Volume #20 - 446.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
DEFENCE AND SECURITY ISSUES
DISTANT EARLY WARNING SYSTEM, MID-CANADA LINE AND CONTINENTAL AIR DEFENCE
Chairman, Canadian Section,|
Permanent Joint Board on Defence, to Secretary of State for External Affairs
January 22nd, 1954|
Dear Mr. Pearson,
During the last meeting of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence which was held at U.S. Air Force Air Defence Command Headquarters, Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Board was able to acquire a very clear picture of the plans and policies of the USAF Air Defence Command by means of briefings from ADC staff officers and by informal discussions with them.
In the opinion of the Canadian Section, the information thus acquired is of importance to the Canadian Government. We have therefore prepared the attached report. I am also sending copies of this report to Mr. Claxton, the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary to the Cabinet, the Acting Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs and the Chairman, Defence Research Board. 11
Top Secret (Canadian Eyes Only)
AS ENUNCIATED TO THE PJBD BY THE STAFF OF THE USAF
AIR DEFENCE COMMAND, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
1. The Permanent Joint Board on Defence held its January, 1954 meeting at the Headquarters of the United States Air Force Air Defence Command, Colorado Springs, Colorado. In the course of the visit the Canadian Section of the Board was given a series of presentations by USAF Air Defence Command Staff Officers which together constituted a comprehensive exposition of the views of these officers on the threat to North America, what must be done to meet that threat, and the progress of the technological developments which will affect both air offence and defence during the next few years. The statements made were objective and very frank.
2. The Board was given an account in some detail, not only of the USAF Air Defence Command estimate of Soviet capabilities to launch air attacks and the areas of North America which could be reached by such attacks, but also of the methods used in appraising the intelligence information upon which the estimate was based. The briefing on intelligence included a visit to the "Indications Room" and a general discussion of the indicators used and their relative significance. The estimates of Soviet capabilities were essentially the same as given in Canadian-United States agreed intelligence papers, but as one would expect, when making use of these estimates in the development of United States plans, an "insurance factor" was included.
3. In order to demonstrate the destructive capability possessed by an enemy who has the hydrogen bomb, the Board was shown a TOP SECRET film on "OPERATION IVY", the thermonuclear test carried out at Eniwetok in November, 1952. Great emphasis was placed on the fact that this was the first occasion that the film had been shown to persons other than United States citizens. The pictures of the explosion showed clearly the awesome power of the weapon and helped to explain why the United States is so concerned about the problem of air defence.
4. The most important conclusion to be drawn from all the discussions on the threat is that responsible United States officials are firmly of the opinion that the Soviet Union has now, or will have shortly, the capability of launching an atomic attack on North America on a scale sufficient to eliminate this continent as an effective source of resistance to the achievement of Soviet objectives. For this reason, the United States officials assert that even to provide a margin of protection sufficient only to keep our losses to the point where we would have the ability to recuperate and retaliate, the North American air defence system must be greatly expanded and that it is necessary that this be done rapidly.
Meeting the Threat
A. Early Warning
5. The USAF Air Defence Command has associated with it a Joint Air Defence Board which is responsible for carrying out long-range planning studies. The Joint Air Defence Board's concept of early warning covers the whole of the northern hemisphere. Studies now being carried out embrace measures which might be taken to improve the radar systems of friendly countries bordering the Soviet Union and its satellites; the use of airborne early warning in areas adjacent to Russia; the installation of alarm-type radars on merchant ships and civil aircraft which operate in suitable areas; the construction of the far-northern Canadian line and the 55th parallel line; the establishment of the seaward extensions of the early warning system in Canada from Newfoundland to the Azores and from Alaska to Hawaii; and the improvement of the existing heavy radar installations in Canada and the United States by the installation of gap-filling equipment and data transmission and analysis equipment. Some of the above measures, particular those concerned with the North American warning system, are already included in the implementing programmes of the USAF Air Defence Command. Others are at this stage only preliminary proposals for possible implementation at a later date if studies now in progress bear out their value.
6. The U.S. Members of the PJBD have expressed interest in the Observer Corps organization in Northern Canada, and in the provision of effective means for the transmission of reports; also in the possibility of putting alarm-type radar equipment at the northern weather stations and other places where the few suitably qualified personnel required would be available.
B. Engaging the Enemy
7. In addition to the fighter forces in Alaska and Northeast Command (which are not under control of Air Defence Command), there are at present 51 squadrons of interceptor aircraft in the continental United States under Air Defence Command, 41 of which are equipped with all-weather aircraft. The defence programme now accepted by the U.S. Defence Department provides for the expansion of this force to 69 all-weather squadrons by 1955, and ADC planning is now being carried out on the basis of a further increase to 85 - 100 squadrons by 1960. In addition to the forces directly under ADC Command, further support in event of emergency can be provided on a few hours' notice by Tactical and Strategic Air Commands and the U.S. Navy. Ground defences are also being expanded. There are now 61 anti-aircraft battalions, 20 of which will be equipped with the Nike ground-to-air guided missile by the end of 1954. Planning is being carried out by the Anti Aircraft Artillery Command on the basis of 160 - 190 Nike battalions by 1960.
8. An account in some detail was given of the arrangements for co-ordination with the Alaskan and Northeast Air Commands of the United States Air Force, and with the Royal Canadian Air Force Air Defence Command. It was made clear, however, that although these arrangements had been developed to a high standard, they could never, in the view of the United States, be as effective as would a true integration, and the hope was expressed that the day might come when this would be possible. (Presumably if integration were carried out it would mean the establishment of a North American Air Defence Command which would control all air defence forces in both Canada and the United States).
9. On several occasions reference was made to the desirability of increasing the depth of the combat area when the existence of more distant early warning would make this useful. Members of the Canadian Section tried to find out what was meant by this thought and to learn whether there were any plans involving the stationing of fighter forces or the establishment of bases in Canada, but the U.S. officers were not prepared to comment on this.
The Impact of New Weapons
10. The United States Air Force has now under development a supersonic all-weather fighter (the F-102) which will be armed with an air-to-air guided missile. By 1960 the USAF Air Defence Command anticipates that there will be available a ground-to-air missile known as BOMARC, with a range of 250 miles and armed with an atomic warhead. Planning is being carried out on the basis of 3000 BOMARC missiles, to be used initially primarily for defence of the seaward approaches. General Chidlaw, the Commanding General of Air Defence Command told the Canadian Chairman that rapid progress was being made in the development of missiles of this type, and of intercontinental missiles, and he expressed the opinion that there might well be only one more manned fighter developed by the United States after the F-102.
11. The Canadian Section of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence concluded that the combination of formal briefings and informal conversations was definitely planned to convey to the Canadian Section of the PJBD the importance attached by the United States Air Defence Command to the necessity of raising the level of North American air defence to a point which will insure that no Soviet attack will be able to reduce United States and Canadian warmaking capacity below that required to recuperate and retaliate effectively.
12. The features of the presentation which the Canadian Section of the PJBD considers were of most immediate importance to Canada were the expression of U.S. Air Defence Command belief
(a) in the necessity for an early warning line along the Arctic coast from Alaska to Baffin Island in addition to the line along the 55th parallel;
(b) that integration of the North American air defence system is desirable;
(c) that the depth of the "combat area" should be increased. Presumably this would mean fighter or guided missile bases in Canada.
13. In bringing these matters to the attention of those concerned, the Canadian Section of the PJBD is merely reporting the views placed before it by the Commanding General and senior staff officers of the USAF Air Defence Command.