The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Allard). Under the previous order, there will now be 45 minutes of debate on the motion to proceed to S. 1873, the American Missile Protection Act of 1998.
Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, the issue we are debating this morning is not new to the Senate. In May of this year, the Senate voted on a motion to invoke cloture so that we could proceed to consider the American Missile Protection Act. That motion was not successful. The vote was 59 in favor and 41 against. Therefore, we fell one vote short of invoking cloture so the Senate could proceed to debate the American Missile Protection Act.
We have another chance today, Mr. President, to go on record in favor of considering this bill. So it should be put in context what we are voting for and what we are not voting for. We are not voting to pass the bill without any debate. That is not the issue. We are voting to proceed to consider the bill. Now let us put in context what the facts are today as compared with last May when we fell just one vote short of voting to consider this bill.
At the time we voted in May, India had just tested--that very day--for the second time, a nuclear weapons device. We were not aware that India was going to conduct that test. Our intelligence community was surprised. All the world was surprised.
We used that example to urge the Senate to change our current policy on national missile defense, because the current policy is that we will make a decision to deploy a national missile defense system if we learn that some nation has developed the capacity to put us at risk, to threaten the security of American citizens with a ballistic missile system.
So the assumption is that our intelligence community and our resources for learning things like this are so sophisticated and so reliable that we will be able to detect this, that we will have an early warning, that we will be able to know well in advance of any nation having the capability of inflicting damage or destruction on America's soil, through a ballistic missile system, in enough time that we could deploy a national missile defense system.
Another consideration is that we have not yet developed a national missile defense system. We have various programs that are being tested in various stages of development--theater ballistic missile defense systems--that can defend us against regional attacks, shorter-range attacks. But this bill is talking about a national ballistic missile defense system and whether or not our policy should be to wait and see if other countries develop the capability to put us at risk and then decide--then decide--whether we should work to deploy a system to protect against that kind of threat.
What has changed since the vote in May is that not only did Pakistan proceed to test a nuclear device--we were not sure they were going to do that--they also had just recently tested a missile system that we did not know they had. We had been told a few months earlier that they had a missile system that was in the 180 mile range. They tested one that had a range of about 900 miles without our knowing they had the capability to do that, without our knowing that they had that missile. But they had acquired either the missile, the component parts, or the design from other countries or another country--according to press reports, North Korea was involved in that--and they were able to actually launch that across that distance, and it was a surprise to our intelligence community, to our country and to the world.
Those events occurred about the time we voted in May. Since then, look what has happened. Iran has tested a longer-range missile than we expected them to have. North Korea has tested and has fired a multiple-stage ballistic missile.
We had discussed the fact that that was possibly under development, the Taepo Dong missile. We are calling it the Taepo Dong I because we are told that there is a Taepo Dong II under development. That has been publicly reported in the press.
The missile that was tested the other day by North Korea, the multiple-stage missile, was fired over Japan. There was evidence that the missile actually crossed the territory of Japan. Do you realize, Mr. President--I know Members of the Senate are aware--that we have some 37,000 Americans deployed in South Korea as a part of a defense stability effort in that region, and we have more than that in Japan, in the Okinawa area?
The whole point is that if you consider all of that, we have 80,000 Americans who are at risk now because of the proven capability of North Korea and its new advanced missile capability. We have gone to great lengths in the last few years to dissuade North Korea from proceeding to develop nuclear weapons. We were very concerned that they were proceeding to do just that. Some think that they have made substantial progress in doing just that.
Incidentally, the Taepo Dong II that I just mentioned has the capacity of striking the territory of the United States. Many troops and military assets and resources are located in Alaska. According to press reports, the Taepo Dong II would have the capacity to destroy that area, as well as striking Hawaii.
Now, the issue is, do we proceed with the wait-and-see policy of this administration, or do we today vote to proceed to consider legislation that will change that policy, that will say as soon as technology permits, the United States will deploy a national missile defense system that will protect it against ballistic missile attack, whether unauthorized or accidental or intentional. We have all worried about accidental and unauthorized launches from China and Russia. We know those countries have the capability of striking us. But think about this other fact: What else has changed recently?
The United States has observed the Russian Government slowly deteriorate to the point that the command and control structure of the military is seriously in question. Who really controls the armed forces of Russia to the point that you can rely upon the good intentions of the Yeltsin government not to target U.S. sites with their missile systems, their intercontinental ballistic missiles, the most lethal and accurate of any other country in the world, with multitudes of warheads, nuclear-tipped warheads? We are sitting here hoping and assuming that we can continue to work with Russia and whatever government does come out of the struggle for power there to continue to destroy nuclear weapons under Russian control rather than to build them up and make them more accurate and lethal.
By the way, it is not like they have dismantled the nuclear weapon systems in Russia. They exist. They are lethal. They are capable of striking anywhere in the United States they might decide to strike, and we are glad that they don't have any intention of doing that. But they have the capability of doing that and there could be an unauthorized or accidental launch and we have absolutely no defense against that kind of attack. We have been operating under the assumption that we can assure them we will retaliate--we have the capacity to--and we will destroy any country who attempts to strike us in that way. That has been the system for defense that we have had.
We have had no defense. The defense is that we will destroy you if you attack us in that way. That doesn't work with North Korea or Iran or some other rogue states, leaders, and terrorists who have announced that it is their stated goal to kill Americans and to destroy America and to build missile systems to do that or to sell missile systems to those who want to do that. North Korea said just that. An official stated publicly that they are in the business of selling missile systems. They need the money. That was the explanation. We know that is true. They have sold missile systems; they have sold component parts. Russia has people who are cooperating in Iran right now, and have in the past, to develop systems that could inflict great damage not only in that region but beyond.
Now, some are saying that we already have authorization and funds in the pipeline to develop these missile systems to protect us--interceptor missiles--and we read about the testing that is going on of theater systems. But we have no program that has as its goal the development and deployment of a missile defense that will protect the United States against unauthorized, accidental, or intentional ballistic missile attack.
That is what this legislation addresses. It has two parts. The first is recitation of all of the facts that we have been able to gather through hearings over the last 2 years in our Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services. We have had hearings. We have published a report called Proliferation Primer. It has been widely distributed. It documents the fact that throughout the world there is a growing capability for the use of ballistic missiles.
We talk about how it is happening and what people are saying who are in charge of those countries who are involved in this. It clearly, in our view, justified our asking this Congress to legislate a change in our policy to carry out now the express recommendations of the Rumsfeld Commission, which has, since our vote in May, given its report on the state of affairs regarding the ballistic missile threat to the United States. It was concluded in that report that our intelligence community does not have the capacity for making the early warning assessment that is contemplated under current administration policy.
The Director of Central Intelligence has admitted in previous statements to the Senate that there are gaps and uncertainties in the information that his agency can obtain in making decisions about whether or not countries are developing or have the capacity to deploy ballistic missile systems that put our Nation at risk. Now that assessment and that description of the situation has been borne out by those recent developments.
Admiral Jeremiah made a recent study of our intelligence agencies in the wake of some of these events, and he reported a similar problem.
Given those facts, Mr. President, it seems clear to me, the cosponsors of this legislation, and 59 Senators, that the time has come to change the policy from wait and see to proceed as soon as technologically possible to deploy a national missile defense system to protect the security interests of the United States and its citizens. There is no higher responsibility that this Government has--no higher responsibility, no priority any greater--than the security of U.S. citizens. We are putting that security at risk, Mr. President, under the current policy. It is as clear as anything can be.
The time has come today--this morning at 9:45 a.m: to vote to proceed to consider this proposal, which simply calls for the deployment, as soon as technology permits, of a national missile defense system.
Mr. President, I urge Senators to vote in support of the motion to invoke cloture.
I ask unanimous consent that several articles pertaining to this subject be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
Washington--Rogue nations or terrorists could develop and deploy ballistic missiles for an attack against the United States with `little or no warning,' an independent commission announced Wednesday.
But senior American intelligence officials disputed the finding, which challenges a longstanding intelligence estimate that no country except Russia and China, which already possess ballistic missiles, could hit American targets, and that North Korea could perhaps field long-range missiles before 2010.
The unanimous conclusions of the bipartisan commission, headed by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, provide fresh ammunition for supporters of a national missile defense, and sharpen an election-year issue that Republicans want to wield against the administration and Democrats in Congress.
`It's a very sobering conclusion,' said Speaker Newt Gingrich, a strong supporter of national missile defenses, who called on the administration to work with Congress in the next several months to address the heightened threat as described in the report.
The United States has spent more than $40 billion since the Reagan administration to build a space- or land-based defense against ballistic missile strikes, but has yet to construct a workable network.
Indeed, a report Wednesday by the General Accounting Office, the auditing arm of Congress, concluded that it is unlikely that a program to develop a national missile defense will meet an important deadline in 2000.
The commission did not address the merit of any particular defensive system, focusing instead on the ballistic missile threat to the United States.
`The major implication of our conclusions is that warning time is reduced,' said Rumsfeld, who was defense secretary under President Gerald Ford. `We see an environment of little or no warning of ballistic missile threats to the U.S. from several emerging powers.'
The commission singled out North Korea, Iran and Iraq for scrutiny. For
example, the panel's report said, `We judge that Iran now has the technical capability and resources to demonstrate an ICBM-range ballistic missile' similar to a North Korean model.
But in a letter sent to Congress on Wednesday, George Tenet, the director of Central Intelligence, said the government stood by a threat assessment first made in 1995 and reaffirmed most recently in March.
The government assessments, Tenet said in his letter, `were supported by the available evidence and were well tested' in an internal review.
But the commission, in its 300-page classified report delivered to the House and Senate on Wednesday, as well as in an unclassified 27-page version, said the American intelligence community was wrong in relying on the much-longer warning times.
Rumsfeld said rogue nations, such as Iran and Iraq, had obtained sensitive missile technology, in part because of loosened export controls among industrialized nations. `Foreign assistance is not a wildcard,' Rumsfeld said. `It is a fact of our relaxed post-Cold-War world.'
Rumsfeld also said that these suspect countries had become more adept at concealing their missile programs, making it more difficult for Western intelligence analysts to gauge a country's progress and intentions.
In a hastily called briefing for reporters, senior intelligence officials said Wednesday that the commission had examined the same information available to government analysts, but had come to different conclusions.
These intelligence officials said that they tended to focus on specific evidence to reach their conclusions, assigning various degrees of certainty to each assessment.
The intelligence officials said the panel, officially titled the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, took the same information and, in essence, assumed the worst about what was known for a particular country's missile program, and drew its conclusions.
Rumsfeld concurred: `We came at this subject as senior decision-makers would, who have to make difficult judgments based on limited information.'
For that reason, the report, even though it was praised in particular by Republicans, is likely to stoke the debate over ballistic missile threats rather than be viewed as the definitive conclusion.
Iran conducted its first test flight of a new medium-range missile Tuesday night, giving the Islamic republic the capability of hitting Israel and all U.S. forces in the region with chemical or biological warheads, The Washington Times has learned.
`It is a significant development because it puts all U.S. forces in the region at risk,' said one official familiar with the test.
U.S. intelligence agencies detected and monitored the launch, which took place at a missile range over land in northern Iran late Tuesday night, said officials familiar with intelligence reports.
The missile was identified as Iran's new Shahab-3 missile, which is expected to have a range of 800 to 930 miles, far longer than any of Iran's current arsenal of short-range Scud-design and Chinese missiles.
Data on the test are still being analyzed, but the missile appeared to be a modified North Korean Nodong missile, which Iran is using as the basis for its Shahab-3 design.
The launch has raised new fears that Iran has acquired more Nodongs, which have a range of about 620 miles, from North Korea.
Intelligence officials said the Shahab-3 is a liquid-fueled system carried on a road-mobile launcher. Mobile launchers are extremely difficult to detect and track.
The Shahab is believed by U.S. intelligence agencies to be inaccurate and thus is expected to be armed with chemical or biological warheads. Iran is developing nuclear warheads but is believed to be years away from having them.
Officials said the test's success is significant because U.S. military planners must regard the weapon as capable of being used even though it was only fired once.
North Korea's Nodong also was flight-tested only once and recently was declared `operational' by the Pentagon, which puts it in a position to threaten U.S. troops throughout that region.
In April, Pakistan for the first time also tested a Nodong-design missile called the Ghauri.
A congressional report released last week by a commission set up to assess the missile threat said, `Iran is making very rapid progress in developing the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missiles.
`This missile may be flight tested at any time and deployed soon thereafter,' said the report by the commission, headed by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Iran also is building a longer-range Shahab-4, which is expected to have a range of up to 1,240 miles--long enough to hit Central Europe.
The Shahab--which means `meteor' in Farsi--was first disclosed by The Times last year.
`The development of long-range ballistic missiles is part of Iran's effort to become a major regional military power,' a Pentagon official said recently.
A second U.S. official said data on the missile test are being evaluated by U.S. spy agencies to determine in more detail its estimated range, payload capacity and other characteristics.
`This is something that was anticipated by the intelligence community,' this official said.
The Shahab missile program has benefited greatly from Russian technology and materials, as well as Chinese and North Korean assistance, according to a CIA report on proliferation released Tuesday.
The report said companies and agencies in Russia, China and North Korea `continued to supply missile-related goods and technology to Iran' throughout last year.
`Iran is using these goods and technologies to achieve its goal of becoming self-sufficient in the production of medium-range ballistic missiles,' the report said. A medium-range missile is one with a range between 600 and 1,800 miles.
Russian assistance to Iran's missile program has meant Tehran could deploy a medium-range missile `much sooner than otherwise expected,' the CIA said.
A U.S. intelligence official said recently that Shahab-3 deployment was about one year away and that before Russian help it had been estimated to be up to three years from being fielded.
The Iranian Shahab program has been a target of intense diplomatic efforts by the Clinton administration, which has been seeking to curtail Russian technology and material assistance.
Asked to comment on the test, Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican, said it was `devastating news.' He said the test confirms the findings of a bipartisan congressional panel that emerging missile threats are hard to predict.
`We now have evidence that Iran has already tested a missile system that the intelligence community said would not be tested for 12 to 18 months,' he said. `That means the threat to Israel, to our Arab friends in the region and to our 25,000 troops in the region is imminent, and we have no deployed system in place to counter that threat.'
Mr. Weldon, a member of the House National Security Committee and an advocate of missile defenses, said Iran would most likely deploy chemical or biological weapons on the Shahab-3, depending on what types of advanced guidance systems it may have obtained from Russia.
`There is evidence Iran is aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons and within a short period of time--months not years--will have a nuclear warhead,' Mr. Weldon said.
Henry Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said the test firing shows that long-range missiles are likely to be the threat of the future.
`This stuff is moving a lot faster than we thought five years ago in the Bush administration,' said Mr. Sokolski, a former defense official.
When the history books on the 21st century are written, the Shehab-3 may show up on a list of early warning signs that schoolchildren memorize about great catastrophes. The medium-range ballistic missile that Iran tested last week is just that--a warning that the missile threat is here and now, not years away. The coming catastrophe is a ballistic missile attack on an undefended U.S. or U.S. ally by a rogue nation.
You can't say we haven't been warned. The week before the launch of the Shehab-3, made from a North Korean design, a bipartisan panel headed by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld issued a report to Congress on the ballistic missile threat. The unanimous finding? Ballistic missiles from rogue nations could strike American cities with `little or no warning.'
The security and defense experts on the Rumsfeld Commission noted that North Korea is developing missiles with a 6,200-mile range, capable of reaching as far as Arizona or even Wisconsin, and that Iran is seeking missile components that could result in weapons with similar range, able to hit Pennsylvania or Minnesota. That information is from the unclassified version of the report. The general public doesn't get to hear about the really scary stuff. The bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission report, or course, received little play in the general media, which seems to have concluded somehow that this issue is no big deal.
Earlier this year, Senator Thad Cochran's Subcommittee on International Security reached many of the same conclusions. Using open-source materials, the committee published `The Proliferation Primer,' which lists in detail the progress being made by a host of countries toward the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction. `The Proliferation Primer' didn't make it into the headlines either.
As the Shehab-3 drama was being staged in Iran, Vice President Gore found himself in Russia, playing another scene in the absurd theater of arms control. This is a form of diplomatic drama that employs repetitious and meaningless dialogue and plots that lack logical or realistic development. Over the past 30 years, every act in this ongoing show has been
structured around the same ludicrous theme: arms control works.
And so it goes in Moscow, where Mr. Gore, reading from the usual script, expressed U.S. concern last week about the transfer of Russian missile technology to Iran and other rogue states, and signed two agreements on the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. President Clinton voiced similar concerns in Beijing last month.
Meanwhile, two-dozen countries are hard at work on improvements to their ballistic-missile capabilities and North Korea is exporting do-it-yourself Nodong missile kits like the one that Iran used to build Shehab-3. In addition to all this there is the so-called loose-nukes problem, by which it is feared that a Russian missile might find its way into the hands of a terrorist group.
No arms-control agreement can provide the necessary protection against such threats. Not so long ago the threat was a massive Soviet missile attack, but today it is more likely to be one or two ballistic missiles in the hands of a calculating national leader or government determined to operate outside civilized norms. What do hoary notions of `arms control' have to do with these realities? Is anyone seriously going to propose that the way to keep more Iranian Shehab-3s from being produced is to invite the ayatollahs for a stay at Geneva's finest hotels and a long meeting of the minds across a green baize table?
What prospect is there at all that Iran will `agree,' much less comply with any commitment to give up what it now has? What it has is a medium-range missile that can reach U.S. allies Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia and Egypt. And if similar minds somewhere in the world get hold of a missile capable of reaching San Francisco or Honolulu or New York, what `agreement' could induce them to give that up?
The fact that the U.S. has absolutely no defenses against ballistic-missile-attack is an unacceptably large negative incentive to this country's enemies. The way to deter them is not by signing more archaic arms-control agreements but by researching and deploying a national missile-defense system as quickly as possible after the next President takes office.
North Korea yesterday conducted the first test launch of an extended-range ballistic missile in a provocative flight that crossed Japan and signaled the hard-line regime is now able to threaten more neighboring countries.
The Taepo Dong-1 and its dummy warhead traveled about 1,000 miles, surpassing by 380 miles the reach of North Korea's operational medium-range missile, the No Dong.
Taepo Dong's debut was predicted by Washington. The flight was tracked by U.S. Navy ships and by surveillance aircraft as the missile left northern North Korea, dropped its first stage in the Sea of Japan and then crossed Japan's Honshu island before falling in the Pacific Ocean.
The test of the medium-range missile immediately raised security fears not only in Asia, but in the Middle East and the United States as well.
Republicans in Congress renewed demands for President Clinton to accelerate development of a national missile defense that could intercept incoming ballistic missiles. Mr. Clinton has put off a decision until 2000 despite a blue-ribbon commission's finding that a rogue nation, such as North Korea, could launch a ballistic missile onto U.S. soil within the next five years without warning.
`The test of the Taepo Dong indicates that a North Korean threat to the continental United States is just around the corner,' said Richard Fisher, an Asia expert at the Heritage Foundation. `It is now long past overdue for the administration to finally wake up, smell the coffee and get serious about missile defense.'
By flying the missile directly over Japan, Mr. Fisher said, North Korea is showing it has the ability to hit U.S. military facilities there and can eventually field a missile capable of hitting bases farther south in Okinawa. `Okinawa is the military reserve area for the United States in any potential Korean peninsula conflict,' he said.
David Wright, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and researcher at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said of utmost concern is `that this is a two-state missile.'
Creating a multiple-stage missile is `one of the more complicated hurdles . . . in developing a longer range,' he said. `But in and of itself it doesn't give much new capability to North Korea.
`The accuracy of these missiles is very low,' he told Agence France-Presse, adding that they would most likely be used to carry biological or chemical weapons.
Japan reacted to the test by abruptly withdrawing plans to extend $1 billion in aid to build two civilian nuclear reactors. North Korea agreed to shut down its nuclear-weapons program in exchange for the two plants and U.S. deliveries of fuel oil.
Japanese analysts saw the missile launch as a ploy in winning concessions from the West during ongoing nuclear-disarmament talks in New York.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, visiting Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, said, `This is something that we will be raising with North Koreans in the talks that are currently going on,' the Associated Press reported.
A South Korean Cabinet meeting of 15 ministers said North Korea's `reckless' test-firing of a missile over Japanese territory poses a direct threat to the region.
North Korea is the world's largest exporter of ballistic missiles. It has been helping Iran develop a missile arsenal that can reach deployed American forces, moderate Arab states and Israel. A North Korean envoy told congressional aides last week the motive for exporting missile technology is simple: badly needed hard currency for the famine-ridden country.
Intelligence officials said Iranian technicians observed yesterday's test, underscoring the close ties between Pyongyang and Tehran, which tested its own medium-range missile, the Shahab-3, with a range of about 800 miles, last month.
North Korea, which boasts a 5-million-man army and stocks of chemical and biological weapons, is also developing the intermediate range Taepo Dong-2. Scheduled for operation in 2002, the weapon is designed to travel up to 3,700 miles, putting it within range of Alaska. Eventually, Pyongyang wants to deploy an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental United States.
The U.S. has 37,000 troops stationed in South Korea, where they are already vulnerable to North Korea's arsenal of short-range missiles and thousands of artillery pieces. The forces enjoy limited protection through Patriot interceptors used in the 1991 Persian Gulf war to knock down Iraqi Scud missiles.
Maj. Bryan Salas, a Pentagon spokesman, said, `We were not surprised by the launching. We're still evaluating all the specifics in the matter and we consider it a serious development.'
The missile test comes as Mr. Clinton and Republicans are at odds on national missile defense.
The GOP got a boost this summer when a congressionally appointed panel of experts, led by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, stated the United States could be blindsided by a missile attack within the next five years from North Korea or another rogue nation.
But the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a letter disclosed last week by The Washington Times, rejected the finding and continued to support a 2003 deployment date at the earliest for a national system.
`The administration needs to wake up,' said Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican and a leading missile defense advocate. `From what we know about this missile, it can even reach U.S. soil with a range that can strike U.S. citizens in Guam.'
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican, added: `The administration's decision to block development and deployment of missile defenses means we are unable to protect either our important allies . . . or the thousands of American troops stationed there.'
North Korea has the expertise to mount chemical and biological warheads on its ballistic missiles. It also has been attempting to develop nuclear weapons, but promised to end the program in return for economic aid.
`When you begin to feed the wolf, the wolf just gets hungrier and hungrier,' Mr. Fisher said. `The aid to North Korea since 1995 can be said to have indirectly assisted the North Korean missile program because it allowed them to spend less money on feeding their people and sustain their missile develop budgets.'
The Rumsfeld panel dismissed a CIA conclusion the United States faces no ballistic missile threat from a rogue nation for 15 years. The panel was particularly leery of North Korea and its ally, Iran.
Its report said: `The extraordinary level of resources North Korea and Iran are now devoting to developing their own ballistic missile capabilities poses a substantial and immediate danger to the U.S., its vital interest and its allies. . . . In light of the considerable difficulties the intelligence community encountered in assessing the pace and scope of the No Dong missile program, the U.S. may have very little warning prior to the deployment of the Taepo Dong-2.'
Mr. LEVIN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan is recognized.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I yield myself 6 minutes.
Mr. President, this bill will not contribute to our national security. As a matter of fact, it will weaken and jeopardize our national security.
That is not just me saying it and those of us who oppose this bill. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has written us a very, very strong letter supporting the current national missile defense policy, which is to develop defenses against these long-range missiles but not to commit to deploy such defenses, since such a commitment will violate an agreement that we have with Russia which has made it possible for us to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in this world.
Committing to break out of a treaty which has allowed us to reduce the number of nuclear weapons will result in Russia--they have told us this--not ratifying START II, and then, indeed, deciding to reverse the START I reductions. START I reductions, START II reductions, and hopefully START III reductions are based on an agreement that we have with Russia that neither party will deploy defenses against long-range missiles.
If we violate that agreement--this bill commits us to a position which would violate that agreement--if we violate that agreement, we are going to see Russia reverse the direction in which it is going--reduction of nuclear weapons. Indeed, there will be a much greater threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, because thousands of additional weapons will then be on Russian soil.
This bill is a pro-proliferation of a nuclear weapons bill. That is not the intent, obviously. But that is the effect of this bill, because instead of Russia just having a few thousand nuclear weapons on its soil--which are then subject to being stolen, or pilfered, or sold--it will have many more thousands of nuclear weapons.
It is not in the security interests of this Nation to trash the START II agreement by threatening another treaty called the Antiballistic Missile Treaty upon which START II is based, upon which START I is based, and upon hopefully START III will be based.
Can we negotiate a modification in that ABM Treaty? I hope so. Might it be desirable for both sides to move to defenses against long-range missiles? I think so. Should we develop defenses against long-range missiles but not commit to violate the ABM Treaty by committing to deploy those missiles? Yes. We should develop those defenses. And we are at a breakneck speed--by the way, a very high-risk speed.
This bill, which would change our policy, will not speed up the development of national missile defenses by 1 day. We are already developing those defenses as fast as we possibly can.
Mr. President, I want to just read briefly--if my 4 minutes are up, I ask for an additional 2 minutes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote Senator Inhofe a letter on August 24, which I ask unanimous consent to be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
CHAIRMAN OF THE
Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Washington, DC, August 24, 1998.
Hon. James M. Inhofe,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Senator Inhofe: Thank you for the opportunity to provide my views, together with those of the Joint Chiefs, on the Rumsfeld Commission Report and its relation to national missile defense. We welcome the contributions of this distinguished panel to our understanding of ballistic missile threat assessments. While we have had the opportunity to review only the Commission's pre-publication report, we can provide answers to your questions subject to review of the final report.
While the Chiefs and I, along with the Intelligence Community, agree with many of the Commission's findings, we have some different perspectives on likely developmental timelines and associated warning times. After carefully considering the portions of the report available to us, we remain confident that the Intelligence Community can provide the necessary warning of the indigenous development and deployment by a rogue state of an ICBM threat to the United States. For example, we believe that North Korea continues moving closer to the initiation of a Taepo Dong I Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) testing program. That program has been predicted and considered in the current examination. The Commission points out that through unconventional, high-risk development programs and foreign assistance, rogue nations could acquire an ICBM capability in a short time, and that the Intelligence Community may not detect it. We view this as an unlikely development. I would also point out that these rogue nations currently pose a threat to the United States, including a threat by weapons of mass destruction, through unconventional, terrorist-style delivery means. The Chiefs and I believe all these threats must be addressed consistent with a balanced judgment of risks and resources.
Based on these considerations, we reaffirm our support for the current NMD policy and deployment readiness program. Our program represents an unprecedented level of effort to address the likely emergence of a rogue ICBM threat. It compresses what is normally a 6-12 year development program into 3 years with some additional development concurrent with a 3-year deployment. This emphasis is indicative of our commitment to this vital national security objective. The tremendous effort devoted to this program is a prudent commitment to provide absolutely the best technology when a threat warrants deployment.
Given the present threat projections and the potential requirement to deploy an effective limited defense, we continue to support the `three-plus-three' program. It is our view that the development program should proceed through the integrated system testing scheduled to begin in late 1999, before the subsequent deployment decision consideration in the year 2000. While previous plus-ups have reduced the technical risk associated with this program, the risk remains high. Additional funding would not buy back any time in our already fast-paced schedule.
As to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the Chiefs and I believe that under current conditions continued adherence is still consistent with our national security interests. The Treaty contributes to our strategic stability with Russia and, for the immediate future, does not hinder our development program. Consistent with US policy that NMD development be consistent with the ABM Treaty, the Department has an ongoing process to review NMD tests for compliance. The integrated testing will precede a deployment decision has not yet gone through compliance review. Although a final determination has not been made, we currently intend and project integrated system testing that will be both fully effective and treaty compliant. A deployment decision may well require treaty modification which would involve a variety of factors including the emerging ballistic missile threat to the United States (both capability and intent), and the technology to support an effective national missile defense.
Again, the Chiefs and I appreciate the opportunity to offer our views on the assessment of emerging ballistic missile threats and their relation to national missile defense.
Henry H. Shelton.
Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, part of the Joint Chiefs' letter is the following:
* * * we reaffirm our support for the current [National Missile Defense] policy and deployment readiness program.
Those are the key words.
Based on these considerations, we reaffirm our support for the current [National Missile Defense] policy and deployment readiness program.
Then General Shelton wrote the following:
Our program represents an unprecedented level of effort to address the likely emergence of a rogue ICBM threat. It compresses what is normally a 6-12 year development program into 3 years with some additional development concurrent with a 3-year deployment. This emphasis is indicative of our commitment to this vital national security objective. The tremendous effort devoted to this program is a prudent commitment to provide absolutely the best technology when a threat warrants deployment.
Given the present threat projections and the potential requirement to deploy an effective limited defense, we continue to support the `three-plus-three' program. It is our view that the development program should proceed through the integrated system testing scheduled to begin in late 1999, before the subsequent deployment decision consideration in the year 2000.
Then he points out that:
Additional funding would not buy back any time in our already fast-paced schedule.
Finally, General Shelton said the following:
The [ABM] Treaty contributes to our strategic stability with Russia and, for the immediate future, does not hinder our development program.
Mr. President, our program now calls for the development of defenses against long-range missiles. Let no one misunderstand that, or misstate that. That is our current program.
We are moving as quickly as possible. Indeed, it is a high-risk move that we are making because we have collapsed this development schedule so much. We are not going to speed up this schedule 1 day by threatening to destroy the ABM Treaty. All we will do, if this bill passes, is to contribute to the threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons on the soil of Russia. That is not in our security interest. I hope we do not proceed to the consideration of this bill.
I yield the floor.
Mr. COCHRAN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the distinguished Senator from South Carolina, Mr. Thurmond.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina is recognized.
Mr. THURMOND. Mr. President, I am a cosponsor of this amendment. I believe that it is a very important amendment. Other countries are going forward and developing missile systems. Can we afford not to do it? For the sake of our people and the sake of this Nation, we should seize this opportunity to go forward on this matter promptly. It is in the interest of our Nation and the people of this country that we take that step.
I thank the Senator, very much, for yielding to me.
Mr. COCHRAN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi is recognized.
Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished Senator from Oklahoma, Senator Inhofe.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
Mr. INHOFE. Thank you, Mr. President.
I regret that we are on such a tight constraint, because I think this is the most significant issue this Senate will be addressing certainly this year. We are talking about the lives of American citizens.
As one who is from Oklahoma and can see what type of terrorist devastation can take place, and realizing that the devastation in Oklahoma was one-thousandth of the power of the smallest nuclear warhead known, it is a very scary thing.
I believe right now--I don't think there is a Senator here who doesn't believe this--that there could very well be a missile headed our direction as we speak. It is not a matter of a rogue nation learning how to make missiles to deliver the weapons of mass destruction that we know they have. It is a matter of just getting that technology and those systems from a country that already does. China is such a country.
China fully has missiles that can reach Washington, DC, from any place in the world. We have no way in the world of knocking them down. We know that China is trading technology systems with countries like Iran--countries that would not hesitate to use missiles against us.
I wish I were speaking last, because there are going to be some things said about the exorbitant costs of such a system. We can complete a system to protect us against a limited missile attack for about $4 billion. In the case of our AEGIS ship system, we have 22 AEGIS ships that have the capability of knocking down a missile, but not an ICBM. We have a $50 billion investment in that system, and for only $4 billion more we could have that system to protect Americans.
I hope that people will give consideration to this resolution. I think it is the most significant resolution we will be considering this year.
I ask unanimous consent that three items pertaining to this matter be printed in the Record.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
The first test of Pakistan's new ballistic missile, the Hatf 5 or `Ghauri', took place on 6 April. Statements from the Pakistani government said that the missile has a maximum range of 1,500km, a payload of 700kg and a launch weight of 16,000kg.
Some earlier statements had implied that the `Ghauri' might also be used as the basis for a satellite launch vehicle.
Currently described by government officials as `a research effort for the time being', its indigenous development and research status means that `no international sanctions or regimes apply to its development or production'.
Claims that the missile was tested over land are confusing as the length of Pakistan's territory does not allow for the range attributed to `Ghauri'. Other reports have indicated that the missile was test launched from a location near Jhelum in northeast Pakistan to the area southwest of Quetta, a range of about 800km to 1,000km, which would agree with the reported flight time of around eight minutes.
An earlier secret test of the `Ghauri' missile in January was reported by the Islamabad News, which said that further tests would be made before a public demonstration of the missile on 23 March. The `secret' test probably refers to a static motor firing and systems check-out, and is unlikely to have been a flight test.
The `Ghauri' missile was not displayed during Pakistan's National Day parade on 23 March. A missile similar to the Hatf 1 short-range missile was the only ballistic missile displayed.
Pakistani official statements are limited to the maximum range, payload and launch weight. From the pictures released, the missile is similar in shape to the earlier Hatf 1 design, which is also similar to the Chinese M-9 (CSS-6/DF-15). The launch weight of 16,000kg makes `Ghauri' much heavier than the M-9, which has a launch weight of 6,000kg. This would appear to support the payload weight quoted for `Ghauri' of 700kg over the maximum range of 1,500km.
It appears to be a scaled-up Hatf 1 single or two-stage solid-propellant missile that may use some Chinese technologies. The missile shown does not bear any resemblance to the Chinese CSS-2 (DF-3), which uses liquid propellants and has a launch weight of 64,000kg.
An alternative option might be that `Ghauri' is based on the Chinese CSS-5 (DF-21) and CSS-N-3 (JL-1) ballistic missile design, which has a launch weight of 15,000kg, a payload of 600 kg and a maximum range of between 1,700km and 1,800km. The CSS-N-3 SLBM version entered service in 1983 and the CSS-5 in 1987.
The Iranian `Shahab 3' ballistic missile project has a similar range and payload to `Ghauri', and, although the Iranians have never quoted a launch weight for `Shahab 3', it might be in the 16,000kg bracket.
`Shahab 3' is believed to be an Iranian-developed single-stage liquid-propellant ballistic missile, based on North Korea's `Nodong 1' design, and a series of motor tests were reported last year.
It is not clear whether Pakistan and Iran have shared missile technologies, but their development approaches appear to have followed relatively similar lines and in similar timescales.
Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Pakistan and Iran may have received either missiles or technologies associated with the Chinese solid-propellant M-11 (CSS-7/DF-11) and M-9 programmes, and it is to be expected that there might have been some assistance given both ways.
Recently, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Tulsa, asked Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to comment on a new report questioning U.S. readiness to deal with a long-range missile attack. The general's response was illuminating, particularly so in light of North Korea's subsequent test of a missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Inhofe raised the issue after release of the Rumsfeld Commission Report, warning a missile threat may come sooner than many in the U.S. government think. The panel said it's possible an enemy could develop a ballistic missile program in a way that would give the United States little or no warning before an attack.
In fairness, Shelton and the joint chiefs answer to Bill Clinton, so it's not surprising they echo his administration's soft-line on missile defense.
Shelton reiterated to Inhofe that the chiefs don't think a real threat is near. They believe the United States should continue to comply with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and they support Clinton's `3-plus-3' plan for a national missile defense. The policy calls for three years of development with another three years for deployment--if a missile threat is identified. `We remain confident that the Intelligence Community can provide necessary warning of . . . an ICBM threat,' Shelton wrote.
Inhofe points out that U.S. intelligence was surprised by India's nuclear testing this summer and considered attacks on embassies in Africa unlikely. As for the ABM treaty, Inhofe says it `reinforces the discredited policy of mutual-assured destruction at a time when the U.S. is being targeted by numerous potentially undeterrable rogue states and terrorists.'
Inhofe's ally on missile defense, U.S. Rep. Floyd Spence, R-S.C., cut to the dangers of the Clinton administration's ostrich-like approach to missile defense in an interview with Frank Gaffney, director of the Center for Security Policy.
`The first warning of a heart attack is a heart attack,' Spence said. `The Clinton administration's response to all this is that we are working on a system and we are going to experiment for about three years. And if the threat arises, we will decide at that time whether or not to deploy. My God, the threat is right now here, this minute, this moment, not some time in the future.'
The Oklahoman urges Inhofe, Spence and other patriots in Congress to hold hearings highlighting America's vulnerability to missile attack.
Bold action is needed to counter Clinton's idle approach to defending the U.S. against a grave and growing threat.
`Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without success,' Winston Churchill once famously said. Perhaps. But the Japanese might have a different take, having now had North Korea fire a missile over their heads. In a world where Pathan tribesmen with rifles have been replaced by rogue states with ballistic missiles, Churchill would have been the first to argue that the leader of the free world needs more going for him then the other guy's bad aim. To wit, a missile defense.
If the events of the past few weeks have taught us anything, it is that the bad guys out there--Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong II, Osama bin Laden and the like--are not kidding when they threaten to blow up Americans. What we don't yet know is just how many of them have the capability to follow through on their threats, though recent tests by both North Korea and Iran confirm that some are not that far away. We shouldn't have to wait until a missile lands in Times Square to find out.
Unfortunately that is precisely what Democratic Senators have been doing. Back in March, GOP Senator Thad Cochran introduced a bill calling for the U.S. `to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense System capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack.' When the motion to move it to the floor for debate and amendments came up, it fell just one vote shy of the 60 needed. All 41 opposed were Democrats. While bin Laden bombs, the Democrats filibuster.
They have a chance to redeem themselves when the reintroduced petition comes up for a vote tomorrow. Events since the March 13 filibuster have tragically underscored just how irresponsible a move it was: India and Pakistan have exploded nuclear bombs; Iran and North Korea have tested ballistic missiles; Saddam Hussein has forced U.N. inspectors to a standstill; and bin Laden blew up two American embassies in Africa.
Indeed, it has lent a prophetic tone to the findings of the Rumsfeld Commission, a team of defense experts which in July warned that America's enemies could deliver a ballistic missile threat to the U.S. within five years of any decision to acquire such a capability. More ominously, the Rumsfeld report warns that `during several of those years, the U.S. might not be aware that such a decision has been made.'
In face of these tangible threats, the continued Democratic preference for arms control agreements in the bush over real defense capabilities in the hand is baffling. And our guess is that an American public that has now watched North Korea and seen for itself some of bin Laden's handiwork also would be a hard sell. We wouldn't be surprised, then, if these developments, coupled with a President suffering from a severe loss of moral authority, might lead some of these Democrats to consider whether they want to continue to block debate about ways to protect Americans--especially the 13 Democratic Senators up for re-election which follow:
Democratic senators who voted against closure on the American Missile Protection Act of 1998.
Barbara Boxer, California.
John Breaux, Louisiana.
Thomas A. Daschle, S. Dakota.
Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut.
Byron L. Dorgan, N. Dakota.
Russell D. Feingold, Wisconsin.
Bob Graham, Florida.
Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont.
Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland.
Carol Moseley-Braun, Illinois.
Patty Murray, Washington.
Harry Reid, Nevada.
Ron Wyden, Oregon.
Source: Coalition to Defend America.
Bill Clinton might have his own second thoughts. It is worth asking whether Mr. Clinton could even have taken the limited action he did against sites in Afghanistan and the Sudan had bin Laden somehow managed to buy a missile of his own--or pay the North Koreans or Iranians to shoot one off for him.
Likewise, could George Bush have prosecuted the Gulf War if Saddam Hussein had had a missile capability? As Mr. Clinton has had impressed on him, just four or five warheads in hands like Kim Jong II's pose a far more immediate and practical threat to American lives and interests than the 2,000 or so in the Russian arsenal. Especially given North Korea's willingness to sell its missiles to anyone with cash.
Providing an American President with the wherewithal to shoot down a ballistic missile on its way to an American city shouldn't be a partisan issue. But if the Democrats decide again to make it one in the coming vote, that would be a persuasive Republican argument for a filibuster-proof Republican Senate. If we ever get a missile defense system this country needs, we may owe more to Monica Lewinsky and Osama bin Laden than we do to our Democratic Senators.
Mr. CONRAD addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
Mr. LEVIN. I yield Senator Conrad 4 minutes.
Mr. CONRAD. Mr. President, I rise as a strong supporter of national missile defense. But I also rise as a strong opponent of the Cochran bill that is before us. I believe so strongly in national missile defense that I have introduced legislation promoting national missile defense that has passed the U.S. Senate.
I support national missile defense because we have an unpredictable and rapidly emerging ICBM threat to this country from the so-called rogue states. The Rumsfeld Commission recently alerted us to the growing need for national missile defense. As I have said many times on the Senate floor, we must be prepared before we are surprised.
But the bill before us is fatally flawed because it does not include the correct criteria for a decision to deploy. It says that we should deploy `as soon as technologically possible.' Mr. President, that isn't the right test. Let's make sure that we deploy the best initial system, not simply the first one off the shelf. The first one off the shelf may be significantly inferior to one that follows soon thereafter that would be a far more effective system of national missile defense.
Further, the Cochran bill is also seriously flawed because it has only one criterion--`as soon as technologically possible.' It completely disregards three other vital criteria for national missile development:
No. 1, treaty compliance. As the Joint Chiefs have said in several letters, the ABM Treaty and START accords must not be endangered. Mr. President, I direct my colleagues' attention to a statement by General Henry Shelton, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He said that the effect that `NMD deployment would have on arms control agreements and nuclear arms reductions should be included in any bill on national missile defense.'
Are we going to listen to the top military leadership of our country on this question? I hope so. I hope we are going to listen to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The second key criterion is cost. A system we can't afford, such as one with space-based weapons, is a fantasy in the short run and protects no one. We need to have a system that we can afford.
The third criterion is use of proven technology to ensure performance and contain costs. We ought to use technology we know will work. Again, rushing to failure will not protect one single American family.
Mr. President, we are in a development stage on national missile defense, and that is where our efforts must be. I applaud our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee and Armed Services Committee for fully funding aggressive development of national missile defense. However, the Cochran bill, at this point, is counterproductive because it applies the wrong criteria to the decision to deploy. The Senate should again vote no on cloture.
I thank the Chair. I yield the floor and give back the remainder of my time.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who seeks time?
Several Senators addressed the Chair.
Mr. LEVIN. I yield 4 minutes to Senator Dorgan.
Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, this debate and this vote are not about whether we support research on a missile defense system. I am on the Appropriations Committee. I am on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. The Defense appropriations bill has over $3 billion for research and development of theater and national missile defense programs. I expect all Members of the Senate support that. I do.
But this bill presents us with a different question. This bill would put the Senate on record saying there must be a deployment of a national missile defense system--there must be a deployment as soon as `technologically feasible.' And we must then deploy.
Well, 25 years ago, we had an antiballistic missile system in North Dakota. I guess that particular system was technologically feasible then. Of course, that system would have used nuclear bombs to intercept and destroy incoming missiles. But it was built, at the cost of over $20 billion in today's terms. Thirty days after it was declared operational, it was mothballed. That system was too expensive and too controversial.
Let's keep that cautionary tale in mind as we consider this bill.
If this bill were to pass, the question is, What is technologically feasible? What kind of technology? At what cost? Does cost have any relevance at all? How will the bill affect arms control? Will this bill crowd out spending on other ways of dealing with terrorism? What other defense programs that respond to terrorist threats or rogue nations will then lack funding because we forced deployment of a system when someone said we now have the technology, and we forced deployment notwithstanding costs?
Frankly, a rogue nation or a terrorist state is much more likely to pose a threat to us with a suitcase nuclear bomb planted in the trunk of a rusty Yugo car at a dock in New York City. The threat is much more likely to be a nuclear weapon put on top of a cruise missile--not an ICBM, but a cruise missile. There is far greater proliferation of cruise missiles and greater access to them. Will this defend against cruise missiles? No. Will it do anything about the suitcase bomb? No. What about a fertilizer bomb in a truck parked in front of a building? No. What about a vial of the most deadly biological agents? Again, no.
There are a lot of terrorist and rogue nation threats that we ought to be concerned about, and we ought to worry about developing missile defense--and we are. But rushing to say we must deploy now, as soon as it is technologically feasible, notwithstanding any other consideration, makes no sense.
The Senator from Michigan was asking what this bill would do to arms control. I want to hold up a chart of unclassified pictures to try and show what arms control means. This is a photo from March 26, 1997. It shows the launching of an SSN-20 missile from a Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. The submarine launched a missile, and within minutes the missile was destroyed. And the last picture here shows the missile's pieces falling into the sea.
Why was that missile destroyed? Because of arms control agreements that we have reached with Russia. There was a whole series of these `launch-to-destruction' launches, because they were an inexpensive way for Russia to destroy its submarine-launched missiles and for us to verify their destruction. That is the way to deal with these threats--a reduction of nuclear weapons, reduction of delivery vehicles. This is the kind of thing, with Nunn-Lugar and other efforts, especially arms control agreements, that results in a real reduction of threat.
The question is, What will the vote today do to arms control? Will it mean more delivery systems, more nuclear weapons? A greater arms race? I don't think anybody in this Chamber has that answer. My colleague, Senator Conrad, put it well. To those who support--and I think almost all of us do--theater missile
defenses and the research on national missile defense, it doesn't make any sense to say that notwithstanding any other consideration we must deploy as soon as technologically feasible. That is not, in my judgment, the right thing or the thoughtful thing to do in order to defend this country.
Mr. LEVIN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
Mr. LEVIN. I yield Senator Bingaman 3 minutes.
Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Michigan for yielding me time. I want to join my colleagues in resisting S. 1873, this proposal. In my view, what this proposal would do is to put our Defense Department in an untenable position. It essentially says that, in this case, in the case of national missile defense, as distinguished from all other cases, they should ignore the criteria that they use for deciding which programs to go ahead and deploy. Those criteria are that they maintain a sensible balance among cost, schedule, and performance considerations, given affordability constraints.
Now, that is the criteria the Department of Defense has set up. This proposal by my colleague from Mississippi would have them ignore those provisions and rush ahead to develop this as soon as it is technologically feasible. We have some experience with efforts by Congress to turn up the political pressure on the Department of Defense and to urge them to rush ahead with development of programs before they can be safely deployed. The most recent example is one that many of us are familiar with; it is the THAAD Program, Theater High Altitude Area Defense Program. In that case, again, we were anxious to get this program fielded. The Congress put increased pressure on the Department of Defense to move ahead. Accordingly, we have had disaster. In that case, the program is 4 years behind schedule. There have been five consecutive flight test failures of the THAAD interceptor. The cost of the program has risen from $10 billion to $14 billion today.
General Larry Welch, who reviewed this missile defense program and other programs indicated that one reason is that there was a very high level of risk, that we were, in fact, engaged in what he called a `rush to failure' in the THAAD Program. We do not need a rush to failure in the national missile defense program to follow onto the rush to failure in the THAAD Program. We need a program that the Department of Defense can develop on an urgent basis, but on a reasonable basis. I believe they are on that course. I believe when General Shelton asks us to refrain from this kind of a legislative proposal, I think we should take his advice. I hope we will defeat the proposal by the Senator from Mississippi.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The minority has 3 1/2 minutes.
Mr. LEVIN. I yield 3 minutes to Senator Biden.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, whatever our views on a nationwide ballistic missile defense, it seems to me that we should reject S. 1873.
Were that bill to pass, deploying a national missile defense system could, in my view, break the back of the economy at a moment when we finally have gotten a handle on things.
A week ago, General Lyles warned that our current programs are over budget and `may not be all affordable.'
We spent years getting some budget discipline. We have finally achieved that. We must not throw that all away.
This bill would require deployment even without a threat of new strategic missiles; and it would throw taxpayers' money at the first available technology, rather than the best technology.
As Dr. Richard L. Garwin warns, the first technology will be vulnerable to missiles with penetration aids, which Russia surely has and others can easily develop. Missile defense is expensive; penetration aids are cheap.
This bill will also guarantee what General Welch calls a `rush to failure.' Five test failures with the THAAD theater defense system are a reminder of how difficult it is to develop any missile defense. A policy of deploying the first `technologically possible' system is almost bound to fail.
Finally, this bill does not even permit consideration of the negative consequences of deployment. S. 1873 would destroy the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and thus end any hope of implementing START Two or of achieving START Three.
`Star Wars' may seem easier than the hard, patient work of reducing great power armaments and stabilizing our forces. But the `easier' path can also be the dangerous path.
Last week, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed to share real-time data on third-country missile launches, to reduce the risk of accidental nuclear war. That is a good, sensible initiative.
But what happens if we say we will deploy a national missile defense? We may call it just a defense, but others will see it as a second-strike defense that enables us to mount first-strike nuclear attacks. Russia and China will adopt a hair-trigger, `launch on warning' posture to overwhelm that defense, and the risk of nuclear war will rise.
Now, some day we may need a nation-wide ballistic missile defense. That is why the Defense Department has the `3+3' policy of developing technology that would permit deployment within three years of finding an actual threat on the horizon.
Some of my colleagues believe we cannot wait for that. But Iran's missiles will hit the Middle East and parts of Europe. North Korea's missiles will hit Japan and Okinawa. Despite recent missile tests, these countries are several years away from threatening even the far western portions of Alaska and Hawaii, as General Shelton made clear in his letter of August 24.
And should a real threat materialize, there are far cheaper alternatives to fielding a national missile defense. So, while sensible policy on ballistic missile defense is perfectly feasible, S. 1873 is not such a sensible policy.
Mr. President, the Senate has real work to do. Americans deserve a Patient's Bill of Rights; we can enact campaign finance reform that even the House of Representatives had enough sense to pass; and we must stop the slaughter of our teenagers by Big Tobacco.
Let us get back to legislation that meets real, current needs and that will not destroy the balanced budget. Let us reject cloture on the motion to debate S. 1873, and get this Senate back to work.
Mr. DOMENICI. Mr. President, as a cosponsor of the legislation before the Senate, I rise in strong support of the objectives set forth in this bill. As we all know, this legislation would establish a policy for the U.S. to develop and deploy a national missile defense as soon as technologically possible. This system will defend all 50 states against any limited ballistic missile threats.
Mr. President, allow me to offer a couple of observations about the changed international and national security environment which directly impact U.S. defense needs. The original impetus for a national missile defense system was the perceived threat from the Soviet Union during the cold war.
Although some assume that the collapse of the Soviet Union and the continued thaw in previously frosty relations with Russia have rendered such defensive capabilities unnecessary, this view is naive. I believe that in many respects the threat has actually increased.
The increased threat results from several interrelated factors. The collapse of the bipolar geopolitical order defined by U.S.-Soviet confrontation has ushered in multipolar instability. The threats we confront today as a nation are diffuse. Moreover, our potential enemies are abundant in a world where interstate relations are no longer delineated according to membership in one of two ideological camps.
I would like to emphasize a further change brought about by changes in the international environment. An additional aspect of the post-cold-war world is the rapid and, in some cases, uncontrollable diffusion of advanced technologies. While earlier non-proliferation efforts relied heavily on stringent export control regimes, heavy reliance on multilateral controls is insufficient to protect U.S. interests.
The U.S. continues to maintain a complex and multi-layered system of export controls as a deterrent to would-be proliferators or rogue nations. However, an export control regime is only as strong as its weakest link. Furthermore, rogue nations--such as North Korea--who already possess threatening capabilities, are more than willing to sell their know-how to others.
I am aware of others' predictions that ballistic missile capability will not present a threat for more than another decade. I believe, however, that these predictions rely too heavily on the assumption that export controls will keep rogue nations at bay. Without the technology, our potential enemies are presumably impotent. I think this is an overly optimistic view.
More than 15 nations already possess short-range ballistic missiles. Many of these same nations are pursuing weapons of mass destruction to accompany these missile capabilities. Several of these same countries are hostile to U.S. interests.
Any country with the know-how to launch low-orbit satellites is also capable of achieving long-range delivery of a nuclear or other type of warhead. In contrast to the CIA's earlier prediction, the recently released Rumsfeld Report stated that the threat is only five years away. Moreover, the Rumsfeld Commission determined that the U.S. may not be able to identify the source of a threat, thus having little or no warning.
Let me simply offer one concrete example why the Administration's current policy is dangerous. The Administration assumes it will have three years warning of a ballistic missile threat to the U.S. Although U.S. intelligence previously believed that Iran could not field a medium-range missile until 2003, this system was flight-tested in July.
According to intelligence sources, the light-weight alloys as well as equipment for testing these Iranian missiles came from Russia.
If we assume the predictions about othe5r countries; lack of technological capacities are accurate and postpone implementation of our own defensive capabilities based on these assumptions, the U.S. will be rendered vulnerable while we test the accuracy of these predictions. If these assumptions are proven false, the results would be devastating.
This is a risk to U.S. security and a risk to U.S. civilians that I personally am not willing to take.
It has been an enduring objective of U.S. defense policy to achieve the capability to defend our country from ballistic missiles, whether the threat be from deliberate, accidental or unauthorized launch.
A further reality we confront under changed circumstances is the steady deterioration of Russia's system of command and control over its nuclear warheads.
Although the Russian situation presents a potential threat now and deployment is not slated for another several years, no one can assume that the command-and-control elements in any state possessing weapons of mass destruction and long-range delivery capability will remain impenetrable and secure. This is one more reason that devising and deploying missile defense makes sense.
There has been sufficient debate as to whether this bill is necessary in addition to the Defense Department's three-plus-three program. I believe it is for the following reasons:
First, although the three-plus-three program provides for development of national missile defense (NMD) technology, it does not commit to deployment.
Under the Administration's program, the U.S. would achieve the means to deploy an NMD system, but would await an imminent threat to do so. Capability that is not deployed opens a window of vulnerability. Certainly the plans of an attack on the U.S. by a hostile nation are not going to include a great deal of advanced warning. By not providing a commitment to deployment, as is the objective of this legislation, we are deliberately creating an indefinite phase of vulnerability.
Second, opponents to this legislation firmly believe that by committing to deployment we may end up with an inadequate or faulty system. This bill neither prematurely locks the U.S. into specific technological solutions nor does it freeze our missile defense options.
We already are deploying systems, even though the technologies involved continue to evolve. The specific technologies utilized and the defense capabilities achieved are in no way determined by this legislation. Further development and improvements to the system are anticipated, and this legislation allows for that.
An additional strategic consideration is that the lack of a U.S. NMD system may actually provide an additional incentive to would-be rogues. If the U.S. implements an NMD system early enough, this may serve as a deterrent to these states.
As mentioned, I believe that predictions regarding the technical mediocrity of hostile nations are excessively optimistic. However, I also firmly believe that a national missile defense system undoubtedly raises the bar on the technological capability necessary to inflict damage.
Any nation hostile to the U.S. would not only have to achieve long-range capability, but they would also have to be sophisticated enough in their delivery system to defeat a defensive shield. The financial and technical means necessary to accomplish this goal does, indeed, comprise a substantial deterrent.
More importantly, a missile defense system places strategic stability on a more reliable and less adversarial foundation. The cold war deterrence relied on vulnerability and threats of retaliation. Missile defenses create a shield of protection, while the maintenance of a reliable stockpile underpins our credibility in threats of retaliation if attacked.
Arms reductions can only achieve objectives of stable U.S.-Russian relations if these reductions are accompanied by national missile defense deployment. With such a system in place, possible non-compliance and third party threats are not as pertinent. This would provide the confidence necessary to achieve even greater reductions.
Mr. President, based on these concerns about U.S. national security in conjunction with my commitment to disarmament objectives I cosponsored and fully support the legislation before us today.
National missile defense will provide the necessary additional security requisite in an unstable and transitional global environment where hostile nations are rapidly amassing threatening and sophisticated weapons capability. The objectives set forth in this legislation achieve that goal.
Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I rise today in support of S. 1873, the American Missile Protection Act. This bill is simple, but extremely important. It makes it clear that it is the policy of the United States to deploy, as soon as technologically possible, a national missile defense system which is capable of defending the entire territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack.
We voted on cloture earlier this year--the motion fell one vote shy. Well, as is common in this business, we are dealing with changed circumstances. North Korea continues to defy rational behavior. As we all know, it recently fired a multi-stage missile over Japan! Starvation in North Korea is rampant, and many North Korea watchers have long predicted that government's imminent collapse. Well, Mr. President, the North Korean Government continues to defy the odds--but, what concerns me is the old adage that `desperate times often call for desperate measures.' If North Korea is truly desperate, to what extent will it go to try to hold on to its grasp of power?
We have almost 80,000 American troops in the Asia/Pacific Theater. Most of these troops are already in the range of current North Korean missile technology. As their missile development program advances, we can expect more American lives and territory to be at risk. We cannot stand idly by and wait! We need to be prepared so that we can protect our citizens and our territory from such a reckless or accidental strike by North Korea or some other nation.
Alaskans have been justifiably concerned with this issue for some time. I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record at this time a resolution passed by the Alaska State Legislature which calls on the Administration to include Alaska and Hawaii in all future assessments of the threat of a ballistic missile attack on the United States. More than 20 percent of our domestic oil comes from Alaska, all of it through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Alaskans are concerned, as should the rest of the country be concerned, that a strike at the pipeline could have dire consequences to our domestic energy production.
There being no objection, the resolution was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:'
Whereas Alaska is the 49th State to enter the federal union of the United States of America and is entitled to all of the rights, privileges, and obligations that the union affords and requires; and
Whereas Alaska possesses natural resources, including energy, mineral, and human resources, vital to the prosperity and national security of the United States; and
Whereas the people of Alaska are conscious of the State's remote northern location and proximity to Northeast Asia and the Eurasian land mass, and of how that unique location places the state in a more vulnerable position than other states with regard to missiles that could be launched in Asia and Europe; and
Whereas the people of Alaska recognize the changing nature of the international political structure and the evolution and proliferation of missile delivery systems and weapons of mass destruction as foreign states seek the military means to deter the power of the United States in international affairs; and
Whereas there is a growing threat to Alaska by potential aggressors in these nations and in rogue nations that are seeking nuclear weapons capability and that have sponsored international terrorism; and
Whereas a National Intelligence Estimate to assess missile threats to the United States left Alaska and Hawaii out of the assessment and estimate; and
Whereas one of the primary reasons for joining the Union of the United States of America was to gain security for the people of Alaska and for the common regulation of foreign affairs on the basis of an equitable membership in the United States federation; and
Whereas the United States plans to field a national missile defense, perhaps as early as 2003; this national missile defense plan will provide only a fragile defense for Alaska, the state most likely to be threatened by new missile powers that are emerging in Northeast Asia;
Be it resolved, That the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the President of the United States to take all actions necessary, within the considerable limits of the resources of the United States, to protect on an equal basis all peoples and resources of this great Union from threat of missile attack regardless of the physical location of the member state; and be it
Further resolved, That the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests that Alaska be included in every National Intelligence Estimate conducted by the United States joint intelligence agencies; and be it
Further resolved, That the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the President of the United States to include Alaska and Hawaii, not just the contiguous 48 states, in every National Intelligence Estimate of missile threat to the United States; and be it
Further resolved, That the Alaska State Legislature urges the United States government to take necessary measures to ensure that Alaska is protected against foreseeable threats, nuclear and otherwise, posed by foreign aggressors, including deployment of a ballistic missile defense system to protect Alaska; and be it
Further resolved, That the Alaska State Legislature conveys to the President of the United States expectations that Alaska's safety and security take priority over any international treaty or obligation and that the President take whatever action is necessary to ensure that Alaska can be defended against limited missile attacks with the same degree of assurance as that provided to all other states; and be it
Further resolved, That the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests that the appropriate Congressional committees hold hearings in Alaska that include defense experts and administration officials to help Alaskans understand their risks, their level of security, and Alaska's vulnerability.
Copies of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Bill Clinton, President of the United States; the Honorable Al Gore, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; the Honorable Ted Stevens, Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations; the Honorable Bob Livingston, Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations; the Honorable Strom Thurmond, Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services; the Honorable Floyd Spence, Chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on National Security; and to the Honorable Frank Murkowski, U.S. Senator, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska delegation in Congress.
Mr. MURKOWSKI. Last year North Korean defectors indicated that the North Korean missile development program already poses a verifiable threat to American forces in Okinawa and seems on track to threaten parts of Alaska by the turn of the Century. The Taepodong missile, which is under development, would have a range of about 3,100 miles. From certain parts of North Korea, this weapon could easily target many of the Aleutian islands in western Alaska, including the former Adak Naval Air Base.
The Washington Times reported earlier this year that the Chinese have 13 of 18 long-range strategic missiles armed with nuclear warheads aimed at American cities. This is incredible, Mr. President. Opponents to the motion to invoke cloture somehow fail to understand that this threat is real and that we have a responsibility to protect the United States from attack, be it deliberate or accidental. Without question, the threat of an attack on the United States is increasingly real, and we must act now to make certain that it is the policy of the United States to construct a national missile defense system with the capability of intercepting and deterring an aggressive strike against American soil from all parts of the United States--as soon as possible.
Finally, Mr. President, I would mention for a moment that S. 1873 is not, and I repeat not, in any way a strike at Russia. The ABM treaty was crafted and agreed to when the United States and the Soviet Union were the only nuclear powers. The mutually assured destruction system was agreed to under the understanding that we were dealing with the Soviet Union, and not third parties. Times have changed; there are countless more players that have complicated the issues. We have a responsibility to protect ourselves, and we must act now to do so.
Mr. President, I support the motion to proceed to the bill and hope that my colleagues will vote overwhelmingly in favor of this legislation this morning and pass it in the near future.
Mr. MACK. Mr. President, I am pleased to be a cosponsor of S.1873, the American Missile Protection Act of 1998 drafted by Senators Cochran and Inouye. While I have been an ardent supporter of a vigorous missile defense program with a specific architecture and under a specific deployment schedule, a sufficient minority of members has been able to derail this effort over the last few years. Therefore, the modest proposal under consideration today, is an attempt to compromise by affirmatively establishing as U.S. policy the deployment of an effective National Missile Defense (NMD) system as soon as technologically possible.
I have long argued that such a system is both necessary and prudent because the threat of an attack or an inadvertent launch did not end with the termination of the cold war, but is real and continues to grow. In fact, the threat is greater today than any time in United States history. The technology revolution aids equally those who want to bring good into the world, as well as those who would do harm.
Recent activities in Africa, namely the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the launch of ballistic missiles (or a satellite) by North Korea, as well as the shoot-down of two unarmed American aircraft in the Florida straits two years ago, reminds us of the threat the United States and our allies face from rogue and terrorist states, and non-state actors.
Beyond these, the future of Russia and China remains unclear. While we wait to see if the forces of freedom and democracy prevail in the internal struggles happening in these countries, we must remember that they maintain the capability to launch weapons of mass destruction. Other states continue efforts to develop destructive capabilities. Recently, Iran has made dramatic progress in its missile development. We know that China's proliferation has aided the development of Pakistan's nuclear program, adding to the instability of South Asia.
My primary concern with the Administration's `plan' on deploying an anti-ballistic missile defense system is that it is premised on deploying a system within three years of clearly identifying an emerging threat. I believe the Administration greatly overestimates its intelligence gathering capability.
In early 1997, a CIA official testified that Iran was not expected to have the capability to field a medium range ballistic missile until 2007. Less than a year later, that nine year time frame was significantly reduced by the CIA, and another Administration official predicted Iran could have the capability in as early as one-and-a-half years. Similarly, in 1997 the Department of Defense only credited Pakistan with a 300 km capability. However, less than six months later Pakistan launched a missile capable of traveling 1,500 km.
Based on past performance, I am very hesitant to base the fielding of a missile defense system on the Administration's determination of the existence of an emerging threat. I believe such a plan is grossly inadequate and could have catastrophic consequences for the American people.
Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. President, last May, in the wake of India's nuclear weapons tests, the Senate rejected by one vote a motion to allow us to consider the need for a national missile defense. At that time I came to the floor and urged my colleagues to support defending our nation against missile attack. I recalled how the President, in his State of the Union address, underscored the importance of foresight and the need to prepare `for a far off storm.' The President wasn't talking about weapons proliferation and national missile defense, but I suggested he should have been--and that the thunder clouds of proliferation were gathering.
Since that vote in May, the storm has picked up force and is not so `far off.' That weapons proliferation is a serious threat to our nation is more obvious today that even a few month ago.
Allow me to remind my colleagues of a few developments since the Senate last considered missile defense:
Following India's nuclear tests, Pakistan conducted six of its own tests. The South Asian subcontinent--rife with smoldering disputes--is now perched on the edge of a nuclear arms race.
The following month, in June, North Korea blatantly announced that it was selling, and would continue to sell, ballistic missiles to any and all comers. The only requirement is cash on the barrel-head.
In July, the Congress received stark warning of our under-preparedness from the Rumsfeld Commission. This distinguished, bi-partisan, group of experts concluded that our assessment of the missile threat to America was inadequate, and that hostile countries were closer to developing and deploying ballistic missiles than we thought. As if to prove the Rumsfeld Commission right, Iran test-launched its Shahab-3 missile that same month. This weapon was based on a North Korean design and updated with Russian and Chinese assistance. It is capable of striking U.S. allies and troops in the Middle East. Iran also continues its work on the Shahab-4, which will be able to reach central Europe.
Then, just a few weeks ago, North Korea test-launched its Taepo-Dong 1 missile--and they shot it right over our key ally, Japan. The Taepo-Dong 1 is a huge breakthrough for North Korea. It is a multi-stage rocket that puts North Korea over a critical technology threshold. Their next missile, already under development, is the Taepo-Dong 2 which will be capable of striking American shores.
When I spoke on this subject in May, I cautioned that developments such as these were on the horizon. Indeed, I noted a few of them specifically. But I truly did not expect to stand here this soon and recount that so many dangerous developments actually occurred. My friends, the past few months demonstrate that the threats from weapons of mass destruction and missiles with increasingly greater range are an imminent threat. We have consistently underestimated that threat and must proceed with development and deployment of a national missile defense as soon as possible.
I do not know if there will be another proliferation development to report this month. Given the recent track record, it's very likely there will be. It's certain that missile development in hostile countries will continue apace. Moreover, world events are becoming more and more chaotic each day. The instability in Russia and Asia and the continuing proliferation activities of countries like China and North Korea only heightens the prospect that dangerous weapons technology will be sold to rogue actors.
President Clinton was recently quoted in the press that requiring certification regarding other countries' actions only creates the need for the Administration to `fudge' its reporting. More recently, it appears the Administration took an active role to limit weapons inspections in Iraq, despite all its rhetoric to the contrary. Mr. President, events like these are highly worrisome because they suggest the President is less than forthcoming to the American people, to our allies and to our foes on issues of national defense and foreign policy. Perhaps even more worrisome, however, is the possibility that Administration policy makers may be fooling themselves. In the case of missile defense, this appears to be so. Their defense policy is based on hollow rhetoric and delusion. It is based on the hope of a three-year advanced warning. My friends, we're receiving our warnings now--over and over again. It's time to act.
It's time to wake up and it's time to act. The technology to develop nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is widely available. If we do not prepare today, when the day arrives that America is paralyzed by our vulnerability to ballistic missile attack, or when an attack actually occurs, we will be reduced to telling the American people--and history--that we had hoped this would not happen. We will have to say we had ample evidence of a growing threat, but did not act for whatever reason.
Mr. President, if we're going to err on this issue, we should err on the side of caution. If our choices are to deploy a missile defense either too early or too late, let's make it early. The first step in raising our guard is to pass S. 1873, the American Missile Protection Act, and commit the United States to a policy of deploying national missile defenses.
Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, as I listen to the debate on S. 1873, two observations come to my mind. First, it appears that a rigid adherence to ideology seems to be trumping the judgment of this nation's most senior military leaders. Second, advocates of S. 1873 apparently lack confidence in their own publicly stated position. They are insisting that the critical and costly decision about whether we deploy a national missile defense should be based on a single criterion--technological feasibility--a simplistic test that the bill's supporters are unwilling to use for any other federal program.
The Senate should act as it did in May. We should oppose cloture and move on to the Patients' Bill of Rights, campaign finance reform, education, agricultural relief, and the environment--all issues of greater urgency for working families in this country.
The proponents of this latest attempt to deploy ballistic missile defenses at all costs have entitled this bill the American Missile Protection Act. But let's be clear, enactment of this bill will provide precious little if any additional protection. If the Senate were to immediately adopt this bill, we would not be a single day closer to actually having a national missile defense. In fact, as stated by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent letters to Congress, deployment of national missile defenses at this time is unnecessary, premature, and could effectively increase the nuclear threats this country faces.
Quoting from S. 1873, `the United States should deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective national missile defense system.' In the eyes of the sponsors of this bill, the only standard that must be met in deciding whether to deploy defenses is that they be technologically possible.
Mr. President, I cannot find a clear definition of effective defenses in S. 1873. That troubles me greatly, though it apparently doesn't trouble the bill's supporters. They are strangely silent when it comes to establishing even the most minimal performance requirements for missile defenses. Many of these bill supporters are the same people who reject important domestic programs such as health care and school construction because they fail to meet their stringent--sometimes logically impossible--set of conditions.
This irony is not lost on me, nor should it be lost on the rest of the Senate. As I noted in May when we last debated this bill, the attitude displayed by the proponents of S. 1873 is cavalier even by military spending standards. Some research by the Department of Defense shows that S. 1873 would make history. For the first time ever, we would be committing to deploy a weapons system before it had been developed, let alone thoroughly tested.
An additional irony is that most experts believe that a rush to judgment on ballistic missile defenses will not necessarily lead to the deployment of the most effective system. According to General John Shalikashvili, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, `if the decision is made to deploy a national missile defense system in the near term, then the system fielded would provide a very limited capability. If deploying a system in the near term can be avoided, the Defense Department can continue to enhance the technology base and the commensurate capability of the missile defense system that could be fielded on a later deployment schedule.'
In addition to its silence on the effectiveness issue, there is not a word in S. 1873 about the costs of this system. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the deployment of even a very limited system could cost tens of billions of dollars. And given that so much of the necessary technology remains unproven, history tells us the real cost could be much, much more. Despite the hefty price tag and the questionable technology, proponents of this bill essentially say, `the costs be damned, full speed ahead.' Yet when it comes to proven proposals to improve our nation's schools, increase the quality of health care, or enhance the environment, the first question out of the mouths of the proponents of S. 1873 is, `how much does it cost?'
Mr. President, S. 1873 also says absolutely nothing about how a U.S. declaration that it plans to unilaterally deploy national missile defenses will affect existing and future arms control treaties. It should be clear to every one in this chamber that if the United States unilaterally abrogates the ABM Treaty, which is what S. 1873 states we will do, the Russians will effectively end a decades-long effort to reduce strategic nuclear weapons. They will back out of START I. They will not ratify START II. And they will not negotiate START III. In other words, a unilateral U.S. deployment of national missile defenses could end the prospect for reducing Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal from its current level of 9,000 weapons down to as few as 2,000.
I find it hard to believe that many of my colleagues are willing to forego the opportunity to eliminate thousands of Russian nuclear weapons today in exchange for the possibility that we might some day be able to deploy a system that can intercept a few missiles. This is much too steep a price to pay for a course of action that at present is unproven, unaffordable, and unnecessary.
Supporters of S. 1873 have argued that the Senate should reconsider its position on this issue as a result of three major developments since May--the nuclear weapons tests in India and Pakistan, the Rumsfeld Commission report on the threat posed by ballistic missiles, and North Korea's test of a medium-range ballistic missile. In reality, none of these events suggests we should go forward with premature deployment of national missile defenses. The tests of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan as well as the larger issue of proliferation of nuclear weapons can best and most directly be addressed by swift consideration and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Adoption of S. 1873 does not directly address this situation and will, in fact, lead to more, not less, nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the majority side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not seen fit to conduct a single hearing on this issue, let alone report out this treaty for consideration by the full Senate.
As for the remaining two events, I commend to all members of the Senate an excellent letter from General Shelton, this nation's most senior military leader. General Shelton and the rest of the service chiefs take issue with the Rumsfeld Commission's findings and reaffirm their support for the Clinton Administration's current missile defense policy and deployment readiness program. As for the recent Korea missile test, although the letter was written prior to the test, the Chairman's conclusions were explicitly based on the assumption that North Korea would continue the development and testing of their missile program. Quoting General Shelton, the North Korean missile program, `has been predicted and considered in the current examination.'
Mr. President, I ask my colleagues to reflect on the advice of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and vote against cloture on S. 1873.
Mr. ALLARD. Mr. President, I rise as a cosponsor and strong supporter of S. 1873, the American Missile Protection Act, and I urge all my colleagues to vote in favor of this much needed legislation.
Let me begin by being blunt--the United States cannot defend its borders against a single ballistic missile attack. This leaves all fifty states, especially Alaska and Hawaii, defenseless against any country that wants to threaten the U.S. with ballistic missiles.
We will hear that there is no need for a national missile defense because the Soviet Union is gone. This is true, but the USSR's demise has given rise to many nations ready to take their place. Russia has 25,000 nuclear warheads and recent reports show that their technology and warheads are readily available. Just as problematic is that 25 nations have or are developing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Over 30 nations have ballistic missiles, with many more attempting to strengthen their weapon of mass destruction capability.
Until just recently, China, with its over 400 warheads, had strategic nuclear missiles targeted at the United States. However, these missiles could be red-targeted within minutes if so desired. Just last week, North Korea placed all of South Asia on high alert due to their missile test. They now have demonstrated the capability to build two-stage missiles, which is significant because adding stages increases missile range. While the Administration plays down the threat, I cannot. This leaves the region and our over 80,000 troops in the area vulnerable to attack. Also, according to `Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems,' North Korea is developing long-range missile capability that could threaten southern Alaska and with additional assistance from Russia could later develop missiles with ranges which could threaten the west coast of the U.S.
Opponents will also argue that a missile defense system cannot defend the United States against suitcase nukes or terrorist attacks on our own soil. They are right, and we need to do more to detect this form of terrorism, but it should not be done at the risk of a ballistic missile attack. To quote William Safire, `. . . nations like China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, India, and Pakistan have not been investing heavily in suitcases.' These countries are spending money on long range missiles. While many of these countries may never threaten the United States, we should not base all of our future threats on the present.
Opponents also point out that non-proliferation agreements will end the need for a missile defense. The problem is that not all countries abide by these agreements, or even sign at all. Presently, China, North Korea, and Russia are all engaged in the transfer of missile components and technologies. Despite past denials, North Korea now admits to testing and selling missiles in an effort to help build the arsenals of Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Again, despite the threats and pleadings of the Administration, North Korea has refused to stop developing, testing, and deploying missiles.
Lastly, opponents of a missile defense system point to the Administration's 1995 National Intelligence Estimate which stated that the United States would not face a threat of a missile attack for at least 15 years. However, to come to this conclusion, they had to exclude any threat to Alaska and Hawaii. This intentional omission is deceptive at best. We must not sacrifice the protection of U.S. citizens living in Alaska and Hawaii just to score political points. By leaving one state vulnerable, we leave the country vulnerable. This is unacceptable.
While I am a strong supporter of the capability of our intelligence community, they are not perfect. In May, the U.S. intelligence community was caught by surprise when India conducted a series of nuclear tests on the 11th and 13th of that month. In another surprise, despite intelligence estimates that Iran could not field its medium range ballistic missile until 2003, Iran flight-tested this system on July 22nd of this year. Also, it has been reported that Iran is developing a longer-range version capable of reaching Central Europe.
Again, the Administration believes that we will have at least 3 years warning before any missile attack would be feasible. However, on July 15th, the Congressionally mandated bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission concluded that the United States could get little to no warning of ballistic missile deployments from several emerging powers. The Commission stated that `The threat to the U.S. posed by these emerging capabilities is broader, more mature and evolving more rapidly than has been reported in estimates and reports by the intelligence community.' It also warns that, `The warning times the U.S. can expect of new, threatening ballistic missile deployments are being reduced. . . . the U.S. might well have little or no warning before operational deployment.'
While it may be difficult, we must admit that we live in an era of unstable international politics. The U.S. should never initiate a ballistic missile attack, but we cannot be sure that other nations are like-minded. The United States must be able to defend itself. I believe the world would be a better place without these weapons. In the meantime though, we must live with the reality that they do exist and in the wrong hands will be used.
The bottom line is that if the United States is on the receiving end of a missile attack, we are defenseless. I believe it is wrong to understate the danger still lurking in the world. We must do all that is possible to protect all Americans. We must develop a true national missile defense as soon as technologically possible. To do anything less would be to shirk our duties to provide for the common defense of the United States and all its citizens.
Mr. FAIRCLOTH. Mr. President, how we vote is not always clear to Americans. For the average citizen it is not easy to keep straight whether a `yea' is for or against something--whether it is a vote to pass a bill or table it. It also can be difficult to sort out where their senators stand when a particular vote covers many provisions in one `package.' Which provision was the `yea' vote for or the `no' vote against?
But, Mr. President, the vote on cloture of the American Missile Protection Act (S. 1873) this morning is not at all one of those `confusing' votes. I can think of no vote where it can be seen more clearly exactly where each senator stands. This morning's vote was black and white. This morning's vote shows who takes the most important function of the Federal Government--national security--seriously. The Senate failed for a second time this year to invoke cloture on the bill. Forty-one Senators, all Democrats, voted against protecting American families from the greatest threat to our homeland.
Nothing can be more frightening than the thought of an attack on our homes by another nation using nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Not thinking about it or pretending that it won't happen are absolutely not grownup ways to deal with this reality.
Opponents of the American Missile Protection Act claim concern with the fact that the bill mandates deployment of a National Missile Defense system. They claim that this bill ties our hands because when we finally do develop the capability to deploy a system, there might not be a need for it.
Might not be a need?? Let me be completely up-front. It's a myth that we have plenty of time to build a missile defense capability and hold off deployment until some potential future threat develops. The American people need to get that scenario out of their minds. The system is needed today, right now, and it is time for this Administration to get off its slow-track development program.
Just two months ago, the Rumsfeld Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States concluded that `ballistic missiles armed with WMD payloads pose a strategic threat to the United States.' The commission did not say there might be a future threat, it said there is a present threat. Further, India and Pakistan have conducted nuclear tests, North Korea just launched a two-stage missile over Japan, and we don't know Iraq's chemical weapons capability because the inspectors have not been allowed to look. If these events do not convince my colleagues on the other side of the aisle of our need for a National Missile Defense system, what will it take to convince them? Do they actually have to see a missile strike?
So, Mr. President, I do not take seriously this criticism that S. 1873 is flawed because it mandates deployment of a missile defense system that may not be needed. This sounds more like a smoke screen. I believe that the Democrat's real hope is to try and resuscitate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which was voided by the breakup of the Soviet Union. Getting back the ABM Treaty seems to be all consuming for some senators, and a U.S. National Missile Defense system gets in the way of their goal.
Mr. President, after today's vote it is very clear to American families that their senators either support real national security action or are trying to convince the citizens that a paper treaty will be sufficient to protect them--there is no middle ground.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The minority has 15 seconds remaining; the majority a minute and a half.
Mr. GLENN addressed the Chair.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
Mr. GLENN. Mr. President, I rise today to oppose cloture on the Cochran bill.
I will agree at the outset that the many cosponsors of this bill, though haling overwhelmingly from a single party, probably believe they have the best interests of the nation in mind by giving their support to this bill. So I am not here today to challenge their motives or to impugn their character. I am here instead to state as concisely and sincerely as I can how and why I believe they are simply wrong.
This bill is fatally flawed because it bases a profound national security decision--that is, the decision to deploy a missile defense system spanning the entire territory of the United States--upon one single consideration . . . its technological possibility.
Voters across the land sent us here to Washington because here is where the tough decisions are made that face all Americans. They are tough decisions precisely because they rarely if ever involve only one consideration. They are tough because they often entail tough trade-offs in the pursuit of goals that our country simply cannot achieve all at once. As members of Congress, we have to consider politics, economics, short-term and long-term effects, impacts on other policies, legal issues, and other factors. We have to weigh all these considerations and reach a judgment on what will serve the interests of the nation.
Yet here we are today, deliberating a decision that could well lead to the expenditure of tens or potentially hundreds of billions of dollars solely on the basis of a wish on a star. And that star is Star Wars.
This is my main objection to the bill--I just do not think it is wise to base fundamental national security decisions on simply one criterion, especially one so notoriously ill-defined as the notion of a `technological possibility.'
But I have other concerns as well. These relate to the potential cost of the policy enshrined in this bill. And they focus on the dubious technological objective that lies at the heart of what is known as `National Missile Defense.' I think it is certainly appropriate to ask some tough questions--as the Rumsfeld Commission did--about the foreign missile threat to determine if this threat is so grave or so imminent that it requires throwing twin babies out with the bath water: first, by abandoning standard US government procurement laws and procedures when it comes to acquiring major technological systems, and second by setting America on a course that is contary to our nation's arms control treaty obligations. And with respect to the consideration of what is actually possible, I also want to call my colleagues' attention to an article in the New York Times dated July 28 by Richard Garwin, a member of the Rumsfeld Commission. The article makes a persuasive point: that we cannot--must not--depend on a system for our defense which, even under the best circumstances, cannot accomplish its mission. In fact, it is not at all clear that any system we design could ever deal with all of the varied threats from different quarters.
Mr. President, the American people are not dummies. I am convinced that when they listen carefully to both sides on this issue, they will recognize that nobody has yet come up with an improvement on existing US policy for missile defense. They will come to this conclusion precisely because our current policy is premised upon all of the many considerations I have just summarized . . . not just one.
Americans understand that it makes sense not to force the government to buy costly, high-risk technologies that simply have the possibility of being effective.
They understand that America's national security decisions must not be made without considering the impacts of these decisions on the defense choices that will be left open to other countries.
They understand that in an age of balanced budgets, large new public sector commitments will jeopardize funding prospects for a multitude of other precious national goals.
They will know how to assess the incorrect claim so frequently made by missile defense advocates that America is allegedly `defenseless' against the foreign missile threat. The closer they look at the $270-plus billion that we are spending each year on the nation's defense (not to mention the additional billions that we are investing in our diplomatic and intelligence capabilities), the sooner they will see the fallacy in the idea of a defensless America.
Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, I yield the time remaining on our side to the distinguished Senator from Texas, Senator Hutchison, for closing our debate.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas is recognized.
Mrs. HUTCHISON. Thank you, Mr. President. I thank the Senator from Mississippi for his leadership.
Which of these actions would be the act of a strong and powerful nation led by men and women of vision and foresight: a nation that constantly reassesses its security threats and tailors its defense to meet those threats, or a nation that sits back and says let's see what the threat is, then we will assess it and then we will address it?
Mr. President, it was the latter thinking that caused us to go to a hollow military after World War II, and we paid the price with thousands of lives in the Korean war--lives of our men and women, because we hadn't planned for the future.
Mr. President, we have gotten the wake-up call. It is the Rumsfeld report that Congress commissioned, which said that we have failed to estimate how long it would take rogue nations to develop ballistic missiles. That is the wake-up call. Are we going to meet the security threats of this country? The greatest security threat we have is incoming ballistic missiles. If we put our mind to the technology, we can prioritize our defense spending to say to the American people that we will protect you from incoming ballistic missiles to our shores, or to any theater where our Armed Forces are present. We can do no less if we are men and women of vision and foresight for the greatest Nation on Earth.
I urge your support for the Cochran visionary amendment that would protect our country at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator Coats be added as a cosponsor of S. 1873.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will report.
The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:
We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the provision of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to proceed to Calendar No. 345, S. 1873, the Missile Defense System legislation.
Trent Lott, Thad Cochran, Strom Thurmond, Jon Kyl, Conrad Burns, Dirk Kempthorne, Pat Roberts, Larry E. Craig, Ted Stevens, Rick Santorum, Judd Gregg, Tim Hutchinson, Jim Inhofe, Connie Mack, Robert F. Bennett, and Jeff Sessions.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on a motion to proceed to Senate bill 1873, the missile defense bill, shall be brought to a close?
The yeas and nays are required under the rule. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 59, nays 41, as follows:
The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 59, the nays are 41. Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.
Mr. GORTON. I move to reconsider the vote.
Mr. LEVIN. I move to lay that motion on the table.
The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Roberts). The distinguished Senator from Washington is recognized.
Mr. GORTON. Mr. President, the distinguished President pro tempore has asked for 5 or 10 minutes to speak as in morning business. I ask unanimous consent that you recognize him for that purpose.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The distinguished Senator from South Carolina is recognized.