News In Brief
Pentagon backs CIA view on ease-up in Soviet arms
The Pentagon agreed with the Central Intelligence Agency Monday that the rate at which the Soviet Union is adding new weapons to its military arsenal has flattened out since 1976.
Senior intelligence officials cited a number of possible causes for this trend, including a Soviet decision to adhere to limits imposed by the unratified SALT II arms control treaty.
The agencies emphasized their consensus on the state of Soviet weapons procurement, the largest chunk of the defense budget, and played down differences on total Soviet defense spending, attributing them to accounting variables. The CIA computed annual growth in Soviet defense spending from 1976 to 1981 at 2 percent, while the Pentagon pegged it at 6 to 7 percent.
President Reagan has justified his massive arms program by arguing that Moscow is engaged in an unprecedented buildup. All signs suggest the Soviets have more weapons systems in the research-and-development stage than they did in either of the past two decades, an official said.