DATE=6/29/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SENATE-MISSILE DEFENSE (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-263898 BYLINE=DAVID SWAN DATELINE=CAPITOL HILL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The head of the American missile defense program is denying allegations of fraud and rigged test results, in advance of a crucial test next week. If that exercise goes well, President Clinton may decide to go ahead and deploy the system, but there are doubts about whether it can be built on time. V- O-A's David Swan reports. TEXT: Even as political pressure to build the system has grown, so have questions about whether it will work by knocking incoming missiles out of the sky. There have been reports the Pentagon orchestrated tests to help an interceptor rocket distinguish real targets from decoys. The director of the program, (Air Force) General Ronald Kadish, vigorously rejected the charges at a Senate hearing (Thursday). /// Kadish Act /// We take allegations of fraud and deception very seriously. We investigate all of them to the best of our ability and we have not found any merit to those allegations. /// End Act /// The general says preparations are on track for next week's (7/7) test, when an interceptor will try to knock down a dummy warhead over the Pacific. The long-term prospects for the system are far less clear. Officials hope to have the first operational interceptors ready by 2005, when missiles from places like North Korea may be able to strike the continental United States. But retired Air Force chief of staff Larry Welch, who led a high-level expert review of the program, says the timetable may be optimistic. /// Welch Act /// Do I believe it's feasible? Yes. Do I believe that's the most likely (completion date)? No. But if you were to say "well, if you don't think 2005 is the most likely, what do you think is the most likely?" I don't have any advice to offer. /// End Act /// Among other things, the project could be slowed by bad weather on the remote Alaskan island where a key radar station must be built. Beyond the technical issues, critics also worry the plan would damage relations with Russia, which argues the system would breach the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Democratic Senator Jack Reed suggests it would simply touch off a new arms race. /// Reed Act /// What I recall from (studying) mechanics and physics in college is that for each action there's an equal and opposite reaction. If we develop a national defense system, our adversaries will develop something else, particularly on the order of countermeasures. /// End Act /// The president says he will consider the likely reaction from other countries when deciding whether to press ahead with deployment. That decision is expected sometime in the next several weeks. (Signed) NEB/DS/ENE/JP 29-Jun-2000 14:00 PM EDT (29-Jun-2000 1800 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .