National Press Club

NPC Headliners event presents CIA analysis of Soviet Navy

September 6, 2017 | By Amanda M. Macias | amanda.m.macias@gmail.com

Norman Polmar (speaking), Naval intelligence historian and longtime Club member, at a National Press Club Headliners Newsmaker, Sept. 6, 2017 on Soviet Naval intelligence gathered by the CIA. Other panelists were Celia Mansfield, CIA Historical Programs Coordinator; Eugene Sullivan, retd. CIA senior officer; Kevin Wensing, event moderator and organizer; Rear Admiral Thomas Brooks, U.S. Navy (Retd), and David Rosenberg, Institute for Defense Analyses, U.S. Navy Captain (Retd.)

Norman Polmar (speaking), Naval intelligence historian and longtime Club member, at a National Press Club Headliners Newsmaker, Sept. 6, 2017 on Soviet Naval intelligence gathered by the CIA. Other panelists were Celia Mansfield, CIA Historical Programs Coordinator; Eugene Sullivan, retd. CIA senior officer; Kevin Wensing, event moderator and organizer; Rear Admiral Thomas Brooks, U.S. Navy (Retd), and David Rosenberg, Institute for Defense Analyses, U.S. Navy Captain (Retd.)

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

A panel of CIA analysts and Navy historians presented a collection of newly declassified documents on the Soviet Navy at the National Press Club Headliners Newsmaker on September 6.

The CIA's Historical Review Program partnered with the National Museum of the U.S. Navy and the Naval Historical Foundation to release the records. The 82 intelligence reports, spanning the 1960s and 1980s, focus on the strategic efforts and consequences of the Soviet Union's plan to develop its naval force.

"These documents are fascinating," naval intelligence historian Norman Polmar said during opening remarks.

"Having made a dozen trips to the Soviet Union and Russia and having discussed some of the issues in here with senior officers and submarine designers, let me say that these are eye-opening documents," Polmar added.

Gathered over a period of three decades, the collection provides deep insight into the CIA's quest to understand the Soviet Navy's evolving military posture during the Cold War.

The more than 3,000 pages contain photographs, memos, research reports, interviews, and military directives.

"As you go through this and you read this, you have to stop and think that there are still some things that can only be collected by human beings from human beings," noted retired Navy Rear Admiral Thomas Brooks.

"No satellite or antenna could have collected the information compiled in this document. The value of the world's oldest form of intelligence remains important today as it has throughout history," said Brooks, who is also the former Director of Naval Intelligence.

All of the newly released documents are accompanied with summaries and are available on the CIA's website.