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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

Tuesday, November 3, 1998 - 1:40 p.m.
Presenter: Capt. Mike Doubleday, USN, DASD (PA)



Q: I have a laser-related question, which is Bill Gertz in the Washington Times cites a Pentagon report that concludes that China has weapons capable of, laser weapons capable of damaging or disabling sensors on U.S. satellites. Can you confirm that there is such a Pentagon report and provide clarification about what its conclusions are?

A: There was in legislation from fiscal year 1998 a requirement by the Congress for the Department to prepare a report on the pattern of military modernization of the People's Republic of China. So this report was prepared and we can provide you with a copy of the report.

As I understand it, what this report does is to assess both the intent and the capabilities of the Chinese through the year 2015. So it's for the next 16, 17 years.

What this does--this is of course is a speculative report since most of the advances that are outlined in the report have not actually come to pass yet, but this is a kind of an educated prediction of the directions that the Chinese may be going in.

The Chinese have made it very clear that their intention by the middle of the next century is to be the equal of any of the major countries of the world. So their approach to that involves not only economic development but also scientific and military development as well.

Q: But does China currently have lasers that are capable of disabling the sensors on U.S. satellites as this newspaper report said?

A: I am not aware that they currently have that capability, but I will look into it further and see if there is something that I am missing. This report was one that was projecting what was predicted would occur over the coming years.

Q: So you're saying that your understanding of that report, which you're going to provide us a copy of, does not support the conclusion that was in that newspaper?

A: That's correct.



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