The CIA, which has a consistent record of always underestimating Soviet actions and capabilities, discovered this spring that the Soviet Union is devoting two and a half times as much of its Gross National Product to military expenditures as the CIA had previously estimated. This new figure means that the Soviets are spending three times as much of their GNP for military weapons as the United States is spending of our GNP.
Of course, the Soviets get much more bang for the buck because so much of our defense budget goes into personnel and fringe benefits instead of into hardware. The Soviets have thus put their money where their mouth is and sacrificed consumer production to their military goal of world superiority.
This policy has paid big dividends. The Soviets have fielded three new ICBMs (two with multiple warhead capability) and are develpp ing a fourth (which is probably mobile-based). They have built 34 Polaris-type submarines, and eleven submarines that carry missiles comparable in range to those we plan for our Trident but will not have until 1979. The Soviets have deployed the most advanced opera tional bomber in the world today, called the Backfire, which is years newer than our old standby, the B-52.
In the face of this Soviet arms program, the United States should waste no time in going ahead with building the B-1 bomber and the cruise missile.
Test flights of the B-1 have been a huge success. The B-1 is becked up by 14 yeers and 1.5 billion in research and development. It is the most thoroughly studied and tested aircraft ever developed. It is only two-thirds the size of the B-52, but the B-1 carries nearly twice the payload. It flies efficiently at supersonic speeds but can take off and land on shorter runways.
Opponents of the B-1 claim that we can rely indefinitely on our old subsonic B-52s. This suggestion shows a callous disregard for crew safety as well as our national security.
The cruise missile is another new weapon system which the United States should produce with all possible speed. It is one of the few remaining areas where we may still have a technological advantage over the Soviets.
The cruise missile is a pilots jet drone, basically a flying bomb, which can be launched from air, land, surface ships, or submarines. It has a range of 2,000 miles. It is highly maneuverable and flies low enough to elude radar and aircraft defenses. Its computer guidance system provides such pinpoint accuracy that the cruise missile will be an effective weapon with conventional as well as nuclear warheads.
Production of the B-1 bomber is threatened by the usual claque within our country which alway wants Americans to put our faith in treaties with Communist countries instead of ill weapons. The cruise missile is threatened by the slick soviet negotiators who want to checkmate our production by forcing us to include the cruise missile under the limitations of the forthcoming SALT II agreement.
Both tactics should be recognized for what they are — a device to prevent the United States from building the weapons we need to protect ourselves against the armed might of the Soviet Union.