2002 Strategic Policy Issue Briefs

Issue Brief 80, December 12, 2002
Lessons From North Korean Scud Shipment to Yemen

The papers are full of authoritative reports on the recent interdiction of the North Korean vessel, “So San,” sailing unmarked and carrying over a dozen Scud missiles to Yemen, it turns out.  Most of these stories point again to the nature of the proliferation problem – a very troublesome one indeed.  The incident also points to additional lessons.

  This incident again demonstrates the fact that North Korea is a well-known merchant of the technology for weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery – and the failure of sanctions and diplomatic means in stopping its bad behavior.   A few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld called North Korea a “danger to the world” as the “single biggest proliferator of ballistic missiles and technologies related to ballistic missiles.”

  This incident also demonstrates political difficulties that can follow from even a successful interdiction at sea.  We let the North Korean ship continue on its merry way when the Yemeni government protested that it was legally buying those dozen or so North Korean Scuds we found on-board.  This protest is at least inconsistent with former stated Yemeni policy – according to former Assistant Secretary of State Robert J. Einhorn (as reported in today’s Washington Post), they wrote in 2001 to the U.S. Ambassador in Sanaa that it was “neither the policy nor practice of the government of Yemen to import” such materials from North Korea.  Yet, according to White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, the cargo will continue on its way to Yemen because “there is no provision under international law prohibiting Yemen from accepting delivery of missiles from North Korea.”

  Also widely reported is that the U.S. backed away from a confrontation with Yemen because they have committed to be allied with us in the War on Terrorism.  The Yemeni government has its hands full with the haven of terrorists within its borders – witness the October 2000 al Qaeda suicide boat in the Yemeni port of Aden that rammed the USS Cole, killing 17 American sailors.  Perhaps Yemen will live up to its assurances that this time it will not ally themselves with Iraq if our current confrontation with Iraq expands into open warfare – but Yemen reportedly backed Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War.  Diplomacy does indeed sometimes make for strange bedfellows.

  Under-reported good news in this incident is that our intelligence network apparently worked well.  We apparently used early information to track the So San to within 600 miles of Yemen before interdicting it.  Furthermore, the press reports that we were confident enough of our information to raise the issue with the Yemeni government before taking action – and when it denied any involvement, we acted.  One has to wonder why our erstwhile ally in the war on terror initially denied knowledge of its approaching Scud cargo and then later insisted on its right under international law to receive its lawful purchase.  For what purpose does Yemen need Scuds, anyway?

  Mostly missed from the press accounts is the confirmation of recent claims by Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and his Deputy that ballistic missiles can be hidden on-board ships, erected, launched, and hidden again.  Scuds were launched from a ship in the 1940s.  While our intelligence was right-on in detecting hidden missile cargo this time – and that is comforting, one must wonder whether we will always be so fortunate.  And even if we do have our suspicions, this experience poses difficult questions, e.g., “Can we act in time to board and remove threatening missiles, say transported to a few hundred miles off our coasts?  Just how far does international law constrain our right of self-defense?” 

  While we ponder such questions, we should also wonder why we do not act with the greatest dispatch possible to build defenses against such missiles that could threaten American cities from hundreds of miles off our coasts.  Just a couple of weeks ago, the Navy demonstrated again that it is possible to intercept rockets as they rise from their launch pads – as they did with earlier generation technology in the 1960s.  We should empower the Navy to give us this capability as soon as possible!

  Over 18-months ago, RAdm. Rod Rempt told a Capitol Hill breakfast club that it was possible to modify the Navy’s existing air defense missile to provide a rudimentary boost-phase defense capability within a year for $100-200 million – and then that initial capability could be improved.  So for about 2-percent of the funds already appropriated for missile defense this coming year, we could end our absolute vulnerability to the kind of threat posed by the recent demonstration of hidden Scuds-on-ships.  What, pray tell, are we waiting on?

Issue Brief 79, November 26, 2002
Navy Hits in Ascent Phase: An Important Step for "Minutemen" Of Our Time!

On November 22, the Navy made it three hits in a row from the USS Lake Erie a few hundred miles from Hawaii, with its intercept of a ballistic missile fired from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range on western Kauai.   The earlier tests this year (in January and June) hit their target missiles above the atmosphere in space, after they had reached their highest points and were on the way back down.  This time, the intercept occurred in space as the target missile was still rising – in its ascent phase.  According to a Pentagon spokesman, the USS Lake Erie fire control officer had a window of only 70 to 85 seconds to detect the target and launch his interceptor. 

This is an important achievement and should be applauded.  On the other hand, one has to wonder why it has taken so long to get to this welcome stage – and whether the “powers that be” will now at long last place the warranted top priority on making sea-based defenses all they can be as soon as possible.   After all, the USS Barney used its air defense interceptor to intercept boosting rockets in the mid-1960s, as was pointed out in High Frontier’s Issue Paper on August 8, 2002.  And High Frontier has emphasized for years that the Navy’s Aegis Fleet, in which the American taxpayer has invested over $60 billion dollars, provides a ready infrastructure for rapidly and inexpensively building a global defense. 

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, High Frontier’s Chairman and Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative during the first Bush Administration, observes, “On January 20, 1993, I left to the Clinton Administration a fully funded program that could have deployed a sea-based theater missile defense capability by the mid-1990s – if only it had been continued.  But the program was delayed and underfunded – and, in 1995, the “Navy Theater Wide” system design was dumbed-down so that it could defend our overseas troops, friends and allies but not Americans at home.   A sea-based system with even this reduced capability was further delayed by over a dozen critical reviews after 1995, all of which recommended that it proceed.  In the late 1990s, congressionally mandated studies showed that sea-based defenses could play an important role in defending the U.S. homeland as well as our overseas troops, friends and allies – and could do so relatively quickly.  But little was done to take advantage of this inherent capability – probably because of the ABM Treaty.   Now that President Bush has discarded the Treaty, the Navy programs should be accelerated.”

Whatever may have gone before, the three successful Navy demonstrations this year set a stage for programmatic acceleration.  This also would be responsive to the recent Defense Science Board summer study, which recommended that greater emphasis be given to developing boost- and ascent-phase sea-based defenses.  So the time is ripe for moving ahead as quickly as possible to build an initial operating capability – and then to improve it as quickly as possible. 

Such accelerated development is also timely as the possibility of war with Iraq grows.  Indeed, there are press reports that the Navy is preparing to use its Aegis system to help protect Israel and other states in the region in the event of such a war.  Defense officials have said that an emergency Aegis deployment to the eastern Mediterranean by January is being planned to help defend against short- to medium-range missiles.  Officials said the Navy has completed a series of tests to determine the operability of the Aegis system with other missile defense assets and is expected to participate in Israeli exercises.  Israel has already deployed its Arrow system, largely paid for by the American taxpayer, and the Patriot used in the 1991 Gulf War.

We should also move quickly to provide a sea-based component to the defense of the American homeland.  Probably the earliest such defense would adapt the existing Aegis air defense system to provide an early boost-and ascent-phase defense against short-range ballistic missiles fired from container ships near our coasts.  Defense Secretary Rumsfeld recently called attention to this existing threat when he told the Pentagon press corps on September 16 that Countries have placed ballistic missiles in ships – dime a dozen – all over the world.  At any given time, there’s any number off our coasts – coming, going.  On transporter-erector-launchers, they simply erect it, fire off a ballistic missile, put it down, cover it up.  Their radar signature’s not any different than 50 others in close proximity.”

As we have been repeating for well over a year, the Navy has found that about 60 existing Standard Missile II, Block IV air defense interceptors can be given a rudimentary boost-phase intercept capability within a year for $100-200 million.   We may need such a capability much sooner – and it is long past time to press it into action. 

Those who man such defenses will be the Minutemen of our time – literally.  They will have only about a minute to shoot down threatening ballistic missiles launched off our coasts at our cities.  It can be done – as was demonstrated last week off the Hawaii shores.  Let’s get them at their stations as soon as possible.
Issue Brief 78, October 28, 2002
What About a Near-Term Defense Against the Container Ship Scud Threat?
On September 16, 2002, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld told the press that “Countries have placed ballistic missiles in ships – dime a dozen – all over the world.  At any given time, there’s any number off our coasts – coming, going. On transporter-erector-launchers, they simply erect it, fire off a ballistic missile, put it down, cover it up.  Their radar signature’s not any different than 50 others in close proximity.”

Last Thursday, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz again identified this threat in his speech to a Frontiers of Freedom Conference on Capitol Hill:  “The United States test launched a captured German V-2 rocket from the deck of a ship in 1947. And recently we have observed indications of an outlaw state attempting to do the same thing with a short-range ballistic missile from a ship. We need to ensure defense capabilities against a range of novel threats and enemy concepts of operation, not just the classic scenarios.”

    In response to questions about this “outlaw state” and about the possibility of one of these states being able to base ballistic missiles in a third country that may not even know that they're being used as a platform for missiles aimed at the United States, Secretary Wolfowitze clarified that “we need to be thinking out of the box” and “recognize the potential for things to develop in ways that we don't anticipate. . . We need to remember that there was a time when we said, I believe it was March of 1962, that it was inconceivable the Soviet Union would put missiles in Cuba. I believe in the 1980s when Saudi Arabia acquired long-range ballistic missiles from the Peoples Republic of China it took us completely by surprise –we think a relatively harmless surprise, but nonetheless a surprise.”
    In response to further questions about this threat and whether it could be defended against sooner that 2004 – when he had anticipated an emergency sea-based defense could be operational, Secretary Wolfowitz indicated that he did not think so.  “I would say in terms of the problem I mentioned about the possible ship-based missiles, it's not one that I would want to divert large resources into right now based on what we think we know. But we're always learning new things.”  He also said he would not call it a “near-term” threat, but that countries we are concerned about now were aware of this “distinct possibility.”  And while he hoped we would get “further indication” if they were developing this threat, he also noted that we “can’t count on it” – we had repeatedly been surprised, as he had learned from his participation in the 1998 Rumsfeld Commission on the Ballistic Missile Threat.  He noted that we have often learned years after the fact when some countries had actually initiated and sometimes achieved threatening capabilities.
    It has been almost 2 years since Rear Admiral Rod Rempt publicly stated at a Capitol Hill breakfast missile defense meeting that, for $100-200 million, the Navy could adapt its existing air defense interceptor system (the Standard Missile 2 – Block IV, or SM-2 Blk IV) within a year to provide a limited sea-based boost-phase defense.  This admittedly limited defense would help counter the threat to American coastal cities identified by Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz.  Even a little defense would be better than none – which is what we now have – especially as we contemplate war against Iraq.
    Indeed, with the right priority from Secretary Rumsfeld and the Chief of Naval Operations, such a limited sea-based defense can likely be made operational within 4-6 months for even less than $100 million – time converts to money.  Specifically, what is required is to: Modify the SPY-1 radar software and the track filters/logic so that vertically accelerating threatening rockets can be identified; Refine the SM-2 Blk IV interceptor’s flyout characteristics; Demonstrate its high altitude intercept potential; and Validate operational feasibility with fully integrated tests.
The Navy has studied this option – with technical inputs from MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories, the Applied Physics Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin – and it can be done.  This shouldn’t be surprising; High Frontier’s August 8 Issue Paper pointed to the USS Barney’s “proof-of-principle” test in the mid-1960s – with far less sophisticated computers, radar, and interceptors than with today’s SM-2 Blk IV system.  The powers that be should take another look.
    High Frontier’s Chairman and former SDI Director, Ambassador Hank Cooper, recalls that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the heels of the 1991 Gulf War urged him to press for rapid technical achievements made possible by the focused attention that always comes in times of national crisis – as she had learned during the 1982 Falklands War.  As U.S. leaders contemplate a war with Iraq in the not too distant future and consider our current total vulnerability to missile attack, they should heed her wise counsel and rapidly take all possible steps to protect America’s coastal cities, including from Scuds launched from ships among the 140 that approach U.S. ports each day.

Issue Brief 77, October 25, 2002
Two Views On Reorganization

    The August 2002 Issue of Harvard Business Review included an article – “Inspiring Innovation” – that gave responses from some sixteen CEOs, entrepreneurs and inventors to the question, “What’s the one thing that you’ve done that most inspired innovation in your organization?”  Air Force General Ron Kadish, Director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, gave a startling answer that Harvard Business Review labeled:

"Mix People Up"

"One of the surest ways to get a job done more innovatively is, quite simply, to reorganize frequently.  When you put people into a new structure, it stimulates them to rethink what they're doing on a day-to-day basis.

“I've reorganized the Missile Defense Agency on a major scale twice in less than two years.  Why?  We needed to transform ourselves from an organization dedicated to scientific experimentation to one focused on design and acquisition of weapons.  The technologies we'd been working on for 20 years had become sufficiently mature that we could actually start developing effective systems, and the geopolitical environment had changed to the point where we had a mandate to move forward.  We needed to orient people toward a new goal, and reorganization was one way to do that.

”It's traumatic for most people, especially in very hierarchical organizations like ours.  But on balance, I find that people respond well if you can get them to focus not on the inconveniencies of restructuring but on the satisfaction of setting high goals and then knocking down the barriers to achieving them.”

Then there’s an older contrary view, commonly attributed to Titus Petronius Niger, Emperor Nero's “Arbiter Elegantiae”

"We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganization; and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress  while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.''

What do you think?

Issue Brief 76, September 13, 2002
When Oh When Will They Revive Brilliant Pebbles?

    While there are some errors in the following September 10th Oakland Tribune articles written by Ian Hoffman, they contain enough relevant history to make them well worth reading – and relevant to Pentagon decisions to fulfill President Bush’s campaign promise to build effective defenses.  Of the $30 billion – not $40 billion, as Hoffman claims – spent by the Reagan and Bush I Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) on research and development for advanced defenses against ballistic missiles, the billion dollars spent on the Brilliant Pebbles space-based interceptor program was by far the best investment of those 8-years.
Brilliant Pebbles became the first acquisition program fully approved by the Pentagon’s acquisition bureaucracy in 1991.
    Except for political correctness arguments – particularly regarding the ABM Treaty, there is little doubt a system involving about 1000 small interceptor satellites could have been operational long before now, protecting the entire world against ballistic missiles with ranges over a few hundred miles – for well under $10 billion, i.e., less than half the anticipated cost of either the more limited THAAD defense against theater missiles or a single site ground-based defense against long-range missiles.  This space-based system could intercept attacking missiles as early as in their boost phase before they deploy decoys, in their midcourse phase in space if warheads can be distinguished from decoys, and high in the atmosphere during reentry when atmospheric drag shreds light weight decoys away from the lethal warheads.  It would be a very cost-effective, inherently layered, defense – well deserving of current support.  Yet, the Bush II administration is doing nothing to revive this important program – according Missile Defense Agency officials.
    For further background, see High Frontier’s August 13, 2002, Issue Paper – Back to the Future II: Space-Based Defenses, which, along with other Issue Papers, can be found on High Frontier’s webpage – www.highfrontier.org.

Issue Brief 75, September 10, 2002
9/11: Remembrance And Challenging Days To Come

    Unlike any day since December 7, 1941, September 11, 2001 is etched into America’s collective memory banks – heralding the day when al Qaeda’s despicable terrorist attack killed 3000 innocent civilians and destroyed the World Trade Center and a section of the Pentagon.  Todd Beamer’s “Let’s Roll” battle cry also will long be remembered as initiating a heroic counterattack by passengers on United Flight 93 that, as a consequence, crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside rather than into its intended target – the U.S. Capitol, according to Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, who claim to have planned the 9/11 attack.  (Last Sunday’s London Times reported that a tapped interview with these al Qaeda operatives will substantiate the above claims, among others.  It is scheduled be aired Thursday evening on the Arab television station al-Jazeera, in a documentary for the 9/11 anniversary.)
    As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wrote in the September 8th London Independent and this morning’s Asahi Shimbun (Japan), these events fused America’s will to fight a war with terrorists around the world to the bitter end:

“On 11 September, the terrorists who perpetrated their evil deeds against America successfully accomplished exceedingly complex and exquisitely timed acts of terrorism but, despite their precision, they made a huge miscalculation. They concluded that Americans would cower and hide, that the government of the United States would not undertake a worldwide response using all the financial, diplomatic, economic and military resources at its disposal. They believed that their financial networks were secure, that their sanctuaries would protect them, and that the world would have no stomach for such a fight.”
    President George W. Bush rightly declared an all-out war on terrorists and the states that harbor them – referring to at least three of these states – Iraq, Iran and North Korea – as an “axis of evil.” Throughout the past year, the vast majority of Americans have supported the President’s policies and actions to mobilize our troops and send them into battle in faraway places – and to build up our defenses here at home, because vast oceans no longer assure our safety from those who wish to kill us and destroy our way of life.  Cold War Deterrence policies are not credible when terrorists – including women and children – are trained to give their lives just to kill Americans.  We must defend against this real and present danger – which could be much more horrific than 9/11.  Winning this war will take a long time, as President Bush has told us.
    Closely associated with the “War on Terrorism” is the growing debate about when to attack Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein before he gains and uses weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the means of delivery. There is little debate about whether such an attack is warranted – just when it should be accomplished and when diplomacy should give way to warfare.  With fresh 9/11 remembrances, President Bush is to address the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, and is expected to give reasons to attack sooner rather than later – preferably in an alliance context, but alone if necessary.
    Such a presentation to the U.N. is appropriate because Saddam Hussein has frustrated U.N. efforts to end Iraqi WMD programs for over a decade – U.N. inspectors have repeatedly demonstrated their ineffectiveness in finding and confidently dismantling Iraqi attempts to build WMD.  For example:
· Before the 1991 Gulf War, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection teams, U.S. Intelligence, and more notably Israeli Intelligence judged that Iraq was 5-10 years from building a nuclear bomb – when our inspectors went in after the war with an intrusive inspection mandate, we discovered Iraq had supported for many years a covert massive nuclear program and was within 6-months of detonating its first nuclear device.
· With the benefit of unprecedented intrusive inspections, U.N. inspectors were confident Iraq was complying with the demands to destroy its biological weapons – and then, in 1995, Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, defected and revealed to us previously undetected secret labs buried in Iraq's security, not military, apparatus were cooking up deadly germs – Iraq subsequently admitted it made batches of anthrax bacteria, carcinogenic aflatoxin, agricultural toxins and the paralyzing poison botulinum; and Saddam Hussein executed his son-in-law.
    We have been without any inspections whatsoever since 1998 – why pray tell does anyone have confidence in claims that Iraq is nowhere near having the means to attack us?  We know Saddam prepared biological weapons for SCUD warheads, and the 1998 Rumsfeld Commission told us that SCUDs could be fired from container ships off our coasts (undefended then and now) – why are we so confident that Saddam cannot muster such an attack today?
    If we go against Saddam soon, as seems increasingly likely, we must also plan to deal with Iran, Syria, Libya, and others who support terrorism and will network – indeed are networking – against us.  And we must continue to press against al Qaeda, which has been disbursed but is far from eliminated as a transnational threat.  And we must build the defenses to protect our interests at home and abroad – for they surely are at risk.  Challenging times indeed!

Issue Brief 74, September 3, 2002
The DSB Recommends An Important Step Forward

    Bradley Graham, writing in today’s Washington Post, revealed that the Defense Science Board is recommending that the Pentagon increase the priority on building sea-based defenses against ballistic missiles.  If this advice is followed, the Bush administration will expedite improving the Navy’s existing Aegis air defense system – a technical option long advocated by High Frontier.
    The U.S. taxpayer has already invested about  $60 billion in the Navy’s Aegis cruisers, which are operationally deployed around the world.  Clearly, it is prudent to exploit this investment – and furthermore such a sea-based defense is a wise political move because it will provide a clear path for participation by our friends and allies in building and operating a global defense for the benefit of all.
    The ultimate “vision” for a global sea-based defense should include building a capable interceptor that fits in the existing Vertical Launch System (VLS) – which not only is deployed on those cruisers, but also on U.S. destroyers and the ships of several U.S. allies.  Such interceptors, deployed around the world on a mix of these ships would provide a global defense by exploiting information from sensors deployed in many ways by the U.S. and allies – and inter-netted together, similar to the architecture for the Navy’s Cooperative Engagement Concept (CEC) for air defense.
    Depending on the location of these ships – as they accomplish their normal missions – and the threatening ballistic missile launch sites, such interceptors can provide an inherently layered defense to intercept threatening ballistic missiles:
· As early as in their boost-phase – while their rockets still burn and before they release multiple weapons and decoys;
· In their midcourse phase above the Earth’s atmosphere where discrimination between actual warheads and decoys can be a daunting technical problem; and
· In their terminal; phase, high in the Earth’s atmosphere as they reenter and light-weight decoys are stripped away by atmospheric drag.
    While realizing this ultimate vision should be actively pursued, an early deployment focus should be placed on exploiting existing capabilities:
· About 60 Standard Missile II, Block IV air defense interceptors could be given a rudimentary boost-phase intercept capability within a year for $100-200 million.  (Such a capability could provide an early defense against SCUDs launched from container ships off our coasts – a threat that possibly exists today, according to the 1998 bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission on the ballistic missile threat.)
· The Standard Missile III-Advanced Leap Interceptor recently tested, which could obtain a limited operational midcourse defense capability within 2-3 years for an investment of about $2 billion more than already programmed for Navy Theater Wide development.
    To realize the longer term vision soon, it is important to initiate development now of: 1) a new VLS-compatible interceptor missile to achieve a higher velocity, and 2) a light-weight kill vehicle that, when combined with the new VLS-compatible interceptor missile, will provide 6-7 km/sec capability to obtain the needed defense coverage.  With the necessary funding, a technology limited program – managed by the Navy like the Polaris program of the 1950s-60s – should be able to produce an initial operational capability of such a VLS-compatible interceptor within 5-6 years, possibly achieving the above vision for a global sea-based defense within a second Bush administration.
    Maintaining a VLS-compatible interceptor is important to assure flexibility of the U.S. fleet as it takes on a global defense mission, and also to provide alternatives for our allies and friends to participate in that global defense.  For example, the U.S. and Japan might jointly exploit both U.S. and Japanese Aegis cruisers deployed in the Sea of Japan to protect both our nations against missiles launched from North Korea.  And we could work with our European allies and other friends along the same lines.  In addition to sea-based interceptors, land-based interceptors should be inter-netted with radar and other sensors – based in many ways, including on allied territory – to provide a worldwide, or global, network to inform an appropriate command authority and enable the use of the global interceptor network.
    And all this could be accomplished cooperatively with Russia – which retains active defense programs involving a national network of interceptors and radar.  Learning their lessons from their long experience could be helpful to us and their defenses could fit into a global defense architecture.
    High Frontier applauds the step forward by the Defense Science Board – and looks forward to seeing the Bush administration’s reinvigorated sea-based defense program – a program that has been dormant for a decade because of the central role given to the ABM Treaty which blocked even the testing of sea-based ABM systems.  It is a new day!!!

Issue Brief 73, August 13, 2002
Back To The Future II: Space-Based Defenses

    Anyone interested in a ballistic missile defense system that can protect Americans at home and our overseas troops, friends and allies more effectively than missile defense systems currently being developed and for a fraction of their cost?  What if such a global defense could be operational within five years?
    We knew how to do this a decade ago – even formulated sound acquisition programs to make it happen.  They fell on political hard times, especially because the ABM Treaty banned development, testing and deployment of such a system.  But President Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty last June 13th, and a sound program could be quickly revived to build the most cost-effective defense system conceived by the Reagan-Bush I Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).
    But we must overcome apparent collective amnesia – no one seems to remember the state of affairs before Defense Secretary Les Aspin in 1993 boasted the Clinton administration was “taking the stars out of Star Wars” – and, among other things, cancelled all aspects of the Brilliant Pebbles space-based interceptor program.  Not only did he cancel this important program, he purged Brilliant Pebbles concepts and technology from continuing ballistic missile defense programs – denying significant advantages over technology in which the Clinton Pentagon then invested over $30 billion.
    After eight Clinton years and 18-months of Bush II with the Clinton missile defense team still in charge, no trace of the important features of either SDI’s most cost-effective defense concept or its most advanced technology is discernable among currently ongoing missile defense programs.  Perhaps the records were destroyed during the Clinton years – although Dr. Don Baucomb, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) historian who came to SDI during the early 1990s, published an authoritative review of The Rise and Fall of Brilliant Pebbles last October.  Consider a few facts from the past:

    It seems like a no-brainer that this important program, which was the best produced by $30 billion invested in SDI during the Reagan-Bush I years, should be revived – especially now that the ABM Treaty no longer blocks its development and testing.  Yet the Pentagon continues to stall all efforts to revive serious Pebbles development activity.  This condition is doubly troublesome because that technology can also greatly improve other missile defense concepts – as recommended by the critical reviews of 1989-90, initiated during Bush I, and cancelled by the Clinton Pentagon.
    For example, the lightweight Pebbles components could greatly enhance the capability of sea-based interceptor options.  The Pentagon’s currently favored unimaginative approach would use much heavier kill vehicle technology being developed for ground-based interceptors – that leads to a requirement for a new large missile that cannot fit in the Navy’s existing Vertical Launch System and requires an expensive new launch system which will uniquely configure the ships to support missile defense missions, significantly increasing the cost and reducing the flexibility of such ships in supporting fleet operations.  It is much less expensive and will provide the Navy with much greater flexibility to use the Pebbles technology to build a lightweight kill vehicle that fits on a missile in the existing VLS deployed around the world to launch the Navy’s air defense Standard Missile interceptor and Tomahawk cruise missile.
    How to revive this important program?  The Pentagon needs to return to those who developed the original concept and demonstrated the key technology – at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  That is the only place where the key concepts have been kept alive for the past decade, and they can repeat their performance of over a decade ago in getting the technology ready for rapid transfer to industry – which must again adjust to the Pebbles architectural way of thinking.
    As Jim Abrahamson noted in his February 1989 end of tour report, this still innovative technology can be tested in two years and deployed in five – provided, of course, a viable program is fully funded and staffed with competent technical people.  Let’s have new blood – untainted by the Clinton years – work with the Livermore scientists and engineers to understand how it was done before, and then go back to the future.

Issue Brief 72, August 8, 2002
Back To The Future - Navy Boost Phase Defenses
    One fine day, one of the world's most powerful warships moves steadily across a low sea at about 20 knots. Her crew is trained to a razor's edge, a normal state given the tensions around the world and the chance that at any time they must protect their homeland or fellow forces. The fire-control officer, one of the Navy's best, swears and barks out orders to the crew as he adjusts the settings on his interceptor-missile firing console. The old salt expects something.
    Meanwhile, about 20 miles away, a red-and-white-striped rocket sits poised on its launcher ready to leap into the sky and fly beyond the reaches of the atmosphere. Suddenly, the rocket roars to life as it ignites and climbs quickly into the sky, faster than any airplane. Radar detects and tracks the missile, following it on its way. Frantic calls are made to warn those in its path.
    Within seconds, the warship's crew leaps into action as the missile appears on its display. The captain orders the fire-control officer to shoot it down — he mutters to himself as he tries to aim the Navy's best interceptor (designed to shoot down aircraft) at the burning rocket. He decides on a firing solution and fires two interceptor missiles at the threatening rocket still burning and climbing higher into the atmosphere. The interceptors streak toward the burning rocket, catching up quickly, but running out of time as the rocket accelerates toward altitudes beyond their reach. The fire-control officer struggles to keep his interceptors aimed at the rocket-outthinking the computer and entering guidance commands by hand to ensure the missiles remain on his best guess of an intercept trajectory.
    Forty seconds after the rocket left the launcher, it dies in a fireball seen for 100 miles when the interceptors, almost out of fuel, overtake and destroy it. Debris falls harmlessly back into the sea. The warship's crew celebrates. The captain signals a thumbs-up to the fire-control officer for a job well done.
    A scene from the near future as America faces the reality of terrorists armed with ballistic missiles and warheads of mass destruction? Possibly.
    The threat is real enough. The 1998 bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission unanimously concluded that "rogue states" — and I would add terrorist groups — can today threaten American cities with short-range ballistic missiles (e.g., SCUDS like those used to attack Israeli cities in the 1990 Gulf War) fired from ships off our coasts. Today, America's coastal cities are at risk of precisely the kind of attack in the above scenario.
    And the Navy, if supported, can defend against such an attack — more rapidly than most realize. Rear Admiral Rod Rempt, former head of the Navy's missile-defense programs and now president of the Naval War College, said over a year ago that the Navy could, for $100-200 million and within a year, improve its existing AEGIS air-defense system to shoot down such missiles in their boost phase.
    But so far — while spending billions on other longer-term, and possibly eventually better, defense systems — the Pentagon powers-that-be have chosen to ignore this much-less-expensive, already proven, near-term option. So today our coastal cities still have no defense against that possible attack — and according to published plans, they will remain absolutely defenseless against this existing threat for the indefinite future.
    Admiral Rempt is right that achieving this rudimentary capability is not a technical challenge. The above scenario actually played out nearly 40 years ago, when the DDG-6 RAMAGE conducted a new type of firing operation — a mission to kill a ballistic missile while it was still burning using a standard air-defense interceptor. The Navy executed this new mission in the days when missile propulsion and guidance technology was in its infancy, in the days of slide rules and nomographs — before high-speed computers and integrated combat systems.
    But the Navy did have many things in its favor — a mission and needed funding to do something never done before in support of our nation's security, an experienced crew, and a host of competent engineers focused on this one task. And there was no ABM Treaty that outlawed defending the American people against ballistic missiles.
    Today, as we consider our absolute vulnerability to missile attack, we are again free of the ABM Treaty — thanks to President Bush's decision to withdraw from its terms this past June 13. There is again no legal constraint on testing and deploying sea-based defenses to protect Americans in their homes. The Navy needs only to be funded and empowered to end this absolute vulnerability within a year.
    Why, as billions of dollars are being spent to invent new defense systems, do so few people consider how to use the existing Fleet surface-to-air missile, the standard missile, to destroy ballistic missiles in boost phase — as was proven possible almost 40 years ago?
    Some may say it can't be done; the system wasn't designed to do that — but neither was the early version of the Terrier missile fired by the RAMAGE crew back in the mid-1960's. The recent successful flights of a prototype, exo-atmospheric anti-ballistic-missile system fired from the USS Lake Erie hit a simulated SCUD-class ballistic missile above the Earth's atmosphere, giving recent proof the Navy still has the right stuff to serve the country well in this new age.
    Needed is a clear decision for the Navy to move out — the studies have been done and feasibility was demonstrated years ago. Let's go back to the future with lessons from the RAMAGE crew.

Also published by National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com) – by Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, Chairman of High Frontier.

Issue Brief 71, August 1, 2002
Buyer Beware - Don't Believe Everything "Scientists" Say!

    The uninformed often assume scientists are above reproach, because they are supposed to reach carefully reasoned conclusions after deliberate, exhaustive study.  But some scientists depart from such rigor when they wander into the policy realm and make political correctness arguments – especially when they discuss space-based defenses, as illustrated by a recent Wall Street Journal article (See below.)  In an article more fitting for the Opinion and Editorial Section, the respected Science Journal section quotes several eminent scientists and “reports” that “Scientists (Again) Warn ‘Star Wars’ Threatens the Safety of Space Orbits.”  The uninformed is left with the impression that “scientists” persuaded the Reagan and first Bush administrations to refocus the SDI program away from space defenses because they were “at best technically impractical and at worst a violation of physics.”
    Nonsense!  Politics, not science, killed Brilliant Pebbles, derisively described in the subject article as involving “more enthusiasm than realism.”   Brilliant Pebbles was SDI’s first truly cost-effective, relatively inexpensive, near-term space-based interceptor system.  And as President Clinton’s Defense Secretary – Les Aspin – graphically bragged, the Clinton administration “took the stars our of “Star Wars.”  The Clinton program focused on ground-based interceptor systems (with at most minor variance from the ABM Treaty) that are far less effective and far more expensive than Brilliant Pebbles.  The widely held opposite view is a myth, as wrong as medieval claims that the Earth is flat.
    This truth was clearly demonstrated by exhaustive analyses by the Pentagon’s independent cost analysis group during the first Bush administration and reflected by fully scrubbed and approved Brilliant Pebbles and Ground-based Interceptor System Major Defense Acquisition Programs.  Now that the ABM Treaty is no more, a serious fully funded program can develop, test and deploy a global space-based defense for a fraction of the cost of the first Ground-Based Interceptor site in Alaska, and on the same timeframe.  The needed technology was mature a decade ago – demonstrated in 1994 by the Clementine mission to the Moon that space qualified the Brilliant Pebbles sensor suite and a Astrid test that proved the Pebbles’ miniature propulsion technology.  Politics, not science, now impedes reviving such programs.
    The Science Journal article also adopted a “Chicken Little sky is falling” approach to exaggerating the debris that would be produced by using Brilliant Pebbles to destroying ballistic missiles and their weapons in space.  Those claims are also grossly in error, as argued by Dr. Lowell Wood (Brilliant Pebbles’ Director during the Reagan and first Bush administrations) and High Frontier’s Ambassador Cooper, who directed the SDI program during Bush I. (See below.)

Science Journal
Scientists (Again) Warn 'Star Wars' Threatens The Safety Of Space Orbit
By Sharon Begley/ Wall Street Journal/July 12, 2002

    From the moment President Reagan announced on March 23, 1983, that the U.S. should launch a Strategic Defense Initiative to shield the country from enemy missiles, some of the fiercest opponents of "Star Wars" have not been starry-eyed pacifists. They've been scientists.
    The Pentagon listened. Both the Reagan and (first) Bush administrations dialed back or shifted the focus of SDI when physicists pointed out that some schemes, like space-based lasers and neutral particle beams, were at best technically impractical and at worst in violation of the laws of physics.
    Now physicists are hoping the space warriors listen again. A new risk -- this one to the nation's $125 billion-a-year space industry and to intelligence satellites -- has emerged with the revival of a once-discredited idea: space-based missile intercepts and antisatellite weapons (ASATs).
    "Even one war in space would create a battlefield lasting forever," says physicist Joel Primack of the University of California, Santa Cruz, "encasing the planet in a shell of whizzing debris that would make space near Earth highly hazardous for peaceful as well as military purposes."
    Space-based systems to intercept missiles and destroy hostile recon and tracking satellites are back on the agenda for two reasons. The scrapping of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty last month lifted the ban on unlimited testing of such systems. And the Pentagon, which has focused on midcourse missile intercepts, recently asked for proposals for boost-phase intercepts, which destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles on launch.
    The Bush administration's budget requests show a clear interest in at least two low-Earth-orbit systems: lasers and kinetic kill vehicles.
    Those of you with long memories will remember the latter as "Brilliant Pebbles," a Reagan-era program whose goal (never realized) was to launch 1,000 minisatellites to spot enemy ICBMs and take them out. "There was more enthusiasm than realism around Brilliant Pebbles," says physicist Jeremiah Sullivan of the University of Illinois. "But with the end of the ABM treaty, almost every idea ever put out there is making a comeback."
    That's what concerns both physicists and arms-control advocates. Low-Earth orbit, from roughly 180 to 1,200 miles up, is the space equivalent of the Long Island Expressway on a Friday evening in August: "Crowded" doesn't begin to describe it. This belt is home to important astronomical satellites, including the Hubble Space Telescope at 375 miles. The International Space Station orbits about 250 miles up. Earth-observing satellites that study climate are here, too, as are military and mobile-phone sats.
    All are highly vulnerable to space debris. The U.S. Space Command tracks some 9,000 objects larger than 4 inches in diameter; more than 100,000 pieces larger than a marble whiz around in near-Earth orbit. As a result, small satellites 480 miles up have about a 1% chance per year of a fatal collision. Launching and testing Brilliant Pebbles redux would add to the risk significantly. But the real disaster would arise if an enemy blew up a Pebble or two. That, says Dr. Primack, could trigger "a chain reaction of destruction that would leave a lethal halo around Earth."
    Physicist Sally Ride of the University of California, San Diego, America's first woman astronaut, recalls a run-in with space debris. An orbiting fleck of paint from God-knows-where hit the shuttle's window, creating a small gouge. A fleck of paint is nothing compared with the hunks of metal, orbiting at 17,000 mph, that ASAT testing would create, she warned in a lecture at Stanford University this spring.
    Tests of space weapons could create enough debris to threaten the lives of astronauts aboard the space station, says Clay Moltz of the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
    Worse, any country that felt threatened by America's space armada "would only have to launch the equivalent of gravel" to destroy it, says Dr. Primack. That would make near-Earth orbit unusable, and not just briefly. Debris 500 miles up stays there for decades before atmospheric drag pulls it down; anything above 900 miles essentially is up forever.
    The Pentagon is sharply split on space-based weapons. Many political appointees are gung-ho, but the operations side is leery, sources say. (The Missile Defense Agency declined to comment.)
Dr. Moltz is holding a seminar on space debris for key congressmen and staffers on July 24. Keep Brilliant Pebbles from rising again, before near-Earth orbit is put off-limits.

Hit-To-Kill Intercepts In Near-Earth Space/ Wall Street Journal/July 23, 2002

    The essence of the assertions related in your usually excellent Science Journal column on July 12 was that the space-based defenses against ballistic missile attacks known as Brilliant Pebbles would load near-Earth space with quantities of debris so large as to be fatal to all manner of orbital operations -- so seriously so that Pebbles themselves would be vulnerable to their own debris. Of course, all such issues were exhaustively considered by nearly a dozen separate teams of independent reviewers -- totaling about 500 physics and engineering professionals in all -- in 1989-90, before the Bush I administration formally adopted Pebbles as the first Major Defense Acquisition Program of the Strategic Defense Initiative. These review teams all determined that there were no substantive issues of this type, including possible enemy use of "engineered space debris" against Pebbles-in-orbit.
    While all such Defense Department-sponsored analytic efforts tend to be dismissed by the anti-defense left as the work of knaves or fools, the well-known facts are that Defense has been doing hit-to-kill intercepts in near-Earth space since the F-15 antisatellite, Homing Overlay and Delta 180 experiments of the mid-'80s, and is currently doing so every few months. Of course, there have been no adverse consequences reported from any of these major hypervelocity collision events, which generate literally millions of sand-grain-sized pieces of space debris, by anyone at all. The undeniable fact is that the sky hasn't fallen in after any or all of these relatively huge debris-engendering tests.
    Moreover, Pebbles were comprised of individual masses about a factor-of-ten smaller than those of the hit-to-kill interceptors currently being tested, and space debris generation is proportional to the masses of the space vehicles involved in any given collision, so that each of these recent "super-sized" tests underscore just how badly in error is the "even one or two Pebbles ruin near-Earth space forever" forecast given credence in Science Journal. Finally, modern Pebbles are spec'ed to fly in orbits of about 200 miles altitude, and generally to strike downward at ballistic missiles-in-flight, so as to intercept even the fastest-burning attacking missiles before they complete boost-phase, in what is aptly labeled "Peregrine mode."
    Typical Pebble intercept altitudes, at which the collision debris is generated, are 50-150 miles, where the residual atmosphere drags down collision debris on time-scales of seconds to minutes -- and far lower than those at which recent midcourse defense-testing collisions have been made to occur. The residual air densities at the much higher altitudes mistakenly guessed by the critics as pertinent to Pebbles of any vintage are exponentially smaller, and the inversely proportional orbital lifetimes of debris created at these altitudes thus are several orders-of-magnitude larger than those relevant to Pebbles.
Lowell Wood, Palo Alto and Livermore, Calif.
Henry F. Cooper, Great Falls, Va.
(Mr. Cooper holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and was director of the Strategic Defense Initiative during the first Bush administration. Mr. Wood holds a Ph.D. in physics and directed the Brilliant Pebbles program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories during the Reagan and first Bush administrations.)

Issue Brief 70, June 19, 2002
Early Sea-based Defenses – Better Late than Never!!!

    Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carried an important article by Greg Jaffe, “Pentagon Could Begin Deployment of Some Missile Defenses By 2004.”  This article quotes Missile Defense Agency Director LGen. Ron Kadish as saying that he expects to recommend an accelerated schedule to begin operating sea-based defenses by 2004 – faster than “many experts” had expected.  At long last, acknowledgment of the obvious – as far as it goes.
    LGen. Kadish’s experts certainly never included the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and Navy experts who, a decade ago, initiated Navy programs to accomplish that objective long before now.  Nor did they include Navy experts that continued to recommend such programs throughout the Clinton era and into the Bush II era (when they have been blocked at every turn).  Indeed, sea-based deployments are possible even earlier than LGen. Kadish now admits is possible.
    Last summer, the press reported Navy studies that recommended relatively inexpensive options that can be exercised in a staged way to begin defending the United States homeland within a year after approval – approval that never came:
    · Within 12 months for a few hundred million dollars, the Aegis system’s existing air defense missile can be given a boost-phase intercept capability useful in some scenarios to shoot down North Korean missiles as they rise from their launch pads.  This capability could – in concert with existing coastal radar systems and Coast Guard operations – help protect metropolitan areas from short range SCUDs that might be launched from tramp steamers off all our coasts – e.g., near Boston, New York, Norfolk, etc.  In the context of September 11, this is an appropriate homeland security concern.
    · A second stage of sea-based defense could begin protecting American cities within 2-3 years for about $2 billion more than already programmed for the Navy Theater Wide program.  Aegis cruisers operating normally around the world could be given the capability to destroy attacking missiles in their boost- and mid-course phases and so protect a large portion of the United States – as well as our overseas troops, friends and allies.  This upgrade may be consistent with LGen. Kadish’s suggested program which he says could reach deployment in 2004 – the difference in cost estimates could be associated with how many ships are used and whether operational costs for 20-years are included.
    · These near-term sea-based defenses could later be substantially improved, still for costs on the order of $10 billion.
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article says the Pentagon has given up on building a near-term boost-phase intercept capability.  Wrong answer – and reflective of a very pessimistic view. Not only do recent Navy studies show a rudimentary boost-phase capability is possible within a year – Navy test programs first demonstrated a boost phase intercept capability in the 1960s when the USS Barney shot down boosting Corporal and Redstone rockets with Terrier interceptors – and in 1971, the Navy’s Applied Physics Laboratory concluded that such past testing indicated a high kill probability – and that the endurance and readiness of such ship-based defenses can be achieved.  What did they know that we don’t?
    Now that the ABM Treaty no longer blocks the logical extension of that early testing, the Navy should be given the funds to expedite the development and testing of systems that can give us this early operational capability.  Needed is a positive attitude – and dedicated competent engineering and management.
    Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article also indicates that someone needs to take a fresh look at the key technology needed to support a sea-based architecture.   Apparently, LGen. Kadish believes that ground-based and sea-based defenses should use the same interceptor. Wrong, wrong, wrong!!!
    Using the Army’s ground-based interceptor kill vehicle would inevitably doom the sea-based system to building an expensive large new interceptor missile (and therefore a new larger Vertical Launch System) to carry a heavier kill vehicle than current – actually old but ignored – technology makes possible.  Such a large missile would lead to ships being dedicated to a missile defense role – adding expense and reducing the utility of those ships.
    A better alternative is to use SDI’s Brilliant Pebbles technology, which was politically incorrect throughout the Clinton era because of its SDI heritage, to enable a sea-based interceptor missile that would fit into the existing Vertical Launch System and be deployed wherever the current Aegis cruisers go.  Such a system would be much less expensive, and improvements could result more rapidly by using Under Secretary Aldrich’s vaunted “spiral development” process.
    States Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, High Frontier’s Chairman, “Clearly needed is a fresh look at Navy missile defense options, free of the Army-centric, ground-based focus of the past nine years.  That focus was deliberate because only minor changes from the ABM Treaty were tolerated.  We need to move beyond that most unhelpful bias.”
    Especially needed is a dedicated program like the Navy Polaris program that delivered within four years our first operational strategic submarine and its submarine launched ballistic missiles – ahead of schedule and below budget.  With a top national priority, like that endorsed by then President Dwight Eisenhower, a streamlined Navy management team can again deliver for the nation.

Issue Brief 69, June 14, 2002
Another Hit For Navy Theater Wide!!!

    Last night, the Navy again successfully tested its Navy Theater Wide (NTW) interceptor by shooting down an Aries rocket – a hundred miles above the sea – fired from the island of Kauai.  An Aegis Cruiser, the USS Lake Erie, acquired and tracked the target rocket from its location off the coast of Hawaii, computed an intercept solution, and launched its test interceptor – and repeated its January 25 feat of destroying the target by directly hitting it above the Earth’s atmosphere.
    This successful test is another major step forward for the Navy’s efforts to improve its existing Aegis-based air defense system to protect our overseas troops, friends, and allies against missile attack.  And the really good news is that, since yesterday the U. S. also withdrew from the ABM Treaty, this sea-based system now can be tested and built also to defend the American homeland – for a relatively small investment in the relatively near future.
    Says Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, High Frontier’s Chairman, “We have known for years that, for a small percentage of the $60 billion the U.S. taxpayer has invested in Aegis system, we can rapidly begin operating a sea-based defense and improving it with block changes as new technology is tested and proven.  Working with the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of Navy level, I began such a program while serving as Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative under the first President Bush – with then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney’s blessing, the Pentagon fully budgeted to build and begin operations of such a capability years ago.”
    The Clinton Administration scuttled that program – no doubt because of their higher priority for the ABM Treaty than building effective defenses.  And they “dumbed down” the anemically funded sea-based defense programs they did reluctantly continue – under persistent pressure from Congress.  The Clinton Administration resisted spending the money Congress added year after year; instead they conducted study after study of the merits of sea-based defenses.  Every study – over a dozen by inside and outside experts – was positive.  But the Clinton Administration delayed and dissembled – and refused to provide even Congressionally mandated study results to the Congress.
    And the fight is not over.  Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) used the Democrat majority on the Senate Armed Services Committee to draft recent legislation to continue to curtail this important program even in its ABM Treaty compliant “Theater Missile Defense” form as proposed by the Bush Administration.  His proposed legislation would also constrain other important missile defense programs that now, in the absence of the ABM Treaty, also can be pursued in earnest.
    Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has written to Congressional leaders to say he would recommend that President Bush veto such a Bill.  Hopefully, the full Senate will stand with the President and reject the SASC Bill – or, failing that, the House will avoid such offensive restraints and prevail in the House-Senate Conference in the Fall.   If not, the President can again impose his will against those devotees to the ABM Treaty with his veto pen.
    This is an important matter – because such a defense is needed as quickly as possible.  There have been press reports, for example, that Al Qaeda already may have up to 100 SCUD missiles that Osama bin Laden could attempt to launch from ships off our coasts at cities where most Americans live.  Even when the Alaska site – which begins construction this Saturday now that the Treaty is dead – is completed, it cannot defend against this threat.  We need the kind of defenses that NTW and other systems can provide to counter that near-term threat.  Happily, such near term defense options are available.
    According to press accounts last summer, past Navy studies concluded that relatively inexpensive options can be exercised in a staged way to begin defending the United States homeland and within a year:
    · Within 12 months for a few hundred million dollars, the Aegis system’s existing air defense missile can be given a boost-phase intercept capability useful in some scenarios to shoot down North Korean missiles as they rise from their launch pads.  This capability could – in concert with existing coastal radar systems and Coast Guard operations – help protect metropolitan areas from short range SCUDs that might be launched from tramp steamers off all our coasts – e.g., near Boston, Annapolis, Norfolk, etc.  In the context of September 11, this is an appropriate homeland security concern.
    · A second stage of sea-based defense could begin protecting American cities within 2-3 years for about $2 billion more than already programmed for the Navy Theater Wide program, which conducted last Friday’s test.  Aegis cruisers operating normally around the world could be given the capability to destroy attacking missiles in their boost- and mid-course phases and so protect a large portion of the United States – as well as our overseas troops, friends and allies.
    · These near-term sea-based defenses could later be substantially improved, still for costs on the order of $10 billion.
Senator Levin and his colleagues should cease their interference with the needed efforts to build the best defenses possible as quickly as possible; and Pentagon authorities should conclude their studies of sea-based defenses and begin – now – building real capability for America, as well as our overseas troops, friends and allies!!!

Issue Brief 68, June 12, 2002
Countdown to a New Beginning – Sans the ABM Treaty

    On December 13, President Bush announced the United States was withdrawing from the ABM Treaty – under the Treaty’s own terms, it will cease to be tomorrow on the six month anniversary of that announcement.  Hallelujah!
    Finally, after 30 years of abiding by this treaty that sought to make a virtue of America’s vulnerability, America’s scientists and engineers can employ our best technology to build truly effective ballistic missile defenses.  This is a welcome new beginning, indeed!
    We should celebrate, for sure.  But, understand that the fight to end America’s vulnerability to even a single ballistic missile and to build a truly effective defense is far from over.
    In the first place, none should believe it will be easy to establish an innovative Pentagon program to fully exploit technologies that were banned even from being tested for the past 30-years.   And the Pentagon bureaucracy has forgotten where it was just a decade ago, after nine years of Ronald Reagan’s SDI program and a $30 billion investment in innovative technology – even though such technologies could not be fully tested.
    The Clinton Pentagon scuttled the most advanced technology work – including critical work to defeat countermeasures of continuing theater defense programs.  The budget for such R&D was reduced from well over $1 billion a year to a few tens of millions a year.  And, so far, the Bush II Administration has done little to revive this important work – even though it is pressing ahead with an $8 billion-a-year program that has as its centerpiece an extension of a Clinton Administration program that was designed to require only marginal changes from the ABM Treaty.
    There are signs that the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is beginning to look again at the critical technologies – although their minimal effort  appears to be “reinventing the wheel” – and not as good a wheel at that.
    For example, this week’s Aviation Week described “new” initiatives that “may” show the need for other than infrared sensors for interceptors – perhaps, ultraviolet or laser radar sensors – and said that heavier Navy interceptors would be required to acquire more maneuverability.  But a decade ago during Bush I, SDI’s Brilliant Pebbles program developed to the testing stage a lightweight comprehensive sensor suite and propulsion system that would enable a lightweight, highly maneuverable Navy interceptor – not to mention a truly effective space-based interceptor.  These sensors and the propulsion system were space-qualified in 1994 – then abandoned by the Clinton team because of their SDI heritage.
    Are they also politically incorrect in the Bush II Administration?  Hopefully not – but substantial bureaucratic impedance in the Pentagon must be overcome if they are to see the light of day.
    Significant external political forces will also continue to impede progress in reviving key technologies.  For example, Senator Carl Levin, the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has compelled, through a party-line vote, a $800 million cut to the President’s missile defense budget for next year – preferentially cutting space defenses, the Navy programs, and other activities that would exploit the most advanced technology.  Senator Levin is also seeking restrictive language preventing the Pentagon authorities from employing the best technology.  Last week, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld wrote to legislators that he would recommend a Presidential veto if those funding and legislative constraints remained in the Defense Authorization Bill sent for the President’s signature.
    Yesterday, in a last gasp attempt to halt the withdrawal, 31 Democrat Congressmen, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) filed a law suit charging the President with exceeding his Constitutional authority by withdrawing from the ABM Treaty and he seeks to require the President to seek Congressional approval.  This attempt follows Rep. Kucinich’s effort last week to obtain such a constraint by legislation – it failed by a vote of 254 to 169. The Supreme Court upheld President Carter’s 1979 unilateral decision to end the U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan – so Mr. Kucinich’s current effort seems likely to fail, also.  But, rest assured, his fight to constrain our defense programs will continue.
    And don’t imagine that we have seen the last of political pressure from the Russians – and our allies who have expressed concern about our leaving the ABM Treaty.  Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov told the new NATO arrangement that now includes Russia of Russia’s intention to work on a European missile defense system, while he continued to express reluctance in accepting the end of constraints on America’s efforts to build effective defenses for the United States against long-range missiles.
    So, let us celebrate the end of the era when U.S. policy adopted Mutual Assured Destruction theology – and now dedicate ourselves to fight for the best defenses we can build with America’s best technology as soon as possible.

Issue Brief 67, May 29, 2002
Welcome Home, and Mucho “Attaboys,” Mr. President

    President George W. Bush is returning home from a magnificent trip abroad – things couldn’t have gone better for the President – and more importantly for all Americans.
    We at High Frontier applaud President Bush’s interactions across the board, but particularly in Russia.  We were apprehensive about the “Moscow Treaty” and the opening that it provided to link those two-thirds reductions in offensive nuclear weapons to continuing constraints on America’s ability to build effective defenses against ballistic missiles.
    After all, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, on the eve of the President’s trip, told Russia’s State Duma and Federation Council International Affairs Committees that “The text of the new treaty contains a direct reference . . .  on a linkage between the offensive and defensive arms” – and that this linkage would “enable us to continue talks on the entire range of issues of Antimissile defense after the USA’s withdrawal from the ABM Treaty of 1972.”  He also claimed that a declaration on new strategic relations to be signed would reflect Russia’s view that the U.S. National Missile Defense system must “be limited in its nature and must not pose a threat to Russia’s strategic interests and global stability.”
    But no such comments are to be found in either the Moscow Treaty of the Declaration on Strategic Relations signed by Presidents Bush and Putin.  In fact, the Treaty is completely silent on the ABM Treaty and defenses against ballistic missiles.  And here’s what the Declaration on Strategic Relations says about missile defenses:
    “The United States and Russia acknowledge that today's security environment is fundamentally different than during the Cold War.
    “In this connection, the United States and Russia have agreed to implement a number of steps aimed at strengthening confidence and increasing transparency in the area of missile defense, including the exchange of information on missile defense programs and tests in this area, reciprocal visits to observe missile defense tests, and observation aimed at familiarization with missile defense systems. They also intend to take the steps necessary to bring a joint center for the exchange of data from early warning systems into operation.
    “The United States and Russia have also agreed to study possible areas for missile defense cooperation, including the expansion of joint exercises related to missile defense, and the exploration of potential programs for the joint research and development of missile defense technologies, bearing in mind the importance of the mutual protection of classified information and the safeguarding of intellectual property rights.
    “The United States and Russia will, within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council, explore opportunities for intensified practical cooperation on missile defense for Europe.
    “The United States and Russia declare their intention to carry out strategic offensive reductions to the lowest possible levels consistent with their national security requirements and alliance obligations, and reflecting the new nature of their strategic relations.”
    According to High Frontier’s Chairman, Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, these words are reminesent of U.S. proposals to the Soviet Union he tabled in the Geneva Defense And Space Talks during the 1980s, intended to foster U.S. and Soviet cooperation on building effective defense and moving away from confrontation and the Cold War theology of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).  That was Ronald Reagan’s vision – and now, thanks to President Bush’s resolve and adavocacy of effective missile defenses, we stand on the threshold of seeing the Gipper’s vision realized.
    Interestingly enough, after the Moscow and St. Petersburg meetings between Presidents Bush and Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov had nothing to say about his prognogstitations and warnings on missile defense linkage prior to the summit.  Rather, he meekly said only that Russia and the U.S would continue their dialog on missile defense – and that they would “begin expanding their relations in new conditions.”
    New conditions, indeed!!!  In just over two weeks, the United States will withdraw from the ABM Treaty – and America’s engineers will at last be free, after 30-years of bondage to that Treaty, to build effective defenses to protect Americans at home and our overseas troops, friends and allies.  Only our own reticence will limit the possibilities.
    Still, there will be a political struggle to build the defenses we need.  For example, as the President was leaving the country to meet Mr. Putin and our often reluctant European allies, the Democrat controlled Senate Armed Services Committee cut over $800 million from the President’s missile defense budget.  The House leadership seems disposed to fight to restore those cuts – as they should.    And we haven’t heard the last of Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov and others of like sentiment – in Russia, among our erstwhile allies and from the arms control elite here at home.  So, the fight goes on.
    But this was a week to remember – for the President and all Americans.  Thank you, Mr. President.  Welcome home!!!

Issue Brief 66, May 16, 2002
New Arms Reductions Treaty – Avoiding A Slippery Slope ?

    President George W. Bush announced Monday that, when he and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow next week, they will sign a treaty to reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, a treaty he said will lead to a new era of “enhanced mutual security, economic security, and improved relations.”
    The President began his Administration expressing no interest in continuing the Cold War pattern of signing treaties with the Soviet Union and Russia, and now he claims this particular treaty “will liquidate the legacy of the Cold War.”
Maybe – hopefully – this is the end-of-the-line in which arms control has, at best, served as a diplomatic crutch to help the U.S. and Soviets/Russians move from confrontation to cooperation as the basis of their strategic relationship.
    The treaty legitimates the plans of both sides; a possible downside is that related political pressures – especially those imposed by our Congress – will lead to unilateral constraints on U.S. programs even though they are in no way required by this or any other treaty.
    But President Bush has played his hand masterfully, and there is hope we can avoid sliding down this “slippery slope.”
    Reducing to 1700 to 2200 nuclear warheads over the next 10 years from current levels of about 6000 nuclear weapons is consistent with President Bush’s oft-stated goal for unilateral U.S. reductions without a treaty – and it is consistent with the levels compelled by Russia’s economic situation and sought by President Putin.
    The good news is that the treaty text does not constrain either side’s options on how to achieve these reductions and weapons can be stored to assure they can be restored to respond to currently unexpected future threats.  The three-and-a-half-page treaty expires in 10 years unless the sides decide to renew it – and either side can withdraw in 3months, rather than 6 months as required by other treaties such as the ABM Treaty.
    Ah yes… the ABM Treaty. It came into existence with the first strategic arms limitation agreement, in 1972, and has been politically linked to continuing negotiations on strategic arms ever since, even though there has been no legal linkage.
    As was the case for previous START Treaties, the new treaty does not mention the ABM Treaty, which has banned for the past 30 years development, testing and deployment of any effective American defense against ballistic missiles.  But when those START Treaties were signed, the Soviets, and later the Russians, made unilateral statements threatening to withdraw from the START Treaty if the U.S. built effective defenses – creating political linkage to the ABM Treaty.
    And some of Russia’s generals have made similar noises recently – it remains to be seen whether Mr. Putin will join that chorus.  Even if he does, that approach should be less effective in constraining U.S. programs this time.
    Such unilateral statements have reinforced a political environment wherein some in the U.S. Congress – and the Senate in particular – have sought and sometimes passed legislation compelling the Pentagon to live within narrow constraints alleged to be the intent of the ambiguous ABM Treaty.  These political constraints precluded America’s engineers from using the best technology to develop, test and deploy the most effective defenses possible.
    President Bush’s approach to negotiating with President Putin gives hope that things will lead to a very different political environment on Capitol Hill – and a very different program to build effective defenses.
    In the past, the U.S. has negotiated reductions before insisting on the need to defend the U.S. homeland against ballistic missiles.  This time, President Bush set the correct priority on December 13, 2001 by first announcing his intention to withdraw from the ABM Treaty in six months – and then negotiating the treaty he will sign next week.
    Moreover, he acceded to President Putin’s demands for a treaty on reducing nuclear weapons – laying waste to the arguments of the arms control elite and those in Congress who claimed that abandoning the ABM Treaty would somehow provoke Russia to build up its nuclear arms.
    A key test of the President’s approach will be whether Russia truly joins the U.S. to build an effective defense against ballistic missiles.  During his father’s administration, there was much progress toward redirecting U.S. development activities to take advantage of Russian technology and jointly to build a global ballistic missile defense system.
    Russian President Boris Yeltsin actively joined in talks to that end in 1992, but the Clinton Administration abandoned those talks in early 1993, choosing instead to claim that the ABM Treaty was the “cornerstone of strategic stability” – code words for the Cold War’s theology of Mutual Assured Destruction, which sought to make a virtue out of a mutual hostage arrangement between Americans and Russians.
    Now we can try again – with the ABM Treaty out of the way on June 13, 2002 – to achieve “enhanced mutual security,” as the President said last Monday.
    A sign of progress toward this happy outcome will be if President Putin makes no claims about the ABM Treaty as he signs the new reductions treaty next week.  Then we’ll see what Congress does.  Stay tuned!!!

Issue Brief 65, February 19, 2002
From The Grass Roots:  Robust Layered Defenses Now!!!

    On February 14, The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted by a margin of 186 to 135 to approve the following resolution, sending a strong message to those in the U.S. Congress in favor of ending America’s vulnerability to a single ballistic missile, with a robust layered land-, sea-, and space-based defense:

Be It Resolved By The Legislature of the State of New Hampshire:

    Representative Steve Avery, Chairman of the New Hampshire House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Federal-State Relations, led the floor debate.  He observed to the press, “We are pleased to have the measure passed.  And we want to express our strong support for the President to complete his homeland defense efforts – and missile defense is an important part of that.”  Most notably the resolution was jointly introduced by Republican and Democrat legislators – and enjoyed bipartisan support.
    The floor debate was accompanied by demonstrations reminiscent of the peace demonstrations of the early 1980s in response to the “Peace Through Strength” initiatives of Ronald Reagan.  They continue into Vermont, where many of the same players from the 1980s are speaking out against a similar resolution being considered by the Vermont state legislature – still in committee.  Among the opposition are some members of the faculty of Dartmouth, the Arms Control Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Institute of Defense and Disarmament Studies, the Council for a Livable World, the American Friends Service Committee, and the Peace and Justice Center.
    High Frontier strongly supports those in the Vermont legislature who are trying to follow New Hampshire’s lead.  Ambassador Cooper’s testimony before New Hampshire and Vermont House Committees in support of both initiatives is available on High Frontier’s webpage – www.highfrontier.org.
    Messages to Washington from such grass roots initiatives could be very helpful in the expected U.S. Congressional fight during the next four months, leading up to President Bush’s announced withdrawal from the ABM Treaty on June 13, 2002.  Senate leaders, in particular, have made clear their intention to seek legislation to block President Bush’s efforts to end the ABM Treaty and to free America’s engineers to use the best technology to build effective layered defenses against ballistic missiles.  Inform yourselves and join the fight!!!

Issue Brief 64, February 7, 2002
World Benefits From Joint Defense Against Ballistic Missiles
From the Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 24, 2002, by Henry F. Cooper

     The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is dead at last, thanks to the announcement that the United States was exercising its right under Article 15 to withdraw. The treaty should have ended with the 1991 passing of the other signatory, or Soviet Union. But it survived for a decade more because of political constraints mostly generated by arms-control devotees still locked into Cold War thinking.
     Now these people are wringing their hands, fearing that the international community will respond by building up their nuclear weapons. And they are raising a number of false claims against the withdrawal.
     For instance, they argue that no one dares attack us because we would destroy them in response. This argument is ironic after Sept. 11, when terrorists went to their deaths to kill Americans. They also argue that they wouldn’t use ballistic missiles, as Sept. 11 demonstrates. However, does anyone think Osama bin Laden would hesitate to destroy New York with a ballistic missile?
     Some mistakenly believe that no one can attack us with ballistic missiles today. Regrettably, the threat is advancing rapidly. In 1998, a bipartisan commission led by then-citizen, now defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld concluded that rogue states could build missiles within five years.
     Many also believe that it is premature to withdraw from the treaty since we don’t know whether defenses will work. Actually, experiments 15 years ago proved we could “hit a bullet with a bullet.” President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative greatly advanced that technology.
     But Pentagon leaders have said that they need no testing beyond the terms of the treaty, Bush’s detractor’s argue. This, however, is not so. Lawyers have constrained the testing that engineers have wanted to do since the 1980s. Designing tests around the treaty has led to delay and additional cost.
     Others argue that we cannot afford these programs. The opposite is true. The treaty has forced development of the more expensive ground-based options. Sea-based defenses could be built for less because they would take advantage of more than $50 billion already invested in the aegis cruisers that today defend our fleet against aircraft. With onboard defensive interceptors, these ships could shoot down ballistic missiles.
     Another less expensive option would use unpiloted air vehicles, like the Predator now flying in Afghanistan, to launch rockets to intercept attacking missiles.
     Space-based interceptors would be the most cost-effective global defense. They were the first defense system concept to enter the Pentagon’s formal acquisition process in 1991. Had that program been permitted to continue without ABM Treaty inhibitions, we now could have a global defense to protect the entire world community for less than the cost of one ground-based site in Alaska.
     We must press ahead with these system concepts because the threat is urgent. And all can be pursued for under 3 percent of the defense budget and less than ½ percent of the federal budget.
     The concerns that abandoning the treaty will cause the Russians and Chinese to build up their nuclear weapons and draw the ire of our friends and allies are overstated. Russia will cooperate with us. In 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin proposed that we take advantage of Russian technology and together build defenses for the world community. Withdrawal from the treaty will not harm the excellent relationship President Bush has with Russian President Putin nor lead to any reversal of Russia’s interest in reducing their offensive nuclear weapons.
     China is a different matter, but China was already building more ballistic missiles with multiple warheads, and they will probably continue. If anything, they may reduce their investments in such systems if we deploy effective defenses.
     As for other friends and allies, the American taxpayer has already footed the bill for building Israeli defenses, for which they are grateful. We also have cooperative programs with the Japanese, who became concerned after the 1998 North Korean launch of a Taepo Dong missile over their territory. Other nations also have expressed an interest in joint programs, and our NATO friends for years have been considering how they might extend that defensive alliance to ballistic missile defense.
     Many parties can play a role in a joint effort. Various nations can provide bases for interceptors, radar or other components. We can work together on command and control, just as NATO manages its joint air defense. All can benefit from a joint defense against ballistic missiles.

Issue Brief 63, Jaunary 28, 2002
New Life For Sea-Based Defense !!!
By Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, Chairman of High Frontier

    Last Friday, the Navy successfully tested its Sea-Based Midcourse Missile Defense interceptor by shooting down a rocket fired from the island of Kauai.  An Aegis Cruiser, the USS Lake Erie, acquired and tracked the target rocket from its location off the coast of Hawaii, computed an intercept solution, and launched its test interceptor – which destroyed the target by directly hitting it above the Earth’s atmosphere.  This successful test is a major step forward for the Navy’s efforts to improve its existing Aegis-based air defense system to protect our overseas troops, friends, and allies against missile attack.  Further-more, President Bush announced the U. S. will withdraw from the ABM Treaty on June 13; so this sea-based system also can be made capable of defending the American homeland – for a relatively small investment.
    But it isn’t clear the Bush Pentagon will rapidly press ahead with this important program, which could exploit existing Aegis cruisers already operating around the world – so strong is the pent-up institutional resistance to sea-based defenses.
We have known for years that, for a small percentage of the $60 billion the U.S. taxpayer has invested in Aegis system, we can rapidly begin operating a sea-based defense and improving it with block changes as new technology is tested and proven.  Working with the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of Navy level, I began such a program while serving as Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative under the first President Bush – with then Defense Secretary Dick Cheney’s blessing, the Pentagon fully budgeted to build and begin operations of such a capability years ago.
    The Clinton Administration scuttled that program – no doubt because of its higher priority for the ABM Treaty than building effective defenses.  They “dumbed down” the anemically funded sea-based defense programs they did reluctantly continue – under persistent pressure from Congress.  The Clinton Administration resisted spending the money Congress added year after year; instead they conducted study after study of the merits of sea-based defenses.
    Every study – over a dozen by inside and outside experts – was positive.  But the Clinton Administration delayed and dissembled – and refused to provide even Congressionally mandated study results to the Congress.
    There was great hope this would all change with the arrival of President George W. Bush and his oft-stated commitment to missile defenses – and to moving beyond the ABM Treaty, which bans even testing effective sea-based defenses.  So far, his administration has done little more than continue to study the possibilities rather than to move out smartly with a serious development program to build a sea-based defense capability soon.
    Indeed, the Pentagon took backward steps on December 14 by canceling, two-thirds of the way through development and on the eve of intensive testing in February, the Navy Area Missile Defense program, in which the taxpayers had invested over $2 billion.  In overruling the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who had formally echoed the views of the Chief of Naval Operations and Commandant of the Marines in strongly endorsing this program, Pentagon officials pointed to cost growth and schedule delays as justifying cancellation of the Navy’s top priority missile defense program.
    Such problems are not to be taken lightly, of course – but they are hardly unusual for successful Pentagon acquisition programs, and Pentagon authorities were very unwise to kill this program at a cost of several hundred million dollars of termination fees – perhaps more than the costs of the tests to see if the system would perform as designed.
    Guess what?  After killing Navy Area, the Pentagon is “studying” how to reorganize the development of sea-based defenses – to meet long-established requirements for such defenses, including of our coastal sea and airports of entry, providing “assured access to troubled regions allowing a smooth flow of follow-on troops and air forces,” as JCS Chairman Air Force General Richard B. Meyers has articulated. What’s wrong with all the past studies?
    According to press accounts last summer, past Navy studies concluded that relatively inexpensive options can be exercised in a staged way to begin defending the United States homeland and within a year:

    Pentagon authorities should conclude their studies of sea-based defenses and begin building real capability – soon!!!