(Horner cautions about rogue nations' arms buildup)  (560)
By Paul Malamud
1SIA Staff Writer
Washington -- America needs to build anti-ballistic missile defense systems
and share them with other nations, says Air Force General Charles Horner,
commander-in-chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Rogue nations are acquiring ballistic missiles and warheads of mass
destruction, Horner said March 25, and the United States must do what it
can to prevent proliferation of such weapons, and also to develop effective
defenses against them.

He said such defenses, when developed, should be shared with allied nations,
including Russia, as a way of protecting civilized peoples from nuclear

In remarks to a forum on Capitol Hill, Horner noted that nuclear missiles
are primarily "a terror weapon, a political weapon," and they can give a
terrorist state "tremendous leverage" in a political confrontation.  If
Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had had a functioning nuclear arsenal, he said,
he could have held Western cities hostage in his attempt to take over
Mideast oil fields.

Stressing that the "non-proliferation war" is the "war we all need to be
fighting," Horner warned that nations such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea
are becoming more dangerous following the collapse of the Soviet Union
which no longer exerts a moderating influence on their goals.

In the future, he said, rogue nations and terrorist groups will seek
"weapons of mass destruction....The people we will be facing" probably
cannot be deterred by the old doctrine of mutually-assured destruction.

Adding that disarmament negotiations between the United States and the newly
independent states of the former Soviet Union need to continue, Horner said
it is time for all parties to give up their "nuclear security blanket" in
favor of a more defensive strategy.

The Russians know their main threat "is not the United States" but rather
increasingly nuclear-ambitious nations around their periphery including
Iraq, Iran, Syria, and North Korea, he said.

He pointed out that many nations in the Middle East are seeking weapons of
mass destruction, and European countries, including Italy and France, are
concerned about a possible strategic threat from North Africa.

Horner said building anti-missile defenses to cope with threats such as the
primitive SCUD missiles is "fighting yesterday's war....Credible theater
anti-ballistic missile defenses must address longer-range missiles."  While
the Patriot anti-missile defense system works, he said, there is a need now
to go "well beyond" it technologically in order to develop a system capable
of downing ballistic missiles with chemical or nuclear warheads before they
leave "enemy territory."

He predicted that "space control" -- strategic and tactical control of the
upper atmosphere and outer space -- "is going to become more and more
important in warfare."  He added that the United States must be able to
determine which communications satellites and aerial imaging systems are
allowed to operate during a military confrontation.  "Space-based warning
systems" of ballistic missile launches, he said, are crucial.

Horner asserted that, in his view, the ABM (Anti-ballistic Missile) treaty
between the United States and the former Soviet Union was concluded "in the
context of the Cold War," adding that the Cold War is now over.  The time
has come, he said, to reappraise the potential of anti-missile defenses.