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DATE=3/10/99 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT NUMBER=5-42821 TITLE=SEA-BASED MISSILE DEFENSE BYLINE= ED WARNER DATELINE= WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: BETTER SEA THAN LAND, SAY A GROUP OF ANALYSTS WHO HAVE JUST ISSUED A REPORT CALLING FOR A MISSILE DEFENSE DEPLOYED ON U-S SHIPS. THEY SAY THIS WOULD BE LESS EXPENSIVE AND MORE EFFECTIVE THAN A GROUND BASED SYSTEM AND INSIST IT IS URGENTLY NEEDED. OTHERS DOUBT BOTH THE URGENCY AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SUCH A DEFENSE. V-O-A'S ED WARNER REPORTS THE DEBATE. TEXT: CAN THERE BE ANOTHER SURPRISE ATTACK ON PEARL HABOR, THIS TIME NOT FROM JAPAN, BUT FROM SOME OTHER ASIAN NATION INTENT ON DEFEATING AMERICA? THAT IS THE FEAR OF A GROUP OF DEFENSE ANALYSTS WHO SAY THE UNITED STATES NEEDS PROTECTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE FROM A MISSILE ATTACK, MOST PROBABLY FROM A SO-CALLED ROGUE NATION. THEY HAVE ISSUED A REPORT, "DEFENDING AMERICA," WHICH PROPOSES PUTTING INTERCEPTORS ABOARD CRUISERS AND DESTROYERS TO BRING DOWN INCOMING MISSILES. KIM HOLMES, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION, WHICH SPONSORED THE REPORT, TOLD AN AUDIENCE AT THE PRESS CLUB IN WASHINGTON THAT A SEA-BASED DEFENSE IS THE ANSWER TO A THREAT EVEN GREATER THAN THE COLD WAR: // HOLMES ACT // AMERICA IS JUST FOUR YEARS AWAY FROM A NEAR TERM SOLUTION TO THIS GLOBAL CRISIS. WE THINK THAT WE CAN DEVELOP AND DEPLOY A SHORT TERM SYSTEM FOR LESS THAN EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS FOR FOUR YEARS. THAT IS LESS THAN TWO PER CENT OF THE ANNUAL DEFENSE BUDGET AND LESS THAN HALF OF WHAT IT COSTS TO OPERATE AMERICA'S AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM. // END ACT // CONTRIBUTORS TO THE REPORT NOTED THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A SEA-BASED DEFENSE ALREADY EXISTS - THAT IS, U-S NAVAL SHIPS. THEIR ADVANTAGE IS MOBILITY: THEY CAN QUICKLY MOVE TOWARD THE SITE OF A POSSIBLE MISSILE LAUNCHING AND INTERCEPT IT PERHAPS IN ITS BOOST STAGE. AT THE SAME MEETING, ADMIRAL J. D.WILLIAMS, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NAVAL WARFARE, SAID THE DEFENSE CAN BE TAILORED TO THE THREAT: // WILLIAMS ACT // WE ARE REALLY BUILDING A NATIONAL DEFENSE SYSTEM FOR A ROGUE NATION. SO IF YOU KNOW THE CRISIS IS COMING - WHICH WE GENERALLY DO - THEN YOU CAN POSITION THE SHIPS WITH TWO OR THREE SHIPS TO COVER A PARTICULAR THREAT, LET US SAY, FROM A MIDDLE EAST COUNTRY. IF YOU ARE COVERING 360 DEGREES FOR THE WHOLE WORLD, THEN IT TAKES MORE SHIPS. SO WE REALLY NEED TO TALK THE THREAT. // END ACT // ADMIRAL WILLIAMS SAID HE IS CONFIDENT THE TECHNOLOGY CAN BE DEVELOPED FOR A SEA-BASED DEFENSE. IT IS PRIMARILY A MATTER OF POLITICAL WILL. JOHN PIKE, A DEFENSE ANALYST AT THE FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS, DOUBTS BOTH THE WILL AND THE TECHNOLOGY. LIKE OTHER OPPONENTS OF A MISSILE DEFENSE, HE SAYS IT IS EXCEEDINGLY DIFFICULT TO HIT A BULLET WITH A BULLET AND HAS NOT REALLY BEEN DONE TO DATE: // PIKE ACT // EVENTUALLY, IF WE SPENT ENOUGH TIME AND MONEY WORKING ON THIS, WE WILL BE ABLE TO HIT THE TARGETS OCCASIONALLY. BUT WE HAVE SPENT AN AWFUL LOT OF MONEY, AN AWFUL LOT OF TIME AND HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO HIT ANYTHING AT ALL FOR THE TECHNOLOGY THAT THEY ARE ADVOCATING THAT WE OUGHT TO DEPLOY. I THINK WE OUGHT TO GET SOMETHING WORKABLE BEFORE WE START TALKING ABOUT ACTUALLY DEPLOYING IT. // END ACT // MR. PIKE SAYS NO MISSILE WAS LAUNCHED DURING THE COLD WAR, DESPITE THEIR ENORMOUS NUMBERS, BECAUSE RETALIATION WOULD HAVE BEEN SWIFT AND CERTAIN. DETERRENCE WORKED. IT CONTINUES TO WORK, SAYS MR. PIKE. INDEED THE WORRISOME ROGUE NATIONS HAVE ONLY A VERY SLIGHT FRACTION OF THE MILITARY POWER OF THE SOVIET UNION: // PIKE ACT // IF YOU LOOK AT THE LEADERSHIP OF THOSE SO-CALLED ROGUE STATES LIKE IRAN AND NORTH KOREA, THEY ARE ACTUALLY FAIRLY CAUTIOUS WHEN IT COMES TO NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION. THE UNITED STATES HAS SAID THAT IF THESE COUNTRIES ATTACKED US WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS, WE WOULD DEVASTATE THEIR SOCIETY. AND WHATEVER ELSE YOU SAY ABOUT THESE LEADERS, THEY UNDERSTAND THAT RISK. // END ACT // LIKE THE SUPPORTERS OF A MISSILE DEFENSE, MR. PIKE IS NOT COMPLACENT ABOUT THE MISSILE THREAT. THE QUESTION IS HOW BEST TO DEAL WITH IT. (SIGNED) NEB/PT 10-Mar-99 7:29 PM EST (0029 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .