[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] timates, is planning early hearings on the U.S.-Soviet strategic balnce. It intends to start with witnesses from outside the government.
Together, these inquiries and perhaps others in the House encompass a controversy that will coincide with debate over the new defense budge and the Carter administration's plans for intensified U.S. Soviet nuclear arms control negotiations.
Proxmire said yesterday that "there is a tendency in the military establishment to cry wolf at [defense] budget time."
Proxmire is questioning the use of a panel of prominent critics of U.S.-Soviet detente policy, led by Prof. Richard Pipes of Harvard, in the internal debates over the current top secret official estimate of Soviet military power.
Central Intelligence Agency Director George Bush coordinated the unusual adversary process, in which the outside panel reinforces "worst case" anaysts inside the government, especially in military intelligence.
"Do we let one outside group with known hawkish tendencies influence our estimates?" Proxmire asked yesterday. "What would happen if it became known that our intelligence estimates were being influenced by a high-level group of forceful personalities committed to disarmament?
"The intelligence community needs intellectual stimulation from outside its closed confines," he said. "But to limit that stimulation to one philosophy, to one ideological group," he said, "is to do violence to the concept of intelligence free from pressure."
Proxmire, it was learned, on Tuesday sent a four-page questionnaire to Gen. George S. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, questioning public claims by Maj. Gen. George J. Keegan Jr., who retired last weekend as Air Force chief of intelligence.
Keegan has been a fierce dissenter to the entire pattern of U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms control negotiations, and has praised the challenges raised against them by the Pipes panel.
Proxmire said public comments by Keegan "raise the most serious questions about the strategic relationship between the U.S. and U.S.S.R." He put to Brown 25 questions drawn from an interview with Keegan in The New York Times, asking for "the official views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff" on Keegan's claims.
Keegan was quoted as saying that:
"By every criterion used to measure (nuclear) strategic balance - that is, damage expectancy, throw-weight, equivalent megatonnage or technology - I am unaware of a single important category in which the Soviets have not established a significant lead over the United States."
In another interview, with Newsweek magazine, Keegan was quoted as saying, "We are blinded by our hopes, our perceptions of Soviet objectives and our assumption that nuclear was is unthinkable and that no one would survive." Keegan also said, "The Soviets are working on dramatically exotic new weapons, 20 year sahead of anything ever conveived in the U.S. . . ."
Proxmire wrote Brown that if Keegan is correct, "then indeed his country does face a crisis of confidence in our military capacity. If not, then we need to know the facts, all the facts, so that other judgements can be drawn."
Proxmire yesterday questioned whether reports of Soviet military superiority have included the following factors:
"Our lead in [nuclear] warheads over the Soviet Union - 9,000 to 3,600 - or our five-year lead in MIRV (multiple warhead) technology or the increased capabilities of the Trident submarine program: or the improved command, control and communications procedures or the greatly enhanced retargeting capability of U.S. missile forces: or the U.S. development of cruise missiles, or our early warning devices in space and at sea and on the ground or many other areas where the U.S. has a significant lead over the Soviets."
Proxmire said "the best should be heard" from all sides of "the many voices in the arms control community" and in "the defense community." Then, he said: "the intelligence experts will benefit from the resulting tension - the give and take between intellectual adversaries."