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DATE=7/7/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON - ANTI-MISSILE (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-264172 BYLINE=DEBORAH TATE DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: With just hours to go before the latest trial of a U-S national missile defense before President Clinton decides whether to build such a system, U-S officials say they do not expect an assessment of the test for weeks. They also caution that the test's outcome will not be the deciding factor in whether to build the missile shield. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the White House. Text: With America's European allies, Russia and China vehemently opposed to the proposed U-S national missile defense system, fearing it would undermine arms control and spark an arms race, administration officials are playing down expectations for the upcoming anti-missile test. P-J Crowley is a spokesman for the National Security Council: /// Crowley Act /// A hit does not automatically suggest success, nor does failure automatically come with a miss. /// End Act /// The U-S military is planning late Friday or early Saturday to launch a land-based anti-missile rocket from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean and guide it through space using computers, radar and early-warning satellites in hopes of destroying a dummy missile fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Mr. Crowley says an assessment could take weeks. /// Crowley Opt Act /// There are a lot of elements to a national missile defense, including both the ability to detect it, command, control and communications, the kill vehicle, the decision-making process that allows you to effectively engage an incoming missile and potentially destroy it. So this is a very complex test, complex process, so it will take some time for the Pentagon to assess the results of the test that will feed into Secretary Cohen's recommendation to the President once the Pentagon finishes deploy- readiness review. So this will be a process that will unfold over the next several weeks at a minimum. /// End Opt Act /// It will be the third such anti-missile test. The first one last year succeeded, but the second one back in January failed after a gas leak caused the interceptor to veer off course. The United States, which wants to amend the 1972 Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow for the missile shield, believes the system could protect all 50 states from possible missile attack by North Korea, Iran or Iraq. But some critics say the technology is not feasible. Others are concerned about the impact the project could have on international arms control. On Thursday, 50 U-S Nobel Prize winners sent Mr. Clinton a letter warning against deployment of the system, saying it would offer little protection and hurt U-S security interests. On Friday, Russia's strategic nuclear missile forces commander, Vladimir Yakovlev, reiterated his country's concerns, warning that a U-S anti-missile system could prompt some countries to abandon existing arms control treaties. N-S-C spokesman Crowley says Mr. Clinton will take such concerns into consideration in making his decision. /// Crowley Act /// The president will make his best judgment later this year based on his advisors providing him the best possible perspective regarding threat, cost, technical feasibility and the overall impact on our national security. /// End Act /// Mr. Crowley would not comment on when the President would make his decision, including whether he would wait until after November's presidential election to so. (Signed) NEB/DAT/ENE/JP 07-Jul-2000 14:09 PM EDT (07-Jul-2000 1809 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .