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Soviet Union

Doctrine and Weapons Programs

The relation between the political and military-technical aspects of Soviet doctrine and weapons programs was direct and unmistakable. A direct link existed between the military-political component of doctrine, operational requirements, weapons programs, and force deployments. Doctrinal requirements could remain unfulfilled for years, but they usually were met as technologies became available. Hence, a knowledge of the military-political component of Soviet doctrine was helpful for forecasting the direction of Soviet military technology.

The doctrine developed by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s bore little relation to actual conditions, and the Soviet Union needed fifteen years to develop the weapons described in the l962 edition of Sokolovskii's Military Strategy. In October 1986, Ogarkov wrote that the Soviet Union required an industry capable of solving the most difficult defense-equipment problems and producing the sophisticated weapons needed to win a war without using nuclear weapons. He projected a future requirement to develop new equipment and weapons, a requirement that Soviet industry might not be able to fulfill for many years. And, should the party's doctrinal view of a future war differ from Ogarkov's, this requirement might never be translated into actual weapons programs.

When formulating their goals for new, important weapons systems, Soviet leaders considered both doctrinal pronouncements on the nature of future wars and estimates of the external military threat supplied by the General Staff (see General Staff , ch. 18). The services of the armed forces reviewed their missions and drew up weapons acquisition plans in cooperation with research institutes and design bureaus (see Research, Development, and Production Organizations , ch. 16). The General Staff prepared a consolidated plan, which it forwarded to the Defense Council to be recommended for the Politburo's approval (see Defense Council , ch. 18). Although the professional expertise of the military influenced the weapons request that filled a doctrinal requirement, the party made the final decision on the weapons to be produced.

Data as of May 1989