Find a Security Clearance Job!


AMERICAN MISSILE PROTECTION ACT OF 1998 (Senate - March 30, 1998)

[Page: S2759]

Mr. COCHRAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator Enzi be added as a cosponsor to S. 1873, the American Missile Protection Act of 1998.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

Mr. COCHRAN. Madam President, this bill was introduced by Senator Inouye and me on March 19. After we sent a letter to all Senators inviting cosponsors, we received a very positive response. I am pleased to advise the Senate that with the addition of Senator Enzi, there are now 40 cosponsors of S. 1873.

This bill would make it the policy of the United States 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 deliberate.

We believe this policy is necessary because of the growing proliferation threat. The proliferation threat includes both weapons of mass destruction and long-range ballistic missile delivery systems.

The fact is that determining how quickly the United States

will be facing an ICBM threat from a rogue nation is difficult to estimate. The Director of Central Intelligence recognized this point last year when he said to the Senate, `Gaps and uncertainties preclude a good projection of exactly when `rest of the world' countries will deploy ICBMs.'

That `gaps and uncertainties' exist is not an indictment of our intelligence agencies. We have many fine and dedicated people in the intelligence community who have devoted their professional careers to obtaining information about and analyzing proliferation. But it is extremely difficult to predict accurately just how quickly technology will move forward and will be made in certain countries.

Predicting the rate of technological advance would be difficult even if rogue states were to accept no outside assistance in their pursuit of mass destruction weapons and missile delivery platforms of ever-increasing range. But adding the knowledge now available in the information age to anyone with a computer and a telephone line to the fact that some nations are actively assisting pursuit of these capabilities makes for a situation in which predictions can be outdated soon after they are made.

Take, for example, the case of the Shahab-3 and Shahab-4, two intermediate-range ballistic missiles Iran is pursuing with substantial help from Russian organizations. Last Friday's Washington Times carried an article entitled `Pentagon Confirms Details on Iranian Missiles.' It describes this situation, and I think it is very alarming.

It is no secret that Iran is pursuing these missiles. The Shahab-3, with a range of 1,300 kilometers, will be capable of striking U.S. forces throughout the Middle East and our close allies in the region as well. The Shahab-4, with a range of 2,000 kilometers, will be able to reach into Central Europe.

We all understand that neither of these missiles will have the range to strike the United States unless they are launched from some kind of a mobile platform, like a ship. But the important point is that these missiles are proceeding at a much more rapid pace than anticipated just last year, and the reason these missiles can be ready sooner than we expected is because of Russian expertise provided to Iran.

In February the Director of Central Intelligence testified to 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.

Madam President, the very kind of outside assistance that is speeding this Shahab-3 along so rapidly could also contribute in a similar way to the acquisition of long-range ballistic missiles by rogue nations. These kinds of nations are interested in ICBMs because they make the United States vulnerable to coercion or intimidation in time of crisis. It is a vulnerability that disappears when an effective national missile defense is deployed.

That is why we have introduced the American Missile Protection Act of 1998. America should end its ICBM vulnerability as soon as the technology is available.

Madam President, given the uncertainties about just when other nations will possess ICBMs, it only makes sense to be clear now in our commitment to deploy defenses against these systems as soon as the technology is ready. If the choice is to deploy a national missile defense capable against a limited threat 1 year too soon or 1 year too late, let it be 1 year too soon. The lesson of the Shahab-3 is that even the best intentioned estimates can be wrong.

I ask unanimous consent, Madam President, that the article I referred to from the Washington Times be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the article was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

From the Washington Times, Mar. 27, 1998


Pentagon Confirms Details on Iranian Missiles


The Pentagon identified Iran's two medium-range ballistic missiles for the first time publicly this week, giving their ranges and also providing details on an older Chinese nuclear-tipped missile.

Iran's Shahab-3 missile will have a range of about 800 miles and a second version, the Shahab-4, will be able to hit targets as far as 1,240 miles away, according to Senate testimony by Air Force Lt. Gen. Lester Lyles, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.

It was the first time the Pentagon has confirmed the existence of the Shahab missiles, which were disclosed last year by The Washington Times.

U.S. intelligence officials have said the missiles could be deployed within two years and that both Russia and China provided materials and technology.

`The development of long-range ballistic missiles is part of Iran's effort to become a major regional military power and Iran could field a [medium-range ballistic missile] system in the first half of the next decade,' a Pentagon official said.

The chart made public Tuesday identified the Iranian and Chinese missiles as potential targets for U.S. regional missile defense systems under development. It was part of Gen. Lyles' testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The chart also listed the range of China's CSS-2 nuclear missile, which has a range of about 1,860 miles and is the only intermediate-range missile ever exported. Saudi Arabia purchased about 40 of the missiles. China has deployed about 40 CSS-2s for more than 25 years.

According to an Air Force intelligence report obtained by The Times last year, the CSS-2 is being replaced by China's new and more capable CSS-5. About 40 CSS-5s, with a ranges of about 1,333 miles, have been deployed, and a more accurate version, is awaiting deployment.

The chart showed two Scud missiles with ranges of between 62 and 186 miles, China's M-9 missile with a 372-mile range, and the North Korean Nodong, with a 620-mile range.

Meanwhile, Pentagon officials yesterday disclosed new details of global missile deployments and developments that will be made public in a report due out next week.

The officials, who declined to be named, revealed that Russia and China are developing new short-range missiles called the SSX-26 and CSSX-7, respectively. Both will have ranges greater than 185 miles. Egypt also has a new 425-mile-range missile called Vector, they said.

Pakistan and India also have new missiles and are in the process of building longer-range systems, the officials said. Pakistan's will have a 700-mile range and India is working on a longer-range version of the Agni missile with a 1,250-mile range.

The new missiles could be used in regional conflicts, armed with nuclear, chemical or biological warheads, or against U.S. troops abroad. There is also the danger that they might be transferred to rogue nations.

According to the Pentagon, more than 19 developing nations currently possess short-range ballistic missiles and six others have acquired or are building longer-range missiles with ranges greater than 600 miles.

North Korea has three longer-range missiles dubbed Nodong and Taepodong 1 and 2. They have ranges of between 600 miles and 3,700 miles--enough to hit Alaska.

The longer-range missiles of China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, India, Pakistan and Iran `are strategic systems and most will be armed with nonconventional warheads,' one official said.

Missile states of concern include Afghanistan, Belarus, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Slovakia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vietnam and Yemen.

[Page: S2760]

Join the mailing list