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

Opening Statement

by David R. Tanks, Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis,
before the House National Security's Subcommittee
on Military Research and Development, May 7, 1997

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, and Distinguished Guests, after spending the last 18 months conducting an exhaustive review and assessment of the likely missile threats that this nation may face by 2010, I'm delighted to have this opportunity to share the results of that effort with you.

Administrative Background

By way of background, I would like to note that the report, entitled Exploring U.S. Missile Defense Requirements in 2010: What are the Policy and Technology Challenges, builds on a knowledge base from several previous major study efforts related to the missile defense issue. Of particular note, in 1992-93, I conducted an exhaustive study of the political and economic defense conversion problems confronting Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech and Slovak Republics. The study included a review of international arms market issues. In 1993-94, I examined the defense conversion and foreign dependency issues confronting the United States. This effort also included an extensive review of the international arms sales situation. These two defense conversion studies were well received and apparently were influential in the decision process in which the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command (SSDC) contracted with the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) for a similar assessment regarding missile defense requirements 7-15 years in the future and their implications for policy and technology. (Contract details attached.)

This study was finalized in April. I should point out that this report reflects solely the opinion and assessments of IFPA. The findings and recommendations included in the report were not directed nor suggested by any government organization. I feel very fortunate that in each of the study efforts with which I have been involved to date I have had a free hand in researching the material and recording the findings based entirely on the facts uncovered in the research process.

I would like to note that this report has been accepted by SSDC and approved for public release. The copies that we have printed and provided to Members of Congress, to personnel in the Executive branch, to other policy research organizations, to state legislatures, and to private citizens and civic groups have been produced and distributed by SPA on its own initiative as a public service without the use of government funds. We feel the material contained in this document is relevant to the emerging national debate on missile defenses and, as such, is too valuable to languish in a few government offices.

Study Introduction

In approaching the study of missile defense requirements in 2010, we tried to avoid current issues of political debate aimed at proving or disproving specific instances of arms control treaty violations or of confirming questionable exports in which some countries may have been engaged. In short, the research effort was aimed at pulling together the information contained in over one thousand articles and reports, interviews with dozens of experts, and findings from several conferences and workshops on the issue--taking a long-term view that focuses on the trends as reflected by the totality of the evidence as opposed to proving specific allegations of individually disputed activities.

In assessing future trends, the study attempted to identify situational changes that could invalidate proliferation projections made by extrapolating past trend lines into the future with regard to the development or acquisition of missile and weapons of mass destruction capabilities. In pursuing this reasoning, it soon became clear that the trends and timelines used to project missile acquisition and development rates during the Cold War are no longer valid indicators of future threat capabilities. The changed post-Cold War and post-Desert Storm international conditions have altered the constants that were used in the past to project missile and WMD developments. Of particular concern is the role that foreign assistance is playing in the development of indigenous missile development programs.

As will also be shown, the political and economic turmoil in Russia, the growing international aspirations of China, the unsettled international political structure in general, and the discontent that many international actors hold regarding the current state of international affairs raises some serious questions regarding the future security environment. Within this state of affairs, there seem to be a weakening of the long-held prohibition against the transfer of long-range missile capabilities and ICBMs. As will be addressed, there seems to be reason to question this long-held belief. I would like to discuss each of these points in a little more detail.

What is Changing?

The explosion and internationalization of knowledge and information, the spread of manufacturing facilities, the lowering of restrictions on international travel, and other similar changes characteristic of an international economy supported by information age technology all point to a future in which export controls will become increasingly ineffective as a counterproliferation tool. As the next century unfolds, we are on a course that will likely result in a greater degree of technological equilibrium between states than has been true in the past. The rate at which these changes are occurring also make it very difficult to use past trend lines as indicators of the rate at which future development will occur. This problem is exacerbated when one considers that the advanced weapon systems now emerging are often based on dual-use technologies which have legitimate commercial applications.

Crime groups have also been establishing international connections which facilitate the movement of sensitive technologies and weapon systems. For example, at least 200 Russian organized crime groups are now operating on a national or international scale, including operations in about 50 foreign countries (to include the United States). Reportedly, some of these groups have cooperative arrangements with the Italian Mafia, the Great Chinese Triads, and some drug cartels. They traffic in a wide range of goods and services to include armaments. These various crime groups have the contacts, established routes, and transportation capabilities to facilitate the transfer of sensitive technologies, weapon systems, and system components. Some of them may be involved in the shipment of nuclear materials. Thus, the internationalization of both economic activity and organized crime point toward a future in which export controls will become increasingly ineffective in slowing the spread of missile technologies.

A good example of the developing situation can be seen in Iran. According to open sources, Iran has at least 50 Germans, several hundred Russians, several hundred Chinese, and some unknown numbers of North Koreans, Indians, Pakistanis, and Syrian scientists and technicians all working on missile and nuclear projects. In addition, some smattering of other westerners and citizens from the non-Russian Republics of the Former Soviet Union are also included in these efforts. To complicate the issue further, technical advice is being gathered via Internet connections from around the globe, also it is almost a certainty that much of the information being gained by third-party scientists working on common projects with scientists from other states is being provided to contacts in the
home states. For instance, information gained by North Korean scientists working with Russian technicians in Iran is probably being reported back to North Korea. The results of these types of interchanges will be an international leveling of missile technology knowledge as the world enters the next century.

Desert Storm: Herald of Unintended Consequences

In addition to the internationalization of information and economic activity, Desert Storm has had a major impact on missile and WMD proliferation. Essentially, Desert Storm spurred the international demand for missile capabilities. In this regard, one could say that Desert Storm has been the herald of unintended consequences. In the aftermath of the Gulf war, military strategists around the globe examined U.S. weapons and tactics trying to determine how to prevent the United States from doing to them what it had done to Iraq. The Iraqi experience demonstrated that traditional armaments, such as tanks and artillery, primarily served as expensive targets when pitted against precision-guided munitions and information age command and control systems.

It also became clear that missile systems provided important stand off delivery platforms for advanced conventional and unconventional weapons and, although the Scuds were not very effective as a military weapon system, at the theater level they did ensure that a great deal of the western coalition's air power was tied up hunting them. Moreover, Syria
observed that the Scud threat extracted a heavy political and economic toll on Israel. The performance and use of the U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile system further intrigued military strategists. Both ballistic and cruise missile systems hold the promise of being able to penetrate and strike high-value targets, even in the face of an enemy possessing air superiority.

For Iran, the use of missile systems in Desert Storm reinforced the conclusions reached by Iranian decision makers during the Iran-Iraq war: that missiles and WMD systems were essential to Iran's security. India reached a similar conclusion regarding the importance of these systems for establishing its position in the international hierarchy of nations in the next century. In the case of China, those of the old guard who had argued that China could make up for its lack of technological military sophistication by substituting massed manpower for advanced weapon systems were silenced.

Of particular interest is the fact that the United States' Air Land Battle Doctrine, with its emphasis on striking high-value targets based on battle phase and timing of the attack to maximize effects, also changed the focus and thinking of many military establishments as they began to search for ways of generating maximum military pressure against a superior force without being capable of targeting everything on the battlefield. It is ironic that the United States developed Air Land Battle Doctrine as a way of dealing with an attack against Western Europe by massed Soviet armies. Other countries now see the doctrine as providing them with a partial blueprint for handling overwhelming U.S. military capabilities in their respective regions. Thus, the United States should anticipate that its ships, ports, airfields, communication sites, command centers, and logistic bases are likely to be attacked by cruise and ballistic missile systems during future intervention operations.


Russia, of course, still poses a threat to the United States, both in terms of its missile forces and as a source of proliferation. As is generally known (and discussed in detail in Chapter 2 of the study), Russia's military is in disarray; the control that it exercises over its strategic missile forces is weakening, yet it still maintains that force on a short fuse since it is still concerned about a possible preemptive strike by the United States. Unfortunately, there are just too many indicators that point to a weakening nuclear command and control system in Russia. Hence, the possibility that an unauthorized missile launch could occur in Russia is a threat that must be seriously considered (see Chapter 2 of study).

Perhaps of equal or greater significance is the problem of proliferation from Russia. Nuclear materials are leaking across Russia's borders, and the transfer of missile technology and components is also occurring. Much of this trade is taking place outside of official channels. Unfortunately, what now constitutes official channels in Russia is not very clear. In Russia, everything is available for a price. The explosion of crime and corruption in Russia is leading to a fusion of government, industrial, and criminal groups into an integrated whole so that it is often difficult to distinguish their separate roles.

Many of these problems are a result of the rapid demise of the Communist Party in Russia The system of Party rule was eliminated before a rule of law was established. Under the former system, when the Secretary-General of the Communist Party issued an edict, the various Party organizations throughout the Soviet Union ensured that it was executed. Now, who enforces President Yeltsin's edicts? In reality, there is little enforcement. As a result, the central government's authority in Russia is very limited. The lack of funds available to the central government to pay troops, law enforcement personnel, border guards, scientists, and others has further encouraged the growth of criminal activity. It has been estimated that 30-50 percent of criminal profits are used to bribe state officials, at least 30 percent or more of Russia's exports are thought to bypass the customs system, and perhaps as much as 80 percent of Russia's businesses pay 20-30 percent of their profits for protection payments to crime groups. Moreover, organized crime groups control many of the legitimate businesses in the country and exercise control over one-third to one-half of the economic activity in Russia.

Consequently, it should be expected that Russia will be a source of proliferation for the foreseeable future. Russia may also deliberately help to arm potential allies as a means of building a better balance against U.S. power. Iran, India, and China have been specifically cited by some Russian strategists as being potential candidates for membership in an alliance designed to counter the power of the United States, Europe, and Japan. Their thinking is that by providing multiple poles of resistance to U.S. interests, the power of the United States can be diffused.


At the same time, China is emerging as a power in its own right. China now has the capability of striking the United States with an acknowledged 17-20 ICBMs, most of which are the DF-5A with a range of over 13,000 kms. There is a puzzle associated with the DF-5 system. China reportedly has built 10-12 missiles per year of this class since 1978 for a total of 180-216 missiles, 47 of which have been used in space launches as of July 1996. Although a number have been used for testing, no one seems to know the disposition of the other 100-150 missiles. As for the missile's capabilities, from an assumed firing location in Southern China, the DF-5A can carry a 3200 kg payload to anywhere in the world with the exception of Latin America and the edge of West Africa. China is in the process of developing Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) warheads for this missile (which is also expected to incorporate penetration aids). Open source accounts indicate that by the year 2000, the DF-5As are likely to be equipped with 6-9 RVs per missile (one account claims that four missiles have already been MIRVed).

China also has several missile modernization programs. The DF-31 mobile missile will have 8000 kms range and will be able to strike Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest. The DF-31 should be deployed by the year 2000. This same missile will be produced in a naval version called the JL-2. It will be deployed on China's new Type 094 nuclear submarine by about 2005. A 12,000 km range mobile missile, the DF-41, is also expected to be deployed by 2010. In addition, China has a family of tactical missile systems that it values for their ability to strike high-value targets on China's periphery.

Chinese strategists are in the process of discussing warfighting strategies for the missile and nuclear forces. They are particularly interested in being able to use tactical missiles for assured penetration of high-value targets on the periphery while being able to control escalation at the strategic level. Chinese strategists apparently do not rule out the use of WMD warheads if necessary to obtain their objectives in wars on China's periphery.

In this regard, China has a real concern regarding the survivability of a second-strike missile force. Lacking a comprehensive early warning system, China has long worried about the possibility of a preemptive strike. In an effort to ensure the security of its deterrent force, there are some suspicions that China may have created extensive tunnel complexes (perhaps as much as 5000 kms) in which to hide its missile forces. The massive 12-year effort is thought to have been called the Great Wall project. If these suspicions prove correct, China has a strategic strike force that might be protected by more than one-km of overhead earth, allowing the missiles to move into adjacent gorges for firing. Considering China's evolving thinking on nuclear warfighting doctrine, coupled with its general sensitivity to sovereignty issues, the possibility should be considered that in the event the United States finds itself in a major confrontation with China (similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis), China might not back down if it, in fact, has an assured retaliatory missile force deep underground. (Note: Soviet missile forces were vulnerable to preemption during the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

Complicating the situation is the international tension that is created by China's role as a missile proliferator. This role has three aspects:


As was discussed at length in Chapter 4 of the study, India also has some 65-200 nuclear devices and a growing missile capability. Its polar space launch vehicle (PSLV) uses a solid booster for its first stage with a reported one million pounds of thrust. The PSLV could now be adopted as an 8000 km range ICBM if India decided to do so. It is expected that parts of the PSLV are being incorporated into the rumored Surya ICBM. The Surya is believed to have begun development in 1994 and could be ready for testing within the next year or two (although U.S. diplomatic maneuvering may be slowing the program). As can be seen in the figure shown in the executive summary, if the Surya does achieve its expected range of 12,000 kms, from New Delhi it would be able to strike targets in the United States north of a line extending from Raleigh, NC, to Eugene, OR. While India is unlikely to be rash in using its future ICBM capability, India also has corruption problems which could make it a source of missile and nuclear proliferation. For example, the designs for its PSLV may have already migrated to Pakistan in 1994 (a scandal that is currently under investigation).

North Korea

North Korea is deploying the 1000 km range Nodong missile system this year and is known to be working on the development of the Taepodong 2 (TD-2) missile that is expected to have a range of 4000-6000 kms. In practical terms, the TED-2 will be capable of targeting Guam and Alaska, with the early warning radar at Shemya, the oil fields near Point Barrow, and the cities of Fairbanks and Anchorage being the most likely hostage targets that North Korea could threaten with this system (see the executive summary of the study). North Korea wants to develop an ICBM as a means of deterring the United States; its TD-2 missile is believed to be a part of that program. However, the missile is reportedly experiencing some problems in development. The amount of delay these problems will cause in fielding the system is unknown. Current public estimates look for the TD-2, to be fielded between 2000-2005 (if North Korea survives as a separate state).

Possibility of ICBM Transfer

Unfortunately, indigenously produced missiles may not be the only threat to the United States. One of the more serious possibilities raised by the study is that the long-held idea that nations will not transfer ICBMs to other states may not prove true as the next decade unfolds.

As noted earlier, with respect to control in Russia and, to a certain extent, Ukraine, sensitive technologies are flowing out of these countries at an increasing rate. Central control over Russia's mobile ICBM systems, such as the SS-25, is becoming tenuous as living conditions and discipline in those units decline. There is also no guarantee that this system or some other model of ICBM could not be transferred to another country directly from factory representatives as knock-down kits for assembly. As discussed in the report, it is relatively easy to bribe materials out of Russia.

Many officials, factory managers, military officers, enforcement personnel, and organized crime groups are willing to engage in illegal activities for a price. This willingness apparently includes the transfer of MTCR restricted long-range missiles and missile technology. For example, one SS-25 may have already been sold to China, and there are unconfirmed reports that 45 of the SS-25's replacement, the Topol M, may have been offered for sale to India by Russian military officials. If so, the taboo on transfer of long-range ballistic missiles may already be weakening. The recent reports of a suspected transfer of Russian SS-4 missile technology and components to Iran further underlines this concern.

It should be kept in mind that the view of the ICBM as a strategic system is a perspective held most strongly by the United States. That thinking is heavily influenced by the existence of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and friendly neighbors. To Russia and China, shorter-range missile systems on their borders are strategic systems. As medium range missiles proliferate on the peripheries of these two countries, it could well be that the decision makers involved will no longer see a reason for withholding ICBM technology to the states along the Eurasian rimland. From their perspective, since they will already be threatened, there will be no reason to protect the United States from being subjected to the same type of situation rather than lose potential missile sales that could benefit their own economic well-being.

One of the more serious scenarios might involve the transfer of ICBMs to North Korea. If North Korea made a decision to reunify the Korean peninsula by military conquest, it might first make a major effort to acquire some number of ICBMs as a deterrent against U.S. intervention in defense of South Korea. Although the missiles could be mobile SS25s moved across the border from Russia, they could just as well be missile component assemblies acquired from Russian factories for final assembly in North Korean facilities. Since North Korea has hundreds of underground fortified sites, it could easily hide this missile force undetected until needed to force the United States to leave South Korea to its fate.

Such a development would pose a major quandary for U.S. decision makers. If they decide the U.S. will fight in the defense of South Korea, several U.S. cities might well be destroyed. If they decided the risks are too great, and the U.S. sat on the sidelines of the subsequent fight, U.S. credibility as a reliable strategic partner would be destroyed, current allies would likely move to make alternative security arrangements, and many existing trading patterns would change (to the detriment of the United States) as countries sought to develop and strengthen new security relationships. The United States' global position of leadership would be substantially weakened.

Unfortunately, if North Korea should obtain either the SS-25, or its replacement the Topol M, the envisioned first generation U.S. national missile defense capability that could be established by 2003 may have some difficulty making an intercept against the SS-25. The new Topol M, with its advanced penaid capabilities, could prove to be even more challenging. Although the United States' efforts to build a limited national missile defense system prior to 2010 is clearly warranted and should proceed, it should do so with the understanding that the initial systems deployed should not be seen as end products. They will require frequent upgrades as threat technologies mature. As reflected by the findings and recommendations of the study outlined below, there is insufficient effort being devoted to developing the technology that will be required for future insertion in any deployed national missile defense system. The U.S. Congress is currently oriented on funding hardware, not technology. The Administration claims it wants to wait until the technology matures, yet funds technology as a last priority.

Major Findings



The security structure and political alignment in the international community may well change in significant ways prior to 2010. The common perceptions that developed during the Cold War, under conditions of bipolarity, may no longer prove valid under conditions of multipolarity. First, the spread of missile technology is occurring at a rate that cannot be well predicted. Past trend lines are no longer valid as a prediction tool since the international economy, unauthorized exports, and the loss of bloc cohesion has eroded the effectiveness of export controls. Although U.S. diplomatic activity may be successful in slowing proliferation, the long-term odds are stacked against its permanent success. Second, the perception that no country will transfer ICBM systems and technologies may not be true in the future. As was pointed out in the fore going discussion, some movement toward ICBM transfers appears to be occurring. Again, U.S. capabilities to bring economic and political pressure to bear will help to deter this action, it is also possible that these transfers could occur outside of official channels.

The third issue that bears watching is the idea that nuclear weapons are unusable. As was discussed in Chapter 3 of the study, there are at least some in the Chinese military establishment who think otherwise. Unfortunately, if a country such as China has an assured second strike capability, coupled with a nuclear warfighting doctrine, the question must be asked if mutual assured destruction (MAD) doctrine will remain viable in the next century, or could a future antagonist be tempted to conduct a limited strike against one or two U.S. targets with the understanding that any disproportionate retaliation would be met with a massive second spike? In short, does the United States need a limited missile defense to keep MAD viable?

The United States' missile defense program seems to be going in the right direction in that it is structured toward the deployment of hardware. Unfortunately, the systems being developed are first generation developments with limitations against newer-generation missile systems. Unless the United States develops a balanced program that sustains the missile defense effort indefinitely (25-50 years into the future), the missile defense systems deployed could always be one generation behind the offensive systems they were intended to defend against.

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: U.S. 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: U.S. 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)

Attachment 2


Mr. David R. Tanks completed a 25-year military career and joined the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis in September 1991. In addition to extensive military operational experience in Vietnam, Alaska, The Pentagon, and Europe, Mr. Tanks also served as a U.S. delegate (1989-90) to the 22 nation Treaty Negotiation on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CEE) while on detail to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. In addition to drafting two sections of that treaty, he has also authored a broad series of major security studies dealing with Russia, China, future U.S. security considerations, and various arms control issues which, together, provide a solid basis for his latest study effort Exploring U.S. Missile Defense Requirements in 2010: What Are the Policy and Technological Challenges? This study, completed in April 1997, pulls together a wide variety of diverse information related to future missile defense issues, thus ensuring that its findings are based on a broad foundation.

Mr. Tanks has a Bachelor's degree from Alaska Methodist University, a Master's degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, and has completed all but dissertation for a PhD. in World Politics from the Catholic University of America