Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. I have one brief announcement, and then I'll entertain your questions....................
Q: Could you tell us whether the White House has a legal opinion now about whether building the very initial parts of this National Missile Defense would in fact bring the administration in violation of the ABM Treaty?
Mr. Bacon: The president has not made a decision on that question.
Q: But is there -- there's a report in the New York Times this morning that suggests that White House lawyers have drafted an opinion that very initial construction, such as, for instance, laying the foundation of the warning radar at Shemya, would not be in violation of the ABM Treaty. Are you familiar with this legal opinion or can you tell us anything about it?
Mr. Bacon: Well, I can tell you that lawyers have analyzed deployment timetables and they have analyzed the construction requirements for the radar in the Aleutians on Shemya Island.
They have come up with a number of options. And the president at the appropriate time will review their legal analysis and their options and make a decision.
Remember, when he makes a decision later this year, he has to look at four things. He said he will look at four things. One is threat, one is the technical capability to build a system, the third is the cost, and the fourth is the impact on arms control regimes. So I think those four topics cover everything that we've brought up here so far on NMD. And he'll have to sit down, after he has the results of the July test, integrated flight test five, and look at what's happening in terms of threat, cost, technical capability and arms control.
Q: You said that the lawyers have come up with various options. Do those options include some sort of minimum construction of the system that would not violate the ABM Treaty and would postpone a decision for deployment to some point down the road?
Mr. Bacon: Well, I think that I'll defer discussion of the options until the president has a chance to review them and make a decision, which will be some months off. But I think you can reasonably assume that the lawyers have looked at a variety of combinations.