Should deterrence fail, the U.S. Navys
mission is the forward defense of the United States
and its allies. The key objective is protection of
SLOCs from the United States to Europe and
Asia. To accomplish that objective, the U.S. Navy
will engage Soviet naval forces in the Soviet sea
control and sea denial zones. The overall
objective of the engagement will be to remove the
enemys offensive and defensive capabilities and
ensure freedom of the seas for the United States
and its allies while deterring Soviet use of nuclear
weapons at sea.
SUBMARINES. The last U.S. diesel sub-
marine, the USS Blueback (SS 581), was
decommissioned on 1 October 1990. The remaining
U.S. attack submarine force is composed of
Sturgeon-, Skipjack-, Skate-, Permit-, and
Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered submarines
(SSNs). The United States SSBNs form the sea
leg of the U.S. Trident nuclear deterrent. The
SSBN force includes the Lafayette-, James
Madison-, Benjamin Franklin-, and Ohio-class
submarines (fig. 1-6).
The United States has a smaller, but more
effective, submarine force than the Soviets
because of a superior knowledge of submarine
technology. That technology has resulted in
superior submarine quieting systems, combat
systems, and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) open
ocean acoustic surveillance and detection systems.
These systems enable the United States and its
allies to maintain a superior technological and
numerical advantage over the Soviet submarine
The principle Soviet platform for both
offensive and defensive naval warfare is the
submarine. The Soviets use the SSBN as their
principle strategic platform. They use attack (SS
and SSN) and cruise missile (SSGN) submarines
to counter submarine and surface ship threats.
The SS, SSN, and SSGN submarines are the
primary threat to U.S. and allied sea lines of
communications (SLOCs). The Soviet navy has
the worlds largest general-purpose submarine
force, totaling about 300 active units. We expect
the Soviets to decrease their submarine force in
number during the 1990s and beyond. That
decrease will occur as they replace older sub-
marines with newer diesel and nuclear-powered
submarines. The decrease in the total number of
submarines will not lessen the threat of their
submarine force because of improvements in
design, stealth, and combat capability.
SURFACE SHIPS. The Soviet Union and
the U.S. naval surface forces have different
missions (fig. 1-7). The Soviets are primarily a
coastal navy emerging into a blue water fleet.
The Soviets can provide only limited long-range
power projection of surface forces or naval air
superiority. These limitations result from their
primary mission of providing protection to the
mainland and defending the ballistic missile
submarine force close to the mainland.
The principle weakness of the Soviet navy is
its relative lack of priority in providing underway
replenishment. The Soviets rely on their extensive
merchant fleet to provide supplies to ships
engaged in sustained long-range operations.
Another weakness of the Soviet surface navy
is the lack of long-range air power like that
provided by a U.S. carrier battle group. That
situation will change somewhat as aircraft carriers
now under construction are brought into service
during the 1990s.
AIRCRAFT. Soviet shipborne capable air-
craft are primarily limited to helicopters and
vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL)
aircraft. The Soviets are increasing their air
capability with the introduction of the new Tbilisi-
class aircraft carrier that will include the new
Yak-41 V/STOL fighter and the Su-27 Flanker.
Despite the introduction of that class of aircraft
carrier, Soviet naval aviation (refer to table 1-1)
will remain primarily a land-based force.
U.S. naval aviation (refer to table 1-2) is a
versatile multimission force capable of providing
fleet defense, ASW, and long-range strike and
attack capability. The United States should
continue to retain a significant advantage in
seaborne air power for the foreseeable future.
The increase of chemical and biological
weapons has become a global problem. To date,
more countries than ever have chemical and
biological weapons. It is alarming that many of
these countries are in areas of strategic importance
to the United States. In the Middle East the
problem is particularly acute.
Third World countries view the use of
chemical and biological weapons differently than
the United States. The United States stance on
chemical and biological weapons is that it is
abhorrent, reprehensible, and unacceptable that
chemical weapons ever be used against the men