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Washington File

21 May 2003

Bush Says Emerging Threats Require Deployment of Missile Defenses

(Calls missile defense systems part of defense transformation) (1660)
Washington -- President Bush believes the new strategic challenges of
the 21st century require the United States to think differently about
national security, and that deployment of effective missile defenses
must be a major part of U.S. efforts to transform current defense and
deterrence policies to meet emerging threats, according to a White
House fact sheet.
"As the events of September 11 demonstrated, the security environment
is more complex and less predictable than in the past," according to
the fact sheet that was released May 20 in Washington. "We face
growing threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of
states or non-state actors, threats that range from terrorism to
ballistic missiles intended to intimidate and coerce us by holding the
U.S. and our friends and allies hostage to WMD attack."
Following is the text of the fact sheet:
(begin fact sheet)
Office of the Press Secretary
May 20, 2003
National Policy on Ballistic Missile Defense Fact Sheet
Restructuring our defense and deterrence capabilities to correspond to
emerging threats remains one of the Administration's highest
priorities, and the deployment of missile defenses is an essential
component of this broader effort.
Changed Security Environment
As the events of September 11 demonstrated, the security environment
is more complex and less predictable than in the past. We face growing
threats from weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of states
or non-state actors, threats that range from terrorism to ballistic
missiles intended to intimidate and coerce us by holding the U.S. and
our friends and allies hostage to WMD attack.
Hostile states, including those that sponsor terrorism, are investing
large resources to develop and acquire ballistic missiles of
increasing range and sophistication that could be used against the
United States and our friends and allies. These same states have
chemical, biological, and/or nuclear weapons programs. In fact, one of
the factors that make long-range ballistic missiles attractive as a
delivery vehicle for weapons of mass destruction is that the United
States and our allies lack effective defenses against this threat.
The contemporary and emerging missile threat from hostile states is
fundamentally different from that of the Cold War and requires a
different approach to deterrence and new tools for defense. The
strategic logic of the past may not apply to these new threats, and we
cannot be wholly dependent on our capability to deter them. Compared
to the Soviet Union, their leaderships often are more risk prone.
These are leaders that also see WMD as weapons of choice, not of last
resort. Weapons of mass destruction are their most lethal means to
compensate for our conventional strength and to allow them to pursue
their objectives through force, coercion, and intimidation.
Deterring these threats will be difficult. There are no mutual
understandings or reliable lines of communication with these states.
Our new adversaries seek to keep us out of their region, leaving them
free to support terrorism and to pursue aggression against their
neighbors. By their own calculations, these leaders may believe they
can do this by holding a few of our cities hostage. Our adversaries
seek enough destructive capability to blackmail us from coming to the
assistance of our friends who would then become the victims of
Some states are aggressively pursuing the development of weapons of
mass destruction and long-range missiles as a means of coercing the
United States and our allies. To deter such threats, we must devalue
missiles as tools of extortion and aggression, undermining the
confidence of our adversaries that threatening a missile attack would
succeed in blackmailing us. In this way, although missile defenses are
not a replacement for an offensive response capability, they are an
added and critical dimension of contemporary deterrence. Missile
defenses will also help to assure allies and friends, and to dissuade
countries from pursuing ballistic missiles in the first instance by
undermining their military utility.
National Missile Defense Act of 1999
On July 22, 1999, the National Missile Defense Act of 1999 (Public Law
106-38) was signed into law. This law states, "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) with funding
subject to the annual authorization of appropriations and the annual
appropriation of funds for National Missile Defense." The
Administration's program on missile defense is fully consistent with
this policy.
Missile Defense Program
At the outset of this Administration, the President directed his
Administration to examine the full range of available technologies and
basing modes for missile defenses that could protect the United
States, our deployed forces, and our friends and allies. Our policy is
to develop and deploy, at the earliest possible date, ballistic
missile defenses drawing on the best technologies available.
The Administration has also eliminated the artificial distinction
between "national" and "theater" missile defenses.
-- The defenses we will develop and deploy must be capable of not only
defending the United States and our deployed forces, but also friends
and allies;
-- The distinction between theater and national defenses was largely a
product of the ABM Treaty and is outmoded. For example, some of the
systems we are pursuing, such as boost-phase defenses, are inherently
capable of intercepting missiles of all ranges, blurring the
distinction between theater and national defenses; and
-- The terms "theater" and "national" are interchangeable depending on
the circumstances, and thus are not a meaningful means of categorizing
missile defenses. For example, some of the systems being pursued by
the United States to protect deployed forces are capable of defending
the entire national territory of some friends and allies, thereby
meeting the definition of a "national" missile defense system.
Building on previous missile defense work, over the past year and a
half, the Defense Department has pursued a robust research,
development, testing, and evaluation program designed to develop
layered defenses capable of intercepting missiles of varying ranges in
all phases of flight. The testing regimen employed has become
increasingly stressing, and the results of recent tests have been
Fielding Missile Defenses
In light of the changed security environment and progress made to date
in our development efforts, the United States plans to begin
deployment of a set of missile defense capabilities in 2004. These
capabilities will serve as a starting point for fielding improved and
expanded missile defense capabilities later.
We are pursuing an evolutionary approach to the development and
deployment of missile defenses to improve our defenses over time. The
United States will not have a final, fixed missile defense
architecture. Rather, we will deploy an initial set of capabilities
that will evolve to meet the changing threat and to take advantage of
technological developments. The composition of missile defenses, to
include the number and location of systems deployed, will change over
In August 2002, the Administration proposed an evolutionary way ahead
for the deployment of missile defenses. The capabilities planned for
operational use in 2004 and 2005 will include ground-based
interceptors, sea-based interceptors, additional Patriot (PAC-3)
units, and sensors based on land, at sea, and in space. In addition,
the United States will work with allies to upgrade key early-warning
radars as part of our capabilities.
Under our approach, these capabilities may be improved through
additional measures such as:
-- Deployment of additional ground- and sea-based interceptors, and
Patriot (PAC-3) units;
-- Initial deployment of the THAAD and Airborne Laser systems;
-- Development of a family of boost-phase and midcourse hit-to-kill
interceptors based on sea-, air-, and ground-based platforms;
-- Enhanced sensor capabilities; and
-- Development and testing of space-based defenses.
The Defense Department will begin to implement this approach and will
move forward with plans to deploy a set of initial missile defense
capabilities beginning in 2004.
Cooperation with Friends and Allies
Because the threats of the 21st century also endanger our friends and
allies around the world, it is essential that we work together to
defend against these threats. Missile defense cooperation will be a
feature of U.S. relations with close, long-standing allies, and an
important means to build new relationships with new friends like
Russia. Consistent with these goals:
-- The U.S. will develop and deploy missile defenses capable of
protecting not only the United States and our deployed forces, but
also friends and allies;
-- We will also structure the missile defense program in a manner that
encourages industrial participation by friends and allies, consistent
with overall U.S. national security; and
-- We will also promote international missile defense cooperation,
including within bilateral and alliance structures such as NATO.
As part of our efforts to deepen missile defense cooperation with
friends and allies, the United States will seek to eliminate
impediments to such cooperation. We will review existing policies and
practices governing technology sharing and cooperation on missile
defense, including U.S. export control regulations and statutes, with
this aim in mind.
The goal of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is to help
reduce the global missile threat by curbing the flow of missiles and
related technology to proliferators. The MTCR and missile defenses
play complementary roles in countering the global missile threat. The
United States intends to implement the MTCR in a manner that does not
impede missile defense cooperation with friends and allies.
The new strategic challenges of the 21st century require us to think
differently, but they also require us to act. The deployment of
effective missile defenses is an essential element of the United
States' broader efforts to transform our defense and deterrence
policies and capabilities to meet the new threats we face. Defending
the American people against these new threats is the Administration's
highest priority.
(end fact sheet)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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