This article was originally written in 1976 as a classified RAND Corporation contribution to a major study involving several governmental and private research organizations that was commissioned by then-Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger to develop a comprehensive classified history of the Soviet-American strategic arms competition from 1945 to 1972. The intent of the original document was to outline the key internal and external factors that shaped the early strategic policy choices of the Brezhnev regime, address the broad strategic objectives that informed and energized it, consider the characteristics and deployment rationales of the third-generation ICBM programs that most visibly dominated it, and highlight the principal features of the force development style that it seemed to represent. The document was declassified in 2006 by the Department of Defense and approved for public release in response to a request submitted to the Department under the Freedom of Information Act. It was subsequently published in essentially unaltered form from the original in order to place the now-declassified document into the public domain and, in so doing, to offer a fact-based retrospective account of an important chapter in the history of the cold war.
Reprinted with permission from Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 20, Issue 1, pp. 27-59. Copyright © 2007 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.