Issue Brief 26, December 19, 2000-Keeping Campaign Promises!!!
On his first trip to Capitol Hill after being unambiguously named President-elect, George W. Bush indicated he would keep his campaign promises. He observed: "You’re going to find out about me. I campaigned and say things because I believe them. I believe I’m standing here because I campaigned on issues that the people heard."
High Frontier takes President-elect Bush at his word, and looks forward to fulfillment of his campaign pledge to end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile—"at the earliest possible date." Candidate George W. Bush said that his Administration’s first order of priority would be the national security of our nation—and that…
"At the earliest possible date, my administration will deploy antiballistic missile systems, both theater and national, to guard against attack and blackmail. We will offer Russia amendments to the Anti-Ballistic Missile [ABM] Treaty—an artifact of the Cold War confrontation. Both sides know that we live in a different world than in 1972 when the Treaty was signed. If Russia refuses the changes we propose, we will give prompt notice, under the provisions of the Treaty, that we can no longer be party to it. I will have a solemn obligation to protect the American people and our allies, not to protect arms control agreements signed almost 30 years ago. Given today’s realities, we can no longer drag our feet on building and deploying a missile defense system; nor can we allow Cold War arms control agreements to restrict America’s ability to defend itself and its allies."
The tone of President-elect Bush’s pledge is somewhat different than that of his designated Secretary of State Colin Powell, who indicated on Sunday that there would need to be an extended study in the Pentagon and consultation with others around the world before deciding what to do. This is a recipe for delay!
To be sure, General Powell also said that the Bush Administration would make building a defense an essential part of US strategic policy. He also offered the rationale first given by Ronald Reagan, for whom he worked as National Security Adviser, when he said: "I harken back to the original purpose of such a defense, to start diminishing the value of offensive weapons"—and that it is time to take away the blackmail inherent in some regimes having such weapons and "thinking they can hold us hostage."
These are good words, and ones he should dwell upon rather than the cautionary suggestions that America must await the permission of Russia, China and America's allies—who claim alarm at the idea of America defending itself and urge us to pay further tribute to the ABM Treaty. He should follow the President-elect’s lead in committing that "Given today’s realities, we can no longer drag our feet on building and deploying a missile defense system; nor can we allow Cold War arms control agreements to restrict America’s ability to defend itself and its allies." Today a single missile-delivered mass destruction warhead, fired by accident or intent, means the assured destruction of Americans on a huge scale.
High Frontier urges the new administration to move with dispatch to build sea-based defenses as quickly as possible to protect America and our overseas troops, friends and allies from the ballistic missile blackmail that General Powell rightfully identified as a major foreign affairs problem. There has been study enough on the merits of a sea-based defense—including a Congressionally mandated study that the Clinton Administration has watered down and stalled sending to the Hill since last March. Sea-based defense, which can be operational sooner than the ground-based defenses championed by the Clinton Administration, should be followed as quickly as possible by building a layered defense using other basing modes—including ground-based defenses. It is very important to resurrect programs to build space-based defenses—cancelled by the Clinton Administration—which ultimately will provide the most effective way to protect America and our overseas troops, friends and allies.
Six months should be enough time for the Russians and others to get comfortable with these ideas and to end the restraints of that Cold War relic, the ABM Treaty, which have prevented the development and deployment of effective defenses for over 28 years. We urge President-elect Bush to establish a six-month deadline for consultations with our friends and allies—and then we should get on with defending America!
Issue Brief 25, November 10, 2000- Undecided
Two days after the election—and still undecided! What’s more it could be a week before the absentee ballots are counted for Florida, and even that may not settle the outcome of the November 7 election. This nail-biter is crucial for those of us who favor building defenses to end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile.
Missile defense advocates on Capitol Hill will be working with even smaller majorities in both the House and the Senate. Sound defense programs will stall if the White House is unwilling to carry out Congress’ agenda—as illustrated by President Clinton’s repeated veto of important Bills that mandated defending the Nation. Last September, he even refused to execute the law after signing an overwhelmingly bi-partisan Bill mandating that it is national policy to build an effective National Missile Defense as soon as technologically possible.
The role of the President in leading the nation’s effort to provide for the common defense is dominant. Congress provides the funds, but the President must lead.
In the Missile Defense Act of 1991, the Bush Administration was able to get a generally uncooperative Congress to agree to build a robust national missile defense before the end of the 1990s—and the Clinton-Gore Administration cancelled those programs immediately when they took office. Then Senator Al Gore led the opposition in the Senate to the 1991 Missile Defense Act—and he had his say from the White House to overturn that law in 1993. When our friends on Capitol Hill were finally successful in gaining a veto-proof, bipartisan majority to pass the 1999 Missile Defense Act, it was much weaker than its 1991 predecessor—and, as noted above, President Clinton refused in September to go ahead with the first site of even that more limited defense, kicking the can to the next President.
And what will the next President do?
A President Gore will continue his well-known policies—favoring arms control agreements over active measures to protect America’s interests. His view is that “arms control and strategic modernization programs have to be built upon planned and negotiated agreements.” He couldn’t say it more plainly—Russia will have a veto over U.S. defenses in a Gore Administration. No wonder Russian President Putin prefers a President Gore.
The Vice President is a devotee of Mutual Assured Destruction—that mutual suicide pact we had with the former Soviet Union, which Ronald Reagan tried to change when he initiated the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. Senator and then Vice President Gore opposed this objective—and we can expect more of the same from him as President. We can expect more secret deals such as he negotiated in 1995 with then Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, or secret deals like Bill Gertz of the Washington Times reports today the Clinton-Gore Administration is seeking with Russia on early warning measures—this to establish an arms control legacy for President Clinton. And we can expect him to continue to withhold from the U.S. Senate 1997 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty amendments that, under the Constitution, should have been sent there—and rejected—long ago as part of our ratification process. More rule by Executive Order, rather than the rules of our Republic.
Candidate George W. Bush has said that his Administration’s first order of priority would be the national security of our nation—and that “at the earliest possible date, my administration will deploy antiballistic missile systems, both theater and national, to guard against attack and blackmail. We will offer Russia amendments to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty—an artifact of the Cold War confrontation. Both sides know that we live in a different world than in 1972 when the Treaty was signed. If Russia refuses the changes we propose, we will give prompt notice, under the provisions of the Treaty, that we can no longer be party to it. I will have a solemn obligation to protect the American people and our allies, not to protect arms control agreements signed almost 30 years ago. Given today’s realities, we can no longer drag our feet on building and deploying a missile defense system; nor can we allow Cold War arms control agreements to restrict America’s ability to defend itself and its allies.”
Very different views, indeed! Not that the fight to defend America will be over with Bush as President. The arms control elite will fight against effective defenses every step of the way.
But, if you care about building effective defenses against ballistic missiles anytime soon, know that the stakes are exceedingly high as we watch the counting in Tallahassee—and the subsequent political fallout. Stay tuned!
Issue Brief 24, September 12, 2000-The Week That Was; Selling-Out NMD
On September 1—the Friday before Labor Day while Congress was out of town, President Bill Clinton announced that his administration would not now commit to deploy even the radar in Alaska as the first step in building a National Missile Defense. Never mind that his decision was contrary to a bill he signed into law last year, mandating that an effective defense be built as soon as technologically possible. He claimed the technology is not ready.
But in his testimony on the following Friday (September 8), the Director of Clinton’s Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO)—Lt.Gen. Ron Kadish— made clear that the President’s "decision not to decide" to build NMD had nothing to do with the maturity of the available technology. "There is no technical reason at this point, validated by independent review teams, indicating that we could not develop an effective NMD system," Kadish said.
Clearly, the President’s announcement was about not annoying leaders of Russia, China or other nations with whom he was to meet in New York at the Millennium Summit last week. And at that United Nations Summit, he and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a Joint Statement declaring once again their support for strengthening the ABM Treaty as "the cornerstone of strategic stability." These are code words, of course, indicating the Clinton-Gore Administration’s continuing devotion to the Mutual Assured Destruction theology that underpins the ABM Treaty, keeping Americans vulnerable to even a single ballistic missile.
Furthermore, Russian President Putin, a former director of the KGB, called for a conference in Moscow for nations to work out an agreement to "de-militarize outer space"—language familiar to all who followed the negotiations with the Soviet Union and their client states throughout the Cold War. It is just another way the Soviets/Russians have sought to mobilize world opinion to block the use of American technology, which greatly outpaces Soviet/Russian technology, in defending America and our friends around the world. Regrettably, actions by the Clinton-Gore Administration suggest it is sympathetic with this position as well.
The fact is the Clinton-Gore Administration simply opposes building effective defenses—now, as throughout the past eight years, since they drastically cut development programs left in place by the Bush Administration. For example, the Administration cut the $1.8 billion appropriated in fiscal year 1993 to $0.4 billion—and reduced the fully approved NMD budget over the next six years by 80-percent.
On September 6, the Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Proliferation reinforced this fact by releasing a 93-page report demonstrating how the Clinton Administration and congressional Democrats have slashed funds and curtailed programs, causing the current problems with U.S. defenses against missile attack.
"If it were not for the actions and decision made by the Clinton Administration . . . we would have had in place today a system that would have protected the United States from a limited ballistic missile attack," Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican and the Subcommittee Chairman, told reporters in releasing the findings. "The facts clearly show [the Clinton Administration] dragging its feet, not moving aggressively to develop and deploy a ballistic missile defense system," he said. The senator also said Mr. Clinton "misjudged the nature of the threat" and "did not have confidence the scientific community . . . could come up with usable solutions" to problems of hitting high-speed targets in space.
High Frontier’s Chairman, Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, supported Senator Cochran’s claims in testimony he provided to the House Committee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations to support its September 8, 2000, hearing on recent missile defense testing and how the ABM Treaty retards America’s efforts to build effective missile defenses. Cooper emphasized that the Clinton-Gore development programs "are not responsive to the threat of ballistic missiles that can be used to blackmail or attack the United States." Among other things, he concluded, "We should declare our intention to abandon our policy of adhering to the ABM Treaty, and to build the most effective ballistic missile defenses we can as soon as we can. . . If that step is taken, I believe that sea-based and space-based defenses are the most effective defenses that we can build quickly—beginning operations as early as in 2003"—i.e., when the bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission said America might be threatened.
Issue Brief 23, August 7, 2000-Correcting the Record:The Bush Administration Did Not Choose Ground-Based Defenses as the Most Mature, Most Rapidly Deployable Way to Defend America; Congress Overruled the Bush Administration’s Space-Based Interceptor Preference!
According to the July 26, 2000, Washington Post, Defense Secretary Bill Cohen told the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) that the Bush Administration selected ground-based missile defenses in 1991 as more technically mature and capable of more rapid deployment than space-based and sea-based alternatives. This claim is disputed by Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) during the time referred to by Cohen.
In a July 31 letter to SASC Chairman, Senator John Warner, Cooper reviewed the history of the Bush missile defense programs, including a 1990 independent review he performed for Defense Secretary Dick Cheney—under a mandate from President Bush—that recommended a redirection of the Reagan SDI program that had focused on defending the United States against a large attack from the Soviet Union.
Cooper’s March 1990 recommendation—following the fall of the Berlin Wall, but before the break-up of the Soviet Union—was to refocus SDI on defending the U.S. and our overseas troops, friends and allies against limited strikes that might come from an accidental or unauthorized launch of Russian ICBMs or from rogue states gaining ballistic missile capability via proliferation of technology throughout the world. This concept—called Global Protection Against Limited Strikes, or GPALS—was adopted by President Bush in January 1991. Cooper already had been by then working for six months as SDI Director to redirect the SDI program accordingly. According to Cooper,
"GPALS included a National Missile Defense (NMD) segment consisting of 5-6 sites of ground-based interceptors; a Global Missile Defense (GMD) segment consisting of 1000 space-based interceptors; and a Theater Missile Defense (TMD) segment consisting of several systems with sea-, air, and mobile ground-based interceptors. A global command and control system was envisioned to integrate these segments and robustly protect Americans at home as well as our overseas troops, friends and allies from up to 200 ballistic missile warheads launched by any nation."
The space-based interceptor segment, then called Brilliant Pebbles, had been reviewed by the Defense Science Board, the JASONS, and other technical groups and "was technically mature and ready for development." LtGen Jim Abrahamson began the Brilliant Pebbles R&D effort in 1987, and LtGen George Monahan established a Task Force to lead the formal acquisition effort in 1989. Monahan designated Brilliant Pebbles—expected to cost less than half the first ground-based site—as "first to deploy" in March 1990. He assigned the ground-based segment "a follower role."
Brilliant Pebbles was the first SDI program to be approved by the Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) as a Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) with two contractor teams in place in 1991. But Brilliant Pebbles was removed from this status by direction of Congress—specifically by Senator Sam Nunn—as part of the deliberations on the Missile Defense Act of 1991, which mandated deployment of a ground-based site by 1996 or as soon as technologically possible. Cooper claims it was at least an additional year before the ground-based interceptor system reached anything like the same level of programmatic maturity as Brilliant Pebbles. In fact, the GBI program was cancelled by the Clinton Administration in 1993 before the DAB-approved GBI contracts were awarded—indeed, the proposals were returned to the contractors, unopened. SDI had awarded two Brilliant Pebbles contracts following a similar DAB-approved competition over two years earlier.
As stated by Cooper, "Removing Brilliant Pebbles from its leading role was most definitely not a free will decision by the Bush Administration, contrary to Secretary Cohen’s recent suggestion." And the 1994 award-winning Clementine mission to the Moon space-qualified Brilliant Pebbles technology, which continues to mature in spite of the Administration’s opposition to space-based defenses. Space-based interceptors could still be deployed before the first site of a ground based system—such a space-based defense would cost much less, be far more effective, and provide a global defense capability, including a boost-phase intercept capability.
Sea-based defenses would also be more effective and could be built sooner for less money.
(See High Frontier’s web page for Ambassador Cooper’s complete 5-page letter to Senator Warner.)
Issue Brief 22, July 10, 2000-An Expensive "No-Test"—And Consequences
In an MSNBC interview on Saturday morning, Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, High Frontier’s Chairman and President Bush’s Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, called Saturday’s setback in the Administration’s National Missile Defense (NMD) program "an expensive no-test." The interceptor was not even turned on—according to Pentagon reports; so, because of a failure to properly employ technology perfected over 40 years ago, this $100 million test proves nothing except that our engineering team doesn’t yet have its act together.
The Clinton Administration advertised this test to be more consequential than appropriate—by billing it as a critical benchmark to making a decision on whether to proceed with deployment plans, as Congress directed last year. Consequently, the expensive no-test has become an excuse for every opponent of ending America’s total vulnerability to urge delay, or even cancellation, of the program.
For example, ideological opponents point to "two-out-of-three" failures to claim a completed system would have low effectiveness. But system effectiveness can be determined by operational tests only after the system is developed—and Saturday’s test was only one test in an engineering development test series. Furthermore, it is well known that layered defenses are needed to be effective. Critics also argue NMD won’t work and costs too much; they question the threat; and they argue Russia, China and others don’t want to see Americans protected.
Won’t Work? Bear in mind that hit-to-kill technology was first demonstrated 15 years ago with a Volkswagen-size interceptor (over 10 times as large as the NMD interceptor) launched over the same Pacific test range as Saturday’s failed attempt—and also by a smaller anti-satellite interceptor launched from an F-15 fighter plane to shoot down an operating satellite in low earth orbit. So there is no question of whether the hit-to-kill concept can work—Saturday’s test was simply one of many events in an engineering development program.
Too Costly? The Washington Post quotes General Vladimir Yakovlev, Commander of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, as joining U.S. critics in saying that deployment of a NMD system "will be a waste of U.S. taxpayers’ money." Why, pray tell then, do Russians protest so loudly—to save us money? Give us a break!
Threat? Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed last month at the Moscow Summit that there was a missile threat and proposed that we work together with the Europeans on a boost-phase defense—which would, indeed, be more effective than the Alaska-based NMD system. Such a defense could defend the entire world because it would shoot attacking missiles down near their launch points—before they release multiple warheads, decoys, or other countermeasures. This is an idea well worth considering, especially in the wake of Saturday’s test.
What to Do? High Frontier recommends current programs be adapted to provide an early option for defending America—and our overseas troops, friends and allies—to counter the potential threat, which the Rumsfeld Commission indicated could develop well before the Alaska-based NMD system can be built.
While evaluating what went wrong on Saturday’s test and getting our systems engineering act together, the U.S. should take Mr. Putin up on his suggestion in serious discussions about boost-phase defenses—and initiate a program to build sea-based boost-phase defenses as soon as possible. On the way to building such a capability, we should expedite development of the Navy Theater Wide system, which, if it were fully funded, could begin operations within 3-4 years. Meanwhile, we should proceed with plans to begin building the proposed radar in Alaska next spring and completing it by 2005—this radar could help enable the Navy Theater Wide system and give it an NMD capability well before a ground-based system can be deployed in the wake of Saturday’s test failure. And a sea-based boost-phase defense could be operational shortly thereafter—and operated in an alliance context to provide global protection against ballistic missiles.
The cost of this initial sea-based defense would be relatively small—about $500 million a year more than already budgeted for the Navy Theater Wide and related programs. It could be the leading edge of an effective layered global defense with ground-, sea-, air- and space-based components. The Navy is ready to start, now!
Issue Brief 21, May 17, 2000-Ex-Defense Officials Come On-Board Sea-Based Defenses:Better Late Than Never!
This morning’s Washington Post reports that "Three prominent former Pentagon Officials who served in Democratic Administrations are breaking ranks with President Clinton on the issue of missile defense, urging him to shelve his current proposal as expensive, unworkable, and unnecessarily alienating to the Russians. As an alternative, the former officials are embracing an idea most forcefully promoted in the past by conservative Republicans: the development of ships with advanced interceptor missiles that could be parked off the coast of North Korea or other rogue states. The system, they say, would be less risky."
This argument is being made in the next issue of Foreign Policy by President Carter’s Defense Secretary Harold Brown and two of President Clinton’s Deputy Defense Secretaries, John Deutch and John White. According to a preprint of the paper obtained by High Frontier, their first recommendation is:
"As soon as possible, forward deploy current systems that are configured to provide some capability against North Korean ballistic missiles. Deployment of an Aegis Cruiser equipped with an existing missile and aerodynamic kill vehicle off the coast of North Korea can provide modest capability for boost phase intercept of the Taepo Dong Missile. This capability could be made available well before the initial operational capability of the NMD system in 2005."
High Frontier’s Chairman and President Bush’s Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, Ambassador Hank Cooper, applauds this very positive development—but wonders where at least two of these gentlemen have been since 1993. Cooper states:
"I left a fully funded Navy wide-area theater missile defense program to the Clinton Administration, and they killed it—John Deutch was the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition at the time. It could have been built by now if the Clinton team had simply continued the program I left in place. Better late than never, I suppose.
"But the only reason the nation has a solid option for their proposal now is because Congress has insisted that this important program be kept alive. And it can begin operations sooner than these three gentlemen might imagine—if Congress fully funds the program and the Clinton Administration simply makes doing so a much higher priority."
As has repeatedly been argued by High Frontier, if the Pentagon would fully fund the Navy Theater Wide program and urgently move it ahead, operations could begin within 3-4 years—and this has been the case for years, while the Pentagon has stalled this important program that could be made operational for a fraction of what the first site of the Administration’s NMD system will cost. Cooper claims 2003 is feasible, but the Clinton Administration is stalling progress.
The reason for these delays seems clear—the ABM Treaty bans the development, testing, and deployment of sea-based Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems, as Secretary Brown well knows since he negotiated significant parts of that Treaty with the Soviets in the early 1970s. According to Cooper, who was Ronald Reagan’s Chief Negotiator at the Defense and Space Negotiations with the Soviets, "No effective defense can be built under the terms of that treaty—and its continuing political dominance binds our engineers’ hands and leads to dumbed-down missile defense systems, most importantly such as the Navy Theater Wide system. Tinkering with the ABM Treaty, as these gentlemen wish to do, will not solve this basic problem."
Given the urgency of the threat—as pointed out by the 1998 bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission, High Frontier believes that it is long past time to abandon the ABM Treaty, which should have gone on the ash heap of History along with the Soviet Union—and we should build the needed defenses to protect Americans now. As these gentlemen say, we should begin with sea-based defenses we can build soonest and supplement them as soon as possible with even more effective defenses—and High Frontier would add, "Without regard to the ABM Treaty."
Issue Brief 20, April 26, 2000-NMD Cost Growth and a Grand Compromise!
As pointed out in High Frontier’s April 5 Strategic Issues Policy Brief, ("Shocked, Shocked at NMD Cost Growth!"), the now widely reported cost growth in the Administration’s National Missile Defense (NMD) system should not be a surprise. "That the first site would cost $25 billion (in constant 1991 dollars) was well known at the outset of the Clinton-Gore Administration," says High Frontier Chairman Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, who was President Bush’s Strategic Defense Initiative Director. "Misrepresentation of NMD costs is only one aspect of this Administration’s poor stewardship of missile defense programs it inherited."
It is no accident that the high costs of the Administration’s ground-based interceptor system are finally being acknowledged at this time—to help counter growing bipartisan support for ending America’s total vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile. Worse, the President is preparing to meet with Russian President Putin in early June with arms control high on his agenda.
"The threat of a disastrous arms control ‘grand compromise’ is all too real," claims Cooper, who also was President Reagan’s Chief Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union. "This ‘grand compromise’ could lock the U.S. into ABM Treaty and other policy constraints that preclude our building defenses better, cheaper and faster than the Administration’s preferred ground-based system. And the growing cost estimates may place such a heavy political burden on the current program than even the Clinton-Gore proposed limited defense will grind to a halt."
Meanwhile, that there are less expensive, more effective defenses that can be built faster than the Administration’s preferred NMD system is slowly gaining increased press coverage.
For example, sea-based defenses could be built faster for much less money—and they could be based near threatening nations so they could intercept threatening missiles while they are still ascending from the threatening nation. Thus, they could protect Americans at home as well as our overseas troops, friend and allies.
A Heritage Foundation Blue Ribbon Commission of missile defense experts, chaired by Ambassador Cooper, has claimed since 1995 that the Navy’s Aegis Cruisers could be given NMD capability within four years for less than $3 billion more than already programmed for the Administration’s missile defense programs—before the recently acknowledged NMD cost growth.
At Congress’ insistence, the Administration has repeatedly studied this proposal since then—at least a dozen studies by a variety of luminaries within and outside of the Government. Those studies have been favorable—without exception. The Administration is over a month late in sending its latest study to Congress—but press accounts suggest it, like previous studies, will be favorable as well.
Nevertheless, the Clinton-Gore Administration remains reluctant to spend even the relatively small amount of money to make this sea-based defense possibility a near-term reality. Lt. General Ron Kadish, the Director of the Administration’s missile defense programs, acknowledged in writing to Congress that only $160 million more is required to move the current sea-based defense program ahead as rapidly as the technology permits. Small potatoes compared to the recent cost growth in the Administration’s ground-based NMD program.
So, why are we not moving ahead as fast as we can with sea-based defenses? Because to use sea-based to protect Americans at home would violate Article V of the ABM Treaty—even though that treaty has dubious legal standing since our treaty partner, the Soviet Union, went out of existence almost a decade ago. And the Administration judges preserving this Cold War relic—now denounced by the ABM Treaty’s architect, Henry Kissinger—to be more important than protecting Americans from the post-Cold War threat of missile attack.
There’s the danger in the "grand compromise"—agreements that could severely limit options for future administrations and perpetuate the Clinton-Gore Administration’s resistance to building the most effective ballistic missile defenses. Let us hope that Congress stands against this unfortunately very real threat!
Issue Brief 19, April 5, 2000-Shocked, Shocked at NMD Cost Growth!
John Donnelly reported in Defense Week on April 3 that a "new" internal Pentagon memorandum acknowledges an inflation adjusted 60 percent growth in the most recently reported cost ($12.7 billion) of the first National Missile Defense (NMD) site. Now, they’re saying $20.7 billion to deploy 100 interceptors in Alaska by 2007—and $30.2 billion if 20 years of operations is included.
And these costs do not include the $3 billion spent between 1993 and 1998 on various incarnations of the current program.
So, what’s the big surprise? After all, the Clinton Administration inherited a fully approved (by many Pentagon acquisition bureaucrats still in place) NMD program that could have built the first site by now—albeit in North Dakota—for $25 billion (in 1991 dollars). Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, then Strategic Defense Initiative Director, testified to these facts, and a Democratic-controlled Congress approved SDI’s proposed program as a "low-to-moderate" risk acquisition effort.
The Clinton Administration cut this fully budgeted program by some 80 percent, directed industry’s proposals, then received in Huntsville, be returned to the various companies—unopened, and instead initiated a "technology readiness" program. And they’ve been stalling ever since.
Under pressure from Congress, the Clinton Administration initiated its so-called "three-plus-three" program in 1997—standing for there years of development followed by three years to build the first site if that action were warranted by the threat. Initially, Defense Secretary Bill Perry claimed the first site could be built in six years for only $3 billion, but it wasn’t long before that estimate was doubled—and then doubled again as the "3+3" morphed into "3+5."
Meanwhile, the Administration claims giving capability to the Navy Theater Wide (NTW) theater defense system would cost $16-19 billion and take longer than the ground-based NMD system. In High Frontier’s February 28th Strategic Issues Brief, this estimate was demonstrated to be grossly exaggerated.
In Bill Cohen’s recent interview with Sea Power Magazine, the Secretary of Defense and sometime author of fiction claimed building a sea-based NMD system would take longer, requiring "new platforms" and a "new Standard Missile." But both claims are erroneous. A fully enabled Block I Standard Missile, already being built for NTW, could be deployed on existing Aegis Cruisers within four years to begin protecting the majority of Americans. And this would cost only $2-3 billion more than is already being spent on NTW and NMD systems, exclusive of the most expensive elements of the $20.7 billion now reported as the NMD cost.
The reason should be obvious to anyone willing to consider that the ships exist, on-station around the world. We don’t have to pay for them again. Sailors are already trained in accomplishing the Aegis air defense mission—we need only to expand their capability to shoot down ballistic missiles as well as aircraft and cruise missiles. We’re already paying for most of the needed command and control improvements. The same vertical launch system that launches the Tomahawk cruise missile can launch an ABM capable Block I Standard Missile—if only we give the interceptor the needed capability.
Ah, there’s the rub! You see, if we gave the Block I interceptor the capability to shoot down a ballistic missile launched at the U.S., the Administration claims that would violate the ABM Treaty. And the ABM Treaty is an arms control icon—the so-called "cornerstone of strategic stability."
The Clinton Administration insists on slowing and dumbing down this cheaper sea-based defense system, while falsely claiming it costs more and takes longer to build than the Alaska ground-based site.
Asks Ambassador Cooper, now High Frontier’s Chairman, "Why don’t we go as fast as we can to build both, and let the Devil take the hindmost? The recent cost growth in NMD system is over twice what it would cost to build an NMD capable NTW system. So, obviously we can afford to do both."
Issue Brief 18, March 29, 2000-China is Disingenuous on Missile Defense
For the past two days, Washington Times’ articles by star Defense reporter, Bill Gertz, have emphasized how China is deploying Russian S-300 air and missile defense systems to counter Taiwan’s ability to strike China across the Taiwan Strait—and U.S. attack capabilities throughout the region.
Russia has long argued the S-300 is superior to the U.S. Patriot, and actively marketed it around the world. As well documented by former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Bill Lee, this system—called the SA-10 throughout the Cold War—was deployed by the Soviets to have both air and ballistic missile defense capability. Furthermore, it was internetted with sensors across the former Soviet Union to compose a wide area, territorial defense.
While deploying its own defense system, China disingenuously objects to U.S. programs to defend against threats to nearby American troops and friends—including threats from Chinese and North Korean missiles. In particular, China objects to the Aegis-based Navy Theater Wide (NTW) defense system, whether developed entirely by the U.S. or under joint programs with Japan or Taiwan. High Frontier is a strong advocate for giving this system as much capability as possible, as soon as possible, because the NTW system can also provide the earliest opportunity also to defend Americans at home against long range missiles from China or North Korea. And this growing threat is pressing, indeed.
The Congressionally mandated bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission concluded in June 1998 that North Korea, among other rogue states, could threaten to attack the U.S. with ballistic missiles within five years. Two months later, North Korea’s August 31, 1998, Taepo Dong launch over Japan and almost to U.S. territory irrefutably demonstrated that this threat is imminent. And, lest we forget, a Senior Chinese General threatened attack on the U.S. during Taiwan’s 1995 elections, suggesting that the U.S. would not interfere in a conflict with Taiwan because the U.S. would not wish to trade Los Angeles for Taipei.
Then, China launched several salvos of missiles across the Taiwan Strait intended to intimidate Taiwan and the U.S. In fact, the Navy’s oldest Aegis Cruiser, the Bunker Hill, tracked these threatening missiles, but because of the Clinton Administration’s resistance to building the Navy Theater Wide system, it was not able to intercept these missiles.
Chinese officials were more careful in their behavior during Taiwan’s recent election, but they have continued to make plain this threat continues. Yet, the Administration continues to underfund building the NTW system, as a recent letter from BMDO Director LGen. Ron Kadish to Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) made clear. General Kadish identified a $160 million shortfall in the current Navy Theater Wide program, which, if provided by Congress, would be "devoted primarily to preserving the option of deploying [NTW] early and providing for more robust system design."
High Frontier’s Chairman and former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative during the Bush Administration, Ambassador Hank Cooper, observed, "When I left SDI in January 1993, I left a fully funded NTW program, which could have built that system by now. The Clinton team has dropped the ball—and I believe deliberately so. They have studied and studied, underfunded, and delayed for years building this important system. Hopefully, Congress will continue to preserve—and accelerate—this the best hope of an early global defense for America and our overseas troops, friends and allies."
Issue Brief 17, February 28, 2000-Deceptions on Navy Theater Wide Costs?
High Frontier’s Chairman, Ambassador Hank Cooper, claims the Clinton Administration’s Navy Theater Wide (NTW) theater missile defense system could be improved to defend Americans at home sooner than the Clinton Administration’s National Missile Defense (NMD) concept—and for a lot less money. This claim was included in a widely circulated report of a Heritage Foundation Commission report that Cooper led, and was recently highlighted in Brian Mitchell’s front page article of the February 15, 2000, Investor’s Business Daily.
Specifically, Cooper claims an improved NTW system could begin defending Americans at home and our overseas troops, friends and allies within four years for $2-3 billion more than is already included in the President’s budget.
As reported by Mitchell, the Administration claimed last year that this NTW option would cost $16-19 billion—about the same as the ground-based system. Actually, Air Force General Lester Lyles—then Director of the Administration’s missile defense programs—observed at the time that if one examined the Administration’s analysis, there was little to dispute with Cooper.
Cooper claims the Administration has inflated the cost estimates of the NTW option by making unreasonable assumptions. For example, the Administration’s $16-19 billion estimate:
Assumed $2.5-5 billion to build 3-6 new Aegis Cruisers dedicated to the missile defense mission. But if existing ships were used—as Cooper proposes, there would be no such costs. The Navy agrees it could modify existing ships for this mission.
Assumed $2-4 billion to operate the 3-6 new ships for 20 years—obviously not needed if there were no new ships. The Navy already pays for the operations and of existing Aegis cruisers, so no additional costs need be incurred by the NTW NMD mission.
Assumed about $8 billion for stand-alone warning and fire control sensors and battle management. But the NTW system would use the sensor and battle management systems already funded elsewhere in the President’s budget. Slight modifications to relay fire control data to ships at sea would have minor cost impact. So, this $8 billion is not needed.
Assumed $0.7 billion for a new missile (Block II Standard Missile)—currently unfunded in the President’s budget. But the funded baseline Block I Standard Missile can be given limited NMD capability for small additional cost—or Block II could be built instead.
If these costs are subtracted from the Administration’s $16-19 billion estimate, the cost of giving the NTW system a NMD capability is $1.3-2.8 billion—clearly within Cooper’s $2-3 billion. Cooper also argues that the low-altitude satellite system, SBIRS-Low, should be built as soon as possible to enable the NTW system—and other missile defense. This should cost about $5 billion—and is included in the Administration’s program, albeit on a budget limited schedule.
Issue Brief 16, February 9, 2000-North Korea and China Threats: Build Defenses Now!
While the Clinton-Gore Administration touts a planned "go/no-go" decision to build a limited national missile defense (NMD) system this summer, it has more to do with removing the Administration’s vulnerability in the sound-bite debate in the lead-up to November’s elections than America’s vulnerability to threatening missiles. If the Administration were serious about defending America, it would have committed to build such a defense long ago. There is no end to the Clinton-Gore appeasement of states threatening harm to America and misplaced reliance on Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) in dealing with the dangers of the post-Cold War new world disorder. In particular, North Korea and China continue to pursue advanced capability to strike the U.S. homeland—and to sell critical technology to rogue leaders in the Middle East for them to develop their own ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
No one who pays attention to ballistic missile defense issues will forget the August 31, 1998, North Korean long-range missile test flight, which caught the U.S. intelligence community completely by surprise. A three-stage Taepo Dong rocket traveled over Japan and far enough to threaten U.S territory.
As part of protracted negotiations to stop Pyongyang’s program, Washington demanded North Korea stop its testing program or face discontinuation of funding for some non-proliferable nuclear energy plants. Eventually, the North Koreans agreed. But believing this will actually occur is wishful thinking. No expert seriously doubts that North Korea continues developing its Taepo Dong long-range missile—and is stepping up sales of missiles and related technology around the world.
Last October, the Washington Times reported this was the case, based on an October 19, 1999, classified report from the Air Force National Air Intelligence Center, America’s premier missile monitoring center. "According to U.S. officials who have seen the report," U.S. intelligence agencies believe North Korea’s new Taepo Dong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) could be fielded without any flight testing. Also reported was that a two-stage Taepo Dong-2 could hit Alaska or Hawaii and, with a lighter payload, the western United States. And a "three-stage Taepo Dong-2 could deliver a several-hundred-kilogram payload anywhere in the United States."
The administration is paying North Korea not to test its Taepo Dong missile—no doubt to pretend that without testing, development must cease. This is a deception, but the administration will no doubt claim success—and, therefore, no need to rush to build defenses, at least not to defend America against North Korean missiles. The truth is, however, that North is not ceasing its pattern of proliferation.
Japan understands the true nature of this threat and is actively seeking missile defenses to protect Japanese cities. Furthermore, the Pentagon has entered into agreements with Japan to help them develop such defenses—including those based on Aegis Cruisers, such as the Navy Theater Wide defense system. The irony is that the Administration continues to "slow roll" efforts to make this important system all it can be, because then it could defend American cities against North Korean missiles as well as Japanese cities.
Thus, the great contradiction: it is acceptable to defend against tactical missiles aimed at our overseas allies and friends, but unacceptable to defend American cities against long-range missiles from the same rogue state. This warped sense of values results from the Cold War MAD doctrine, codified in the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, called "the cornerstone of strategic stability" by the Clinton-Gore Administration and their supporters on Capitol Hill—as if a piece of paper ever protected anyone.
North Korea has the missiles to threaten all of Northeast Asia and we will defend against these missiles. So, why not Americans at home? Nope, appeasement is what we need, not a strong stance for our right to defend ourselves. Unfortunately, the same is true for threatening Chinese missiles.
The Clinton-Gore Administration has raised appeasement to ridiculous "heights." Consider the credence it is giving to China’s complaints about our potential "withdrawal" from the ABM Treaty, a treaty between the U.S. and the now-extinct Soviet Union—which should have no legal bearing on our relationship with Russia. In any case, China has no claims under the ABM Treaty—but Administration officials dignify their propagandistic concerns with sympathetic dialog rather than to assert our rights.
Chinese intelligence deputy chief of staff, General Xiong Guongkai, recently visited the Pentagon to help establish "military to military" contacts. Xiong, one of the butchers of Tiananman Square, in 1995 threatened to attack Los Angeles with missiles if the U.S. interfered with China's attempts to intimidate Taiwan during its first free election. Much ballyhoo was made of the recent cordial exchanges and possible follow-up meetings between senior U.S. and Chinese officials. Who’s kidding whom?
Chinese espionage remains in the limelight. Former Las Alamos computer scientist Wen-Ho Lee has been denied bail in his on-going prosecution for illegally transferring virtually all of our knowledge about nuclear warheads from a secure system to a non-secure system accessible from outside computers, as well as the continued lack of explanation for seven missing data tapes. Yet, some analysts continue to defy all reason and insist that China’s acquisition of our "crown jewels" is not a problem. As former Reagan Administration official Frank Gaffney recently wrote:
"The most recent salvo unleashed at the report issued in December 1998 by the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the Peoples Republic of China—universally known by the name of its chairman, Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA)— was fired last week by Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). This organization is chaired by William Perry—a man who has had longstanding, cordial and often controversial ties with Communist China before, during and after his services as President Clinton's Secretary of Defense. Dr. Perry is currently Mr. Clinton's Special Envoy to East Asia and the principal architect of the Administration's policy of appeasement toward Beijing's ally and client, North Korea."
The CISAC report claims China’s access to our nuclear knowledge is inconsequential. This is absolutely stunning. In the January 3, 2000 Las Angeles Times, Cox Committee chairman Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) and ranking Democrat, Rep. Norm Dix (D-WA), responded that the entire U.S. intelligence community disputes the CISAC conclusion. They cite a September 1999 public confirmation by the intelligence community and America’s nuclear weapons designers that new PRC missiles will have "smaller warheads—in part influenced by U.S. technology gained through espionage."
Remember, not only "blueprints" are useful to Chinese designers. Test results giving consequences of design changes are valuable to a competent engineer. This "corporate knowledge" gleaned from over 50 years of trial-and-error is extremely valuable. True, the Chinese could have figured out how to do the same thing, but not nearly as quickly. That’s what is so dangerous.
Build Effective Sea-Based Missile Defense Now!
America faces a clear, present and growing danger. Time is fleeting while the Clinton-Gore Administration dithers about building what will turn out to be a very expensive, relatively ineffective defense that will take longer to build than the emerging threats from North Korea and China.
Our only chance of defending America faster is to accelerate development of the Navy Theater Wide system and assure it can protect Americans at home as well as our troops and friends in Northeast Asia. If fully funded, this Navy program could begin deployment within four years—much sooner and for about a tenth the likely cost of the Clinton-Gore national missile defense. Congress needs to assure this option is exercised in spite of continuing Clinton-Gore resistance.