In This Review

Intentions and Capabilities: Estimates on Soviet Strategic Forces, 1950-1983
Intentions and Capabilities: Estimates on Soviet Strategic Forces, 1950-1983
Edited by Donald P. Steury
CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence, 1996, 504 pp

This compendium of documents opens a view into a subject that may seem increasingly arcane to students of international relations: assessments of Soviet nuclear (misnamed "strategic") forces by the American intelligence community. This collection of National Intelligence Estimates spans the so-called "bomber" and "missile" gaps, the Soviet buildup of the 1960s and 1970s, the accuracy debate, and the Team B experiment in competitive analysis. The editor is perhaps too protective of the amour-propre of the intelligence community at large and the CIA in particular, but the assembly of documents is a useful reminder of how exotic forms of intelligence analysis emerge from particular political and technological conditions. And for the student of Cold War history, this is an indispensable window into one of the central issues confronting the American national security establishment.