALT, an important actu< role, and perhaps an even more vital future role.
Stated Role of the Navy: The Navy has always had a role in strategic deterrence. In the period follow*11? World War II through the late 1950s, the aircraK carriers were considered important strategic P^at forms because of the limits of the early Air F°W bombers. During this period, the Navy deploy6 strategic medium bombers—first the AJ Sava? piston-engine plane, followed by the A3D Skywarri0^ used for many years, and then the A3J Vigilante, bomber role of the Vigilante was soon changed ^ cause of technical reasons, but also because of c introduction of ICBMs and the Polaris submarine^ Today’s carriers still maintain a nuclear capacity, no Navy “medium” bomber followed the VigHante’ and American strategic analysts give the aircraft ca^ riers only slight consideration. The carrier role strategic thinking is interesting because it helP6^ precipitate the so-called Navy-Air Force fight, whic
some would claim the Air Force won when the P
celled. On the other hand, the carrier role is interesting because it has dominated Soviet thinking for quite a few years and still plays a nw part in their analysis.2 Finally, during this pen0 the deployment of the Regulus cruise missile ?: the Navy another limited strategic role. . ^
The major strategic role of the Navy came vVl. the commissioning of the nuclear-powered ball1 ^ missile submarines (SSBNs) starting in 1959- Th*s truly a Navy success story. In less than ten years, .g, SSBNs were built, giving the Navy a clearly ^ lineated role in strategic deterrence at least equal ^ that of the bombers and the ICBMs. There would no Navy-Air Force debate this time, although so ^ have suggested that the SSBNs be placed under c
SALT I Force Limitations
SALT II Force Limitations
U. § f
l ' r,Sures; the Soviet Union did not supply numbers for its ICBMs or SLBMs.)
pjr^ ^CW £eneral comments are in order for SALT I.
' it was an “interim agreement” and not a y< which meant that only a majority of both _Uses Congress was required for approval rather w< i ,tvvo'th*rds of the Senate—which probably „ • not ^*ave been obtained because of the obvious
Wa^nt'tanvP advantage given to the U.S.S.R. Why tj . c Soviet Union given such an obvious quan- pjrst,Ve ac^vantage? Four reasons are usually offered.
f> the United States had a qualitative edge with pa rt SoPfi‘st‘cated missiles, specifically the MIRV ca- each ln UP to ^ warheads can be carried in
tagerniss'fo- Second was the supposed U. S. advan- and *n heavY bombers (approximately three to one) Hu C lr<^ arC forwar<^ bases with medium bombers in rjtr^Pe and, interestingly, fighter-bombers on car- Ce ^ourth, it was explained that SALT is a “pro- u . anb that these discrepancies would be cleared ,lviln ii. Regardless of these four reasons, mis- a were evident when Congress passed an
the rnent urging the president to seek parity in j^itncxt agreement. SALT I gave the Navy a very def- ^trnb^' 6 ^S0 ‘nterest t0 cbe Navy is that the th er ^®Ms could be increased at the expense of
mdicated, there was a certain dissatisfaction *th sai t i •
U 1 even among its supporters, and the SALT
dent°Cess began almost immediately. In 1974, Presi- f0C herald R. Ford signed the Vladisvostok Accord syst0^^'3''118 a ^>400 ceiling on all nuclear delivery t(.r^CrriS’ with a subceiling of 1,320 for MIRV sys- ' fo March 1977, the Carter administration t0 _e a new proposal for an overall ceiling of 1,800 Th with a 1,100-to-1,200 MIRV subceiling.
agre ^°viet Union rejected this offer and the SALT I C()ue^ent expired in October 1977, although both a ntntr*eS a&reed t0 abide by the SALT I accords until a£reement was signed.
e bnal details of the SALT II agreement took tyejbt s t0 negotiate, but the main provisions were VjSj nown for some time (see Figure 2). Other pro- Cert>ns ‘n treaty or protocol will include a ban on ba]jain types of strategic offensive weapons, such as SL(^Clt niissiles on surface ships; range limits on 6qq s and ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs)of (bUt1 °meters for three years; a ban on deployment righj. not development) of mobile ICBMs; and the syStt(> test and deploy one new ballistic missile nail Probably the MX for the United States. Fi- “Back tVV° *tems not covered are the Soviet Union’s C0lre bomber and the throw-weight issue. Pared with SALT I, SALT II is an extremely com-
Equal aggregate limit on all delivery systems 2,400 (Includes ICBM, SLBM and bombers)
Final aggregate limit on all delivery systems 2,250
(Expected within three years)
Equal aggregate limit on MIRV missiles and 1,320
heavy bombers with cruise missiles
Sublimit on MIRV ballistic missiles 1,200
(Implied limit on heavy bombers
with cruise missiles) (120)
Sublimit pn MlRVed ICBMs 820
(Implied limit on SLBM) (380-1,200) plex agreement. Whereas SALT I dealt with just ICBMs and SLBMs, the new agreement will include bombers, cruise missiles, mobile missiles, and bans on certain future systems. Also, within the 2,400- overall ceiling, the Soviet Union and the United States are now free to mix forces, subject to certain sublimits. Once again, the role of the Navy is acknowledged in the overall ceiling, although interestingly, there is no specific SLBM sublimit. The Navy will be affected by the 1,200-MIRV sublimit, but since only the 550 Minuteman Ills are MlRVed, this leaves an SLBM ceiling of at least 650 for the present 656 SLBMs, and no one expects the six to come from the submarines. The Soviets, however, will have to make an interesting SLBM decision because of the 820 MIRV sublimit for ICBMs. Since most of their MIRV missiles are ICBMs, this means that only 380-odd Soviet SLBMs can be MlRVed to get under the 1,200 limit. In other words, it can be anticipated that the United States will have almost twice as many J4IRVed SLBMs at sea as the Soviet Union.
Actual Role of the Navy: Although the Navy has always had an important, stated role in strategic weaponry and SALT, to obtain a proper perspective of
the Navy’s role, an analysis of changing considerations and doctrine, the influence of MIRV, and finally a “worst possible case scenario” must be examined.
Despite the mid-1950s “bomber-gap” and the I960 “missile-gap” scares, up until the early 1960s the United States had a definite nuclear superiority that affected our whole defense strategy. Under “massive retaliation” was the implication that the United States might use nuclear weapons for even limited wars. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis can be considered an apogee of this philosophy, but even by
Critics of SALT II wring their hands over S°vie throw-weight, are concerned about the increasing vulnerability of the Minuteman force, worried a the aging B-52s, furious over the cancellation or ^ B-l, in a quandary about MX, and wonder cruise missile will really be a strategic savior, there is no question about the role of the Navy- Navy SLBMs are the least vulnerable leg of the and the only leg truly available for the assured struction role. In short, the Navy is MAD. This ^ comes even more apparent after looking at the in ence of MIRV and a “worst possible case scenario-
then times were changing.'’
In 1962, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara enunciated a new policy of “flexible response” which, regarding nuclear strategy, caused debates over counterforce versus countervalue. In brief, counterforce means using nuclear weapons against purely military targets, while countervalue means targeting cities and industrial centers. With the continuing Soviet buildup, even this debate became muted, and analysts developed the second strike and assured destruction concepts which posit at least enough nuclear weapons to respond with a deterrent force even after a Soviet first strike. When the Soviet Union reached parity with the United States in the late 1960s, many analysts thought this parity was stabilizing since both had overkill and a second strike capacity, and thus both would be mutually deterred. This became known as mutual assured destruction, or MAD. MAD is the current doctrine, although no administration witness would ever admit it. But it does reflect current thinking.1’ This has had a great effect on two legs of the Triad. The Minuteman force has been “hardened” to sustain all but direct hits and, in response to increasing Soviet missile accuracy, the new MX missile will be semi-mobile either in a multiple aim point configuration, with missiles shuffled around in silos in a modern version of the old shell game, or in some other mode, such as a 747 or C-5 cargo plane launching missiles in flight or landing in isolated positions for “soft launches.” For the bomber force, approximately 100 of the 300-odd B-52s are on a 15-minute alert.
Throughout all of these changes in conditions and doctrine, the role of the Navy and its SLBMs has remained fairly constant. Because they were less accurate, the SLBMs were always considered a countervalue missile and only useful for the second strike, assured destruction role.7 This was true when the Polaris submarines were launched in 1959, true during the period of countervalue, is true today, and will probably be true for the future.8 The role of the Navy has remained constant, and always important.
Influence of MIRV: The Soviet Union was §‘veI^e obvious, stated nuclear superiority in SALT L Soviets have a total of approximately 2,350 rnlsSg launchers (1,400 ICBMs and 950 SLBMs) to the bJ- 1,710 missile launchers (1,054 ICBMs plus , SLBMs). In defense of this stated inferiority, Kissinger quickly pointed out that the United 6ta had a rather startling qualitative advantage. Co ing the actual warheads on the missiles from , ing, the United States has an advantage of "7, warheads (2,154 ICBM warheads plus 5,440 Sf warheads) to the Soviet Union’s 2,550 (1,600 Ic warheads and 950 SLBM warheads). Thus, warheads, the United States has almost a three to advantage. e This will change in SALT II, not necessarily beca^ of the agreement, bur because of the new rmsS ^ that have been introduced since SALT I was s>£n^.|| The American advantage of 7,594-to-2,550 s change to about 9,010-to-7,000 or so. The number of Soviet warheads will be hard to d ,j| mine, since there is freedom to mix, but there probably still be a slight U. S. advantage. rt The number of warheads is thus very important . becomes even more important when meas against other Soviet advantages such as m ^ weight, which is one of the main concerns of SA£f critics. The Soviet missiles are considerably than the U. S. missiles, and have larger rneg*1^ nage and a larger throw-weight. Thus, " ^ megatonnage and throw-weight are considered, ^ U. S. advantage in warheads is thrown into d011 And there is little question that in overall advance the Soviet Union does have an edge today a°d ^ have an even greater edge when the SALT II ment expires in 1985. The only U. S. advantage^ day, and in 1985, is in warheads. Thus war^*,p' (the warheads from MIRVing), are vital to the ^ porters of SALT II and the only saving grace in s ^ seen by the detractors. The importance of p and the number of warheads cannot be over
CHARACTERISTICS OF SALT I MISSILE FORCES
y"regate Warheads/Missile (no.) ield/Warhead (megatons)c
nrow-weight/Missile (lbs.)d uep|0yment jnaj
^gg^gate Throw-weight (millions of lbs.) Wa|-heads (no.)
18-25 10,000 288-313 2.9-3.1 288-313
nrow-weight/Missile (lbs.) ePloyment (no.)
9gregate Throw-weight (millions of lbs.) ^99regate Warheads
j^an9e (nautical miles) yarheads/Missile (no.) 'eld/Warhead (megatons) ePloyment (no.) 299regate Warheads (no.) A9gregate (no.)
84 5e 845a
an9e (nautical miles) ya^heads/Missile (no.)
Ie d/Warhead (megatons)
eP'oyment (no.) 99regate Warheads (no.)
a ' '
and reS reflect deployments in early 1975, when the United States had completed the deployment of the MIRVed Minuteman III, Thes,.before the USSR had started the deployment of the SS-17, SS-18, and SS-19, or the dismantling of the SS-7s and SS-8s! SS-i7°V'et c,eP|°yments projected in Table Three, below, were started in 1975 and are continuing today; at mid-1976, about 150 pl°Vm SSj'18s' and ss‘19s had been deployed. The SS-7s and SS-8s have now been dismantled (to permit the current SLBM de-
Sorrjp oq ,.
Pend 15-115 are understood to have been deployed with "triplet" multiple re-entry vehicles (MRVs). Since these are not inde- Cy. entlV targeted (that is, are not MIRVs), they are not shown as separate warheads here.
fo®lds are highly approximate. Megatons (MT) are millions of tons of TNT-equivalent. Thousandths of MT are kilotons (KT)- dy^ example, .1 70MT = 170 kilotons.
and°W We'9ht estimates are highly approximate. They may vary for a given missile, as there is a trade-off between throw-weight 6S,I'”an9e' ar>d some may be given less throw-weight (for example, by off-loading MIRVs) in order to reach more distant targets. theatas for !CBMs are for the maximum useful load propelled in tests to intercontinental ranges; for SLBMs, estimates are for e ma*'mum tested throw-weight.
V'et SLBM deployments may be exceeding the limit of 950.
COMMITTEE ON THE PRESENT DANGER
SOVIET MISSILE FORCES, 1980-83 ICBMs3
Yield/Warhead (megatons) Throw-weight/Missile (lbs.)
Aggregate Throw-weight (millions of lbs.) Aggregate Warheads (no.)
4 6 .9 .5-1 6,000 7,000 100-500 600-1,000 .5-2.5 4.2-7.0 400-2,000 3,600-6,000
15-18,000 308-313 4.6-5.6 2,400-3,100
Range Warheadsb Yield (megatons) Deployment0 Aggregate Warheads
1 + 416+ 416+
1 + 406 406
5,600 3d 1 +
development of the SS-16-19 series started in the early 1960s and was completed during the 1969-72 SALT I negotiations, table does not attempt to forecast the rate of substitution of the next generation of Soviet ICBMs, due for initial deploy^ around 1980. These are the SFO (small follow-on) to replace the SS-17 and SS-19, and the LFO (large follow-on), to replace SS-18.
bThe Soviets could MIRV their SLBMs. The Secretary of Defense has said that over 800 Soviet SLBMs will be fully modernize with multiple warheads by the late 1980s. MIRVs are being deployed on the SS-N-18.
clt is assumed that the old G-class (9 nuclear, 11 diesel) and H-class (7 nuclear), which carry only 3 missiles (SS-N-4s and SS-N-' per boat, will be phased out by the early 1980s. The future mix of missiles is highly uncertain; we have assumed all new dep ^ ments (after 1976) to be SS-N-8s, although the arithmetic does not work out exactly. 186 additional missiles cannot be depl°V in any combination of full-loaded boats that hold 12 (Delta-I) or 16 (Delta-ll) missiles per boat. 0f dThe Zumwalt/Bagley Report of 30 July 1978 says that, according to new intelligence, each Soviet SS-N-18 SLBM is capab e carrying 7 MIRVs. 0 N.B. SLBM throw-weights are not available. committee on the present »»
will be on Navy submarines. Thus, to get the proper (Navy) perspective, when people talk of MIRV advantage and warhead advantage, they are talking about the Navy. In short, for all practical purposes, the Navy is MIRV. This becomes even more apparent after looking at the “worst possible case scenario.”
mated. However, from a Navy viewpoint, these are not just “warheads;” they are the SLBM MIRVed warheads. In the 1980s, if all the Tridents are deployed, the U. S. MIRV situation will be as follows:
(3 x 550)
(31 submarines x
siles x 10 MIRV)
(10 submarines x
siles x 10 MIRV)
Of the 9,000-odd warheads, well over 7,000 of them
Worst Possible Case Scenario: If SALT II brings esse^ rial equivalence in launchers, and with the kJ- superiority in MIRV and warheads, why is there much concern with SALT II? The problem, accor ,fll, to critics, is the so-called “third strike scenarlt which goes something like this: The SS-18 N ^ could carry enough warheads to attack all kJ- ^ ICBMs with two warheads per silo, thus knocking almost all of them in a first strike. Then, using jll^C
few of their SS-19S, the Soviet Union could Sim neously knock out U. S. submarines in port, UP three-fourths of the B-52 force and, perhaps o9u important, U. S. fixed communication installs11 The United States would still have a consider*1 force left: a few land-based ICBMs, the SLBMs a ^ (10 submarines at sea would have at least k warheads), and at least 100 B-52s, many with crLl missiles—more than enough for a second strike- However, what bothers the critics is that ^ Soviet Union would have immense forces remain *
- rhird strike.” They would have at least 500 j. s left, all of their SLBM force, and even their lted bomber force. They would hence have Sta^h t0 blackmail us> deter us. If the United ^*d launch a second strike, the Soviet Union tetaliate with a third strike that would be sibk ^ ^evastat*ng-9 Interestingly, this “worst pos- tj^e Case third strike scenario is tacitly admitted by <^e ^ministration. After a first strike, the United i w°uld have absolutely no advantage, although • °uld be pointed out that the best relative si
tj^n ls 0nce again with the warheads, which means
sib] SLBM. However, even in this “worst pos-
i £ case scenario,” once again the only saving grace
th f e NaVy SLBMs. Even proponents of SALT admit
k 31, a^rnost aH the land-based ICBMs could be
0kec* out, leaving the SLBMs and a few bombers as
j °nly strategic nuclear deterrent force.
^/ort, only the Navy’s strategic role has sur-
t*le changing condition and doctrine. The
„ Vy is MIRV and warheads, and finally, in the Worsr -i
tL c possible case scenario,” the Navy’s SLBMs are e 0r>ly saving factor.
was not just a simple weapons decision, but a mission decision. The B-52s built between 1955 and 1962 will be modernized, but because of their age, their ability to make deep penetration raids into enemy territory by 1990 must be considered limited. As a carrier of air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs), the B-52 can be expected to play a major role well into the 1990s. A B-52 can carry up to 20 ALCMs, which makes this a formidable platform. What bothers bomber advocates is that with the penetrating capability gone, it will be easier to defend against just an ALCM platform.
The only system with a promising future is the cruise missile—air-launched, ground-launched, and submarine-launched. As mentioned, development of the ALCM will extend the life of the B-52s well into the 1990s, and a ground-launched cruise missile for possible use in the European theater will enhance strategic options. Even with cruise missiles, there are problems. Critics of SALT II are upset over the cruise missile range limitations and wonder if they will ever be built or if they will be sacrificed to SALT III or perhaps even to MBFR.
In sum, the future of non-naval strategic weapon
t ***** °f the Navy: To fully appreciate the fu- Str^ r°je °f the Navy in SALT, the future of non-naval Vo, ** systems must first be examined. This in- an \tS t'le ^uture °f land-based missiles, bombers, cruise missiles.
ltfl the increased accuracy of Soviet missiles in 1980s and the fact that Soviet MIRVing would has " r^e ^ov*ets tf,e luxury of attacking each fixed- w‘th at least two warheads, ICBMs are be- flxed*1^ *ncreasitigly vulnerable, even obsolete. The as °r sernt_rn°bile ICBMs’ advantage is accuracy, so deterrent (especially as a counterforce deterrent), -dl always be a need for a few fixed-base
Strategic Balance After a Soviet First Strike*.
J/Vith U.S. Cruise Missiles on B-52s
fu S *s considered the land-based missile of the nU£e> ftut reading between the lines (and one does L ave to read too hard), the future of the MX is at Sec,°uded. MX was to be a mobile, or at least a 0r .'"tfobile, missile either in a 12-mile-long tunnel,
.ln a multiple aim point configuration in which silo ' CS Wou^ ^e shuttled around between different Crj ®oth these methods have been severely Po Cl2e<^’ ancl the decision on the MX has been postil G a rnobile MX could not be deployed before the t|^e 1980s, after SALT II expires. Of naval interest is Jj act tf,at an MX alternative is to use the Trident , ttiissiles on land and/or to place them on sunken tvh tS t^le coast. It might be interesting to see ^-ould be in charge of those barges. er$e future of bombers, at least penetrating bomb’ ls also in doubt. The decision to cancel the B-I
o > > >
*Francis P. Hoeber, David B. Kassing, William Schneider, Jr., Arms. Men. and Military Budgets Issues for Fiscal Year 1979. (New York: Crane, Russak & Company, Inc., 1978), p. 33, based on testimony by Harold Brown before the House Armed Services Committee.
‘gs / June 1979
cruise missiles and limits on ICBMs, but no lirmts SLBMs. There are, however, two potential Navy P° lems: the range limits on SLCMs and the ban on listic missiles being placed on surface ships. .
The SLCM range limitations are effective for °n the length of the protocol period, which is expect to last three years. The SLCM is still in the develop ment stage, so this three-year ban is not crud ^ However, most critics feel that this will become
ity of the Minuteman force, the SLCM could be v*|aJ. The future of SLCM and GLCM should not be ^ nebulous as was the B-l for so many years, or ^ SLCM and GLCM could well go the way of the ® ^ Because the United States has no immediate P^an^l(1 move ballistic missiles onto surface ships, the
e to thef
American advantage. With the increased vulnera
systems is not particularly rosy. The Minuteman force is becoming increasingly vulnerable, the MX may never be built, the future of penetrating bombers is in question, and even the future of the cruise missile could be clouded by events. The same is not true of the future of naval strategic arms systems.
The Navy strategic arms systems are the only ones in the whole U. S. strategic arsenal that are proceeding in both development and deployment. In fact, the Navy has three programs. The first program is the Trident I missile that will be retrofitted in at least 12 of the 3 1 Poseidon submarines. Trident I has a range of 4,000 miles and carries at least 10 MIRVs. Second, 10 Trident submarines of the Ohio (SSBN-726) class are planned with four now being built. These large submarines will carry 24 missiles, are faster, and can run more silently than the Poseidons while staying at sea up to 40% longer. Third, in development is a Trident II missile that will have a range of up to 6,000 miles and the capacity to carry up to 17 MIRVs.10 It has been suggested that the Trident II missile be adapted as the new land-based MX. The only Navy program in serious trouble is the SLCM Tomahawk program which, according to the SALT II protocol, will have range limitations and, critics say, may never be built. This could be a tragedy since a long-range SLCM could be carried by any submarine and would definitely enhance the deterrent value of the sea-based leg of the Triad.
Finally, with the future of non-naval strategic weapons in doubt while naval systems are growing, the question arises about moving all strategic weapons to sea. This has been suggested in the past as an alternative and as a way to keep nuclear warfare away from population centers.11 With the increased accuracy of Soviet missiles, the influence of MIRV,
the cancellation of the B-l, and the postponement MX, moving all to sea might become a necessity-
Conclusions: Although the future of the Navy 10 SALT is good, there are some problems with the SA II treaty and also within the Navy itself. The ma‘n criticisms of the SALT II treaty are the exclusion or t “Backfire” bomber, the throw-weight advanta£e given to the Soviet Union, and the role of cruise mlS siles. Generally, the Navy has no major compla'nt
with the treaty. There are limits on bombers carry10--’
7 - -on
bal' permanent ban and would thus be throwing away
may not be a problem, unless all missiles move
sea. Since this move might become a necessity ra ^ than an option, the ban, which has received no Pr^£ coverage, should also be carefully examined by policymakers. .
There are, unfortunately, other serious probl ^ for the Navy, the most serious being “submarine-gap” expected during the mid-17 ^ The ten Polaris submarines are aging and must replaced by Trident, which is far behind scheu Fortunately, the Trident I missile program is 111 nearly on schedule and thus can be retrofitted on Poseidons; but to do that will take them out of s ice. It now appears that there will be a definite ^ sile gap until 1990 or so which, considering the portance of the sea-based deterrence, is not juSt j Navy problem.12 The Trident program is crit*clZf^ as being terribly expensive and, perhaps more si£n1^ icant, as placing “too many eggs in one basket 24 missiles in one submarine—and a total force only 10 submarines. Because of the increased 1&P tance of SLBMs, serious consideration should be g1 to the development of smaller strategic submarine^
Other problems exist. Some question the future^ the Trident II program, but if MX is not develoPe Trident II probably will be.
attack, and destruction. However, with the inrange of SLBMs, U.S. submarines will be able tl(^era- from our own shores, making Soviet detects ni,anC^0r destruction extremely difficult. An ASW through should not be overlooked, but neither
pr^1 COnclusion, the role of the Navy is not ap- lated by the public, the national security
Mother problem the Navy must face is the ever- its ' nt lnst‘tut‘onal one. The Navy must appreciate thelntreaSe<^ r°^e ‘n r^e strate£‘c P*cture an<i make cle ?eCeSSary *nst*tut*orial changes, starting with a y stated strategic mission and a DCNO for to ^*C war^are- Consideration should even be given cuParading the JSTPS to an independent, joint to rnan<^ w'ch a naval officer in charge or at least in tatlon with an Air Force general, k ‘/'ally- there is always the problem of an “ASW a through.” Antisubmarine warfare (ASW) im- w)Vernents will undoubtedly occur, but this will al- dipS ^ a Very ^Tficult task even under the best con- of T" ^^ere are at least five basic steps in ASW, all
. Ich take time: detection, classification, localiza- tlon, ai
to it be overestimated.
the ' ’ °r even the Navy. However, moving from ^ Perceived role of the Navy to the stated role, nce to the actual role and finally to the future
role, the increasing importance is obvious:
► Perceived role—a slight element (less than 10%)
► Stated role—an important element (one-third of the Triad)
► Actual role—a crucial element (Navy hMAD and MIRV)
► Future role—only element? (all at sea?)
In other words, the U. S. Navy, which has always prided itself on being our first line of defense, might now also be our last.
Lieutenant George was graduated from the Naval Academy in 1961. After serving two years in the USS Soley (DD-707), he served as operations officer in the USS Suffolk County (LST-1173), and then as executive officer in the USS Pulaski County (LST-1088). While en route to Vietnam, he contracted cancer and was retired. He had been selected for command for his next duty. Following his retirement in 1967, he earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in international relations in 1969 and 1972. After graduation, he was awarded a public affairs fellowship from the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace and spent seven months at the Hoover Institution, three months at the American Enterprise Institute, and one year in the office of Senator Bill Brock. From 1974 through 1976, he was a professional staff member on the Senate Government Operations Committee, and since 1977 has been a professional staff member for national security affairs with the House Government Operations Committee. Lieutenant George was the winner of the 1978 General Prize Essay Contest.
Thete is a
:Jar~- ^°r 8uhmarine Warfare.
rear admiral billet for a strategic submarine division under
Vear ^ ‘ McConnell, "Strategy and Missions of the Soviet Navy in the
Ahht. " ’ ‘n James L. George, editor, Problems of Sea Power As We
•r’Ocicl "TL <7- .
Hnter • ine * Wenty-F*rst Century (Washington, D.C.: American
to protocol, SLBMs could be increased to the number in
?>thesi. jf this
i equal number of pre-1964 ICBMs were retired. For the
Ur> ► meant they could retire the 54 old Titan II missiles and build P to 44 pqd . 7 4W/i .. '' °Ns with 7 10 missiles.
U- S. still has 1,054 ICBMs and 656 SLBMs in 41 sub- SLBm;’ lt ls estimated that the Soviet Union is close to its limit of 950
*p(JrarU‘ ^as aPproximately 1,400 ICBMs.
8etail, see Robert J. P ranger and Roger P. Labrie, editors,
Am, ar S,ralegy and National Security: Points of View (Washington, D.C.: eriran n
In s Enterprise Institute, 1977).
Jatlles '>0rr °t more accurate missiles for flexibility, Secretary of Defense 8chlesinger in 1974 suggested a counterforce strategy, but this
was immediately attacked as being "destabilizing." In other words, critics claim that if American missiles become too accurate, the Soviets might think the United States has a first strike capability and launch a preemptive strike.
7A few SLBMs are allocated to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, for tactical purposes.
8There are proposals to build a more accurate SLBM warhead called "Evader,” but critics charge that this would be "destabilizing.” “Committee on The Present Danger, Is America Becoming Number 2? (Washington, D.C.: Committee on The Present Danger, 1978), pp. 23. ,0Gerard Keith Burke, "The Need for Trident,” United States Naval Institute Proceedings, November 1978, pp. 32-41; Norman Polmar and D.A. Paolucci, “Sea Based ‘Strategic’ Weapons for the 1980s and Beyond,” Proceedings, May 1978, pp. 98-113.
“Frank Leary, "ULMS: Will All The Targets Go To Sea?” Armed Forces Management, May 1970, pp. 36-40.
,2George C. Wilson, "The Coming Sub Missile Gap,” Washington Post, 19 March 1978, p. Cl.
.The Best Policy?.
Wh^ne ^ay’ wh‘le a friend of mine was standing watch on his ship, the captain noticed some oil on the deck and asked slid ^ ** come from- My friend said he’d check it out. He then slid under some machinery and almost immediately,
„^Ut again. “It’s coming from the BRT, sir,” he repoted.
^ ery well, sailor, carry on,” replied the captain, leaving rather hastily.
„j /'her sailor, overhearing the conversation, asked my friend what a BRT is. s a Big Round Thing,” came the honest reply.