Debates on the projected development of Soviet ICBM forces during the 1960s were rather more tame than those of the 1950s. Though the record of the intelligence community in this area later became a matter of controversy, in that the overestimation of the missile gap days was followed by comparable underestimation, the NIE 11–8 series on Soviet Offensive Arms was not the most contested of all the estimates. In part this was because of the sobering experience of the missile gap. Having been stung once, members of the intelligence community became cautious about raising unnecessary alarms. In presenting the latest NIE to Congress in early 1964 Secretary McNamara cited the exaggerated forecasts of the missile gap days, adding that they ‘should be borne in mind as we discuss the estimates for the 1967–69 period’.1 The other reason why NIE II-8 ceased to provide a cause for heated arguments and deep divisions was that the Soviet ICBM programme was no longer the most crucial issue. Of far greater significance was the Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) programme, covered by NIE 11–3.
KeywordsIntelligence Community Ballistic Missile Offensive Weapon Offensive Force Area Defence
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