The chance of a strategic nuclear attack on the
United States is low. The results of such an attack
would be catastrophic. The TRIAD has been
developed and maintained to deter nuclear attack.
Similarly, the Soviet Union has developed and is
maintaining powerful strategic forces of its own.
Our objective is to obtain the following conditions
of essential equivalence:
1. Prevent Soviet strategic nuclear forces from
becoming effective instruments of political
leverage or coercion.
2. Maintain nuclear stability.
3. Offset advantages in force characteristics
possessed by the Soviets by U.S.
advantages in other characteristics.
4. Ensure U.S. strategic forces are not, nor
are they perceived to be, inferior in
performance to those of the Soviet Union.
The credibility of our TRIAD as perceived by
potential opponents and allies is very important.
If they perceive that our TRIAD does not exist
or is weak, regardless of the facts, it will no longer
serve to deter an attack.
This condition of essential equivalence should
produce a mutual deterrence that is so stable it
will not be upset in a crisis. The United States
seeks to maintain this stability through a
combination of specific, equitable, and verifiable
arms control agreements.
GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS OF
CONCERN IN U.S. FLEET
Four American fleets (Second, Third, Sixth,
and Seventh) stand worldwide watch. Each serves
the Navy's basic mission of protecting national
security. The Second Fleet, commanded by
Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet (CINC-
LANTFLT), operates from the worlds largest
naval base at Norfolk, Virginia. It patrols the
western Atlantic across some of the worlds most
important trade routes. Ships and personnel of
the Second Fleet rotate with those of the Sixth
Fleet. The Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval
Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR), commands
the Sixth Fleet, which moves in the nearly
landlocked Mediterranean Sea. We could describe
the Sixth Fleet as keeper of the doors.
The Mediterranean has been an influential
factor in world affairs since the dawn of history.
Gibraltar, the front door of the Mediterranean,
is a vital commercial choke point. Whether it is
open or closed, it affects the destiny of nations.
The Mediterranean also has a side doorthe
Bosporus and Dardanellesthrough which Soviet
ships enter. The Arab-Israeli wars in June 1967
and November 1973 produced a marked increase
in the size of the Soviet Mediterranean force.
From a previous high of 23 ships, Soviet naval
strength rose from 35 to 40 vessels. This period
was the first time in recent years the Soviets had
so deliberately used their fleet to support their
foreign policy. Since the war in the Middle East,
a stepped-up program of Mediterranean port visits
by Soviet ships seems clearly aimed at increasing
Soviet influence in that area. The level of Soviet
naval activity provides additional reasons for the
continued presence of a strong Sixth Fleet. The
Sixth Fleet is built around two attack carriers and
an amphibious striking force with an embarked
Marine Corps battalion landing team. Since the
Soviet Union maintains a submarine force in the
Mediterranean, the United States has increased
the frequency of deployment of its antisubmarine
groups to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic.
Across the world from the Mediterranean, the
Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC-
FLT), commands the Third and Seventh Fleets.
The Third Fleet, operating off the west coast of
the United States, trains the personnel and shakes
down the ships that rotate to the Seventh Fleet.
The Seventh Fleet operates in the western Pacific
and Indian Ocean regions.
In recent years Soviet naval forces in the
Pacific have grown in size and capability. With
the fall of South Vietnam, the Soviets established
a large naval base at Cam Ranh Bay. This base
provides them with the capability to react rapidly
to world events in the western Pacific.
STRIKING FORCES OF THE U.S.
A strike is an attack intended to inflict damage
to, seize, or destroy an objective. A striking force
is a force composed of appropriate units necessary
to conduct strike, attack, or assault operations.
The mobility and versatile power of naval
striking forces make them ideal instruments for
enforcing national military policy. In peacetime,
unsettled world conditions require the Navys
readiness to instantly apply force. The existence
of a naval striking force may serve as a stabilizing
influence to inhibit the outbreak of hostilities.