1997 Congressional Hearings
Special Weapons
Nuclear, Chemical, Biological and Missile


STATEMENT OF THE HON. JOHN D. HOLUM, DIRECTOR

U.S. ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT AGENCY

BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON

INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

MARCH 5, 1997

Chairman Smith and Representative Lantos, I am pleased to be back with you to discuss the President's ambitious agenda for arms control and nonproliferation and our efforts to advance it.

I ask that you consider the President's fiscal year 1998 budget request of $46.2 million for ACDA in this light: we are a compact Agency under instruction to do more while growing smaller. And we are succeeding on both counts. I'd like to briefly describe, first, our mission and second, the continuing reform and streamlining our budget represents.

* * * *

As President Clinton has stressed, we are pursuing "the most ambitious agenda to dismantle and fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction since the atom was split."

We have had some signal successes -- including the 1995 decision to make the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty permanent, and the 1996 completion of an effort that began with President Eisenhower, to negotiate a global ban on nuclear explosive tests. A detailed description of ACDA's accomplishments for U.S. national security is attached to my prepared statement which is before you. I request that both the prepared statement and the attached accomplishments be inserted in the record.

But more vital work lies ahead. For the Cold War's end has left behind a massive overhang of arms, and a growing danger that weapons of mass destruction will fall into the wrong hands. Experience and advances in technology have opened the way to new tools for building our security by dismantling and averting threats, through the preventive medicine of arms control.

These are not abstract issues. Each indiscriminate incident of terror, either overseas in the Tokyo subway poison gas attack or closer to home in the recent shooting spree atop the Empire State Building, should fortify our determination to do all we can to ensure that weapons of mass destruction are kept away from terrorists and out of outlaw states' arsenals.

ACDA is engaged in literally scores of activities focused on that core purpose. Much of the work is out of the public eye, and consists of things like reviewing export licenses, reporting to the Congress on compliance with arms control, or evaluating intelligence and preparing demarches to interrupt the shipment of dangerous goods to bad places. I'll just summarize some of our leading priorities, as defined by President Clinton, and invite your attention to the attachments of my statement for more detail.

First, in the nuclear area, we want to continue reducing strategic nuclear arms.

We have made clear that this first requires Russian ratification of the START II treaty, which will complete a two-thirds reduction in deliverable strategic nuclear warheads and bombs. START II is the door to START III, and there's no way around it.

But once START II is in force, President Clinton has made clear that we are prepared to discuss further cuts. This will also help resolve Russian concerns that as they eliminate all of their remaining land-based multiple wahread missiles, as START II requires, they cannot maintain parity with us at the START II 3,000-3,500 warhead level unless they build hundreds of new single warhead missiles. Of course their problem would be much worse without START II, in which case we would maintain the START I force of 6,000 weapons. But reductions beyond START II are warranted on their own merits, and a follow-on negotiation can also open a new phase of arms control, in which we not only control delivery vehicles, but also limit and monitor nuclear warheads and materials, to help make all previous nuclear reductions irreversible.

We are working in Geneva to negotiate a cutoff in production of fissile material for weapons.

The highest obstacle to someone who wants to make a nuclear weapon is not the technology, but the material -- the highly enriched uranium or plutonium. A non-discriminatory ban on production would add momentum to current efforts to cap global stocks of these deadly materials, and help fulfill the promise of the 1995 NPT Extension and Review Conference.

Another priority is to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including its safeguards.

In 1995, we succeeded in making the NPT permanent. It is also becoming more nearly universal -- now with 185 member states, and only five remaining outside. Another top priority is to further strengthen its safeguards.

Notwithstanding its NPT membership, we learned in 1991 that Iraq had a well-advanced clandestine nuclear weapons program. We need to do all we can to ensure that doesn't happen again -- by adding new technologies and access, such as environmental monitoring away from declared facilities, to sharply increase the chances of uncovering secret nuclear weapon programs. The 93+2 program we have been negotiating in Vienna would do that. We hope to wrap up that initiative in May.

We will press to ratify and implement the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, or CTBT.

It is possible to make a nuclear weapon without testing. Remember, however, that our first nuclear weapon was so big that a trench had to be dug underneath the B-29 which was to carry it. Without testing, it is dramatically harder for anyone to advance to thermonuclear designs or to make weapons small enough to fit into a light aircraft, a rudimentary missile, or a terrorist's suitcase.

The United States has conducted well over 1,000 nuclear tests -- hundreds more than any other country. So we gain security to the extent we lock all nations in place on the nuclear weapons learning curve. For any tiny increment in knowledge we might gain from more tests is dwarfed by the value of preventing tests by others -- including rogue states who could derive quantum leaps of capability from even a few explosions.

Our most time-urgent goal is ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and adoption of the implementing legislation.

The CWC will give us better tools to deal with some 20 countries -- many hostile to the U.S. -- that have active chemical weapons programs. As the Acting Director of Central Intelligence recently testified, its verification provisions will give us more information than we have now about threats we need to assess with or without the treaty. And the information will be actionable, because even possession of chemical weapons will be illegal, which is not the case now.

The CWC will also help address the threat of terrorist use of poison gas. As Attorney General Reno said last week of the treaty and it's implementing legislation, "these new laws will help law enforcement agencies worldwide to investigate and prosecute chemical weapons-related activities, and improve chances of detecting terrorists before they strike."

Keep in mind that this treaty is not about U.S. weapons. A 1985 law, signed by President Reagan, mandates destruction of our CW stockpile, which is underway. The treaty calls upon others to do the same. It is a bipartisan treaty, mandated by President Reagan and negotiated under President Bush, who said last month, "We don't need chemical weaons, and we ought to get out front and make clear that we are opposed to others having them." Now the treaty is being pushed for ratification by President Clinton.

Our military wants it -- as exemplified most recently by the strong support of General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led the troops facing poison gas in the Gulf War. The affected business community, U.S. chemical manufacturers, strongly supports it. And so do the American people -- by a margin of 84 to 13 percent, according to a recent Wirthlin Worldwide poll.

And now we no longer have the option of delay. The CWC enters into force on April 29, with or without us. If we are not a party by May 6, when the Conference of States Parties first meets, the U.S. will have no place on the Executive Council. Americans will be ineligible to serve as inspectors. Americans now serving as head of administration, head of industrial inspections, and head of security will be dumped, and those key jobs will go elsewhere. American chemical companies will begin losing export trade to their overseas competitors, as mandatory trade sanctions against non-parties phase in. We will not have access to the treaty's tools against rogue states and terrorist CW activities, and the credibility of our leadership will be undermined across the full range of proliferation dangers. With those dangers mounting, I can't imagine a worse time to abdicate from our role as the world's indispensable nation, on nonproliferation as on many other endeavors. As President Bush has said, "it is vitally important for the United States to be out front."

So I urge the Senate to act promtly on the Convention, and I also urge this Subcommittee and the Congress to act as quickly as possible on implementing legislation -- to help us keep chemical weapons off both future battlefields and future streets.

We are working hard to enhance compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention.

Biological weapons are often grouped with chemical weapons; in my view their destructive potential is more like nuclear arms. Chemical weapons become less lethal as they are dispersed. But, biological weapons are living things. In the right environment they can multiply, mutate, and resist treatment.

The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention has broad prohibitions but lacks teeth. To further deter violations, the U.S. has supported a negotiation to achieve a legally binding protocol of mandatory measures to enhance compliance, including both off-site and on-site measures. We are aiming for a legally binding protocol by 1998.

Even though treaties such as the BWC are aimed against countries, they and their implementing legislation can have important anti-terrorist uses at home. In 1995, for example, a member of a hate group in Ohio fraudulently ordered the bubonic plague bacillus by mail from a specialized supplier in Rockville, Maryland. The order was filled. But, the supplier also notified law enforcement officials, who, in turn, searched the would-be terrorist's home, and stymied whatever plans he was brewing. This happened, in part, because of a law, the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act -- that is required to be on the books because of the BWC.

Finally, another leading priority is our work in the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate a global ban on antipersonnel land mines.

If you consider the potential of arms to inflict damage, you are obviously drawn to weapons of mass destruction, which can wipe out whole cities at a time. But if you consider their actual impact, you're drawn to conventional weapons, which routinely are wiping out whole cities, a few people at a time.

One way to attack this issue is to address specific weapons that have extraordinary effects on civilians -- such as antipersonnel landmines, which are scattered across the globe and kill or maim some 25,000 non-combatants annually, mostly children playing or farmers returning to their fields, long after a war is over.

Last year the United States led a successful international negotiation to control mines that can't be detected or won't self-destruct. Now we are pressing ahead to fulfill the President's call for negotiations leading to a complete ban on the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. We will do all we can to meet President Clinton's charge to the UN last September, that "our children deserve to walk the earth in safety."

IMPLEMENTATION OF ARMS CONTROL AGREEMENTS

As we pursue these and other arms control advances, we must attend to something perhaps less glamorous, but certainly no less important -- arms control implementation, or the steady work of translating the gains agreed to on paper into real results on the ground.

Functionally, implementation, not negotiation, is where most of the action takes place in arms control -- in monitoring behavior, evaluating intelligence and inspection reports, challenging misconduct, resolving issues of interpretation, and reporting on compliance to the Congress and the American people.

And as we succeed in negotiations, we are piling up arms control implementation and verification requirements. A number of recent agreements -- such as Conventional Forces in Europe, Open Skies, INF, START I and START II, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty -- are joining older agreements such as the ABM Treaty and the NPT to create a prodigious architecture of international arms control law. Realizing its full potential is becoming a momentous mission.

With my South Dakota farm roots, I think of this as the arms control "harvest," where we actually reap the benefits of all the work that has gone before. It is work specifically assigned, by law, to ACDA. It occupies more and more of our time. And while it is a national security bargain, it is neither effortless nor free.

We implement our agreements scrupulously. I see no sign that the Congress wants us to relax or let down our guard. We must finish the jobs we have started.

For this, after all, is what arms control means to Americans. They know that arms control agreements represent only the promise that an adversary's arsenals will be avoided or destroyed; that the promise isn't kept until those arsenals are actually taken down. They understand something that we inside the Beltway often forget: After the Rose Garden ceremonies have ended, and the strains of "Hail to the Chief" have died away, the heavy lifting has just begun.

ACDA'S AGENDA AND ITS BUDGET - STREAMLINED FOR GREATER EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY

This brief description of the arms control agenda gives you an idea of ACDA's larger mission. But as I said at the outset, notwithstanding this larger mission, ACDA is a smaller agency.

ACDA is committed to efficient and effective arms control. We are able to do more with less in part because we have set priorities and initiated results-based performance measurement through our strategic planning process, now in its third year.

As a comparatively small, nimble organization, we have also continuously restructured ourselves to meet new objectives as earlier ones are achieved. For example, once the NPT and CTBT agreements were achieved the divisions assigned those missions were realigned to work on other challenges. We have also worked closely with our colleagues in the Department of State, to eliminate unnecessary duplication and ensure that missions are assigned to those best qualified to perform.

For Fiscal Year 1998, the Administration is requesting $46.2 million for ACDA's responsibilities. This request provides $42,058,000 for ACDA's ongoing activities and $4,142,000 for new activities related to CTBT, CWC, and NPT, addressing some of the most dangerous proliferation threats.

This reflects both internal economizing and the results of Vice President Gore's National Performance Review, which reaffirmed ACDA's importance to effective arms control, but also set specific requirements for consolidating administrative functions across the foreign affairs agencies. We have taken that mandate seriously. We are also keeping faith with the Arms Control Revitalization Act of 1994, reflecting the common view of the President and the Congress that U.S. national security in the post-Cold War world requires a revitalized ACDA.

We are continuing to search for ways to operate more efficiently. For example, in legislation submitted on February 14, 1997, we propose a number of changes which should result in additional efficiencies and savings beyond the $2 million specified. These changes would eliminate a redundant report, streamline our publication efforts, and create economies in our security clearance process.

Mr. Chairman, ACDA is a small, expert agency charged with advocating, negotiating, implementing and verifying arms control. Next year we will have less than 250 people, plus detailees. We have a continuous presence only in Washington, Geneva, Vienna and The Hague.

That means I'm as concerned about the State Department, AID, and USIA's budgets as about ACDA's own. For we are among the many who throw our voice abroad through others, especially State's embassies and missions. And very often we need that voice in remote places. On the NPT extension, for example, Micronesia's vote counted exactly the same as China's.

On this basis, I also urge your careful attention to the budgets of all the foreign affairs agencies, including that of ACDA.

CONCLUSION

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, no one doubts that the world today still bristles with Cold War overarmament -- and faces new dangers of proliferation, terrorism, convulsive nationalism, environmental pressures, drug trafficking, and many others that directly affect us.

Those challenges require ever more effective diplomacy -- what Hans Morgenthau called "the most important" component of a nation's international power.

And they demand that we work together -- even when our government is divided -- in fashioning the kind of unified foreign policy that befits a great power in a perilous world.

It is in that spirit that ACDA presents to you the Administration's request of $46.2 million to fund ACDA's arms control work in Fiscal Year 1998.