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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 29, 1987

REPORT OF MARSHAL V.G. KULIKOV AT THE MEETING OF WARSAW PACT LEADERS

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    "Report of Marshal V.G. Kulikov at the meeting of Warsaw Pact leaders," May 29, 1987, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, ANIC, Political Executive Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, no.1347, 14.07. 1987. CWIHP Document Reader, "Romania and the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1989" vol.2. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110470
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Report of Marshal V.G. Kulikov, Commander of the Warsaw Pact forces, at the meeting of Warsaw Pact leaders on 29 May 1987.

R E P O R T

of the Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces, Marshal of the Soviet Union V.G. Kulikov, at the conference of the Political Consultative Committee of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty:

“On the situation of the Unified Armed Forces and the measures to be taken to insure their combat capability in view of the ratio of forces extant in Europe.”

29 May 1987

Esteemed comrades,

The decision made by the Conference of the Political Consultative Committee at Budapest in June 1986, “On ensuring a high combat and defense capability of [the socialist countries] at a level appropriate to guarantee their security…” established one of the main tasks of the Unified Armed Forces. The Unified Command subordinated its whole activity to the fulfillment of this task for about a year.

In the interventions of the chiefs of the delegations at the current Conference of the Political Consultative Committee an in-depth and multilateral analysis of the international situation in Europe and the rest of the world was conducted, and measures were established with a view to reducing military tension, deepening, and developing general European cooperation.

In the Common Declaration on the military doctrine of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty, which is to be adopted, the defensive character of the military doctrine is unanimously expressed. The importance of this Declaration lies in the fact that it will contribute towards affirming the unity of views relating to the solution of the problems of maintaining parity in the field of armed forces and armaments, and reducing the number of NATO forces in Europe to a sufficient and reasonable level. It will be apparent to public opinion that all of our efforts are directed towards preventing an attack from the outside.

The Unified Command and the ministries of defense of the allied states shall direct their activity in accordance with the requirements of this important document, and shall make their best efforts to meet these requirements in practice in the training of the troops and forces of the fleets.

As long as the NATO block exists, our defensive alliance will have in the future as well a decisive role in the defense of socialism. In this connection, we further take the view that our main task is the permanent improvement and development of the armed forces, taking into account the ratio of forces existing in Europe, as well as the complexity of the international situation.

The troops and the fleets are now implementing the new Directive of the Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces regarding the combat capacity, which came into effect in 1986. This enabled us to achieve a greater elasticity of the passage of [the troops and fleets] from the state of peace to the state of war, improve the combat status, and upgrade the actions intended for warding off aggression.

In the training of the Unified Armed Forces permanent attention is paid to the improvement of the ground, air, and sea drills intended for the large units, units, and ships, and the internationalist education of the effectives so that they will be ready to do their patriotic duty towards our peoples.

The implementation of the development plan of the forces and fleets has been continued. The main purpose consists in ensuring, on the basis of the broadening of the multilateral military collaboration, the qualitative development of the armed forces of the allied countries, the improvement of their combat composition and organizational structure, as well as their technical endowment with the newest types of armament.

In this respect, a number of positive results have been registered within the framework of allied armies. The firepower and maneuver possibilities of ground troops were increased by equipping them with high-precision missiles, T-72 tanks, self-propelled Cosdic-Turban artillery pieces, Leon mine throwers, KU, OSA, and AKM high-efficiency anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile complexes. By the end of the current five-year plan, the quantity of armament of the regiments and divisions – I have in mind the new models – will more than double.

The organizational-type structure has been adopted and it has attained almost 70% with all of the armed services put together. The formation of assault paratrooper units has begun. The upgrading of the engineer and chemical troops, the communications troops, and other kinds of troops is intended.

The troops of the Unified Air Defense System of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty currently have S-200 long-range antiaircraft missile batteries, automated target-tracking and firing systems and new means of reconnaissance, which increased their capabilities of fighting against their air enemy. In the years to come, the air defense troops will be equipped with the MIG-29 fighter aircraft of the new generation, high-efficiency anti-aircraft missiles with several directing channels, as well as radio-technical reconnaissance means.

The Military Air Forces are equipped with new SU-22 and SU-25 fighters and ground-assault aircraft. By the end of the current five-year plan, the number of fighter, bomber, and assault aircraft will double as compared with 1985, and the total proportion of fighter aircraft will attain 20%. Also, more than 85% of the helicopters of the Army Air Force will be of new types.

The military sea fleets will be equipped with modern battleships, submarines, and RUBEZH and REDUT coast missiles, and a marine corps will be formed. Measures designed to increase the operativity and security of the command system are under way.

The upgrading of the T-55 A tanks, the VOLVO, NEVA, KU, and KOSA missiles, the MIG-21 bis, MIG-23, and SU-20 aircraft, the MI-24 helicopters, military vessels, and PT boats continues in most armies. The collaboration of our countries in scientific research, and in constructional-experimental development of future state-of-the-art types of armaments within the framework of the permanent commission for the defense industry of COMECON is being extended and improved. By common agreement with the ministries of defense of allied armies, the Unified Command is currently drawing up a long-term plan of armament and battle means development to the year 2000. A number of important activities intended for the operative preparation of the territories of allied countries are being carried out. The building and upgrading of protected command points is being continued. The national and coalition command and communication systems increase the operativiry and the establishment of troop command by the introduction of highly-efficient technical means, and by the organization of permanent duty service at the command points of the operative echelon.

The building of airports, hangars for military aircraft, air defense means, and radar equipment is under way. The traffic capacity and the viability of the railway and road communications is being increased, and the basing system of fleets is being improved.

The technical endowment of all of the army categories is being upgraded. The stocks of matériel are being increased up to the established norms, the organizational structure of the service organs and their equipping with high-productivity technical means are being imnproved, and the works for stock dispersion, protection, and increase of their mobility are being continued.

The formation of high moral and combat qualities of the effectives has an important role in increasing the combat capacity of troops and fleet forces.

The efforts of the commanders and political organs of the allied countries were directed towards fulfilling the decisions of the congresses of the fraternal communist and workers' parties, and educating the effectives in the spirit of devotion and permanent preparation for the defense of the interests of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty.

These are the main results of fulfilling the decisions of the Budapest Conference of the Political Consultative Committee.

Analyzing the situation of our armies and fleets, the Unified Command also reports to the Political Consultative Committee about a number of unsolved problems. It is on that very score that a more exacting and self-critical analysis of the obtained results is required from us.

The cases of simplifying things or making them easier have not been eliminated yet from the praxis of processing the issues of combat capacity of the troops and fleet forces, which does not contribute to the qualitative solution of the whole complex of measures required for the armed forces to pass from a peace situation to a war one. In some allied armies it is still permitted to discontinue the combat training of the effectives. Many difficulties arise in the accumulation of mobilization resources.

The works of upgrading the armament and the technical combat means are proceeding at a slow pace. This is valid, first of all, for the T-55 A tanks. The number of these modernized tanks does not currently exceed 3%, and by 1990 – that is to say by the end of this five-year plan – it will not exceed 50%.

I think it necessary to mention that it is these very tanks that constitute the basis of the tank park.

The scientific and production potentials of our countries are not utilized to the full. The fulfillment terms for scientific research and constructional-experimental works intended for creating new armaments and automated command systems are not observed. Some important decisions in the technical-scientific field, such as those referring to microprocessors and laser engineering are being fulfilled at a slow rate. There are difficulties in the improvement of the infrastructure, first of all in the development of the airport network, and in the creation of stocks of material means, especially of ammunition for the new armament types.

Esteemed comrades,

In spite of some deficiencies in the state and training of the Unified Armed Forces, we report that from the standpoint of their level of technical endowment, the degree of training and drilling, and the provision of material means they are combat-ready and in a position to fulfill the tasks assigned to them, in a coalition configuration, taking into account the ratio of forces extant in Europe.

In this connection, I would like to quote Lenin, who showed that “…To be seriously concerned with the defense of the homeland means to train thoroughly and take seriously into consideration the ratio of forces.”

Currently, the ratio of the Warsaw Treaty forces to the NATO forces in Europe is the following:

• Effectives: two armies of three million troops each face each other;

• Number of combat-ready divisions of the various arms put together and of the independent brigades: NATO maintains a certain superiority – 71 divisions and 76 independent brigades of NATO as compared with 73 divisions and 14 independent brigades of the Warsaw Treaty, which is equivalent to 96 NATO divisions and 78 Warsaw Treaty divisions. The fact must be mentioned that the effectives of NATO divisions are 16,000 to 20,000 troops, that is to say nearly 1.5 times bigger than [the effectives of] our divisions, which – in accordance with the wartime payrolls – are of 10,000 to 12,000 troops;

• Tactical and operational-tactical missiles: sevenfold superiority for the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty;

• Number of tanks: the United Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty have 1,5 times more tanks. The number of tanks of the Unified Armed Forces of NATO, however, is not small but big, about 30,000 tanks. As regards the number of anti-tank cannons, the enemy's superiority is double;

• Tactical assault aircraft: a superiority of over a thousand aircraft for NATO, which completely makes up for our superiority in missiles;

• Number of artillery pieces and throwers: approximately equal;

• Attack helicopters: an approximately fourfold superiority of NATO;

• Number of big military vessels and PT boats: NATO maintains its superiority in the field.

It is apparent from the above that an objective appreciation of the ratio of forces of the camps as regards the classic armament in Europe shows that this armament is approximately equal.

Speaking about the assymetry of some types of armament of the camps in Europe, it is necessary to take into consideration the fact that this assymetry is determined by the historical development and geographical location of the camps in the political-military alliance. There exist, therefore, all of the fundamental elements required for holding successful negotiations on a general-European scale – from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains – as it was declared at the Budapest Conference of the Political Consultative Committee.

[At the Budapest conference] the initiative was presented of reducing by approximately 25%, in comparison with the present period, all of the components of the ground troops and tactical assault aircraft, along with the tactical nuclear armament and the tactical-operative armament of both alliances in Europe. This does not include the effectives of the Naval and Military Forces, and the Air Defense, the composition of which NATO does not want to discuss. The reason why is well known: the superiority of the USA and NATO fleets in comparison with the fleets of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty as regards battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and missile-launching frigates is almost triple, and the superiority regarding aircraft carriers is absolute.

In addition, NATO countries do not take into account the armed forces of about one million troops and twenty divisions of France and Spain, consequently a distorted image [of the armed forces] is presented.

The myth according to which the Warsaw Treaty has military superiority in classic armament is used on a large scale by the USA Administration to cover the achievement of their own military programs intended for increasing nuclear and classic armaments. I will put forward a few relevant data: in the last few years, eighteen launching pads for “MX” ICBM's, thirty B-1B strategic bombers, and eight “OHIO”-class submarines have been placed in combat-readiness condition. Moreover, a hundred and thirty-eight B-52 [strategic] bombers have been equipped with long-range cruise missiles. The new submarine-launched “TRIDENT-2” ballistic missile is being currently tested; it has a range of eleven thousand kilometers and seven separable 600-kiloton warheads, which make this missile similar – as to technical-tactical characteristics – to the “MX” ICBM. The development of the “MIDGETMAN” mobile ICBM is under way.

By the end of the 1990's, the number of nuclear warheads of the strategic nuclear forces of Great Britain and France will double.

At the present time, there are in Europe three hundred and eighty of the planned medium-range missiles. Although the Soviet Union launched the initiative of doing away with these missiles, the NATO block has no intention of giving up the manufacture and location of the whole number of such missiles. This is equally valid for the SDI program. In its [military] policy, the USA attaches importance to the Federal Republic of Germany's Bundeswehr as the main strikting force in the operations theater in Central Europe and to Turkey's armed forces in the operations theater in Southern Europe.

The combat capabilities of the general-purpose troops are permanently. being increased. Only in 1986 the number of the most modern tanks was increased by 15%, the number of “PATRIOT” ground-to-air remote-controlled missile systems up to 70%, and of the number of F-15 and “TORNADO” fighter aircraft up to 12%.

The NATO infrastructure is being upgraded. Its possibilities of operational deployment of troops and fleet forces are being extended, stocks of material means are being created, and the airports are being modernized so they are able to accommodate the rapid-deployment troops of the USA.

The intensity of the operational and combat training of NATO armed forces is being stepped up, and the scope of the various applications and maneuvers was broadened. Last year, a hundred and seventy-five major, large-scale exercises were carried out in the theaters of military operations in Europe, of which more than a half in the immediate vicinity of the boundaries of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty, and the operational and operational-strategic exercises of vast proportions of the types “AUTUMN FORGE”, “WINTEX”, “REFORGER”, and “DISPLAY DETERMINATION” are, as a rule, conducted in accordance with a unique conception and under a centralized command.

In 1986, seven hundred and fifty various exercises were carried out in Europe in keeping with the plans of the national commands of NATO countries; a peculiarity of all of the exercises is the fact that organs of the higher political-military leaderships and the main commands in the zones of Europe took part in them, and that the newest weapons systems were utilized in them on a large scale.

[From these exercises] the tendency was also apparent of training NATO Unified Armed Forces with a view to conducting combat actions using only classical destruction means.

According to existing data, in the current year, 1987, the NATO Block planned to broaden the participation of the organs of higher political-military leadership of the states participating in the exercises, the leadership organs of the national ministries [of defense], and the civil departments involved in the security of the armed forces.

We have to point out that, when planning large-scale operational activities, the military leadership of the NATO countries does not always observe what it was established regarding the notification [of the Warsaw Treaty countries] in compliance with the requirements of the Final Document of the Stockholm Conference relating to the measures of strenghtening trust and security in Europe.

Thus, last January, the USA did not give notice of the exercise of the 5th Army Corps, in which up to 23,000 troops participated. Canada, Portugal, and Italy generally did not present either plans or communications about the fact that they would not carry out activities in 1987.

Such an attitude of the NATO countries regarding the observance of the obligations undermines the agreements, and amplifies the lack of trust of the other states taking part in the General-European Conference.

The Unified Command and the ministries of defense of the allied countries see it as their mission to maintain their armed forces in a state of high combat capability in order that they can carry out the tasks assigned to them. For the purpose of fulfilling the provisions of the Budapest decision of December 1986, the Committee of Ministers of Defense specified the main directions of actions. Activities aimed at achieving these [directions] are under way in all of the allied armies.

One of the decisive conditions of maintaining the military-strategic equilibrium of the forces is the further broadening of our military and military-technical collaboration, and the fulfilling of the obligations in the protocols regarding the development of troops and fleets and in the plans of mutual deliveries of armament and technical means during the current five-year plan 1986-1990.

The measures intended for ensuring the operational and combat training of the Unified Armed Forces are planned starting from the requirements of the defensive orientation in the education and training of the troops and fleet forces.

In connection with the above issue it is advisable to stipulate the introduction of clarifications and changes in the regulations and instructions in force, paying special attention – in the training of personnel – to the continuous increase in quality and to the development of all of the exercises.

The activity of upgrading the technical command means continues. Common proposals are being drawn up for the creation of all of the organs and the preparation in due time of their operation in wartime conditions. Efficient forms for the moral-political preparation of personnel in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism, internationalism, and socialist patriotism are currently being sought.

As is the case at present, emphasis is laid on the strengthening of the cohesion of the allied armies, the formation of the sentiment of devotion to our common cause in the military, the toughening of counterpropaganda, and of the ideological struggle against imperialism.

An important complex of measures will be constituted by the drawing up of the development plans for the allied armies for the following five-year plan, 1991-1995, taking into consideration the possible changes in the groups of opponents, the camps, and the economic factors in this activity. We have already begun it.

The Unified Command will be in a position to report the main directions of development of the United Armed Forces in the period 1991-1995 to the Political Consultative Committee at the next conference of the latter in 1988.

Esteemed comrades,

With the agreement of the Communist and Workers' parties, measures were taken to establish direct links between the commands of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty and the NATO Block. Our proposal regarding the [organization[ of a meeting between the Supreme Commander of the Warsaw Treaty and General Rogers was turned down. We take the view that the line of broadening the contacts in the interest of achieving détente in the international situation must be continued.

To wind up, allow me to express my deep gratitude to the central committees of the Communist and Workers' parties and the governments of the allied countries for their permanent concern with the combat power of the Unified Armed Forces.

Our high combat capability is an objective necessity, determined by the aggressive nature of imperialism and the character of its military preparations.

With a view to solving this important issue, we consider it with full responsibility and assure the Political Consultative Committee that the Unified Command, together with the ministries of defense, will make their best efforts to maintain the combat capability of the Unified Armed Forces – taking into account the reported ratio of forces of the camps in Europe – at such a level that the leadership circles of NATO, headed by the USA, can notice the fact that there is no perspective of solving by military means, in their favour, the contradictions between imperialism and socialism.

Allow me to conclude the report.
Thank you very much for your attention.