1. THE WELL-PUBLICIZED SOVIET MILITARY BUILD-UP WAS
The time honored technique used to promote higher military budgets
is to instill fear in the American public about the Soviet Union by
referring to its increasingly massive build-up of military weapons.
Information, available to the national press but not publicized by
it, reveals that U.S. leaders and militarists lied about the Soviet
arms build-up and knowingly used false information to inflate Soviet
First, the myth of the massive Soviet build-up: In 1983 testimony before
the Joint Economic Committee, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
made a significant downward revision of its estimate of Soviet military
spending for the period 1976-81 which went almost unreported in the
press. The new estimate showed an increase of only 2% per year overall
and no increase in the buying of weapons. During the same period, average
annual U.S. military expenditures had a real growth rate of approximately
4% and since then have averaged 9%.
Like the bomber and missile "gaps" of the past that later
proved illusory, we now find, as Senator William Proxmire said "Moscow
has not been expanding its effort at the rapid rate that was once believed.
It slowed its defense expansion beginning about seven years ago, a fact
that the Soviets neglected to communicate and that the West failed to
Second, inflating Soviet military expenditures: The CIA is responsible
for estimating Soviet military spending. Their methodology is to compute
what the Soviet military would cost if built and operated in the U.S.
using U.S. prices and wages! For example, to compute personnel costs,
the CIA assumes a Soviet conscript's salary to be $575 a month, which
is what the U.S. Army pays a private. Actually, the Soviet conscript
gets four or five rubles, about $8, a month.
Similarly, the CIA asks a U.S. corporation to compute what it would
cost to build a new T-72 tank, or a new radar, or aircraft, a figure
which even the CIA admits has very little to do with how much the item
actually costs the Soviet government.
Despite the evidence to the contrary, President Ronald Reagan, his
Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and others continue to cite
the "unrelenting" Soviet buildup as justification for increasing
military expenditures even at the expense of sorely needed social programs.
DEFENSE MONITOR, Vol. XIII, #4, 1984, "Taking Stock: The U.S.
Military Buildup," p 3; AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 2/13/84,
Soviet Defense Spending," by William H. Gregory, p 11.