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Calendar No. 345
105th Congress Report
2d Session 105-175
AMERICAN MISSILE PROTECTION ACT OF 1998
April 24, 1998.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Thurmond, from the Committee on Armed Services, submitted the
R E P O R T
ADDITIONAL AND MINORITY VIEWS
[To accompany S. 1873]
[Includes cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Armed Services, to which was referred the
bill (S. 1873) having considered the same, reports favorably
thereon without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.
purpose of the bill
S. 1873 would establish that it is the policy of the United
States to deploy as soon as technologically possible an
effective National Missile Defense (NMD) system capable of
defending the territory of the United States against limited
ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or
S. 1873 does not mandate specific architectural elements of
the NMD system, specific deployment dates, or changes to any
arms control agreements. It allows the Defense Department
complete flexibility in designing the NMD system, and,
according to the Congressional Budget Office, ``the bill, by
itself, would have no budgetary impact.''
scope of the committee review
The Committee is reporting S. 1873 to the Senate for the
Value of national missile defense
A commitment to deploying NMD will have two crucial impacts
on the security of the United States. First, it will signal to
nations that aspire to possess ballistic missiles with which to
coerce or attack the United States that pursuit of such
capabilities is a waste of both time and resources. In this
sense, it will have a deterrent effect on proliferation.
Second, if some aspiring states are not deterred, a commitment
to deploy an NMD system will ensure that American citizens and
their property are protected from limited ballistic missile
Need for a national missile defense
Current administration policy on NMD--embodied in the so-
called ``3+3'' ``Deployment Readiness'' program--assumes that
the United States will be able to clearly discern the emergence
of a ballistic missile threat to the United States in
sufficient time to deploy a defense. The Committee's review
found that this policy bases the security of the United States
against ballistic missile attack on three faulty premises: (1)
that no threat currently exists or is emerging; (2) that when a
threat does emerge, it will be clearly discernable; and (3)
that when the threat emerges or is emerging, the United States
will have sufficient time to put a defense in place to deal
with it. S. 1873 would rectify this insufficient policy by
basing the security of the United States against the extant and
emerging threat of ballistic missile attack on a firmer
foundation, committing to deployment of NMD as soon as the
technology is ready.
As the findings in S. 1873 clearly document, a threat of
ballistic missile attack on the United States already exists.
Although unlikely, the threat of unauthorized or accidental
launches from Russia or China is real, and may be heightened as
the armed forces of former Soviet Union undergo their
transition to a post-Cold War posture.
But there is also an imminent threat that stems from the
growing, widely acknowledged proliferation problem. The
President has for four consecutive years declared the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery
systems to be a national emergency. The seriousness of this
problem has been articulated on numerous occasions by other
senior administration officials and by Congress.
Evidence of this growing threat abounds. The range of
ballistic missiles possessed by proliferant states has been
steadily increasing, sometimes in sudden leaps. North Korea,
for example, first purchased 300 kilometer (short-range) Scud-B
missiles in the 1980s, then developed the 500 kilometer Scud-C,
is now deploying the 1000 kilometer No-Dong, and is developing
both a 2000 kilometer medium-range ballistic missile and a 6000
kilometer intercontinental ballistic missile. Most recently,
Iran has made dramatic and sudden progress in its Shahab-3 and
Shahab-4 medium range ballistic missiles, and Pakistan recently
tested a missile with a range of 1500 kilometers, five times
greater than its next most capable missile.
The proliferation of technology, expertise and hardware
with which to build a long-range ballistic missile is
accelerating rapidly, spurred by advances in information
technology and growing demand for space launch vehicles, which
is essentially a ballistic missile without warheads. A stark
reminder of this surfaced on April 4, 1998, when the New York
Times reported that the Justice Department has launched a
criminal investigation into two American companies whose
technical assistance, intended to troubleshoot a failed
satellite launch rocket, instead may have helped China solve
critical guidance problems with its intercontinental ballistic
missiles. According to a Pentagon assessment, because of this
assistance ``U.S. national security has been harmed.''
Continuing technological surprise
The Intelligence Community has been repeatedly surprised by
advances in ballistic missile technology achieved by less
developed countries, calling into question its ability to
anticipate precisely when the United States will be threatened
by long-range ballistic missiles. In 1997, the Director of
Central Intelligence (DCI) testified that Iran could have a
medium-range missile by 2007. One year later the DCI told the
Senate, ``since I testified, Iran's success in getting
technology and materials from Russian companies, combined with
recent indigenous Iranian advances, means that it could have a
medium-range missile much sooner than I assessed last year.'' A
Department of State official testified in September, 1997 that
Iran could develop this missile in ``maybe one to one-and-a-
half years, and it may be shorter than that,'' meaning as much
as nine years sooner than had been predicted only a year
earlier by the DCI.
Experience has shown that variables like the amount of
outside assistance provided to rogue nations--factors which can
significantly speed the acquisition of ballistic missiles--
cannot be predicted reliably. On April 6, 1998, for example,
Pakistan launched a ballistic missile capable of reaching a
range of 1500 kilometers. In November 1998, the Defense
Department published ``Proliferation: Threat and Response,''
its analysis of the world's weapons of mass destruction and
delivery systems. That publication contained no mention of any
effort by Pakistan to develop such a capability, crediting
Pakistan with, at best, a 300 km. short-range ballistic
missile. Yet less than six months later, Pakistan successfully
launched a missile with five times the range of its previous
most capable weapon. Pakistan claims its achievements were
indigenous, the government of India charges China with
providing assistance, and United States government officials
suggest North Korea may have provided the technology for the
Ghauri missile. Whatever the source of technological aid, one
thing is clear: the United States has once again been surprised
by the ballistic missile achievements of another state.
There are numerous other examples of our intelligence
community's uneven record in anticipating ballistic missile
developments in other countries. This does not suggest
incompetence or a lack of diligence on the part of the
Intelligence Community, which is staffed by competent and
dedicated people. But it underscores that evidence of
technological developments is often difficult to obtain, and
that even when such evidence is available, it is oftentimes
difficult to discern just what it means until after the fact.
Indeed, the DCI told the Senate in 1997 that ``gaps and
uncertainties preclude a good projection of exactly when `rest
of the world' countries will deploy ICBMs.''
Given this track record, the Committee believes the
security of American lives and property cannot be based on a
hope that the United States will see the next major advance in
ballistic missiles long before it is available to coerce or
harm our nation. There may be other ballistic missiles in
development now that seem as far off today as the Shahab-3
seemed to the DCI only a year ago.
Deployment preparedness is questionable under current policy
Despite United States experience with the technical
challenges presented by missile defense, the administration's
policy of not committing to NMD deployment is based on the
assertion that the United States can continue to tinker
indefinitely with NMD technology, and at any time after 2000
deploy a system within three short years. The Committee
believes this assertion is faulty for at least two reasons.
First, ``technology development'' does not necessarily lead
to deployment readiness. The purpose of a United States
acquisition program is, according to DOD regulation 5000.2, to
``provide the needed capability to the warfighter in the
shortest practical time.'' This means that alternative
technological approaches must be narrowed, and critical design
trade-offs made so that the system can advance toward
deployment. The absence of an end-point--a deployment goal--
eliminates the driving force that moves a system towards
readiness for the field.
Second, the U.S. experience has shown that missile defenses
are well within the realm of technical possibility but still
technically challenging. The administration's assertion that it
will be able to spring from technology development to a
deployed capability in three years does not accord with
It is an inefficient aberration of DOD policy and practice
to manage a Major Defense Acquisition program so that it goes
into a circling pattern at some point in its development while
awaiting the Intelligence Community's detailed characterization
of some future threat. The United States is developing and
deploying the F-22, for example, because a new air superiority
fighter will benecessary in the middle of the next decade.
Development of this aircraft is not being put on hold while the United
States awaits information on the thrust-to-weight ratio or low
observability of a new enemy fighter that might appear at some time in
the future. The United States does not take this approach with any
other Major Defense Acquisition Program other than NMD.
Testifying on NMD, the Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition and Technology told the House Military Procurement
and Military Research and Development Subcommittees in
February, 1998, ``There will be a system deployed. There is
absolutely no question the nation will have to have missile
defense in the future. The question is when.'' Given the
inevitability of the need for NMD, acknowledged by the
administration, the Committee believes the NMD program must be
put on a more rational acquisition path, which includes a
commitment to deploy as soon as the technology is ready.
The Committee believes the need for deployment of NMD is
clear. The threat exists and continues to grow. The United
States has been regularly surprised at the pace and character
of its progress. The ability of the United States to clearly
discern those threats well in advance of their arrival is
limited. And confidence in our ability to respond rapidly to
these threats must be tempered by realistic assessments of the
technical challenges and the ability of the technical community
to deal with them. S. 1873, by committing to deployment of NMD,
will ensure the United States is prepared to meet that threat.
In accordance with the Legislative Reorganization Act of
1946, as amended by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970,
there is set forth below the committee vote to report the
American Missile Protection Act of 1998 (S. 1873).
In favor: Senators Thurmond, Warner, McCain, Coats, Smith,
Kempthorne, Inhofe, Santorum, Snowe and Roberts.
Opposed: Senators Levin, Kennedy, Bingaman, Glenn, Byrd,
Robb and Cleland.
Not Voting: Senator Lieberman.
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE
On April 15, 1998, the Congressional Budget Office issued a
cost estimate for S. 1873. According to this estimate ``the
bill, by itself, would have no budgetary impact.'' The complete
cost estimate and cover letter from the Congressional Budget
Office are shown below.
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, April 22, 1998.
Hon. Strom Thurmond,
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
has prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1873, the
American Missile Protection Act of 1998.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Raymond Hall.
June E. O'Neill, Director.
S. 1873--American Missile Protection Act of 1998
S. 1873 would state that it is U.S. policy to deploy as
soon as technologically possible an effective national missile
defense system capable of defending the United States against
limited ballistic missile attack.
CBO estimates that the bill, by itself, would have no
budgetary impact. Because it would not affect direct spending
or receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. Any
budgetary impact would stem from separate implementing
legislation or from annual authorization and appropriation
bills. How the costs of implementing the policy enunciated in
S. 1873 would compare with costs likely to be incurred under
current law would depend on the systems and time frame required
by subsequent legislation.
Section 4 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
excludes from the application of that act any legislative
provisions that are necessary for the national security. CBO
has determined that all provisions of this bill fit within that
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Raymond Hall.
This estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the
Senate requires that a report on the regulatory impact of a
bill be included in the report on the bill. The committee finds
that there is no regulatory impact in the cost of S. 1873.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
S. 1873 does not include any changes in existing law.
ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF SENATOR SMITH
The Strategic Forces Subcommittee, which I chair, has
looked closely at the challenges of creating a workable and
adequate schedule for national missile defense, as well as at
the threats which impel these programs. I strongly believe that
the threat is here today and growing. This legislation calls
for placing national missile defense on the same footing as any
other defense system: an executable program based on sound
technology in response to a real threat. It should be adopted.
During the Armed Services Committee's deliberations
regarding S. 1873 it was asserted that this legislation would
commit the United States to deploying a National Missile
Defense (NMD) system without considering issues related to
cost, technology, the threat of arms control. These views were
also expressed, to varying degrees, in letters to the committee
from the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, and the General Counsel of the Department of Defense.
A careful reading of S. 1873 reveals these assertions to be
Establishing a policy to deploy an NMD system as soon as
technologically possible in no way means that a rigorous
acquisition program should not be followed. Quite the opposite
is true: it specifically implies that such a program would be
implemented. Every DOD acquisition program must pass a series
of technical reviews, undergo strict cost and operational
effectiveness assessments and be able to complete rigorous
testing at every stage of the program. S. 1873 would in no way
alter this for NMD. In this sense, S. 1873 would require the
NMD system to become a more ``normal'' acquisition program than
is currently the case with the Clinton Administration's ``3+3''
program, which the Director of BMDO has characterized as an
``extremely high risk'' approach.
Regarding the ABM Treaty, nothing in S. 1873 requires or
encourages the United States to abrogate or violate the ABM
Treaty. However, the bill would make clear that discussions
between Russia and the United States must commence relatively
soon so that the sides can develop a cooperative path for
amending or otherwise altering the existing ABM Treaty to allow
for deployment of a limited NMD system. Such discussions are
necessary since it now appears that no NMD system capable of
defending all 50 states can be deployed within the current ABM
Treaty restrictions. The ``3+3'' program, on the other hand,
allows the parties to defer commencement of such discussions
until such time as the threat requiring deployment of an NMD
system is imminent. In all likelihood, as a result of this
situation, the United States would be faced with a choice of
abrogating the treaty or not deploying an NMD system at all.
This would create forced and unstable conditions for ABM
negotiations, a situation detrimental to both U.S. and Russian
If the administration is concerned about cost and technical
risk, it should welcome S. 1873. Under ``3+3'' the United
States might have to deploy an NMD system four years from now,
even though such a program would be virtually impossible to
implement. Indeed, if ``3+3'' were a real program, this is
precisely what DOD would have to do, since a new threat to the
United States before the year 2003 has already been forecast as
possible by the Intelligence Community. Such a program would
truly be what the Welch report called a ``rush to failure.''
The policy envisioned in S. 1873, on the other hand, would
allow DOD to develop a program characterized by adequate
testing and risk reduction. The timeframe associated with such
a program would certainly be adequate to address concerns
regarding the ABM Treaty.
As the Senate considers the red herring arguments
concerning cost, technology, the threat and the ABM Treaty, it
is important to bear in mind that S. 1873 would establish an
overarching policy, not a detailed implementation plan. That
would appropriately be left to the Department of Defense. This
was recognized by the Congressional Budget Office when it
concluded that ``the bill, by itself, would have no budgetary
impact.'' As CBO correctly noted, costs would be determined by
subsequent legislation. Since most of this legislation would be
annual authorization and appropriation bills, the
administration would play a key role in determining the cost
and schedule of the systems being developed.
In the end, the only legitimate argument against S. 1873 is
one based on outright opposition to ever deploying an NMD
system. If this is the true basis for opposition to this bill
it should be publicly stated and not cloaked in misleading
rhetoric related to issues not even addressed by the
ADDITIONAL VIEWS FROM SENATOR COATS
I fully support the essential policy position of S. 1873;
namely, that we must deploy an effective National Missile
Defense as soon as technologically feasible. However, I am
concerned that the program may suffer from the high-risk
development approach that already has led to significant delays
in operational capability in the theater high-altitude air
defense (THAAD) and Navy Theater Wide (NTW) systems.
According to the Welch Panel's Report on Reducing Risk in
Ballistic Missile Defense Flight Test Programs, the failures
have had little to do with technology. Rather, the panel cites
an approach to general planning and execution that is
``inconsistent with the complexity of the task.'' The panel
goes on to state that the additional risk inherent to a
concurrent development approach has ``produced little
discernible benefit and has actually delayed operational
Such delays--and the increased expense that they
necessarily entail--would be an issue of concern at any time,
but are especially worrisome in this era of fixed defense
I believe it's time to get things back on track. Missile
defense is a difficult, complex endeavor, and we need to pursue
far more rigorous test and development regimes as a
MINORITY VIEWS OF SENATORS LEVIN, KENNEDY, BINGAMAN, GLENN, BYRD, ROBB,
We cannot support S. 1873, the ``American Missile
Protection Act of 1998,'' as it has been reported to the Senate
by the Armed Services Committee. In our view, and in the view
of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, this legislation would undermine the carefully
designed National Missile Defense (NMD) development and
acquisition program currently in place by making a deployment
decision now, before development is completed, without
permitting consideration of all the critical factors that
should inform a deployment decision. The result, in the worst
case, could be to cause an increase in ballistic missile
threats to the United States and a decrease in our security.
The key provision of the bill is the statement of policy in
It is the policy of the United States to deploy as
soon as is technologically possible an effective
National Missile Defense system capable of defending
the territory of the United States against limited
ballistic missile attack (whether accidental,
unauthorized or deliberate).
We share Secretary of Defense Cohen's commitment to
ensuring the American people receive protection from missile
threats to the United States when they need it. That is why we
support the current National Missile Defense Deployment
Readiness Program, which is also known as the ``3 plus 3''
program. Under this program the Defense Department is
developing the technology for the NMD system for three years so
that it will be in a position to make a deployment
determination in fiscal year 2000. If there is a threat that
warrants deployment, if the system is cost-effective, and if
deployment would not jeopardize arms reduction agreements, the
system could be deployed in three years, or as early as fiscal
year 2003. If these conditions do not warrant deployment, the
technology would continue to be developed to improve the
capability of the system that could be deployed if and when
deployment is warranted.
Last year the Congress endorsed the 3 plus 3 NMD program in
the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 by
requiring the Secretary of Defense to structure the NMD program
in order to meet the 3 plus 3 goals, and to provide Congress
with his plan for doing so.
S. 1873 is inconsistent with the 3 plus 3 NMD program in a
number of very significant ways: it ignores the issue of the
likelihood and extent of ballistic missile threats to the
United States; it ignores the issue of affordability and cost-
effectiveness; and it ignores the impact on current and future
arms reduction agreements. These points are made in letters
provided to the Committee by Defense Secretary William Cohen,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry Shelton,
and Defense Department General Counsel Judith Miller, which are
included at the end of these views.
One of the critical factors affecting any decision to
deploy a national missile defense system should be an
assessment of the threat to be countered by such a system. If
there is not a threat sufficient to warrant deployment of an
NMD system, the United States can continue to develop the NMD
technology so that the capability of the system continues to
improve. This is the current DOD plan, which we believe makes
By committing to deploy an NMD system solely on the basis
of whether it is ``technologically possible'', S. 1873 ignores
the issue of whether there is any threat that warrants
deployment. In his letter to the Committee, dated April 21,
1998, Secretary Cohen noted that S. 1873 ``would alter the `3
plus 3' strategy so as to eliminate taking into account the
nature of the threat when making a deployment decision. This
could lead to the deployment of an inferior system less capable
of defending the American people if and when a threat emerges.
Because of this, I am compelled to oppose the adoption of the
There are two concerns about the missile threat to the
United States: the emergence of a rogue nation missile threat
to the United States, and the possibility of an unauthorized or
accidental missile launch from Russia or China, the only two
nations other than Great Britain and France with
intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can reach the
United States today.
As Secretary Cohen noted earlier this year in his Annual
Report to the President and the Congress, the threat of an ICBM
reaching the United States from a country other than Russia or
China in the next 15 years is currently very low:
The Intelligence Community has concluded that the
only rogue nation missile development which could
conceivably have the range to strike the United States
is the North Korean Taepo Dong 2, which could strike
portions of Alaska or the far-western Hawaiian Islands,
but the likelihood of its being operational by 2005 is
very low. With this exception, no country, other than
the declared nuclear powers, will develop or otherwise
acquire a ballistic missile in the next 15 years that
could threaten the United States, although outside
assistance is a wild card that could shorten time lines
Some have questioned the ability of the Intelligence
Community to accurately assess the emergence of a ballistic
missile threat to the United States. These questions, however,
are generally based on examples of short- or medium-range
theater ballistic missile developments which do not pose a
direct threat to the United States, rather than on long-range
It is important to understand the distinction between
theater ballistic missiles and ICBMs. The examples of
unanticipated missile developments cited by the majority in
this report are theater-range systems that cannot be converted
into ICBMs. The United States has a vigorous and robust program
of theater missile defenses--which we support--that are
designed to counter the growing theater missile threat that
exists today. ICBMs have considerably more indicators of
development than these short- or medium-range systems, take
considerably longer to develop and test, and are more easily
tracked by the Intelligence Community.
Our senior military leaders have a high degree of
confidence that our Intelligence Community will be able to
provide sufficient warning of an ICBM threat to the United
States to allow us to deploy effective defenses. In General
Shelton's letter of April 21, 1998, he states:
I disagree with the bill's contention that the United
States ability to anticipate future ballistic missile
threats is questionable. It is possible, of course,
that there could be surprises, particularly were a
rogue state to receive outside assistance. However,
given the substantial intelligence resources being
devoted to this issue, I am confident that we will have
the 3 years' warning upon which our strategy is based.
Similarly, General Howell Estes, the Commander in Chief of
the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States
Space Command who would have operational command of any NMD
system, testified to the Committee last year:
Let me reemphasize that the Administration 3 plus 3
program will enable us to deploy an NMD system in time
to field a missile defense system before the threat
places our citizens at risk.
The United States Intelligence Community also believes the
risk of an accidental or unauthorized launch by a declared
nuclear power is highly unlikely. George Tenet, the Director of
Central Intelligence, testified in open session last year that
the Intelligence Community assessment is that it is a
``remote'' risk because of considerable precautions or
procedures taken by Russia and China.
General Eugene Habiger, Commander-in-Chief of United States
Strategic Command, reinforced this view when he testified to
the Committee this year on the Russian command and control
measures, which he has witnessed first-hand, to prevent an
accidental or unauthorized launch of an ICBM against the United
States. He has publicly stated that Russia has some mechanisms
and procedures more stringent than our own for nuclear command
and control. General Habiger, who has had a unique opportunity
to visit Russian strategic nuclear weapon bases--including an
ICBM base, a strategic submarine base, a bomber base, a nuclear
command and control center, and a nuclear weapon storage site--
has stated publicly that he does not worry about accidental or
unauthorized launches from Russia.
Affordability and cost-effectiveness
S. 1873 also completely ignores the question of cost-
effectiveness and affordability. In effect, it decides now to
deploy a system, regardless of the cost and regardless of
whether the system is cost-effective. This is the first
instance we know of where Congress would legislatively mandate
the deployment of a military weapon system before it is
developed andbefore we know what it will eventually cost and
whether it is cost-effective.
Any decision to deploy a national missile defense system
should include an understanding of the system's cost and its
cost-effectiveness. It would be very unwise to commit to
deployment and then discover that the cost was unaffordable.
Likewise, if there is no threat warranting deployment,
deploying the first technology possible may require
considerable additional expense to deploy a more capable system
later if the threat requires it. As Secretary Cohen pointed out
in his letter to the Committee, a premature decision to deploy
an NMD system ``could lead to the deployment of an inferior
system less capable of defending the American people if and
when a threat emerges.''
General John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, made the same point when he testified before
the Committee last year that the current 3 plus 3 NMD program
is structured to deploy the most capable and cost-effective
system if and when we need it:
The NMD Deployment Readiness Program optimizes the
potential for an effective National Missile Defense
System. If the decision is made to deploy a NMD system
in the near term, then the system fielded would provide
a very limited capability. If deploying a system in the
near term can be avoided, DOD can continue to enhance
the technology base and the commensurate capability of
the NMD system that could be fielded on a later
deployment schedule. The objective here is to be in a
position to be three years away from deployment, so
America can respond to the emergence of a threat. This
approach fields the most cost-effective capability that
is available at the time the threat emerges.
A premature decision to deploy an NMD system would also
have serious consequences for funding higher priority military
programs. In her letter to the Committee, DOD General Counsel
Judith Miller concludes: ``Commitment to deploy now, in the
absence of a threat, would divert vital defense funds from more
pressing military needs and would result in premature
commitment to a technological option that may be outdated when
the threat emerges.''
Arms control impact
Finally, S. 1873 ignores the impact of deciding to deploy a
national missile defense system on arms control reductions, and
thus ignores the possibility that deployment might stop the
reduction of hundreds of ICBMs and SLBMs with thousands of
warheads that would otherwise not be able to threaten us.
Before making any deployment decision, we should understand the
impact of deployment on arms reductions.
If we deploy an NMD system that violates the Anti-Ballistic
Missile (ABM) Treaty, Russia is likely to withdraw from START I
and not ratify START II. In May, 1996, General Shalikashvili
wrote to the Committee, ``I am concerned that failure of either
START initiative will result in Russian retention of hundreds
or even thousands more nuclear weapons, thereby increasing both
the costs and risks we may face.''
In its December, 1997 report, the Congressionally-mandated
National Defense Panel concluded that ``Defensive systems will
be more effective if they are coupled to arms control
agreements that limit offensive capabilities.'' Before we
decide to deploy an NMD system, we should understand the
security implications of deployment. We certainly do not want
to deploy a system that decreases our security.
General Shelton's letter of April 21 concludes with a
crucial point about elements of the current hedge strategy
embodied in the 3 plus 3 program that would be ignored and
undermined by S. 1873: ``Finally, the bill does not consider
affordability or the impact a deployment would have on arms
control agreements and nuclear arms reductions. Both points are
addressed in the NMD Deployment Readiness Program and should be
included in any bill on NMD. [emphasis added]''
S. 1873 would commit the United States to deploy a national
missile defense system before we know what the nature of the
threat will be at the time of deployment; before we know the
cost of such a system and the impact that funding this system
would have on other high priority military programs; and before
we know whether the decision to deploy such a system would
jeopardize current and future nuclear arms reductions.
We share the view of the Secretary of Defense and the
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the decision to
deploy a national missile defense system before it is even
developed is a decision we do not need to, and should not, make
at this time, particularly without considering the threat, the
cost and the impact on nuclear arms reductions.
For these reasons, we cannot support S. 1873, and we urge
the Senate to reject this legislation. As the senior civilian
and military leadership of the Defense Department have clearly
and repeatedly stated, the current 3 plus 3 National Missile
Defense program is a prudent course to address the problem of
emerging ballistic threats to the United States.
Robert C. Byrd.
The Secretary of Defense,
Washington, DC, April 21, 1998.
Hon. Strom Thurmond,
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: I am writing in response to your request
for the views of the Department of Defense on S. 1873, the
American Missile Protection Act of 1998.
The Department of Defense is committed to ensuring that we
properly protect the American people and America's national
security interests. This requires that we have a carefully
balanced defense program that ensures that we are able to meet
threats to our people and vital interest wherever and whenever
they arise. A key element of our defense program is our
National Missile Defense (NMD) program, which as you know was
restructured under Secretary Perry and with the support of
Congress as a ``3+3'' deployment readiness program. Under this
approach, by 2000 the United States is to be in a position to
make a deployment decision if warranted by the threat, and if a
decision to deploy were made at that time the initial NMD
system would be deployed by 2003. If in 2000 the threat
assessment does not warrant a deployment decision, improvements
in NMD system component technology will continue, while an
ability is maintained to deploy a system within three years of
The Quadrennial Defense Review reaffirmed this approach,
although it also determined that the ``3+3'' program was
inadequately funded to meet its objectives. Accordingly, I
directed that an additional $2.3 billion be programmed for NMD
over the Future Years Defense Plan. It must be emphasized,
though, that even with this additional funding, NMD remains a
high risk program because the compressed schedule necessitates
a high degree of concurrency.
I share with Congress a commitment to ensuring the American
people receive protection from missile threats how and when
they need it. S. 1873, however, would alter the ``3+3''
strategy so as to eliminate taking into account the nature of
the threat when making a deployment decision. This could lead
to the deployment of an inferior system less capable of
defending the American people if and when a threat emerges.
Because of this, I am compelled to oppose the adoption of the
Please be assured, however, that I will continue to work
closely with the Senate and House of Representatives to ensure
that our NMD program and all of our defense programs are
designed and carried out in a manner that provides the best
possible defense of our people and interests.
Secretary of Defense.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Washington, DC, April 21, 1998.
Hon. Carl M. Levin,
Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Armed Services, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Levin: Thank you for the opportunity to
comment on the American Missile Protection Act of 1998 (S.
1873). I agree that the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems poses a major
threat to our forces, allies, and other friendly nations. U.S.
missile systems play a critical role in our strategy to deter
these threats, and the current National Missile Defense (NMD)
Deployment Readiness Program (3+3) is structured to provide a
defense against them when required.
The bill and the NMD program are consistent on many points;
however, the following differences make it difficult to support
enactment. First and most fundamental are the conditions
necessary for deployment. The bill would establish a policy to
deploy as soon as technology allows. The NMD program, on the
other hand, requires an emerging ballistic missile threat as
well as the achievement of a technological capability for an
effective defense before deployment of missile defenses.
Second, the bill asserts that the United States has no
policy to deploy an NMD system. In fact, the NMD effort is
currently a robust research and development program that
provides the flexibility to deploy an initial capability within
3 years of a deployment decision. This prudent hedge ensures
that the United States will be capable of meeting of need for
missile defenses with the latest technology when a threat
Third, I disagree with the bill's contention that the U.S.
ability to anticipate future ballistic missile threats is
questionable. It is possible, of course, that there could be
surprises, particularly were a rogue state to receive outside
assistance. However, given the substantial intelligence
resources being devoted to this issue, I am confident that we
will have the 3 years' warning on which our strategy is based.
Fourth, the bill uses the phrase ``system capable of
defending the territory of the United States.'' The NMD program
calls for defense of only the 50 states. Expanding performance
coverage to include all U.S. territories would have
considerable cost, design, and location implications.
Finally, the bill does not consider affordability or the
impact a deployment would have on arms control agreements and
nuclear arms reductions. Both points are addressed in the NMD
Deployment Readiness Program and should be included in any bill
Please be assured that I remain committed to those programs
that discourage hostile nations from the proliferation of WMD
and the missiles that deliver them. In that regard, I am
confident that our current NMD program provides a comprehensive
policy to counter future ballistic missile threats with the
best technology when deployment is determined necessary.
Henry H. Shelton,
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
General Counsel of the
Department of Defense,
Washington, DC, April 20, 1998.
Hon. Strom Thurmond,
Chairman, Committee on Armed Services,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: This is in response to your request for
the views of the Department of Defense on S. 1873, 105th
Congress, a bill, ``To state the policy of the United States
regarding the deployment of a missile defense system capable of
defending the territory of the United States against limited
ballistic missile attack.''
The Department of Defense and the Administration object to
the American Missile Protection Act of 1998. In response, the
Department of Defense would note that the Administration's
National Missile Defense Deployment Readiness Program is
correct, prudent, and positions the United States to deploy a
defense when a threat emerges.
S. 1873 would seek to make it United States policy ``to
deploy as soon as technologically possible an effective
National Missile Defense system capable of defending the
territory of the United States against limited ballistic
missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or
The Administration's National Missile Defense program is
premised on the view that not only must the technology be
developed to allow for an effective defense, but that
deployment should be based on an emerging rogue ballistic
missile threat to the United States. To do otherwise is to
waste scarce Defense resources and to forego deploying the most
effective defense when the threat actually emerges.
The Intelligence Community has concluded that a long-range
ballistic missile threat to the United States from a rougue
nation, other than perhaps North Korea, is unlikely to emerge
before 2010 but could be accelerated if those nations acquired
this capability from beyond their borders. The Intelligence
Community concluded that the only rogue nation missile in
development that could strike the United States is the North
Korean Taepo Dong 2, which could strike portions of Alaska or
the far-western Hawaiian Islands. However, as Secretary Cohen
stated in his 1998 Annual Report to the President and the
Congress, the likelihood of the Taepo Dong 2 being operational
by 2005 is very low. The Administration is not complacent about
this assessment. The National Missile Defense program is
designed to account for the uncertainty about when and where
threats may emerge by developing a National Missile Defense
capability that can be deployed well ahead of this estimate.
The Administration agrees that the United States must work to
defend all 50 states against potential limited missile threats
from rogue nations. The National Missile Defense Deployment
Readiness Program will position the United States to deploy an
initial capability as early as 2003. But, the Administration
opposes S. 1873 because it would commit the United States to
deploy a National Missile Defense system in the absence of an
emerging rogue state ballistic missile threat. The crucial
difference is in timing of a deployment decision. Commitment to
deployment now, in the absence of a threat, would divert vital
defense funds from more pressing military needs and would
result in premature commitment to a technological option that
may be outdated when the threat emerges.
The Office of Management and Budget advises that, from the
standpoint of the Administration's program, there is no
objection to the presentation of this report for the
consideration of the Committee.
Judith A. Miller.