Today, the continental United States is completely defenseless against attack by even a single ballistic missile.
To remedy this intolerable threat to America's nationalinterest, House Republicans believe it is imperative that the United States, at the earliest practical date, deploy an antiballistic missile system capable of providing a highly effective defense of the United States against ballistic missile attacks, and provide highly effective theater missile defenses to our forward-deployed and expeditionary forces and to friendly forces and allies of the United States.
More than twenty-five nations now have or may be developing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. More than fifteen now have ballistic missiles, and by the end of the decade the Defense Department predicts that twenty to twenty-five will have such missiles. And many of these nations--like North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Libya--are led by criminals who hate America, or are mentally unstable, or both. Moreover, it is increasing clear that China, North Korea, and the former Soviet states are actively marketing ballistic missile technology adaptable to nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. As a result of these factors, the CIA has concluded that missiles from hostile countries will be able to reach the United States by the end of this decade. North Korean missiles now under development could be able to reach targets in Guam, Hawaii, and Alaska.
We cannot be confident that the new proliferators of ballistic missiles--terrorists, criminals, warring factions, or deranged rulers--will be deterred by our nuclear arsenal. Only an effective missile defense can protect the American people froma potential catastrophe.
Congress must act now to protect American security, because President Clinton has not. In the teeth of overwhelming public support for missile defense, he has formally terminated the Strategic Defense Initiative, slashing President Bush's proposed spending for national missile defense by more than 80%. Although he justified these massive cuts on the pretext of "prioritizing"our missile defense efforts by focussing more efforts on theater missile defenses, President Clinton then proceeded to cut theater missile defense by a third, delaying some of our most promising programs. And he is actively pursuing an agreement with Russia that would radically restrict our ability to defend our troopsand allies abroad and permanently end our ability to defend the American people at home.
In short, the President, who claims to be a "New Democrat," is pursuing the hoariest "Old Democrat" defense strategy: usethe defense budget as a piggy bank for domestic pork-barrel spending; pursue arms control negotiations and agreements as an end in themselves; and stake the future of the American people on blind faith that the security of the United States depends on ensuring its vulnerability to attack. As a direct result ofthese policies, the continental United States could not today bedefended against attack by even a single missile.
Republicans--supported by the American public--demand adifferent policy. We support a vigorous U.S. effort to protect American troops, allies, and citizens against even one ballistic missile armed with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. That's why, as part of the Republican Contract with America, we will continue to demand that the Administration give Congress a plan for the earliest practical deployment of defense systems designed to protect the United States, our armed forces, and our allies against ballistic missile attack. And we strongly opposeany effort to introduce new diplomatic constraints on our ability to deploy such defense systems.