PART III -- THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IN DEFENSE AND ARMS CONTROL

Chapter 12 - Strategic Offensive: Modernization, START Reductions, Nuclear Deterrence and Testing

Summary

Early Reagan intelligence assessments of Soviet military programs and violations confirmed dangerous asymmetries and mounting threats. The assessments reinforced the determination of Reagan and his Department of Defense and NSC team to overcome Soviet and Democratic Party opposition to U.S. strategic modernization programs including the MX-Peacekeeper ICBM, the D–5 submarine-launched ballistic missile, the B–1 bomber, and in critical command, control and intelligence capabilities. President Carter had postponed or cancelled such programs, but Reagan’s 1980 election platform, his initial defense proposals as president, and his October 1981 strategic modernization decisions committed to such U.S. strategic force capabilities against mounting Soviet “first strike” capabilities. These Reagan program commitments added substantial diplomatic leverage for his unprecedented “deep cuts” Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) proposals of May 1982 and continued negotiation in the Nuclear and Space Talks (NST) throughout his second term.

[Book pg. 263]

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