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In the interests of time, the Chair would ask other Members to place their opening statements in the record. Without objection, so ordered.
Pursuant to committee rules, the Chair notes that we will be operating under the 5-minute rule. I would like to assure all Members that we will proceed with as many rounds of questioning as are necessary to accommodate Members' individual concerns or inquiries.
With that, I would like to introduce our first panelist, our friend the Honorable Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania and sponsor of a measure currently before the Congress relating to Ballistic Missile Defense. Congressman Weldon is a member of the National Security Committee and also chairs the Subcommittee on Military Research and Development. He is also a member of the Military Readiness Subcommittee and the Congressional Military Defense Caucus.
For the record, he is also a recipient of many awards for his public policy work, including the Taxpayers Hero Award from Citizens Against Government Waste, the Watchdog of the Treasury Award, the Sound Dollar Award from the Free Congress Foundation, and the Citizens for a Sound Economy's Jefferson Award, as well as the American Security Council's National Security Leadership Award.
In short, he is a national security expert, with the taxpayers' interests never far from his mind.
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA Mr. WELDON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I thank all the members of the subcommittee for allowing me this opportunity and thank the subcommittee for their foresight in holding this very timely hearing, one that I think will help continue to provoke the national mindset in terms of what should be our posture as it relates to the vulnerability of this country from the threat of a rogue missile attack or the threat of an attack.
Let me say, Mr. Chairman, you highlighted my purpose here as being the chairman of the Research and Development Subcommittee, which it is, but I also take great pride in spending an equal amount of time on Russian-American relations. Since my undergraduate degree in Russian studies, I have traveled to the Soviet Union, and now Russia, perhaps 10 times, most recently twice this year. I take great pride in co-chairing three major congressional efforts with the Russia Duma members in the energy area, the environment area. And I have just recently been asked by Speaker Gingrich to lead an effort where our Congress for the first time will have a direct dialog with members of the Russian Duma. In fact, I just received my third letter from Mr. Selesnev, the Speaker of the Russian Duma, accepting our proposal for the first joint exchanges of Duma members with our Congress to build better understanding and relationships that will occur before the end of this year.
So, I am here not as someone who wants to stick it in the eye, as some would like to portray conservatives who in the past supported missile defense, but as someone who understands the reality that while we have a Russia that is certainly different from what the Soviet Union was 5 to 7 years ago, the military leadership in that country is in fact the same.
The mindset of the military structure is very similar to what it was under Soviet leadership. And when we have had perestroika and glasnost throughout the economy of Russia and while we want to support the efforts of Boris Yeltsin and the reformers, we must also understand and never look away from the reality of what's occurring within the Russian military. And that requires us to take a different look from that of this administration.
In my opinion, this administration still operates in a 1960's, put your arm around them mentality, where we will do anything and ignore anything just to make sure that Boris Yeltsin's election is successful next month. And while I want Boris Yeltsin to succeed, I am one that at every possible opportunity wants to be candid and above board with the Russians. They respect that. That's why they respected Ronald Reagan. And when we appear as though we are dish rags and as though we are not going to call the Russians on treaty violations, as this administration has done repeatedly, and when we back away from the effort to protect our people, even when the Russians have an operational ABM system protecting 80 percent of their population, I think they misjudge us, and I think they also, the Russian people, see that as a weakness.
Let me start off by saying, Mr. Chairman, I would like to comment on an article that was prepared last year by Bruce Blair from the Brookings Institute, who is a senior policy leader, who's not someone who normally comes in and testifies before the Congress in support of Republican or conservative initiatives. Bruce Blair's in-depth analysis of the status of Russian nuclear security, I think, summed it up best. He makes the point in his article, which I will be happy to provide for any of our colleagues, that today Russia is more destabilized than at any point in time in the last 30 years when it comes to nuclear materials or nuclear weapons or nuclear forces.
In fact, I will quote from Mr. Blair's article, “From the standpoint of operational safety, Russia's nuclear posture is more dangerous today than it was during the cold war.” Yet all around the country we are hearing this misconception that somehow all is well and that there is no problem.
In fact, Mr. Chairman, if we look at what occurred January 25, 1995, when the Norwegian Government launched a weather rocket into their own territory for the purposes of assessing weather conditions, they had notified Russia in advance of this rocket launch. But because the status of the Russian military, in my mind, is more paranoid than ever, they activated the attache case controlled by Boris Yeltsin for the first time in the history of Boris Yeltsin's leadership.
As a matter of fact, the missile flew from northern Norway to Spitsbergen on January 25th. Norway had given advance notice but yet the Russian military put its defenses on to full alert up to the level of President Yeltsin. In fact, the next day President Yeltsin was quoted as saying, “Yesterday, I used my attache case for the first time." He was clearly referring to the black box. “I called the Defense Minister and the relevant services and asked them what kind of missile it was and where did it come from.”
In fact, beyond what Boris Yeltsin says, the Chief of the General Staff for Russia, General Klanesnikov claimed that the Norwegian science rocket could be a new type of military missile. And then further on, we had the chairman of the Military Committee in the Russian Duma, Shrijushenkov, who warned that such actions as the Norwegian missile launch, and I quote, "could lead to nuclear war being triggered in the event of an accident.”
Now, Mr. Chairman, these aren't rash statements by conservative Republicans. This is the mindset of the people inside of Russia's military who led their country up to the point of a possible offensive attack or a launch of strategic missiles. That would have been cataclysmic for the world, not just for Norway and not just for Russia. In fact, they were within minutes—if not seconds, within minutes of launching one of their strategic missiles, and that's because of the same insecurity outlined by Bruce Blair in his Brookings report last year.
But let's look beyond that one incident. And that's not the only one, I might add. On December 8 of last year, Mr. Chairman, the Washington Post reported—despite what the administration claims was inherent in bringing Russia into the missile control technology regime and assuring us that there will be no technology transfer, the Washington Post reported that they had intercepted with Jordanian and Israeli intelligence shipment of advanced accelerometers and gyroscopes that can only be used for long-range ICBMs. These advanced accelerometers and gyroscopes were coming from Russia and they were going to Iraq.
Mr. Chairman, this was not an isolated instance. Our security agencies have these materials in their hands today. Any Member can request a classified briefing and get the latest information on this technology, and they can also find out that we have other instances, there were other similar materials found in the Tigres River basin that also were coming from Russia and going to Iraq.
The significance of this is twofold. First of all, it means that Iraq is desperately trying to gain technology for a long-range ICBM, and they are not trying to develop it in-country as our intelligence people would have us think. That's a real threat, and that's why they say, well, it's a period of 5, 10, maybe 15 years before a country like Iraq could develop this.
That's not the approach Iraq is going to use. They are going to steal or buy this technology from a country that already has it. And this is a concrete incident documented by the Washington Post provided to us by Jordanian and Israeli intelligence that this technology is being transferred.
When I asked the American ambassador, Ambassador Pickering, in Moscow in January, what was the response of the Russians to the violation of the MTCR, his response, Mr. Chairman, was, we haven't asked them yet.
Now, why wouldn't the Clinton administration ask the Russians about a direct violation of the MTCR? And that's because this administration, in my opinion, has so convoluted its support of treaties and arms control agreements that it doesn't want to ask a question because it knows the response is going to require economic sanctions to be placed against Russia which then is going to undermine Boris Yeltsin's Presidential race.
So here we have an administration saying that their basic relationship with Russia is based on arms control agreements, but when the Russians violate one of those agreements, they don't want to ask the question or call into play the violations because the sanctions then would have to be imposed.
Mr. Chairman, you can't have it both ways. If you are for arms control agreements, then, doggone it, you'd better enforce them. And if you are not going to enforce them then certainly you have to acknowledge that we are vulnerable. So the second incident is the treaty violation and the technology transfer.
A third incident, Mr. Chairman, if one of my staff would put up the SS-25 chart, what I am showing you here is an SS-25, perhaps the mainstay of the Russian strategic force structure. The ss-25 is a mobile launch system. As you can see, it's carried on mobile launch trucks, tractors. The Russians have over 400 of these launchers. We don't know exactly; we think it's over 400. The number would be classified if we did know it.
The Russians' SS-25 has a range of 10,000 kilometers. That means that that SS-25 can hit any city in the United States or any of our allies, 10,000 kilometers. Now, up until recently, the SS-25 has been very strictly controlled because it's always had a nuclear weapon on the top of it and it has been under the central command and control of a very centralized, tightly controlled leadership.
Well, that's not the case today, Mr. Chairman. Russia is desperately in need of hard currency. They are selling everything and marketing everything they can, and I understand the need for that, which is why I am helping them in their energy area so they don't have to sell their nuclear materials, but could allow us to help them with energy developments, which we are doing. We just concluded two major deals that will see $15 billion of Western investment at Sakhalin in eastern Siberia.
The SS-25, the Russians now are marketing as a space launch platform, Mr. Chairman. Now, they were originally going to sell the SS-25 system directly to a country that would buy it and they initially_proposed last year to have a separate launch capability in both Brazil and South Africa.
When we heard that, we said, that is just ridiculous. We put pressure on the administration. The administration responded and said, that you can't do that. That's another violation of an existing arms control agreement. But what the Russians are doing now is they are offering this capability to any country that will pay the price.
Mr. Chairman, before my subcommittee we have had the intelligence community come in, and they have said to us publicly that it would be possible for one of those launchers to be taken out of country without us knowing it. Mr. Chairman, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that one of those SS-25 systems, just one of them-and not with a nuclear tip on it; take the nuclear weapon off—with a conventional weapon, a biological or a chemical weapon, presents a threat to this country for which we have no defense.
Mr. Chairman, I am here to tell you that this threat is not 10 years away. This threat is a matter of months and years away because when the right price is paid, we will have this technology get
in the hands of one of our enemies or perhaps a rogue nation that may not launch it, but may threaten to launch realizing we have no defense against this type of a threat.
Mr. Chairman, this is real. The instability in the Russian military has been documented. I will be happy to provide for the record a study done by Deborah Jarsis Cabal from the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, where they did a scientific poll, using Russian polling companies, of the Russian military, looking at their loyalty to the senior Russian military officer leadership. In addition, this poll looks specifically at-15 percent of the sampling were people who oversee strategic nuclear forces inside of Russia. The results are alarming because the concerns are real.
Likewise, Mr. Chairman, if you read the Russian media, over the past year there have been repeated times where Russian utility companies have cutoff the power supplies to strategic installations. At one point in time, the entire strategic headquarters of Russia's nuclear command and control had lost its power because the defense ministry had not paid its power bill for a matter of 6 months. Boris Yeltsin had to intercede and had to have the Russian Duma enact special legislation to make sure that power was not cutoff to one of Russia's strategic military installations.
Mr. Chairman, the instability in Russia is real. It is dramatic. And, unfortunately, we have no protection for our people against the possible sale of a technology or a capability which would pose an immediate threat to us.
Now, Mr. Chairman, let me say that Russia is not the only threat that we have. And the liberals will say, well, we are trying to protect ourselves against an all-out nuclear attack. No one is saying that. No one is saying that we are fearful of an all-out nuclear attack, and that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about the kind of situation I have just outlined to you.
We are talking about North Korea developing a Taepo Dong 2 missile, and the Taepo Dong 4 missile which could eventually reach Alaska and Hawaii. We are talking about the Chinese with the CSS-2 and the CSS-4, which could have a similar capability, not in 10 years, but in a matter of 5 to 7 years. We are talking about threats that are real.
When those who argue that we must strictly adhere to the ABM Treaty talk about mutually assured destruction, they never want to talk about the fact that North Korea and China are not signatories to the ABM Treaty. There are no similar constraints placed upon North Korea and China. And those same people who call for strict adherence to the ABM Treaty also, Mr. Chairman, don't want to speak to the fact that Russia already has an operational ABM system. Their ABM system, which has been upgraded three times, protects 80 percent of the people around Moscow-or 80 percent of the population of Russia. It's an effective system. It's real and it's in place.
The irony of this whole debate is that what we are saying-and this is a bipartisan effort by the way; it's not just the Republicans, although our party is leading the way. What we are saying is that our people deserve the same protection that the Russian people have. And, in fact, we can provide that initially within the confines of the ABM Treaty. This President doesn't want to do anything