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Missile Defense in a New Strategic Environment

Missile Defense in a New Strategic Environment

Missile Defense in a New Strategic Environment: Policy, Architecture, and International Industrial Cooperation after the ABM Treaty


John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security
Remarks to the Fourth RUSI Missile Defense Conference
London, England
November 18, 2002


I m very pleased to be here this morning to deliver the keynote address to the Royal United Services Institute s [RUSI] conference on missile defense. I know that RUSI s program of lectures, conferences, and seminars provides a valuable forum for the discussion of a wide range of topics related to national and international defense and security with a very broad audience. I hope that I can contribute today to the dialogue on what I believe is a very important issue.

The debate about missile defense is certainly not a new one. Nevertheless, the terms of the debate, as it has played out over the last decade, certainly have changed. As the reference to "a new strategic environment" in the title of this conference suggests, there have been a number of watershed events since October of last year that have radically altered the environment in which we are now discussing questions of missile defense policy, architecture, and international cooperation. The most significant of those events, of course, are the United States withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, which became effective on June 13 of this year, and the not coincidental, simultaneous development of a new strategic relationship between the United States and Russia. Several major building blocks of this relationship were put in place at the May Summit meeting between Presidents Bush and Putin in Moscow, namely the Moscow Treaty and the Joint Declaration on the New Strategic Relationship Between the United State of America and the Russian Federation.

In the context of our new strategic relationship with Russia, the demise of the ABM Treaty has not brought about the dire consequences predicted by many pundits; quite the contrary. The Treaty s demise instead has been liberating. It has freed us to explore the full range of technologies and architectures to defend against an increasing ballistic missile threat. For example, the successful October 14 missile intercept test conducted by the Missile Defense Agency involved for the first time a U.S. Navy Aegis destroyer using its SPY-1 radar system to track the flight of the target missile. The participation of a sea-based, mobile radar tracking a strategic ballistic missile in this test would have been banned under the ABM Treaty.

The demise of the ABM Treaty has also been liberating in terms of our broader relationship with Russia. The ABM Treaty codified a doctrine of mutual assured destruction that no longer made sense given the changed international security environment and the end of the Cold War rivalry. On May 1 of last year, even before his first meeting with President Putin, President Bush laid out his vision of a new strategic framework with Russia. He declared that we should work together with Russia to replace the ABM Treaty with a new cooperative relationship that would leave behind the adversarial legacy of the Cold War. A year and a half later, the elements of a new strategic relationship outlined by the President have largely been put in place. And as the U.S.-Russia relationship has broadened and deepened, the significance of the ABM Treaty has diminished.

This was evident in President Putin s dispassionate response to the U.S. withdrawal decision. Although Russia did not agree with our decision to withdraw from the Treaty, President Putin stated quite explicitly that the U.S. decision presented no threat to the national security of the Russian Federation.

Our withdrawal has not spurred an arms race or undermined strategic stability. (I like to say that, in foreign ministries and editorial boards for many years, whenever anyone typed "the 1972 ABM Treaty" there was a key that automatically added, "the cornerstone of international strategic stability." That key no longer works.) It is significant that President Putin used his December 13 response to the U.S. withdrawal announcement to call for further, legally-binding reductions in strategic offensive weapons to below the 2200 level, thus responding positively to President Bush s statement at the Washington/Crawford Summit that the U.S. would reduce its operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads to a level between 1700-2200 over the next decade. These reductions have now been codified in the Moscow Treaty, which we hope will be approved by the U.S. Senate and the Russian Duma without delay.

The Joint Declaration on the New Strategic Relationship that was also signed at the May Summit in Moscow put in place a number of building blocks for cooperation between the U.S. and Russia on missile defense. In the Declaration, the two sides agreed to implement a number of steps aimed at strengthening confidence and increasing transparency in the area of missile defense, including the exchange of information on missile defense programs and tests, reciprocal visits to observe missile defense tests, and visits to observe and familiarize each side with the other s missile defense systems. We also agreed to study possible areas of missile defense cooperation.

Earlier this month, the U.S.-Russian working group on missile defense met to continue its work on both transparency and cooperation. The U.S. has invited the Russians to observe the Missile Defense Agency s next mid-course interceptor flight test (IFT-10), which is tentatively scheduled for next month; and, on a voluntary and reciprocal basis, to attend an exhibition of the Patriot PAC-3 system at Ft. Bliss, Texas and to visit missile defense-related facilities at Ft. Greeley, Alaska.

There are also a number of other prospective areas of cooperation with Russia that have real potential.

* The Joint Declaration reaffirmed the two Presidents determination to overcome the remaining obstacles to bringing the Joint Data Exchange Center into operation.

* Both sides have now expressed a desire to conclude an intergovernmental agreement on the implementation of the Russian-American Observation Satellite (RAMOS) program.

* There is general agreement on developing a joint modeling and simulation capability to examine missile defense system scenarios of mutual interest.

* Similarly, there is general agreement on expanding the breadth and sophistication of our ongoing bilateral TMD exercise program.

* We also want to encourage American and Russian industries to propose mutually beneficial joint projects in the area of missile defense, and we have proposed to the Russian side a number of projects for joint technology cooperation.

The United States, along with the rest of NATO, is also engaged with Russia on missile defense cooperation under the auspices of the new NATO-Russia Council. The working group that has been established will focus initially on missile defense terminology, concepts, and system capabilities in order to develop procedures that could facilitate protection of forces in a joint, non-Article V crisis response operation. This is a positive and practical first step in developing a future joint NATO-Russia missile defense capability to protect deployed forces and critical assets. As work progresses, the Alliance will evaluate next steps and the potential for deeper cooperation with Russia in this area.

Turning the page on the ABM Treaty has also been liberating in another respect. The Treaty prohibited cooperation on defenses against longer-range ballistic missile threats with third countries. Now that we are no longer bound by the Treaty, we can identify opportunities and options for increased cooperation with friends and allies. In July, U.S. teams went to NATO headquarters and fanned out to European capitals to begin a dialogue on issues associated with missile defense. We have also begun missile defense dialogues with our allies in Asia.

The United States has developed a dual-track approach with regard to missile defense cooperation with friends and Allies. We see these tracks as separate but reinforcing. The first track is the NATO or collective track.

Over the past several years, NATO has made progress in responding to theater missile threats to its deployed forces. The Alliance is currently completing a Theater Missile Defense Feasibility Study which is examining options for providing missile defenses to defend deployed Alliance forces against missiles with ranges up to 3,000 kilometers. Once NATO completes the study, we believe that Allies should move forward and acquire these needed capabilities.

We must also, however, take into account the need to defend Alliance territory and populations against missile threats of all ranges. In their June 6, 2002, "Statement of Capabilities," NATO Defense Ministers concluded that "Alliance territory and population centers may also face an increasing missile threat. Therefore, the Alliance needs to examine options for addressing this increasing threat in an effective and efficient way through an appropriate mix of political and defense efforts." Without the ability to protect Allied territory and population centers from missile attack, NATO s vulnerability to political coercion and blackmail will only increase. As a follow-on to the Ministers statement, on November 13, the North Atlantic Council directed the initiation of a new missile defense feasibility study to examine options for protecting Alliance territory and population centers against a full range of missile threats.

In just a few days, NATO Heads of State and government will hold a summit in Prague. We expect that the summit s final declaration will express the need to examine options to protect Allied forces, territory, and population centers against the full range of missile threats. This will establish the framework within which NATO allies can work cooperatively toward fielding the required capabilities.

The second track is the bilateral track, in which the United States can work with individual Allies and friends -- both in Europe and Asia -- to develop missile defense capabilities. In this track, we have a proposed framework for participation in the U.S. missile defense program. This framework would allow individual nations and their industries to participate at various levels depending on their interest, resources, and overall contributions.

We have conducted our initial consultations with friends and allies without a predetermined missile defense architecture in mind or complete answers to all of the relevant questions. We understand that friends and allies have different motivations in approaching the issue of cooperation -- some are interested in the benefits of industrial cooperation and technology transfer; some believe more strongly than others in the merits of missile defense both politically and militarily; others approach this from the perspective of building a closer bilateral relationship with the United States. The consultations have also raised a number of complex issues, including the budgetary implications and where missile defense should fit as a priority among other defense needs, as well as command and control of a potential European missile defense system. These are all important questions that need to be addressed.

These questions also lead me to the main point that I want to leave with you. The time for lamenting the passing of the ABM Treaty and questioning whether ballistic missile defense is an appropriate response to the spread of weapons of mass destruction and missile proliferation has passed. The Administration s policy is to develop and deploy missile defenses as soon as possible that are capable of protecting the United States, our deployed forces, as well as friends and allies against the growing missile threats we face. The Treaty no longer impedes our ability to develop, test, and deploy the most effective defenses against the full range of missile threats, and we are moving forward with a broad-based development and testing program designed to take advantage of new technologies and basing modes.

It is no longer a question of whether missile defenses will be deployed. Rather the relevant questions are now "what," "how," and "when." The train is about to pull out of the station. We invite our friends, allies, and the Russian Federation to climb on board.

[End]


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