182. Minutes of Defense Program Review Committee Meeting1

  • SUBJECT
    • Strategic Forces Survivability
  • PARTICIPATION
    • Chairman
      • Henry A. Kissinger
    • State
      • Under Secretary John N. Irwin
      • Mr. Ron Spiers
      • Mr. Seymour Weiss
      • Mr. Lee Sloss
    • Defense
      • Mr. David Packard
      • Mr. Gardiner Tucker
    • CIA
      • Mr. Richard Helms
      • Mr. Bruce Clarke
    • ACDA
      • Mr. Philip J. Farley
      • Vice Admiral John M. Lee
    • JCS
      • Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
      • Rear Admiral Robert O. Welander
    • OMB
      • Mr. George P. Shultz
      • Mr. Caspar Weinberger
      • Mr. James Schlesinger
    • OST
      • Dr. Edward David
    • NSC Staff
      • Mr. Wayne K. Smith
      • Col. Richard T. Kennedy
      • Mr. Helmut Sonnenfeldt
      • Lt. Col. Jack N. Merritt
      • Mr. Barry Carter
      • Mr. Keith Guthrie

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS

A further meeting of the DPRC will be scheduled to discuss the objectives of Triad, the relationship between U.S. strategic forces and objectives, and the issues involved in employing U.S. strategic forces in support of allies.

To assist in DPRC consideration of these topics, the DPRC Working Group will prepare a table setting forth the various assessments of the developing strategic threat, the counter-measures which could be [Page 750]employed against these threats, and the lead-times required to develop such counter-measures.

A review of SIOP by a restricted inter-agency group will be scheduled within two weeks.

Dr. Kissinger: When we were going through the SALT question, we didn’t have a chance for an adequate discussion of the survivability issue. I wanted to have a DPRC meeting to see where we stand on this question and to find out what is the basis for the differences of opinion that have developed. We also need to develop some framework for relating the growing vulnerability, if it exists, to remedial measures. I have noticed that many of the threats are being dismissed by citing what we can do, but in fact we aren’t doing anything [to carry out remedial measures].

I have a number of questions I want to ask. However, I think it might be well to proceed as we did at yesterday’s [WSAG] meeting.2 To surface the issues, we will have one point of view presented. Gardiner Tucker or Dave Packard can lay out the views which led them to circulate their paper countering the net assessment paper.3 Then we can hear a counter-argument and have some discussion.

Mr. Tucker: In considering vulnerability, we are talking about three elements of our strategic forces: Minuteman, bombers, and submarines. Particularly with regard to the first two there is not much disagreement about what is technically possible [in the way of a threat], but there is disagreement about the likelihood that some of the potential [Page 751]threats would develop and how serious the implications would be for us if they did develop.

With Minuteman there is good agreement about the threat that exists today. If the Soviets attack with SS–9s and SS–11s, they could destroy 200–400 launchers. There is further general agreement about the technical capability of the USSR to improve the SS–9 by giving it a six-MIRV capability in the next few years and by providing it with a 0.25-nautical-mile accuracy some time within the next few years.

With the current booster capacity of the SS–9 and .25 n.m. accuracy, a six-MIRV missile would kill a hard target. They would need higher accuracy in order to go beyond six-MIRVs. Thus, the next plateau for the Soviet threat would be six MIRVs plus 0.25 n.m. accuracy.

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t understand the relationship between boost and accuracy.

Mr. Tucker: With a given accuracy you need at least a certain yield in each RV in order to have a good probability of killing a hard target. The number of RVs you can load depends on boost.

Dr. Kissinger: Then accuracy is not dependent on boost, but the number of warheads is dependent on boost. If the Soviets need a war-head of a certain yield, the maximum that can be put on the SS–9 is six.

Mr. Packard: That is not quite it. The point is that with six war-heads you have to have 0.25 n.m. accuracy in order to be effective.

Under Secretary Irwin: How difficult is it to increase boost?

Mr. Packard: It’s a big job. The SS–9 is already a big missile. You would need to make the diameter or length much larger or find a more effective fuel.

Under Secretary Irwin: Generally speaking is it more difficult to improve CEP or boost?

Mr. Packard: It is easier to increase boost. You just make the missile bigger. However, the economics of such a step are costly.

Admiral Moorer: The number of RVs is determined by the force of the rocket.

Mr. Tucker: There is general agreement that the Soviets can achieve a plateau of six MIRVs and 0.25 n.m. between 1974 and 1976. Once achieved, they could deploy at a rapid rate, say, about 60 missiles per year. Whether they would do that is a different question.

Mr. Packard: Can we be sure of Minuteman in that situation?

Mr. Tucker: If the Soviets in 1974 have six MIRVs with 0.25 n.m. accuracy on the SS–9, they could kill 700 Minutemen by 1976.

Dr. Kissinger: No one has yet seen a six-MIRV warhead. How quickly could they deploy it after testing?

[Page 752]

Mr. Packard: To put this in context, our Minuteman III has shown an accuracy of [3 lines not declassified].

Dr. Kissinger: [1½ lines not declassified]

Mr. Packard: I don’t know.

Dr. Kissinger: [Less than 1 line not declassified] Wouldn’t it be a hard target killer?

Mr. Packard: The difficulty is that you have to dump them simultaneously.

Admiral Moorer: Of the three, one would hit closer than the others.

Mr. Packard: You would get a statistical improvement. We have made an estimate that with Polaris you could get [less than 1 line not declassified].

Dr. Kissinger: [1½ lines not declassified].

Mr. Tucker: Within a fraction of a second.

Dr. Kissinger: They would have to be released nearly simultaneously in order to get the same CEP.

Admiral Moorer: (to Mr. Tucker) Don’t they have to follow the same trajectory?

Mr. Tucker: Yes.

Dr. David: Having all your warheads explode [on the same target] is not an effective way to increase kill.

Mr. Schlesinger: Do we have any estimate of the bias that may exist for Minuteman III as compared to Minuteman I and II?

Mr. Packard: I am not sure. They only point here is that this technology is within reach of the Russians. They could do it, too, if they wanted.

Dr. Kissinger: The OSD paper assumes that, without a strategic arms limitation agreement, there would be 90 Minuteman survivors after a Soviet strike in 1974, and 34, in 1977. The inter-agency paper puts the figure at 270 for 1974 and 50 for 1977. With a strategic arms limitation agreement, the OSD paper says there will be 190 survivors in 1974 while the inter-agency paper puts the figure at 700. Since everyone uses the same data, what is the reason for the difference in survivability estimates? What is the assumption underlying the OSD conclusion?

Mr. Tucker: The difference is not one of technical analysis. It rests on assumptions about what things the Soviets will do of those that they can do.

Mr. Farley: Such as how hard they will work at improving accuracy.

[Page 753]

Mr. Packard: There are three questions: whether they will achieve improved accuracy, whether we should postulate a Soviet missile with three RVs (which they are now testing) or six, and when they would be likely to achieve either of these two improvements. This affects the number of Minuteman survivors.

Dr. Kissinger: No one has observed an SS–9 accuracy better than 0.4 n.m.

Mr. Packard: There is a little debate on that. Some suggest that the Soviet accuracy is better.

Dr. David: Dick Latter did a statistical analysis4 that showed the accuracy was better.

Dr. Kissinger: How can you measure accuracy if you don’t know what they are aiming at?

Dr. David: In order to conclude that Soviet accuracy was better, Latter had to assume that some of the observed firings were out of the range; that is, they were failures.

Dr. Kissinger: Do your findings assume independent targeting?

Mr. Packard: Yes. The three or six RVs would have to be independently targeted.

Dr. Kissinger: Your papers assume the Soviets will equip their missiles with three or six MIRVs?

Mr. Tucker: That’s right. Six MIRVs, 0.25 n.m. accuracy, with the SS–9.

Dr. Kissinger: The NIE5 doesn’t give them that.

There are two questions. One is Soviet capabilities. The other is the time frame in which they might exercise those capabilities. As I understand it, Dick Helms questions both the capability and the time frame postulated in the OSD paper. CIA questions whether the Soviets can put six MIRV’s on the SS–9 by 1974 even if they do improve their accuracy.

Mr. Helms: That is quite correct.

Dr. Kissinger: Where do you differ from Ed David?

Mr. Bruce Clarke: The intelligence community does not accept Dave Latter’s examination of the problem. The current judgment is that the Soviet missiles have 0.4–0.7 n.m. CEP in all mods now being tested. The likely figure is 0.5 n.m. There are some differences about whether they can refine their accuracy beyond 0.25 n.m.

Dr. Kissinger: Ed [David] says they already have 0.25 n.m.

[Page 754]

Dr. David: It is important to understand that Dick Latter gives them this accuracy only by throwing out certain observations.

Mr. Packard: I don’t think it matters where it is 0.4, 0.5, or 0.25. They don’t have 3-RV missiles that are that accurate, and they don’t have six-RV missiles at all. I can agree with CIA that it is unlikely they could make these improvements by 1974. I think they could do it if they wanted.

Dr. Kissinger: How will we know if they are doing it?

Mr. Packard: We can observe their testing.

Mr. Helms: [less than 1 line not declassified] we are not going to miss many tests.

Dr. Kissinger: First the Soviets have to improve the SS–9 with a single warhead to give it an accuracy of 0.25 n.m. All agree that they can do this. Next they have to attain an independent firing capability with that accuracy for three or six warheads. CIA questions that they have any independent targeting capability now.

Mr. Tucker: This is today. There is considerable agreement about what they can attain.

Dr. Kissinger: If they attain an accuracy of 0.25 n.m. with a single-warhead missile, is it a foregone conclusion that they can get the same accuracy with independently targeted warheads?

Mr. Tucker: There is a real question that they can do this with the system we have seen tested. The question is whether they can introduce a better system.

Mr. Packard: Both Minuteman III and Poseidon have better accuracy than the previous single-warhead missiles.

Mr. Schlesinger: They would need a new guidance system and new RVs. We have not observed that they are developing these today. Once developed, they would have to get them into production. These would be major problems. A force in being could be well off into the 1970’s.

Mr. Helms: This is under optimum conditions.

Dr. Kissinger: As regards improved accuracy, the major difference is that OSD believes the Soviets can attain it by 1974, while the inter-agency study suggests 1976.

Mr. Helms: That is correct.

Dr. Kissinger: The same is true with regard to the time required for developing missiles with three or six warheads.

Mr. Tucker: I think we have about covered the threat to Minuteman. There is not much difference of opinion that whenever these improvements come, they would reduce the number of Minuteman survivors to 100–200.

Dr. Kissinger: They will also have to improve the accuracy of the SS–11 greatly.

[Page 755]

Mr. Tucker: Another question concerns the survivability index. The figure of 300 about which we are talking is a canonical number. It comes from the calculation that 300 Minuteman missiles properly targeted would still be able to achieve our assured destruction objectives: 25% of Soviet population and 45% of Soviet industry. A deeper question is the strategic desirability of having Minuteman, which is vulnerable.

Dr. Kissinger: When you give these survivability figures—for example, 90—in your report, do you mean a total of 90 survivors, or 90 plus 300?

Mr. Tucker: Ninety only.

As for bombers, the threat to them comes from SLBMs fired from Y-class submarines. We have observed that so far Soviet SLBMs have been flown on minimum energy trajectories. This means they take a longer time to reach target than would be technically possible if they were fired in a depressed trajectory. The depressed trajectory would sacrifice range in order to reduce delivery time. We have not seen the SLBMs fired in a depressed trajectory, but it is a technically feasible option.

If the Soviets use their present firing mode and bring 15 to 20 Y class submarines within 300 miles of the coast, they still can’t hurt the B–52s; but if they change to a depressed trajectory using SS–N–6 missiles, they could decrease arrival time from 10–12 minutes to 6–8 minutes and destroy 50% of our bomber force with present bases. If they used the SS–NX–8 in this mode, they could cut warning time to six minutes and eliminate 80% of our bomber force as presently deployed.

Once again, we are discussing improvements that are technically feasible for the Soviets but which have not yet been demonstrated. The question is when these improvements might come to pass. There are a number of things we can do to protect our bombers. We can re-base them and can take various steps to improve take-off time, such as installing improved engines and speeding up alert procedures.

Mr. Packard: We also have the airborne alert option.

Mr. Tucker: That is very expensive. It is only a short-range solution.

Dr. Kissinger: Can we take these counter-measures in a time-frame that is relevant to the threat?

Mr. Packard: These measures can be implemented fairly quickly. We are already making the base changes.

Dr. Kissinger: Why would we not re-base the planes anyway?

Mr. Packard: We are looking at what we can do. But it costs money.

Admiral Moorer: At what range did you say the submarines would stand off the coast?

Mr. Tucker: 300 miles. It would be possible to postulate a closer position. The reason for not doing so is that they can’t separate the RVs [Page 756]early in the trajectory. If they solve that problem, they could come in closer. This would mean a zero warning time for us along the coast.

Admiral Moorer: Did you postulate 20 submarines?

Mr. Tucker: 10–20 submarines.

Mr. Packard: There are two problems. They have to get 15–18 submarines within 300 miles of the coast. That is difficult because of the protection provided by our navy. If they do get in that close, they have to neutralize Minuteman some way. If they fire the SS–9 at Minuteman first, we can get our bombers off the ground. If they attack the bombers first, we can launch Minuteman.

[4 lines not declassified] All of this would be quite complicated for the Soviets to do.

Mr. Schlesinger: The Russians would have to know the vulnerability of our warheads to EMP and have assurance as well that all aspects of the complicated attack would go properly.

Mr. Packard: When you add up all the things that would have to go right for the Soviets in order for them to take out both Minuteman and the bombers, it seems a questionable proposition.

Mr. Tucker: The next question is the capability of our bombers to penetrate Soviet air defenses. There is general agreement that there is a lot of uncertainty on this score. We don’t know much about the threat or how well our systems work. There is a Soviet defensive system like our AWACS. It is technologically possible that an improved Soviet threat against our present bomber force could reduce penetration considerably, perhaps down to 20%. Once again we have available countermeasures, such as airborne attack missiles. Whether we take these counter-measures depends on how badly we need them. They are expensive.

Another issue is submarine survivability. This is difficult to evaluate because the threats are less specific. Survivability depends more on tactics, that is, on the ability to escape detection, than on specific calculations of CEP. We have not identified any current threat to the submarines while they are at sea. (55% of the force is customarily at sea.) One or two submarines might be killed in a pre-planned attack, and it is possible that a war of attrition could result in the destruction of more over time. However, this is not a very likely possibility. We have identified a potential threat on the basis of what we now have in R&D. The Soviets could develop such a threat. Nevertheless, we have also identified a number of counter-measures, and the economic advantage in all of this is in our favor.

Nevertheless, this is a rich and diffuse field compared to what is involved in threat estimation for the other two arms of the Triad. We cannot with real confidence predict that no serious threat to submarines [Page 757]will develop in the latter part of the 1970’s. We would have a limited period of time in which to develop counter-measures.

Admiral Moorer: We operate our submarines in places where the Soviets don’t operate ASW forces. To get a complete threat estimate you must combine technical and operational capabilities. If the Soviets launch ASAs or ASVs, we could degrade this. We have a free ride as far as covering the Soviets with our ASW force is concerned. I don’t see the Soviets’ protecting their submarines 300 miles off our coast. Whether we sink their ASW ships is a political, not a military problem.

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t think we would do it. Just as we would not use the ten-minute warning time available to us. If a bomb exploded in Omaha, we would first try to assure that it was not one of our own. You don’t go to general nuclear war in ten minutes. Under any realistic scenario, we would not make use of the ten minutes.

Admiral Moorer: I agree. What you are saying emphasizes the importance of assuring the survivability of our retaliatory force and command and control facilities.

Dr. Kissinger: With regard to the argument that a lot of things would have to go right for the Soviets to launch a successful attack on us, I believe this is correct. However, in an acute crisis they might nevertheless decide to launch an attack. Much depends on what the weaker side will think about how far it can push a confrontation.

Mr. Tucker: One last observation. Since command and control is such a difficult subject, we have not thrashed it out nearly enough. The main area of disagreement around town is what the significance is of having this much vulnerability.

Dr. Kissinger: I have one other factual question. Leaving aside the question of determining a useful criterion [for survivability], what about the steps that could be taken to increase the capability of surviving Minuteman missiles by facilitating shifts in targeting? Do we have a program for the Mark 18 warhead?

Admiral Moorer: No. It was stopped.

Mr. Packard: The situation is really much worse than that. We calculate that each element of the Triad should by itself have an assured destruction capability. The point is that with 300 survivors, we don’t have the slightest idea where the 300 Minuteman would be targeted or what they should do.

We have two or three issues that need discussing. One is command and control and how it can be improved.

A second is how to improve the effectiveness of our present force through more careful targeting. We also need to make sure that targeting is consistent with our theory.

Dr. Kissinger: We also need to know what we want Triad to do.

[Page 758]

To sum up our discussion so far, everybody agrees on the consequences of probable technical developments that could increase the threat. The disagreement is about the time frame in which these developments would become operational.

We do not yet have any evidence about the potential accuracy of a Soviet MIRV. We are projecting our own technology into an assessment of possible Soviet technology.

Dr. David: That is not quite right. There are actual estimates of MRV accuracy with the SS–9. These have been observed.

Dr. Kissinger: What is the accuracy?

Dr. David: Dick Latter says 0.25 n.m. Here we are saying 0.4–0.7 n.m. Those figures do apply to multiple warheads.

Dr. Kissinger: Is the accuracy for an MRV the same as for a single warhead?

Mr. Clarke: Yes, this is essentially the accuracy of the SS–9 system. Shifting to MRVs gets into the problem of dispersion.

Dr. Kissinger: The differences on the estimated accuracy of the SS–9 are from 0.25 to 0.5 n.m. All agree that the Soviets can eventually attain an accuracy of 0.25 n.m. As for a potential MIRV, we don’t know about that. We haven’t seen any tests. We have to assume, as Dave Packard says, that if they develop MIRV it will be more accurate than their single-warhead missiles.

Against hard targets is a single or multiple warhead better?

Mr. Helms: Under optimum conditions three warheads are better than one.

Dr. Kissinger: Can we assume that MRV without independent targeting could make Minuteman vulnerable?

Mr. Tucker: Yes. The MRV can be pre-set to go after the pattern of the Minuteman field.

In my previous discussion of the threat against Minuteman, I was assuming independent targeting.

Mr. Irwin: If it is MRV we are talking about rather than MRV, does that change the estimates of when the threat will develop?

Mr. Packard: Yes. They have MRV now. Thus, they could make this operational for the SS–9 more quickly.

Mr. Schlesinger: If the Soviets were to have 900 RVs plus increased reliability, we would have to go to 1500 RVs.

Dr. Kissinger: So much for missiles. I am just trying to identify the differences that exist. Defense is operating with the high threat, while CIA is using the probable threat. Are there any differences about the penetration capabilities of our bombers? Does everybody agree on this?

[Page 759]

Dr. David: This is almost as hard to evaluate as the threat against submarines.

Mr. Packard: There is no hard evidence. There are some indications that the bomber capabilities will continue for a long time. The bombers have to be considered a one-mission force. Thus, losses up to 30–40% are acceptable.

Dr. Kissinger: There are two problems with bombers: their vulnerability on the field and the deployment by the other side of an air defense against a friendly low-level threat. A strategic arms limitation agreement will not affect the Soviet ability to deploy SAMs.

Mr. Irwin: When you speak of bomber survivability, how much effect on targeting do you anticipate there would be [at the postulated survivability level]?

Mr. Packard: Let me point out two or three facts about bombers. First, they can be protected by using decoys and electronic countermeasures, which generate confusion in the enemy radars. The low-level tactics we are now talking about can overcome almost any current SAM. No SAM is good at an altitude of 200 feet. One reason we want the B–1 is that low-altitude flying is hard on the B–52. Another possible tactic is to use missiles to destroy certain sites and then have follow-on waves of bombers. In my opinion a hell of a lot of bombers will be able to get through for a long time yet.

Mr. Weinberger: How does the B–1 compare in performance to the B–52?

Mr. Packard: It will take low-level flight better, it is somewhat faster, and it presents a low radar cross-section.

Admiral Moorer: Also it will be twenty years newer.

Dr. Kissinger: Can we get in tabular form the various assessments of the developing threat and the counter-measures that would have to be taken to defend against them? Such a table should set forth the relationship between the time when we must take counter-measures and the development of the threat.

With this information we will have some criterion to use when decisions come up on matters like SALT. Can we get this done by the Working Group? The information we have can be refined by CIA and by Gardiner Tucker’s people.

I want to raise a number of conceptual questions. What is it that we want Triad to do? As I understand it, each element is by itself supposed to be capable of assured destruction. Therefore, in considering vulnerability, do we believe the whole force is vulnerable if one element of Triad is incapacitated? Why is this supposed to be so? Does our targeting reflect this?

A second issue is to find a way to bring the various strategic forces and objectives into some sort of relationship. We need to plan [Page 760]our strategic forces to serve the various criteria: assured destruction, crisis stability, etc.

A third question concerns the relation of our strategic forces to the support of our allies. Presumably, under certain conditions we would make the assumption that an attack on our allies without an attack on the U.S. may trigger some or all our retaliatory force. In that case, assured destruction is not our only criterion. This could be guaranteed suicide.

Finally there is the whole problem of targeting. How can improvements be made? We need improved command and control procedures, as well as better retargeting capability. For example, if 80% of our targeting is against Soviet strategic forces and we have almost no retargeting capability, we may be shooting at empty holes. Perhaps we should take up targeting in a smaller group.

Mr. Packard: I think a smaller group would be advisable.

Dr. Kissinger: Then we can do it in a smaller group. The first three issues I have mentioned should be raised again in this group once we have the factual analysis. I would like to schedule a meeting within a reasonable period of time. Can we have a threat chart by that time? (to Mr. Farley) Does anything that has been said here give you any pain?

Mr. Farley: No. I have one observation on the first of the issues you raised. We have thought of Minuteman survivability in terms of Minuteman alone. We could get bombers on alert even with the problem of Minuteman survivability.

Mr. Irwin: As for the question what Triad should do, has there in the past been any exact philosophy on this?

Dr. Kissinger: The present philosophy is that each arm alone should be capable of assured destruction. On the basis of this scenario we find that Poseidon by itself can achieve assured destruction and that there is no plausible threat to Poseidon throughout the 1970’s.

Admiral Moorer: The idea behind Triad is to give credibility to the deterrent. NSDM 166 states that we should “maintain high confidence that our second strike capability is sufficient to deter an all-out surprise attack on our strategic forces” and that we should also “maintain forces to insure that the Soviet Union would have no incentive to strike the United States first in a crisis”. Triad just provides added insurance.

Mr. Packard: It just makes the other fellow’s job a lot more complicated.

Dr. Kissinger: If we are only worried about the primary retaliatory role of our strategic forces as set forth in NSDM 16, we could be sure that Poseidon would fulfill that role through the 1970’s. However, if we are concerned about crisis stability, Poseidon is not enough.

Admiral Moorer: That’s right.

[Page 761]

Dr. Kissinger: There are other figures that could be used to measure survivability. The estimate that 300 Minuteman survivors were required for assured destruction was devised during the days of single warheads. I don’t know whether it has been re-analyzed in terms of multiple warheads and of possible revisions in targeting. These are issues that require analysis. Targeting can be taken care of in a smaller group.

Admiral Moorer: Would you like to have a briefing on targeting?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. Perhaps we could arrange it in a couple of weeks.

Mr. Farley: There are other arbitrary figures in our strategic planning. For example, defining assured destruction as killing 25% of the Soviet population.

Dr. Kissinger: We want to look at this. I also have another question. I would hate to have the President in the position where his only option was to kill 25% of the Russian population when he knew full well that they would then kill 50% of the American population.

Mr. Tucker: We also have to consider the damage-limiting criterion of NSDM 16.

Dr. Kissinger: My list was not exhaustive.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–118, DPRC Minutes, Originals, ‘69–’73 [1 of 3]. Top Secret; Nodis. All brackets except those that indicate omitted material are in the original. Kissinger approved the minutes, according to a March 25 covering memorandum from Jeanne Davis to Kissinger. Wayne Smith advised Kissinger that the purpose of the meeting was “to clearly identify for the DPRC the issues surrounding the conflicting assessments of the survivability and effectiveness of strategic forces.” (Undated memorandum; ibid., Box H–101, DPRC Meeting, 3–17–71)
  2. The Washington Special Actions Group devoted its March 16 meeting to intelligence on supply of North Vietnam. The record of the meeting is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume VII, Vietnam, July 1970–January 1972, Document 154.
  3. An apparent reference to a February 25 Defense Department paper entitled “Major Strategic Programs and Policy Issues in Relation to SALT” that took a pessimistic view of long-term Minuteman survivability under an arms control agreement. The summary of the paper concluded that the SALT proposal established on July 31, 1970, in NSDM 74 and put forward by the United States on August 4 “would not constrain Soviet MIRVs and missile accuracy and, therefore, would not fully curtail the threat to Minuteman. The August 4 proposal would also ban the means of providing for long-term survivability of U.S. land-based ICBMs and thus would place this survivability in Soviet hands.” The DPRC Working Group submitted another study of the issue, entitled “Net Assessment Paper on Survivability Issues in SALT,” on March 1, 1971. The 46-page paper included seven sections: The Issue, The Triad, Survivability of Strategic Bombers and SSBNs, Implications of the August 4 Proposal, Modifications of the August 4 Proposal, Finite-Time Agreements, and No SALT Agreement. It states that there were two possibilities for Minuteman survivability under SALT: one in which “at least 300 Minuteman would survive a Soviet first strike” into the 1980s and another in which only “about 120 and possibly 240 Minuteman would survive through 1980, declining to 40–60 survivors by 1982.” NSDM 74 is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXII, SALT I, 1969–1972, Document 100. Both papers are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–101, DPRC Meeting, Strategic Forces Survivability, 3/17/71.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. Document 160.
  6. Document 39.