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INEFFECTUAL ARMS CONTROL DEALS, MAKE-WORK MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAMS ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR DEFENDING AMERICA

FRANK J. GAFFNEY, JR.
DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY
HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COMMITTEE
27 SEPTEMBER 1996

Chairman Hunter and Chairman Weldon, it is a distinct honor to be permitted to serve as a human bookend for the National Security Committee's deliberations this year. As I recall, the Committee opened its 1996 hearing cycle last February with a hearing on the missile defense issue in which my colleagues, Drs. William Graham and Keith Payne, and I were privileged to participate. Given the importance of correcting the United States' vulnerability to ballistic missile attack -- and the numerous developments that bear on our ability to do so that have taken place during the intervening months -- I am gratified that you have decided to close this legislative session with a return engagement by our panel.

I would like to use the limited time available today to make two specific points and then to reiterate the bottom-line I shared with the Committee six months ago.

A Penchant for Placebos

First, the Clinton Administration is pursuing placebos rather than effective responses to the real and growing threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- and the ballistic missiles capable of delivering them over ever greater distances. Evidently, the idea of promptly deploying effective anti-missile protection for the American people and their forces, allies and interests overseas is so repulsive to this Administration that it will use virtually any pretext to avoid doing so. Consider the following examples:

The Targeting Flim-Flam

President Clinton has misled the public scores of times by declaring that "There are no Russian missiles pointed at America .... "On some occasions, the President has even gone so far as to claim that "there is not a single, solitary nuclear missile pointed at an American child tonight. Not one. Not one. Not a single one."

These statements are either flatly wrong or simply unknowable. There is no reason to believe, for example, that Chinese missiles guidance systems have been reoriented away from American population centers or other targets. There is no way to be sure that the Russians have done so, either, even though Moscow promised it would in a bilateral agreement reached in 1994.

Even if the Russian weapons were aimed at the Broad Ocean Areas, however, J. Michael Waller pointed out in an op.ed. published in the Washington Times on September 24th (which I would ask be inserted in the hearing record at this point) that Colonel General Igor Sergeyev, commander-in-chief of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces, has said publicly that his missiles can be given new targeting information "in a matter of minutes."

Dumbing Down the Threat Assessment

As this Committee is well aware, the Clinton Administration released late last year a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) timed to coincide with an important debate on missile defenses in the U.S. Senate. This NIE claimed that there will be no threat of ballistic missile attack against the continental United States for at least fifteen years. Those conclusions have, in turn, been cited ad nauseam by opponents of ballistic missile defenses as evidence that a national missile defense is unnecessary.

As I testified last February, there is reason to believe that the assumptions upon which this NIE was based were driven by the Administration's determination not to build missile defenses rather than by a realistic assessment of the threat. Thanks to a request by Chairman Floyd Spence for an independent evaluation of this NIE, the General Accounting Office has now established there were indeed serious methodological and analytical flaws, not least of which was the failure to back up its central conclusion.

General O'Neill's Dissent: I would also remind the Committee that no less an authority than Lieutenant General Malcolm O'Neill, until recently the director of the Clinton Administration's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, was highly critical of the NIE's misleading bottom-line. Before leaving office, he formally expressed his concerns to the intelligence community in a letter that made, among others, the following points:

  • The NIE failed to take into account the effects of "intelligence gaps," i.e., covert missile development programs that are not detected by American intelligence.

  • The NIE did not take into account that Hawaii and Alaska are part of the United States.

  • The NIE's assumptions ruled out the possibility of what Gen. O'Neill has called "the wild card of technology transfer" -- foreign assistance used to simplify and accelerate a rogue state's acquisition of advanced ballistic missile capabilities.

As you surely know, the gravity of this "wild card" has been confirmed by an assessment performed by BMDO entitled, "The NIE on Emerging Missile Threats to North America: Comments, Assessments, Cautions." This study determined that there were a variety of ways in which missile related technology could be acquired. Such ways include via: the Internet (including on-line Patent Office and NASA data and software); technical books, trade publications and newsletters, manuals and materials; the purchase of non-controlled components (including surplus rocket engines, roll control systems and test equipment); unclassified "short courses"; purchased space-launch vehicles, and clustering of short-range ballistic missiles.

The last option warrants the Committee's special attention insofar as Saddam Hussein clustered seven Scud missiles and stages together to create his satellite-launching Al Abbas missile. It was tested in this mode only once, in December 1989. If successful in putting payloads into space, such a system could be used to deliver weapons over intercontinental distances.

In stark contrast to the NIE's pollyannish conclusion, the BMDO study judged that:

"The NIE did not consider the full spectrum of means for 'Rest of the World' (ROW) countries [i.e., developing nations other than Russia and China] to acquire long-range missile capability. The time that threat could materialize [in] is likely sooner than fifteen years. ROW design and operational requirements may be drastically different from Cold War paradigm. There is a need to revisit unconventional approaches in more detail (e.g., how much effort is involved in building a 'simplicity optimized' rocket)? [And] more literary search is necessary to determine how much [relevant] information is uncontrolled." (Emphasis added.

Pursuing Unverifiable, Ineffectual Arms Control Agreements

Earlier this week, President Clinton reiterated his commitment to a number of arms control agreements that he claims would reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction. These include: the Chemical Weapons Convention; the Comprehensive Test Ban; new verification arrangements for the Biological Weapons Convention; a fissile materials cut-off; further U.S.-Russian strategic arms reduction agreements; and giving "a stronger role and sharper teeth" to the NonProliferation Treaty's inspection agency, the IAEA. Unfortunately, the inherent unworkability, unverifiability and/or unenforceability of these initiatives ensure that they will not measurably reduce the proliferation of dangerous weaponry.

What these Clinton initiatives will do, however, is foster a false sense of security that will actually increase the danger facing our country. This has been the indisputable effect of the Biological Weapons Convention. Over the past two decades, the United States has largely neglected the need for research and development on biological defenses on the grounds that an "international norm" prohibits this form of warfare -- even though Russia, China and virtually every pariah state are believed to have aggressive biological warfare programs.

Just last year, we saw the same phenomenon with respect to chemical defensive investments. With the prospect of ratification of a new international norm "banning" chemical weapons, then-Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff William Owens tried to order an $800 million cut in the Future Years Defense Program for developing and acquiring protective equipment and related technology.

Finally, can there be any doubt that -- in the absence of the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty - the United States would be confronting a world awash with potentially threatening ballistic missiles without any capability to intercept them? Just imagine, if the ABM Treaty were not already in place, the reception that would be given to someone trying to argue that it would be a good idea to leave the American people vulnerable to missile attacks that may in the not-too-distant future come from the likes of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya or Syria!

Come to think of it, the absurdity of that argument may explain why the Clinton Administration is so adamant about not bringing the amendments that will alter the bilateral nature and significantly expand the scope of the ABM Treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent. If a two-thirds majority could not be mustered for the Chemical Weapons Convention, surely there wouldnot be sufficient support in the Senate for amendments that will have the effect of making it still harder to liberalize the ABM Treaty regime and will interfere with American efforts to build even effective theater missile defenses.

In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to express profound appreciation to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston for his efforts to ensure that the Senate is given an opportunity to act on the Clinton amendments to the ABM Treaty. I strongly encourage members of this Committee to ensure that the Livingston amendment to the FY1997 Commerce, State and Justice Appropriations bill -- which would deny funding for the activities of the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) or for the implementation of any new agreements or ABM Treaty amendments reached by the SCC until the President certifies that he will submit such agreements to the Senate for its advice and consent -- is included in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Too Little To Show for Our Investment in Missile Defense

Not content with misleading the American people about the true nature of the threat from proliferating ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction, the Clinton Administration is sabotaging efforts to build effective missile defenses. It has done so through a variety of means, including the following:

The Administration has taken a number of programmatic actions, including some blatantly in violation of the law. In this connection, I commend members of this Committee for joining as plaintiffs in the missile defense-related lawsuit now pending in Federal Court. It is truly scandalous that such a step has to be taken to compel President Clinton and Secretary of Defense Perry to implement the legislative direction on the THAAD and Navy Upper Tier -- the Nation's two most promising near-term, wide-area missile defense programs -- pursuant to last year's defense authorization and appropriations bills.

The Clinton Administration has also effectively terminated all development work on boostphase intercept technologies. And it has chosen to invest approximately $2 billion on the purchase of 2,000 Patriot PAC 3 interceptors -- a system that affords a better probability of kill than the versions deployed in Desert Storm but which will be able to provide no wider area defense than was the case five years ago. It is not clear that such an investment provides the sort of "bang for the buck" so urgently required by field commanders like General Gary Luck in Korea, who has appealed unsuccessfully to Joint Chiefs Chairman General John Shalikashvili for the most urgent deployment possible of THAAD missiles.

These programmatic actions are all the more reprehensible in light of revelations published last week on the front page of the New York Times. According to recently declassified documents and interviews with scores of Desert Storm veterans, the Times reports that Saddam Hussein used at least one Scud missile to deliver chemical weapons against American forces based near Jubail, Saudi Arabia on January 19, 1991 -- three days after the start of the Gulf War. The Clinton Administration appears to have gone to great lengths to conceal this fact (perhaps because its admission could further undermine the official case for the Chemical Weapons Convention).

By eliminating boost-phase defensive programs and wide-area theater defenses and by perpetuating for the indefinite future the U.S. military's current reliance on exceedingly limitedterminal defenses, it is inviting further -- and probably far more lethal -- attacks like that on Jubail.

Unfortunately, the same can be said of another Clinton Administration gambit for spending missile defense dollars in a manner that ensures we will continue to fail what Angelo Codevilla calls the "one missile test": the so-called "3-plus-3" plan for developing and -- at some point -- deploying national missile defenses. I believe this plan is simply a bait-and-switch operation, designed to provide political cover for a President determined not to field effective anti-missile systems but anxious to minimize the political liability that might be associated with such a stance.

For proof of the true nature of the 3-plus-3 initiative, one need look no further than the fact that this "crash program" lacks sufficient funds to develop the required interceptor booster, let alone pay for deployment within the stipulated six-year time-frame. The net result of this plan will be to leave the American people in the same posture they are in today -- absolutely vulnerable to an attack from even a single ballistic missile.

A Sound Alternative for Defending America: 'From the Sea'

Fortunately, we have an alternative. When I appeared before this Committee last February, I commended to your attention a study sponsored in 1995 by the Heritage Foundation. This blue ribbon Missile Defense Study Team (known as "Team B") not only took strong exception to the sort of dumbed-down intelligence assessment on the ballistic missile threat that has been served up by the Clinton Administration. It also put forward a concrete, near-term and eminently affordable option for putting into place a national missile defense that will be able to provide robust wide-area defenses for our forces and allies overseas and begin to offer anti-missile protection to the people who happen to live in the "theater" we should care most about -- the United States of America.

This sea-based option would utilize the infrastructure deployed today as the Navy's AEGIS fleet air-defense system. For an additional investment of $2-3 billion spent over the next five years, it could begin deploying an internetted Upper Tier system within as little as three years; some 22 AEGIS ships could be fitted out in five-years' time. No other option promises to do as much, as fast for so little. I urge you to include the detailed discussion of the sea-based, wide- area defense contained in the updated version of the Team B report in the record of this hearing and that the Committee make it the focus of your first round of hearings next year.

Conclusion

In closing, I would simply say, there is really no question any longer that the United States will be defended against ballistic missile attack. In fact, I am certain that one part of that defense will be provided in the manner Team B recommended. The only question that remains to be answered is: Will the United States have a deployed anti-missile system before it needs one -- or after?

I earnestly hope that these hearings will assist this Committee in its efforts to ensure that steps are taken at once to begin deploying effective, world-wide missile defenses at once, so as to avoid the unnecessary and unpardonable loss of life and national treasure that will accompany building such a defense after we needed it.



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