98. Editorial Note

NIE 11–5–60, “Soviet Capabilities in Guided Missiles and Space Vehicles,” dated May 3, 1960, superseded the Summary and Conclusions of NIE 11–5–59, Document 75. It generally confirmed the estimate of Soviet “progress along the lines indicated in NIE 11–5–59” though there was in some cases “refinement or modification of our estimates.” The paragraph concerning initial operational capability (IOC) of Soviet ICBMs reads as follows:

“Evidence derived from flight tests is considered adequate to gauge the general progress of the program, but we cannot state with certainty the precise timing of the USSR’s initial operational capability (IOC); that is, the date at which a few—say 10—series produced ICBMs could have been placed in the hands of one or more trained units at existing launching facilities. We also consider the IOC as marking the beginning of the planned buildup in operational capabilities. [6 lines of source text not declassified] We believe, however, that this does not preclude an earlier Soviet decision that the system was satisfactory for initial deployment. Limited number of operational personnel could have received training in conjunction with test firings. We believe that for planning purposes it should be considered that the IOC had occurred by 1 January 1960.”

Naval intelligence dissented from this paragraph, stating that an IOC date of “not earlier than mid-1960 should be used for planning purposes” because there was “insufficient information to judge that the conditions” for IOC had been met.

Concerning Soviet ICBM deployment, the estimate noted: “An exhaustive reexamination has failed to establish Soviet ICBM production rates or to provide positive identification of any operational ICBM [Page 405] unit or launching facility other than the test range. Our belief that series production of ICBMs is under way is based on the time elapsed since the start of test firings in 1957, the generally successful results of the test program, and particularly the increased rate of firings since early 1959, all of which lend credibility to Khrushchev’s claim of early 1959 that series production was then beginning.” (Department of State, INRNIE Files) See the Supplement.