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NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM -- HON. BOB SCHAFFER (Extension of Remarks - October 08, 1998)

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in the House of Representatives


  • Mr. BOB SCHAFFER of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, few Americans are aware that we have no reliable national missile defense system. If a foreign terroristic antagonist, one Saddam Hussein for example, were to launch a single ballistic missile at the North American continent, we would be defenseless to stop it, and it is wholly unlikely that we could accomplish the task.

  • The President of the United States seems unconcerned about the matter, even though the technology currently exists to begin programs promising to effectively render nuclear missiles obsolete.

  • To defend the President's irresponsible policies and actions, he has deployed the cover of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Henry H. Shelton. General Shelton has compromised national security to carry out his role as chief apologist for an incompetent Commander-in-Chief--President Clinton.

  • Recently, General Shelton issued a communication to this Congress about the global threat of ballistic missile attack.

  • Mr. Speaker, the Shelton letter was alarming, not only because it describes a very real threat, but because it is replete with inconsistencies, inaccuracies, contradictions and admissions all pointing to the obvious conclusion that Americans are today in danger.

  • Today, I responded rather harshly to General Shelton's August 24 letter to Congress. In composing this response, I consulted many colleagues. They share my concern, and my conclusions and have asked that the final draft be distributed to all Members.

  • Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I hereby submit for the Record, the full text of the letter I have today posted to General Shelton. Furthermore, I am eager to join any Member who shares my outrage in this matter, in actively working to provide a reliable national missile defense system.


House of Representatives.
October 7, 1998

General Henry H. Shelton,
Joint Chiefs of Staff, The Pentagon, Washington, DC.

Dear General Shelton: Your letter to Congress of August 24 said you `believed that North Korea continues moving closer to initiation of a Taepo Dong 1 Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) testing program.'

One week later, on August 31, attempting to launch a satellite, North Korea tested its Taepo Dong 1 Long Range Ballistic Missile, a three-stage ballistic missile with an estimated range of 3,000 to over 6,000 miles, or unlimited range if used as a fractional orbital bombardment system.

But the Intelligence Community failed to provide even a day's notice of North Korea's Taepo Dong 1 ICBM test, or an analysis of its purpose. The Intelligence Community certainly can not provide a three-year warning of its ballistic missile threat.

The yardstick of adequate warning for missile tests is not, and should not, be met in simply describing preparations for missile tests as they unfold over the span of a few months, weeks, or even days. Still, as premised in the obviously flawed 3+3 policy, adequate strategic warning to implement this policy entails predicting the appearance of new missile systems years in advance. In order to prevent these new emerging threats from becoming reality, the United States must secure advantage of the greatest amount of time possible to deploy missile defenses. Any delay threatens freedom.

The Taepo Dong 1, furthermore, is a Long Range Ballistic Missile, an ICBM, not a Medium Range Ballistic Missile as you claim. North Korea's Taepo Dong 1 can threaten the United States today.

Your 3+3 ballistic missile defense program is unconscionably leaving the American people vulnerable to ballistic missile attack. We need a defense today against long range ballistic missiles.

Intelligence Community--The Intelligence Community failed to accurately predict the capabilities of North Korea's August 31 test of its Taepo Dong 1 long range ballistic missile. The Intelligence Community failed to correctly analyze North Korea's ballistic missile test.

The Intelligence Community failed to anticipate and provide timely and adequately warning of Pakistan's acquisition and test of its Ghuari intermediate range ballistic missile. The Intelligence Community failed to predict the resulting nuclear tests and arms race between India and Pakistan.

The Intelligence Community failed to provide adequate warning of Iran's test of its Sahab-3 intermediate range ballistic missile.

You are relying for our defense on an Intelligence Community that has repeatedly failed to predict and warn of critical ballistic missile and nuclear arm developments.

You are recklessly compromising the lives and safety of tens of millions of Americans.

Rumsfeld Commission--The unanimous conclusion of the Rumsfeld Commission argues strongly and conclusively against relying on the Intelligence Community for advance warning on ballistic missile threats. You deny the conclusions of the Rumsfeld Commission. But world events in 1998 have validated the conclusions of the Rumsfeld Commission, and repudiate your findings and perspective.

The Rumsfeld Commission points out unconventional, high-risk development programs and foreign assistance can enable rogue nations to acquire an ICBM capability in a short time, and the Intelligence Community may not be able to detect those efforts. You and the Joint Chiefs of Staff view that as an unlikely development. But North Korea has already developed and ICBM capability, disproving your view.

The Proliferation Primer, A Majority Report of the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services, Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, January 1998, describes at great lengths the foreign assistance being given to rogue nations by Russia, China, North Korea, and the United States for the development of long range ballistic missiles.

Your views on the threats we face from long range ballistic missiles and rogue nations are without basis.

Program--You suggest the 3+3 program is an unprecedented effort to address the likely emergence of a
rogue ICBM threat, claiming it compresses what is normally a 6-12 year development program into 3 years, with additional development concurrent with 3 year development.

But we built the atomic bomb in 3 years. We put Polaris to sea in 3.2 years. We built four ballistic missile systems. Thor, Atlas, Titan, and Minuteman, concurrently in under eight years.

We can successfully build advanced technology weapons in crash programs. Your 3+3 program under President Clinton, rather than seeking to build a ballistic missile defense to meet the threats which confront us, is needlessly compromising the security of millions of American lives.

Technology--You claim you have `a prudent commitment to provide absolutely the best technology when a threat warrants development.' Yet China threatened to attack the United States by ballistic missile in 1996. North Korea can attack us today. Russia can swiftly launch hundreds of long range ballistic missiles against us. Where is our defense your prudence dictates?

You claim you want to provide the best technology for ballistic missile defense, yet President Clinton canceled the Brilliant Pebbles program in 1993, which would have deployed advanced ballistic missile defenses today. President Clinton cut the Space Based Laser technology program in 1993, an advanced technology program which the Air Force now advocates. President Clinton also cut programs for the research and development of technology for ballistic missile defense. Your claim is utterly false and preposterous.

President Clinton dumbed down the Navy Theater Wide ballistic missile defense program (Navy Upper Tier) to restrict its use of target and cuing information, restrict the speed of its interceptor, and restrict the capability of its Kinetic Kill Vehicle. President Clinton is pursuing ineffective and dumbed-down ballistic missile defense technology. President Clinton is clearly not seeking `absolutely the best technology.'

You are using the statement of `absolutely the best technology' to delay the deployment of a strong and effective ballistic missile defense. You are needlessly placing the lives of tens of millions of Americans at risk of destruction by long-range ballistic missiles. You are attempting to deceive Congress.

Additional Funding--You claim that additional funding of ballistic missile defense programs will not buy back any time in its already `fast-paced schedule.' You contradict the Navy's report on its Theater Wide ballistic missile defense program, which points out how additional funding can bring development by 2002 rather than 2006. You contradict the experience of the Space Based Laser program, where lack of funding, especially under President Clinton, has restrained progress. Your views are invalid.

President Clinton is starving the funding of the Space Based Lasers, precluding their deployment. President Clinton canceled Brilliant Pebbles. Yet funding can revive those programs. Still you deny the American people a defense against long range ballistic missiles.

ABM Treaty--You and the Chiefs of Staff believe adherence to the ABM Treaty is consistent with our national security interests. But the ABM Treaty invited the massive buildup of the Soviet nuclear missiles, and the Soviet Union flagrantly violated its provisions. You have been silent about these violations of `arms control' agreements.

Furthermore, in April 1991, Dr. Henry Kissinger, author of the 1972 ABM Treaty, repudiated the treaty for being inconsistent with our national security interests, writing, `Limitations on strategic defense will have to be reconsidered in the light of the Gulf War experience. No responsible leader can henceforth leave his civilian population vulnerable.'

You are irresponsible with American lives, leaving tens of millions of Americans vulnerable to swift, massive destruction by long-range ballistic missiles.

Position of the Joint Chiefs of Staff--The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommends the deployment of a ballistic missile defense at 25 U.S. cities to save the lives of 30 to 50 million U.S. citizens. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believes it is worthwhile deploying a ballistic missile defense to save the lives of tens of millions of Americans.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff believes that the deployment of a ballistic missile defense will limit the ability of a ballistic missile attack to damage our population, industry, and military.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff believes that the deployment of a ballistic missile defense will provide the U.S. a strategic advantage that will enable us to peacefully settle crises around the world.

These views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the deployment of a ballistic missile defense, confident in our technological ability to build an effective ballistic missile defense, provide timely advice for Congress although made in 1966.

In spite of the increasing dangers we face, and in spite of the advances in ballistic missile defense technology we have had in 32 years, you find the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to be without merit.

Summary--There is no substitute for a strong defense against long-range ballistic missiles. Your actions and policy of leaving the American people undefended from long range ballistic missiles is indefensible.

Your letter presents Congress with more than a credibility gap. Your leadership, the leadership of President Clinton and his Administration, and the defense of the American people are incompatible.

You, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and President Clinton are needlessly risking the lives of tens of millions of Americans. You are inviting a nuclear Pearl Harbor. But the defense of the American people from the threat of long-range ballistic missiles will not admit delay.

It is inconceivable, sir, to arrive at any other conclusion but that you are culpable of dereliction of duty, leaving the lives of tens of millions of Americans undefended from long-range ballistic missile attack.

Your Commander-in-Chief President William Jefferson Clinton and his assistant Vice-President Al Gore are also derelict in their duty to defend American lives.

Very truly yours,

Member of Congress.

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