NATIONAL SECURITY (House of Representatives - June 18, 1997)

Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman [Mr. Weldon], and I thank him for the dialogue that he has commenced with a lot of working people in this country to let them know how important defense is from an industrial base perspective.

I might mention that about 250,000 of those aerospace workers who lost their jobs, it is real, because 250,000 of them lost their jobs in California as a result of the downsizing.

But I want to take the gentleman back, because first he has been our leader in missile defense, and his subcommittee, the Subcommittee on Military Research and Development, is the place where we put our plans together for missile defense to defend this country and to defend our troops in theater, and we move out with those plans and try to build those systems over the years.

I want to start the gentleman at about 1986 or 1987, when the gentleman and myself put together a letter that we sent to the defense secretary or defense minister of Israel, and we told him that at some point in the near future Israel would be attacked with ballistic missiles , made in Russia, coming from a neighboring nation. In that case I think we suggested in our letter that that might be Syria. Turned out it was another nation, it was Iraq, but in fact that happened.

We urged Israel to commence a program, not of building fighter planes, because everybody builds fighter planes, to drop that Lavi fighter, but to make the centerpiece of the American-Israeli production agreement and cooperation to make that missile defense. Because nobody in the free world made missile defense, and at that time we did not do it.

Partly as a result of what we did, and I think also as a result of what our Secretary of Defense did at that time, and I think some good thinking on the part of Israel's leaders, they embarked on the ARROW program, which is one of their missile defense programs, and they have a certain sense of urgency, because they know life is real, missile attacks happen. They have moved out with some urgency and are having a pretty good program with ARROW.

I would like the gentleman, because he is the expert on missile defense, to walk us through our programs, our Navy programs and our Army programs, and let our folks know, the Members of Congress and the American people, where we stand on those programs. What is happening? And I yield to him.

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman and appreciate his lead on missile defense initiatives.

This Congress, again in a bipartisan manner, Democrats and Republicans, have come together for the past 3 years, and the single biggest difference between our position on security and the President's is we have said we have to move aggressively in protecting our troops, our allies and our citizens. Two years ago we plussed up by a billion dollars in this area, last year by a billion. This year our bill calls for about $800 million of additional spending.

Now, why do we do that? My friend and colleague knows the largest loss of life from a single incident that we have had, at least in the last 5 years, actually a little bit longer than 5 years, was when we lost those troops that were killed by that incoming Scud missile in Saudi Arabia. It was horrible. These young kids never had a chance. What hit them? A low-class, very rudely constructed missile that Iraq fired into that barracks.

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Mr. HUNTER. It was basically the Model T of missiles .

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. That is right, the Model T.

We said as a Nation, never again will this happen to our troops. That is why the Congress gave the administration carte blanche. We said we would give them the money they needed, we would give them the resources, but they needed to give us a system that is highly effective, that will protect our kids wherever they are in the world.

What has been the administration's response? They now are projecting that they want to wait until 15 years after those kids were killed to deploy the first battery of that highly effective system that is now called THAAD, theater high altitude area defense system. We say that is unacceptable.

We provide the full funding for THAAD, but we go beyond that. We fund the Navy's lower tier program, because we believe, as the scientists have told us, that the best way to protect our troops and our allies and our people from the threat of missile proliferation, that the best way to do it is to have a layered approach.

The first layer is Navy lower tier, which provides protection against cruise missiles . Cruise missiles are now being built by over 20 nations. Over 75 nations in the world now have cruise missiles . Pakistan, India, Iraq, Iran, every country we can think of has cruise missiles that they can fire.

We are putting the funding in well above what the President asked for, but what the Navy requested to implement Navy lower tier as soon as possible. We have a promising capability, as my colleague and friends know, in Navy upper tier to give us a capability using the Aegis systems to allow us to protect our ships wherever they are and to provide a wider range of coverage against faster, hotter missiles .

We have funded that system to a higher level, again in line with what the Navy says they need to move aggressively, to see whether or not Navy upper tier offers us potential well beyond just protecting a fleet of ships, perhaps even becoming eventually a national missile defense system.

Now, while we have been doing that, funding Navy upper tier, Navy lower tier, THAAD, cruise missile defense, we have also funded a space-based sensing capability so that we can detect the moment that a rocket is launched so that we can activate a response.

Now, some on the liberal side would say we should not do that, that is destabilizing. The Russians have had the world's only operational ABM system in place since the ABM Treaty was signed back in 1972. It protects 80 percent of the Russian people around Moscow and they have modified it three times.

The Russians, as my colleague and friends knows, have some of the most sophisticated missile defense systems they are now selling on the marketplace. In fact, the gentleman and I have had conversations that perhaps we ought to buy that system, because under this President we are never going to be able to deploy a decent, effective system.

General Lyles is on the record, and Under Secretary Kaminski, in charge of technology for DOD, said that we will not have a highly effective system under their plan to protect our troops until 2006.

Now, why is that such a priority for us? As my colleague and friend knows, we were told by the intelligence community that we would not have to worry about a threat to our troops or our homeland. They said we would see evidence of an aggressive testing program by an adversary like North Korea. We were told the No Dong missile of North Korea, with a range of 1,300 kilometers, would never threaten our troops because we would see it developing, so we could take our time.

Up until 1 month ago, when the world community saw North Korea deploy the No Dong missile system now. So that today, June 16, we have all of our troops in Japan, South Korea, and Okinawa at risk from the threat of a No Dong missile being fired at them, for which we have no defensive system that can shoot that missile down.

That is outrageous, and that is what this whole debate is about, giving us a capability that we know is there. It is kind of ironic that the administration now comes back this year and says to the Congress, `Well, we criticized you soundly last year and the year before on missile defense, but we guess you were right. We did underfund national missile defense by $2.3 billion, and would you please help us find that money?'

But it really irritates me that it has taken us 3 years to convince the administration that they had in fact not had the facts on their side. Only because of the efforts of a bipartisan group in this Congress with the leadership of my good friend and colleague, joined by Members of the other side, have we been able to keep these missile systems in place to protect us.

While we have done that, as the gentleman knows, we are increasing funding above the administration to protect us against the chemical or biological attack. That is the Congress taking the lead, not the White House.

[TIME: 1430]

Three years ago we started funding money for chem-bio technology, for training our first responders. The administration followed us. We were the ones in the Congress that funded extra money for technology relative to information warfare above what the White House requested.

This Congress has been the guardian of the defense of this country for the past 6 years under this administration. Once again, we hope that our colleagues tomorrow will begin to understand why this has been so important and why we ask for them to join with us in a strong bipartisan vote.

Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend, the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Weldon]. He has made an excellent statement. He gives us great leadership on the committee, and I look forward to seeing him tomorrow and seeing a lot of other folks who presumably will give us a lot of support also. I thank the gentleman for his leadership on national defense.

One thing that the gentleman said, I think, should be very well taken by the people who have put together national security, and that is that we should have the Boy Scout motto, `Be Prepared.' Because we have a number of nations in the world that have nuclear systems right now and have missiles , and right now they may not have the political intent to do us harm, but political intent can change overnight. Political intent can change with one election, one coup, one dramatic change of direction by any of a number of countries, and we will then, right then, have to be prepared to defend ourselves.

The idea that this administration says that is not so, we do not have to start preparing until it is clear that somebody intends to do us harm, is an illustration of the fact that the folks in the administration have not read history books.

We were not prepared for Pearl Harbor. I asked a number of our intelligence agents, intelligence leaders to tell me the other day how many of them predicted the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina. None of them predicted that. Well, I went to something a little easier: How about the fall of the Russian empire, how many of them predicted that? None of them predicted the fall of the Russian empire. Lastly, I said, how many of them predicted the invasion of Kuwait? One said, before or after the tanks started rolling? I said, no, it has got to be after the tanks had started rolling. None of them predicted the invasion of Kuwait.

So we know this: We have had a lot of wars in this century; we lost a lot of Americans killed in action; we are going to have more wars. That is human nature. That is the nature of nations. It is the nature of some of the aggressors around the world that we will have wars.

The only question will be, will we be so prepared and so strong that other countries do not mess with us? We are not that strong at this point, and we need to turn it around.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Weldon].

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, on the way out, the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter] struck a note that I had to come back and respond, because he is raising very valid points here. When he talks about intelligence and how we decide how much money to spend on defense, it is supposed to be driven by the threat that we see emerging around the world.

Unfortunately, in many cases it has not been done in that manner. In fact, it has been basically a budget number given to us. But hopefully tomorrow, to my good friend and colleague, the Committee on Rules will allow me to offer one, and I have actually asked two amendments to be put in order, and the gentleman will know the importance of each of these amendments.

The reason why we have such a tough time convincing the American people on the issue, or the American people have been lulled into a sense of complacency, is that we have heard nothing from the bully pulpit except do not worry, everything is OK.

As my good friend, the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter] knows, this President on 135 occasions has made a speech that has the same phrase in it. He has done it 3 times at the podium in this room. He has done it on college campuses. He has done it before women's groups and national associations where he has looked this group squarely in the eye, squarely in the TV camera, and he said, `You can sleep well tonight because, for the first time in 50 years, there are no long-range missiles with nuclear weapons pointed at America's children.'

Now, he has made that statement 135-some-times, and most of our constituents, since the President is the Commander in Chief, think that he probably knows what he is talking about. My amendment says one very simple thing: Mr. President, certify to the Congress the facts that bear out your statement. Certify to us that you can document that there are no long-range ICBM's pointed at our children. Certify to us how long it takes to re-target those missiles , which we have been told in hearings takes about 30 seconds, some have said 10 seconds. And certify to us that if a missile is taken off of targeting, that when that missile is activated it reverts back to the original targeting pinpoint, which would mean it would be aimed at an American city.

The President, as my good friend knows, cannot certify that. Because we have heard testimony over and over again that we do not know whether or not Russia has taken its missiles off of activation in terms of targeting our cities. We cannot verify that. But the point is that when the President says that over and over again, that drives the mood in this country that there is no longer a threat.

The second issue is one that is becoming increasingly important. As my good friend, the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter], knows, I work Russian issues aggressively and advocate engaging the Russians. But there has been a project in the Ural Mountains that Russia has been working on for 18 years. They built a city of 65,000 people right next to it. The site is called Beloretsk 15 and 16. And this site, we just do not know what it is for. They actually have mined out over 18 years a monstrous underground complex.

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Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman would hold for a second, that complex is bigger, as I understand it, than the District of Columbia.

Mr. WELDON. That is right, it is exactly bigger.

Mr. HUNTER. All underground.

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. All underground. There have been articles in the London Times and the New York Times and there have been over 30 articles in the Russian media about this project.

When I was in Russia, my 10th visit to that country, 3 weeks ago, I met with Minister of Atomic Energy Mikhaylov, I met with Minister of Natural Resources Orlov, I met with Boris Yeltsin's top assistant, Boris Nemtsov, I met with the Deputy Defense Minister Mikoshin and I met with the No. 2 guy in the general staff, General Manlov, and I asked each of them about this project and I said, we need to have some transparency.

The response was, each of them knew about the project but none of them would claim that it was their project. In fact, Mr. Mikoshin said to me in front of five Members of Congress, `Mr. Chairman, Mr. Congressman, I know of that project, and I do not like that project. But to get further information, you have to go directly to Boris Yeltsin.'

Now I could tell my friend and colleague, I have had all the briefings that we can get as Members, classified at the highest levels. We do not understand what is going on there. If you read the Russian media, in 1991, General Zyuganov, who was in charge of this project, said that it was an ore mining project. In 1992, General Zyuganov said that it was a facility to store food and clothing. Since that point in time, the Russian security apparatus has identified this project as one that is of strategic importance, that is one of the highest security that exists in Russia today.

My point is, at the same time that we have a President and an administration trying to create a feeling that there is no longer a concern, we ignore the fact that there are things going on in the world, not just in Russia, the transfer of technology from China, the M-11 missiles , the ring magnets, the chemical-biological technology, the Iraqis taking accelerometers and gyroscopes from Russia for long-range missiles . All of these things are happening, and not in a vacuum, and yet we have a President that is telling the American people, do not worry, there is nothing to be concerned about.

In fact, he is even going so far as to basically ignore the enforcement of the arms control agreements that he maintains should be the cornerstone of our relationship. He has waived the sanctions under the MTCR with China. He has waived the sanctions under the MTCR with Russia time and again. So even though the administration claims arms control agreements are the critical component of our bilateral relationships, there is a pattern here of consistently waiving sanctions that should be imposed under them.

The reason why I mention all these things is because the administration is driving a feeling in this country that creates a false sense of security. As my friend knows, we are not advocating that we resort to the cold war again. In fact, we are doing more with Russia than any Congress has done in the last 50 years proactively. But we want an administration to work with us, to be candid, to be honest and forthright.

We get none of those things in this administration. In fact, we have gotten little or no cooperation on strategic programs that we feel are important, that our Joint Chiefs feel are important to our long-term security.

I thank my colleague, the gentleman from California [Mr. Hunter] for yielding on those couple of points I wanted to also add.

Mr. HUNTER. I thank my friend, the gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Weldon], so much for his words. I hope they will be well taken on the floor tomorrow.

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