The preparations the Soviets are making for war, in the area of SALT I, SALT II, the ABM treaty and d,etente, are startling. The Soviets spend an estimated 12 percent to 20 percent of their gross national product on the military budget. The United States spends approximately 5 percent. The Soviets spend a much higher percentage of their military budget on weapons acquisition and development, while we spend a much higher percentage on salaries and personnel. The Soviet budget has been estimated to be as high as $460 billion in 1985, compared with the U.S. level of $268 billion. . . .

The recent debate on the MX missile has focused attention on the three "legs" of the American nuclear submarines. The United States has essentially imposed a unilateral freeze on itself since the 1960s, while the Soviets have raced ahead. The Soviets are thought to have 1,400 or more ICBMs to our 1,000; at least 60 missile-launching submarines to our 35. They also have vastly more short-range missiles, cruise missiles, chemical and biological weapons, tanks, fighter planes and soldiers. . . .

The exact numbers are difficult to determine, but there is little question that the Soviets have deployed a massive nuclear force more powerful than that of the United States and that they are continuing to develop it at a rapid pace. . . .

Given the danger presented by Soviet offensive nuclear power and their defensive preparations for a nuclear attack, the bishops should consider that the most effective way to avoid a nuclear war and preserve our freedom is to have an adequate offensive and defensive capability.