1997 Congressional Hearings
Special Weapons
Nuclear, Chemical, Biological and Missile


Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.

Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

House National Security Subcommittee on Military Research and Development

May 7, 1997

This testimony is based on the study Exploring U.S. Missile Defense Requirements in 2010. Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc., April, 1997.

As we move into the next century, the United States faces a security environment that holds many uncertainties and potential dangers. Although there is much that we do not, and cannot, know about the world of the early decades of the new century, it is abundantly apparent that this world will contain additional possessors of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) (nuclear, biological, chemical) and delivery systems including ballistic and cruise missiles. Technologies that are becoming more widely available will confer upon existing and new WMD possessors capabilities of unprecedented range and accuracy. Simply stated, this means that not only will the forward deployed military forces of the United States become increasingly vulnerable, but at the same time coalition partners of the United States as well as the United States itself increasingly will face the threat of WMD use. Saddam Hussein's SCUD launches against Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Gulf War, as well as China's not-so-veiled threat against Los Angeles at the time of the Taiwan Strait crisis just over a year ago, may be the harbinger of things to come.

This means that the crisis management setting that the United States will face in the early 21st century, perhaps well before the year 2010, will dramatically change. Think, for a moment, of a situation in which Saddam Hussein, in the Gulf War, could have threatened to use WMD against U.S. forward deployed military forces, while also having the capability to strike targets in Western Europe (London and Paris) and the United States. North Korea is reported to have deployed a new missile capable of reaching Japan and South Korea. What will be the implications of such deployments for our ability to form a coalition or even to maintain necessary domestic support in the United States itself? Of course, we, as well as our British and French coalition partners, could have threatened nuclear retaliation against Saddam Hussein had he been in possession of such a capability. Without prejudging what we could or would have done under such circumstances, we will be increasingly vulnerable, in crisis situations, to such threats which will have to be taken into account in our crisis escalation strategy. In short, we will need to possess the means to prevent or deter a regional adversary or, to use the more fashionable terminology, a future peer competitor, from threatening the United States or its allies with WMD capabilities. As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, we confront a series of proliferation problems holding important security implications. In the case of Northeast Asia and Southwest Asia, two regions of major importance to the United States in our national security strategy as the possible locus of major regional conflict contingencies, the proliferation of WMD systems is already present. The emerging geostrategic setting contains several important proliferation regions and issues that may be summarized from our work:

In the realm of missiles and missile defenses, Russia will remain a major threat to the United States: first, as a source of proliferation from which a threat to the United States could develop; second, as a holder of powerful strategic nuclear systems under the questionable control of its weak central government. As a complicating factor, the rampant crime and corruption that is exerting a powerful influence on Russian actions and activities is likely to result in a continued outpouring of sophisticated weapon systems, missiles and technologies, and weapons of mass destruction enablers that will change the nature of the international military calculus. Although the United States must continue to work with Russia in an attempt to stabilize Russia's security situation, it must also prepare for the potential failure of that effort. The problems that Russia faces are too serious to be easily and quickly resolved.

The situation in East Asia points toward a future in which missile and WMD capabilities will become increasingly common and of growing importance for the security of a region that has several crisis and conflict flashpoints. The issues that will have to be addressed will include the changes brought about by improved missile quality as well as the increased quantity of available systems. In addition, early warning requirements, missile defenses, and space warfare issues will all likely become key issues of concern as states increasingly turn to the strategic frontiers of space in an effort to deal with the realities of the revolution in military affairs.

South / Southwest Asia

Assuming current trends continue, Iran will be a nuclear power with IRBMs and long-range cruise missile delivery systems by 2010. Considering Iran's current state of missile development, it is unlikely that it could develop an indigenous ICBM capability within this time frame unless the missile's components were made available as kits by an outside party (a possibility that cannot be ruled out). Similarly, it must also be considered that Iran could acquire an assembled ICBM, such as an SS-25 or a Topol M, especially if the level of disorder and corruption should increase in the former Soviet Union. As far as CW and BW systems, Iran would likely package them in submunitions for use in theater ballistic missile warheads or in spray tanks for cruise missile employment.

Various Western countries, Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, China, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Syria, and a host of other states all have citizens who are involved in WMD and missile projects in other countries. In the course of executing these projects, across-leveling of knowledge is occurring as these specialists share information. Much of this information is undoubtedly making its way back to the home counties. For example, North Korean assistance to Iran undoubtedly involves a feedback loop to North Korea. Thus, the knowledge that North Korean specialists gain from other technicians while working on joint projects in Iran gets reported back to North Korea for incorporation into its own programs. It is this new foreign assistance element that is making it so difficult for intelligence agencies and academic country specialists to predict the speed at which future missile and WMD capabilities will evolve. At the same time, China and Russia are important providers of WMD-related technology to Iran. Thus, the U.S. could find itself surprised in the future as new capabilities emerge more quickly than expected.

What we must prepare for, therefore, are contingencies in which the United States will face an adversary capable of credibly threatening the territory of the United States itself, including a situation in which such an adversary will seek to deter or constrain from acting in support of important U.S. interests in key regions. In other words, we must begin to think about major regional conflict and crisis management in terms that encompass the vulnerabilities of the United States itself. The Vietnam War demonstrated our psychological vulnerabilities. In the future these vulnerabilities will be enlarged by the physical devastation that an enemy could inflict, or attempt to inflict, upon the United States.

When this will become a problem cannot be precisely projected. Given China's existing and anticipated missile capabilities, it may be dangerously optimistic on our part to assume that we have more than a few years and certainly not as long as the end of the first decade of the next century. As we point out in the study, China possesses, and continues to develop, intercontinental missiles capable of striking the United States. North Korea has underdevelopment a missile that may have the range to strike Alaska within the time frame 2000-2005. As we point out in the study that forms the basis for this testimony, the fact is that we cannot be certain that possessors of WMD capabilities will have acquired them by indigenous development or, more quickly, by theft, purchase, or barter. The potential for technologies to be rapidly acquired must be considered, as we attempt to do in the study. We need to think about proliferation timelines in a way that takes into account these alternative means of acquiring WMD and their missile delivery systems.

The implication of this emerging geostrategic setting and crisis management environment is that we must rethink our deterrence requirements for the early 21st century. Specifically, this includes the relationship between, and the relative importance of, offensively and defensively-based deterrence. Because emerging and future possessors of such weapons may be tempted not only to threaten, but actually to use them, the simple threat of retaliation that worked in the Cold War to deter the use of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union is not sufficient in the post-Cold War era. Furthermore, our ability to locate and destroy enemy WMD launch sites is likely to be minimal, (to judge from the Gulf War experience when we could not find Iraqi SCUD launchers even in a desert setting). Therefore, as in the Gulf War, a premium will be placed on our ability to deploy defenses to destroy missiles as early as possible after launch.

In the dynamic security environment of the early decades of the next century, the rate at which WMD and missile proliferation will take place is likely to quicken. In light of uncertainties about how fast the proliferation pace will be, we must be prepared for surprise. Here it is important to think about the nature and meaning of surprise in the WMD and missile proliferation environment. Let us assume that a hostile state actually deploys a delivery system capable of threatening the United States. If we are not to be vulnerable, it will be necessary for us to be able to deploy an effective missile defense system within a time frame that coincides as fully as possible with the adversary's offensive deployment timetable. If we are likely to be surprised by an actual deployment of a threatening system, it follows that our own defensive deployment schedule must be shortened greatly. By the same token, once our defensive systems are deployed, we must maintain a robust R & D program that anticipates increasingly sophisticated offensive systems that, over time, will be available to an adversary. This includes penetration aids, maneuvering warheads, and related technologies as countermeasures to missile defense that will become more widely available. In other words, while preparing a timeline for our own first generation missile defense that takes account of an accelerating missile threat to our assets and interests abroad and to the United States itself, we must begin now to look well beyond the early years of the next decade.

Many technologies are available that offensive missile designers can use to assist their missile systems to evade anticipated U.S. defenses. A number of countries are now including penetration devices or missile maneuvers as integral elements in their missile development programs. Consequently, U.S. missile defense systems will soon confront offensive systems that have enhanced capabilities to evade missile intercept. Since the need for missile defenses does not appear to be a requirement that is going to disappear, a key factor in the fielding of the United States' defenses is how easily can they be upgraded and are those upgrades now in train? Toward this end, the United States needs to ensure that its missile defense program is balanced for sustained operations and that the organizations supporting this effort work as a cohesive whole with a common unity of purpose.

The major focus of the United States' missile defense program should be the establishment of a well-balanced program, a program that is managed with a view that it will still be required many years from now. This means that the chain that feeds the technology, develops and applies the upgrades, and services the fielded systems must be maintained with a view towards long-term sustainment. Without that sort of vision, the United States may always be one step from being able to mount an effective defense against hostile missile systems.

The report on which this testimony is based is the result of extensive research conducted by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis with a focus on the policy and technical challenges likely to shape the missile environment in the first decade of the next century. It is the latest in a long series of studies on proliferation, counterproliferation, and missile defense that have been an important and ongoing interest of the Institute.

Although this report reflects analysis undertaken under the auspices of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, which is solely responsible for the analysis and conclusions, this work was supported by the Space and Strategic Defense Command in coordination with the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis is an independent, nonpartisan research organization, with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., with an association with The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. IFPA's major purposes are to conduct research, publish studies, convene seminars and conferences, strengthen education, and train policy analysts in the field of foreign policy and national security affairs. As required, a list of IFPA federal contracts and subcontracts, together with my abbreviated curriculum vitae, is appended to this statement.

Attachment 1

Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc.
Testimony before the House National Security Subcommittee
on Military Research and Development
May 7, 1997

Disclosure of amount and source of each federal contract with the federal government for the last three years:

Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1995

Amount: $25,000 Source: US Army Special Operations Command

Amount: $200,000 Source: Subcontractor to National Security Planning Associates Inc. (Defense Special Weapons Agency).

Amount: $180,000 Source: Subcontractor to DESE Research, Inc. (U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command)

Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1996

Amount: $195,900 Source: US. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command

Amount: $250,000 Source: Subcontractor to National Security Planning Associates, Inc. (Defense Special Weapons Agency)

Amount: $25,000 Source: US. Army War College

Fiscal Year ending June 30, 1997:

Amount: $225,000 Source: US. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command

Amount: $40,000 Source: US. Army War College

Amount: $312,500 Source: Subcontractor to SY Technologies, Inc. (U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command - in support of Army staff QDR process)

Appendix B

Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.

Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr., is President of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. The Institute has offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. IFPA maintains a diverse program of studies, publications, conferences and seminars, on a wide range of issues.

Dr. Pfaltzgraff has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, at the College of Europe in Belgium, at the Foreign Service Institute, and at the National Defense College in Japan. He has served as a consultant to the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the U.S. Information Agency. His professional interests include U.S. foreign and national security policy; Alliance policies and strategies; the interrelationships of political, economic, and defense policies; the implications of trends and projections of change in the emerging security environment, crisis management, and international relations theory. Dr. Pfaltzgraff writes and lectures widely in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Pfaltzgraff's most recent publications include: War in the Information Age (Co-editor)(Forthcoming 1997); Security in Southeastern Europe and the U.S.-Greek Relationship(Co-editor)(1997); Contending Theories of International Relations (Co-author)(1997); Security Strategy and Missile Defense, (editor) (1995); Special Operations Forces: Roles and Missions in the Aftermath of the Cold War(Co-editor) (1995); Long-Range Bombers and the Role of Airpower in the New Century (Co-author) (1995); Ethnic Conflict and Regional Instability: Implications for U.S. Policy and Army Roles and Missions (Co-editor) (1994); Naval Expeditionary Forces and Power Projection: Into the 21st Century (Co-editor) (1994); Naval Forward Presence and the National Military Strategy (Co-editor) (1993); The Future of Air Power in the Aftermath of the Gulf War(Co-editor) (1993); Transatlantic Relations in the 1990s: The Emergence of New Security Architectures (Co-author) (1993); The United States Army: Challenges and Missions for the 1990s (Co-editor) (1991); Canada and the United States in the 1990s: An Emerging Partnership (Co-author) (1991); The Soviet Union After Perestroika: Change and Continuity (Co-author) (1991); National Security Decisions: The Participants Speak (Coauthor) (1990); U.S. Defense Policy in and Era of Constrained Resources (Co-editor)(1990); The South Pacific: Emerging Security Issues and U.S. Policy (Co-author) (1990).