(Washington, D.C.) -- Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D.-MI), Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, announced today that the Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, April 7, 1992, at 10:00 AM in Room 2154 Rayburn House Office Building, as part of the Subcommittees investigation into the performance of the Patriot missile in the Gulf War. The investigation, begun in December, followed allegations by noted defense experts that the missile missed many more Scud missiles than was reported at the time.
Congressman Conyers said, "During the euphoria of the war, the American public was flooded with dramatic video footage that they were told showed Patriot missiles destroying Scuds. This was reinforced by official Army, Raytheon and Administration statements that the Patriots had totally destroyed almost every single incoming Scud."
"What we weren't told at the time," said Conyers, "was that the explosions we saw in the sky were not caused by direct impacts but by proximity fuses as the Patriot neared a Scud or a Scud fragment, or by the missile automatically self-destructing after missing a Scud. In slow motion, many of the engagements described as bullseyes' or 'direct hits' appear to be misses by wide margins. One shot of a Patriot turning 180 degrees and diving into the ground was inaccurately described repeatedly on television as a Scud interception. As Sherlock Holmes said, We see but we do not observe.'"
"However," said Conyers, "even video evidence may not be conclusive. Therefore, the Subcommittees investigation has focused on what proof the Army or the Raytheon Company had of the successful destruction of Scud warheads. Until we asked, the only evidence presented to back up the miraculous claims of success was a classified briefing of some 20 view-graphs provided to top officials and Members of Congress. This briefing asserted success rather than demonstrated it. I was the first person to ask the Army to prove it, and they have not done so."
Conyers dispatched a team of seven congressional investigators for two days of classified briefings at the headquarters of the Patriot Missile Program in Huntsville, Alabama. "I had expected to have questions about the Patriot's effectiveness answered by the briefings," said Conyers. "Unfortunately, the Army analysis appears to be deeply flawed."
"The claims of success cannot be supported by the available facts," said Conyers. "The analysis does not seem to meet professional standards, often slanting the information to support an interpretation of a successful Patriot kill, when, in fact, the data indicates either the Patriot missed, or the results are unknown."
"Unless the Army analysis is corrected, pivotal decisions the Administration and the Congress must make this year on the Patriot program, on the future course for theater ballistic missile defense, and on the feasibility of strategic defenses will be based on a false impression of our actual current capabilities."
"More importantly, soldiers lives could be unnecessarily endangered if they are deployed in future conflicts based on optimistic assessments of the Patriot's capabilities. They may depend on Patriot battalions destroying 9 out of 10 enemy missiles, as Raytheon now claims, when the actual defensive capabilities are closer to 1 out of 10, if that."
Conyers will detail some specific examples of problems with the Army's analysis at the hearing.
"I have written to the Secretary of Defense urging him to declassify the existing Army evaluation and to direct an independent evaluation of the performance of the Patriot missile in the Gulf War. These two actions, I believe, will give us a reliable basis for understanding how much protection we can promise our troops and how far we are from our goals," Conyers concluded.
The Patriot program has cost over $13 billion to date. The Army and Raytheon have proposed a $2 billion Patriot improvements program to extend the range of the Patriot missile. Expenditures for theater ballistic missile defense programs are now running over $800 million a year, with overall funding for SDI over $4.1 billion this fiscal year and the Administration requesting $5.4 billion for next year.
"The Performance of the Patriot Missile in the Gulf War"
Tuesday, April 7, 1991 10:00 AM
2154 Rayburn House Office Building
Steven Hildreth, Senior Analyst, Congressional Research Service
Richard Davis, Director, Army Issues, General Accounting Office
Theodore Postol, Ph.D., Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Reuven Pedatzur, Senior Analyst, Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Tel Aviv University.
Charles Zraket, former President MITRE Corporation
Peter Zimmerman, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Major General Jay Gardner, Asst. Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of the Army
James W. Carter, Vice President, Raytheon Company