Verification and SALT

Title:                      Verification and SALT

Author:                  William C. Potter

Potter, William C. (1980), ed. Verification and SALT: The Challenge of Strategic Deception. Boulder, CO: Westview Press

LCCN:    80013203

JX1974.75 .V47


Date Updated:  August 25, 2015

SALT contains an anti-encryption clause regarding telemetry, if that telemetry is essential to verification.

A CIA analyst discusses Soviet maskirovka doctrine, and provides helpful references. The article quotes, without comment, the assertion by General Tolubko, (Commander of Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces) that the Soviets were not testing the SS-16 ICBM during the SALT I Interim Agreement. Official U.S. reports on arms control compliance (1984, 1985) indicate Soviet SS-16 testing in 1972-1976, and “probable” deployment of the SS-16 ICBM thereafter.

Maskirovka is a Russian word (Маскировка) pertaining to the business of military deception. Although the word is sometimes translated as “camouflage”, this belies its much broader meaning that includes all measures, active and passive, designed to deceive the enemy, which includes: concealment (skrytie), imitation using decoys and military dummies (imitasiia), manoeuvres intended to deceive (demonstrativnye manevry) and disinformation (dezinformatsiia). The Soviet Military Encyclopeadia defines maskirovka thus:

The means of securing combat operations and the daily activities of forces; a complexity of measures, directed to mislead the enemy regarding the presence and disposition of forces, various military objectives, their condition, combat readiness and operations, and also the plans of the commander … maskirovka contributes to the achievement of surprise for the actions of forces, the preservation of combat readiness and the increased survivability of objectives.

It was developed as a military doctrine in the 1920s, and used by Zhukov in the 1939 Battles of Khalkhin Gol against Japan. For example the Field Regulations of the Red Army (1929) stated that “Surprise has a stunning effect on the enemy. For this reason all troop operations must be accomplished with the greatest concealment and speed.” Concealment was to be attained by confusing the enemy with movements, camouflage and use of terrain, speed, use of night and fog, and secrecy.

Maskirovka was put into practice on a large scale in the Battle of Kursk, especially on the Steppe Front commanded by Ivan Konev. The result was that the Germans attacked Russian forces four times stronger than they were expecting. The German general Friedrich von Mellenthin wrote “The horrible counter-attacks, in which huge masses of manpower and equipment took part, were an unpleasant surprise for us… The most clever camouflage of the Russians should be emphasized again. We did not .. detect even one minefield or anti-tank area until .. the first tank was blown up by a mine or the first Russian anti-tank guns opened fire”.

The elements of the Soviet concept of Maskirovka

The elements of the Soviet concept of Maskirovka

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