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U.S. Missile Defense Policy : an Update

U.S. Missile Defense Policy : an Update

Prepared Statement on Missile Defense by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, to the Combined Procurement and R&D Subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee, June, 27, 2002.

Chairman Hunter, Chairman Weldon, Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss our Missile Defense Program. Your committee has been a strong supporter of this program in the past and we look forward to your continuing support as we work through the FY03 National Defense Authorization Act.

Today, I would like to provide a brief update on our missile defense policy as a backdrop to General Kadish’s testimony. But first, I would like to take a moment to reiterate Secretary Rumsfeld’s concerns about the missile defense provisions in the Senate version of the bill. General Kadish will be prepared to address these issues in more detail.

Let me begin by commenting on yesterday’s action by the Senate. The current Senate version of the authorization bill would permit the President to apply up to $814 million in inflation savings to the missile defense program to offset the cuts by the Armed Services Committee. However, should those inflation savings not materialize, it would severely delay the fielding of a contingency capability against emerging medium and long-range ballistic missile threats and cripple our efforts to development boost-phase defenses. If those inflation savings are not available, it could also force the lay off of hundreds of people -- the bulk of them engineers – and thereby adversely affect our ability to attract and retain the finest minds of our nation to address one of its greatest technological challenges and field an effective system at the earliest possible date.

The Senate bill continues to impose a number of burdensome statutory restrictions that would undermine our ability to manage the program effectively, divert management attention away from critical program execution, and result in further unnecessary delays. We will continue to provide Congress with all the information necessary to perform its oversight function. Such statutory restrictions are unnecessary in light of the steps we have already taken to increase accountability and oversight over the missile defense program.

To succeed in missile defense we have streamlined oversight – the Director of MDA will regularly and frequently brief the Senior Executive Council, which is chaired by myself and includes the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, and the Service Secretaries. The Services and other oversight organizations, including the test community, have full access into the program and provide advice to the SEC on a regular basis. The end result will be faster decision cycles while maintaining the highest standards of oversight. Let me underscore that we remain committed to working with Congress and sharing all relevant information to allow you to fulfill your oversight responsibilities.

For these reasons, if missile reductions and restrictions similar to those in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the bill are included in the version of the bill adopted by Congress, the President’s senior advisors will recommend that he veto the bill.

Six months ago, the president announced our intention to withdraw from the 1972 ABM treaty. The President took this step as part of a broader change in our defense policy to reflect new threats we face along with the fundamentally different relationship we have with Russia today. Earlier this month, that withdrawal formally took place. As a result, we are now free to develop, test and deploy effective defenses against missile attacks from rogue states like North Korea, Iraq, and Iran – states that are investing a large percentage of their resources to develop weapons of mass destruction and offensive ballistic missiles at the expense of the basic needs of their people.

The scope of this growing threat to the U.S. and our allies and friends is compounded by the fact that the states that are developing these terror weapons have close links to a variety of terrorist organizations. States or even non-state actors could use container ships to launch shorter-range missiles against our territory. As the president stated in his State of the Union Address, we must not allow the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most dangerous weapons.

In response to this new strategic environment, the president called for a new approach to deterrence that reduces our reliance on offensive nuclear weapons and emphasizes defensive systems. The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) further underscored the point that relying solely on offensive nuclear forces is inappropriate for deterring potential adversaries. As the president stated, "Cold War deterrence is no longer enough. To maintain peace, to protect our own citizens and our allies and friends, we must seek security based on more than the grim promise that we can destroy those who seek to destroy us."

Moving forward on missile defense, particularly by taking advantage of new technological opportunities, is an essential part of a strategy to provide the range of capabilities necessary to defend against the broad spectrum of new threats and challenges we will confront in the 21st century. In short, by reducing an opponent’s incentives to seek or use missiles, defenses can contribute to our goals of deterring missile attack, dissuading opponents from acquiring missiles, assuring our allies and friends against missile threats, and defeating limited attacks in the event of conflict.

With the ABM Treaty now behind us, our task is to develop and deploy effective defenses against the full range of missile attacks – whether from short, medium, or long range weapons. Indeed, the president is committed to developing and deploying a missile defense system as soon as possible to protect the American people, our deployed forces, as well as allies and friends against the growing missile threats we face.

We will continue to move forward with a robust research, development and testing program that is designed to take advantage of new technologies and basing modes. Recent tests provide a foundation on which to proceed. Development and testing will continue, but we will also begin to deploy effective layered defenses against limited missile attack. Just a few weeks ago, we broke ground in Alaska on silos to house missile defense interceptors. These silos, to be completed in 2004, are part of a missile defense test bed that could also give us, for the first time, a limited emergency capability to protect our country against ballistic missile attack in a crisis. Over time we hope to improve these initial defenses, building additional silos there and possibly in other locations for operational deployment of ground-based interceptors. Sea-based missile defenses and a prototype Airborne laser are also capabilities we could look forward to by mid-decade. And we are moving forward with our efforts to field defenses to deal with shorter-range missile threats.

As these emerging long-range missile threats also endanger our allies and friends around the world, it is essential that we work together to defend against them, an important task the ABM Treaty prohibited. The strategic rationale for providing missile defense protection to our allies was clearly stated by Secretary Rumsfeld in his remarks at the NATO Defense Ministerial earlier this month: "Rogue states capable of delivering WMD to Western capitals could make building future coalitions against aggression difficult, if not impossible."

NATO’s Defense Ministers noted, in turn, in their June Statement on Capabilities, that "there is currently an alliance consensus on the need to deploy theater missile defenses to protect our deployed forces," and that "Alliance territory and population centers may also face an increasing missile threat." As a result, Defense Ministers concluded "the Alliance needs to examine options for addressing this increasing threat in an effective and efficient way through an appropriate mix of political and defense efforts."

The U.S. will be working with its NATO allies to explore options for providing protection for alliance territory and forces against the full range of missile threats. In July, an interagency team will visit NATO capitals for detailed discussions on missile defense, to include ways in which allied countries can participate in our missile defense program. Similar consultations will be held with our Asian allies and friends.

The end of the ABM Treaty also marks an historic milestone in our strategic relationship with Russia. We are finally moving beyond the Cold War. We no longer have a treaty that divides us by assuming that our security is derived from our ability to destroy each other. Instead, the U.S. and Russia are building a new relationship based on common interests and values, rather than the threat of mutual destruction.

Nothing reinforces this point more than the accomplishments of the Moscow Summit last May, particularly the reductions in strategic nuclear forces. Just as important, perhaps, is that President Putin and President Bush agreed to look for ways to cooperate on missile defenses, including expanding military exercises, sharing early warning data, and exploring potential joint research and development of missile defense technologies.

When President Bush emphasized moving forward on missile defense and a new strategic framework with Russia in May 2001, some predicted dire consequences for U.S.-Russian relations and the start of a new arms race. In fact, the opposite occurred. As a result of hard work and determination on both sides, relations with Russia – and between Russia and our NATO allies – are entering a new a promising era. We have agreed to cooperate on a host of economic, political, and security issues of common interest, including missile defense. And we have agreed to reduce our offensive forces to the lowest levels in decades.

The U.S. has now departed from these Cold War artifacts -- the ABM Treaty and the balance of terror -- and adopted a new approach to deterrence and defense, and established a cooperative strategic relationship with Russia. Further, we have fostered a security environment and good relations with allies and friends that now allow us to make substantial progress on the programmatic side of our missile defense program as represented by our budget priorities. We need to seize this historic opportunity if we are to meet new challenges and make the word a safer place for all.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).