Foreign Missile Threats: Analytic Soundness of Certain National
Intelligence Estimates (Letter Report, 08/30/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-225).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO analyzed the soundness of
certain national intelligence estimates (NIE) on the threat to the
United States from foreign missile systems.

GAO found that the 1995 NIE: (1) overstated the certainty of its key
judgments; (2) did not quantify the certainty levels associated with its
key judgments; (3) acknowledged dissenting views from several
intelligence agencies and explicitly noted information that they were
unaware of; (4) failed to explicitly distinguish critical assumptions
from other information; (5) did not account for alternative economic and
political futures, but it did address some possible technical options;
(6) did not include dissenting views in its key judgments; (7)
explicitly noted information gaps in the estimates' text; (8) should
help alert policymakers to the limits of NIE and inform intelligence
agencies of the need for further information; (9) presented less
evidence to support its judgments than the previous NIE; and (10)
predicted that there would be no new missile threats to the United
States during the next 15 years.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Foreign Missile Threats: Analytic Soundness of Certain 
             National Intelligence Estimates
      DATE:  08/30/96
   SUBJECT:  Intelligence gathering operations
             National defense operations
             Intercontinental ballistic missiles
             Defense contingency planning
             Air defense systems
             Nuclear warfare
             Foreign governments
             Nuclear proliferation
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================================================================ COVER

Report to the Chairman, Committee on National Security, House of

August 1996



National Intelligence Estimates


=============================================================== ABBREV

  CIA - Central Intelligence Agency
  CONUS - Continental United States
  DCI - Director of Central Intelligence
  IC - Intelligence Community
  ICBM - Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
  MTCR - Missile Technology Control Regime
  NIC - National Intelligence Council
  NIE - National Intelligence Estimate

=============================================================== LETTER


August 30, 1996

The Honorable Floyd D.  Spence
Chairman, Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

Dear Mr.  Chairman: 

This report responds to your letter of February 28, 1996, asking us
to evaluate certain National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) prepared by
the U.S.  Intelligence Community (IC) that analyze the threat to the
United States from foreign missile systems.  As arranged with your
office, our reporting objectives were to compare the content and
conclusions of NIE 95-19, Emerging Missile Threats to North America
During the Next 15 Years, November 1995, with the content and
conclusions of two previous NIEs prepared in 1993; to evaluate
whether these three NIEs appear to be objective and supported by
facts; and to describe the conclusions of recent, unclassified
studies on the threat to the United States from foreign missile

This report supplements our June 12, 1996, briefing to you and is an
unclassified version of our classified report.  All of our findings
are contained in this report; the omitted classified information
concerned detailed examples drawn from the NIEs to support our
findings and observations. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

NIEs analyze issues of major importance and long-term interest to the
United States and are the IC's most authoritative projection of
future developments in a particular subject area.  NIEs are intended
to help policymakers and military leaders think through critical
issues by presenting the relevant key facts, judgments about the
likely course of events in foreign countries, and the implications
for the United States.  In this regard, former Director of Central
Intelligence (DCI) William Casey stated:  "the highest duty of a
Director of Central Intelligence is to produce solid and perceptive
national intelligence estimates relevant to the issues with which the
President and the National Security Council need to concern

NIEs are produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC), an
organization composed of 12 National Intelligence Officers who report
directly to the DCI.  To prepare an NIE, the NIC brings together
analysts from all the intelligence agencies that have expertise on
the issue under review.\1 However, in the final analysis, an NIE is
the DCI's assessment with which the heads of the U.S.  intelligence
agencies concur, except as noted in the NIE's text. 

Based on a synthesis of the published views of current and former
senior intelligence officials, the reports of three independent
commissions, and a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) publication that
addressed the issue of national intelligence estimating, an objective
NIE should meet the following standards: 

  -- quantify the certainty level of its key judgments by using
     percentages or "bettors' odds,"\2 where feasible, and avoid
     overstating the certainty of judgments;

  -- identify explicitly its assumptions and judgments;

  -- develop and explore "alternative futures:" less likely (but not
     impossible) scenarios that would dramatically change the
     estimate if they occurred;

  -- allow dissenting views on predictions or interpretations; and

  -- note explicitly what the IC does not know when the information
     gaps could have significant consequences for the issues under

All or part of the three NIEs we reviewed addressed the nature of the
current and future threat to the United States from foreign missiles. 
NIE 95-19 was specifically prepared by the IC to support decisions on
missile defense systems for North America.  In the United States,
this issue is a critical one for the Congress and the administration
as they debate the desirability and planned characteristics of a
proposed multibillion dollar national missile defense system.  Such a
system would aim to protect the United States from limited ballistic
missile attacks, whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate.\3

Ballistic missiles are self-propelled missiles guided in the ascent
of a high-arch trajectory and freely falling in the descent.  If
launched from any of the 18 countries analyzed in NIE 95-19 (except
Cuba), such missiles would have to travel between 5,000 and 13,000
kilometers (3,100 to
8,100 miles) to reach North America, classifying them as
intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).\4

   Figure 1:  Ranges to the United
   States and Canada\*

   (See figure in printed

   Source:  National Intelligence

   (See figure in printed

\1 The following organizations may participate in preparing an NIE: 
the NIC, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency,
State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Federal
Bureau of Investigation, the intelligence organizations of the
Departments of Treasury and Energy, and the military services. 

\2 Bettors' odds state the chance as, for example, "one out of

\3 For more information on national missile defense, see Ballistic
Missile Defense:  Evolution and Current Issues (GAO/NSIAD-93-229,
July 16, 1993). 

\4 The distance depends on the launch site and the chosen U.S. 
target.  For example, portions of Alaska are about 5,000 kilometers
from North Korea; Honolulu is about 7,000 kilometers from North
Korea.  However, with forward-deployed missile launchers, the
distance to the United States would be less. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

The main judgment of NIE 95-19--"No country, other than the major
declared nuclear powers, will develop or otherwise acquire a
ballistic missile in the next 15 years that could threaten the
contiguous 48 states or Canada."\5 --was worded with clear (100
percent) certainty.  We believe this level of certainty was
overstated, based on the caveats and the intelligence gaps noted in
NIE 95-19. 

NIE 95-19 had additional analytic shortcomings.  It did not (1)
quantify the certainty level of nearly all of its key judgments, (2)
identify explicitly its critical assumptions, and (3) develop
alternative futures.  However, in accordance with standards for
producing objective NIEs, NIE 95-19 acknowledged dissenting views
from several agencies and also explicitly noted what information the
IC does not know that bears upon the foreign missile threat.  The
1993 NIEs met more of the standards than NIE 95-19 did. 

NIE 95-19 worded its judgments on foreign missile threats very
differently than did the 1993 NIEs, even though the judgments in all
three NIEs were not inconsistent with each other.  That is, while the
judgments were not synonymous, upon careful reading they did not
contradict each other. 

\5 The declared nuclear powers are Russia, China, France, the United
Kingdom, and the United States.  However, U.S.  capabilities and
intentions are out of the scope of foreign intelligence estimates. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

The main judgment of NIE 95-19 was worded with clear (100 percent)
certainty.  We believe this level of certainty was overstated, based
on the caveats and intelligence gaps noted in NIE 95-19. 

On the issue of certainty in judgments, in 1992 then-DCI Robert Gates
opined:  "While we strive for sharp and focused judgments for a clear
assessment of likelihood, we must not dismiss alternatives or
exaggerate our certainty under the guise of making the `tough calls.'
We are analysts, not umpires, and the game does not depend on our
providing a single judgment."

The wording of NIE 95-19's main judgment implies a 100- percent level
of certainty that the predicted outcome will hold true during the
15 years.  However, the caveats and intelligence gaps noted in the
NIE do not support this level of certainty.  For example, at the
beginning of
NIE 95-19, the estimate notes "as with all projections of long-term
developments, there are substantial uncertainties." A 1993 NIE stated
its view that substantial uncertainties cloud the IC's ability to
project developments, especially beyond 10 years.  Finally, in NIE
95-19's Intelligence Gaps section, it noted several shortcomings in
the IC's collection of information on foreign plans and capabilities. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

NIE 95-19 did not (1) quantify the certainty level of nearly all of
its key judgments, (2) identify explicitly its critical assumptions,
and (3) develop alternative futures.  However, in accordance with
standards for producing objective NIEs, NIE 95-19 acknowledged
dissenting views from several agencies and also explicitly noted what
information the IC does not know that bears upon the foreign missile

Given the important role NIEs play in the national security
decision-making process, U.S.  policymakers require, and expect,
objective estimates.  "The paramount value [in NIEs] is objectivity,"
according to a former NIC Vice Chairman.  Adds the CIA, "dedication
to objectivity--tough-minded evaluation of information, description
of sources, and explicit defense of judgments--provides [an estimate
with] credibility on uncertain and often controversial policy

We believe that five standards, previously discussed, apply to an
objective NIE.  These standards were synthesized from our review of
the published views of nine current or former senior intelligence
officials, three independent commissions, and a CIA publication that
addressed the issue of national intelligence estimating.\6 We were
unable to obtain the DCI's current, official standards (if any exist)
for the essential elements of an objective NIE, because the DCI
refused to grant us access to the NIC. 
(See our Scope and Methodology section for more details on this scope

\6 Our sources included the published views of Robert M.  Gates,
former DCI and Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA; Joseph S.  Nye,
Jr., former Chairman, NIC; Harold P.  Ford, former Acting Chairman,
NIC; Gregory F.  Treverton, former Vice Chairman, NIC; reports by the
Vice President's National Performance Review, the Commission on the
Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community,
and a study group on intelligence sponsored by the Council on Foreign
Relations; and
A Compendium of Analytic Tradecraft Notes, Vol.  I, March 1996,
published by the CIA's Product Evaluation Staff, Directorate of

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.1

NIE 95-19 did not quantify the certainty level associated with its
key judgments, by either using bettors' odds or percentages.\7 It
used unquantified words or phrases such as "unlikely," "likely,"
"probably," "normally," "sometimes," "some leakage," and "feasible,
but unlikely."

The CIA has told its analysts to be precise in conveying the levels
of confidence they have in their conclusions because policymakers and
others rely on these assessments as they define and defend U.S. 
interests.  Different people can hear very different messages from
the same words, especially about probabilities, and therefore good
estimates should use quantitative measures of confidence, according
to a former NIC Vice Chairman.  For example, a "small but
significant" chance could mean one chance in a hundred to one person;
for another it may mean one chance in five.  Similarly, a former NIC
Chairman wrote that NIEs with only words such as "possibly" are not
of much help to someone trying to make an important decision. 
Instead, where feasible, NIEs should use a percentage, a percentage
range, or bettors' odds to better serve policymakers--a
controversial, but necessary, approach, according to this former
official.  Some intelligence judgments, such as estimating foreign
economic developments well into the future, may not easily lend
themselves to specifying a meaningful level of confidence, using

NIE 93-17 quantified the certainty of one of its key judgments by
estimating a "small but significant chance (10 to 30 percent)" that
an event would occur.  The certainty levels of its other key
judgments were not quantified.  NIE 93-19 did not quantify the
certainty levels of any of its key judgments. 

\7 Except for the 100-percent certainty implied by its main judgment,
previously discussed. 

      NIE 95-19'S CRITICAL
---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.2

NIE 95-19 did not explicitly identify its critical assumptions
either by separately listing them in one place or by introducing them
throughout the text with wording such as "we have assumed .  .  ."

Critical assumptions, also known as "linchpin assumptions," are
defined by CIA as analysts' debatable premises that hold the argument
together and warrant the validity of judgments.  Therefore, as
previously mentioned, assumptions should be explicitly distinguished
from other information, including judgments.  Estimative judgments
are to be defended by fully laying out the evidence and carefully
explaining the analytic logic used, according to a former Deputy
Director for Intelligence, CIA.\8 Writing about NIEs, a former Vice
Chairman of the NIC agreed.  As a general rule, the more complex and
controversial an issue, the more analytic effort is required to
ensure that critical assumptions are precisely stated and well
defended, according to the CIA.  Good analysis will clearly identify
its key assumptions so that policymakers are aware of the
"foundations" of the estimate and can therefore judge for themselves
the appropriateness of the assumptions and the desirability of
initiating actions to hedge against a failure of one or more

From our reading of NIE 95-19, we identified what appear to be its
implicit critical assumptions.\9 Most of these assumptions first
appear in the NIE's Key Judgments section, leading the reader to
believe that the IC considers these assumptions to be fact-based
judgments.  However, we did not find a body of evidence in NIE 95-19
that would allow us to consider these statements as judgments, rather
than assumptions.  NIE 95-19 had only one explicit assumption, which
was not a critical one, concerning Iraq. 

Some of NIE 95-19's implicit critical assumptions are listed below. 
Three other assumptions that we identified included classified

  -- The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)\10 will continue to
     significantly limit international transfers of missiles,
     components, and related technology, but some leakage of
     components and critical technologies will likely continue. 

  -- No country with ICBMs will sell them. 

  -- Three countries--all of which were assessed as being "high" in
     both technical ability and economic resources-- will not be
     interested in developing an ICBM that could reach the United
     States (and elsewhere). 

  -- A flight test program lasting about 5 years is essential to the
     development of an ICBM. 

  -- An attack against the United States from off-shore ships using
     cruise missiles, while feasible, is unlikely to occur .  .  . 

In addition, NIE 95-19 did not specify its assumption about the
payload weight or weights the IC used in forecasting the range for
North Korea's Taepo Dong 2 ballistic missile.  Publicly, the NIC's
Chairman has stated that the Taepo Dong 2 missile could have a range
sufficient to reach Alaska, some U.S.  territories in the Pacific,
and the far western portion of the
2,000 km-long Hawaiian Island chain.  NIE 95-19 did, however, specify
payload weights for the Taepo Dong 1 missile.  NIE 93-19 explicitly
analyzed the effects of changes in payload weight on the estimated
range of ballistic missiles.  The payload weight directly affects the
range of a missile-- that is, a lighter payload allows any given
missile to travel farther.  For example, the IC judges that a certain
country could increase the range of its existing intermediate range
ballistic missile by 90 percent, if it decreased its payload weight
by 70 percent. 

Like NIE 95-19, the 1993 NIEs did not explicitly identify their
critical assumptions, as a rule.  However, in one case, the text of
NIE 93-17 prefaced its judgment with a clear assumption about the
current nuclear practices in one country. 

\8 The Tradecraft of Analysis:  Challenge and Change in the CIA,
Douglas J.  MacEachin, 1994, Consortium for the Study of

\9 In our analysis of NIE 95-19's assumptions, we were assisted by an
expert in the missile proliferation field, Dr.  Richard H.  Speier,
an independent consultant.  Previously, Dr.  Speier worked in the
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Department of
Defense, and in the Non-Proliferation Bureau, U.S.  Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency. 

\10 The MTCR, begun in 1987, is the primary international regime
aimed at stemming the proliferation of unmanned delivery systems
(including missiles and space launch vehicles) and related
technologies.  The regime is not an international treaty, but rather
a set of identical policies announced by member governments, to be
implemented in parallel. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.3

NIE 95-19 did not develop alternative futures:  less likely (but not
impossible) scenarios that would dramatically change the estimate if
they occurred. 

NIEs should "describe the range of possible outcomes, including
relatively unlikely ones that could have major impact on American
interests, and indicate which outcomes they think are most likely and
why .  .  .  The job, after all, is not so much to predict the future
as to help policymakers think about the future," according to a
former NIC Chairman.  The CIA, then-DCI Robert Gates, and other
senior NIC officials agree that NIEs should analyze alternative
futures.  A senior intelligence official told us that an alternative
future takes a fundamental analytic assumption and varies it to
explore different potential outcomes; for example, "What if countries
do not honor the MTCR?"

Both 1993 NIEs explored alternative futures.  NIE 93-19 mentioned
them in the NIE's text and explored them in detail in a separate
annex.  NIE 93-17's Key Judgments included alternative futures, which
were further developed through detailed scenarios.  These alternative
futures are classified. 

NIE 95-19 disclosed that it did not account for alternative economic
and political futures.  NIE 95-19 did address some less likely
technical options, including the characteristics and implications of
a potential ICBM program of one country. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.4

NIE 95-19 had 12 dissents in the estimate.\11 NIE 93-19 and NIE
93-17 had 23 and 2 dissents, respectively.  There were qualitative
differences in the nature of the dissents in the NIEs. 

According to a February 1996 statement by the current Chairman of the
NIC, "The process for producing NIEs is directed particularly at
ensuring presentation of all viewpoints.  We do not impose consensus;
in fact we encourage the many agencies that participate in NIEs to
state their views and we display major differences of view in the
main text.  Lesser reservations are expressed in footnotes."

While all three NIEs included dissenting views, the dissents were
qualitatively different among the NIEs.  For example, NIE 93-19's Key
Judgments contained two fundamental disagreements by one department
on the overall potential for proliferation of nuclear weapons and on
the nuclear weapons program of a specific country.  Other dissents in
the body of this estimate were also of a fundamental nature.  In one
instance, one department took an "alternative view" to NIE 93-19's
forecasts about ICBM and space launch vehicle development and
transfers.  This alternative view from 1993 is very similar to the
consensus view of NIE 95-19's main judgment. 

Both NIE 95-19 and NIE 93-17 had no dissents in their Key Judgments. 
The dissents in the body of these NIEs were mostly on technical
issues and contained classified information. 

\11 In counting dissents, we counted discrete topics of dissent. 
Sometimes more than one agency would dissent on a certain topic, and
sometimes the dissent would appear multiple times (i.e., in the
executive summary and supporting volumes). 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.5

NIE 95-19 and the 1993 NIEs explicitly noted information gaps at
places in the estimates' text and in a separate Intelligence Gaps

Estimates should reveal what intelligence analysts do not know that
could have significant consequences for the issue under
consideration, according to several sources.  This disclosure not
only helps alert policymakers to the limits of the estimate, but also
informs intelligence collectors of needs for further information,
according to a former NIC Chairman. 

In their Intelligence Gaps sections, the three NIEs each noted
shortfalls in the IC's collection of information on the issues they

   BETWEEN NIE 95-19 AND 1993 NIES
------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

NIE 95-19 worded its judgments on foreign missile threats very
differently than did the 1993 NIEs, even though the judgments in all
three NIEs were not inconsistent with each other.  In addition, the
evidence in NIE 95-19 was qualitatively and quantitatively different
compared to the 1993 NIEs.  Details of other differences and the
wording of judgments do not appear in this report because they
contain classified information.  Finally, the NIEs agreed on several

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.1

NIE 95-19 worded its judgments on foreign missile threats very
differently than did the 1993 NIEs, even though the judgments in all
three NIEs were not inconsistent with each other.  That is, while the
judgments were not synonymous, upon careful reading they did not
contradict each other.  Because the DCI denied us access to officials
responsible for the NIEs, we were unable to obtain their reasons for
the different wording chosen in the three NIEs. 

In general, the 1993 NIEs pointed out unfavorable and unlikely
outcomes associated with foreign ICBMs more often than did NIE 95-19. 
A table that compares the exact wording of judgments on foreign
missile threats in the three NIEs does not appear in this report
because it contains classified information. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.2

The evidence in NIE 95-19 is considerably less than that presented
in the earlier NIEs, in both quantitative and qualitative terms. 

Laying out the evidence is important because it allows readers to
judge for themselves how much credence to give the judgments,
according to a former Vice Chairman of the NIC. 

In quantitative terms, the earlier NIEs had at least one supporting
volume with additional evidence and judgments.  Each of the 1993 NIEs
was over three times as long as NIE 95-19.  The 1993 NIEs backed each
of their key judgments with more support than did NIE 95-19.  For
example, NIE 93-19, which unlike NIE 95-19, was not focused on
foreign missile threats, had almost twice the supporting evidence on
missile threats than NIE 95-19 did when comparing the same
countries.\12 In addition, and in contrast to
NIE 95-19, both of the 1993 NIEs referred readers to other IC studies
for additional evidence or information. 

In qualitative terms, we believe the earlier NIEs provided more
convincing support for their key judgments.  For example, NIE 95-19
stated that
"no countries with ICBMs will sell them." For support, the NIE
included one paragraph that cited a multi-national counter-
proliferation policy (MTCR) and the theory that countries with ICBMs
would probably be concerned that any missiles they sell might be
turned against them.  The NIE provided very little evidence to
support its position that membership in the MTCR
(or pledges to abide by the MTCR in China's case) would necessarily
prevent a country from selling missiles.  The NIE asserted that the
MTCR had helped terminate missile programs in specific countries, but
it provided no evidence to support its view.  The NIE did not cite
additional evidence such as intelligence on whether MTCR members have
or have not sold missiles or missile technology in the past, or
whether countries have refrained from selling such technology because
of the MTCR.  In addition, the NIE provided no evidence or detailed
analysis to support its position that countries will not sell ICBMs
because they would probably fear that the missiles could be turned
against them. 

In contrast to NIE 95-19, the earlier NIEs supported their judgments
more thoroughly.  Detailed examples contain classified information
and do not appear in this report. 

We were unable to identify the reasons why NIE 95-19 presented less
evidence to support its judgments than the 1993 NIEs, because NIC
officials refused to meet with us to discuss the preparation of NIE
95-19.  The reasons could include limitations on NIE 95-19's length,
its SECRET/Releasable to "Country X" security classification
(compared to the TOP SECRET/Codeword classification of the 1993
NIEs), and/or a smaller evidentiary base. 

\12 We compared the treatment of 11 countries that both NIE 95-19 and
NIE 93-19 analyzed.  In describing the results of our comparison, we
only used NIE 93-19's volume II (supporting analysis) to avoid
double-counting information contained in NIE 93-19's volume I. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :5.3

In addition to the similarities between the NIEs on some judgments,
the NIEs agreed on several other points, including the impact of
foreign technology assistance on ICBM development, and the
capabilities and intentions of two countries with respect to ICBM

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

The conclusions of unclassified government, or government- sponsored,
studies on foreign missile threats to the United States were
generally consistent with the conclusions of NIE 95-19.  However,
whereas NIE 95-19's main judgment was that there will be no new
missile threats to the contiguous 48 states during the next 15 years,
two studies estimated some possibility--"low" and "quite low"--of
such missile threats.  The private studies we reviewed differed
significantly from NIE 95-19's assessment of threats; these studies
raised more immediate concerns about foreign missile threats to the
United States.  For example, the Heritage Foundation's Missile
Defense Study Team concluded that ballistic missiles pose a clear,
present, and growing threat to the United States. 

We reviewed several recent unclassified studies on foreign missile
threats to the United States and its interests.  We identified these
studies through a literature search of several databases that include
defense and intelligence information.  We limited our review to
complete studies on this topic, and we did not include newspaper or
journal articles.  While we compared the conclusions of these studies
to NIE 95-19, we did not review the quality of their evidence or
attempt to reconcile any differences they had with
NIE 95-19. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :6.1

In a November 1993 letter to the Chairman of the House Committee on
Armed Services, the CIA provided the declassified findings of its
report entitled Prospects for the Worldwide Development of Ballistic
Missile Threats to the Continental United States.  The study's scope
excluded countries with a current capability to strike the
continental United States (CONUS)--China and strategic forces in
several states of the former Soviet Union.  The study concluded that
the "probability is low that any other country will acquire this
capability in the next 15 years." Also, the study found that "no
evidence exists that any of the countries examined in this study are
developing missiles--especially ICBMs-- for the purpose of attacking
CONUS." There were no recommendations identified in the letter. 

In June 1995, the Congressional Research Service issued a report for
the Congress entitled Ballistic and Cruise Missile Forces of Foreign
Countries.  The report was written by Robert Shuey, a specialist in
U.S.  foreign policy and national defense.  The report stated that
"Other than the declared nuclear powers (the United States, China,
France, Russia, and the United Kingdom) few countries have long-range
missiles." It also said that North Korea is in the process of
developing longer range ballistic missiles, including the Taepo Dong
2.  The report concluded that "the production or international
transfer of more and better ballistic and cruise missiles will
potentially have serious negative implications for the security of
U.S.  citizens and facilities .  .  ." The report contained no

In April 1996, the Office of the Secretary of Defense released a
study entitled Proliferation:  Threat and Response.  The key finding
in the report was that the threat was changing from global to
regional.  The report did not address the current ballistic missile
threat to the United States.  The report did note, however, that " . 
.  .  unlike during the Cold War, those who possess nuclear,
biological, and chemical weapons may actually come to use them." The
report concluded that "The end of the Cold War has reduced the threat
of a global nuclear war, but today a new threat is rising from the
global spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons." The
report had no recommendations.  The report had no indications that
there was an increasing missile threat to the United States itself. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :6.2

In February 1993, a report commissioned by the Strategic Defense
Initiative Organization of the Department of Defense was released
entitled The Emerging Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. 
The report was prepared by the Proliferation Study Team, chaired by
Lieutenant General William E.  Odom, USA (ret.), Director of National
Security Studies at the Hudson Institute.  The report found that at
this point there is no indication that Brazil, India, Italy, Israel,
Germany, Japan, and Sweden--countries that possess the potential to
develop ICBMs during the 1990s--have any intention of initiating an
ICBM program.  The report estimated that, if current trends continue,
the probability of new ICBM threats during the 1990s or in the very
early years of the next decade is quite low.  In reaching its
conclusion that "the prospects for an increase in ballistic missile
threats to the United States during this decade are limited," the
study team identified three uncertainties that affected their ability
to forecast confidently 10 to 20 years into the future.  First,
intelligence indicators are often ambiguous.  Second, a number of
events could alter the capabilities or intentions of some states to
field long-range ballistic missiles.  Third, dramatic and rapid
changes in U.S.  political relations with states possessing or
capable of fielding long-range missiles could occur.  The report made
no recommendations. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :6.3

In July 1991, the Cato Institute published Foreign Policy Briefing
No.  10 entitled Countdown to Disaster:  The Threat of Ballistic
Missile Proliferation.  This study was prepared by Channing R. 
Lukefahr, an associate defense policy analyst at the Cato Institute,
as part of the Institute's regular series evaluating government
policies and offering proposals for reform.  The key findings of the
study were that "As the horizontal proliferation of ballistic missile
technology continues, the threat of an accidental launch rises," and
that "while the threat that unstable or antagonistic regimes will
achieve the ability to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles . 
.  .  moves rapidly toward reality, attempts to reverse that
destabilizing trend have been merely exercises in delay." The study
concluded that "the days when weapons of mass destruction and the
systems to deliver them are possessed by only the two super-powers . 
.  .  are rapidly drawing to a close" and that "although there is no
imminent threat to the United States from any of those [friendly]
nations, continuation of that state of affairs cannot be guaranteed . 
.  .  an ally can become an enemy in a matter of months." The report
cited stronger secessionist forces in the Soviet Union as undermining
the central control of nuclear weapons and making the accidental
launch of a few dozen or even a few hundred missiles possible as is
the possibility of a limited launch by rogue elements.  The report's
sources were congressional testimony and articles in journals,
magazines, and newspapers.  The report recommended the development
and deployment of antiballistic missile systems. 

In March 1996, the Heritage Foundation released a document entitled
Defending America:  Ending America's Vulnerability to Ballistic
Missiles.  This was an update to a June 1995 report entitled
Defending America: 
A Near- and Long-Term Plan to Deploy Missile Defenses.  The Missile
Defense Study Team was chaired by Ambassador Henry Cooper, former
Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization.  The main
finding of the reports was that the United States had no defense
against ICBMs.  The initial report said that ICBMs marketed as space
launchers could provide rogue states with the ability to attack the
United States.  The update cited, but did not identify, authoritative
administration officials as having testified to the Congress in May
1995, that rogue states could threaten U.S.  cities with long-range
missile attacks in 3 to 5 years.  The reports concluded that
ballistic missiles pose a clear, present, and growing threat to
America and her allies overseas.  The report recommended a decision
to deploy, when technically feasible, the Navy's Upper Tier
interceptor system and the Brilliant Eyes space-based sensor system. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

The NIC did not comment on our draft report.  On July 10, 1996, we
wrote to the NIC's Chairman and requested his views on our draft
report.  On July 22, 1996, the DCI's Director of Congressional
Affairs replied to us and stated that they would not comment on the
substance or accuracy of our draft report because these issues "fall
under the purview of intelligence oversight arrangements established
by the Congress." As requested, the DCI's staff provided us with a
security classification review, which we have incorporated into our
final report. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :8

Our scope included a detailed review of NIE 95-19, and a comparison
of this NIE to NIE 93-17, NIE 93-19, and recent unclassified studies. 
We did not attempt to independently evaluate foreign missile threats
to the United States.  To assess the objectivity of the NIEs, we used
various IC and other sources to develop standards for producing
objective NIEs.  Then we carefully reviewed NIE 95-19 and the two
earlier NIEs to determine whether they met those standards.  To
compare NIE 95-19 to the 1993 NIEs, we conducted detailed comparisons
of the judgments, evidence, and structure of the NIEs.  The 1993 NIEs
had a different focus than NIE 95-19, so we could not make direct
comparisons in some areas.  For example, unlike NIE 95-19, the
earlier NIEs did not address the Third World cruise missile threat. 

To compare NIE 95-19 to other unclassified studies, we conducted a
variety of literature searches to identify such studies.  Where
possible, we identified the sources of data used by these studies;
however, we did not evaluate the quality of their evidence or attempt
to reconcile any differences they had with NIE 95-19. 

Our scope was significantly impaired by a lack of cooperation by
officials from the CIA, NIC, and the Departments of Defense and
State.  The Departments of Defense and State would not allow us
access to their records.  Defense and State spokespersons referred us
to the DCI on all matters concerning NIEs.  On March 6, 1996, we
wrote to the DCI's Director of Congressional Affairs and requested
access to CIA and NIC officials and documents.  On June 17, 1996, he
replied to us and declined to cooperate with our review.  His letter
argued that our review of certain NIEs would be contrary to oversight
arrangements for intelligence that the Congress has established. 
Specifically, he stated that "such subjects are under the direct
purview of Congressional entities that have been charged with
overseeing the Intelligence Community." Therefore, we were unable to
discuss preparation of the NIEs with cognizant officials or review
supporting documentation at the departments and agencies previously
mentioned.  Due to this lack of access, we also could not review
other NIEs that may have covered similar topics as NIE 95-19.  Except
as previously mentioned, our review was conducted from April to June
1996 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :8.1

At your request, we plan no further distribution of this report until
30 days after its issue date.  At that time, we will provide copies
to other congressional committees; the Chairman, President's Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board; the Secretaries of State, Defense, and
Energy; Chairman, NIC; and the Director of Central Intelligence. 
Copies will also be made available to others on request. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-3504 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  Major contributors to this report
Gary K.  Weeter, Assistant Director; Douglas M.  Horner,
Evaluator-in- Charge; Stephen L.  Caldwell, Senior Evaluator; and
James F.  Reid, Senior Evaluator. 

Sincerely yours,

Richard Davis
Director, National Security

*** End of document. ***