Prototypes for Targeting America: A Soviet Assessment   [open pdf - 502KB]

"In the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the IN subsequent series of anthrax exposure incidents, U.S. attention to homeland security and force protection has taken on new urgency. The apparent depth of research, planning, and preparation underlying those attacks underscored anew the ways in which a state or nonstate adversary could measure and classify U.S. vulnerabilities and targeting options. But for decades another entity--the Soviet Union--carefully studied the U.S. homeland and its war-supporting resources from a targeting perspective. At the beginning of 1989, the profound changes that would shape the international security environment over the next decade were just beginning to take more solid form. The Soviet Union was in the process of withdrawing from its failed 9-year occupation of Afghanistan. At the same time, Soviet troop reductions in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union itself were gaining momentum, and fault lines within the Warsaw Pact became more visible. Force projection would depend even more than in the past on the effective performance of the Continental United States (CONUS) mobilization base. An adversary's successful attack on key CONUS war-supporting infrastructure could disrupt the timely preparation, deployment, and sustainment of military forces and materiel; endanger the achievement of U.S. strategic goals in remote conflict areas; and possibly damage public confidence and resolve. FORSCOM saw a pressing need to accomplish the following: Identify possible targets that hostile forces could attack using a range of capabilities. Develop estimates of the impact that target loss or damage would have on supporting the war-fighting commanders in chief. Determine the total force requirements necessary to protect these potential targets, including civil authorities' ability to protect these targets from attack and the military forces necessary to augment civil authorities. The study was based on previously restricted GRU publications, declassified Soviet instructional and concept papers, and other material. The basic findings, set out in this article, remain relevant as a model of how adversaries can access open sources and integrate acquired information on critical CONUS assets."

Public Domain
Media Type:
Military Review (January-February 2002), p.3-10
Help with citations