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BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE: RESPONDING

TO THE CURRENT BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 1996

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY,
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE,
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT,

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:30 a.m.,

in room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., presiding.

Present: Representatives Zeliff, Ehrlich, Mica, Souder, Shadegg, Thurman, Slaughter, Condit, and Spratt.

Staff Present: Robert B. Charles, staff director and chief counsel; Judy McCoy, chief clerk; Ianthe Saylor, clerk; Michele Lang, special counsel; Sean Littlefield, professional staff member; and Cherri Branson, minority professional staff member.

Mr. EHRLICH. I would call the subcommittee to order. The Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice shall come to order.

Good morning and welcome. I am Congressman Bob Ehrlich, and I have been asked to Chair today's hearing on Ballistic Missile Defense in the absence of our respected and beloved chairman-right, Karen-Bill Zeliff from New Hampshire. For those of you who don't know, Chairman Zeliff has been a strong advocate of effective Ballistic Missile Defense. In fact, his foresight in advocating for the development of the Patriot missile was, I think, in retrospect, very well placed

Today, we are here to discuss an immediate threat to our Nation's national security, the proliferation of ballistic missile technology and its ability in wrong hands to pose a personal threat to every American citizen. Several things bring us together at this time. First, there has been mounting evidence of a long- and shortrange ballistic missile threat, missiles that could carry conventional chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, over the past sev

eral years.

Today, fully 25 countries possess or are actively developing ballistic missiles. Many of these countries are or have been hostile to the United States and some are even on record as having threatened the security of the United States of America. We will hear more about that later today.

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Second, recent events should sharpen our focus on this issue. In the past several weeks, we have seen Russia sell SS-18 or heavy ICBM technology to China. This is the same China that visibly threatened Taiwan with a military invasion in March and openly implied that Los Angeles could one day become a target.

Meanwhile, Jordan has seized ballistic missile parts headed for Iraq-specifically gyroscopes and accelerometers, right; and we will hear more about that later today, I am sure—again from Russia. And we have now confirmed that North Korea has a ballistic missile development program. In fact, we heard just this past week, from the pilot who defected, that North Korea has both a plan and the means for overwhelming its southern neighbor.

In black and white, the 1995 CIA National Intelligence Estimate, according to public reports, stated that, “The North Koreans may deploy an ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States within 5 years."

That observation leads me to the third reason we are here at this hearing today. The 1996 CIA National Intelligence Estimate, as summarized publicly, strangely implies that we should not expect any ballistic missile threat for 15 years. Frankly speaking, this is a matter of grave concern. Not only does that estimate contradict intelligence we have been receiving for some years, including the 1995 National Intelligence Estimate, it seems oddly and conveniently supportive of the Clinton administration's go-slow approach to deploying a limited national ballistic missile defense.

Today, there is no dispute over certain facts. No one disputes, for example, that every major metropolitan center in the United States is naked of any defense that might stop or even slow a rogue state's incoming ballistic missile. To those who say that the nuclear material is hard to get, let me say that it may not be as hard to get as we would like to believe. Let me also remind critics that chemical weapons and deadly biological agents are relatively cheap to obtain or create and no less dangerous.

At the same time, no one should dispute that we have interceptor technologies already available or about to become available in the form of Raytheon's ground-based radars, ground-based and shipbased interceptors and even limited ground-based laser technologies which could easily protect this Nation from a rogue state's incoming ballistic missile.

Finally, I think it is safe to say that cost-effective technologies already are or should be deployable for defense of our Nation by the year 2003. Even the Congressional Budget Office numbers which, as we shall see today, are all-inclusive and stretch far into the future, embracing things such as space-based interceptors that were never intended to be part of the current Dole and LivingstonSpence-Weldon bills do not undermine the cost-effectiveness of basic ground- or ship-based ballistic missile defenses.

The stark reality is that ballistic missiles are cheap to make and can do serious damage to the United States and our population, even in small numbers. In an era of accelerating ballistic missile development and accelerating international uncertainty, the only responsible course is to act swiftly for the protection of the American people.

This hearing is intended to explore preexisting and new dimensions of the threat posed to all Americans by ballistic missiles. It is also intended to highlight the existing and deployable technologies that should properly address that threat. Finally, it is intended to serve the oversight function of reviewing the 1996 National Intelligence Estimate, as well as our Nation's ballistic missile defense plans, and to assess new efforts in the face of recent information.

Implementing cost-effective ballistic missile defenses are essential for the long-term security of the Nation. We have an excellent opportunity today to assess how to achieve this goal.

It is a pleasure to welcome our witnesses today. In a moment, you will hear from the Honorable Curt Weldon, sponsor of the current Ballistic Missile Defense legislation; the Honorable James Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for Mr. Clinton; Mr. James Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy; Dr. Keith B. Payne, president of the National Institute for Public Policy; and Dr. Michael Krepon, president of the Henry L. Stimson Center.

First, let me say it is an honor to share the top shelf here with the Honorable Karen Thurman of Florida, the ranking member of the subcommittee, who normally sits opposite our chairman, Mr. Zeliff. And I now recognize her for her opening statement.

Mrs. THURMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That has a nice ring to it.

Mr. Chairman, I also would like to welcome the witnesses, and I certainly am glad to have Mr. Weldon here, but I would like to take my time and yield it to Mr. Spratt. And I want to thank the chairman for allowing Mr. Spratt to participate in these hearings. I think that he and Mr. Weldon probably have had the most experience with the committees on which they serve on, and it's my understanding they have been through some of the closed hearings with Intelligence, as well as several hearings Mr. Weldon has held in his committee.

So with that, I would like to yield my time to Mr. Spratt.

Mr. SPRATT. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. Let me say briefly that I am a supporter of Ballistic Missile Defense. Twice, when Democrats controlled the House in recent years, when our committee reduced the request for Ballistic Missile Defense, I went to the House floor with amendments that carried plusing up the accounts. But I think we have to be budget realists about the defense budget.

This year, we are adding $12 billion to $13 billion, which is the last of the big plus-ups of the Defense budget. If you look at both the Republicans' planned and programmed budget from now until 2003 and the Democrats', in no year does the Defense budget in the outyears increase by more than $2 to $3 billion, 1 percent. It is going to be very difficult to accommodate substantial programming increases for any program and also accommodate the programs that will be entering production, like the V-22 and the F-22 in this Defense budget. It is a very tight budget.

CBO came out with a realistic estimate of what it will cost to put a Ballistic Missile Defense system worthy of the name in place. Now, it is quite possible to do it for less, a lot less. The Army and the Air Force, all of the services, are competing for the role and mission of taking on Ballistic Missile Defense, and they have come up with estimates that range from $2.4 billion to about $7 billion over and above what's already in the future years' defense plan.

These costs, it should be noted, are based on a very, very limited program. The $2 to $5 billion will buy you 20 interceptors based at Grand Forks; it will buy you four test shots to prove the efficacy of those interceptors, and it will buy two ground-based radars.

Twenty interceptors, according to the study done by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization on July 31, 1995, page 3, will address a threat of four warheads. That's $5 to $7 billion. Obviously, we want more protection than that, and I don't think a system worthy of the name is anything less than 100 ground-based interceptors with two ground-based radars at one site.

That will buy you protection against 20 warheads. That cost is substantially more than the $5 to $7 billion we are talking about. If it works, I would say we should go to multiple sites, one on the West Coast, one on the East Coast, one at Grand Forks; and we would want to put the ground-based radar in both of those coastal locations. That, too, increases the cost substantially. At 300 GBIS, three sites, the warhead threat level of protection according to BMDO is 50 warheads, 50 re-entry vehicles.

So what I am saying is that for a substantial sum of money, you get very limited protection. I am for doing it, because I think we should move in the direction of defensive systems to augment and eventually, hopefully, replace the old system of mutually assured destruction upon which our strategic security is based. But everybody should understand that even after spending these substantial sums, we do not have a complete panoply of Ballistic Missile Defenses erected over this country. It is not a leak-proof system by any means. Deterrence is still a very major factor in protecting this country for many years to come, whether it's against Russia or rogue leaders in countries like North Korea.

Now, obviously once we have deployed the ground-based interceptors, we will want to see to it that the detectability of incoming targets is expanded beyond the horizon and the GBRs, or groundbased radars, are limited to the horizon; so we want to deploy a constellation of satellites once known as Brilliant Eyes, now known as SMTS, Space and Missile Tracking System. That will cost several billions more.

Some of it is programmed into the budget now, but the bill that was to have come before us last week, as the Defense Conference Report last year called for, mandated an IOC, an initial operational capability, in the year 2003. The Air Force says that acceleration alone will cost $2 billion more.

Once you have deployed these things, you then begin to realize that we are protecting ourselves against 50, 60, 70 warheads. If it works, maybe we want more.

The bill that was to have come up last week envisioned the possibility of having a space-based layering, specifically enumerated that. Rather than keeping Ballistic Missile Defense for the near term focused on ground-based treaty compliance systems, it opened up as candidate possibilities both sea-based and space-based system; and so CBO said, if you want that, and you probably need it to provide you anything like the leak-proof or adequate protection

worthy of the name ballistic missile defense, the cost begins to go up substantially, astronomically.

A space-based system, according to BMDO last year, would cost $40 billion. This study, published in July, says the minimum it will cost is around $20 billion. And once again, that is a system that gives you limited protection. This takes you back to the old “Gpals,” days of the Bush administration. We still depend upon deterrence, we still do not have a leak-proof defense, and those who would suggest that in the near term we can erect defenses over this country that will give us complete assurance are misleading the public.

They are also misleading the public in another respect. We are spending very substantial sums on Ballistic Missile Defense. We have spent substantial sums on Ballistic Missile Defense, $35 billion since Ronald Reagan's speech in 1983. Nothing fielded yet. Primarily, we have not fielded anything yet, not for lack of funding$35 billion is a lot of money in anybody's book-it's for lack of focus.

The problem with last week's bill was, it sent the Pentagon off in pursuit of multiple systems rather than focusing in on nearterm-attainable systems like the ground-based treaty compliant interceptors based at Grand Forks.

In addition, all of this argument about national missile defense obscures the fact that we are spending substantial sums on theater missile defense, and that, by everybody's common consent, is the most pressing threat. That is the threat that our troops will face almost anywhere in the world if we are deployed.

And right now, we are improving the PAC 2. We are bringing on line the extended-range interceptor known as the PAC 3. We are stepping up and bringing on line the production of the THAAD, the Theater High Altitude Air Defense system, and we are also, through Congress, pumping more money into the so-called Upper Tier System, which the Navy will field aboard its ships. Four systems right now in advanced development and nearing production and testing, which will deal with the theater threat.

My good friend, Mr. Woolsey, recently wrote an article, an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, in which he decried the fact that if the Chinese were to attack Taiwan that they would probably use ballistic missiles. But if they used ballistic missiles, they would probably use them in a theater mode; they would probably not need anything like an ICBM. They don't have that many ICBMs anyway. They would use theater ballistic missiles, and we are developing four systems that would address that particular threat in an area as narrow as the Formosa Straits.

Mr. EHRLICH. I would ask the gentleman to finish.

Mr. SPRATT. OK. The final point is, we need to depoliticize this issue and have some sensible debate about it.

I commend my colleague, Mr. Weldon, this year for "plusing-up” the budget and for making the President's “three plus three” proposal a credible proposal, because I think that puts us on the track to a deployable system within the timeframe we are all talking about.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. EHRLICH. I thank the gentleman.

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