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



                               before the
                                 of the
                              COMMITTEE ON
                          GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
                          UNITED STATES SENATE
                       ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
                              FIRST SESSION

                           FEBRUARY 12, 1997

    General Goodpaster. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. 
Before I begin, I might say that in addition to my service 
before I retired from the military, I still have some 
connection with nuclear affairs in that I serve as a member of 
the President's Council of the University of California which 
has oversight over the two weapons laboratories, Los Alamos and 
Livermore, in addition to Berkeley Laboratory. My statement 
today is a personal statement and in no way reflects views that 
may be held by any of those organizations.
    But I welcome the opportunity to present these views. I 
think the issue is timely with regard to shaping future 
programs, and it is very important to future security. I 
proceed from two fundamental propositions. First, that American 
security should be the basis for our nuclear weapons policies 
and actions, and, second, that the central role for nuclear 
weapons should be to limit and reduce the nuclear danger to 
American security.
    What I would like to do, Mr. Chairman, is make my full 
statement available to the Committee and just give highlights 
in the interest of time.
    Senator Cochran. We appreciate that, General, and your full 
statement will be made a part of the record without objection.
    General Goodpaster. On the basis I just stated, I think 
that the future of nuclear deterrence should be seen as one of 
three components of a coordinated three-pronged effort. The 
first, cooperative nuclear threat reduction, most importantly 
between Russia and the United States. The second, sustained 
comprehensive nonproliferation and counter-proliferation 
efforts. And the third, nuclear deterrence focused on 
preventing use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by others 
against us or our allies.
    This must be a sustained and coordinated effort, and 
American leadership will be essential if this is to be moved 
forward. Now the motivation for such an effort is clear, in my 
opinion. And I quote from President Eisenhower, who had a 
talent for getting to the heart of issues of this kind, that 
nuclear weapons are the only thing that can destroy the United 
States. And second, as many have said, the Cold War is indeed 
over, and we have an opportunity to realign military policy and 
posture to consolidate a major enhancement of American 
security, which has now become possible. Secretary Perry said 
that fewer weapons of mass destruction in fewer hands makes the 
United States and the world safer, and I very much agree.
    I would like to insert both in my full statement and to 
read at this time a concern that has been expressed by some of 
my senior military colleagues, that by urging nuclear arsenal 
reduction, we are somehow denigrating the important, vitally 
important role that these nuclear-armed military forces 
successfully served during the Cold War. It would be a 
regrettable mistake, in my view, to be drawn into such a view. 
During that time, our very survival was at stake. Our nuclear 
weapons served their Cold War purpose and served it well. I 
might say, as NATO's Commander-in-Chief, I had some 7,000 
nuclear weapons under my responsibility, and they played a 
vital part, in my opinion, in maintaining the peace in Europe 
that we have enjoyed since World War II.
    Security was successfully preserved. War with the Soviets 
was successfully avoided. I at least and many others who served 
in the military forces, including notably our highly trained, 
highly skilled nuclear forces, have no doubt that our nuclear 
forces played a central, crucial, indispensable role in that 
process. I might say I myself was drawn on many occasions into 
the argument ``better Red than dead.'' My rejoinder was always 
``Better neither than either,'' and that, in fact, was the 
outcome thanks in crucial part to our highly capable nuclear 
weapons and nuclear forces. But the Cold War is gone, and now 
it is time to look at the new possibilities and the new 
opportunities of this new era.
    I think we must make a very clear distinction between 
eliminating most nuclear weapons and eliminating all of them. 
No one now knows whether, when, how to eliminate all in a 
prudent way. This can be, as our country has stated, our 
ultimate goal, but it can only be an ultimate goal at this 
time. On the other hand, it should be the beacon toward which 
we work. At the same time, we do know how to eliminate most 
nuclear weapons, and it will be in our interest to do so, and 
that really is my proposal. That effort is realistic. It will 
be beneficial to American security, and it will be worth the 
time, the hard work, that it will demand for a long time to 
come in order to make a prudent course of action.
    It will take 10 years or more to get down to the START II 
level of nuclear weapons. We could eliminate nuclear weapons at 
the rate of about 2,000 a year, which was the rate at which 
they were built. And during that time, we can see how well the 
Nonproliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty 
succeed, and how the world security environment develops, and 
how far we can get with the Cooperative Nuclear Threat 
Reduction programs. And at the end of that time or as that time 
goes along, we should be in much better position to assess the 
practical possibility and the prudence of attempts to eliminate 
all. I myself regard the argument over complete abolition at 
this time as diversionary and to a degree counterproductive. As 
I say, no one knows whether, when, how to eliminate all nuclear 
weapons in a prudent way.
    What we can do now is proceed with cooperative nuclear 
threat reduction and that requires in the first instance the 
safeguarded mutual downsizing of American and Russian nuclear 
arsenals, and that should be our top priority. We should move 
the START II ratification by the Duma along, and already 
discussed has been the idea of developing a statement of 
principles for START III to come into effect, and the 
negotiation for START III to begin when START II has been 
ratified. That should provide impetus to the Duma ratification 
    And there could be an agreement that there would be no 
adverse change in deployments of nuclear weapons during that 
process of negotiation, and that would meet another of the 
concerns expressed by the Russians concerning the enlargement 
of NATO nuclear deployments. Along with this, we should 
continue reductions on a five-nation basis as the American and 
Russian reductions proceed to what I term the lowest verifiable 
level consistent with stable security to which agreed 
commitment can be reached. I myself have proposed for 
consideration a level of 100 to 200 weapons. That sounds like a 
small number against the thousands and tens of thousands that 
we have had, but it is not a small number when you think of 
Hiroshima or Nagasaki or the damage at Chernobyl. I have found 
that the Russians are very conscious now of what damage a 
single weapon can do, and that some of the discussion about 
exchanges of very large numbers of weapons is, as Eisenhower 
used to say, it is just a form of insanity.
    I mention that much hard work has to be done. It needs to 
be done step by step in setting policy, in formulating 
proposals, in carrying out negotiation, in restructuring our 
forces, in new targeting plans and doctrines, in stockpile 
management, in verification procedures. The Nunn-Lugar 
initiative, the Cooperative Threat Reduction initiative, has 
been tremendously valuable and should be sustained and 
    The second of the three-prongs that I mentioned is 
nonproliferation and counter-proliferation. I spell that out in 
a bit of detail in my full remarks. We start from the 
Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely extended in 1995. That is 
the cornerstone, and it is reinforced by the Comprehensive Test 
Ban Treaty. There is a well-defined array of measures, both 
national and international, by which nonproliferation and 
counter-proliferation can be supported and extended. They 
include detection, use of our intelligence means to know at an 
early time what anyone else is doing, particularly what they 
may be doing to acquire the weapons materials out of which the 
weapons are made. That is the most demanding requirement that a 
proliferant will have to meet either through developing the 
materials himself or acquiring them from some other source, and 
that remains extremely important. That is the second element, 
which is to deny his access to materials of that kind and the 
equipment and the manufacturing capabilities that would enable 
him to build these weapons, to do that so far as possible.
    To dissuade through incentives and disincentives is next, 
and there we can draw upon the experience of Brazil and 
Argentina and South Africa among others in deciding not to go 
that route. But then if nevertheless he develops the weapons, 
to deter him from their use, and you deter through the 
capability to punish him quickly and in devastating fashion and 
to defeat and destroy, destroy his capability, decisively and 
    No single one of these would be sufficient. Together they 
are a powerful contribution to American security. And those two 
prongs of policy now, I think, tell us what our nuclear 
deterrence policy should be. The basis for it is that so long 
as nuclear weapons exist or could be produced, the United 
States must maintain its own nuclear weapons arsenal that is 
safe, reliable, operationally effective, and adequate in types 
and numbers. Two roles for those weapons are involved. The 
first is to assure that no use or threatened use of nuclear 
weapons against us or our allies would occur by anybody that 
has those weapons, and the second, as I mentioned earlier, is 
to deter nations that are now non-nuclear from building or 
otherwise acquiring them.
    I myself reject giving primary status in the overall role 
of our nuclear deterrent to other roles such as against 
chemical and biological weapons use or threat. Our primary 
reliance there should be on our conventional capability, but we 
will, in fact, have nuclear weapons for many, many years, and 
there will be what some have called an existential deterrent 
that they provide against people using or threatening chemical 
and biological attack against us if indeed we ever had to make 
use of those nuclear weapons.
    More important in my mind is that we should not through 
reliance on nuclear weapons use that as an excuse for failing 
to provide the kind of conventional capability that we ought to 
have to respond to chemical or biological threat.
    Other uses have also been argued, for example that if you 
remove the nuclear weapons or reduce to a low level, you will 
be making the world safe for conventional war. It is sometimes 
said that our nuclear weapons should have the broad role of war 
prevention. That, I think, is an issue that requires the 
judgment of our political leaders. Does the added contribution 
of going beyond preventing the use of nuclear weapons to 
preventing all forms of conflict justify a continuing reliance 
on nuclear weapons that can destroy the United States? It is a 
hard issue, but that is an issue that will need to be 
considered and decided.
    A third argument is that this could cause Germany and Japan 
to go nuclear. I think that all of these if they are closely 
examined will be found to be unpersuasive. The constraints 
against Germany and Japan going nuclear are very great. First 
of all, there is no need for them, no foreseeable need for them 
to do it, and, second, if that were ever to become a serious 
possibility, it would be destabilizing in terms of the security 
that they both now enjoy.
    Out of this comes the requirement for Stockpile Stewardship 
and Management, which involves, as earlier stated, 
responsibilities of both the Department of Energy and the 
Department of Defense. The Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship 
program is of very great importance in that regard. As our 
weapons age, there will not now be the capability of testing 
and this will be very demanding of our nuclear laboratories. A 
second point, our laboratories are called upon to maintain the 
capability, the capacity, for producing new weapons. The 
designers, those with experience, are like many of the rest of 
us, beginning to age a bit, like the weapons themselves, and 
this confronts the laboratories with another problem. So the 
importance of maintaining that Science-Based Stewardship 
program can hardly be overemphasized.
    On the military side, there are comparable needs. As our 
nuclear posture changes with continuing weapons reductions of 
the kinds contemplated, there will be a need, as I mentioned, 
few new targeting doctrines, new alert provisions, new 
operational plans. All will need to be developed and supported 
at proper levels of effectiveness through training, through 
force modernization, through intelligence activities, 
particularly concerning potential proliferants, as well as 
tight coupling to the higher decision-making and the policy 
echelons of our government.
    These are some of the principal prerequisites to 
maintaining our nuclear deterrent at the effectiveness 
required, providing assurance that the weapons we possess are 
at all times safe, reliable, and adequate to deter or respond 
to breakout or clandestine violations of agreements that other 
nations may have made with us on the levels and types of 
weapons to be retained, or to take account of an adverse turn 
in the major nations' relationships. Those are capabilities 
that we should have.
    I would like to conclude simply by commenting that this 
poses a special challenge. It is the challenge of doing two 
things at once: downsizing while maintaining effectiveness, but 
that is simply comparable to the challenge that we face for our 
armed forces as a whole at this time, and that is being met I 
think very satisfactorily. The real point is that when you 
apply this in the nuclear area, you have to realize that this 
area has a special impact on American security so it becomes 
all the more important that we carry out the downsizing and 
maintain the effectiveness at the same time in this area. Thank 
you for the opportunity to present these views, Mr. Chairman.