DICKS: You know, I have been an advocate for stealth technology. And I know that, Mr. Secretary, you had a different opinion of this in the Senate. I hope that I'd have an opportunity to bring over to the Pentagon and meet with you a bipartisan group of House members who -- and Senate members who feel very strongly about this issue.

A group of Democratic members met with the president last February. And the president, first of all, agreed with us that we should procure our 21st B-2.

Secondly, he promised us that in the context of the Deep Attack Weapons Mix Study that we would get a fair comparison of the B-2 against other conventional weapons systems. I think that is essential.

I'm very fearful that we are making one of the worst mistakes in our history by over-emphasizing tactical aircraft, especially TAC air that is non-stealthy that cannot penetrate on its own, and not taking advantage of what I consider a revolution in advanced technology: stealth technology and the range of a long-range bomber with one aerial refueling -- somewhere in the neighborhood of about 8,000 miles -- and then precision-guided munitions and submunitions.

And the revolution, in my mind, is that you can project this power a third of the way around the world in a matter of hours in order to send a very strong message to Saddam Hussein, whoever, that if they come south into Kuwait again, we have the ability, with sensor-fused weapon and other submunitions, to literally stop an advancing armored division.

RAND did a study in '81 that looked at this subject. And the conclusion was that a small number of B-2s with sensor-fused weapon against Saddam's division moving into Kuwait knocks out 46 percent of the mechanized vehicles. And that is revolutionary: the ability to stop an advancing armored division.

And my hope in all of this is that if we are smart and we get the right number of these airplanes and we have a number of them -- say, 15 to 20 in Diego Garcia; 15 to 20 in Guam; 15 to 20 at Whiteman Air Force Base -- that we could literally deter Saddam or anyone else from moving divisions across borders.

Conventional deterrents, I think, is a real possibility in the future. Now, we don't have all these weapons. They're just coming into the inventory. But we just got GATS/GAM. My colleagues here in the committee supported me a couple of years ago in adding the money to build these -- to get these first smart weapons on the B-2.

They just did it -- I don't know if you've seen the film -- but from 41,000 feet had 14 direct hits. I mean, right on the target -- and two that were so close that they destroyed the targets. And this is 41,000 feet, day and night, all weather. And the cost of those weapons, JDAMs -- and the Air Force did a great job on this -- Darlene Druyan deserves a lot of credit.

They're going to come in at $13,000 a weapon; 16 times 13 is $208,000, or one-sixth the cost of a standoff cruise missile. The heavy bomber study said we should -- we should -- we should go along and use standoff weapons.

And you've got to have standoff weapons initially to go after surface-to-air missiles in order to use -- even to use your stealth technology. And -- and the difference in cost of these weapons versus standoff weapons is dramatic. And we don't have all the standoff weapons in the world, as you well know. So by marrying up this bomber with 16 of these smart weapons, you can fly in one sortie and take out 16 targets. Each one of these are independently targetable.

Now, in the Gulf War -- remember this is where I think that the people just aren't getting it in your department -- and that is in the Gulf War, the F-117 in the first two weeks, according to General Horner, with 2 percent of the assets took out 40 percent of the targets and all the tough ones, because they could go in without having to have the escort aircraft. And non-stealthy airplanes weren't able to penetrate against the surface-to-air missiles that the Iraqis possess and did possess.

So I just ask you -- and if I could have a chance to get a quick response -- if, one, we could bring this bipartisan group over and have a chance to give you our perspective in more detail on this. And also, I think, in the context of arms control again, if you start thinking about what kind of force structure you want in the future -- having a plane that can carry both nuclear weapons and conventional weapons could be a very attractive weapon, when you look at a much smaller U.S. strategic force in giving you that flexibility.

So I just would urge you to give us a chance to talk to you about this. The president promised that we would get a fair objective study. I hope that you will ensure that that occurs and give us a chance to bring our group over to talk to you.

COHEN: A very short answer is anytime that you want to bring a group over to me to make a presentation I'm going to accommodate that. So the answer is yes.

And I would expect if you've been promised a fair examination under the deep weapons -- paper-type weapons strike forces, such are packaged and programmed, that that will be carried out in that fashion.

General Shali may add to that.

SHALIKASHVILI: As you know, Mr. Dicks, we are looking particularly at the issues that I think you are concerned about. In phase 1, we might not have looked. And that is short notice, no notice, limited access, those kinds of issues -- robust air defense environment. And the ones that we are making and will continue to be making will look at those very specifically.

DICKS: Well, we appreciate that very much. And I've been talking to Warner and Lynn and those people and General McCloud , and they promised me that they're going to do it. And I just -- that's what the president promised us and that's what we expect.