Letter from the CIA stating the intelligence community's views on future missile threats.


Central Intelligence Agency,
Washington, DC, December 7, 1995.

Hon. Carl Levin,
U.S. Senate,
Washington, DC.

Dear Senator Levin: The DCI has asked me to respond on his behalf to your letter of November 1, 1995, asking for the Intelligence Community's comments on the Defense Authorization Bill language that discusses the future ballistic missile threat to the United States. In the past, representatives of the Intelligence Community openly portrayed the future ballistic missile threat to the US as reflected in the statement from Sec 232, para (3) of the Defense Authorization Bill. We wish to point out, however, that the Intelligence Community continuously evaluates this issue and the Bill language overstates what we currently believe to be the future threat.

Several countries are seeking longer range missiles to meet regional security goals; however, most of these missiles cannot reach as far as 1,000 kilometers. A North Korean missile potentially capable of reaching portions of Alaska--but not beyond--may be in development, but the likelihood of it being operational within five years is very low.

The Intelligence Community believes it extremely unlikely any nation with ICBMs will be willing to sell them, and we are confident that our warning capability is sufficient to provide notice many years in advance of indigenous development.

An original of this letter is also being provided to Senator Dale Bumpers. Similar letters are being provided to Senator Strom Thurmond and Senator Sam Nunn.

Enclosed herewith is an unclassified publication on The Weapons Proliferation Threat. We hope this information is useful. Please call if I can be of further assistance.


Joanne O. Isham,
Director of Congressional Affairs.


The initial letter from Congress follows:


U.S. Senate,
Washington, DC, November 1, 1995.

Hon. John Deutch,
Director of Central Intelligence,
Washington, DC.

Dear John: When the Senate considers the Conference Report on the FY 1996 Defense Authorization Bill, we will again debate the ballistic missile threat to the United States.

Sec. 232 para. (3) of the Senate version of the FY 1996 Defense Authorization Bill states `The intelligence community of the United States has estimated that (A) the missile proliferation trend is toward longer range and more sophisticated missiles , (B) North Korea may deploy an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching Alaska or beyond within 5 years, and (C) although a new indigenously developed ballistic missile threat to the United States is not forecast within the next 10 years there is a danger that determined countries will acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles in the near future and with little warning by means other than indigenous production.'

We would appreciate your unclassified comments on whether the above statement accurately reflects the present position of the intelligence community. We would also appreciate your assessment of the likelihood that countries will acquire `with little warning' ICBMs either through indigenous production or by other means.

We would also welcome your providing us with any other information that you feel is relevant to this issue. Thank you for your attention.




[from the Congressional Record, December 19, 1995]

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