[fa.arms-d] Arms-Discussion Digest V3 #30; Future Warfare, etc.

arms-d@ucbvax.ARPA (05/13/85)

From: The Arms-D Moderator (Harold G. Ancell) <ARMS-D@MIT-MC.ARPA>

Arms-Discussion Digest Volume 3 : Issue 30
Today's Topics:

                           Future Warfare:
                     Helicopter-vs-Helicopter and
                 War of Maneuver vs. War of Attrition

                  Ability to Launch Nuclear Weapons
                   Desirability of Neutron Weapons
                         Soviet Intelligence
                Source for State Dept Special Reports

Date: 30 Apr 1985 12:23:17 EDT (Tuesday)
From: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TOI 4675 <jmiller@apg-1>
Subject: Helicopter-vs-Helicopter

     Is anyone out there working on the problem of helicopter-vs-
helicopter combat systems, either in doctrine or materiel 
development ?  Although discussions on strategic weapons are 
interesting, I'm concerned about a number of future tactical 
problems. I understand the US Army brass is in deadlock over even 
considering development of a h-vs-h concept.  I know the Soviets 
have given this area a lot of attention, and have solidified 
their doctrine. It sounds like a conflict could see our AT helos, 
covering our armor, suddenly running into their airborne AT 
cover, and getting shot down. I know a number of aviators who are 
quite worried.... there's enough to contend with ground AAA 
systems. Any (unclassified) information would be most 
enlightening personally, and I could probably use it here at the 

                                            J. Miller              

Date: 1 May 85  03:24 EDT (Wed)
From: _Bob <Carter@RUTGERS.ARPA>
Subject: Helicopter-vs-Helicopter

[insertion of first paragraph from above messsage removed by Moderator]

Hi Jeff,

Good topic!  I cannot add any light on the problem you raise, but I
am very much interested in tactical problems of this sort.  (I.e.
those flowing from attempts to deal on the doctrinal level with the
overwhelming superiority of the adversary.)

ETS' anthology show "Frontline" had a film tonight dealing with this.
It was called "The American Way of War," and dealt specifically with
the U.S. Army's attempts to plan for conflict with a Soviet forces in
Europe.  No credit was given to Russell F. Weigley, for copping the
tile of his very good book, or for plagiarizing the questions it

The most crucial of these questions is tangentially related to your
helicopter inquiry:  Can U.S. forces really construct and act on a
doctrine suitable for the weaker force?  The show's writers think so,
and think the idea is terrific.  Our habit of getting there fustest,
with an order of magnitude more stuff than the other guy, is
outdated, they say.  (The show miscalls our usual way of proceeding
"war of attrition," Weigley calls it "war of annihilation," and makes
clear that it was invented in the Shenandoah Valley.)

The show then asks whether American officers should be "leaders or
managers," but presents the problem in a pretty childish way, so the
viewer is almost glad when the topic is dropped.  It pays little
attention the fact that when Americans set out to be good at
"managing", they are very very good indeed.  (George Marshall won
World War II with indifferent troops, strategy imposed by
politicians, mediocre weapons and breathtaking logistics.)

The show pays no attention at all to what is probably the most
interesting question:  Whether the structure and assumptions of
American society dictate that the "logistical management" model is
the only doctrine we can win with.

I am beginning to think it is, for a variety of reasons.  So I'm
somewhat impatient with the "war of maneuver" stuff that has become
accepted wisdom among military intellectuals and think-tank
strategists, and now has the endorsement of the Public Broadcasting
Service.  Robert E. Lee couldn't win that way, and neither could
Hannibal.  The U.S. Army I was a private in sure couldn't either.  I
guess you would have to convince me that a appropriate collection of
tactical innovations (like escort helicopters to protect tankbusting
helicopters) would be enough to alter what I believe to be some
fundamental constraints on American military capabilities.

At any rate, the show will undoubtedly be around again, and if you
did not see it tonight, I think you will find it worth your time.



Date:  2 May 1985 11:11:47 EDT (Thursday)
From: Jeff Miller AMSTE-TOI 4675 <jmiller@apg-1>
Subject: Future Army

     I did catch "Frontline" Tuesday evening. I am happy that 
defense topics in the public forum are possible without strictly 
limiting the subject matter to self-flagellation over US nuclear 
arms proliferation ( its okay for the Soviets.... right?) or El 
Salvador - the next Vietnam. ( an allegory usually made by those 
who have neither served in, or studied about Vietnam. ) In spite 
of some obvious flaws I was impressed that someone had the sense 
to take a look at where the future may lead us in terms of 
conventional warfare, as the likelihood is great that the US will 
be forced to decide whether to commit forces in vital regions or 
retreat from a global role entirely. I only wish PBS had a wider 
     The maneuver vs attrition argument has been at the center of 
Army philosophizing for several years now. The result is "AirLand 
Battle 2000" a doctrinal concept now part of the overall "Army 
21" and the "Army of Excellence." The problem with these is a 
concommitant dependence on hyper-technology to augment the 
leaner, faster forces. The fielding of the weapons systems 
envisioned will take many years, their costs will prohibit 
accumulating sufficient quantities and reserves, and their 
complexity will rule out developing hardened fighters- as- 
opposed- to- technicians for the deep strike forces.

     That reminds me of another question I've been wanting to 
throw out to the ARMS-D community; given the sophisticated 
equipment coming out on today's weapons, the fire control and 
turret systems on tanks, radars and IFFs in planes, etc., and the 
fact that the costs of such things guarantee a lack of reserves, 
how long can we support a high-tech war? 
     -- An RPG-16 hits the turret of an M-1 Abrams. There is no 
catastrophic damage, no casualties, but a severe shock to the 
ballistic computer and other electronic components. How hard are 
those components? From what I've seen with the M-60A3, not very.
I have a suspicion that, in the event of a large-scale 
conventional conflict, unless resolution is quickly achieved, the 
two sides will pound each other to a point where the weapons 
technology will be collectively about as advanced as that of the 
Korean War. Mass production and rapid employment will supercede 
the outfitting of expensive subsystems. In-theater repairs will 
reflect the same.  -- The advantage will accrue to the side with 
the greater arsenal. That would automatically disadvantage NATO.


Modern MBT [Main Battle Tank - Moderator] inventories. Averages
taken from DIA UNCLAS publications and the DMS Inc World
Armored Vehicle Forecast.

Grand Total                                 Country

11,780                                      USA
11,550                                     NATO
58,200                                     USSR
13,190                                       WP

From: ihnp4!utzoo!henry@Berkeley
Date: 11 May 85 01:36:36 CDT (Sat)
Subject: ability to launch nuclear weapons

I haven't been submitting to arms-d for a few weeks because I've been
busy, and meanwhile the discussion has drifted away from SDI, so I will
exercise heroic restraint (unless enough people urge me not to :-) and
refrain from a re-re-re-rebuttal of the last round of critical comments.
I will comment on a couple of other issues, though.

Jan Wolitzky:

> ...Besides, it is already widely acknowledged that ...
> ... the ABILITY [to launch nuclear weapons] exists right down to the
> level of the individual sub captain, bomber pilot, or missile crew,
> so it's all but 100% assured that a [selective attack] will degrade to a
> [all-out spasm attack] in a matter of hours, making the casualty figures
> for such attacks mere fantasies.

Not quite so well-known is that this is not entirely true.  In recent years
most non-submarine nuclear weapons have been equipped with gadgets called
"permissive action locks", which are essentially combination locks that
the individual pilots etc. do *not* know the combinations for.  The idea is
precisely to prevent unwanted individual initiative in this touchy area.
Quite probably some of those locks (e.g. the ones on silo-based ICBMs)
have time-lock overrides, so that the crews eventually gain control if their
links to command are dead for long enough, but that's a slightly different
story because of the time delays.  Also, such overrides probably exist only
in contexts like silos, where continuous communications links to higher
command are normal.

The one major exception to this is, predictably, SLBMs.  The officers of
a missile submarine together (*not* just the captain, although the exact
protocol and participants for the decision-making are probably secret) are
physically equipped to launch their missiles without any positive "go" code
or persistent absence of communication from outside.

				Henry Spencer @ U of Toronto Zoology


Date: 11 May 85 01:36:42 CDT (Sat)
From: ihnp4!utzoo!henry@Berkeley
Subject: desirability of neutron weapons

An interesting sidelight on the revival (here in arms-d) of the neutron-
bomb issue is that neutron weapons have a major problem that I've seen
pointed out in only one place.  "Soldier of Fortune" magazine -- hardly
noted for being anti-military or anti-US -- ferociously attacked neutron
weapons as an idiotic idea.  Why?  Because radiation sickness, except in
its most acute forms arising from really huge doses, is not fatal *quickly*.
If a Soviet attack receives a spattering of neutron weapons, some of the
tank crews will be within the huge-dose area and will die immediately.
Many more will be within the lethal-dose area; these crews will die within
a day or two but will *not* be incapacitated immediately.  Please rank the
following in order of preference for facing in combat:

	1. A dead Soviet tank crew.
	2. A live Soviet tank crew.
	3. A Soviet tank crew that will die within a day or two, and knows
		it, but remains reasonably efficient at the moment.

The Soviet armored forces are ominous enough, without turning them en masse
into kamikazes.
				Henry Spencer @ U of Toronto Zoology


Date: Sat, 11 May 85 10:58:36 EST
From: Herb Lin <LIN@MIT-MC>
Subject:  Soviet Intelligence

[From J Miller - Mod.]

         If you are a member of a freeze group and either refuse to 
    believe that Soviet intelligence might use you to their own ends 
    because your ego won't permit, or claim that KGB support and 
    activities are OK as long as they help you, I'm an opponent.

I'm not a member of a freeze group, but I will take on the question.
You suggested that KGB operatives don't generally make their true
affiliations known; I agree.  I would not accept assistance from
people I know to be KGB, simply because that would damage my
credibility.  Therefore, anyone contributing to freeze activities
would be an unknown quantity.  Someone who is clandestinely KGB and
contributes to the aims of the group is therefore indistinguishable
from a person without such affiliation.  Since they are
indistinguishable, I am left to my own judgment about the quality of
their contributions.  If I find that one person makes more sense to me
than another, why is it wrong to follow that line?  Surely you are not
advocating censorship of ideas?  After all, that is supposed to be the
essence of democracy -- the free evaluation of ideas and their
adoption on their own merits.  If person X says that "MX is bad", and
makes a contribution to pressing that point to the general public by
contributing money or analysis, and the money isn't counterfeit and
the analysis is judged by others in the group to be reasonable, why
does it matter that the person is KGB or a retired director of the CIA? 


Date: Sat, 11 May 85 11:00:49 EST
From: Herb Lin <LIN@MIT-MC>
Subject: References

[From Tom Perrine - Mod.]

    Where are the State Dept Special Reports available from? How about the
    House committee hearings minutes? Should I try my local library or
    write to someplace in D.C. ?

State has a public affairs office.  Committee hearings are usually
available from the committee; call them, and they will mail them to
you free (usually).


Date:           Wed, 8 May 85 16:24:04 PDT
From:           Charlie Crummer <crummer@AEROSPACE.ARPA>
Subject:        Arms-Discussion Digest V3 #28 (Lin - Miller Discussions)

I have a couple of comments about these discussions:

  1) At the end of January of this year I attended a Presbyterian Peacemaking
conference in Washington.  At that conference I heard a lecture given by a
representative from the DoD.  The speaker made it very clear that there are
no bargaining chips.  He said that he didn't know where the term "bargaining
chip" came from but that none of the systems under the DoD control are 
up for negotiation, they are being developed and will be developed to 
establish "leverage" with the Soviet Union.  One can argue that he had to say
that, of course, so as not to give the Soviets an edge at the Geneva table.
If that is so, however, his words must be considered disinformation (lies).

    We will see how effective these programs are as "leverage" when there
are some positive results at Geneva or when the Soviets begin to destroy
their nuclear weapons unilaterally.  

  2)All the discussion about the KGB bogeymen makes exciting reading but even
this is the result of consciously produced Soviet propaganda, the same type
that they feed to their own people, i.e. "Big Brother is watching.  The walls
have ears.  Don't try to take any initiative because you will be playing into
the hands of the KGB who will either use you to their own evil ends or make 
you wish you had never had the temerity to attempt individual action."  In
fact, of course, while the KGB has standard methods at their disposal it does
not have "the power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see" like Lamont
Cranston had as "The Shadow".  

   This country was built on the gumption and courage of individuals and I 
hope that most people in this country will see fear-mongering for what it
is; a weakening influence that actually plays into the hands of those who
want to dominate us.  As Roosevelt said: "We have nothing to fear but fear 

A true KGB story:

   A friend of mine left the home of an acquaintance in Moscow very early
one morning after an evening's entertainment.  He found the metro closed and
no taxis on the streets.  As he stood on the street wondering how he was going
to get back to his hotel he noticed a car with a man in it parked at the curb
not far away.  He approached the car thinking it was one of the entrepreneuring
illegal taxis that frequent Moscow streets but stopped when he saw that the 
driver was wearing the familiar uniform of a KGB agent.  As my friend began to 
withdraw the driver spoke: "Come here!"  My friend approached the car with
some trepidation whereupon the KGB agent said, "Get in, I'll take you to your
hotel.  I have been assigned to watch you anyway.  By the way, the trip will
cost you 5 rubles.  I hope you understand.  The salary of a KGB agent is
rather modest."

   Stiff upper lips, buckos!  Maybe we can stand tall even before we regain
our first-strike capability.


[End of ARMS-D Digest]