Last Friday, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition
canceled the Navy Area Ballistic Missile Defense program intended to shoot
down short- range ballistic missiles, allegedly because it had gone almost
60 percent over budget and had fallen more than two years behind schedule.
This was a short-sighted decision, to say the least.
In his August 16, 2001 letter to the Undersecretary, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Richard B. Myers certified that this program, which was scheduled to begin tests in February 2002, was “essential to national security.” General Meyers wrote that this “critical force enabler” could protect coastal sea and airports of entry, providing “assured access to troubled regions allowing a smooth flow of follow-on troops and air forces.” The Chairman also informed the Undersecretary that the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps considered Navy Area to be “the number one priority among theater missile defense systems.”
Why were these senior military leaders over-ruled on the eve of initial testing of this important system?
Navy Area research and development costs have grown from about $2 billion in 1999 to over $3 billion, while the anticipated initial deployment date has slipped 2-3 years. This performance is certainly not good, and the Navy and its contractor team should be held accountable. But why cancel the program on the eve of its initial tests when we urgently need missile protection for our carrier battle groups, marines and other forward deployed elements?
To continue this program, in which the American taxpayers have invested over $2 billion during the past decade, senior Pentagon officials had to give Congress a special accounting, or certification, on the program’s merits, because the cost growth and schedule slip exceeded so-called “Nunn-McCurdy” Congressional thresholds.
Although so certifying should not have been a problem, senior Pentagon officials apparently decided against continuing this Navy program, which was within 2-3 years of reaching an initial operational capability, for an additional billion dollars. They probably wished to use the money thus freed to pay for overruns in other more popular programs.
Understand that there should be no technical problem in getting the Navy Area system to work – it employs on a ship the same technology used by the Patriot ten years ago in the Gulf War, and by the Israeli Arrow program that became operational last year. The delays and cost growth have to be traced to failures in engineering discipline – and that problem clearly needs to be fixed, but the recent ill-advised decision throws out the baby with the bath water.
Regrettably, this problem is not without precedent in developing missile defenses – it has been all too frequent. It probably reflects the last decade’s erosion of our industrial base – as programs ended, companies merged and seasoned engineers retired without training successors. One does not fix this problem by canceling otherwise sound programs.
Indeed, last week’s decision was inconsistent with how the Pentagon – and Congress – successfully dealt with similar difficulties in other key missile defense programs that suffered delays and cost growth, yet were continued and now seem to be on track.
For example, the cost estimate in 1992 for developing the Army’s Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) was about $4 billion, with an initial capability anticipated as early as in 1996. Since 1992, development cost estimates have more than doubled to over $10 billion, and the initial operational capability date has slipped to 2007.
But instead of canceling THAAD when it ran into a flurry of 5 or so test failures in a row, Congress insisted this important program continue and threatened major penalties (in profits) to provide an incentive for the prime contractor to get its “first team” on the job and get it right – which they did.
The same thing needs to be done with the Navy Area Defense, because we need to get it operational as soon as possible. Furthermore, it should be understood that, in any case, engineers have to fix the major problems having to do with assuring ship-based targeting computers work well enough with the Aegis air defense radar systems. And they must make operational the cooperative engagement concept whereby ship-based command and control use data from many sensors, including on satellites, airplanes and other ships.
Needed are soundly managed and executed programs to build effective sea-based defenses as soon as possible. Recommended is a management approach patterned after the Polaris program office of the 1950s, which accomplished an even more difficult engineering task by deploying our first sea-based strategic missile system in under four years.
Pentagon officials have stated they still intend to develop sea-based defenses against ballistic missiles – and that’s good. Now Congress should demand an accounting of why this cancellation is likely to lead to a sea-based capability sooner than just following the THAAD precedent and insisting that the Navy and its contractors get their act together. If no good answer quickly emerges, Congress should direct that the program be restored.
Thank You, Mr. President
The courage of his convictions – that’s the quality shown today by President Bush as he gives notice to Moscow that the U.S. is withdrawing in six months from the 1972 Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty with the now defunct Soviet Union. This will allow our country to go full speed ahead to build a truly effective defense against long-range mass destruction missiles for our families and millions of others in the world, if funding for the development, testing and deployment of the project is not sabotaged by Democrat leaders in the Congress.
They reacted to the announcement with their usual negativity; Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is researching what “specific legal options Congress has” to keep the U.S. from leaving the treaty. This attitude is expressed in spite of the President’s common sense statement, “I have concluded the ABM Treaty hinders our government’s ability to develop ways to protect our people from future terrorist or rogue-state missile attacks.” He added, “President Putin and I have also agreed that my decision to withdraw from the treaty will not in any way undermine our new relationship or Russian security.”
The action of the President is applauded by High Frontier – the organization which, for years, has been leading the fight to develop a national missile defense.
We must hurry to build the best defenses our engineers can devise. Our nation is vulnerable to attack – at this moment we cannot stop a single long-range missile launched at us by accident or intent.
A courageous move today – President Bush – Congratulations, and now, “let’s roll,” quickly!
At 8:46 on this dreary morning in Washington, there
was a solemn ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House to remember
that awful moment three months ago when the first of four hijacked airliners
hurtled into the World Trade Center. Similar moments of remembrance
of those innocent victims of terrorism were held at “ground zero” in New
York, at the Pentagon, and in over 70 nations around the world. Indeed,
the victims were from many nations – and President Bush has done a masterful
job in leading a consequent and continuing international “war on terrorism.”
All will remember.
It is sad that such catastrophes seem required to awaken us to dangers that seem all too apparent in retrospect. For three months, the talking heads on all the networks have recounted numerous experts, studies and commissions – inside and outside of government – that for years have pointed out the growing danger of America’s vulnerability to weapons of mass destruction and the weapons to deliver them, as “transnational” threats, “asymmetric” threats, acts of terrorism, etc. Many pointed out that America and her allies needed to reorganize and prepare to confront this growing threat.
Yet, we were unprepared on September 11. We had a major intelligence failure. We failed to respond effectively to terrorist attacks against us – from the 1983 suicide bombing of our marine barracks in Beirut to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, to our embassies, to Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, etc. We ignored the growing threat.
Hopefully, we will not be swayed from the President’s challenge to wage war to defeat terrorists and those that harbor them – no matter how long it takes. We must rally behind the call to remember September 11, to steel ourselves to the long complex – and dangerous – conflict that Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld so magnificently presses. For ourselves and our children and grandchildren, we must stay the course, for this is indeed a war for our very way of life and all we hold dear.
Now we debate what to do after Afghanistan – as that war, nay battle, winds down. Should we rid the Iraqi people and the world of Saddam Hussein? Dare we wait while he continues to build weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them? It has been three years since Saddam first refused to continue the inspections in Iraq in violation of the peace accords he accepted after the 1991 Gulf War. Accordingly, we are not sure where he stands in his long-standing plans to again threaten us in the Middle East – indeed to threaten us here at home. We have little doubt of his objectives and his efforts to carry them out, including by terrorist agents.
Whatever we decide is our next objective in the war on terrorism, there is another important, even related, reason to remember September 11. We should want to do all we can to avoid another surprise attack in this continuing dangerous time. Yet, it seems we have not transferred this important lesson to the subject of defending America from missile attack. There seems to be absolutely no sense of urgency to end our total vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile.
Our leaders say we are only “testing” missile defense concepts, so far changed little from that concept designed to fail by the Clinton Administration. Much is made of “3-of-5” successes in the most recent test series – seemingly oblivious that successful proof-of-principle experiments were conducted 15 years ago, with pre-SDI technology. Little is being done to revive cutting edge technology produced by the Reagan and Bush I Strategic Defense Initiative – technology that offers the means of overcoming likely countermeasures that can quickly defeat the defense system we are so dedicated to “testing.” And the Bush Administration continues the Clinton practice of “dumbing down” our development and testing programs to avoid overstepping the ambiguous bounds of the ABM Treaty – which President Bush has rightly called a Cold War relic.
For example, a sea-based radar was not permitted to participate in the most recent test – because of the Treaty. Now bear in mind that this radar has been used for five years to observe Chinese and other missile launches in scenarios that involve defending our overseas troops, friends and allies, but we cannot test this radar if it demonstrates the capability to help defend the American people in their homeland, and if we cannot conduct even such a simple test, imagine the restrictions on building and testing interceptors that might be used to shoot down missiles aimed at Americans!!!
The world’s newspapers today report that Secretary of State Colin Powell is returning from Moscow having made no progress in persuading the Russians to alleviate the constraints of the ABM Treaty. Powell’s counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov, emphasized that Russia views the ABM Treaty as “the key element of the entire treaty system of providing strategic stability in the world.” In other words, Russia, which has defenses, wants America to remain vulnerable.
To awaken from this stupor, must we have a September 11 event when a ballistic missile attack makes the tragedy of three months ago seem benign by comparison? Is it not time to withdraw from this Cold War Treaty with a nation that no longer exists – and release our best engineers to build the best defenses we can as soon as we can?
Stock-taking after the Crawford Summit between Presidents Bush and Putin reveals that, in spite of their pleasant photo-ops and friendly public banter, there is little of substance for missile defense advocates to cheer.
The President announced the U.S. intends unilaterally to cut its strategic nuclear forces by two-thirds, giving up it’s strongest leverage in gaining Russia’s agreement to move beyond the ABM Treaty – as if we should need their agreement “to provide for the common defense,” charged by the Constitution to be our federal government’s first duty.
President Putin said he would match these cuts, which economics are forcing on Russia anyway. But he gave no ground on President Bush’s wish for Russia and the U.S. to move together beyond the ABM Treaty, while in effect saying, “Thank you very much for your concessions on our main concern, which – by the way – we’d like to put in a Treaty.”
This is, of course, a very familiar Russian negotiating tactic – “Accept all concessions and then make more demands.”
Even more troubling are disingenuous comments by senior officials after the summit. For example, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice told the press: “I think the main progress that’s being made is that they [the Presidents] continue at their level, and then at the experts’ level, to share more and more information about how U.S. plans are developing for missile defenses. I want to remind everyone that this is a robust research, development, and testing program, evaluation program. So there was another briefing for the Russians when we were in New York, prior to the meeting in Washington, about the progress of those plans, about some of the time lines that are driving those plans….I just here quote President Putin – whatever we do to address our concerns about missile defense, this is in the context now of a substantively changed relationship from where we were several months ago…. This is a smaller element of the U.S.-Russian relationship than it was several months ago, and certainly than it was before September 11.”
Note there was no reference to actually deploying defenses for the American people – even though September 11 made clear that America’s vulnerability is no virtue, including to ballistic missiles. And we’re just explaining our plans? We should we suggest we need Russia to agree with our plans? What are Russia’s plans with their existing homeland defense against missiles? And how is America’s vulnerability to missile attack a smaller concern after September 11?
Then, following repeated questions about when the U.S. would withdraw from the Treaty, as the President has promised from the Presidential campaign, Dr. Rice made the most infuriating comment of all, “We’ll see how long we can go before we have to actually begin the testing and development program.”
Bear in mind that Article 5 of the Treaty bans development, testing and deployment of sea-based, space-based, air-based and mobile ground based defenses for the American people – such defenses would be more effective than the more expensive ground-based system carried over from the Clinton Administration – apparently now the centerpiece of the Bush program. And Article 6 blocks testing defenses built for protecting our troops, friends and allies to protect the U.S. homeland.
So we can protect out allies, but not Americans at home? How does that play in Peoria?
Moreover, SDI experimental programs during the Reagan and first Bush Administrations were made more complex, risky and expensive to abide by these limits – and that has always contributed to higher costs and program delays. If there were no ABM Treaty, there is little doubt that substantially different missile defense systems would have been developed – indeed they could have been operational long before now.
We’ll see how long we can go before we test and develop – let alone deploy – defenses for the American people? Give me a break!!!
What will it take for America to be defended? Must a missile armed with a weapon of mass destruction fall on an American city, making September 11 look like a picnic, before America abandons this Cold War relic and releases America’s best engineers to build the best defenses they can as quickly as they can?
President Bush has repeatedly promised – as a Presidential candidate and as President – that he would get rid of the ABM Treaty as soon as possible and build the defenses America desperately needs. It is long past time for actions to match words.
From High Frontier’s perspective, the editors of the Wall Street Journal are absolutely right on. We can’t think of how to say it better – and we hope the President Bush reads this morning paper!!!
A Better Missile Deal
Wall Street Journal/November 6, 2001
Good afternoon. I have reflected on some of the questions posed at the
last briefing: questions about the 'speed of progress' in the campaign-questions
about the "patience" of the American people-if something does not happen
immediately. I have a sense that the public understands the following
On September 11th terrorists attacked New York and Washington, DC, murdering thousands of innocent people -- Americans and people from dozens of countries and all races and religions -- in cold blood. On October 7th, less than a month later, we had positioned coalition forces in the region, and we began military operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets throughout Afghanistan. Since that time -- roughly three weeks ago -- coalition forces have flown over 2,000 sorties, broadcast 300-plus hours of radio transmissions, delivered an amazing 1,030,000 humanitarian rations to starving Afghan people. Today is November 1, and smoke -- at this very moment -- is still rising from the ruins of the World Trade Center. With the ruins still smoldering and the smoke not yet cleared, it seems to me that Americans understand well that -- despite the urgency in the press questions -- we are still in the very, very early stages of this war. The ruins are still smoking!
Consider some historical perspective:
November 1, 2001 Statement of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
Good afternoon. I have reflected on some of the questions posed at the
last briefing: questions about the 'speed of progress' in the campaign-questions
about the "patience" of the American people-if something does not happen
I have a sense that the public understands the following facts:
On September 11th terrorists attacked New York and Washington, DC, murdering thousands of innocent people -- Americans and people from dozens of countries and all races and religions -- in cold blood. On October 7th, less than a month later, we had positioned coalition forces in the region, and we began military operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets throughout Afghanistan. Since that time -- roughly three weeks ago -- coalition forces have flown over 2,000 sorties, broadcast 300-plus hours of radio transmissions, delivered an amazing 1,030,000 humanitarian rations to starving Afghan people. Today is November 1, and smoke -- at this very moment -- is still rising from the ruins of the World Trade Center. With the ruins still smoldering and the smoke not yet cleared, it seems to me that Americans understand well that -- despite the urgency in the press questions -- we are still in the very, very early stages of this war. The ruins are still smoking!
Consider some historical perspective:
If the Washington Times (see below) is resigned to the pending Bush-Putin deal in Texas, it must be true:
Will Russia Bend on NMD?
Today’s headlines in the New York Times (“Bush and Putin Agree to Agree”)
and Washington Post (“Bush and Putin Edge Closer to Missile Deal”) suggest
less than meets the eye. There’s much “to do” about Russian President
Putin’s statement to the press that he and President Bush “have an understanding
that we can reach agreements.”
On May 23, 2000, then Candidate George W. Bush made a solemn pledge to the American people:
“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.”
That’s pretty straight talk – and President Bush, once elected, has been consistent in articulating the need to move beyond the Treaty and build effective defenses. But actions speak louder than words – and the fact is that the Bush Administration, like the Clinton Administration before it, continues to restrict its activities according to the terms of that Cold War relic which should have gone out of existence with the Soviet Union.
For example, there have been recent reports that the Navy will not be permitted to include its Aegis radar to track missiles in upcoming National Missile Defense (NMD) tests because of the Treaty. Now bear in mind that this radar has, for five years, been used to track Chinese and other missiles fired to intimidate others – it’s OK, you see, to defend our overseas troops and citizens of other nations, just not Americans at home under the bizarre terms of the ABM Treaty which stipulates that America must remain vulnerable.
Furthermore – in spite of its obvious potential as an early defense for the American people, the Bush Administration has been exceedingly slow in starting a robust sea-based defense – the Treaty blocks even the development and testing of such a system, you see. The Bush Administration simply continues the lethargic, under-funded, over constrained Clinton program. And nothing has been done to revive the most mature space defense programs of the first Bush Administration – again, no doubt because of Treaty concerns.
Now it appears that Presidents Bush and Putin may be “inching” toward a deal – possibly to be consummated when next they meet in Crawford, Texas – in mid-November.
But note how like Cold War arms controllers President Putin sounded when he said yesterday in Shanghai, “First of all [our progress here] relates to the START issue. We reaffirmed our mutual intention to reduce strategic offensive weapons. And now our task is to develop parameters of such reductions and to design a reliable and verifiable method to reduce the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the United States. As for the ABM-related issues, we also made some progress. At least I believe we do have understanding that we can reach agreement, taking into account the national interests of Russia [and] the United States, and take into account the necessity to strengthen international stability in this very important area.”
So High Frontier says openly, “Mr. President, this language is the arms control language of the 1980s – and surely it warms the hearts of the diplomats in the State Department. But it not what you promised to the American people. Especially after September 11, it is intolerable to continue dumbing down our defenses because of the ABM Treaty. Living up to your campaign pledge to the American people is long overdue.”
High Frontier urges President Bush to instruct his negotiators to make clear that the United States will withdraw from the ABM Treaty in November at his Texas ranch – the only question should be whether Russia will join the United States – and others – in building effective global defenses to protect Americans and others around the world. As he said in Shanghai, “The events of September 11 make it clearer than ever that a Cold War treaty that prevents us from defending our people is outdated and, I believe, dangerous.”
Issue Brief 52, October 12, 2001 - Fine Print From President Bush's 11 October 2001 Press Conference: Time To Move Beyond The ABM Treaty!
A month after the September 11 terrorist attack on America, President George W. Bush led a profoundly magnificent discussion of all the issues of the current state of the war with terrorism. Near the end of his press conference, the President was also unequivocal in repeating the need to move beyond that relic of the Cold War, the ABM Treaty, and build effective defenses for America and our overseas troops, friends and allies:
QUESTION: Mr. President, you have spoken with great pride of this international
coalition. I want to ask you, before the events of September 11 one of
the big questions you faced this fall was would you violate the Anti-Ballistic
Missile treaty and go ahead with the missile defense plan if Russia did
not strike a deal. Will you do that now because Russia's cooperation is
PRESIDENT BUSH: “. . . In terms of missile defense, I can't wait to visit with my friend Vladimir Putin in Shanghai to reiterate, once again, that the Cold War is over, it's done with, and that there are new threats that we face.
“And no better example of that new threat than the attack on America on September 11.
“And I'm going to ask my friend to envision a world in which a terrorist thug and/or a host nation might have the ability to develop--to deliver a weapon of mass destruction via a rocket. And wouldn't it be in our nations' advantage to be able to shoot it down?
“At the very least, it should be in our nations' advantage to determine whether we can shoot it down. And we're restricted from doing that because of an ABM Treaty that was signed during a totally different era. The case cannot be even – the case is more strong today than it was on September the 10th that the ABM is outmoded, outdated, reflects a different time.
“And I am more than anxious to continue making my case to them, and we will do what's right . . .”
QUESTION: If he does not agree with you, would you withdraw from the ABM Treaty this year?
PRESIDENT BUSH: “I have told Mr. Putin that the ABM Treaty is outdated, antiquated and useless. And I hope that he will join us in a new strategic relationship.”
Right on, Mr. President. We at High Frontier wish you success in your discussions with President Putin – in Shanghai and next month at your Texas ranch. September 11 is more than a wake up call about the need to end our vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile that could wipe an American city from the face of the Earth. We have no time to spare. God bless America.
America is at war – a long and difficult war against
terrorism in all its forms! We must answer the President’s call
and unite in defending our homeland against all who threaten us and our
liberty – with a sense of urgency.
September 11 dispelled several myths commonly used by the opponents of comprehensive programs to defend America. There definitely are people who will attack American cities and kill innocent civilians even though they surely understand that we will find out who they are, hunt them down, and bring them to justice. They are not deterred by threats of retaliation. Indeed, they are prepared to die to kill large numbers of Americans.
Imagine the carnage had September 11 terrorists employed even a single ballistic missile armed with a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon to attack Manhattan? Millions rather than thousands would have died.
We would be foolish to ignore this lesson when it comes to defending America and our overseas troops, friends and allies against missile attacks by rouge states like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Syria, etc. – precisely those states that have “harbored” and supported terrorists such as those who perpetrated September 11.
We must support programs to provide comprehensive homeland defenses in the new world disorder. Last year, Congress appropriated twice as much for anti-terrorism programs as for developing ballistic missile defenses – and that was a reasonable balance. If anything, September 11 shows we need to spend more on all homeland defenses, including to end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile.
Seems obvious. But some still don’t get it.
High Frontier applauds many U.S. Senators who put behind them their opposition to the President’s increased budget to build defenses against ballistic missiles of all ranges and approved his full budget request, without the constraints previously passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Hopefully, the full House also will also stand behind the President and not support Congressman John Spratt’s (D-SC) reported efforts to cut the President’s budget request – particularly the funding for sea-based defenses. He failed in a similar attempt in the House Armed Services Committee markup, and is apparently trying again.
The U.S. Navy can provide early options for ending America’s total vulnerability against ballistic missiles – if we put the ABM Treaty behind us. That Treaty blocks even the development and testing of sea-based defenses.
If that constraint were removed and the needed initiatives taken by the Pentagon, the Navy has identified three systems that could use the Standard Missile and ships equipped with the Aegis combat system to exploit development activities of the Navy Area and Navy Theater Wide theater missile defense systems:
· An "emergency" global missile defense, designed to intercept missiles from North Korea, could be ready in 12 months at a cost of $150 million to $200 million.
· An enhanced system, which could intercept missiles from Libya as well as North Korea, could be ready in 4 to 5 years at a cost of $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion.
· An even more advanced system, which could shoot down Iranian missiles and more capable North Korean missiles, could be tested within 6 years at a cost of $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion.
A global missile defense system using a new type of ship and missile and addressing all known future threats might require nine years of development at a cost of $8 billion to $12 billion.
Achieving these capabilities would be less demanding than the challenge met in the 1950s by the Navy’s Polaris program, which deployed our first submarine-launched ballistic missiles in under four years – under budget and under the target schedule. A Presidential priority empowered streamlined management by dedicated Navy engineers and their supporting industry team. We should repeat this proven recipe – rather than continuing Pentagon’s fractured management that now has at least five organizations “managing” development of the same Navy assets.
So empowering the Navy should not slowdown testing of ground-based defense concepts now planned from a new test site in Alaska. Indeed, the above block improvements to the Aegis system under streamlined Navy management would accelerate progress toward a much needed global layered defense for our nation.
Early deployment options enabled by a focused Navy initiative would also reflect the American mood since September 11, illustrated by a recent poll showing that 76 percent of U.S. adults support building missile defenses. This should be a no brainer for the Pentagon powers- that-be. They should direct, “Go Navy, Now!”
Issue Brief 50 - September 11, 2001: Infamy!
We grieve for those innocent Americans killed and injured in the cowardly attacks on our nation. America shall never forget these acts of war and not rest until those who conceived and aided them are brought low.
We must comfort the families of those hit hard by yesterday’s events – and then we must pick up the pieces and move on to continue American leadership in standing for freedom in the world. The eyes of the rest of the world are on us and on our resilience and resolve in the face of these dastardly acts.
To be sure, we need to punish those who created yesterday’s disaster. And we must greatly improve our intelligence capability to provide warning of – and our airport security to deal with – possible future terrorist attempts patterned after yesterday’s events. Indeed, we need improved means to deal with all forms of terrorism.
We also need to invest more in the means to improve our security against even more ominous threats provided by weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery – including by ballistic missiles.
As in the case of Pearl Harbor, America is now awake to a serious threat to its security and that of our allies and friends around the world.
Yesterday’s heinous acts of war emphasize our vulnerability to assault by many means and the need for our elected representatives to put aside their partisan bickering and provide for the common defense – the first duty of our federal government as specified by our founders in the Constitution.
On September 7, the CIA sent a report to Congress
identifying Russia and China as major exporters of nuclear chemical, and
biological weapon-related technology and missile systems to rogue states
and unstable regions of the world. Recall that Russia and China entered
a mutual security pact on the eve of the July 22, 2001, meeting in Genoa,
Italy between President Bush and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Both Russia and China oppose President Bush’s agenda to build effective
defenses against the very threat they are helping to create.
This CIA report to Congress provides good reasons to expedite U.S. efforts to end America’s total vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile. But wait – some apparently haven’t gotten that word!
Almost simultaneously, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), under Chairman Carl Levin’s (D-MI) leadership, voted along party lines: 1) to cut $1.3 billion from the President’s budget request for building such a defense; and, more importantly, 2) to insist that no development and testing be conducted beyond the terms of the ABM Treaty and 3) to erect bureaucratic hurdles that would delay all development and testing.
Senator Levin acknowledged that the SASC language, if it becomes law, would keep provisions of the ABM Treaty in place even if President Bush withdraws from the 1972 treaty with the Soviet Union, as is the U.S. right under its terms. As Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said, “This is an encouragement to the Russians to be obstructionists” in the intense on-going high level talks to consider how the U.S. and Russia might work together to build defenses that clearly will go beyond the ABM Treaty.
Senator Daschle (D-SD) spoke yesterday on national television as if the SASC position had already passed the entire Senate and emphasized that most Senate Democrats, for whom he is the Majority Leader, favor keeping the ABM Treaty, which makes a virtue of keeping the American people vulnerable to ballistic missile attack.
It will be interesting to see if Congressman John Spratt (D-SC) is better informed by the CIA report or whether he proposes similar constraints and seeks additional missile defense cuts in the Defense Bill passed by the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). He failed to gain a majority on his agenda in committee and is scheduled to try again this week when the Defense Bill is taken to the House floor.
Whatever happens in the House and Senate floor deliberations, authorization of the President’s missile defense budget request seems destined to be a House-Senate conference issue in determining what will be sent to the President to sign into law. And without substantial changes, a veto seems likely – because the President cannot tolerate such an intrusion into his legitimate efforts under the Constitution either to carry on his discussions with Russia on these issues or to build the defenses the nation needs.
Meanwhile, the Senate and House Appropriations Committees (SAC and HAC) will also deliberate on these issues – and they have the final say on how much money the President will get for missile defense.
Notably, Chairman of the SAC Defense Subcommittee, Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), told Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld last week that he would support the President’s budget request for the Defense Department – a most welcome promise. No doubt, Senator Inouye recalls the August 31, 1998, Taepo Dong ballistic missile launch from North Korea that almost reached Hawaii – and perhaps he cares more than some of his Democrat colleagues about building effective defenses as soon as possible. Assuming that Senator Inouye gets his way and the President’s budget request is fully funded in the SAC, 60 votes will be required to approve that appropriation because it will exceed the level previously approved by the Senate budget committee. That is no mean task.
While Congress deliberates in such a public way over whether the President will be given the funds and the latitude to develop and test the defenses we need, the President’s representatives are engaged in intense discussions with the Russians about whether they will join the U.S. to move beyond the ABM Treaty and end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile – from any of a number of states that wish us ill. And as the recent CIA report indicated, the time before we confront that reality may be running out. Administration officials say the Treaty will limit our testing within months – and President Bush has promised to withdraw when that happens.
You’d think Congress would back the President’s effort to achieve a cooperative regime – but many seem intent on undermining him. Only three weeks remain before the beginning of the next fiscal year. Will Congress pass bills that the President can sign before the next fiscal year begins? Will Congress be supporting the President when he meets with Russian President Putin in October and November?
What was that in the Constitution that America’s representatives are sworn to uphold – something about providing for the common defense as the first duty of government?
Issue Brief 47, September 4, 2001 - Will Congress Back President Bush?
They’re back!!! After its summer recess, Congress will rush to authorize and appropriate funds for Pentagon programs for next fiscal year, which begins on October 1. This will be an interesting – and critical – 4 weeks.
Will the peoples’ representatives support the President’s agenda to move beyond the ABM Treaty and build defenses to end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile as soon as possible? Or will they block his agenda, supporting the arguments of Russia and others who prefer that we retain that Cold War relic that blocks even testing the most effective ways to defend America? In short, will Congress give Russia a de facto veto over U.S. programs?
The President’s agenda has been well known and consistent since his campaign promise to the American people that he would build an effective defense at the earliest possible date – and he and his spokesmen have been very plain spoken, at home and abroad, about his intention to keep this promise.
From Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld’s February meeting in Munich with European leaders and the Russians present to the most recent international meetings involving Cabinet and sub-Cabinet level officials, all have made clear that the United States intends to leave the ABM Treaty when our planned testing requires it. They have told Congress this would happen in a matter of months, rather than years.
Senior officials have told the Russians that the President prefers that Russia join the United States in moving beyond the Treaty and establishing a cooperative strategic regime with defenses and reduced nuclear arms. But they have also emphasized that if Russia does not cooperate, the United States will withdraw from the Treaty.
High level talks with the Russians have been frequent since July 22, when President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Genoa, Italy and agreed to discuss a cooperative approach. Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush’s National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, had high level talks in Moscow during August. These separate trips were preceded by a high level Russian delegation meeting with U.S. officials in Washington in early August. In late August, a high level U.S. delegation traveled to Moscow to prepare for a mid-September meeting between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov – who have discussed these issues previously.
Presidents Bush and Putin will meet again in October at an Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Shanghai, China – and they could discuss these issues there. Then President Putin is scheduled to visit President Bush at his Crawford, Texas ranch in November, an excellent time for an agreement on moving beyond the Treaty.
So far, the Russians have not indicated they will join the U.S. in leaving the Treaty. This is hardly surprising. Among other things, they want to see whether Congress will back President Bush’s plans to move ahead with defenses that will soon “bump-up” against the Treaty. That answer will be provided by “the battle of the budget” in September, before presidents Bush and Putin meet again. If Congress backs the President, chances for a Bush-Putin agreement are much improved – and if they don’t, agreement is less likely. We should build defenses in any case.
Just before their August recess, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) voted to overrule those who oppose the President’s plans – but there will be another fight when the Authorization bill is brought to the House floor in September. Congressman John Spratt (D-SC) has indicated he will try again to cut the missile defense budget and limit how the Pentagon can spend what is authorized.
The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), has indicated he will fight all unilateral efforts to move beyond the Treaty – in effect, giving Russia a veto over U.S. missile defense programs. When the SASC meets this week to mark-up the Senate’s Authorization bill, he likely will seek to reduce the President’s missile defense budget, approve spending only for Treaty-compliant activities, and place bureaucratic obstacles in the way of the Pentagon’s efforts to build effective defenses. That effort can be stopped in Committee only if defense minded Democrats, such as Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), join the Republicans. That welcome result would have to be sustained on the Senate floor, where additional challenges seem inevitable.
The outcome of this fight is far from sure – September could see Congress supporting the President or several less desirable outcomes – e.g., a Presidential veto, a budget impasse that could shut down the Defense Department, and a Continuing Resolution to continue underfunded Defense programs at their current funding levels.
Whatever happens will either strengthen or weaken President Bush’s hand in his Shanghai and Texas meetings with Mr. Putin. The pace of ending America’s continuing vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile is at stake!
Will Congress support the President – or oppose him??? That, indeed, is the question.
Issue Brief 46, August 6, 2001 - "Bumping Up" Against the ABM Treaty!!!
Senior Bush Administration officials say it is only a matter of months before the planned missile defense tests will be in direct conflict with the ABM Treaty – “bumping-up” against the Treaty, as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called it in his superb July 12 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. So, the clock is ticking on recently initiated high level talks about whether Russia will cooperate in removing those constraints or whether the U.S. will withdraw from the Treaty, as is its right under Article XV.
President Bush’s National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, made this explicitly clear in her August 2 interview with the Washington Times: “At the end of the day, [President Bush] is going to have to go forward [with the testing], and since we don’t plan to violate the Treaty, that would mean we would have to withdraw.” He must move ahead to meet his campaign pledge to build effective defenses “at the earliest possible date.”
What a schedule of high level talks has been laid out to build on the agreement between President Bush and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, reached at their July 22 meeting in Genoa, Italy!
A U.S. delegation led by Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith is headed to Moscow for Tuesday and Wednesday meetings on this important matter – First Deputy of the General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky will lead the Russians. This meeting is a prelude to later August meetings between Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. And in mid-September, Secretary of State Colin Powell will meet with Russia’s Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in New York. Everyone will be listening to the speeches at the fall meeting of the United Nations General Assembly for clues on how the talks are going.
Then, Presidents Bush and Putin will meet on the margins of an economic meeting in Shanghai, China in mid-September. China probably will be complaining about U.S. policy, with support from many U.S. and other naysayers – and perhaps in concert with Russia, who has recently agreed with China to support continuing the ABM Treaty.
Meanwhile, Congress will be deliberating legislation and funding for the President’s Fiscal Year 2002 budget request to conduct tests that will “bump-up” against the Treaty. This will be an interesting time for the TV “talking heads,” as the end of the fiscal year approaches – and a possible shutdown of the Defense Department looms if funds are not appropriated for Fiscal Year 2002, which begins on October 1 – before Mr. Putin visits Mr. Bush at his Texas ranch.
Anyone familiar with recent House and Senate Armed Services Committee hearings can expound on numerous possible scenarios, especially against the backdrop of outspoken Democrat leaders who oppose the President’s missile defense efforts. Their opposition could mislead Russia’s negotiators about America’s resolve to build effective defenses – and that misjudgment could block possible agreement to move together to build global defenses.
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) drew clear battle lines as Congress left town for its August recess. He vowed to unite Democrats and persuade sufficient Republicans to block any missile defense system that violates the ABM Treaty. Thus, expect a major House floor fight to overturn the HASC-recommended Defense Bill when Congress returns after Labor Day – and as the President goes abroad to meet with Mr. Putin in China.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) earlier declared his opposition to the President’s program and undercut the President during his last trip abroad with false criticisms about the President’s alleged “isolationist” foreign policy, especially regarding the ABM Treaty. The President clearly won that round with Senator Daschle when Mr. Putin agreed to begin high level talks about building defenses that clearly go beyond the Treaty – definitely not an isolationist move.
Nevertheless, SASC Chairman Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) still opposes any “unilateral” steps to moving beyond the ABM Treaty – expect him to seek to so constrain Pentagon programs during the SASC deliberations on the President’s Defense Bill and in the Senate Floor debate, maybe while Presidents Bush and Putin meet in China.
The President could veto Mr. Levin’s first Defense Authorization Bill as SASC Chairman – and he wins if the Defense Appropriation Bill passes unencumbered by undesired constraints. If the Appropriations Bill carries undesirable constraints, an impasse could shut down the Defense Department. Under a Continuing Resolution, which seems likely, programs would remain at current funding levels, but without the President’s proposed increases in many underfunded Defense Department programs. Not good news for the Defense Department – but not an unusual occurrence.
And this “bump-up” dance need not end in September – there’s the Bush-Putin meeting at the ranch in October, after fiscal year 2002 begins and as we get closer to missile defense testing conflicts with the Treaty. Stay Tuned!
Issue Brief 45, July 24, 2001 - Disinformation from Huntsville
Based on a couple of press accounts, a lot of disinformation was recently generated at a Huntsville, Alabama, Ballistic Missile Defense conference. As the home of the Army’s ground-based missile defense programs, it not surprising that negative things were said about space-based and sea-based defenses—generally Air Force and Navy interests. What is surprising is a notable lack of investigative reporting to separate truth from fiction.
First, according to the July 18 New York Times, BMDO Executive Director Rob Snyder alleged that $4.8 billion was spent on Brilliant Pebbles, the premier space-based interceptor program that the Reagan Administration initiated in 1987 and the Clinton Administration killed in 1993. As SDI’s comptroller during those years, Snyder’s alleged claims might reasonably be taken as truth—but a small bit of checking will reveal that the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team—which demonstrated the sound technological basis for the Pebbles concept—spent about $0.5 billion, while the two contractor teams—TRW-Hughes and Martin Marietta—spent a like amount working on a fully approved Major Defense Acquisition Program, with public budgets.
Thus, Snyder’s alleged claim about the government’s investment in Brilliant Pebbles was exaggerated by almost a factor of five. Only about 3 percent of the Pentagon’s missile defense budget during the Reagan-Bush I years was spent on Brilliant Pebbles, easily the most advanced system created in those years, destroyed by the Clinton Administration, and, so far, still languishing in Bush II—which has mustered nothing better than planning a notional 2005-6 initial test in space of a revived space-based interceptor concept.
As if to prove the implied immaturity of this technology, unnamed critics, quoted by the Times, “doubted the interceptors could function when left for long periods in space”—but a little checking would have revealed that the first generation Brilliant Pebbles hardware and software was space-qualified in the 1994 Clementine mission which mapped the Moon in 15 spectral bands, employing a more sophisticated sensor suite than that now being developed for BMDO’s ground based interceptor system. The National Academy of Science and NASA Administrator Dan Goldin both gave the Clementine team awards for this record-setting mission, which was the model for NASA’s “faster, better, cheaper” approach to deep-space exploration. There is no doubt this technology is mature—a space-based global defense would be far less expensive and more militarily effective than the single ground-based interceptor site in Alaska, and it could be built on the same timeframe, if it were politically correct.
A second record of disinformation was documented in a July 23 article in Defense Week—normally expected to do a better job in reporting on defense matters that the usually biased New York Times. They alleged Navy and other officials claimed sea-based defenses for the U.S. homeland were only in the conceptual stage, had experienced major cost growth, and were markedly less mature than ground-based defenses. Whatever the officials may have said, minor investigative reporting would have found that, in 1993, the Clinton Administration inherited a fully funded Navy Theater Wide program that could have begun operations several years ago—and that system, if fully empowered for a relatively small additional investment, could have been defending a major part of the U.S. population by now. The Clinton Administration simply refused to move ahead with that program in spite of repeated prodding from the Congress.
Over a dozen internal Pentagon studies by a wide variety of qualified reviewers found positive potential for sea-based defenses—as a matter of policy, always assumed as an adjunct to ground-based defenses which were to be built first—they were less threatening to the ABM Treaty. Three reports to Congress made it through the Clinton Pentagon’s reluctant gauntlet and validate this claim. And the Pentagon fought publication of even these limited conclusions.
For example, the first report—classified so that it was of no use in the public debate—made it to the Congress months late in 1998, and it took until June 1999 to meet Congress’ demand for an unclassified version (the second report). This report validated the role of sea-based defenses—and, after two years, the Clinton Pentagon was on record with the obvious point that the same technology is involved in both sea- and ground-based defenses. Congress demanded additional details from a reluctant Pentagon by March 2000—and only the first phase was completed by the Clinton Administration, but not delivered to the Hill until the Bush Administration submitted it—unaltered—in March 2001. Notably, even the Clinton Pentagon cost-estimating bureaucracy acknowledged in this still biased report that sea-based interceptors—based on the Navy Theater Wide system—capable of defending a significant portion of the U.S. population could begin operations for $4-6 billion—slightly over 10-percent of the estimated cost of the first ground-based site in Alaska. And High Frontier continues to believe this could happen within 3-4 years for $2-3 billion more than already planned for various missile defense programs, if only the powers that be want to make it happen.
This is only the tip of an iceberg. There’s a story here! Is there an honest investigative reporter in the house?
Issue Brief 44, July 24, 2001 - Score One for W—And Note How The Plot Thickens!
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) will have to eat more than a little crow for launching the President on his latest trip abroad with shamelessly partisan criticism—that under President Bush’s leadership we are “isolating ourselves, and in so isolating ourselves, I think we are minimizing ourselves.”
It is hard to imagine Senator Daschle’s comments on the eve of the President Bush’s trip were not intended to undermine his President’s credibility in representing U.S. interests abroad - notwithstanding the Senator’s feigned ignorance that the President was meeting with world leaders at the Group of Eight (G-8) economic summit in Genoa, Italy. Does the Senator not read the papers? Give us a break!
Yet, President Bush did quite well, thank you, even without the bipartisan support usually accorded the President when representing all Americans to the rest of the world. Most prominently, the press around the world is now abuzz spinning the agreement between Presidents Bush and Putin to discuss a new strategic framework for relations between the U.S. and Russia, which includes a prominent role for missile defenses.
President Bush, derided by many in the liberal chattering class as a novice in international affairs, issued a joint communiqué with Russian President Putin that they agreed in principle that the United States could pursue its missile defense plans, provided both countries committed to a reduction in their nuclear arsenals. As many in Russia have since acknowledged, President Putin accepted President Bush’s approach for additional reductions in nuclear weapons and building defenses—the U.S. agenda of the Reagan-Bush I years, abandoned by the Clinton Administration.
The two Presidents also tasked their senior national security officials to meet over the coming weeks to define a new U.S.-Russian relationship. These discussions begin this week with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice visiting Moscow to work with President Putin’s senior staff to put the consultations on an “aggressive schedule.” And her meetings will be followed by discussions between Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell and their counterparts to set the new arrangements into place. And don’t forget that the next planned Bush-Putin meeting is in October, on the margins of an economic summit in Shanghai, China. And then, President Bush will be hosting President Putin at his Texas ranch in November. How about a major announcement in Texas on the results of the “aggressive schedule” of consultations between now and then?
Since Secretary Rumsfeld and other senior administration spokesmen have testified to Congress that the Pentagon’s testing program will “bump-up” against the ABM Treaty in a matter of months, this no doubt would be a desirable timeframe for putting that relic of the Cold War behind us. The President and his spokesmen have uniformly declared that the Treaty must go—and they show no signs of backing away from the President’s pledge to build effective defenses for the American people “at the earliest possible date.”
Of course, those great advocates of arms control, and the ABM Treaty in particular—and their supporters in the liberal press, will be seeking to slow down the President’s efforts to remove the Treaty impediments to building effective defenses. The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), is holding hearings designed to limit the President’s options in his discussions with the Russians and our allies and friends—he was quick to claim last Sunday on CNN’s Late Edition that the Bush-Putin agreement “implies at least to me that . . . this Administration will not break out of the ABM Treaty” under the consultations, which he, of course, interprets as an indefinite commitment.
But President Bush made clear that he does not see things this way—and that he intends not to permit the Treaty to block his plans to build effective defenses. And, to repeat, current plans call for testing that will “bump-up” against the Treaty in a matter of months. So, the question is will Congress fund testing that goes beyond the Treaty?
The answer to that question is to come in September, according to the schedule mandated by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)—who has made clear he intends not to fund any testing that exceeds the limits of the Treaty—a factor that may undercut President Bush in his meetings with President Putin in October and November. Looks like the recipe for a Continuing Resolution to fund the Pentagon for next fiscal year.
And so, the stage is set for a very interesting and dynamic summer and fall. The President scored in Genoa and is ahead at this point in his quest to defend America—but the opposition remains determined to block him. Stay tuned.
Issue Brief 43, July 12, 2001- On The New Missile Defense Initiative
Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, High Frontier Chairman & Former SDI Director
Statement at the July 12, 2001 Frontiers of Freedom Conference on Capitol Hill
Last evening, General Kadish generously gave me, as well as several other missile defense advocates, a pre-brief of the program I assume he is discussing with the Senate Armed Services Committee as I speak. While I very much appreciate his courtesy for this pre-brief, I regret that I cannot endorse the program he described.
First, you should know that I strongly support building effective layered defenses as quickly as we can—and I strongly support robust testing. General Kadish’s suggestions for an expanded test range are sensible and, if executed, will undoubtedly provide greater confidence in midcourse intercept systems.
However, my main concern is that more innovative system concepts than his centerpiece ground-based interceptor system are being artificially delayed and placed at risk by, I fear, bureaucratic forces still driven by ABM Treaty concerns, which favor inherently more expensive and less effective basing options. And if Congress cuts the President’s budget request as I fear it may, they will fall further behind as lower priority activities.
For example, I believe that the Navy Theater Wide program continues to be arbitrarily delayed and underfunded. I fear it is no accident that the Bush Administration continues its predecessor’s resistance to making Navy Theater Wide all it can be, because Articles V and VI of the ABM Treaty ban: 1) development and testing of sea-based ABM systems and 2) giving TMD systems ABM capability or testing them in an ABM Mode. I urge that Congress still demand that the Bush Administration deliver forthwith the mandated Reports to Congress on the timely development of sea-based NMD capabilities—submission was delayed by the previous Administration, which was wedded to the ABM treaty and simply wanted to avoid exposure. Hopefully, that is not a concern of the current Administration. Unclassified versions should be provided to enable open debate.
I agree with General Kadish that the Navy’s Advanced Leap Interceptor (ALI) program is risky—but I was not made aware of any serious hedge program to backstop that risky approach to midcourse intercept. Such technology, derived from space-based interceptor origins, is clearly available—and on an earlier timeframe than was presented to me as General Kadish’s challenge for Navy Theater Wide deployment. It was available in 1993 when I left the SDI program to my successor, and has been advanced during the past eight years despite Clinton Administration efforts to kill it—because Congress has supported it. There is no excuse for the Bush Administration, which claims not to be wedded to the ABM Treaty, to continue to suppress exploitation of that technology, which has been largely dormant in Pentagon programs during the past eight years.
There is simply no reason why sea-based midcourse defenses, based on upgrading already deployed Aegis cruisers, cannot be operational on the same time frame as advertised for the much more expensive ground-based midcourse defense option in Alaska—or faster. Management simply has not issued such a challenge to the Navy, which, I am convinced, is quite competent to execute a program to deploy effective midcourse intercept capability—and possibly boost-phase intercept capability—within 3-4 years for a small percentage of the cost of the Alaska site. To the contrary, it appears to me that a management structure is now being put into place that will frustrate Navy efforts to make the Navy’s sea-based defenses all they can be as quickly as possible. I continue to believe that this task should be fully funded at a technology limited pace and given to a dedicated, competent Navy office like the one that, over forty years ago, deployed Polaris in under four years. That was a far more daunting engineering challenge than upgrading the Aegis system with a midcourse intercept capability.
I have focused my criticism on the Bush Administration’s Navy missile defense programs, because shortcomings there are relatively easy to fix. But I am also concerned by other apparent shortcomings from the past eight years I had hoped the Bush Administration would have fixed. But I looked without success for serious demonstration and development efforts to revive innovative, layered defense programs that were either killed outright orsharply truncated by the Clinton Administration. For example, I heard lip service last night given to reviving space-based interceptors, but nothing approaching the $400 million/year demonstration program I was supporting (and Congress was funding). And overall missile defense technology demonstration activities are funded at a tenth the level I left—and I believe a robust technology program is absolutely essential to assure that defenses can stay ahead in the inevitable measure-countermeasure dynamic.
I hope my criticism is taken as from a friend of missile defense. I truly wish I could support the President’s program. But, regrettably, I cannot—at least not the program I heard described last night. My point-of-view is based on what I consider to have been a thoroughly well conceived program—as then Assistant Secretary of Defense Steve Hadley and I publicly introduced over ten years ago. I have provided a few charts we usedin that Pentagon Press Briefing, which reflects current Bush policy themes but a program of quite a different scope.
Issue Brief 42, July 4, 2001- It’s Time For America to Declare Independence From The Ballistic Missile Threat
As we celebrate our nation’s 225th Independence Day, we continue to be a slave to the Cold War’s MAD doctrine and the ABM Treaty with the Soviet Union, a nation that no longer exists and that violated its terms from the day it was negotiated. Once again, we must declare independence – this time from an outdated, irrelevant, counterproductive Treaty – to ensure the defense of our nation from ballistic missiles.
President Bush’s pledge to end America’s slavish adherence to this Treaty – which is now opposed by even its principal negotiator, Henry Kissinger – and to build effective defenses "at the earliest possible date" has hit a large snag. The new Senate Leaders doggedly repeat the shrill cries of the 1980’s about President Reagan’s SDI program. Although these arguments all previously have been discredited, these leaders are a formidable challenge to the Bush Administration.
Perhaps the most onerous of the challenges is posed by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and his opposition to "unilateral measures" that would change the ABM Treaty – that Cold War relic which prevents developing, testing and deploying effective defenses for the American people. He will surely use his new powers as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee to seek legislation to give Russia, China and others a de facto veto over U.S. programs to build or even test effective defenses.
Also, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – which has jurisdiction in all Treaty matters, announced he intends hearings to help block the President’s efforts to move beyond Treaty constraints that prevent America’s engineers from using America’s best technology. He, too, supports giving others a veto over building defenses for American cities and will support such legislation.
The new Senate Majority Leader, Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), also supports this approach – and, while the President was explaining his agenda to our European allies, friends and the Russians, he ridiculed the President’s vision as "backward," "troubling," and devoid of "common sense."
These Senate leaders are turning a blind eye to the very real and growing threats faced by our nation and our allies, apparently they prefer being like an ostrich with its head in the sand.
America and our allies are vulnerable not only to the launch of a ballistic missile at our territory or our troops, but also to the threat of such a launch. Unless we build effective missile defenses, America will become increasingly vulnerable to blackmail by both rogue states and terrorists.
China has already threatened Los Angeles by name with ballistic missile attack. Must action await our nation being further threatened by other nations like Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya? After all, Saddam Hussein said during the Gulf War that if he had possessed a missile to do so, he would have attacked Washington.
The ABM Treaty more than failed to prevent the proliferation of missiles and nuclear weapons – or even the Soviet missile buildup as its proponents predicted in 1972. Indeed, our lack of effective defenses against missile threats provides a powerful incentive for nations to acquire missiles to threaten us. So, there is a "fire-sale" on ballistic missile technology – notably supplied by China, Russia, North Korea and others.
It is clear that President Reagan had it right, and now President Bush is of the same mind: "America must build effective missile defenses based on the best available options at the earliest possible date. Our missile defense must be designed to protect all 50 states – and our friends and allies and deployed forces overseas – from missile attacks by rogue nations, or accidental launches."
And we must do so with or without Europe’s support – and/or Russia and China’s concurrence.
Unfortunately, the new Senate leaders seem to be turning their backs on America’s defense, to prefer leaving America vulnerable to missile attack, and to be mobilizing support efforts to block the President’s program – keeping America defenseless and enslaved to a philosophy of fear and destruction.
On this Independence Day, High Frontier urges all Americans, now more than ever, to demand that their elected leaders provide for the common defense – as they are sworn to do. America’s security is at stake.
Issue Brief 41, June 25, 2001- More Dumbing Down of Our Defenses???
This last week highlighted confusion about whether the ABM Treaty is precluding development, testing and deployment of systems the President hassaid he wishes to build—and indeed whether it is now blocking important development programs that would otherwise be pursued. The truth is that it has long been blocking the path to the most effective defenses—which are sea-based, air-based, space-based, and mobile land-based.
Nevertheless, last Monday’s newspapers reported around the world that Secretary of State Colin Powell said on last Sunday’s ABC’s This Week that there was no need yet to go beyond the Treaty and that would remain the case until Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says, "I can’t go forward until certain constraints are removed." Secretary Powell’s comments fit well with opponent "expert" views that all necessary testing can be done on fixed ground-based systems—which are the most expensive, least effective defenses that also take longest to build.
During Secretary Rumsfeld’s appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee last Thursday, Senator Levin (D-MI) indicated his understanding that Lt. Gen. Ron Kadish, the Director of the Pentagon’s missile defense programs, had testified that there would be no conflict between programs he was recommending for the Fiscal Year 2002 budget and the ABM Treaty. This sounds like General Kadish’s recommendations are to continue serious development of only some variation of the Clinton ground-based defense system.
The good news is that Secretary Rumsfeld refused to confirm this understanding, and observed that "mobile" ABM systems—including explicitly sea-based ABM systems—could not be tested under the terms of the Treaty. The bad news is that he gave no indication about his planned program specifics—maybe this week.
Some Senators acted as if this was a new thought—and that Hearings are needed to clarify the meaning of Article V of the ABM Treaty: "Each Party undertakes not to develop, test, or deploy ABM systems or components which are sea-based, air-based, space-based, or mobile land-based."
Senator Cleland (D-GA) also indicated a curious belief that "different engineering" was involved in developing Theater Missile Defense (TMD) systems for our overseas troops, friends and allies vs. developing a National Missile Defense (NMD) for the American homeland—a view he attributed to General Kadish. This is a bizarre distinction about engineering which probably has political rather than scientific roots. Indeed the engineering challenge has been not to make TMD systems too capable—otherwise they would violate the ABM Treaty.
Article VI of the Treaty precludes giving TMD systems the capability to defend the U.S. homeland. As Robert Bell—while serving as President Clinton’s Special Assistant for Defense Policy and Arms Control—said on January 7, 1999:"You can take an Aegis Cruiser and . . . some stage of internetting [of sensors] and take very fast missiles that we are building for the [sea-based] TMD systems and link them up with ABM capable sensors and radars to get the capability against [intercontinental ballistic missiles]. . . . But at that point, it is no longer a TMD, there is no issue here of ambiguity. What you have done here is built and produced a sea-based ABM system [prohibited by the ABM Treaty]."Thus, the Clinton Pentagon was dumbing down the Navy Theater Wide TMD system to protect only our overseas troops, friends and allies. In that sense, it is a very "different engineering" job than defending the American people—however ludicrous is the engineering challenge not to make a defense too good. The Clinton Administration slowed down the interceptor design it inherited from the first Bush Administration and used less than the best sensors to make it difficult to shoot down long-range missiles that might reach U.S. cities. Most ludicrous of all, the cruiser’s Captain was not permitted to shoot until after the target rocket burned out and the defensive interceptor was in a tail chase after a faster missile.
So we have the prospect that we are "engineering" the future Captain of an Aegis Cruiser in the Sea of Japan into a situation where he can shoot down a North Korean missile launched at Tokyo, but not if that same missile is launched at cities in Hawaii, Alaska, or the West Coast. How would you like to explain the "engineering" merits of that design to the American people if the sad day ever comes when American cities are so threatened?
Hopefully, President Bush, will not continue this Clinton nonsense under his Administration. Perhaps all will become clear when the Pentagon submits its Fiscal Year 2002 supplemental budget request this week.
Issue Brief 40, June 18, 2001- "W" Gets An "A"—More To Come?
President George W. Bush has returned home from his first successful trip to Europe as President, and should be applauded for telling it like it is on the ABM Treaty and the need to protect America and our overseas troops, friends and allies from ballistic missile attack. Good show—as far as it goes!
Before leaving for Europe, he sharply criticized Mutual Assured Destruction—the MAD doctrine of the Cold War that made a virtue of keeping American and Soviet citizens vulnerable to each other’s ballistic missiles. Throughout his trip he proclaimed that "Russia is no longer our enemy and, therefore, we shouldn’t be locked into a Cold War mentality" by threatening to blow each other up—and emphasized that the ABM Treaty, which is based on MAD, must go because it prohibits the U.S. from developing and testing the most effective defenses made possible by modern technology.
Although most of NATO’s 19 members were critical of the President’s position, the reactions of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and Great Britain varied from cautiously positive to strong support. These join others outside of Europe—including India and Australia—who have responded positively to the President’s position.
The President’s two-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Slovenia also went as well as could be expected, given Putin’s deal with the "Shanghai Five," announced midweek before the Summit. As Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told reporters, Moscow’s opposition to Bush on missile defenses "fully coincides with China’s." (The Shanghai Five—China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan—have been joined by Uzbekistan and may rename themselves the "Shanghai Cooperation Organization.")
This agreement ended any hope that Putin would announce at Saturday’s meeting a return to Boris Yeltsin’s 1992 cooperative agenda on joining the U.S. in building a global defense—and sets the stage for a major political battle on the future of missile defense programs, as Congress considers Bush’s plans to accelerate efforts to build defenses to end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile.
Issue Brief 39, June 13, 2001-The Battle Lines Are Drawn!!!
In his current trip to Europe, President George Bush is telling it like it is on the ABM Treaty and the need to protect America and our overseas troops, friends and allies from ballistic missile attack.
Before leaving for Europe, the President unambiguously criticized Mutual Assured Destruction—the MAD doctrine of the Cold War that made a virtue of keeping American and Soviet citizens vulnerable to ballistic missile attack. He publicly telegraphed his main message that "Russia is no longer our enemy and, therefore, we shouldn’t be locked into a Cold War mentality that says we keep the peace by blowing each other up. . . ."
And on his first stop in Europe the President made clear that the ABM Treaty, which is based on MAD, must go because "it prevents a full exploration of possibility. [It] prohibits the United States from investigating all possibilities as to how to intercept missiles. For example, the technology to intercept-on-launch is a technology that we must more fully explore . . ." As he said, "We’ve got to lay it [the Treaty] aside."
The President is absolutely right. Article V of the Treaty bans even the testing of such very effective systems that can protect people everywhere—because if a missile is destroyed as it leaves its launch pad, it doesn’t matter where it is going. So this very important and effective technology, which is extremely hard to defeat, cannot be seriously evaluated under the terms of the Treaty.
After three days it is clear that some of our European friends got it.
For example, yesterday’s Washington Post quoted President Vaclev Havel of the Czech Republic as observing, "The new world we are entering cannot be based on Mutual Assured Destruction. An increasingly important role should be played by defense systems." And the day before, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar stated, "It has not been demonstrated anywhere, nor has anyone been able to show, that defensive initiative is something that cannot lead to greater and better security. . . . [W]hat we’re dealing with here is an attempt to provide greater security for everyone."
But only six of NATO’s 19 members are reported to support the President’s position— the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain. And French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said they would launch new arms control initiatives to curb missile proliferation, no doubt seeking to increase adverse political pressures to block President Bush’s plans.
Such contrary positions resonate with U.S. Democrat leaders—such as Senators Tom Daschle (D-SD), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Joe Biden (D-DE), who have been highly vocal in their criticism—including while the President is abroad. Unlike during the Cold War, American partisan politics do not end at the water’s edge.
In fact, Richard Holbrooke, Bill Clinton’s U.N. Ambassador, launched a campaign to persuade foreign governments to quash their own president’s plan for defending America by urging Europe’s socialist leaders to become more assertive in opposing President Bush’s plan. He told a German newspaper that the Europeans "can’t just sit around grumbling in the background; they must stand up and get involved." After observing that no European leader had criticized Bush’s May 1 speech laying out his position, Holbrooke admonished, "The Europeans must speak their mind to the American government before it’s too late."
It appears that the majority of our NATO allies have taken Holbrook’s advice.
But the Democrats are on thin ice with the American people who support the President’s views, as illustrated by a recent poll conducted for the Council on Foreign Relations—not known for supporting the President’s plan to build effective defenses. A clear majority of Americans favor building an anti-missile shield—even liberal Democrats were nearly split on the proposal, and views didn't change much after respondents were given the basic arguments for and against the system. "The default position of the American public is: Protect us" said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which prepared the survey.
A major confrontation may be avoided if, when he meets tomorrow with President Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin revives the 1992 Russian proposals—rejected by the Clinton Administration—that the U.S. and Russia work together to protect the world community from missile attack. Otherwise, prepare for an international political battle royal—the battle lines are drawn, all Americans are watching, and most expect to be defended!!!
Issue Brief 38, June 11, 2001-This Is Rocket Science!!!
Last Thursday, President George W. Bush made national news by telling the folks in Dallas Center, Iowa, that he plans this week to point out to European leaders and the Russians that if a rogue nation fires a missile at any of us, "We must be able to shoot that missile down." And the President correctly identified the main obstacle preventing American engineers from building the most effective defenses possible—the ABM Treaty and the "stale" Cold War theology of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) on which it is based. These comments add emphasis to Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld’s earlier warning to NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Budapest that changing or scraping the ABM Treaty in order to deploy an effective defense is "simply inescapable."
The President observed that "Russia is no longer our enemy and, therefore, we shouldn’t be locked into a Cold War mentality that says we keep the peace by blowing each other up." And he emphasized, "It’s time to think differently about defense" for the 21st century.
As if on cue, the new Senate Majority Leader—while trying to appear as a statesman by encouraging the President to work through his plans with our allies—was quick to ridicule the President’s vision as "backward," "troubling," and devoid of "common sense."
Apparently, a BA Degree from South Dakota State not only gives Senator Tom Daschle some measure of "common sense," it also qualifies him an engineer, justifying his related assertions on technical matters—reported as authoritative: "This isn’t rocket science, here." Then, according to the press, he corrected himself: "Yes, it is rocket science, now that I think about it. That’s the problem—hadn’t thought about that. But as I think out loud, as I meander through here, that’s the problem."
This might be a try at humor—but it still illustrates the truth of that old adage about the need to "engage one’s brain before putting one’s mouth in gear."
The fact is the proof-of-principle experiments that justify the President’s and the Defense Secretary’s decisions to move forward with engineering development and deployment were conducted beginning over 15 years ago. Building effective defenses is an engineering task, not a scientific one, as many critics are now trying to allege.
Says High Frontier’s Chairman and Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) during the first Bush Administration, Ambassador Henry F. Cooper: "The leadership of the 1991 Democrat-controlled congress understood that the technology was then sufficiently mature to direct us, by law in the Missile Defense Act of 1991, to build a missile defense for the U.S. homeland as soon as possible—and in 1992, the same Democrat-controlled congress acknowledged in the fiscal year 1993 Authorization Act that our SDI program to accomplish this objective by as early as in 2000 was "low-to-moderate" risk. The Clinton Administration scuttled those programs it inherited and only reluctantly, under pressure from Republican congressional leaders during the past three years, revived anemically funded development activities for far less robust defenses. Now, it is more than a little disingenuous for the Democrat leadership to feign that there is no basis for moving ahead as quickly as we can. Many current Democrat leaders were there in 1992 and should know their current criticisms lack merit."
Cooper, a PhD engineer, also observes that most recent test failures resulted from "engineering discipline failures in employing technology that was mastered 30 or more years ago." More importantly, he observes that the problem with the ABM Treaty is that it precludes the testing of the most effective, least expensive system concepts that could be built fastest—if we have the political will to remove the Treaty constraints.
For example, he notes: "From an engineering perspective, defensive interceptors could just as easily be launched from the surface of ships as from ground sites in the United States." Since we already paid to build and operate the ships around the world, upgrading them would cost far less than building a new ground-based system, and they could be operational sooner. If operated near the coast of threatening nations—such as North Korea, one ship could protect the entire world by intercepting attacking missiles as they rise from their launch pads. But such low-cost, potentially very effective near-term defenses cannot even be tested under the terms of the ABM Treaty. That’s why it must go.
Building effective defenses is rocket science. American engineers can do the job if the lawyers and politicians will stick to lawyering and politicing to remove political obstacles—most importantly, the ABM Treaty.
Issue Brief 37, June 1, 2001- Shall We Go Back to the Future?
As during the Reagan years, missile defense opponents say they don’t object to research on missile defense—they just don’t want to deploy. As Senator Tom Daschle, the new Senate Majority Leader, said last week, "The President has said he wants to deploy, and I think that is a premature decision and we certainly wouldn’t be prepared to do that."
Premature? Give us a break.
In his 1988 campaign for President, Vice President George H. W. Bush correctly observed that the problem that blocked building ballistic missile defense was not a lack of technology, it was a lack of political will. Then he promised to end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile—he would choose the architecture within four years and build an effective defense by the end of a second Bush term.
President Bush kept the first part of that promise—he picked the right architecture in his first two years and the U.S. was well on its way to building a defense when President Bill Clinton scuttled the plans to defend America, leaving in place only programs to defend our overseas troops, friends and allies. Now another President Bush—George W. Bush—can fulfill the second half of his father’s promise, albeit in a different "second Bush term."
But the new Bush team seems confused on how to proceed. Spokesmen claim they don’t know what kind of defense to build, and so they are "consulting" with everyone in sight—the Russians, Chinese, allies, friends, whoever—and they are responding mostly negatively in predictable well-worn ways. Why are we so uncertain?
Says Ambassador Henry F. Cooper—who directed the Bush I Strategic Defense Initiative, "We restructured SDI from a focus on deterring large-scale Soviet attacks on the United States to protecting Americans and our overseas troops, friends and allies from limited attacks from anywhere in the world. We called it GPALS—for Global Protection Against Limited Strikes. GPALS was the right answer then—and it is the right answer now."
GPALS sought to move away from the Cold War’s confrontational Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) model for the governing relationship between the United States and Russia—toward one based on cooperation in which Russia and others could cooperate in building defenses to protect their citizens from threat of missile attack. Sound familiar?
In the wake of the Gulf War during which the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Authorization and Appropriations Committees sought refuge in a Tel Aviv bomb shelter during an Iraqi SCUD raid, a Democrat controlled Senate and House bought the need to defend America, and passed the Missile Defense Act of 1991. That Act mandated building Theater Missile Defenses for our overseas troops, friends and allies and the first National Missile Defense site, both as soon as possible. It also included robust R&D on space-based defenses—the result of hard-headed bargaining by pro-missile defense advocates who wanted to build the most effective defenses possible.
Following this demonstration of bi-partisan American will in 1991—led from the White House, Russia and others bought into the idea as well. Our friends in Russia persuaded Boris Yeltsin that the Americans were serious and he, in turn, proposed in 1992 that the U.S. and Russia work together to build a Joint Global Defense.
The Bush II team got started right, but since seems to have lost its way. In a February Munich meeting, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld made it clear to Russian and other leaders that America was determined to build missile defenses—without regard for the ABM Treaty—and was met with a cautious but positive response. Since then, U.S. spokesmen have backed off such clear statements of intent—and, as should be expected, opponents have been emboldened to oppose any defense at all for the American homeland.
To illustrate how low we are sinking, note that a White House official was recently quoted as saying Russia was "going to have to agree to the plan" for the Bush team to gain the needed acceptance to protect Americans from missile attack. The Bush team is giving the Russians a veto over its plans to provide for the common defense? Does no one remember how to play this game?
The White House cannot expect Russia to help it gain support from our allies—or Democrat leaders. Bush II leaders must find their way back to the programs, plans and determined advocacy of Bush I, which were built on Ronald Reagan’s determination to end our total reliance on MAD and build effective defenses—ideas that gained support around the world. America must lead—and ironically if we are prepared to go it alone, others will join us!!!
Issue Brief 36, May 24, 2001-Definitely—End of the Honeymoon!!!
As Senator James Jeffords of Vermont left the Republican Party to become an Independent, control of the Senate returned to the Democrats for the first time since 1994—and President Bush’s honeymoon with Congress is most definitely over as unified Republican control of the federal government ended after only four months.
All the Senate leaders—who set the agenda for considering the President’s plans, programs and budgets—now will be men who have often opposed the President’s announced agenda.Nowhere is this more clear than in the case of the President’s campaign promise to build effective ballistic missile defenses at the earliest possible date.
For example, the new Senate Majority Leader, Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), last week responded to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s announcement reorganizing how the Pentagon will acquire and operate offensive and defensive military space programs referred to space-based defenses—easily the most cost effective global defense—as “the dumbest idea” he had heard.
And Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Joe Biden (D-DE), who will now chair the very important Senate Armed Services and Senate Foreign Relations Committees, have recently claimed that the President’s missile defense plans will lead to instability, end arms control, and create an arms race in space—reminiscent of the shrill cries of the 1980s about President Reagan’s SDI program.These arguments by the arms control elite and the freeze movement were discredited by Reagan’s successful dealings with the Soviet Union and our allies, and they are again wrongheaded—but they will present a formidable challenge to the Bush Administration.
Perhaps the most onerous of the challenges posed by Senator Levin is his opposition to “unilateral measures” that would change the ABM Treaty—that Cold War relic which prevents building any effective defense for the American people.He will surely use the considerable powers of his new position to seek legislation locking the President into a posture that gives Russia, China, and others a de facto veto over U.S. programs to build effective defenses.Indeed, they could veto not only programs to build sea-based, air-based, and space-based defenses, but even those to develop and test these most effective defense concepts.
Such political pressures from Senator Levin already encourage the Russians and others to believe that they can frustrate the President’s efforts by not agreeing to his agenda—as he and his representatives continue to consult around the world on plans to build a global defense—one that could protect Americans at home and our overseas troops, friends and allies.
The President still wields the power of the veto over Acts of Congress, and Congressional supporters maintain the votes to sustain that veto.So the President can win if he hangs tough in demanding the key elements of his program to build the most effective defenses—which cannot be done under the constraints of that Treaty which should have gone away with the Soviet Union.But make no mistake; his job became considerably more difficult today.
High Frontier waits with great anticipation to hear President Bush’s speech at Annapolis tomorrow—to see if there is a clue about his intentions to stand and fight on this key issue.And in observing the prelude to his Summit meeting with Russian President Putin in mid-June—a key test of his resolve.
Ronald Reagan was up to such a challenge—in the face of a much more potent negative public affairs campaign and in the face of much opposition in the Congress.We hope that George W. Bush will be also.
Issue Brief 35, May 14, 2001-Toward the High Ground of Space: A Fine First Step!!!
Last week, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld announced welcome decisions to reorganize how the Defense Department manages the nation’s military space program. Most notable were his decisions to:· Charge the Air Force as Executive Agent for all military space programs and elevate the Commander of Air Force Space Command to a four-star position, with responsibility and resources to execute space research, development, acquisition and operations—and to manage the Air Force space career field. The Secretary of the Air Force will realign headquarters and field commands to more effectively organize, train, and equip for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive space operations. The Undersecretary of the Air Force will serve as Director of the National Reconnaissance Office and Acquisition Executive for AF space programs.
· Continue Army and Navy participation in all aspects of the space mission area, including enhancing professional military education to facilitate integration of space activities into all military operations; maintaining a cadre of space-qualified officers to research, develop, acquire, and deploy space systems unique to each service; and enabling their officers to aspire to the highest levels of command of US space forces.
· End the practice of assigning only flight-rated officers as Commander in Chief of US Space Command and North American Air Defense Command—and to insure that an officer of any Service with an understanding of space and combat operations can be assigned to this important position.
· Direct the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Service Laboratories to undertake research and demonstration of innovative space technologies and systems for military missions.
· Establish a coordinated space program, budget, and accounting mechanism to increase visibility into the resources allocated for space programs.
Secretary Rumsfeld also announced that the President was establishing a Space Policy Coordinating Committee under the National Security Council to develop, coordinate, and monitor the President’s policy guidance to promote and protect our interests in space—and that he was meeting regularly with the Director of Central Intelligence to assure effective integration of space and intelligence programs and operations.
It is not a surprise that these decisions implemented most of the recommendations of a bipartisan Commission, led by then "private citizen" Donald Rumsfeld, which was the brainchild of Senator Bob Smith (R-NH). While they fall short of establishing a "Space Force" as a separate Service, they constitute a logical first step, not unlike when the Army Air Corps became the prelude to today’s US Air Force.
This important step is none too soon. Rumsfeld’s Commission observed the US is more dependent on space than any other nation—and an attractive candidate for a "Space Pearl Harbor." Warning signs: 1) a 1998 Galaxy IV satellite malfunction which shut down 80 percent of US pagers, as well as video feeds for cable and broadcast transmission—requiring weeks to fully restore satellite service; 2) a 2000 ground station computer malfunction, causing loss of all US satellite information for three hours; and 3) a July 2000 Xinhua news agency report that China’s military is developing methods and strategies for defeating the US in a high-tech and space-based future war.
High Frontier applauds both the foresight of Senator Smith in promoting the need to better organize and operate US space forces and Secretary Rumsfeld’s decisions, significant steps to assure America retains the high ground of space to support all our peaceful and military activities—whether in space, in the air, on land or at sea.
Among other things, we hope this step will revive the space defense programs advanced during the Reagan and first Bush Administrations—and abandoned by the Clinton Administration. As we have often argued, space-based defenses offer the most effective, least expensive way to defend America and our overseas troops, friends and allies from missile attack. Furthermore, space-based defenses could begin operations within five years, if President Bush has the political will to abandon the ABM Treaty and establish a high priority, fully funded program under streamlined management to achieve that needed capability as quickly as possible.
Issue Brief 34, May 1, 2001-Bush’s Missile Defense Initiative: Only The First Step!!!
During his campaign for President, George W. Bush promised to build effective defenses "at the earliest possible date." In his May Day speech at the National Defense University, he finally announced, with little specificity, his plans to protect America and our overseas troops friends and allies from ballistic missile attack. It is a positive start—but only a start, which he just as well could have announced on day one, rather than three months into his first term. As the clock continues to tick, senior U.S. leaders will be talking to allies, friends, Russia and China about plans to make a plan—while leaving America’s engineers bound by the ABM Treaty.
On the positive side, President Bush recognized the critical problem: No effective defense can be built within the constraints of the ABM Treaty, about which he observed, "This treaty does not recognize the present or point us to the future. It enshrines the past. No treaty that prevents us from addressing today’s threats, that prohibits us from pursuing promising technology to defend ourselves, our friends, and our allies is in our interests or in the interests of world peace." On the negative side, the President took no real step to end the Treaty’s constraints that preclude America’s best engineers from applying America’s best technology to develop, test or deploy the most effective defenses—for ourselves and our overseas troops, friends and allies.
On the positive side, President Bush recognized there exist near-term deployment options, including sea- and air-based defenses that could intercept attacking missiles in their boost phase when they are most vulnerable. And he noted that land-based and sea-based defenses could intercept attacking missiles in their midcourse phase above the Earth’s atmosphere and during their reentry. On the negative side, he was silent on the most effective defenses of all, space-based defenses, which use the most advanced technology produced during the administrations of Ronald Reagan and his father—and ignored during the Clinton era.
President Bush is dispatching a high level delegation to talk to allies about his missile defense plans, assuring that "They will be real consultations. We are not presenting them with unilateral decisions already made." He promised to take their views into account, while expressing a "need to reach out" to China and Russia—both of which have expressed hostility to putting the ABM Treaty behind us.
High Frontier’s Chairman, Ambassador Hank Cooper, observes, "I’ve heard it all before." He was Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative during the first Bush Administration and President Reagan’s Chief Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union. Cooper notes, "It shouldn’t take a lot of study to identify the most effective defenses that can be built quickly. Been there, done that—over a decade ago. And we should know from sad experience how entangling can be ‘consultations’ that can give others an effective veto over U.S. defense programs. I hope President Bush does not permit such entanglements; that he understands that his campaign promise to build effective defenses at the earliest possible date is in jeopardy if not passé; and that he puts a firm time limit on such recipes for delay."
High Frontier believes the President’s first step on missile defenses was positive—though less so than we had hoped. We look forward to specifics on the rapid deployment options that his administration intends to pursue—especially for the sea-based defenses we have long supported. And we hope the President will revive a robust program to build space-based interceptors and lasers as soon as possible. These are the most effective defenses we can build—and for lower cost and in less time than other more politically correct options. But the ABM Treaty must go soon, or the President’s modest first step will lead only to another triumph of hope over experience.
Issue Brief 33, March 23, 2001- Eighteen Years, $50 billion and still Undefended? Time for a Change!!!
On March 23, 1983, then President Ronald Reagan challenged the Cold War doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) by asking, “Wouldn’t it be better to save lives than to avenge them? Are we not capable of demonstrating our peaceful intention by applying all our abilities and ingenuity to achieving a truly lasting stability?”
That evening, President Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles “before they reach our soil or that of our allies.” He said, “My fellow Americans, tonight we’re launching an effort which holds the promise of changing the course of human history. There are risks, and results will take time. But I believe we can do it.”
SDI did change history. Many believe SDI and President Reagan’s commitment to it ended the Cold War “without firing a shot,” as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has said repeatedly. And that’s great. But America is still absolutely defenseless against even a single ballistic missile—in spite of over $50 billion spent in the past 18 years on missile defense R&D.
High Frontier’s Chairman, Ambassador Hank Cooper, observes, “For only $2 billion (most of which was provided by the American taxpayer), the Israelis developed and made operational the Arrow defense for their homeland—and now they are improving it. No doubt they have been motivated by the terror of Iraqi Scuds ten years ago. But America remains defenseless—are not Americans concerned by the threat of missile attack? Poll after poll over the past 18 years say they are. And they become angry when they learn that they remain defenseless as a matter of a policy that makes that vulnerability a virtue. Such anger is a latent political force that can be mobilized to press for ending America’s vulnerability, especially now that we have a President who wants effective defenses.”
President Clinton rejected SDI policies and programs he inherited from Ronald Reagan and earlier President George Bush—in favor of “preserving” and “strengthening” the MAD-based ABM Treaty that his administration called “the cornerstone of strategic stability.” Happily, President George W. Bush and his senior officials have made plain that they know the ABM Treaty is an obstacle to building effective defenses, and that they want to build effective defenses “at the earliest possible date.” The ABM Treaty must go if we are to build effective defenses—and it must go now if we are to build effective defenses any time soon.
For example, the Navy could, within 4 years and for $2 billion more than the Clinton Administration planned, begin operating a sea-based defense that could protect Americans at home and abroad—as well as our friends and allies. But for this to happen, the ABM Treaty must go—and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld must direct the Navy to streamline its management and build as quickly as possible effective sea-based defenses. Such defenses should be supplemented with other defenses, based in various ways, “to save lives rather than to avenge them” and to achieve “a truly lasting stability.” Thus, could America finally—and affirmatively—answer Ronald Reagan’s memorable questions.
High Frontier urges the Bush Administration to “Win one for the Gipper!”
Issue Brief 32, February 14, 2001- Expedite Navy Theater Wide “All It Can Be!”
President Bush promised to build missile defenses for protecting Americans at home and our overseas troops, friends and allies “at the earliest possible date.” To honor this commitment, the Pentagon needs a different strategy for its missile defense programs—in particular, it needs to expedite efforts to build sea-based defenses, which offer the earliest opportunity to fulfill the President’s pledge to the American people.
The Clinton Administration was not particularly interested in building effective defenses and gave priority to a ground-based “national missile defense,” the first site of which is expected to cost about $30 billion and take 5-7 years to complete—perhaps by 2006-8. To the degree the Clinton Administration pursued any sea-based defense options, they were assigned a follower role—and arbitrarily designated not to achieve operational capability before the end of the decade, in spite of several Navy studies over the past several years indicating a more rapid capability is possible.
To illustrate the bureaucratic roadblocks that have delayed these more rapid deployment options, consider recent events in the life of the Navy Theater Wide development program, which has been carried on primarily at the insistence of Congress:
Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, High Frontier’s Chairman and former SDI Director during the first Bush Administration observed, “The Clinton Administration arbitrarily imposed a ‘leader-follower’ strategy on missile development programs, assigning the leader role to ground-based systems even though less expensive sea-based defenses could be built faster. They were not motivated to build effective defenses or to build them quickly. Since President Bush wants defenses at the earliest possible date, that entire strategy needs a major overhaul to emphasize early deployment options.”
- A couple of weeks ago a prototype Standard Missile (SM)-3, Block I had a flawless flight, leaving only the kill vehicle demonstration as a prelude to producing a number of test missiles—which then could lead to initial operations at sea within 3-4 years, by as early as in 2004. With the right adjunct developments, this Aegis-based system could begin protecting Americans at home as well as our overseas troops, friends and allies—just as President Bush promised. The entire initiative would cost less than $3 billion—about 10-percent of the cost of the first ground-based site of the Clinton NMD system. The costs are so low because the American taxpayer has already paid over $50 billion for the Aegis system which operates around the world today—to add ballistic missile defense to its air defense capability is a relatively small modification.
- So, what did the Clinton Administration do with this option? In one of its parting-shot budget decisions, the Clinton Pentagon sharply cut the Navy Theater Wide program, removed all funds from the line to produce the SM-3, Block I test missiles and decided to develop a new “Block II” missile for deployment after the end of this decade.
Cooper and Retired Admiral J.D. Williams argue that the Navy Theater Wide system could be given an ability to defend American cities as early as within 3-4 years for less than $3 billion. (See their September 6, 2000, Inside Missile Defense Guest Article.) And they claim the Navy will back up their analysis, if allowed to do so. But the Pentagon bureaucracy continues to churn on following the Clinton game plan, which relegates the Navy programs to a “follower” role.
The above decisions must be reversed to meet President Bush’s commitment to the American people—needed are additional funds to accelerate the Navy Theater Wide program and a reversal by June of the decision to stop the SM-3 Block I development or the SM-3 Block I team will begin to stand-down.
High Frontier recommends the Navy establish a Special Projects office—like the one that produced the first Polaris submarines in the 1950s—to make Navy Theater Wide “all it can be,” and, by the end of Bush’s first term, to end America’s total vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile fired accidentally or deliberately.
Issue Brief 31, February 7, 2001-This Decision Cannot Stand
Promises, promises. "Help is on the way for the Nation’s military needs," said Vice President Dick Cheney during the campaign. Then Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld told Congress during his confirmation hearings, "There needs to be an increase in the [Defense] budget."
Now, apparently the Bush Administration has reversed its field—according to press accounts, which say President Bush will simply submit to Congress what the Clinton Administration had planned without any increase.
Senator John Warner, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, noted in response, "[Cheney’s campaign promise] could be seen as a disconnect with what they are doing now." High Frontier’s Chairman, Ambassador Henry F. Cooper agrees with Senator Warner and says, "This unwise decision cannot stand."
The voters were promised that Clinton’s eight years of neglect of America’s fighting forces would be changed. Vice President Cheney recounted in a speech in Atlanta details of the present sad condition of the military from the inability to maintain adequate training to the need for offensive and defensive weapons improvement.
"The papers say that Secretary Rumsfeld was surprised by the unfortunate administration financial decision," observes Cooper. "Only last weekend he told our allies and friends around the world that we’re going to build effective missile defenses—and President Bush has indicated he wanted to have such defenses ‘at the earliest possible date.’ These financial decisions and associated Administration comments about needing to do ‘studies’ before asking Congress for additional money suggest a bit of a stalling tactic."
Today’s Washington Times front page story headlines "Army Running Out Of Bullets." Bullets???
How long do we need to study to know we have major problems and the Pentagon needs additional money? There was testimony from Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of Defense, Harold Brown, recommending an additional $50 billion over the next five years. At least a prorated share of that much (say, $10 billion in Fiscal Year 2002 budget request, for planning purposes) should be mustered by the Bush team, if it has no better number. Then a final number can be worked out during the Congressional cycle this summer.
Review is needed, to be sure. But, for goodness sake, the White House should give Secretary Rumsfeld some running room to fix obvious problems while studying how to fix what’s broke.
Issue Brief 30, February 5, 2001-Win One For The Gipper!!!
Tomorrow is Ronald Reagan’s 90th birthday. We hope it is possible that, in the twilight shadows of his days on this Earth, he, in some small way, can know the warmth and appreciation of a grateful nation—indeed of all who struggle to obtain and keep their freedom—for his extraordinary contributions to peace, prosperity, and hope for the future.
Some think President Reagan was only an actor who lived out roles he imagined from his movie days, as described by Frances Fitzgerald in her pseudo study of his strongly held views, Way Out There In The Blue (Simon and Schuster, 2000). Recently, Reagan In His Own Hand (The Free Press, 2001) reveals Reagan’s principled views were well formed in numerous writings and speeches—drafted in the 1970s in his own hand. Clearly, no one but Ronald Reagan wrote the script for his most deeply held views. Lou Cannon wrote in yesterday’s Washington Post Book World, "Reagan In His Own Hand drives a stake into the heart of the notion that the president was any kind of a dunce."
Especially prescient was his courageous call to end America’s—and our friends’ and allies’—vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile. He asked, "Wouldn’t it be better to save lives than to avenge them?" And he set into place the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), derisively called "Star Wars" by critics who claimed in shrill tones that it was not possible, it was too expensive, it would create an "unbridled" arms race in space, and it would end arms control with the Soviet Union—which Reagan aptly called the "evil empire"-- much to the chagrin of the nattering press and liberal left.
Such rancor came at the height of the Cold War, with peace demonstrations at home and abroad against Reagan’s initiatives to repair the "hollow" U.S. military created during the Carter years, while the Soviets engaged in the largest military buildup in history. Reagan, with the help of his closest ally, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, led the World’s free nations to resist, even to defeat, Soviet-fed propaganda and expansionist policies. NATO stood firmly together to deploy the Pershing and Ground Launched Cruise Missiles in late 1983, and the Soviets walked out of all the arms control talks in protest—and still the NATO alliance held, during its finest hour.
Largely because of Soviet concerns about SDI—especially space-based defenses, the Soviets returned to the negotiating table in 1985 and reenergized their anti-SDI propaganda campaign, which was echoed by the liberal left around the world. Then at Reykjavik, in October 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev tried to get Reagan to trade away SDI in exchange for deep offensive reductions—and Ronald Reagan refused, folded his papers, and went home. Many former Soviet leaders have said that Reagan’s refusal to give up SDI convinced them that they could not compete with American technology—and one thing led to another until the Soviet Union crumbled. As Maggie Thatcher said, "Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot..." and he got the offensive nuclear reductions he wanted without curtailing SDI.
Moreover, Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, who was Reagan’s Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks and President George Bush’s SDI Director observes, "What many don’t appreciate is that Russian President Yeltsin finally said "Yes" to Reagan’s proposal to reduce offensive nuclear systems and, at the same time, to build strategic defenses. On January 31, 1992, Boris Yeltsin proposed, in a United Nations’ speech, deeper than START I offensive reductions, that SDI be redirected to take advantage of Russian technology, and that the U. S. and Russia work together and build a global defense to protect the world community. The Bush Administration completed a START II Treaty and made progress toward agreeing on how to build joint global defenses before President Clinton took office, abandoned the on-going high level discussions on cooperative defenses, scuttled the fully approved and funded national missile defense program, abandoned the global defense architecture, and declared allegiance to the ABM Treaty which blocks any effective defense. The first Bush Administration gained allied support for building a joint global defense. Hopefully, the second Bush Administration will re-establish strong alliance support for finishing the job—soon! We are all being overtaken by the threat projected by the 1998 bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission and we need defenses now."
There are problems. At last weekend’s Wehrkunde conference in Munich, Germany, there was a parade of objections to President George W. Bush’s stated intention to end, "at the earliest possible date," America’s vulnerability to ballistic missiles. While using rhetoric reminiscent of the mid-1980s, European and the Russian leaders seemed oblivious to how far we came together in 1992. In contrast, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld proposed to revive the cooperative plan for wide area defenses being pursued eight years ago: "The United States is prepared to develop and deploy a missile defense designed to protect our people and forces against a limited ballistic missile attack, and is prepared to assist friends and allies threatened by missile attack to deploy such defenses." He also emphasized that the ABM Treaty blocks the way to effective defenses, and it must go the way of other Cold War trappings. President Bush has indicated his willingness to talk about working together—but he has also indicated his intent "promptly" to go it alone if necessary.
Hopefully, President Bush will stick to this position and finish what President Reagan began. Ronald Reagan was right about many things. SDI was one of them. Let us resolve to finish what he began. Let’s win one for the Gipper!!!
Issue Brief 29, January 24, 2001-End the MAD, MAD World!!!
During the campaign, President Bush said that his administration would deploy effective defenses against ballistic missiles "at the earliest possible date." And he indicated that he would not permit Russia a veto over ending America’s efforts to build such defenses—meaning his administration must be rid of the inhibitions of the 1972 ABM Treaty, which bans all effective defenses. President Bush is aware of that fact, as was clear from his campaign statement that he had "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 President could not make more clear his interest in ending the restraints of the ABM Treaty, which is based on the Cold War’s mutual hostage doctrine aptly known as Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). This will be a marked policy departure from the Clinton Administration’s devotion to that MAD doctrine, and the role of the ABM Treaty, which it called "the cornerstone of strategic stability." Based on their confirmation hearings, it appears that President Bush’s primary lieutenants intend to carry out his promises of ending the ABM Treaty and permitting American engineers to fully use their genius to end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile.
In his January 11 confirmation hearing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld emphasized the importance of moving beyond depending on the threat of retaliation for America’s security and that of our allies: "Credible Deterrence no longer can be based solely on the prospect of punishment through massive retaliation. Instead, it must be based on a combination of offensive nuclear and non-nuclear defensive capabilities working together to deny potential adversaries the opportunity and benefits from the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction against our forces and homeland, as well as those of our allies."
And in his January 17 confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Colin Powell echoed both President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld in colorfully observing that: "No one thinking soundly, logically, would construct a strategic framework with offense only. Not the New York Giants and not America." While noting the continuing importance of offensive forces, he emphasized that by including defenses, " we will be that much better off in our relations with both friend and foe." Secretary Powell then observed that in developing the right strategic framework for the Bush Administration, "there will be time to consult with our allies and friends to solicit their views and to ensure their understanding of what we are doing and, in some cases, their participation. We will also discuss issue with the Russians and Chinese, as we continue to operate on the arms control front as well. In that context, the ABM Treaty in its current form is no longer relevant to our new strategic framework. We hope to persuade the Russians of the need to move beyond it."
Hopefully, the Bush Administration will not talk long (no more than six months) to the powers that be in the rest of the world before releasing the genius of American engineers to protect Americans in their homes, while also protecting America’s overseas troops, friends and allies with a truly global defense. It shouldn’t take long for our allies to understand the benefits of a global defense. As Lady Margaret Thatcher said so well at the Hoover Institution last summer:
"There are, indeed, very strong reasons for building a global rather than merely a national missile defense system. Technically, it is safer for us, and more dangerous for our enemy, if their missiles can be destroyed in the boost-phase, before they are able to send out decoys. Politically, it will solidify the NATO alliance if all its members can be brought within this defense system. Strategically, global ballistic missile defense will reinforce America's position as the only truly global superpower, on which the security of all nations from missile attack rests.
"To achieve these goals will be expensive. America's allies should meet a share of the cost. And delay must be avoided.
"It is not for me to prescribe the precise technical solutions. But we should certainly avoid heavy investment in an unsatisfactory system determined by the constraints of an unsatisfactory treaty. The Antiballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), which rules out sea- and space-based systems, is a Cold War relic. It is therefore rather surprising that today's liberals show such misplaced affection for it. In fact, the best lawyers tell us that the treaty has lapsed, because the other party to it, the Soviet Union, has ceased to exist. Moreover, whatever rationale it once had has certainly ended, now that an increasing number of unpredictable powers can threaten us with weapons of mass destruction. The ABM treaty is not, as the [Clinton] administration believes, the ‘cornerstone of strategic stability.’ It is a worthless document that deserves to be consigned to one of history's many shredders."
Amen to that!!!
Issue Brief 28, January 16, 2001-Revive and Expedite Space-Based Defense Programs!
It is well understood that effective defenses against ballistic missiles will have to be "layered" defenses—that is, multiple tiers of defenses must be able to provide multiple opportunities to intercept attacking missiles, beginning as soon after launch as possible and continuing throughout their flight trajectory.
Preferably, a "boost-phase" layer would intercept attacking missiles shortly after they are launched, while their rockets still burn and before they can release their warheads. Later, an exo-atmospheric layer would attempt to intercept attacking missiles that leak through the boost-phase defense during their "mid-course" flight above the Earth’s atmosphere. Finally, an endo-atmospheric layer would intercept missiles in their "terminal" phase after they reenter the Earth’s atmosphere.
The most effective defenses against ballistic missiles will be space-based defenses, which can provide intercept opportunities in all three phases of the attacking missile’s flight. The most effective space defense will eventually involve both space-based interceptors (SBIs), which destroy their targets by ramming them, and space-based lasers (SBLs) that direct energy at the speed of light to destroy their targets. The capabilities of these two types of independent systems complement each other and the combination is robust.
Regrettably, the Clinton Administration cancelled or sharply curtailed work on space-based defenses and focused almost entirely on ground-based defenses that cannot intercept their targets until late in the attacking missile’s flight. This shortcoming makes it relatively easy for an adversary to build "countermeasures" that would have been defeated by space-based defenses in the 1992 Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) architecture. For example, the development of "clustered submunitions," multiple warheads, to be deployed early in a missile’s flight would defeat all missile defense systems being developed by the Clinton Administration at a cost of about $4 billion a year. The 1998 bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission unanimously concluded that such submunitions might be deployed by potential adversaries within five years—by 2003.
Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, SDI Director during the last Bush Administration, claims that more effective space-based defenses could be built sooner for less money: "SBIs, based on the technology space-qualified in the 1994 Clementine program, could begin operations within five years for an investment of $4-5 billion if that program were fully funded and managed in a streamlined way, as was the Brilliant Pebbles program during the Reagan and Bush Administrations. Deploying and maintaining a constellation of 1000 satellites for 10-20 years would cost $12-15 billion. Such a constellation would provide multiple intercept opportunities against all attacking missiles with ranges greater than 150 to 300 miles. Intercepts could begin during boost-phase against sufficiently long-range missiles."
"SBLs, which are at the technology demonstration stage, could provide a boost-phase intercept capability against ballistic missiles with ranges greater than about 75 miles. While they could not destroy missiles during their later flight, SBLs would provide important discrimination data that would enable SBIs to neutralize future countermeasures. And SBIs would provide a robust defense of SBLs against defense suppression attacks. With streamlined management and full funding, 12 SBLs could begin operations in about 10 years for about $15-18 billion."
"Of course, these effective defenses cannot be developed so long as the ABM Treaty is held as sacrosanct. Thus, the Treaty must be discarded as soon as possible, if the most effective defenses are to be developed and tested during the next several years and deployed as soon thereafter as possible. In fact, no effective defense can be built under the terms of the ABM Treaty. It must go—and soon."
President-elect George W. Bush pledged during the campaign to end America’s vulnerability to ballistic missile attack by building effective missile defenses "at the earliest possible date." Space-based defenses are the most effective defenses—and deserve high priority in the President’s program to fulfill his pledge to the American people. As indicated above, deployment could begin within five years with the right management and needed funding.
Only sea-based defenses can be built faster—and they should receive slightly higher priority because of that fact. Both sea- and space-based defenses have a global quality and they will complement each other. Both can intercept missiles both early and late in their flight. Both will employ a global command and control architecture. Both could be integrated with ground-based components. And the combination would be very effective—far more effective than the ground-based defenses alone.
High Froniter urges that, as one of its first acts in the national security field, the Bush Administration should discard the ABM Treaty and expedite the development of both sea- and space-based defenses.
Issue Brief 27, January 10, 2001-Proposed Bush Missile Defense Agenda
President Clinton's missile defense agenda took us a long way from the program he inherited on January 20, 1993—largely in the wrong direction. President-elect George W. Bush has the opportunity to correct these past mistakes and set America on a path to building effective defenses that could begin operations as early as in 2004—provided there is an immediate redirection of policy and programs, supplemented with the necessary funding.
Policy- Policy should be based on acknowledging several realities:1. America and her allies and friends face a serious and growing ballistic missile threat. In July 1998, the Rumsfeld Commission observed that any of several rogue states could threaten the United States with missile attack within five years after deciding to do so, and we will not know when they so decide—or have so decided. (North Korea demonstrated the reality of the threat with its August 1998 Taepo Dong launch over Japan, almost to U.S. territory.)Programmatic-. Numerous studies, including within the Clinton Administration, have shown that sea-based defenses, free of the constraints of the ABM Treaty, can provide effective defenses of the U.S. homeland as well as our overseas troops, friends and allies. Such sea-based defenses, free of the constraints of the ABM Treaty and fully funded, could begin operations as early as in 2004—there is no other serious option to defend America this soon. The Bush Administration should provide this program the necessary funding and programmatic directions, while deciding how best to redirect other existing programs and initiate others to build the most effective defenses possible as quickly as possible.
2. Such threats must be confronted with effective ballistic missile defenses—and no effective defense can be built under the terms of the ABM Treaty.
3. Because of the time required to build effective defenses, we already run a serious risk that we will confront the "Rumsfeld" threat (possibly by 2004) before we can begin operations of any defense.
4. So, the clock has run out on negotiating to change the ABM Treaty—it must go now if we are even to develop and test effective defenses, let alone to deploy them.
5. This fact must be given top priority in formulating our diplomatic efforts to foster cooperation with the Russians, allies and friends.
Space-based systems offer the best long-term potential for defending America and our overseas troops, friends and allies. However, these important programs were canceled or sharply curtailed during the past eight years and serious space-based sensor, interceptor, and laser acquisition programs need to be re-energized.
Recommended First Step-. President Bush should, among his first acts, announce that:1. In six months, all unilateral restraints on U.S. programs to be consistent with the ABM Treaty will cease.
2. He has directed Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to:a. Establish a special Navy program office, patterned after the Polaris program forty years ago, with streamlined acquisition authority, directions and funds to build a global sea-based defense as soon as possible. In particular, this new office will be charged with accelerating the Navy Theater Wide program to proceed as rapidly as technologically possible with a target initial operational capability of 2003—plans will be initiated immediately to include exploiting external sensors and an appropriate command and control system to make this system capable of defending America. And plans for block upgrades to enhance the initial capability will be formulated and executed as soon as possible.3. He has directed Secretary of State Powell to prepare an appropriate diplomatic agenda to discuss with the Russians and our friends and allies how they might join in a cooperative global defense aimed at protecting the world community against the growing threat of ballistic missile attack. This discussion should take into account how defenses can reduce the proliferation threat.
b. Conduct a thorough three-month study of all technological options on how best to defend America—free of ABM Treaty or other political constraints. Points where these programs go beyond previously observed ABM Treaty-related constraints will be identified. Priority will be given to evaluating the options for effective space-based sensor, interceptor, and laser defense systems.
c. Prepare a supplemental budget request to Congress to initiate and/or accelerate appropriate programs as necessary to build the most effective defense possible as soon as possible.