Pentagon Spokesman's Regular Briefing

DoD News Briefing
Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA

Thursday, January 4, 2001 - 3:00 p.m. EST

Q: The Russian foreign minister yesterday accused the U.S. of
repeatedly violating the START I Treaty in terms of not properly
destroying MX ballistic missiles. Do you have any reaction to that?

Bacon: Well, I would say it's a classic case of old wine in old
bottles. They've made this charge repeatedly. We and the Russians have
a disagreement about this. We contend that if we - I think their
latest charges dealt with Peacekeepers missiles, as I understand it.
First of all, if we did nothing to our Peacekeepers missiles, we still
wouldn't be in violation of START II, but we are destroying
Peacekeeper missiles. We regard a Peacekeeper missile destroyed if we
destroy the top stage; the upper stage. They regard it destroyed if
the whole missile is destroyed.

We argue that if we destroy the upper stage, the missile is destroyed,
and we can use the rest as a launch vehicle for satellites or other
things. That's basically the argument.

But this is something they've said repeatedly, and therefore I call it
old wine in old bottles.

Q: I don't think you've destroyed Peacekeepers missiles - (off mike)

Bacon: We have destroyed two of them.

Q: Two of them?

Bacon: Yeah.