News

Edward Warner
Assistant secretary of state for strategy and requirements
Senate Armed Services Committee's Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
March 23, 1999

(begin excerpts)

The Department of Defense has a coordinated, comprehensive strategy to
combat the international threats posed by the proliferation and
possible use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Our first line of
defense is to prevent the development and acquisition of WMD and modem
missiles by nations that do not already have such capabilities. We
also work with other nations to reduce or eliminate existing WMD
capabilities by 1) gaining their adherence to a treaty, such as the
Chemical Weapons Convention, 2) through pre-emptive acquisition, or,
3) in the case of the New Independent States that emerged from the
break up of the Soviet Union, with the help of U.S. assistance
provided under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (Nunn-Lugar) program.
However, we cannot expect to prevent WMD proliferation in all cases
and at all times. Despite our efforts to prevent WMD proliferation, we
recognize that determined states and some terrorist organizations will
manage to acquire these weapons. Therefore, we pursue
counterproliferation activities to compliment our nonproliferation
efforts. These efforts include training and equipping our forces to
operate effectively in a WMD-contaminated environment, and working
with U.S. civil authorities to prepare to cope with the consequences
of WMD terrorism in the United States. In this testimony, I will
expand on each element of this comprehensive strategy.

I.  NONPROLIFERATION IN THE DOD

Our first line of defense against WMD proliferation is to prevent it
from occurring, and if that fails, to roll it back through peaceful
means. Over time, the United States and its treaty and regime partners
have had notable successes in this regard. The concerted, coordinated
efforts of the American government helped to convince Brazil and
Argentina to forego long-range ballistic missiles and to persuade
Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to give up their nuclear weapons. As
a consequence, there is no serious ballistic missile threat in the
Western Hemisphere and only one nuclear weapons state in the New
Independent States following the break up of the Soviet Union. In the
1960s, conventional wisdom held that there would be 20-25 nuclear
powers. The reality is far smaller than that. The Nonproliferation
Treaty significantly reduced the threat that numbers of nations would
acquire nuclear weapons. Under the recently concluded Chemical Weapons
Convention, all signatories are committed to destroying their chemical
weapons stocks by April 29, 2007 (but there is an option for a
five-year extension). The Australia Group has retarded the growth of
chemical and biological threats by placing constraints on
international trade in chemical and biological materials and
technology.

Our participation in nonproliferation policy occurs on four distinct
levels.

First, the Department of Defense helps to identify and define U.S.
goals and approaches to regional proliferation issues. We are active
participants in the Administration's focused efforts, led by the State
Department and National Security Council staff, to discourage states
from developing, selling or purchasing destabilizing weapons or
weapons technologies.

Our second avenue of involvement in nonproliferation activities is in
the negotiation of new arms control and nonproliferation agreements.
The Defense Department's participation in the development of U.S.
strategy and our representation on all U.S. delegations ensures that
U.S. positions in arms control and nonproliferation negotiations fully
consider national security interests -- including negotiating impacts
on U.S. military capabilities and the capabilities of potential
adversaries. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Chemical Weapons
Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Fissile Material
Cutoff Treaty, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and various
nuclear weapon free zone treaties are examples of past, present and
future treaties that DOD's representatives have a hand in negotiating.

Third, we work with the NSC staff, State Department, the Intelligence
Community, and others to ensure that international nonproliferation
regimes remain relevant and effective. Critical to these efforts are
DOD's activities with regard to five informal, voluntary regimes --
the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group, the
Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Zangger Committee, and the Wassenaar
Arrangement. Each of these groupings establishes guidelines for, and
controls over transfers of equipment and technology. Member states are
encouraged or expected to comply by virtue of their decision to join
the group. Additionally, we participate in nonproliferation activities
under the auspices of the United Nations and the Conference on
Disarmament and support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy
Agency.

II.  COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION

A key (second) element in our effort to combat proliferation is our
program to reduce the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and modern
delivery means left behind following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The political collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 immediately created
four states with weapons of mass destruction where there had
previously been only one. While Russia inherited the vast majority of
the old Soviet arsenal, overnight, the nuclear warheads in Ukraine,
Kazakhstan and Belarus would have made them respectively the third,
fourth and eighth largest nuclear powers in the world. These and
several other former Soviet states also inherited significant amounts
of WMD-related infrastructure, including weapons factories and design
bureaus.

The economic conditions that followed the disintegration of the Soviet
Union raised concerns regarding the ability of its four nuclear
successor states to meet their inherited treaty commitments on time
and to maintain secure, effective control of nuclear and other,
weapons of mass destruction and related materials. Military units
responsible for the custody of nuclear weapons often waited for months
to receive their pay, causing a serious decline in readiness and
morale. Budgetary shortfalls led to the risk of degradation of safety
and security measures at many weapons storage and production
facilities.

Under the leadership of Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, Congress
established the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program in 1991 to
cope with the problems associated with weapons of mass destruction as
the Soviet Union collapsed. Through the CTR program, the Department of
Defense attacks the threat of unsecured nuclear weapons and WMD
proliferation at its root, by providing equipment, services and
technical advice to assist the New Independent States in securing and
dismantling former Soviet weapons and other assistance preventing
weapons proliferation.

CTR assistance removes nuclear warheads from strategic missiles and
bombers and makes sure they are transported safely to storage sites.
Through CTR assistance, DOD assists in the destruction of long range
ballistic missiles and heavy bombers and their supporting equipment
and turns them into scrap metal. CTR efforts destroy ICBM silos and
SLBM launch tubes, and also assist in the dismantlement of ballistic
missile submarines. Through the CTR program, DOD helps Russia
dismantle nuclear warheads and store fissile material removed from the
dismantled warheads. CTR also dismantles WMD-related production
facilities, including those that produced chemical and biological
weapons.

Our CTR assistance is administered under the strict Federal
acquisition guidelines that require verification of completed work
before any payment are made to contractors. Also, pursuant to
applicable agreements, DOD conducts audits and examinations to ensure
that the items and services we provide are used for their intended
purpose. So far we have conducted more than 70 such audits and they
have provided high confidence that there is minimal risk of CTR
assistance being used for improper purposes.

The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program has been an extremely
successful program and an extraordinary bargain. For the roughly $2
billion spent so far, the bottom line is impressive. With the
assistance of the CTR program, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus decided
to become nuclear weapons free states. CTR assistance enabled these
new countries to ship their nuclear weapons back to Russia. Also,
thanks to CTR assistance, the New Independent States are ahead of
schedule in implementing strategic delivery systems reductions called
for under START I.

CTR assistance has led to the deactivation of 4,838 strategic nuclear
warheads that were once targeted at the United States. Under CTR, the
United States and the New Independent States have destroyed or
eliminated almost 400 strategic ballistic missiles, 350 ICBM silos, 10

ballistic missile submarines, and almost 50 heavy bombers. CTR has
also destroyed 191 nuclear weapons test tunnels and bore holes. With
CTR assistance, we have eliminated biological weapons production
facilities in Kazakhstan. Through Project Sapphire and Project Auburn
Endeavor, DOD, through the CTR program, assisted in the removal of
significant amounts of weapons grade fissile material from facilities
in Kazakhstan and Georgia. By eliminating so many weapons materials
and facilities that could have been used against us, the CTR program
has increased our security at a bargain price.

While we have achieved much, there is still much to be done. The
international economic crisis that spread to Russia in 1998 has
dramatically increased the risks of possible proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction. Budget shortfalls, wage arrears and the
devaluation of the ruble have increased the temptation for individuals
or institutions to supplement their incomes by trafficking in WMD
across already porous borders. The severe financial difficulties
confronting Russian troops, including those that guard nuclear weapons
storage sites, have been well-documented. We cannot take lightly the
chance that a desperate person will try to steal a weapon of mass
destruction and sell it to the highest bidder.

Under the Administration's proposed Expanded Threat Reduction
Initiative, the Department of Defense's CTR program will have a key
role in combating this growing security challenge. The Department of
Defense's six year spending plan recognizes that, without additional
assistance, Russia will find it extremely difficult to reduce WMD
stocks to desired levels and protect them from falling into the wrong
hands. Thus, for the six years from FY 00 to FY 05, we plan to request
a total of $2.8 billion in budget authority for CTR programs, $1.1
billion more than we previously planned. It reflects significant new
initiatives and our expectation that Russia will not be able to
contribute as much to cooperative programs as we had previously
agreed. During that period CTR projects, pursuant to applicable
international agreements, will focus on the areas of greatest concern:

-- Accelerate the destruction of Russian missiles, bombers and
ballistic missile submarines so Russia can fully implement START I
(and ultimately START 11 and START 111), thereby helping to reduce
Russia's nuclear forces to less than 20 percent of Cold War levels.

-- Enhance the safety, security, control, and accounting of nuclear
warheads in transport and at all of Russia's nuclear weapons storage
sites.

-- End Russia's production of weapons-grade plutonium.

-- Provide safe and secure storage of fissile material from up to
12,500 dismantled nuclear warheads by constructing a fissile material
storage facility at Mayak.

-- Accelerate the dismantlement of Russia's nuclear weapons by
preparing the resulting fissile materials for long term storage.

-- Assist Russia to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention by
helping it destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons.

-- Help prevent the proliferation of biological weapons capabilities
by eliminating biological weapons infrastructure and enhancing
security at sites with dangerous pathogens.

Actual Russian military expenditures have declined very dramatically
in recent years. We believe they are now less than 15 percent of their
level in 1988. Russia is carrying out only a minimum amount of
strategic modernization, which is consistent with its arms control
commitments. For example, the START II Treaty would require Russia to
eliminate all its very large land-based multiple warhead missiles,
such as the SS-18. In the process, Russia must reconfigure its forces
towards single-warhead land-based strategic missiles. In response to
this requirement, Russia is producing -- at very slow rates -- a new
single-warhead ICBM, the SS-27. Deployment of the new ICBM will help
ensure that Russia's ICBM force, which it is determined to retain, is
START-II compliant. The Department of Defense is convinced that
Russia's compliance with START II is stabilizing, and therefore, is in
America's interest as well as Russia's.

It is the Department's assessment that in their current economic
crisis the elimination of excess missiles, bombers and SSBNs are not a
high budget priority for the Russian government. We believe that
rather than dismantling these systems, Moscow would most likely leave
them untended. It is our fear that these systems pose a grave
proliferation risk to the United States should they fall into the
wrong hands. Therefore, the Department of Defense, though the CTR
program, provides assistance for dismantlement that the Russian
government is unlikely to undertake on its own. If there were no CTR
program, Russia would incur some additional personnel and maintenance
costs to safeguard its demobilized strategic weapons. But the funds
involved would probably not be enough to influence the pace of
modernization. While we continue to encourage Russia to dismantle its
excess nuclear warheads and reduce its weapons-grade material, we
believe it is in the national security interest of the United States
to proceed with these important projects.

III.  COUNTERPROLIFERATION

While our primary objective is to prevent the proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction and their delivery systems, we recognize that
determined states and possibly even terrorist organizations will
manage to acquire these weapons. Therefore, we must train and equip
our forces to operate effectively against WMD armed adversaries.

In virtually every comer of the globe, the United States and its
allies face a growing threat from the proliferation of WMD and their
delivery systems. In addition to indigenous weapons development
programs, WMD, delivery systems, and technology may be "for sale" to
the highest bidder. In Northeast Asia, North Korea's extensive WMD
program threatens Japan, South Korea, and U.S. forces and interests in
the region. In North Africa and the Middle East, rogue states --
Libya, Syria, Iran, and Iraq -- remain posed to develop and use all
means at their disposal to threaten U.S. and allied interests in the
region and beyond.

Because many potential adversaries are likely to pursue WMD to deter
the United States from intervening in regional affairs, deterrence is
much more of a two-way street than in the past.

While we will seek to deter our adversaries from using nuclear,
chemical or biological weapons, they may attempt to use these weapons
to deter us. As a result, deterrence is more problematic than in the
past. We recognize that we need to think differently about how to
strengthen deterrence, because deterrence of WMD use remains our
preferred line of defense. We must go beyond the threat of devastating
punishment in constructing our deterrent policies and capabilities
vis-a-vis adversary WMD.

A key component of our ability to respond to the use of WMD is greater
counterforce capabilities to strike the adversary's ability to use his
nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. DOD has programs underway to
improve our ability to target and defeat hard and deeply buried
targets which are increasingly being constructed throughout the world
and are being used to house weapons of mass destruction and missile
production and storage facilities. We are continuing our efforts to
develop specialized munitions to defeat nuclear, chemical or
biological weapons with little or no collateral damage. Finally, we
are improving our capabilities to target and destroy mobile missile
launchers.

If deterrence fails, and an adversary fires ballistic or cruise
missiles against U.S. and coalition forces or population centers, our
goal is to be able to destroy the ballistic or cruise missiles before
they land and cause damage. In light of the widespread deployment of
theater ballistic missiles today, the Department's immediate missile
defense priority is to develop, procure, and deploy theater missile
defense (TMD) systems to protect forward-deployed elements of the U.S.
armed forces, as well as allies and friends. This plan envisions a
time-phased acquisition of a multi-tier, interoperable theater
ballistic missile defense using five different TMD systems to provide
defense in depth against theater ballistic missiles.

U.S. forces face a clear danger from possible exposure to biological
weapons around the world. Vaccines are the most effective protection
from biological warfare threats. The Department of Defense maintains a
robust medical research and development program for biological and
chemical defense. Medical countermeasures for both chemical and
biological threat agents are limited. We currently have an improving,
but still limited, vaccine production capability. DOD has begun a
Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program that utilizes a prime systems
contract to manage and execute the advanced development, Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) licensure, production, storage and testing of new
vaccines for biological warfare agents.

Anthrax is one of the most lethal and widely held biological agents we
could face. Once symptoms occur -- within 24-72 hours after exposure
-- death is almost certain. Therefore, we have a moral obligation to
protect our forces by providing them immunity against this lethal
biological weapons agent. In December 1997, Secretary Cohen decided to
vaccinate all U.S. forces to protect against Anthrax. Initial
vaccinations were given to service members assigned to, deploying to,
or alerted for assignment to the Persian Gulf and Korea. An Anthrax
vaccine has been FDA licensed since 1970. The plan to vaccinate the
total force, both Active and Reserve, will take seven to eight years
to complete.

International Cooperation in Meeting Proliferation Threats

We recognize that, in future conflicts where weapons of mass
destruction may be used the United States is likely to be fighting as
part of a coalition. We have a series of initiatives underway, to
discuss these issues with prospective coalition partners to persuade
them that counterproliferation is a critical element of their national
security and that they need to better equip and train their troops so
that they, too, are prepared for the next war.

Our most mature international counterproliferation effort is with
NATO. Significant progress has been made in integrating
counterproliferation policy into the new, post-cold war agenda of the
Alliance. Since 1994, NATO has had a Defense Group on Proliferation
that meets regularly at a high level. It has assessed the risks posed
by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and
also has identified key areas where Alliance members need to improve
their military postures to confront these challenges. This year the
Defense Group on Proliferation plans to review intelligence
assessments reflecting the evolution of WMD risks and to provide
policy guidance as required. The Defense Group on Proliferation also
will address issues related to protecting forces against biological
weapons and NATO's possible collective responses to biological and
chemical weapons attacks on civilians.

Looking ahead, NATO needs to sustain its progress in addressing the
risks posed by weapons of mass destruction. NATO is now completing
work on a U.S. proposal for a NATO WMD Initiative that would enhance
NATO's ongoing efforts against WMD proliferation. The WMD Initiative
will: (1) increase intelligence sharing to bolster a better common
understanding of the WMD problem; (2) undertake additional political
measures to combat WMD proliferation; (3) implement practical
defensive measures to improve prospects for successful military
operations in a WMD environment; and (4) establish a small WMD Center
within NATO's International Staff to coordinate Alliance political and
defense efforts against WMD. The Senior Politico-Military Group on
Proliferation (SGP) and the Defense Group on Proliferation will be
primarily responsible for implementing the WMD Initiative. The WMD
Initiative complements the ongoing work of both groups.

NATO's work under the WMD Initiative will require the Senior Civil
Emergency Planning Committee, and perhaps other NATO bodies, to
increase their efforts to improve the ability of the Alliance to
respond to a chemical or biological weapons attack against Allies
civil populations. Information sharing on civil protection measures
will be an essential first step to prepare nations to deal with such
an event.

Republic of Korea (ROK) forces and U.S. forces in Korea face the
greatest threat of WMD use due to the very large North Korean
inventory of chemical weapons and several different means of delivery.
Bilaterally, we have taken action to improve our combined capability
to deter and defend against Pyongyang's weapons programs. Combined
U.S.-ROK exercises, such as the CORAL BREEZE series, have examined the
implications of North Korea's WMD threat to our combined operations.
Our combined forces have improved their plans to defend against the
threat or use of weapons of mass destruction. The Office of the
Secretary of Defense and the ROK Ministry of National Defense have
initiated a policy-level dialogue to facilitate our
counterproliferation efforts, holding bilateral meetings in June 1997
and September 1998.

We recently have begun a new effort to enhance the ability of the
states of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Jordan to deter and defense
against WMD threats. Acting in concert with CENTCOM, the Office of the
Secretary of Defense has initiated counterproliferation discussions
with these states to further increase the preparedness of their
forces.

Conclusion

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery
systems poses a real threat to global security. More than twenty-five
countries currently possess -- or appear to be developing -- nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons and the means to deliver them; an even
larger number are capable of producing such weapons, potentially on
short notice.

Prevention, deterrence, and protection strategies are mutually
reinforcing. The overall strategy must run from attempting to stop the
proliferation of WMD, to seeking to deny the gains an adversary might
hope to achieve, to increasing the risks the adversary would face
should it employ these weapons against U.S. or allied forces or
populations. When applied in combination, these efforts hopefully will
deter the use of weapons of mass destruction. Failing that, we will
decisively defeat any nation or group that would employ such terrible
weapons.