During the fifty years' existence of the Soviet Union, its leaders have sought to turn growing military power to political advantage. Although there has been no radical change of direction in Soviet defense preparations or in strategic philosophy, the present government has undertaken a substantial buildup in strategic delivery forces and ABM defenses. The possibility of involvement in "local" wars is admitted, but how far the Soviet Union is prepared to go in committing forces and resources remains a critical question. The perennial problems that attend the relations of Soviet leaders with their own military remain: maintaining political control over the armed forces in times of crisis, meshing industrial and military planning, and balancing their traditional reluctance to grant the military an influential voice in policy formulation against their growing need for the military's professional expertise. 48 pp.