Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States
Appendix III: Unclassified Working Papers
John M. Myrah 1 : "The Proliferation of Ballistic Missiles: What Should We
Do to Stop It?"
One of the most serious problems facing the United States today is the
proliferation of ballistic missiles and their possible use to deliver
weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Although it is somewhat easy to make
that statement, defining the actual problem and prioritizing the
appropriate controls or limits to preclude their use is not only extremely
difficult, but also very important to this country's well being. This short
treatise is an attempt to define the problem and provide some suggested
courses of action.
Defining the Problem
Since World War II, the threat of a ballistic missile attack has caused
great concern throughout the world. With the advent of the nuclear bomb and
its use on Japanese cities (although they were dropped by aircraft),
ballistic missiles took on a new meaning. Chemical and biological weapons
also added new dimensions in this war of terror. The use of chemical
weapons by Iraq on Iran and its own people has proven that under the right
(or wrong) circumstances, these WMD would be used. If there were a launch
of these WMD by ballistic missiles on the territory of the U.S., an
immediate response from the U.S. could be expected with devastating
consequences for the aggressor. That is, if we knew with certainty, who the
aggressor was. Wherein lies, in my opinion, the problem. With the demise of
the Cold War, identifying our enemies has become a serious problem. Of
course, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the U.S. had a clear enemy and objective.
Use by Iraq of WMD against U.S. or coalition troops would have been
devastating to our troop deployment, but catastrophic to their country. But
what if it were more subtle and not clear who was the perpetrator. Our
system of laws has taught our people that a person is innocent until proven
guilty. It would, therefore, be very difficult for our senior authority to
respond to a WMD with full force when it was not clear who the aggressor
was. That is the first problem .
Problem two could be more serious. Who launched the ballistic missile, if
it comes from a non-terrorist state? Our eyes and ears (what few we have
left) are now pointed at "the bad guys", but what if it comes from the
territory of "a good guy". As we dig out of the rubble or treat the
thousands of chemical burns or overload our hospitals with anthrax victims
- who do we punish? There will be cries from many Americans to punish
How Could This Happen ?
Currently, the American people believe we are so strong (partially as a
result of the Gulf War) and have the perfect intelligence capability that
no one could do anything to us without sufficient warning. We have never
been warned in the past, but that doesn't seem to matter. Except for a few
congressmen, the August group sitting around this table and other concerned
Americans, no one seems to care. When the NIE says there isn't a problem
and the President doesn't even mention it in the State of the Union, why
should the American people even care. It is easy to blame the situation on
the greedy defense contractors.
This Commission is composed of some of the leading thinkers in the world
and I am not going to try to tell you the answer to this important dilemma.
But I will mention a few case histories and let you come to your own
Case 1 - Are we just giving it away ?
The amount of technical and strategic defense information available from
the United States to our enemies is unbelievable. As pointed out in the
outstanding report from Gen. Welch's committee, this country is like a
sieve. If you have access to the Internet and want to find out our
technical and strategic plans, e.g., the Defense and Technology Planning
Document, the Defense and Technology Strategy Document, the Joint
Warfighting Capability Objectives, the Joint Warfighting Science and
Technology Plan, the Defense Technology Area Plan (DTAP), the Defense
Technology Objectives Plan, the Defense Technology Objectives, the Science
and Technology Strategy, and the Basic Research Plan. All you have to do is
go to the Internet: (www.defense.gov). I tried to get it stopped and there
was some concern at the three star level, but it is on the net today. How
much would we pay to have Saddam do the same for us. He can sit in his
bunker or living room and look at our future plans. And I don't believe
this is disinformation. I worked on the committee to review all these
documents. I had some of the best minds involved and our comments went
straight to DoD. In other words, if you want to see where we are going in
the field of ballistic missiles, we have it on the Internet for all to see.
Most of us know, how to build a nuclear weapon, it is already on the net.
Case 2 - Who should be in our schools ?
Several years ago, my son went to Oregon State University to get a nuclear
engineering degree under a Navy ROTC program. Today, he is a Reserve
commander in the Navy and a consultant to J8 at the JCS. He told me there
were only 50% Americans in his nuclear engineering class. This can be
substantiated by universities all over the country. Did these foreign
students get into the classes because they would contribute to the safety
and security of the United States or the World ? Most were from China,
Iran, Pakistan and Korea. Or is it because they come with lots of money
(supported by their country). Students from outside the state pay 3-5 times
more than in-state tuition. Were they smart and challenging for the
professors? Of course, they were sent because of their level of
intelligence and loyalty to their country. What American students were
denied admission to allow the foreign students access? In some cases, the
students got their Ph.D. and went to work for U.S.. defense companies. I
had a Korean Ph.D. working with me at General Dynamics. After a few years
they go back to their country and begin working in their research and
development programs as did the Korean Ph.D. Is it just possible they work
on defense programs. I know the universities and colleges would reject
out-of-hand the idea that we should not give student visas to everyone or
country that makes a request, but we must exert leadership when our country
is in danger.
Case 3 - Are hackers dangerous ?
Recently, we saw where some students from Australia broke into some of the
computer networks in our leading universities (MIT) and the DoD. What was
our reaction? Since they were from a friendly country, we talked about
arrest and confinement. What if they had been from Iraq? Would we have
asked for extradition? I think we should reward these kids for showing us
how to break into our systems. Put them on the payroll and see if they can
help build a firewall. Many of these kids are of very high intelligence.
Their passion is using computers. We need that type of entrepreneur-ship.
If our computer systems are so full of holes, then we need to know it now.
Gen. Ryan, Air Force Chief of Staff, said at a recent conference when he
was asked about the year 2000 problem, "I think we (USAF) are in good
shape. Where I am concerned is there are probably areas that we don't know
about that will come out in the first few days or weeks of year 2000.
Something that wasn't fixed might get attached or plugged into the system.
Maybe we should reward kids if they can get into our defense systems (or
any other critical system), but stipulate if they damage the system or dump
the information, they could be held liable.
Case 4 - Gyroscopes and inertial navigation devices (IND) - From where?
When Congressman Curt Weldon was trying to get money for BMDO programs, he
passed around gyros and IND that were for ICBM type missiles. He said
experts told him these were state-of-the-art technology. As has been
frequently reported, these devices were being sent to Iraq and Iran. The
NIE didn't forecast selling or shipping components of ballistic missile
systems to terrorist states. Most of us assumed it would happen. (The
Russian engineer gets around $100 a month when he gets paid). It is not
hard to understand that there will be people selling what they have in
order to live. And yet our premiere intelligence outfit couldn't see it
happening. And now we have to play catch-up. But even today, there is very
little real interest in ballistic missile defense. Most Americans think the
Patriot System will defend our homeland against the ballistic missile
Case 5 - Is Japan our enemy?
Two years ago, after being asked by Nissan of Japan to help with their H2A
space launch system. Actually, Thiokol was asked to help them make a solid
rocket motor to act as a booster on the H2A. Due to the MTCR, Thiokol knew
that transferring manufacturing technology to Japan for the entire rocket
motor would be vetoed by the State Department, since it is category I.
However, designing and building the case for the rocket motor would be
category II and would probably be allowed. No design capability would be
transferred. The State Department, after several meetings with officials
including the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs,
denied the license. First, the reason was the case was category I. After
lengthy discussions, the State Department agreed that the case was category
II. Then the reason was we can't transfer this manufacturing technology to
Japan and then face our other MTCR partners. Next, the reason was this
program (H2A) was not grandfathered under the MTCR Agreement. (certain
space launch systems would be covered under the MTCR agreement as of a
Case 6 - Two sets of rules for China ?
Today, two U.S. companies, Loral and Hughes, are being investigated on
suspicion of giving China technology to bolster its ballistic missile
program. The New York times reports the Clinton administration has given a
quiet go-ahead to one company two months ago. This, according to the
administration, has apparently dealt a heavy blow to the Grand Jury
investigating the violation. Who is responsible?
And so, what should we do ?
1. Cancel all current and stop all future student visas from terrorist
states. Monitor those students going to our prestigious universities
and involved in specialized engineering courses. Big job, plays with
our rights - maybe. But when the security of our country is at stake,
it would be worth it.
2. Put a firewall around our Internet. We have State Department licensing
and customs to keep our military technology inside our borders. Even
then, people will take risks to get it outside the country. With
Internet they reduce their risk significantly. Remember the 10,000
students from terrorist countries. Would they take the risk?
3. Hire the "hackers" to help us protect our computer systems. The next
time it might be during a war and done by our adversary.
4. Appoint a group of U.S. government experts to determine what
government information can go on the Internet. We do that with export
licensing. We use our best talent to develop a course of action and
then, when completed and "scrubbed" we give it away. Shame on us.
Revise the export licensing rules for ballistic missiles. A senior level
team, composed of people from the State Department, Defense Department,
NASA, Commerce Department, FAA, and the NSC, should be on standby to look
at sensitive transfers of missile technology hardware. Currently, the MTEC
has a Lt. Col. in charge. (it was a junior officer (captain) when we had
our license to Japan disapproved).
Chinese Proliferation Cases and the U.S. Assessment and Response
1. John Myrah is the Manager of International and Marketing Programs for
Thiokol Corporation. Represents Thiokol in Washington, overseas and at
selected military posts in the U.S. on the development and production of
high technology solid rocket motors for aerospace, defense and commercial
applications and precision fastener systems for aerospace and the
industrial market worldwide. Serves on Board of Directors of the Washington
Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association and the Citizens'
Network for Foreign Affairs.