The cumulative effect of the massive expansion and modernization of the strategic and conventional forces of the Soviet Union has caused many to reevaluate the strategic balance between the superpowers. Specifically, there has been substantial concern about the Soviet development of a potent first-strike capability. This assessment, arrived at by the last two US administrations, reflects a number of technological improvements in the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) which appear ominous in light of Soviet strategic operational employment plans which stress seizing the strategic initiative through preemptive attacks against American ICBM launch silos, launch control facilities, support and maintenance facilities, strategic bomber bases, submarine berths and loading facilities, and nuclear storage and production facilities. 1 Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger outlined the principal cause of the Reagan administration’s concern in Soviet Military Power when he observed:

78The 1970’s modernizations, which only now are reaching a conclusion, were largely technological in nature. More than half of the 1,398 Soviet ICBM launchers have been rebuilt to house the SS-17, SS-18 and SS-19 ICBM in vastly more survivable, hardened silos. These ICBMs, all of which are MIRVed, are in the forefront of ICBM technology. Certain versions of the SS-18 and SS-19 are among the most accurate ICBMs operational anywhere. Together, these systems have the capability to destroy a large percentage of the more than 1,000 US ICBM launchers, using only part of their total numbers. 2