While we at Citizens for a Strong America (CFSA) cannot further substantiate or dispute the claims made by the high ranking Russian defector who spoke before the House panel, we would urge Congress to not minimize the possible truth in his claims. We agree with his warning that Russia `remains a serious threat to U.S. national security because of its proliferation of weapons for profit to nations such as Iran and Libya.' However, we add that the breakup of the Soviet Union creates insecurity with their existing ICBMS in the hands of Russian states, unrest and near collapse of the Russian government, not to mention that Start II treaties are yet to be signed. Arms control has never deterred proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Neither is it prudent on our part to ignore Alexander Lebed's own concerns of `scores' of unaccounted for Russian nuclear suitcases as merely an accounting system flaw, as Thomas Cochran suggests. While he reports that even the U.S. has had accounting problems with its own nuclear weapons, we would place more confidence in our accounting measures than Russia's. There are far too numerous accounts of the loose and dangerous lack of control within Russian military of their nuclear weapons and equipment. Clearly not an apple-to-apple comparison, and worrisome for the type of naivete that keeps us undefended.
As a peaceful nation, we as Americans struggle with the possibility of the unthinkable, however, the threat of terrorism on our soil is a `clear and present danger'. The primary mission of CSFA has been the deployment of a ballistic missile defense program for the U.S. and its allies as soon as possible. We believe a nuclear explosion on a large scale would be far more devastating and is a real and credible threat. Common sense, however, dictates that the United States government must counter both threats, a ballistic missile attack and `suitcase terrorism'. At the current level of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapon proliferation among countries not bound by a policy of deterrence, we cannot afford to wait on either.
We, therefore, urge Congress to implement a dual-prong strategy to address terrorist threats, whether from ICBMs or suitcase weapons from any source: Deploy ballistic missile defense as soon as technologically possible; Increase funding for the development of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapon detection systems (Wide Area Tracking System); Increase the security of our borders from smugglers of weapons of mass destruction who could use similar modes as drug smugglers, e.g. cars, speedboats, small planes and hidden runways; and, Increase the security in our cities to reduce the threat of terrorist incidences from occurring, whether in planes, trains, buses, cars, subways, ships, buildings, airports.
Unrelated to the article, however, of note, the Clinton Administration's plan for missile defense is based on a purposefully incomplete assessment of the threat of missile attack on American soil, and is a senseless policy of intentional vulnerability, while cutting funding for R & D and deployment to a subsistence level. While the Administration and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Hugh Shelton rely on the Intelligence Community to provide the necessary warning of the development and deployment by a rogue state of an ICBM threat to the U.S., the Rumsfeld Commission pointed out in their recent report that `through unconventional, high-risk development programs and foreign assistance, rogue nations could acquire an ICBM capability in a short time and that the Intelligence Community may not detect it.' We were obviously under-warned about India and Pakistan's nuclear testing capabilities. (Inhofe News Release and Heritage Foundation Executive Memo 543 attached.)
Also of note, China produced 6 new CSS-4 ICBMs in the first 4 months of this year and will produce 2 more before relocating its production plant, increasing its nuclear arsenal by one-third, according to Pentagon intelligence officials. All were targeting the United States. The Rumsfeld Commission report stated: `China also poses a threat to the United States `as a significant proliferator of ballistic missiles, weapons of mass destruction and enabling technologies,' citing extensive transfers to Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The report also assesses that China is unlikely to reduce its transfers of technologies and experts to nations seeking missiles.
We support the Heritage Foundation's Missile Defense Study Team (Team B) solutions for Congress in acquiring missile defense: Ignore the ABM Treaty, `legally it is dead'. (Heritage Foundation Executive Memo No. 543.) Establish a policy for deploying a national missile defense system as soon as technologically possible. (Unfortunately, Senate bill defeated 9/9/98 by one vote.) `Upgrade the Navy's fleet of Aegis cruisers; cost $3 billion, deployable the fiscal year 2002.
Follow up with deployment of space-based interceptors and space-based lasers.' Stop the delay; we do not have 10 years.