USIS Washington 

13 October 1999


Text: Slocombe on National Missile Defense System, October 13

(Says foreign ballistic missile threat is growing) (3970)

Walter B. Slocombe, under secretary of defense for policy, told the
House Armed Services Committee October 13 that the threat from foreign
ballistic missile programs is growing rapidly, making the United
States' National Missile Defense System (NMD) a priority.

The threat, he said, comes "most immediately" from North Korea, but is
"by no means limited only to" that country. He also named Iran and
"possibly" Iraq as countries which might "during the next 15 years"
launch intercontinental ballistic missiles toward the United States.

The NMD program is proceeding successfully, he said, as evidenced by
"the October 2 intercept by an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) of a
target launched by a modified Minuteman missile."

The United States' NMD development program "has been and will be
carried out in compliance with the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile)
Treaty, he said, to which the United States is committed "by both law
and policy."

Slocombe said that President Clinton has not yet made a decision on
whether to proceed with deployment of NMD, but the United States is
"taking prudent steps both in technology and in diplomacy to
facilitate deployment in the event that next year the president
decides to proceed."

He said the United States has geared its NMD program to the emerging
danger posed by "rogue states such as North Korea and Iran which are
likely to be able to field intercontinental range missiles that could
deliver chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons" against U.S.

Slocombe said the goal of both "preserving the ABM Treaty and having
the option to deploy an effective defense against rogue state missile
attacks" is wholly reasonable and will not jeopardize the U.S.
interest in "strategic stability, a sound relationship with Russia,
and further reductions in U.S. and Russian strategic offensive arms."

Following is the text of Slocombe's testimony as prepared for

(begin text)

Testimony of the Honorable Walter B. Slocombe
To the House Armed Services Committee
Hearing on National Missile Defense
October 13, 1999

Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, I welcome the opportunity to
discuss with you our planning for a National Missile Defense (NMD)
system and the implications of these plans for the ABM Treaty.

As you know for several years, it has been the policy of the United
States to be in a position, technologically to make a decision, by
2000, to deploy an effective National Missile Defense system capable
of defending the territory of all 50 of the United States against
limited ballistic missile attack from rogue states, if the development
of the threat makes such a deployment appropriate.

Recent developments in foreign ballistic missile programs, most
immediately, but by no means limited only to, North Korea, make it
clear that the threat is growing rapidly. At the same time, our NMD
development program is proceeding successfully, especially considering
the accelerated timetable we are on, as highlighted by the October 2
intercept by an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) of a target launched
by a modified Minuteman missile.

While the President has not made a decision on whether to proceed with
deployment of a national missile defense -- that decision will not be
made until next summer at the earliest -- we are taking prudent steps
both in technology and in diplomacy to facilitate deployment in the
event that next year the President decides to proceed.

Of course, our programs are proceeding against the backdrop of the ABM
Treaty. This Administration, like all of its predecessors since
President Nixon signed the Treaty in 1972, is committed by both law
and policy to the ABM Treaty. We regard the Treaty as a critical
element in sustaining strategic stability. It is our policy, our
desire, and our expectation that our limited NMD program can proceed
without destroying the ABM Treaty. We seek an outcome that will both
permit the NMD deployment needed to defend against rogue states and
preserve the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability.
Nevertheless, we will not permit any other country to have a veto on
actions that may be needed for the defense of our nation. We have
begun discussions with the Russians to that end.

There are three broad variables that are shaping the planning for an
NMD system: (1) the threat of attack, (2) our technological capability
and the cost of deployment, and (3) arms control. I will address each
in turn.

Rogue State Ballistic Missile Threat

We have long geared our NMD program to the emerging danger posed by
rogue states such as North Korea and Iran which are likely to be able
to field intercontinental range missiles that could deliver chemical,
biological, or nuclear weapons against the territory of the United

With respect to these emerging rogue state threats, the new NIE,
released last month, has reached the following judgment: "We project
that during the next 15 years the United States most likely will face
ICBM threats from ... North Korea, probably from Iran, and possibly
from Iraq...."

North Korea:

On August 31, 1998, North Korea attempted to launch a satellite on a
Taepo Dong (TD) 1 missile. That launch made it clear that North Korea
has made considerable progress in developing long-range missile
capabilities, including some important aspects of ICBM development,
such as multiple stage separation. While the U.S. Intelligence
Community expected a TD-1 launch for some time, it did not anticipate
that the missile would have a third stage, or that it would be used to
attempt to place a satellite in orbit.

Over the past year, the Administration has sustained a major
diplomatic effort to prevent the test of a follow-on system, the Taepo
Dong-2, which would pose a still greater threat to the United States.
North Korea has agreed to a moratorium on flight tests of long range
missiles during further discussions. However, that action, while
welcome, does not mean a halt to the North Korean program (which
continues to progress through steps other than flight tests), much
less an end to the potential threat from North Korea. Accordingly, we
continue to base our NMD efforts on the assessment, reflected in the
NIE, that North Korea probably will test the TD-2 this year.


The situation with regard to Iranian ICBM development also warrants
careful scrutiny. Iran has tested the Shahab 3 with a range of more
than 1,000 kilometers and, Iran could test an ICBM that could deliver
a several hundred kilogram payload to parts of the U.S. in the latter
half of the next decade, using Russian or other foreign technology and
assistance. They could also pursue a TD-type ICBM patterned after the
TD-1 or TD-2, possibly with North Korean assistance, in the next few


Lastly, the NIE judges that Iraq, if freed from sanctions and
coalition action against full revival of its WMD programs, could test
an ICBM that could deliver a several-hundred kilogram payload to the
United States by the end of the next decade, depending on the level of
foreign assistance. If Iraq could buy a TD-2 from North Korea, it
could have a launch capability within months of the purchase.

U.S. Response to the Rogue State Threat:

In order to protect ourselves from these and other ballistic missile
threats, we seek to prevent and reduce the threat through every
available means: export control measures, including the Missile
Technology Control Regime (MTCR); arms reduction agreements, such as
START I and II, international anti-proliferation arrangement, such as
the NPT; and cooperative non-proliferation efforts, such as the
Cooperative Threat Reduction program. We also deter the threat by
maintaining powerful nuclear and conventional forces. Those who would
threaten America, or its allies, should have no doubt: any attack on
us would meet an overwhelming response.

In addition to these preventative measures defenses can play an
important role in strengthening and complimenting our overall
deterrence policy. At the core of deterrence is convincing an
adversary that the assured, negative consequences of an action greatly
outweigh any potential, positive results of that action. There are two
sides to this equation. The threat of nuclear retaliation drives home
that the negative consequences would be huge. But it is also valuable
for deterrence to reduce the chance that an attack would succeed in
the first place. Missile defenses, for their part, can convince an
adversary that there is little or no chance of accomplishing the
intended political or military objectives of an attack, or threat of
an attack. Missile defenses further complement deterrence by enhancing
the US ability to fulfill its global security commitments to allies
and friends. Defenses render less credible any possible attempts by an
adversary to threaten or coerce the United States with ballistic
missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction. They thoroughly
re-infuse the commitment of the United States to support our allies
and friends -- from NATO to Israel to the Persian Gulf to northeast
Asia -- in the event they face a threat from a rogue state.

NMD Program

In 1996, in recognition of the growing threat, our policy shifted from
a pursuit of a technology readiness program whose goal was to develop
the technology of NMD system elements, to a deployment readiness
program that has sought to aggressively develop the components of an
integrated system that could be deployed a few years into the next

In so doing, we deliberately set the stage to make an NMD deployment
decision in the year 2000 in order to be able to deploy a system as
early as 2003, if the threat warranted. We were also prepared, if the
President decided in 2000 not to deploy, to continue to refine our
proposed NMD system so that it would be even more capable against
future threats.

In January of this year, Secretary Cohen assessed that the pace of a
development program designed to begin an initial NMD deployment by the
year 2003 was simply too aggressive and too high risk to succeed. He
did not want to "rush to failure" -- a phrase coined in a recent
Defense Science Board study of our BMD programs. He put the program on
a still-aggressive, but much more feasible pace to reach initial
operation of a system in 2005/6.

I should emphasize that from a technology and development standpoint,
our NMD development is still very ambitious, but it should be
attainable. The magnitude of the technical challenges is great -- the
program remains risky but we accept this risk given the serious
consequences of the emerging rogue missile threat to the United
States. We are taking a major acquisition program -- which would
normally require 10 years or more to complete -- and collapsing that
into about 6 years.

That said, the technological experts at the Department of Defense have
a sound basis for thinking the accelerated timetable is warranted and
achievable. No new technology is required for the proposed NMD system.
We are in the process of taking technologies we have already
developed, integrating them into a system, and demonstrating their
ability to perform the mission. The NMD program actually has a very
mature technology base from which to build an operationally effective

Also in January, the President added $6.6 billion to the Ballistic
Missile Defense Organization's (BMDO) 6-year budget, to raise funding
levels for NMD to $10.5 billion through fiscal year 2005. In our
ongoing budget preparation for FY 01-05, we are examining what
adjustments are necessary to deploy the initial architecture. If that
requires additional funding, the budget for 2001 and the out-years
will be adjusted accordingly.

With regard to the NMD program itself, over the past year and a half
we have made a number of major decisions and passed a number of
significant milestones.

-- In April 1998, BMDO selected Boeing as the NMD Lead System
Integrator, that is, the contractor who will be responsible for the
overall design, development, testing and integration of the NMD system

-- Potential interceptor deployment locations in Alaska and North
Dakota have been selected, and we are proceeding with the
environmental impact process, preparing detailed statements that
assess the effect of deployment at either or both these sites. In
addition, we are engaged in site surveys, facility design efforts, and
planning for construction and site activation.

-- We are developing and testing the upgrades required, for the
existing early warning radars, and are testing a prototype X-band

-- SPACECOM is developing a concept of operations for the NMD system
that follows existing missile warning command relationships, and
defines strict rules of engagement.

One of the most challenging technological barriers that we must
overcome is perfecting the NMD Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV). The
EKV will be carried by ground-based interceptor missiles and is
equipped with two infrared sensors, a visible light sensor, and a
small propulsion system. It has had two successful "sensor flyby"
tests, one conducted in June 1997 and another in January 1998.
Raytheon was selected as the EKV prime contractor in December 1998
(with Boeing as back up).

The first intercept flight test -- a major success involving a
"hit-to-kill," body-to-body impact -- took place earlier this month.
The second intercept test is scheduled for next January.

An integrated system test of all NMD components is scheduled for next
May. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Defense is scheduled to
conduct a Deployment Readiness Review (DRR), to examine the
technological status of the NMD program and its costs -- as well as
progress on relevant arms control issues. After receiving the results
of that review, the Secretary of Defense will make a recommendation to
the President regarding whether or not to deploy the NMD system. How
well we are able, through the scheduled tests, to establish the
technical readiness for NMD deployment will be a major factor in the
President's deployment decision next summer, which will also consider
the threat to the United States, and the status of arms reduction

Architectural Design:

As I said earlier, no deployment decision has yet been made: that will
depend on the technological readiness of the system at the DRR in June
2000, the projected cost, the review of the threat as projected then
(which we do not expect to change), and the substantial policy issues
presented by a deployment decision. The President, based on the
recommendation of his national security team, has decided on an
architecture -- for planning purposes now -- for a system. The
deployment, if approved, will proceed in phases. As an immediate goal
to meet early threats, we would deploy by 2005/6 an initial NMD system
that would be optimized for the most immediate threat -- that from
North Korea. It would be capable of defending all 50 states against a
launch of a few tens of warheads accompanied by simple penetration
aids. For planning purposes, this NMD architecture would include:

-- 100 ground-based interceptors based in Alaska.

-- An X-Band radar at Shemya in Alaska.

-- Upgrades to five existing ballistic missile early warning radars.

-- It would use, for purposes of initial detection of missile launches
aimed at the U.S., the SBIRS-High system, which is being developed to
supplement and eventually replace the Defense Support Program (DSP)
satellite system.

Such a system would also provide a 50-state defense against limited
attack (a few warheads with simple penetration aids) launched from the
Middle East. In order to achieve an initial operational capability in
2005, construction of this system would need to begin in 2001,
following a decision to proceed during the summer of next year.

The President also identified as a longer-term goal to deploy
(possibly in further phases), by the 2010/2011 time-frame, a limited
NMD system with the capability to negate up to a few tens of ICBM
warheads with complex penetration aids launched from either North
Korea or the Middle East. The system architecture would include an
additional interceptor site, additional interceptors, and several more
X-Band radars, and the SBIRS-Low satellite constellation to provide an
important tool in distinguishing enemy warheads from sophisticated
penetration aids.

Engaging Russia on NMD Deployment Planning and the ABM Treaty

President Clinton is committed both to protecting the American people
from rogue-state ballistic missile threats, and maintaining the ABM
Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability. Our NMD development
program has been and will be carried out in compliance with the ABM
Treaty. All testing to date has been compliant with the Treaty, and
all planned tests that have been sufficiently defined for compliance
review have been certified as compliant. Compliance with the ABM
Treaty in the development phase has not slowed or curtailed the

Deployment, however, will require Treaty modifications and we have
made clear to Russia that we seek to negotiate such modifications in
good faith.

The goal of both preserving the ABM Treaty and having the option to
deploy an effective defense against rogue state missile attacks is a
wholly reasonable one. We should not be in a position of having to
choose between adding the capability to defend against rogue-state
ballistic missile attack, on the one hand, and jeopardizing our
interest in strategic stability, a sound relationship with Russia, and
further reductions in U.S. and Russian strategic offensive arms, on
the other.

There are several reasons we should not have to face that choice:

-- First, the system we would deploy would not in any way threaten
Russia's deterrent. The limited NMD system we would deploy is
completely different from the large-scale territorial defense against
each other that greatly concerned the United States and the Soviet
Union during the Cold War. Our NMD program is not directed against
Russia's nuclear deterrent, nor will it provide the capability to
threaten that deterrent. The capability of our proposed NMD system
would be limited to defense against a small number of missiles -- from
a few warheads to a few tens of warheads.

-- Second, the ABM Treaty already allows a limited ballistic missile
defense system (though not a nation-wide one). Indeed, the ABM Treaty
from its inception in 1972 has permitted the deployment of limited
defenses, and Russia has long maintained such an ABM system around

-- Third, the ABM Treaty -- even when modified to permit deployment of
a limited defense system -- will remain fully viable and a key element
of our strategy to reduce further the nuclear threat via negotiated
reductions in strategic offensive arms and vigorous non-proliferation
efforts. The limited defensive system we have in mind is fully
consistent with the fundamental purpose of the ABM Treaty, which is to
ensure that each party's strategic deterrent is not threatened by
missile defenses of the other party. We believe the Treaty can be
amended to permit deployment of a limited NMD, while preserving the
fundamental principle of the Treaty that prohibits large-scale defense
that would threaten strategic deterrence.

The real threat to the Treaty comes not from our efforts to modify it
to reflect current realities, but from a fixed refusal to modify it to
permit the U.S. (and Russia) to build effective defenses against rogue
state threats. Neither the ABM Treaty, nor any other international
treaty, can remain viable if it fails to reflect contemporary
realities: in this case, the need to counter the threat posed by rogue
state ballistic missile proliferation, which threatens the United
States and, for that matter, Russia and many other nations as well.

Over the past few years, we have kept Russia informed of our NMD
policy, and of our progress in developing an NMD system, such as our
initiation of analysis of the environmental impact of interceptor
deployment in Alaska. We have begun detailed discussion with the
Russians about our possible deployment of a limited NMD system and the
necessity of adapting the ABM Treaty to permit such a deployment while
sustaining its ban on large-scale national missile defenses.

-- In June, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin met in Cologne and agreed
to begin discussions on both NMD and the ABM Treaty and on further
reductions in strategic offensive arms under START III later in the
summer of 1999.

-- Since late August, we have been talking in detail with Russia at
senior levels about the limited NMD system we have in mind, as well as
its implications for the Treaty.

-- Finally, over the past several months we have consulted closely
with allies regarding our policy and our approach to Russia on NMD.

We are now seeking Russia's agreement to those changes to the ABM
treaty required to permit us to meet our initial goal. We have judged
it right to leave to President Clinton's successor -- and that of
President Yeltsin -- the issue of follow-on negotiations on further
changes to the ABM Treaty required to meet larger, more complex
threats from North Korea and the Middle East, but we have made clear
that we expect such negotiations to be necessary. We would expect
those follow-on negotiations to begin in 2001, to insure the United
States could begin the needed construction of additional components,
possibly including foreign-based ABM radars, to provide a defense
against the emergence of a more sophisticated threat.

Both the United States and Russia face ballistic missile threats. The
President has told President Yeltsin, and Secretary Cohen has told
Minister of Defense Sergeyev, that we want to work cooperatively with
Russia on these matters. In this regard, we have recently proposed a
number of specific projects to the Russian government. Through these
cooperative programs, both the United States and Russia should acquire
tangible benefits to their security that will help both nations
demonstrate that a cooperative approach on ABM is in our common

As I noted, we have already begun to engage Russia on the limited NMD
system we are considering and on the ABM Treaty implications. As has
been clear from Russian public statements, the Russian government
reaction so far has been negative. That said, however, the Russians
agree that it is important to discuss this matter. As to the prospects
of eventual Russian agreement, Secretary Cohen has said, "We will
negotiate with the Russians and try to persuade them it is in our
interest and their interest to remain with the framework of modifying
it to accommodate us.... I believe that we can persuade them that we
are serious about holding on to the structure of the ABM Treaty, but
it needs to be modified to give us this protection for our own

I do not believe it appropriate to say any more about the state of the
negotiations in an open hearing.

If, in the end, we are unsuccessful in these negotiations, the
President would have to decide whether to withdraw from the ABM Treaty
under the supreme national interest clause. We will make every effort
to secure what we think to be the right outcome in our national
interest, and that of Russia and the rest of the world -- modification
of the ABM Treaty so that our planned National Missile Defense system
can go forward, while preserving the ABM Treaty as a key component of
strategic stability for the future.

In conclusion Mr. Chairman, our planning for an NMD system is well
advanced. It seeks to anticipate future rogue state threats, and to
develop systems that can defend against such threats. Our NMD program
remains on a highly accelerated track to ensure we are positioned to
respond to an emerging rogue nation threat.

The Department and the Administration as a whole have worked closely
with this Committee over the years to ensure that the United States
possesses the necessary means to defend its people and forces, and we
look forward to continuing these efforts.

Thank you.

(end text)

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