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Moscow Deploys 45 SS-25 Missiles, Weinberger Says

January 09, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger fired the first salvo today in his fight to keep military spending increases intact, using the Soviet threat as ammunition by charging that Moscow has now deployed 45 SS-25 strategic missiles.

At the same time, Administration sources said President Reagan has decided to ask Congress for slightly more than $311 billion for the Pentagon for next year, which includes a 4% pay increase for the military and leaves nuclear weapons and the "Star Wars" programs untouched.

Soviet deployment of the mobile nuclear missile is a violation of the unratified SALT II accord, the United States has charged, and Weinberger accused Moscow last December of placing 27 of the feared SS-25s in the field.

"Today I can confirm that the Soviets now have 45 operationally deployed SS-25s, a number which represents a continual growth in this threat," Weinberger said. "And these numbers are, if anything, conservative since we expect additional deployments in the very near future."

Weinberger made the disclosure in remarks to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to bolster his arguments that the United States cannot afford erratic defense budgets or cutbacks in military spending.

"We must face the fact that over the long term our military funding has been erratic and inconsistent, which has led to allied questioning of our intentions and to the confusion or our own citizens about our overall purposes," he said.

"And, perhaps most important, it has yielded opportunities to our adversaries."

Weinberger's pleas for maintaining a 3% real growth in the defense budget for next year, which will be presented to Congress on Feb. 3, echoed his appeals on behalf of the $1-trillion military buildup over the past five years.

But they were made in the face of the new budget-balancing law that will force the Pentagon to give up $5.2 billion of its $281-billion budget this year and restrict its spending request next year to about $311 billion--far below original plans for a $354-billion budget proposal in fiscal 1987.

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