Ambassador David J. Smith
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces,
Committee on Armed Services,
United States Senate
March 24, 1998
Please allow me to begin by saying that it is indeed a pleasure for me to return to the Senate, an institution which I served with pride for many years. I thank you and the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces for inviting me to share my views on missile defense and the ABM Treaty. My remarks this afternoon will focus on three key points:
-- First, the ABM Treaty agreements signed at New York on September 26, 1997 -- on succession and demarcation -- are not in the interest of the United States. If the Russian Duma does not soon reject them, as it may, I respectfully urge the Senate to seek their submission and to reject them.
-- Second, Since the ABM Treaty as it stands today blocks even the most modest National Missile Defense (NMD), we should decide which variant of NMD best serves our national interest and seek a legal path to its deployment.
-- Third, the principle of mutual vulnerability which underlies the ABM Treaty is altogether inappropriate for two countries -- the United States and Russia -- which seek to forge a relationship of friendship, cooperation and mutual respect.
Before elaborating, permit me to set the stage, as I see it.
Yesterday evening, I attended a celebration of the 15th. anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s landmark SDI speech. I call it a landmark speech because that speech gave us a whole new way of looking at our security; hope that we could move from under the sword of Damocles hanging by a hair above our heads. The world has changed dramatically during the intervening 15 years but the the thought process -- to reach for a technological shield before drawing a nuclear arrow -- is ever more relevant.
For forty years, U.S. - Soviet, now Russian, arms control obsessed over force levels and force structures that never were the real problem. The problem was nuclear weapons in the service of a communist ideology actively antithetical to everything Americans have believed since Thomas Jefferson first put pen to paper. There was nothing necessary, logical or enduring about mutual vulnerability or the ABM Treaty. Absent the ideological rift, Americans and Russians are free to discuss security postures better suited to their current relations and aspirations. We will not always agree, and old habits die hard, but we have never had anything against the Russian people, nor they against us, and we can certainly discuss.
Let me be clear. I wholeheartedly agree with those who say that our security relationship with Russia remains important, that Russia is in a crucial transition, and that the ABM Treaty is a delicate diplomatic matter. But a delicate diplomatic matter does not a "cornerstone of stability" make. Surely our new relationship allows discussion of such matters in a spirit of friendship, cooperation and mutual respect. We should be talking to the Russians about the future, not about how to calcify the past.
From the U.S. standpoint, a prominent part of that future has nought to do with Russia. As the post Cold War world reshuffles, geopolitical developments converging with technological trends are placing ballistic missiles in the hands of regimes hostile to American interests. We seem to have gotten the point on Theater Missile Defense (TMD), but it still eludes us on NMD. Yet the simple point is the same for TMD and NMD.
Just as we fear denial of access in a regional contingency because some local thug is threatening a potential American coalition partner with missiles, so must we fear being deterred directly by a threat to our homeland. We have spent so much time calculating how to deter the Soviet Union and, recently, how to transfer that calculation to third countries, that we forget that the United States of America will be the number one object of other countries’ deterrence in the 21st. Century. The 1996 comment made by a ranking Chinese military official that the United States would not defend Taiwan because China would "rain nuclear bombs on Los Angeles" may have been premature as a threat, but it was altogether timely as an indication of strategy and thought.
I do not believe that China, Iran, Libya or most potential adversaries are going to acquire an ICBM to lob it at the United States in a lash out of techno-terrorism. (Although, one should probably not discount the notion for a country like North Korea.) But for most potential adversaries, suitcase bombs, car bombs, vials of anthrax and maybe even malicious hackers are available to commit acts of terrorism -- and are all perils against which we must guard. But these are not the tools of geopolitical strategy. Regimes which perceive their interests at odds with ours want ballistic missiles to wield in a regional crisis to alter America’s calculation of its own interests -- to keep us out. Right now, the price of entry to the club of countries which can aspire to deter the United States is one long range missile and one weapon of mass destruction. Outcomes will be entirely situation dependent but -- make no mistake -- a threat to our homeland will alter our calculations. Moreover, we must stop deluding ourselves that our nuclear weapons will somehow compensate for our vulnerability during times of geopolitical twilight, very possibly before a shot has been fired. America’s nuclear weapons are just not credible in such situations.
We should not wait to awaken to this simple reality until the first time we have been deterred. This is not the Cold War. We cannot wait until our National Technical Means (NTM) detect a new ICBM deployed somewhere, then update our Missile Order of Battle and factor it into the next yearly review of the SIOP. World events unfold too rapidly. And an American interest undefended will lead directly to the next American interest challenged. A superpower cowed for the time it will take to field a NMD will be a superpower no more -- unless it is willing to restore its power by resort to drastic means.
This leads to the question of when an intercontinental missile threat will emerge. That official estimates persist in saying 10 to 15 years, unaffected by the passage of time, only attests to their irrelevance. The methodology by which they are derived is so rooted in Cold War predictability that it must be discounted. Instead, these surreal estimates have been perpetuated for political and budgetary reasons, much like Great Britain’s interwar Ten Year Rule. Official policy from 1919 to 1932, the Ten Year Rule said "that the British Empire will not be engaged in any great war during the next ten years." Just eight years after the rule was officially abandoned, the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic raged as Great Britain fought for its very survival.
The fact is that, given the multiple and intertwined paths to post Cold War missile acquisition, we just don’t know when to expect an ICBM in a country other than the five declared nuclear powers. It could be 10 to 15 years, but it could be 10 to 15 months, and those wont to snicker at this assertion should be reminded that they have been repeatedly surprised by successive revelations of missiles and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- the most heavily inspected country on earth.
To cite another example, last month, General Lester Lyles, BMDO Director, told the HNSC that the 1,300 Km. Iranian Shahab-3 "could come into the inventory a lot quicker than our original intelligence estimate," that is, by the year 2000. Apparently a Shahab-4 which can reach Europe may follow soon after. At what point will we stop being surprised?
The good news in all this is that both the TMD and NMD challenges are modest and well within our financial and technological grasp. Are they also within our political grasp? The Cold War era ABM Treaty is the chief obstacle.
Before proceeding with this analysis, let me be crystal clear. We are a nation founded on the rule of law. We should abide by the letter of our treaty commitments; we will abide by the letter of our treaty commitments -- and then some. Any notion that the United States should or can get by with a nod and a wink -- say, stretching the ABM Treaty’s definition of an Early Warning Radar (EWR) to fit a radar we know full well will have been "constructed and deployed for an ABM role" -- is just wrong. I offer you two examples to illustrate the point.
From 1986 until 1988, the Senate played a pivotal role in the argument over the so called broad versus narrow interpretations of the ABM Treaty. As Assistant to Leader Dole, I reviewed the original negotiating record and the excellent analysis done first by Mr. Philip Kunsberg of the Defense Department and then validated by Judge Abraham Sofaer, Legal Adviser to the State Department. More than a decade later, I remain convinced that the so called broad interpretation is what the United States and the Soviet Union actually agreed to in 1972. My purpose here is not to reopen an old wound, but to illustrate how the U.S. deals with treaty obligations. When all the factors were weighed, a switch to a treaty interpretation different from that traditionally held was more than the political traffic could bear. An accommodation between Senators of both parties and the Reagan Administration was reached and the United States has since lived under the so called narrow Treaty interpretation.
If the broad versus narrow dispute is too grand or too old an example, allow me to offer a simpler, contemporary illustration. After much Executive Branch debate, BMDO and the Air Force are about to issue a modified Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Long Range Air Launch Target (LRALT) which will be used to test U.S. TMD systems. The modified RFP will require a wing to be placed on a ballistic target vehicle at, I am told, considerable cost in money and the LRALT’s performance. The reason is that the U.S. Government is unable to reach internal agreement to state the obvious fact that the LRALT would not be a "weapon delivery vehicle" and, therefore, would not be subject to the START Treaty. This simple statement is correct, well within our right, and would obviate the peculiar requirement to render a ballistic trajectory aerodynamic.
With an arms control career full of such examples, I proceed from the fact that the United States will interpret its treaty obligations conservatively -- even over conservatively -- and abide by them to a tee until such time as they are changed.
The New York ABM Treaty Agreements
Unfortunately, the only ABM Treaty changes the U.S. and Russia have been discussing are potential steps backward. This brings me to my first key point. The the ABM Treaty agreements signed at New York on September 26, 1997 -- on succession and demarcation -- are not in the interest of the United States. If the Russian Duma does not soon reject them, as it may, I respectfully urge the Senate to seek their submission and to reject them.
When I refer to the New York package, I am referring to seven ABM Treaty documents, the first three of which will be submitted for the Senate’s advice and consent, signed on September 26, 1997:
-- A Memorandum of Understanding adding Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine as ABM Treaty parties.
-- The First Agreed Statement and Second Agreed Statement which purport to demarcate between ABM Treaty limited ABM and unlimited TMD.
-- An Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).
-- A Joint Statement on annual updates to information on TMD systems covered by the CBMs Agreement.
-- A unilateral Statement by the United States of America that "it has no plans" to test TMD of a velocity greater than 3 Km/sec. before April, 1999, to develop TMD with velocity greater than 5.5 Km/sec. (4.5 for sea based), or to test TMD against MIRVs or strategic RVs.
-- New Regulations of the Standing Consultative Committee which reflect the addition of Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine.
I offer three main objections to the New York ABM Treaty package.
First, the Memorandum of Understanding adds Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine as parties to the ABM Treaty -- a strategic absurdity. Whatever one’s opinion of the merits of the ABM Treaty, we could all agree that its purpose was to regulate a unique strategic relationship between the U.S. and the USSR. No such relationship exists or can exist between us and Belarus, Kazakstan or Ukraine. These newly independent states had to be added, the Administration argues, because Treaty limited radars and an ABM test site now lie in Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakstan. This is a specious argument. The Treaty limited Skrunda Radar lies in Latvia, but Latvia is not being added to the Treaty. The U.S. operates Treaty limited radars on the territories of Denmark and the United Kingdom and an ABM test site in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (which attained sovereignty just a few months before the 1991 dissolution of the USSR). Yet we never felt a post Cold War itch to add these countries to the ABM Treaty.
It doesn’t make sense, but the Administration has persisted so on this that one cannot escape the thought that its purpose is to consign any future proposals for ABM Treaty changes to allow effective missile defenses to the quagmire of pentalateral negotiation. Moreover, adding Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine will cloud the issue of which country to address on future compliance matters.
I would add that because of the way the New York documents are written, everything turns on the succession Memorandum. Defeat it, and the entire package falls.
My second concern is that the New York package not only fails to achieve so called demarcation between ABM Treaty limited ABM and unlimited TMD systems, it actually leaves matters worse than they had been.
The First Agreed Statement, that is, the demarcation agreement on lower velocity TMD confirms what we could have, and should have, simply asserted: U.S. TMD with interceptor velocities not exceeding 3 Km/sec. are ABM Treaty compliant, so long as they are not tested against targets with a velocity exceeding 5 Km/sec. or of a range greater than 3,500 Km.
The harder question of higher velocity TMD -- interceptor velocities 3 to 5.5 Km/sec. (4.5 for naval systems) -- is murkier under the New York agreements than it was before President Clinton headed to Helsinki in March, 1997. For higher velocity TMD systems, compliance with the target velocity and range criteria applied to lower velocity TMD is necessary, but not sufficient, to determine ABM Treaty compliance. There is no demarcation! Higher velocity TMD systems would still undergo an internal U.S. Government compliance review and we would now be committed to consult not just with Russia, but with four ABM Treaty parties on any TMD matter. Worse, both internal and pentalateral deliberations would be clouded by vague new restrictions: TMD may "not pose a realistic threat to the strategic nuclear force of another party," may not be deployed "for use against each other" and may not be inconsistent "in number or geographic scope" with the ballistic missile threat. We have even agreed to provide our missile threat assessment to the other parties for discussion!
The Administration emphasizes that the New York agreements would allow all U.S. TMD programs to go forward. Well, there’s "forward" and there’s "not exactly." One U.S. program, Space Based Laser, would be preemptively prohibited, as would anything else that can intercept a theater ballistic missile from space. Aside from that, the New York package would freeze traditional TMD technology in 1997, grandfathering five U.S. TMD programs -- Navy Area, THAAD, PAC-3, HAWK and MEADS -- in their current state. Navy Theater Wide (NTW) standing alone would be grandfathered too. But add space cueing or Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) fire control data, and NTW would fall into the murky waters of compliance review and consultation. Airborne Laser would have to traverse the same murky waters. So would an evolved THAAD with interceptor velocity exceeding 3 Km/sec. So would just about anything new -- something as simple as an airship launching a kinetic boost phase interceptor. Finally, TMD with more capable interceptors -- the global missile threat remaining unconstrained -- would be handicapped by a unilateral statement that the U.S. "has no plans" for interceptors faster than 5.5 Km/sec. (4.5 for naval systems).
My third objection is that, all seven documents added up, the New York package is a new TMD Treaty in all but name. In addition to the measures I have just sketched, consider the vast declarations of TMD information that will be required:
-- test ranges;
-- launch notification;
-- name, designation & basing mode of TMD systems and components;
-- concepts of operations;
-- plans and programs;
-- launchers per battalion for land based TMD;
-- class and type of ship & launchers per ship for sea based TMD;
-- TMD interceptors per launcher;
-- aircraft type & interceptors per aircraft for air based TMD;
-- TMD radar frequency band and potential.
It is an elaborate new obstacle course for American TMD. Consider as just one example how this sort of thing could afflict the U.S. Navy.
It does not require too vivid an imagination to foresee fishing expeditions for more and more information on the Aegis system which is, in reality, a system of systems. Then, add together commitments to limit "number and geographic scope," not to "pose a realistic threat to the strategic nuclear force of another party," not to deploy TMD "for use against each other" and declarations of interceptors per launcher, launchers per ship, and class and type of ship, and we are right around the corner from naval arms control and restrictions on U.S. Navy surface ship deployments.
The ABM Treaty blocks National Missile Defense
Unfortunately, new restrictions on heretofore unlimited TMD are the only changes to the ABM Treaty which will be presented to the U.S. Senate anytime soon. Meanwhile, seeking a legal path forward for NMD has been abandoned. This brings me to my second key point: the ABM Treaty as it stands today will block even the most modest National Missile Defense. Recalling what I said about how the United States interprets its treaty obligations, there is no such thing as an ABM Treaty compliant National -- and I stress National -- Missile Defense. About the only system we can deploy under the ABM Treaty as it stands today would be a Safeguard II.
As I explain why, please do not get the impression that I support some sort of minimal NMD or the so called 3 + 3 deployment readiness program. I do not. At the very least, 3 + 3 should be changed to D minus 3, that is, to a deployment program, and the U.S. should be thoroughly exploring every missile defense option for the future, including space based defenses. My point is that any NMD will require at least significant changes to the ABM Treaty. Therefore, we should decide which NMD is in our best interest and seek a legal path to its deployment.
Today, I will outline for you what I consider to be the three biggest ABM Treaty issues which any NMD deployment will raise: territorial defense, radars and deployment area. Then, I shall comment on further complications which will arise if the Government chooses to use Minuteman boosters for the NMD Ground Based Interceptor (GBI).
The root of the territorial defense issue is the shorthand description of the ABM Treaty’s limitations which developed over the years: 100 interceptors at one site. As the controversy over SDI raged, people of good will sought a consensual path forward with a Treaty compliant system which, applying the shorthand, came to mean up to 100 interceptors at one site. In 1988, the distinguished past Chairman of this Committee, Senator Nunn, recognized that a space based version of his Accidental Launch Protection System (ALPS) would require ABM Treaty amendment, but he also spoke of defensive deployments that "might be possible within the terms of the treaty or, at most, require a modest amendment." A few years later, the Missile Defense Act of 1991 called for a "... cost effective, operationally effective and ABM Treaty compliant ABM system at a single site ..."
President Clinton vetoed the FY-96 Defense Authorization Act and threatened to veto the 1996 Defend America Act on the grounds that these bills would have set the United States on a path to violate the ABM Treaty. At the same time, Administration spokespersons claimed that 3 + 3 would not violate the ABM Treaty. More recently, the Administration appears to be realizing that while 3 + 3 development can probably be carried out in compliance with the Treaty, deployment would require some amendment. Still, as recently as last month, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Henry H. Shelton told the HNSC that "the objective of the National Missile Defense (NMD) program is to develop and maintain the option to deploy an ABM Treaty compliant system that will protect the U.S. against limited ballistic missile threats, including accidental launches, unauthorized launches, or Third World threats."
The fact is that if we ever proceed with the "plus" part of 3 + 3, significant amendments or understandings to the ABM Treaty will have to be sought. The notion of Treaty compliant NMD ignores that the 100/1 limitation was not an object in itself, but a tool to implement the Treaty’s object and purpose as set forth in Article I: "... not to deploy ABM systems for the defense of the territory ..." Thus the objective of our current NMD deployment readiness program -- "the NMD system will provide defense of all territory on the 50 states" -- stands in apparent contrast to the Treaty’s object and purpose.
The question, then, is not the technical one of whether the territory of the United States can be defended with 100 interceptors from one site in North Dakota. Rather, the treaty question is whether limited defense of the entire territory -- even with 100 interceptors at one site -- is territorial defense.
The traditional U.S. view, consistently held across administrations, is that Article I is hortatory, establishing the framework for the substantive provisions to follow. Thus, in the U.S. view, a side would have to violate some provision of Articles III, V, VI or IX in order to violate Article I. In other words, Articles III, V, VI and IX specify what actions would be technologically necessary for a side to move toward a territorial defense. If this traditional U.S. view is maintained and sustained with the Russians, the issue of territorial defense would not arise.
This is uncharted water. The issue of territorial defense has never had the opportunity to arise in a major way because, until now, the United States has not been discussing deployment of an operational ABM system. Although the Soviets raised Article I a number of times in connection with our SDI program, we were always able to respond, as we did with the 1984 Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE), that the activity in question was a technology demonstration, not deployment of an operational system. This time, the U.S. would be deploying an operational system which we say will cover the entire territory.
I do not deny that a sound argument can be made that territorial defense of the type we are now contemplating would not be a territorial defense which would impinge upon the object and purpose of the ABM Treaty. That is, a thin defense against third countries or accidental or unauthorized launch would not detract from a Russian second strike capability, even under projected START III offensive force levels. Nevertheless, anyone who has stood in front of TV cameras or run for elected office will appreciate that arguing that territorial defense is not territorial defense is going to be a tough sell. Therefore, at the very least, the the U.S. and Russia will seek clarification in the SCC of the term "territorial defense."
In that the U.S. traditional position has been long and consistently held, this may be a hurdle which can be overcome. However there is one further liability which NMD raises in the context of territorial defense. ABM Treaty Article I also commits us "... not to provide a base for [territorial] defense ..."
If the thin NMD system itself would not constitute a territorial defense in violation of Article I, does it lay a base for such a defense? The U.S. may establish that a NMD deployment of 20, or even 100, interceptors cannot possibly be a territorial defense in the meaning of the ABM Treaty, that is, a defense which could leave us invulnerable to a Russian retaliatory attack. However, once even a minimal NMD system is deployed at Grand Forks, long lead items such as radars and BM/C3 will be in place and interceptor missiles and Kinetic Kill Vehicles (KKVs) will be available.
There are no doubt treaty amendments and confidence building measures which could address this issue, but these will have to be negotiated. And this is precisely my point; we are in for a negotiation which is going to involve the Article I issue of territorial defense.
The second issue is radars and it is intertwined with the issue of territorial defense. This issue is so complex and architecture dependent that I shall confine my remarks to a general description of the issue and one illustration.
The world is round, U.S. territory -- from Calais to Key West to Niihau to Attu and back to Calais -- occupies a large bit of it, and high frequency electromagnetic waves travel in straight lines. By confining ABM radars to one 150 Km. radius ABM deployment area, the authors of the ABM Treaty used these basic physical facts to implement the Treaty’s object and purpose, that is, to prohibit a territorial defense.
With today’s technology we can do a lot more from that one site than we could in 1972 but, still, a single ABM radar in North Dakota just cannot cover the territory of the United States. Thus, every NMD architecture I have seen features some combination of existing and new EWRs, including new EWRs outside U.S. territory, space based sensors, X Band radars (XBs) deployed outside the ABM deployment area, and an XB at the deployment area. Such sensor suites don’t fit into the ABM Treaty’s framework. But the problem is only partly that today’s technology does not match yesterday’s treaty terms. The greater issue is that our objective for today’s technology does not match the object and purpose for which yesterday’s treaty terms were written. In other words, to proceed with NMD we will have to seek ABM Treaty adjustments and understandings on radars and these will be directly related to the issue of territorial defense. This will involve wrenching the Russians and the American arms control community from positions in which they have become quite comfortable. Consequently, there will be no such thing as a minor Treaty adjustment or understanding.
Recalling that this is just one illustration of the problem, consider the matter of XBs deployed away from the ABM deployment area. A 1996 Air Force briefing, for example, describes XBs deployed on the East and West coasts of the United States, that is, on the periphery of the territory and oriented outward. Since this matches the ABM Treaty’s locational requirements for EWRs, it is tempting to argue that the XBs should be treated as EWRs for the purpose of the ABM Treaty. The treaty does not define what EWRs are; only that they cannot be ABM radars, that is:
-- radars constructed and deployed for an ABM role; or
-- radars of a type tested in an ABM mode.
Nor can an EWR be given ABM capability. A 1978 U.S. - Soviet Agreed Statement says that "the term ‘tested in an ABM mode’ shall not be applied to radars for early warning of strategic ballistic missile attack..."
U.S. analyses of Soviet/Russian compliance with the ABM Treaty may have established some precedent for a wide definition of the functions which an EWR can perform and still remain within these bounds. In the case of Pechora class Large Phased Array Radars supporting target acquisition by the Pill Box radar of the Moscow ABM system, the U.S. Government concluded the following in 1993:
In light of the ambiguity of the Treaty language, and based on further review of the issue and on the probable Soviet practice -- which amounts to the use of precise target hand over data in support of an effort to counter strategic ballistic missiles -- the USG now judges that the support of ABM systems by early warning radars providing precise hand over data will not constitute use of the early warning radars in violation of the ABM Treaty. Specifically, the USG will not consider as prohibited the hand over of precise target state vectors by properly located and oriented early warning radars to ABM systems or ABM components... While the hand over of these data allows the ABM system or ABM component to initiate its ABM functions, the actual capability to counter strategic ballistic missiles remains exclusively with the ABM system or ABM components.
Thus, if the XBs are treated as EWRs and the Pechora finding is accepted as a precedent -- neither a foregone conclusion -- the XBs could provide data, however precise, to the ABM system so long as these data are truly being handed over to the ABM radar at the deployment area. For many potential intercepts, the XBs would operate in accordance with this precedent.
However, this would not be so for more distant intercepts. Recall that Attu is closer to North Korea than it is to North Dakota. In some cases, commitment to interceptor launch will result from data provided by the an early warning sensor. Then the XBs will track and discriminate, process data at their own computer or a central battle management computer, and update the interceptor. In such cases, the ABM radar at the ABM deployment area would not be involved. This very likely constitutes giving the XBs ABM capability, a hefty step beyond the Pechora compliance decision.
Moreover, the 1993 Compliance Report analyzed whether the existing Pechora class radars, already recognized as EWRs, were being used in violation of the Treaty. It will be more difficult to establish that the previously nonexistent American XBs are EWRs. Such a discussion must begin with a precise description of their functions and technical capabilities.
Given a precise description, many will not accept that the XBs could be anything but ABM radars or radars given ABM capability, either because, as noted above, they are not handing over data to an ABM radar but rather, performing an ABM radar function themselves, or because they meet the ABM Treaty criterion of being constructed and deployed for an ABM role.
It will be well known from the BMDO Annual Report, budget justifications, Congressional hearings and an open press that the XBs will be purposely built for use with the NMD system, probably derived from the GBR-P radar being constructed at Kwajalein for BMD testing. They are proposed and would be constructed and deployed only in this connection. Moreover, the Air Force briefing describes the XBs as substantially the same as the ABM radar at the deployment area. Given all this, it is going to be very difficult to argue that the XBs were not constructed and deployed for an ABM role and, thus, are EWRs and not ABM radars.
Bearing in mind the tremendous progress in radar technology since 1972, it may be more accurate to say that, at least in cases of more distant intercepts, the NMD system may not have, strictly speaking, an ABM radar. The NMD system’s operation may leap from the XB which is sui generis -- neither ABM radar nor EWR -- through the BM/C3 system, directly to the KKV seeker. Unfortunately, this will not free the XBs of ABM Treaty concerns. Rather, the 1978 Statement anticipates such a situation:
If ABM interceptor missiles are given the capability to carry out interception without the use of ABM radars as the means of guidance, application of the term ‘tested in an ABM mode’ to ABM interceptor missiles in that event shall be subject to additional discussion and agreement in the Standing Consultative Commission.
In sum, it is unlikely that the U.S. arms control community or the Russians will easily accept the proposed XBs as EWRs. If we want to deploy XBs for use with our NMD system, we are most likely destined for a head-on political negotiation. Again, I do not discount that some accommodation, first among ourselves, and then with the Russians can be had. I simply note that the ABM Treaty as it stands today will block even a modest NMD system.
The third ABM Treaty issue is the deployment area and this, too, is related to the issue of territorial defense.
The ABM Treaty requires the 150 Km. radius ABM deployment area at Grand Forks to contain ICBM silo launchers. This is complicated by the 1995 Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) recommendation that the 321 SMG at Grand Forks AFB be deactivated, its Minuteman III missiles relocated to Malmstrom AFB, MT. in 1998. The BRAC did recognize that this could pose a problem for missile defense and offered the Secretary of Defense the opportunity to reverse the decision by determining "that the need to retain ballistic missile defense (BMD) options effectively precludes this action." In response, the Deputy Secretary of Defense advised the BRAC
... that inactivation of the Grand Forks AFB Minuteman field would not affect the right to retain an ABM deployment area at Grand Forks and would not require demolition of the existing ABM facilities. DoD, however, reiterated the fact that it could be necessary to leave a small number of empty Minuteman silos in place at Grand Forks AFB.
DoD has apparently taken the view that maintenance of more than one ICBM silo launcher at Grand Forks satisfies the ABM Treaty requirement. In a strict legal sense DoD is correct. However, leaving a few empty silos at Grand Forks to satisfy Treaty obligations may be portrayed by some as a sham which is not the way the U.S. complies with its legal obligations. Proceeding in this way could also underscore the territorial defense issue. The idea underlying this ABM Treaty provision was that defense of a single missile field in order to guarantee survival of at least some retaliatory capability would be stabilizing. Territorial defense was seen as destabilizing. Now, if we deploy an NMD system in North Dakota after the ICBMs have been removed, we must be up to something else -- again, we return to territorial defense.
Minuteman booster adds treaty complications
What I have said thus far will apply to any NMD deployment. However, as you know, the Government is actively considering using the M-55 Minuteman III (MM-III) first stage as a booster for the NMD Ground Based Interceptor (GBI). I cannot judge the technical or financial merits of using the Minuteman booster for the GBI. I can say that they had better be substantial to justify the treaty complications which such a decision will precipitate. Using the Minuteman booster in this role will bring the START Treaty into play, opening the arms control version of the proverbial can of worms from which will crawl three types of issues: a clash between START and ABM Treaty provisions, START complications and START compliance requirements.
Most important is a clash between START and ABM Treaty provisions. If the NMD GBI uses the first stage of an existing ICBM, the GBI will be an ICBM for the purpose of the START Treaty. Referring again to the Air Force briefing, the booster stack might add to the three Minuteman stages a new fourth stage. If this fourth stage provides the payload additional velocity of more than 1,000 meters per second, then the GBI would qualify as a "new type" of ICBM under START, essentially a Minuteman IV (MM-IV). Because it is only this "new type" of ICBM -- the GBI/MM-IV -- which will be tested in an ABM mode, the MM-III force will not be "contaminated" as ABM interceptors in accordance with the ABM Treaty’s type rule. Of course, once the GBI/MM-IV is tested in an ABM mode, all missiles of this type will be considered ABM interceptor missiles.
If the fourth stage does not provide the payload additional velocity of more than 1,000 meters per second, then the GBI would remain a MM-III existing type ICBM under START. Under such circumstances, if the GBI were tested in an ABM mode, the entire MM-III force would be "contaminated" as ABM interceptor missiles in accordance with the ABM Treaty’s type rule. This would place the U.S. in violation of the numerical limits of the ABM Treaty.
Assuming the Minuteman would qualify as a "new type," essentially, we would be creating one new missile which will be the GBI ABM interceptor missile for the purpose of the ABM Treaty and will also be the MM-IV ICBM for the purpose of the START Treaty. A question arises because the ABM Treaty prohibits giving a missile, other than an ABM interceptor missile, capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight trajectory, and testing them in an ABM mode. Something we call an ICBM will have been given ABM interceptor capability. Would this violate the ABM Treaty?
Some have argued that this ABM Treaty provision was crafted to address a specific cheating scenario -- modifying antiaircraft missile systems to intercept ballistic missile reentry vehicles -- which does not pertain to the GBI/MM-IV. In fact, concern over ICBM conversion to an ABM role did figure in the drafting of this provision.
Arguments can be crafted either way and surely will be. I have been looking at this question for two years and I have concluded that creating a GBI/MM-IV would not violate the ABM Treaty. Whether antiaircraft conversion, ICBM conversion or whatever else was the impetus for this ABM Treaty provision, its purpose was to prevent creation of more than 100 ABM interceptor missiles by calling them something else. This would not be the case with the GBI/MM-IV because it would be declared as an ABM interceptor missile and counted under the ABM Treaty limit. I appeal, again, however, to those who have stood before TV cameras or run for elected office. Saying that we did not give ABM capability to a missile other than an ABM interceptor missile when we call that missile an ICBM is going to be a tough sell.
Finally, it should be noted that a GBI/MM-IV will be counted under the warhead and launcher limits of the START Treaties -- essentially each such ABM interceptor comes out of the hide of the strategic offensive force. This will make expansion beyond 20 NMD GBIs problematic. Indeed, if we proceed with START III and IV, as is already being contemplated, a force of, say, 200 GBI/MM-IVs counted under START limits as ICBMs is almost inconceivable.
If we can overcome this issue, then the GBI/MM-IV will be treated as an ICBM for the purpose of START and this will lead to further START complications. For example, the START Treaty requires warhead attribution based on the number of reentry vehicles with which an ICBM has been tested. A reentry vehicle is defined as "...that part of the front section that can survive reentry through the dense layers of the earth’s atmosphere..." Since the GBI KKV cannot survive reentry, it would not be a reentry vehicle -- GBI/MM-IV would be an ICBM with zero warheads. In such a circumstance, the START Treaty offers no guidance on how to attribute warheads.
The most obvious answer would be to tell the Russians that we are attributing one warhead to the GBI/MM-IV because it delivers one "thing" and Russian inspectors and NTM can verify this. We can expect considerable discussion on this in the Joint Compliance and Inspection Commission (JCIC), the U.S. - Russian START implementation body.
Another issue sure to seize the JCIC and Washington policy circles is that of launch notification. The START Treaty and the 1988 Launch Notification Agreement require notification of the other party through the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers no less than 24 hours before the launch of any ICBM. Both agreements assume that any launch would be a planned test of some sort. Therefore, neither provides for operational use of an ICBM. However, the GBI/MM-IV could be launched operationally in case of a ballistic missile attack on the United States. Such a launch would be a technical violation of the START Treaty and the Launch Notification Agreement.
On one level this is a trifling legalism dwarfed by a ballistic missile attack on the United States. Surely it could be explained the next day in the JCIC to Russian satisfaction. On another level, however, these are serious legal provisions which will raise an important policy debate. The purpose of the notification requirement is to reduce the risk of war by misinterpretation, miscalculation or accident. If there are viable NMD alternatives, do we want to deploy an NMD system, the use of which will initially appear to the Russians to be an American ICBM launched without notice from a declared American ICBM base?
The legal issue can be justifiably subordinated to national defense. The policy issue will be debated at length in Washington.
Finally, as an ICBM for the purpose of START, the GBI/MM-IV would be subject to the following START compliance requirements:
-- declaration of Kwajalein as a START test range which would require establishment of an OSIA detachment at Honolulu to accommodate Russian update inspections;
-- exhibition to Russian inspectors of one "new type" GBI/MM-IV ICBM;
-- prohibition of telemetry encryption with no exemptions for a "new type" ICBM (guidance signals sent from the ground to the KKV, however, could be encrypted);
-- declaration of throw weight;
-- Russian inspections to verify the number of warheads it is equipped to carry.
What must be done
Mr. Chairman, as I said at the outset, there was nothing necessary, logical or enduring about mutual vulnerability or the ABM Treaty. The ABM Treaty is not a "cornerstone of stability" for the 21st. Century; it is an artifact of the Cold War, a delicate diplomatic matter for the 21st. Century. As such, it is a matter for discussion now because it stands in the way of the NMD we need for the 21st. Century.
By shrinking from that discussion we are hurting ourselves in five ways.
First, we are deluding ourselves that some NMD is possible under the ABM Treaty.
Second, we are allowing an imbalance to develop between maintaining Cold War concepts of U.S. - Russia stability and building new kinds of stability for our relations with the rest of the post Cold War world.
Third, we are ignoring the crumbling ground beneath the ABM Treaty. The geopolitical and technological trends are such that we will need NMD. Those same trends will press us for ever more capable TMD which will eventually erode any demarcation line between ABM Treaty limited ABM and unlimited TMD. The only question is which rumble will be heard first.
Fourth, given these, we are depriving ourselves of the time it will take to talk to the Russians about what will be, for both countries, a major strategic shift.
Finally, and I think most important, we are perpetuating a Cold War adversarial climate with Russia. At first glance, this may appear to be propping up their superpower status and, in the very near term, perhaps it is. But in the longer run, given the state of Russia’s economy, technology and political transition, it is an adversarial relationship in which Russia can only be a perpetual loser. Such a condition can only foster resentment, suspicion and reaction. If you will forgive the colloquialism, we can only get so friendly with shotguns cocked under our arms. Mutual vulnerability is not a policy for the future. It is time for the United States and Russia to step together toward new security strategies for the new millennium.
I cannot tell you what the outcome of a negotiation on the ABM Treaty might be. Unfortunately, the only real attempt at this, the Ross - Mamedov talks and discussion of President Yeltsin’s proposal for a Global Protection System, was abandoned in its infancy. If we try again, many Russian reactions will surely be negative. Old habits die hard. But if we persist, if we demonstrate seriousness of purpose by truly proceeding toward U.S. NMD deployment, if we genuinely take Russian security concerns into account, if we offer something in which they perceive a stake, perhaps something useful can be forged. I would rather have some negotiating time to find out than to find myself backed into a corner by looking the other way.
In the end, if a negotiating effort comes to nought and we are faced with withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, at least we will have prepared the way by leaving no stone unturned. We will demand no less of ourselves.
Allow me to close with a negotiator’s note of caution: be careful what you wish for! Worse than our current inaction would be to negotiate piecemeal or to agree upon a new regime that limits our NMD to less than we need during the period for which that regime can be expected to last. We should count on any negotiated outcome enduring for some time.
Therefore, I believe the U.S. should first consider well what NMD it needs, craft an integral ABM Treaty negotiating position accordingly, and then approach the Russians. I would not exclude anything, including space based defenses, from this consideration. Obviously, the more we seek, the tougher the negotiation will be. But there is no sense in negotiating for less than we need and, in any event, the entire venture hinges upon both countries’ ability to grasp a whole new strategic paradigm.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your interest in my views and I am prepared to answer any questions you or your colleagues may have.