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RE: talking points on Cochran NMD bill

FR: John Isaacs

On March 19, 1998, Sen. Thad Cochran introduced S.1806, entitled "American Missile Protection Act of 1998." The bill declares: "It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as technologically possible, a National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate)."

The bill is seriously misguided. Talking points against Cochran bill:

1. The bill would mandate deployment if national missile defense is technologically feasible, whether or not it is affordable.

2. Even if the system is technologically possible and affordable, it does not require an imminent threat which compels deployment now (as opposed to five, ten or 15 years from now).

3. Even if the system is feasible and affordable, and the threat is near-term, this bill could dictate deployment of one technology when that technology could be superseded by a more sophisticated and effective technology (akin to buying a working 386 processor when advanced Pentium computers are being developed).

4. Even if missile defense is feasible and affordable and appropriate technology, this bill does not require consideration of negative consequences resulting from deployment, such as anti-missile deployment blocking any further reductions in offensive nuclear weapons or destroying the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.