Targeting the Soviet Army Along the Sino-Soviet Border

In the 1970s, US defense officials took notice of escalating Sino-Soviet disagreements, particularly around the north eastern border.  In an attempt to stem the Soviet’s development of weapons technology, a plan was considered whereby strategic attacks by the west would escalate the potential conflict between China and the USSR, thus demanding both the attention and resources of the USSR. Historically, the Sino-Chinese border to the northeast had been a site of tensions between the both countries. Despite the end of the Cold War, relations between Russia and the U.S. have recently chilled due to diplomatic differences between the two states over the ongoing civil war in Syria, as well as an impasse over  talks on nuclear arms reductions and the U.S.’s proposed anti-missile shield. Whether during peacetime or otherwise, contingencies for acquiring targets in the event of conflict are necessary for any state.

This 1978 report examines different aspects of U.S. targeting of Soviet military forces in Eastern Europe and along the eastern border facing China in Mongolia in order to determine the resources needed to acquire information for targeting, identifying general force sizes and uncertainties, describe targets, and demonstrate U.S. military planning capabilities.

The authors write:

“The Soviets maintain a qualitative superiority in mobility, nuclear and conventional fire support, tactical air support, air and ballistic defense capability, and logistic support and supply procedures.  The Chinese have the quantitative advantage of manpower in proximity to the borders and the strategic vulnerability of Soviet logistics.  Thus it is with these thoughts in mind that targeting the Soviet Army in the East, and thereby upsetting the balance of power, shows potential as a deterrence option.” [page 53]

This report was released to the Nautilus Institute under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Download (PDF, 3.96MB)