The Soviet Military on SDI
CENTER FOR NAVAL ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA NAVAL WARFARE OPERATIONS DIV
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Numerous Western analysts have suggested that all American assessments of SDI should proceed not only from a consideration of American intentions, but also from the outlook of Soviet perceptions. Since 23 March 1983, the prevailing tone of Soviet military writings on SDI has been overwhelmingly negative. Myron Hedlin has concluded that this harsh reaction to a U.S. initiative still years from realization suggests both a strong concern about the ultimate impact of these plans on the strategic balance, and a perceived opportunity for scoring propaganda points. Indeed, the present review of Soviet writings since President Reagans so-called Star Wars speech has yielded both objective Soviet concerns and regressions to psychological warfare. This, in turn, has necessitated a careful effort to separate rhetoric from more official assessments of SDI. While there has long been dispute in the West over the validity of Soviet statements, they have time and again been subsequently confirmed in Soviet hardware, exercises, and operational behavior. Some Western analysts will nonetheless contend that the Soviet statements under examination in this study are merely a commodity for export.
- Antimissile Defense Systems