Panel III: The Role of the ABM Treaty and National Missile Defense

Chair: Rodney Jones
Senior Advisor, Carnegie START II Project

Keith Payne
National Institute for Public Policy
Amb. Yuri Nazarkin
Center for International Problems (START Negotiator)
Stephen Cambone
Center for Strategic and International Studies
John Pike
Federation of American Scientists

Rodney Jones: The focus in our third panel is on the role of missile defenses and the ABM Treaty. It concerns questions of stability in U.S.-Russian strategic relations under post-Cold War conditions, in the context of deep reductions in strategic offensive weapons and proposals for introducing theater and national missile defenses. We have assembled, again, a combination of Russian and American practitioners and experts to air the issues and to consider whether a cooperative approach to defenses is feasible and desirable today. Our first speaker, Dr. Keith Payne is President of the National Institute for Public Policy. He has written extensively on strategy and is a strong proponent of U.S. national and theater missile defense. Keith, let me invite you to begin.

Keith Payne: In Iraq, deterrence both worked and failed, and the U.S. leadership was surprised in both cases, largely because of the lack of a familiarity between the parties. Historically, deterrence fails for several primary reasons, but most of these stem from one standard weakness, and that is the mutual ignorance of the parties involved: ignorance of each other's values, goals, determinations, will, and reliable communication channels.

Why does the reliability of deterrence make a difference now? In the emerging multi-polar environment, there is likely to be a considerable degree of mutual unfamiliarity and ignorance in U.S. relations with so-called rogue states. And these states will, sooner or later, combine missiles with weapons of mass destruction. I'm reminded, for example, of Ambassador April Glaspie's famous statement with regard to Iraq that we simply did not understand Saddam Hussein; or Dr. Ash Carter's recent statement regarding North Korea to the effect of: we don't know how the place works. In such cases of a mutual lack of familiarity, deterrence is inherently unreliable. We don't know with any degree of certainty what type of threat to pose, we don't know to whom it should be posed, we don't know the thresholds we might violate, and we don't know the cultural and strategic norms that need to be obeyed to ensure that the threat is credible. With ignorance of those kind of details, deterrence is going to be inherently unreliable, and our efforts to deter will be as likely to provoke, as they did in 1941 vis-a-vis the Japanese.

Nuclear weapons and threats can't fix this problem. They cannot make deterrence reliable because nuclear weapons do not make leaders immune to mistakes, misjudgments, misinterpretation, misperception, and the chance of irrationality. This does not mean that deterrence is certain not to work. It does mean that we won't know with any level of confidence that it will work in advance of an approaching regional crisis. The implications of this for the post-Cold War period are significant, particularly for U.S. intelligence requirements, but also for U.S. preparations for deterrence failure.

Looking at the implications for NMD, in particular, remember that in the Cold War period, the primary argument against national missile defense and supporting the ABM Treaty was that deterrence could be made "stable," and that deterrence stability was to be preferred over missile defense. As long-range missile threats emerge in the post Cold War period, national missile defense is going to become essential precisely because deterrence will not be reliable. NMD will become essential as part of the preparations for the possibility of deterrence failure, a possibility that we cannot discount and should prepare for. National missile defense will also be important for providing the most capable regional deterrent that we can mount, a deterrent based on U.S. power projection capabilities.

When I say that national missile defense is going to be important, I'm not bothered whatsoever by the debate over whether long-range threats are going to emerge over the next five years, the next 10 years, 15 years, or even later. The main point is that new, long-range missile threats are going to emerge, it is unavoidable. In addition, the United States would probably require five to 10 years or more to deploy an NMD, even if a decision to do so was made today. So this particular debate that is of growing interest on Capitol Hill is really a subplot. That long-range missile threats from regional powers will emerge is certain, consequently, national missile defense is going to be essential in terms of preparation for deterrence failure.

Why is national missile defense going to be potentially important for U.S. power projection capabilities? Because as a democratic and status quo power, we know that the U.S. is highly vulnerable to deterrence and coercion threats based on missiles and weapons of mass destruction, as we witnessed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Questions of U.S. vulnerability to missiles frequently boil down to an argument that I think is a red herring. That red herring is the argument, "they would never dare to threaten us." Well, in fact, "they" would dare to threaten us. Or the argument, "They would never dare to strike us." Well, yes, "they" might dare to strike us. The more important issue here, however, is what are the implications of the possibility that the U.S. could be struck, not whether a developing country would dare to strike the United States. The question is what happens to U.S. power protection options, and to the U.S. will to engage in power projections, when rogue countries hold a deterrent threat based on weapons of mass destruction and missiles that could threaten U.S. forces, U.S. facilities, and ultimately U.S. urban areas? In the context of U.S. vulnerability to such "rogue" threats, U.S. power projection options are likely to be paralyzed, regardless of whether an opponent would actually dare to strike the United States.

What are the implications for the ABM Treaty? If we are concerned about the future prospect for deterrence failure, and our own regional power projection options, of which deterrence may be a function, the ABM Treaty is going to have to be interpreted to permit theater missile defenses that will be effective against current and future theater missile threats. In addition, the ABM Treaty will have to be revised to permit national missile defenses that will be capable against the limited long-range missile threats we are likely to see over the coming years. I would prefer to see the necessary revisions to the ABM Treaty done in cooperation with the Russian Federation. That is, we should jointly identify that level of national missile defense that can address the prospective third party missile threats, without upsetting mutual deterrence with one another.

Trying to balance defenses against third parties with deterrence against Russia is not new. In 1969, for example, Harold Brown proposed that the United States should consider deploying 100-1,000 ballistic missile defense interceptors to protect against the third party threat. At the time, the Soviet Union had fewer than 1,800 ballistic missile warheads. Why did Brown propose this? Because such defenses would protect against a third party threat, without upsetting mutual deterrence with the Soviet Union.

In the long run, it would be far superior to move toward a relationship with the Russian Federation not based on mutual threats of annihilation. Both the short-term goal of balancing U.S.-Russian deterrence requirements with the need to defend against the proliferation threat should be pursued cooperatively with Russia. On the basis of an ongoing study that I'm involved in with a number of noted Russian experts, I think that such a move is possible. I believe that we can pursue mutual, long term goals, cooperatively with the Russians. And in fact there is some history, particularly the Ross-Mamedov talks from the early 1990s, that offers a good example of how that might be pursued.

Let me conclude with two points. First, we in the West have been very arrogant in the belief that we know how to deter, that we can deter reliably, that we know what makes deterrence tick, that we know how to create stability, and we have built an entire arms control and strategic deterrence policy edifice based on that confidence. Many cling to the belief that we can extend those deterrence policies into the regional context of the post-Cold War period, and that deterrence will continue to be reliable and foolproof. I think the truth is otherwise, that deterrence is very complicated, that we do not know whether our deterrence policies would actually work in the future, and that we do not know the context within which they are going to work or within which they are going to fail. We will be entering crises with regional opponents where we will be clueless as to whether our deterrent is going to work or not. Therefore, preparation for the failure of deterrence is necessary, and this is going to place much greater emphasis and importance on national missile defense. The ABM Treaty should be revised accordingly.

Second, let me reiterate that I would prefer to pursue a revision to the ABM Treaty cooperatively with our Russian friends. Let me also note a statement made recently by Defense Minister Grachev in which he said that Russia would not and could not abide by the CFE Treaty restrictions on Russian conventional forces. He said that this was a treaty signed by a country that no longer exists, the Soviet Union, and that the strategic context or strategic environment had changed so much that the CFE restrictions that had been agreed by the Soviet Union now challenged Russian security requirements. Therefore, the Russian Federation could not and would not abide by the original Soviet-era CFE restrictions. I believe that exactly the same case that Defense Minister Grachev made with regard to CFE now applies to the ABM Treaty, and we should approach that question with equal flexibility. Thank you.

Rodney Jones: Thank you very much, Keith. Our next speaker is Ambassador Yuri Nazarkin. Yuri appeared earlier in our first panel on START II. As a former START negotiator, he is naturally familiar with the history and current Russian thinking on the ABM Treaty, and joins us again to provide the Russian perspective on this panel.

Yuri Nazarkin: Thank you. I would like to first respond to the last remark made by Keith Payne. I don't think that Russia is going to violate CFE. There are, however, some consultations and negotiations to address Russian difficulties with the treaty. These concerns stem from the fact that the treaty was concluded between two military blocs, one of which no longer exists. Moreover, the Soviet Union does not exist anymore, and the treaty permits Russia to deploy very few forces in its "flanks." These new realities merit adjusting the treaty, but I don't think there is a question of a violating or a destroying the CFE Treaty. I think that any such action relating to existing, important arms control treaties, would be very dangerous. I am not a spokesman for our Defense Minister, so I am not going to comment on his remarks, but I will just say that I don't think the analogy of CFE and the ABM Treaties is justified.

Now let me turn to our main subject. There is much debate about linking the START and ABM Treaties, and while there is certainly no juridical linkage between the two, there definitely is linkage in a political and in a military sense. It was originally a U.S. idea to limit ABM systems. At that time, the Soviet Union insisted on the unlimited right to develop an ABM system, but in the long run, both sides agreed, to hold parallel negotiations on limiting ABM systems and strategic offensive arms. And that was the ideology of our negotiations on strategic weapons before 1983, when the Strategic Defense Initiative was introduced in the United States, and the situation was unfortunately changed. So, there is such political and military linkage.

I would like to discuss some of the arguments which are used to justify radical revisions to or withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. Let me first describe these arguments, which I would call "myths," but I better stick to the term "arguments" to avoid the taste of polemics. First, the treaty is a product of the Cold War, and is now obsolete. Second, the treaty can be amended to permit deployment of national missile defense. Third, the transition from a bipolar to a multi-polar world makes questionable the concept of mutual assured destruction, which was one of the major rationales of the ABM Treaty. Fourth, new realities require revising the strategic relationship between U.S. and Russia. And fifth, the danger of missile proliferation makes it urgent to protect the whole territory against limited accidental or unauthorized missile attacks.

(1) The ABM Treaty is not a baby of the Cold War so much as it is a baby of détente. Moreover, the ABM Treaty is a cornerstone of the Soviet-, now Russian-American strategic relationship.

(2) It is true that the treaty allows for introducing amendments, but it would be absurd to amend the treaty to permit everything which is now prohibited. Some amendments are possible, sometimes necessary, but not to reverse the substance of the treaty.

(3) Certainly, mutual assured safety sounds much better than mutual assured destruction. But if nuclear deterrence is still in force, as it will be for as long as nuclear weapons exist, one cannot ignore the strategic balance, which remains the cornerstone of strategic stability.

(4) Russia is not the superpower the Soviet Union was, and, indeed, Russia is much weaker in many respects than the Soviet Union. But it is equally true that Russia still keeps a large strategic arsenal, which cannot be ignored. This does not mean that Russia or the United States are going to attack each other. The confrontation has left their relationship, but the nuclear weapons remain and are, for the time being, the basis of stability.

(5) The danger from third countries is highly exaggerated. I would refer you to the recent CIA report which estimates that the United States will not face new long-range missile threats for more than 15 years. Given the interrelationships between the START and ABM Treaties and the MTCR, I would prefer to neutralize the danger of third country missile threats through non-proliferation strategies, because even an ABM system against limited attacks would be a concern for Russia. Such a system would provide an infrastructure for someday expanding the ABM system, thereby creating a more dangerous situation from the point of view of strategic stability and strategic relations between the two countries.

Although it is often said that U.S.-Soviet relations were based on the START and ABM Treaties, in reality, they were based on three cornerstones: START, the ABM Treaty, and the NPT. I would say that the NPT gave life to the SALT process, and then the START process, because the NPT resulted from the bilateral efforts of the United States and the Soviet Union. The NPT's strength was based and is based to a large extent on the efforts of these two countries. Revision of one of these three treaties would inevitably lead to revision of the others. I mean, not only START I and potentially START II, but I also have in mind the NPT. I cannot say that there is going to be a revision of NPT, I hope it will not happen, but the non-proliferation regime would suffer from changes to the U.S.-Russian strategic relationship.

Alexander Pikayev mentioned the possibility of more active cooperation between Russia and some of its neighbors, like Iran, India and some other countries, and I agree that such potential exists. In Russia, we have certain nationalist extremists who would be happy to see Russia develop closer military relations with Iran, Iraq, and some other countries. From their perspective, Russia would benefit partly from a geopolitical point of view and partly from a commercial point of view. MINATOM chief Victor Mikhailov, for example, is eager to develop supply of nuclear reactors to Iran. If the strategic relationship based on these three cornerstones were to change, it would likely strengthen the position of those in Russia who would like to weaken the nonproliferation regime.

Jones:Thank you very much, Yuri, for your thoughtful presentation. It's sometimes the case--though fortunately not at this seminar--that one gets the boilerplate of national positions. We can all appreciate what Yuri has just done, which is speaking both from the head and the heart. I'd like now to introduce Steve Cambone, who worked in the Bush Administration's Department of Defense at a high level as a director for the strategic defense policy, and who is now settled at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as a fellow and analyst.

Steve Cambone: Thank you, Rodney. Good afternoon. I would like to begin my remarks by agreeing with Ambassador Nazarkin that indeed if the strategic relationship between the United States and Russia were to change, given all of our interests, it might not be for the best. The question is whether it is going to change, and whether it can be made to change for the better. More to the point, we need to be careful how we identify and assess changes.

For example, having heard three times today the notion that Russia would find itself inclined to become closer, for example, to China, India, Iran, or Iraq in response to U.S. actions affecting U.S.-Russian relations, I wouldn't be surprised if that happens whether our relationship with Russia improves or worsens. That is, closer Russian relations with these and other nations are a natural and predictable set of developments, conditions which we need to take into account along with many others as we develop the U.S.-Russian relationship.

I would like to begin with the notion that there is a basis upon which we could move forward to improve our relationship, and that it is in fact connected with the issues that are on the agenda here today.

First there is the question of stability. It is impossible to ignore the question of whether we can have stability and defenses. When I was in the Department of Defense, the U.S. government put together a set of proposals, in response to a request from President Yeltsin, about changing the U.S. missile defense approach. We put together a notion called the Global Protection System (GPS). As part of that process, it was my responsibility to oversee a good deal of the analysis that was done on exchange calculations, the roles of defenses, how much defense would we have, that Russia might have, etc.

I was explicitly asked the question about how badly, or how well, a GPS would affect stability. I can't answer that question in a qualitative sense, but I can tell you quantitatively that after running analyses with with postulated missile defense levels far in excess of those being proposed currently by members of Congress and others in the public, Russia would have been able to penetrate American defenses at a level that, at least in my mind, allowed Russia (and the U.S.) to retain not only its deterrent capacity, but also an assured retaliatory capability. I want to leave that thought for the moment, and come back to it at the end; that is, the notion of assured retaliatory capability.

It was true that, in looking at these numbers, both the United States and Russia would have probably needed to alter their targeting practices, but we found that even with START I, START II, or deeper reductions, both sides would have retained the ability to penetrate the other's defenses sufficiently to reinforce deterrence. So if assured retaliation has something to do with stability, there is a relationship that can be established between an offense and a defense that will lend itself to stability.

On the question of whether achieving an ABM Treaty demarcation agreement can help resolve issues related to stability, let me deal with the TMD demarcation issue on its own merits, because the question of the moment is whether a TMD demarcartion agreement can be negotiated. My guess is that almost anything can be negotiated; the question is, what are the terms? As I have been tracking this negotiation, I have noted that, as is often the case, the U.S. position has changed--some would say considerably, others would say marginally--but nonetheless it has changed and the Russian position has remained fairly constant. That is not surprising, because the United States has managed to place itself in the position of being the demandeur in this negotiation, and therefore it has little leverage.

The more interesting question is not whether a deal can be struck with Russia, but whether a deal can be struck with Russia that a Republican majority in the Congress would accept. Now I realize the majorities in Congress could change following the 1996 elections, but if a deal were to be struck, as was suggested earlier, within two weeks, or if the aim is to have an agreement come out of the Summit meeting in April, the views of the 104th Congress are a relevant factor.

Thus far, Congress has found itself rather disinclined to accept the terms of an agreement as they have been reported in the press. It could be, of course, that the administration would successfully make the argument that it has not negotiated an amendment to the ABM Treaty, but rather an agreed statement, which would not require ratification or other forms of approval and thereby get around Congressional objections. That would avoid difficulties both here at home and abroad, particularly in the Duma, but also perhaps in Belarus, Kazakstan, and Ukraine (which are being considered as new parties to the ABM Treaty). But this seems unlikely.

If the administration comes back with an agreed statement along the terms now being reported, there is going to be a very bitter reaction in the Congress. Those who are determined to fight such an agreement will not back down. There may be a willingness on their part to see some kind of an agreement reached that doesn't foreclose current and future U.S. missile defense options and that allows us to get past the present moment, but at the moment, there does not appear to be an agreement being negotiated the Congress would support.

What's curious about this is that we have arrived at this place quite unnecessarily. During the Bush administration, DOD proposed an approach on the issue of our compliance with Article VI(a)1 of the ABM Treaty as it affects TMD, that could have been implemented as a unilateral decision on the part of the United States. In a letter for the incoming Clinton administration, Secretary Cheney described a position on demarcation that was not unlimited. It did not suggest that we could do anything we wished, at any time, for any purpose with TMD programs. It recognized certain limitations that would be imposed on TMD as a consequence of our clear obligations under the ABM and SALT treaties. But it clearly presaged basing TMD compliance on the "demonstrated standard" which has become the hallmark of the position put forward by the Republicans on the Hill.2

For reasons which I still don't quite understand, the administration rejected Cheney's proposal and, rather than to take a unilateral approach, decided instead to enter into a negotiation on this question with Russia. Had it taken a unilateral approach based on the demonstrated standard, the United States could have revised its compliance standards accordingly and then allowed for the normal process of the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) to take hold, allowing Russia to raise questions in the SCC about tests that the U.S. may or may not have conducted under our own unilateral compliance measures, and, on that basis, worked out any differences that might have occurred.

Nonetheless, the approach that the administration followed was apparently based on the idea that we did not understand what our obligations were under Article VI(a) of the Treaty, and therefore we had to negotiate that issue. As I say, I think it was unnecessary. It was a question of judgment, made largely by political calculation. The lack of success in this negotiation has not helped the relationship with Russia.

Let's turn to the question of national missile defense and ABM Treaty compliance. It is obviously possible to deploy a missile defense in the United States that is compliant with the ABM Treaty. It is even, I think, possible to have one with the name "national" missile defense, despite Article I of the Treaty. The United States could deploy a missile defense system consisting of a single site and 100 interceptors, and the technical characteristics of that defense would be such that it could be plausibly explained that this is not a national missile defense that the treaty prohibits.

That said, the question is, would such a defense be useful? Again, going back to the analysis that I did at the Pentagon and since, my conclusion is no.

The United States needs something on the order of three to five sites, I suspect, and something greater than 200 interceptors. Why? It has to do with reentry vehicle (RV) trajectories and speeds, and other technical parameters associated with an NMD. But, using these parameters we can sit down and work our way through the notion of what would be required to provide a fairly substantial level of confidence in a highly effective defense against a modest size attack.

How modest? That is another issue to be discussed, but looking at numbers as low as the tens and twenties of RVs that have been discussed by the administration, it's hard to see how the U.S. can credibly defeat that threat from a single site. In addition, the U.S. is going to have to included as part of the defense additional sensors, and that means not just early warning sensors on the ground, but sensors in space. The U.S. can deploy the "Brilliant Eyes" system as an adjunct to NMD, which would be permitted by the ABM Treaty. Thus, in the end, what we're talking about is a set of space-based sensors, ground-based sensors, and three to five sites and something greater than 200 interceptors. Is that ABM Treaty-compliant? No. Is it an affront to stability? I don't think so, on the basis of my remarks as I opened.

Are there alternatives to ballistic missile defense in the context of the discussions today? I'm not quite sure that there are. What the U.S. really needs is a complex set of capabilities, some diplomatic, as Bob Einhorn has explained, some of the more technical character like missile defense, others quite frankly offensive in character. The administration, to its credit, has recognized this, and has put together a package which, although it is still underfunded, nonetheless sets a standard, which says that in addressing a problem like proliferation, there is no single solution but only a complex of them. And that complex, in the administration's view, does include missile defenses.

Lastly, let's discuss the political and technical conditions needed to reach agreement on ABM Treaty modification. This is the most important issue, and the most important political issues to be resolved are those here at home. I understand the evident concern that is being expressed by our Russian colleagues on this matter, but until we decide what we are going to do at home, we will continue to argue with our Russian friends about what we're willing to do in the future.

The first thing we need at home is some sort of "peace treaty" between Congress and the administration on the issue of missile defense. I'm not sure that the two sides, if you will, are all that far apart on some of the issues. Where they do differ, and differ substantially, is the method by which, for example, the issue of demarcation is going to be decided. The administration believes a negotiated settlement with Russia to be an unequivocal requirement. For those on the Hill who have written the legislation on TMD, there doesn't seem to be any sense that an agreement is needed.

The Congress and the administration also need to talk about what we're going to do about national missile defense. I suspect that many of you here in this room will find good, technical reasons to deny the efficacy of the administration's single site deployment concept. So I don't know why, in the end, we would want to go forward with such a position. I think, therefore, if we are going to talk seriously about NMD, we would have to open the question of multiple sites if we're going to go for missile defenses for the country at all.

Then we need, of course, to get a package together, that both the administration and Congress can support, to discuss relevant issues with Russia. This cannot be an open ended discussion. We've had them before, especially on the ABM Treaty, and there is really not much point to engaging in another open-ended proposition. We really need to find a way to put some time limits on this activity, and then move forward to NMD deployments based on our own needs.

Let me conclude with a notion about a new strategic formulation. I talked earlier about multiple sites, a few hundred interceptors, and the notion that with an offensive force of 3,000 warheads, or even fewer, we could preserve an assured retaliatory capability against the force of, say, up to 1,000 ground-based interceptors. It's obvious that below START I levels, we're going to have to redo our targeting process in any case. We will have fewer reentry vehicles to cover fewer targets, and therefore we have already begun a process of asking how are we going to live with reduced penetration, i.e. destruction of targets.

The issue then becomes whether or not the sides, against a defense at a certain level, would retain assured retaliatory capability against some fixed number of targets. What is that number? Is it 100, 200, 300? I don't know, that's hard to determine in advance, but it's certainly a subject for discussion. If you were able to have that discussion and come to some set of agreements, I think we could put behind us the notion that deploying defenses along with maintaining offensive forces necessarily gives us a worse strategic relationship. Thank you.

Jones: Thank you very much. Our last presenter on this panel is John Pike, Director of the Space Policy Project at the Federation of American Scientists.

John Pike: Why are we still talking about this stuff? Why are we still meeting like this? This has been going on for too long. I want to suggest that there are probably at least three reasons, will dwell on the first one at length, and then go into the other reasons.

The main reason we keep debating like this year after year after year, and certainly over the last five years or so, is that information we have about Desert Storm is wrong. We have fundamentally misread all the lessons of Desert Storm, and this has unnecessarily protracted the debate.

The conventional wisdom coming out of Desert Storm was that this was the exemplar of deterrence failure, showing that we were going to be faced with lots and lots of non-deterrable threats. In contrast, I would suggest, particularly in light of the literature that we've been seeing over the last six months or so, that Desert Storm is going to be regarded as being the textbook example of intra-war deterrence, though very clearly we had a deterrence failure in advance of war when April Glaspie said "this is not our problem."

Deterrence very clearly succeeded when in the run-up to Desert Storm in negotiations at the ministerial level, there was very extensive agreement that this was going to be a limited war, that nobody was going to pose existential threats to each other, nobody was going to use weapons of mass destruction, this was going to be a Marquis of Queensbury fight, which is why deterrence succeeded perfectly in Desert Storm.

The second thing that we fundamentally misread about Desert Storm is the perception of counterforce failure. Everybody knows the sound bite that, "we didn't destroy a single mobile launcher." I would submit, to the contrary, that counterforce was extremely successful in causing virtual attrition to the Scud launchers, in the sense that those guys working the Scuds were way too worried about dying to fire those missiles. They were spending most of their time hiding. So as a result, rather than being able to fire their entire inventory, which they would have been able to do if it had not been for the air campaign, they only were firing at approximately 20 percent of their maximum rate. So there was an 80 percent virtual attrition because of the air campaign, which only consumed a couple percent of total sorties that were flown during the war.

It's very clear in Desert Storm that we had an extremely feeble passive defense capability, in the sense that as soon as we got the word that a Scud had been launched, basically everybody in the whole theater had to play duck and cover because we had no way of transmitting that warning information to the one square or several square kilometers that was actually at risk. Well, advanced war-fighting exercises last year very clearly demonstrated that if we spent a few million dollars and bought everybody beepers, with the warning system that we have right now, we could basically set off the beepers for the people who were in the area where a Scud was heading, and the other 99 percent of people in the theater could go about their business.

Of course, we all know that the Patriots worked nearly perfectly during Desert Storm--Not. The bottom line at this point is that if we look at the threats that are out there, and we look at the defenses that are out there, one of my favorite sound bites of all time continues to be true: "systems that will work aren't needed, and the ones that are needed won't work."

The threats that we're faced with are basically twofold: Scuds and then basically everything else, missiles with longer ranges and missiles with unconventional warheads. Against Scuds we can use PAC-3, which is not that expensive. As for the other threats, I would submit first that they are going to be for quite some time in coming, extremely scarce, verging on non-existent, and second that there is no foreseeable defense that we're going to be able to deploy that's going to do anything useful about it.

We've repeatedly heard references today to "reliable and effective defenses." I think that if we should have learned anything out of Desert Storm, it is the fact that we can't use "reliable and effective" and "active defense" in the same sentence, that there is simply no prospect that foreseeable defenses are going to solve the problem that ballistic missiles with unconventional warheads are going to pose to the United States. There is simply no prospect that any defense that we're going to employ is going to make American decisionmakers less risk-averse than they would be in the absence of that defense.

Unfortunately, we're still stuck in a MAD world with the Russians. I didn't invent it, the arms control community didn't invent it, but there are a lot of people at Strategic Command who continue to believe that we need to have about 3,000 warheads to keep Russia in a deterred frame of mind. There are clearly a lot of their counterparts over in Moscow who feel that they still need to have a very robust lay-down with high damage expectancies on a lot of targets, in order to be able to sleep well at night. And they've been doing this for a number of decades now, and it doesn't look like that we're going to be able to bring them to reason anytime soon. As a result we continue to be in a condition of mutual assured destruction, under which, for better or worse, the original logic of the ABM Treaty continues to hold.

Furthermore, this little relabeling exercise that we went through a couple of years ago, where they scraped off all the Star Wars decals from everything and slapped on those TMD decals on everything, has basically changed notthing. Most of the toys that we're talking about deploying right now under the rubric of theater missile defense, the metal-bashers have been working on for the better part of the last decade. This technology is part of the original Star Wars program, and changing the decals has not changed its capabilities. As a result, it's no surprise that we've been fiddling around with this demarcation business for the last several years, without being able to get any closure on it, because the bottom line is that these systems have inherent strategic antimissile capabilities.

It's very peculiar that we're worrying about the least successful, the least promising avenue of dealing with ballistic missile problem, when we're having such tremendous success with the most promising one, namely the relationships that we have established with Russia, and are working on with other countries, in terms of international space cooperation, space commercialization, and compliance with the Missile Technology Control Regime. The bottom line is, the metal bashers in these countries are not dumb. If they are faced with a choice between selling their stuff to rich folks or selling it to poor folks, they're going to want to go where the money is. And the bottom line is that Hughes and the telecoms are always going to be able to put an additional zero on the price tag for what they're going to pay for that stuff, relative to what the folks in the Irans, Iraqs, and North Koreas are going to offer. So if we work this arrangement out, these people are always going to follow the money, and that's going to be a far more reliable solution to this problem.

So why are we continuing to do all of this stuff? Well, in addition to misreading the lessons of Desert Storm, that we basically have two other things going on here. Number one, there's a tremendous amount of inter-service rivalry to lay hands on budget share, on doctrinal primacy, and all of the other goodies that go with this new and exciting mission arena. It is no accident that the Navy Upper Tier program has more robust performance capabilities than THAAD does. Is this driven by some sort of objective threat assessment in terms of the threat that might be coming from Iraq or Iran? No. It's being driven by an assessment of the real threat, namely the one from the Army. If the Navy cannot produce something that is more capable than what the Army has, then the Navy doesn't get the mission.

The Navy has a real problem right now. They have got thousands of missile launch cells sitting out there on perfectly serviceable Ticonderoga- and Arleigh Burke-class ships that are just begging for a mission. During the Cold War, they were supposed to be firing SM-2 missiles to shoot down Backfire bombers to protect the aircraft carriers. Well, that mission went away. So what are we going to do with them? Well, we can do the right thing, and stuff them full of Tomahawks, and use them as strike cruisers, but then what will we do with all those aircraft carriers? So the third possibility, the only thing that's left, is to stuff them full of Navy Upper Tier interceptors. But in order to do that, it's got to be more competent than the Army program.

I would suggest that if one goes back and looks at how our missile defense architecture has been developed, and how these various programs have been developed, it is much easier to understand what we are doing in terms of making sure that the inter-service bureaucratic politics gets worked out than it is in terms of what the actual threats are.

Finally, I would suggest that the fact that THAAD is simply not regarded as controversial cannot be entirely unrelated to this grotesquely large political footprint that Norm Augustine is managing to develop by buying or devouring every other company in sight. If one looks at the state delegations right now that are currently concerned with care and feeding of Lockheed-Martin, it's very easy to understand why this program is not controversial. If one goes back and looks at the programmatic changes that the Senate, in its infinite wisdom, made last year to a number of other ballistic missile defense related programs, I would have a very easy time relabeling the Missile Defense Act of 1995 to the TRW Legislative Relief Act of 1995, because there are a number of problems that this company has had due to being cut off by the National Reconnaissance Office. The Senate was very kind and considerate.

So essentially, the kindest description that I can place on where we're going with our missile defense debate right now is that there has been a fundamental misreading of the lessons learned from Desert Storm. Perhaps that was understandable in the initial blush of victory, but it's increasingly inexcusable, now that we understand what really did and did not happen. Frankly, there are probably less charitable ways to describe the direction that this debate is going. It's got a lot more to do with service bureaucracy and corporate contractor politics with Congress than it has to do with national security. Given the fundamental irrationality of what we're doing, it would be the height of folly for us to start rearranging time-tested institutions, such as the ABM Treaty, in a fit of absent mindedness. Thank you.

Questions and Answers

Michael Krepon (Stimson Center): Underlying Ambassador Nazarkin's presentation, is the assumption that any defense is cause for concern, that even a treaty-limited defense is threatening, precisely because it lays the basis for a heavier defense. Is a treaty-compliant defense a threat even if we could establish transparency measures regarding production lines, etc.?

I'll throw out some other possible assumptions that may also be established. One, that maybe a treaty-limited defense can actually stop this debate from recurring, because the reason why the debate keeps recurring is that we don't have any defenses. Second, perhaps defenses won't grow unless the threat grows.

Lastly, a question for Steve Cambone, what threat drives you to say three to five sites, 200 interceptors?

Nazarkin: The first danger which I see in the limited defense is that it will require revising the treaties which constitute the strategic relationship between Russia and the United States. That is the first danger.

Secondly, there is the START II factor which must be considered, in that START II opponents use as their main criticism of limited missile defenses this argument that such defense would provide the foundation for a larger, heavier system. We cannot ignore this argument now while START II ratification remains uncertain.

Cambone: There are two factors that lead me to my assessment of the numbers of sites and interceptors needed. The first is the number of reentry vehicles that one might anticipate finding their way toward targets in the United States. At present, the administration, and people in the Department of Defense, tend to look at low numbers: four, 10, 20, something like that. The range of places where those warheads can fall is rather large, relative to one single site, particulary if Alaska or Hawaii, are included.

The second factor involves the combination of kinematics and warning time, the probabilities of intercepts, and all those other things that roll into one's calculation. So you end up with something that, despite John's comment, would in fact be reliable and effective at numbers higher than 100 at a single site.

The issue then becomes how many sites, and how many interceptors? Fair question. The notion that a limited missile defense would create a foundation for building a larger one is certainly not deniable. The question is whether an agreement can be reached which gives the sides confidence that such expansion would not be undertaken. We did in 1972: We were permitted 100 interceptors.

I would also like to respond to John Pike's point about THAAD. THAAD is the only system, as far as I know, that is having trouble being certified as treaty-compliant. If it weren't for the fact that we were having trouble certifying THAAD, we probably wouldn't have a lot of the difficulties that we have at the moment. So although you say it is the system that is guaranteed to go forward, in fact, it's the one that's hung up.

Pike: Just two responses. The reason that we keep having this debate is the reason that we keep having the debate over nuclear rockets, or shooting folks off to Mars: The range of things that are physically possible to do is larger than the range of things that are worth doing. Unavoidably every decade or so, this country goes through one of these phases were it asks, "is it worth doing?" Thus far, as to antiballistic missile defense, we have always made the right decision, that it is not worth doing.

Now the fundamental question is if it is plausible to assume that we could both achieve and enforce a damage denial capability against a country that wished to be able to pose a finite deterrent, existential deterrent threat against the United States? Based on what we've seen out of the NMD studies that were done last fall, my judgement is that against the sort of small, single-digit warhead threats that we are talking about, we can't build such a system in good conscience.

There is a second problem. There is no reason to believe that North Korea, Iran, or Iraq, having decided that they want to be able to pose an existential threat to the United States, would just flop over and say never mind, once we have deployed the first few hundred interceptors.

It would be interesting to try to understand what an arms race with a deterrable regional adversary would look like. We spent the Russians into the ground. I assume that we could eventually spend any of these other little countries into the ground. But I think that in the process we would wind up a system that would be very large relative to what the Russians currently think they need to blow up in this country in order to sleep well at night.

Joseph Cirincione (Stimson Center): I don't believe Steve Cambone actually answered the question of where's the threat. He answered it in terms of numbers of warheads, but I'd like to give the proponents of national missile defense another chance at this. As far as I can see, they have not made their case today. They have not given us the answer to where this missile proliferation threat is. Where is it? When is it? The one who comes closest is Seth Carus, who admits that there is no country right now that has the intention or capability to attack the United States with ICBMs, but then says he can't predict about tomorrow because all predictions about the threat are fairly unreliable. We cannot make predictions. Keith Payne offers the Payne corollary to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and says that deterrence is inherently unreliable, and that the enemies are unknown.

Well, I don't believe you can make a concrete threat assessment based on those kinds of suppositions, so I'd like to give you the chance, Keith or Steve, to tell us with any certainty if Libya, for example, in the next 10-15 years will indigenously produce an ICBM that will threaten the United States, and if you cannot make that case, can you at least cross them off the list of potential enemies, and if that's too difficult, is there another country that you fear that would justify NMD?

Payne: You have what you have called the Payne principle wrong. I didn't say that the potential enemies are unknown. What I said is the potential enemies are largely unfamiliar. They're unfamiliar in the sense that we need to be sufficiently familiar with them to be able to establish a reliable deterrence policy, or a policy of deterrence that you can have some confidence in. We essentially have a 50-year relationship with the Soviet Union and subsequently the Russian Federation, to work out rough rules of the road with regard to deterrence, so that we had some confidence that deterrence would work. And even in that relationship, there were rocky moments, some of which aren't generally known, some of which are known, that appear to have suggested that we weren't that familiar with each other, and that deterrence was on the ragged edge a couple of times. If you don't have the familiarity necessary for confidence in deterrence, then you better figure out how to prepare for deterrence failing.

Now as to the question regarding what is the threat. The threat has been discussed endlessly, particularly the last year and a half, and we have the one that Seth Carus talked about today, for example, the Taepo-dong II. The Taepo-dong II, according to earlier statements by administration officials, and by that I mean Admiral Studeman and Dr. Deutch, is a missile that could have a potential range to threaten Hawaii and Alaska. If you look at air mileage charts, this suggests a missile with ICBM-range by arms control standards. Officials also have said publicly that if the Scud development program was any guide, this missile could become operational within three to five years. That statement was made last year. Other, more recent statements have suggested to the contrary, they have suggested a longer term. Which of these projections is more accurate? I don't know. I do know that North Korea, according to public government reports, has a Taepo-dong II missile that looks like an ICBM. I do know that North Korea has been interested in selling its missile products to countries with the hard currency to pay for them. I do know that North Korea is interested in providing a Nodong missile to Iran, for example. Where will Taepo-dong II missiles end up? I don't know. If past history is any precedent, they could end up in a lot of places.

The issue, however, doesn't just hang on the Taepo-dong II over the next 15 years. There are all kinds of potential scenarios for space-launch vehicles to turn into militarized ICBMs. Look at the statements by Indian leaders. Look at the statements by a lot of third country leaders who say, essentially, we need to have a missile, we need to have a weapon of mass destruction. Why? To deter the United States from projecting their conventional superiority into our region and messing with us. Do I take such statements seriously? I don't discount them, particularly when one sees the push for proliferation that seems to correspond to some of those statements.

That's why, in my presentation, I said I don't worry about the debate of whether it's five years, 10 years, or 15 years. I do see a trend, and the emergence of new missile threats is going to happen over one of those periods. Unless the United States goes about trying to cooperatively change the treaty with the Russian Federation soon, we're not going to have systems available in any of those timeframes.

Nazarkin: I understand that North Korea is the major concern of the United States, and quite probably is the most visible future threat. But I don't think that North Korea will exist forever. I think the process of reunification is going on, and I can bet that quite soon this problem will be removed.

[Three final questions were grouped together]

John Rhinelander (Shaw, Pittman, Trowbridge): During the first panel, the focus was START II, and the hope that we could have early approval over on the Russian side to bring the treaty into effect. Can the panel foresee a TMD demarcation agreement, not unilateral and with no national missile defense in it, that would be acceptable to the legislative bodies of both sides--two-thirds of the U.S.Senate and a majority of both houses in Russia? I have not hear anything that would reach that. And if I heard Alexei Arbatov correctly, he said the Duma would want to have a demarcation agreement before it approved START II. So I'm asking you can you see a TMD demarcation agreement that could be approved by both sides?

Sidney Graybeal (SAIC): I want to make a comment in answer to John Pike's question, why are we still debating these issues? The reason we're still debating these issues is because at least in the United States, and I'm seeing this in Russia, the whole debate is becoming polarized by two extreme viewpoints. In the United States one extreme essentially says we're going to have national missile defense, the ABM Treaty is outlived, the quicker we get rid of it, the better, and there's even a proposal in the Senate that we withdraw from the treaty at an early time.

The other extreme states that the ABM Treaty is not only the cornerstone of stability, it is something that cannot be touched, cannot be modified, cannot be updated, cannot be brought into the reality of the present world. Very few speakers seem to be focused on how to reach an effective solution to maintaining the ABM Treaty, at the same time achieving an effective national missile defense.

If you read the Congress, and if you read the pressures, an effective national missile defense is going to be built in the United States, and it's going to be a big political issue. Now this effective national defense need not undermine the ABM Treaty or START, as I mentioned before. And I remind you that the ABM Treaty had two sites when it started out, we even debated three and four sites during the negotiations, without upsetting strategic stability. I would remind you also that after START II is fully implemented and ratified, the force levels in Russia and in the United States will be essentially at the same level they were in 1972. Now, if the rationale of the treaty was valid in 1972, then certainly the ABM Treaty makes sense to maintain. But it doesn't make sense that you cannot bring it up to date, because if you deny the ability to bring it up to date, the political pressures in the United States will force a decision between ballistic missile defense and the ABM Treaty, and the ABM Treaty is going to lose.

We should be working on a path on which we could follow where you will have TMD and NMD. I suggest that Steve Cambone is not off the mark in terms of three sites in the United States, one in Alaska and one in Hawaii, each with 100 interceptors, no rapid reload, no multiple warheads. We would have 500 interceptors, Russia will have 3,000 strategic warheads.

It will be necessary to provide effective defenses, particularly when SLBMs come onto the horizon, which Seth Carus mentioned this morning. An SLBM threat to Alaska and Hawaii cannot be countered by any of the fancy calculations that the Army and Air Force are doing from a single site. So I think we ought to change this debate, which has gone to extremes, to a discussion of how we get from here to there without upsetting either of the ABM Treaty or the strategic capabilities of the countries.

Bruce McDonald (Office of Science and Technology Policy): I've got a comment and a question, primarily for the national missile defense supporters. The comment is that by concentrating our discussions and efforts on national missile defenses, we are taking our eyes off the ball. People are not worried about ICBMs if they're carrying conventional weapons. The debate ought to be how do we defend against weapons of mass destruction, however delivered.

The major issue is a rogue country developing a nuclear weapon. Once they do that, there are a lot of options that they would have for delivery, covert delivery seems the most direct. We've seen examples of it in everyday life unfortunately, in the last few years. In fact, I would argue that developing an ICBM, which would be very expensive and unreliable. Rogue states, unlike the former Soviet Union, don't need to be able to deliver hundreds or thousands of weapons. All they need to do is build and deliver one or two with some competence, and smuggling seems to be very effective there.

I would argue then that even if you have a national missile defense that worked perfectly, it fails to solve the political problem that Michael Krepon accurately identified: If North Korea has developed a couple of weapons, and maybe we have a national missile defense, do we really think that North Korea will say, oops, you got me, won't be able to deliver it. I'm out of luck? No. A rogue nation could smuggle a weapon in a bale of marijuana, as Richard Perle mentioned a year ago, or it on an international charter flight into JFK. It just seems to me that national missile defense, even if it works perfectly, doesn't solve the fundamental political problem of people feeling insecure about rogue states having in their possession weapons of mass destruction.

Nazarkin: I share the view, expressed earlier by Alexei Arbatov, that the demarcation agreement should be concluded before START II ratification. That would help to overcome the difficulty with the Duma in ratifying the START II Treaty, because the deputies would know in advance what is going to happen with TMD. The Duma's main concern is that this agreement could permit some deviations of the ABM Treaty, that antiballistic capabilities against nonstrategic missiles would be used against strategic missiles as well. That is the main concern about this agreement, and if we see that there is no ground for such concern, that would help the ratification.

May I also add that I do not belong to either extreme wing on the ABM issue. I do not believe that the ABM Treaty is untouchable, I think it can be modified. As a matter of fact, it was modified in 1974, and I would be happy to see the ABM Treaty prohibit all the sites and not permit a single site. That's one direction for modification. I am, however, against modifying the treaty in such a way that it would be turned upside down.

Cambone: On the question of linkage, or rather whether we'll get a demarcation agreement, three things. One, as I said in my remarks, there are many in Congress who have a great deal of reluctance to see an agreement reached here, including a fair number who feel that no agreement is necessary to begin with. That's a domestic political issue.

A second, and more critical point is to note that the United States, when it negotiated START II, exclusively rejected linkage to the ABM Treaty. In fact, it would not permit the kind of language that was proposed by the Russian side for inclusion in the treaty.

Third, the Senate's resolution of ratification made the claim that there is no linkage between the two. If we get ratification from the Duma dependent upon certain kinds of agreements on demarcation or any other features of the ABM Treaty, then we are spoiling for a fight amongst ourselves, for reasons which I'm having a hard time understanding, quite frankly. And if START is all that important, then the kind of linkage that's being suggested here is probably a good way to ensure that it doesn't go forward.

Jones: If I might comment on that Steve, we've had a lot of interaction with Russians on that question, and they are actually approaching this issue in a very sophisticated way. They understand that legally binding conditions, as opposed to links that have to do with statements of a declaratory nature that don't bind their executive branches, such as the ones the Senate wrote into its resolution of ratification, would topple things. They're extremely careful about that, and Yuri is one of the practitioners working on that.

1. Article VI: To enhance assurance of the effectiveness of the limitations on ABM systems and their components provided by this Treaty, each Party undertakes:
(a) not to give missiles, launchers, or radars, other than ABM interceptor missiles, ABM launchers, or ABM radars, capabilities to counter startegic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight trajectory, and not to test them in an AMB mode; and
(b) not to deploy in the future radars for early warning of strategic ballistic missile attack except at locations along the periphery of its national territory and oriented outward.

2. The demonstrated standard for compliance holds that a BMD system that is not actually tested against a target which has a range in excess of 3,500 kilometers or a velocity in excess of five kilometers per second, it is not subject to the limitations of the ABM Treaty.