Soviet Reactions to NATO's Emerging Technologies for Deep Attack

by Michael J. Sterling


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This Note analyzes Soviet reactions to and concern over NATO's use of deep-look reconnaissance sensors, automated command and control, and highly accurate conventional munitions made possible by "emerging technologies" (ET). It briefly describes the emerging technologies and their application to deep attack concepts, and it examines Soviet commentary on the systems and employment concepts being discussed in the West, Soviet views of the utility of such systems, and their impact on Soviet forces and tactics. It considers Soviet response options in the near and medium terms, and their implications for the West. Among its conclusions are the following: (1) the Soviets are more concerned with the long-range implications of ET rather than with any particular weapon; (2) the West should take care not to squander its lead in this area of weapons development; (3) any reconnaissance, command-control-communication, or attack systems the West develops must be resistant to Soviet countermeasures; and (4) because of the implications for future arms negotiations, future ET weapons should be distinguished from their nuclear counterparts, in terms of both their physical appearance and flight profiles.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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