Memorandum submitted by the British American
International Security Council (January 2003)
1. BASIC welcomes the Committee's further
inquiry into missile defence, its call for written submissions
and its restatement of the desirability for an informed public
and parliamentary debate on this issue. Missile defences became
a prominent area of research for BASIC about three years ago,
and since then we have been regularly disseminating materials
on US developments on the issue to European government officials,
the media, and the general public. We also try to bring European
views into the debate in Washington. In June 2001, for example,
BASIC and a partner organisation commissioned an opinion poll
of the UK public's attitude towards missile defence. The survey,
completed in July that year, was the first detailed attempt to
assess the opinions of the general British public on the UK's
possible role in enabling US missile defence plans to proceed.
Results indicated that 70% of people in Britain believed the US
plans would lead to a new arms race, and 62% thought that the
creation of National Missile Defence (as it was then known) would
make disarmament harder to achieve.
2. BASIC also notes that the Ministry of
Defence initiated this latest debate with its publication "Missile
Defence: a public discussion paper" on 9 December 2002. The
MoD has asked that views and opinions in response to this document
be forwarded to the Policy Director but there is no indication
of a closure date for such contributions or if the Government
will be making a formal response to them. BASIC, therefore, urges
the Committee to seek clarification from the Secretary of State
during his verbal evidence on 15 January 2003.
3. BASIC will submit a more detailed response
to the MoD discussion paper towards the end of January.
Recent Developments in Missile Defence
4. Since the US Defense Secretary, Donald
Rumsfeld, dropped the reference to "national" in what
the Clinton administration termed National Missile Defence, the
possibility of expanding the missile defense system to protect
"friends and allies" has been repeatedly mooted. The
use of European radar bases at Thule in Greenland and Fylingdales
in Yorkshire has long been a high priority for US missile defence
planners. However, with the Bush administration promising to have
a system in place by 2004, and the hawks firmly in control of
policy formulation, the United States is contemplating a greater
level of allied involvement. The path was further smoothed by
US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty (in December 2001) and considerable
increases in spending on US missile defence research and development
5. Among the range of options being considered
is the stationing of interceptors in one or more central European
countries, an idea first put forward by House Republican and missile
defence advocate Curt Weldon, RPenn., in February 2001.
The Pentagon is also interested in using European ship borne radar
technology, particularly that deployed on Britain's upcoming Type-45
Frigates, to detect missile launches. In order to garner allied
support for its plans, Washington is also promising greater involvement
for European defence contractors in the development of the required
6. The issue of missile defence was reintroduced
into the public arena on 14 October 2002 with the announcement
from the US Missile Defense Agency of a successfully completed
flight test of the ground-based midcourse defence (GMD) programme.
The press release stated that the Department of Defense "will
continue to pursue this testing regime to achieve a layered approach
to missile defence."
At the same time the US Congress appropriated $7.4 billion for
work during fiscal year 2003 on missile defence programmes.
7. During the summer 2002, representatives
of the Bush Administration visited European capitals to promote
the concept of missile defence and encourage active support and
participation in the project. John Bolton, US Undersecretary of
State for Arms Control and International Security put the case
bluntly to a Royal United Services Institute conference on 18
November: "It is no longer a question of whether missile
defence will be implemented and time is running out for allies
to climb on board".
8. A NATO communique« was released
during the Prague Summit on 22 November 2002, which indicated
that Member States had agreed to initiate a new NATO Missile Defence
feasibility study and conduct further research into the desirability
of pursuing missile defence research and development. Collaborative
work was already underway as detailed in a July press release
from European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) following
the signing of a research and co-operative agreement with Boeing
[a major missile defence contractor in the US]: "The transatlantic
team effort will focus on creating end-to-end products for global
9. The publication of the MoD's discussion
paper on 9 December was swiftly followed on 17 December by the
announcement of a formal request, in a letter from US Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for the upgrade of the early warning
radar at RAF Fylingdales for missile defence purposes. In his
written response, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said: "The
Government will now consider the US request very seriously, agreeing
to it only if we are satisfied that it will ultimately enhance
the security of the UK and NATO Alliance."
Mr Hoon's full response was released to the public but the MoD
has declined to release Mr Rumsfeld's request. As both would be
helpful in framing the forthcoming public and parliamentary debate,
BASIC urges the Committee to ask the Defence Secretary to publicly
share the content of Mr Rumsfeld's letter which surely can not
be withheld on the grounds of it being "private correspondence".
10. On the same day the Defence Secretary
made his announcement to the House of Commons, President Bush
made a statement of commitment to proceed with the deployment
of "ground-based interceptors, sea-based interceptors, additional
Patriot (PAC-3) units, and sensors based on land, at sea, and
in space"to be operational in 2004 and 2005.
Assessment of the Threat from Ballistic Missiles
11. Germany first developed ballistic missiles
in their military form during World War II. The V-2, which was
powered only during the first part of its flight, was the world's
first operational ballistic missile with a range of just over
300km. Over the last 60 years, ballistic missiles have become
a key strategic weapon of modern deterrence and warfare, and can
be used to carry conventional, chemical or nuclear warheads. Ballistic
missiles can also be used as launchers for civilian space projects.
12. Today, intermediate-range ballistic
missiles (IRBM) can reach targets up to 2,400km away, while intercontinental
ballistic missiles (ICBM) have a range of many thousands of kilometres.
The former Soviet Union completed the first operative ICBMs in
1958, and the United States, reacting to a supposed "missile
gap", gained overwhelming missile superiority by 1962. In
terms of accuracy and payload, this supremacy was never relinquished.
13. In an effort to stop the proliferation
of ballistic missiles, the UK, France, United States, Italy, Canada,
Japan and Germany (the G7 states) established the Missile Technology
Control Regime (MTCR) in 1987. The MTCR is a voluntary co-operative
undertaking between states to limit the proliferation of nuclear,
and (since January 1993) chemical and biological-capable missiles
with a range of over 300km. It works through the national enforcement
of agreed guidelines to control exports of equipment and technology
that could be used to build such missiles. Since 1987, the membership
of the MTCR has increased to 32 states.
14. There are several major weaknesses in
the MTCR. First, it is not a treaty and is not legally binding.
Second, not all the suppliers of missile components and technology
are in the regime (eg China, North Korea, Iran, India and Pakistan
are suppliers who operate outside of the MTCR, although China
has pledged to work within MTCR guidelines). Third, the regime
contains no provisions for reducing existing missile stockpiles,
and fourth, it denies dual-use technology to developing countries
for peaceful purposes.
15. In the early 1980s only the Soviet Union
and the seven original member states of the MTCR had the capability
to export whole ballistic missile systems. Today, however, it
is estimated that 31 nations have an operational short-range ballistic
missile capability (with a range up to 600km), with North Korea,
Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya identified by the United States as
particular "states of concern".
However, none of these so-called states of concern currently possess
missiles able to reach the US or the UK, although part of the
territory of NATO (ie Turkey) is within range of short-range missiles
from Syria, Iran and Iraq.
16. The threat to regional stability and
ultimately global security from the proliferation of ballistic
missiles is made worse by the danger that these weapons could
fall into the hands of terrorists. However, as the Dutch Advisory
Council on International Affairs recently concluded, "the
United States is the only NATO ally that has a strong view on
the threat from ballistic missiles".
17. There are several reasons for this more
relaxed approach among many European analysts and governments.
First, a long-range missile is one of the least likely means of
delivery for weapons of mass destruction. For a country or organisation
that wants to strike the US (or UK) with a weapon of mass destruction,
there is more logic in the use of other, technologically less
advanced and therefore more accessible, means of delivery, such
as aircraft or sea containers. A missile defence system does not
provide protection against attacks with weapons of mass destruction
using other means of delivery.
18. Second, it is hard to imagine that a
"state of concern" would, out of the blue, attack the
US or UK with missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction,
as it would have to count on a devastating response. While some
forms of delivery may undermine deterrence by masking perpetrators,
missiles are easy to track from source. Deterrence will in general
work in relation to states of concern threatening with ballistic
19. Third, European policy makers and intelligence
officials tend to see the so-called "rogue-nation missile
threat" as one of many threats to European and global security,
and one that is less immediate and acute than others, such as
terrorism and instability on the eastern and southern borders
20. Fourth, most Europeans tend to favour
a limited "theatre" missile defence option, designed
primarily to defend forward deployed troops, and employing a small
number of land or sea based missiles. This system would join with
the more traditional approach of strengthening multilateral non-proliferation
regimes, diplomacy and economic sanctions.
21. The threat scenario against which missile
defence is meant to provide protection may or may not become a
reality in the next 10 years. The outcome will depend to some
degree on a number of important technical questions and on the
extent to which the countries that have the technology for long-range
missiles will share it with states of concern. On the one hand,
there are signs that Chinese and Russian authorities, out of understandable
self-interest, are more cautious in this respect than the US supposes.
On the other hand, the controls on technology-sharing by governments
are rarely watertight. However, unlike most European assessments
of this threat, the US analysis rarely addresses the circumstances
in which a "state of concern" might be prepared to actually
deploy its missile potential against the US.
22. The US President justifies missile defence
on the basis of the role it would play in protecting US citizens
against "the catastrophic harm that may result from hostile
states or terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass destruction
and the means to deliver them."
Clearly, President Bush believes that a number of states have
both the capability to deliver nuclear, chemical or biological
warheads on long range delivery systems and the intent to use
them against the US. BASIC urges the Committee to press the Defence
Secretary to substantiate his support for President Bush's analysis
on both counts (ie capability and intent) with regard to each
designated "state of concern".
23. The President went on to say that as
these 21st century threats "also endanger our friends and
allies around the world, it is essential that we work together
to defend against them." Missile defences, therefore, will
be developed to protect the United States, deployed US forces
overseas and countries that make an industrial contribution to
this effort. BASIC urges the Committee to ask the Defence Secretary
to outline the MoD's most recent threat analysis to the UK and
our deployed forces, and to explain how participation in missile
defence could "enhance the security of the UK and NATO alliance".
It would also be appropriate at this stage of development to be
informed of any agreed or proposed research and development work
by UK-based companies.
What Type of Missile Defence: Theatre or Strategic?
24. The transatlantic tension on missile
defence is not based simply on opposition in much of Europe to
the concept of missile defence, but on the scope and strategic
implications of what is being proposed. While most European governments
and large swathes of public opinion (as far as can be knownfew
politicians care to ask) think building a defence to protect the
US mainland from missile attack is costly and unnecessary, many
analysts and decision-makers in key European states agree that
there might be a need to develop limited "theatre" missile
25. However, the missile defence programmes
of Europe and the United States are motivated by vastly different
strategic concerns. While the Bush Administration is determined
to push ahead with an ambitious "multi-layered" system
to guard against a long-range missile attack, Europe is primarily
concerned with protecting forward-deployed forces and naval fleets
from cruise missile and short-range ballistic missile attack.
26. Many countries in Europe, including
France, Germany, Italy and the UK, are currently engaged in developing
some kind of limited missile defence capability. For the most
part these are sea-based point defence systems designed to protect
against cruise missile and ballistic missile attack. They have
a more limited capability than similar sea-based systems being
researched by the Pentagon.
The Proposed UK Role in Multi-Layered Missile
27. In his statement of 17 December, President
Bush said that the United States "will seek agreement from
the United Kingdom and Denmark to upgrade early-warning radars
on their territory". Soon afterwards, J D Crouch, Assistant
Secretary of Defense for International Security and General Kadish,
Director of the US Missile Defense Agency, gave a more detailed
briefing of the plan.
Mr Crouch stated very firmly that the US is going to utilise forward-deployed
radars in the UK and Greenland to enhance the performance of their
interceptors and that they will pay for the upgrade needed. BASIC
recommends that the Committee seek specific information from the
Defence Secretary on the exact nature of the proposed upgrade
to Fylingdales, its estimated cost (and how this will be shared
between the US and UK), the likely impact on the surrounding environment
and possible health effects for the workforce and local population.
Additionally, if, as suggested, missile defences will be extended
to cover US allies, the Defence Secretary should be asked about
the potential security and financial implications for this country.
28. General Kadish indicated that the primary
missile threat to the US would come from Northeast Asia in 2004
and the Middle East in 2005, and to combat such a threat he argued
that "we need the UK radars and the Thule radar". He
also stated that the initial ground-based interceptors in Alaska
only had a range to protect continental United States. While forward
deployed Aegis defence systems will, theoretically, be able to
protect deployed forces or allied nations against attack from
medium range missile attack, they would not be effective against
ICBM (inter continental ballistic missiles). In response to a
question about X-band radar, which would be needed to make the
ground-based missile defence system effective, General Kadish
said that they had decided to put X-band radar on a sea-based
platform initially. BASIC believes that this implies two things:
first, that it is likely there are plans for forward-based interceptor
sites in Europe, and second, that a request to build an X-band
radar at Fylingdales might well be forthcoming in the second phase
of development. Additionally, some clarification is required as
to where Aegis systems might be deployed and if the UK might be
asked to make a financial contribution.
29. MoD spokesman Paul Barnard confirmed
a Guardian newspaper report that the subject of European-based
interceptor sites was a matter for on-going discussion.
According to a slide presentation by Boeing at the aforementioned
RUSI conference in November, an interceptor battery in the UK
could provide coverage from an Iranian missile launch to all but
a small area of southeast Europe. BASIC believes that any public
discussion about the advisability of upgrading Fylingdales for
the initial phase of a deployed missile defence system should
include consideration of the possibility of placing an X-band
radar and an interceptor battery in the UK in later phases of
development of the Bush Administration's planned multi-layered
30. A final element to this multi-layered
missile defence system is the role envisaged for space-based satellites
and space-based weaponry. US officials have indicated that THAAD
(Theater High Altitude Area Defense) airborne lasers will operate
"on the edge of the atmosphere, almost in outer space"
and that space-based, missile detecting satellites designed to
provide improved early warning of missile launches will be deployed
after 2004. The Pentagon wants to push ahead with the testing
and development of "space-based defenses, specifically space-based
kinetic energy (hit to kill) interceptors and advanced target
31. Such developments would undermine the
work of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer
Space (CORPUS) and the Outer Space Treaty which, according to
US Advisor to the UN General Assembly, Kenneth Hodgkins, has "truly
stood the test of time; its provisions remain as relevant and
important today as they did at the inception of space exploration."
BASIC would like to draw to the Committee's attention a speech
by UN Under Secretary General for the Department of Disarmament
Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala,
and to an article by the Vice-President of the Center for Defense
Information, Theresa Hitchens,
warning against the weaponisation of outer space and its potential
effect on much needed economic and social development.
32. These worries are aggravated by an emerging
US space policy which stresses the inevitability of conflict in
the heavens and urges the need for powerful American deterrence
to the threat including, if necessary, placing weapons in space.
As the high-level Commission to Assess United States National
Security Space Management and Control reported in January 2001:
"We know from history that every mediumair, land and
seahas seen conflict. Reality indicates that space will
be no different. Given this virtual certainty, the US must develop
the means both to deter and to defend against hostile acts in
and from space. This will require superior space capabilities.
The Commissioners believe the US Government should vigorously
pursue the capabilities called for in the National Space Policy
to ensure that the President will have the option to deploy weapons
in space to deter threats to and, if necessary, defend against
attacks on US interests."
Will it Work?
33. In the past, missile defence systems
developed by the US and the Soviet Union have been abandoned due
to the technical hurdles involved. Development of current technologies
has been subject to setbacks, despite some limited success.
In particular, US congressional critics have raised concerns about
the President's current plans to deploy the proposed initial missile
defense system, noting that the administration is prematurely
deploying a costly unproven system, rather than addressing other
pressing security threats (see Appendix 1).
34. Even if an operational missile defence
is technically possible, the effectiveness of any system must
always remain in doubt. The most obvious weakness is the vulnerability
of vital radar stations and satellites placed beyond the protection
of the defence system in order to give adequate warning of hostile
missile launches. In theory, a missile attack against the US could
be preceded by an attack against these unprotected facilities,
first rendering the defence system useless.
35. Another problem is that numerous countermeasures
can be added easily to a hostile missile to fool or overwhelm
a mid-course interception system. A single missile could be equipped
with many readily available technologies, such as decoy warheads,
multiple warheads, chaff, radar-absorbing materials, or low-power
jamming technologies. Although the US testing regime is attempting
to overcome some of these measures, Stephen Young of the Union
of Concerned Scientists points out that a problem of principle
remains: "It is substantially easier and cheaper to deploy
simple and effective countermeasures against missile defences
than it is for the defence to respond to them."
The advantage is always with the attacker, such that even if an
operational missile defence system became possible, it could not
be reliable. As French President Jacques Chirac has argued: "If
you look at world history, there's a permanent race between sword
and shield. The sword always wins."
BASIC recommends that the Committee ask to receive any existing
MoD feasibility studies on missile defence capabilities, particularly
assessments given by the Chief Scientific Adviser, and that the
Committee scrutinise such studies effectively, where necessary
by commissioning independent, external scientific advice.
How Much Will it Cost?
36. The cost argument, fits into a wider
debate over the respective defence budgets of Europe and the United
States. European governments are being placed under increased
pressure to fulfil a larger number of capabilities with a fairly
stagnant pool of resources. However, while missile defence figures
on the list of priorities for some European NATO states, there
are many other capabilities much higher on the list, including
strategic lift, air-to-air refuelling and precision-guided munitions.
Europe's ability to commit to an expanded missile defence system
will also be hampered by the inabilityor unwillingnessof
many European NATO states to increase their respective defence
budgets. European government's are increasingly unable to significantly
raise taxes owing to the constraints imposed by monetary union,
while domestic pressures ensure that funding for education and
health retain precedence over the armed forces.
37. This dilemma was reflected in recent
comments made by the UK Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Michael
Boyce: "There's no point in completely impoverishing ourselves
in order to provide ourselves with a defence against one particular
system and not being able to do anything else. As far as I'm concerned
there is no way I'm in the position to suggest we can pay for
any missile defence technology from within the existing defence
budget and carry on doing what we are doing at the moment."
38. The US is developing large, readily
extendable missile defence using a range of technologies. If all
programmes now under development become operational, the Congressional
Budget Office has estimated the cost of such a system at $238
billion by the year 2025.
A recent joint report by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
and Economists Allied for Arms Reduction concluded that such a
system could cost from $800 billion to $1.2 trillion.
Inclusion of Britain within the defensive range of the US system
would reportedly cost the UK taxpayers £10 billion, more
than 40% of the entire UK defence budget.
BASIC urges the Committee to press the Defence Secretary to provide
detailed estimates for the range of missile defence options being
considered by the UK Government. However, given the potential
magnitude of the UKs financial commitment to missile defence,
the National Audit Office should be asked to undertake a "Value
for Money Audit" in advance of any major MoD procurement
of missile defence capabilities.
Strategic Consequences of UK Involvement in Missile
39. Having reviewed the capability and intent
of proposed adversaries and been appraised of the current and
emerging threats to the UK, it would seem appropriate to question
whether deployed missile defence systems might result in more
insecurity, nationally and globally. First, the use of British
early warning bases is likely to make Britain more, not less of
a target for terrorist attackwith WMD, conventional weaponry
or via unconventional methods. This is especially the case when
considering missile defence in terms of forward defence or pre-emptive
40. Second, one of the possible missile
systems under consideration would involve intercepting a missile
during its boost phase. The "boost phase" system is
supposed to destroy the booster but may not "kill" the
warhead, which could fall short of its intended target. According
to some researchers, a nuclear missile fired from Iraq might strike
Britain or mainland Europe.
The impact of a stray missile would obviously have a devastating
outcome causing possibly millions of causalities. Such a risk,
although improbable, is easier to conceive of than that posed
by the radioactive or chemical fall-out from a collision with
a WMD. The absence of any thorough assessment on the impact for
the UK population and others from fall-out after interception
warrants a full investigation, especially considering the widely
documented health and environmental effects of nuclear weapons
41. Third, having sought to reassure its
allies that the proposed global missile defence system is purely
protective in nature, the new US policy of sanctioning first-strike
attacks against terrorists and hostile states suspected of possessing
weapons of mass destruction suggests completely the opposite:
missile defence as a tool of offensive power-projection. The new
US security policy as put forward in the Quadrennial Defence Review
(October 2001) and the Nuclear Posture Review (January 2002) therefore
places great emphasis on the necessity for flexibility in the
Defence organisation; missile defence is one of the key components
in the so-called "New Triad". The US military will enjoy
greater freedom to attack when and where it pleases if it believed
the homeland were secure against ballistic missile attack. Diplomacy
and multilateral arms controls are likely to take a back seat
to unilateral force of arms.
42. This developing US agenda diverges even
further from the co-operative security model that most European
governments support. To some observers, the UK Government has
played a moderating, checking role in its "special relationship"
with the US. To others, the UK reluctance to be caught asking
the difficult questions and evasive behaviour on missile defence
decision-making, make it appear as if the UK no longer has an
independent foreign and defence policy. There is no reason to
reject the non-proliferation regime as such. On the contrary,
the system's architecture must be prevented from deteriorating
43. Important shortcomings must also be
recognised so that the system can be updated and reinforced. The
UK Government should make a case for reinforcing what is an effective
non-proliferation regime and propagate this view consistently
in negotiations, including those with the US.
Other Approaches to the Threat of Ballistic Missile
44. Another clear division between Europe
and the United States is Europe's continued faith in the power
of multilateral agreements and processes of engagement to check
the spread of WMD and their delivery systems. The concern among
many Europeans is the extent to which the United States is pursuing
the former approach and neglecting the latter.
45. In the field of ballistic missile control,
one focus of attention is the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic
Missile Proliferation agreed in November 2002. The Code establishes
both international norms against proliferation and modest confidence
building measures, and has garnered a great deal of diplomatic
support (the number of Subscribing States to the Code currently
stands at 93). The Netherlands was appointed as the first Chair
of the Code for a period of one year, and Subscribing States have
agreed to regular meetings. A technical meeting is planned for
46. However, there is no attempt to commit
signatories to legal obligations, with the focus remaining on
broad principles rather than detailed action plans. The Foreign
Secretary, Jack Straw, rightly argues that the Code, while important,
represents only "a tentative first step to developing an
internationally agreed regime."
47. There have been many complaints that
the Code offers no real enticements to states such as North Korea
and Iran to abandon missile development. In short, since the agreement
contains neither sticks nor carrots it is unlikely to be very
effective. Moreover, some signatory countries, above all the United
States, strongly oppose the introduction of such incentives, believing
that they would actually encourage continued ballistic development
by "states of concern" to force further concessions
48. Nonetheless, the Code offers an opportunity
to combat the proliferation of ballistic missiles through a co-operative,
multilateral agreement. In creating a Code that is acceptable
to MTCR members, and especially the United States, the resulting
document is rather thin on substance. However, its importance
as a multilateral initiative should not be overlooked, and the
opportunity for developing regional or bilateral measures in the
spirit of the Code will add to its significance. The Committee
should ask the UK Government to outline its plans for encouraging
new Subscribing States and for deepening the scope and nature
of the Hague Code.
49. More broadly, there is a strong contrast
between the willingness of the United States and Europe to engage
with so-called "states of concern". For example, Britain
and the EU are currently employing a policy of "constructive
engagement" with Iran, which has included reinstatement of
diplomatic relations and dialogue on encouraging democratisation
of the country. The Foreign Secretary has visited Iran twice in
the last two years, while the EU has recently approved a proposal
for a trade and co-operation agreement with Iran. Finally, Chris
Patten, EU High Commissioner for External Affairs, has voiced
his regret over the decision by US Congress on 27 July 2001 to
extend sanctions against Iran for five more years.
50. Missile defence may be just what its
advocates claim it to be, but it would seem that they have not
yet convinced enough opinion formers and decision makers of its
merits, particularly in Europe where convictions about arms control
and international treaties have deeper roots. Undoubtedly, more
intrusive verification measures and prohibitions for non-compliance
are needed to maintain arms control and non-proliferation regimes,
as are stricter controls on the transfer of technology. Additionally,
it is increasingly being appreciated that traditional inter-state
arms control agreements do not influence the behaviour of certain
non-state actors. However, the concentrated drive to deploy missile
defence systems is overshadowing the important work of co-operative
threat reduction programmes to safeguard WMD materials, the MTCR
and the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
Meanwhile, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological
and Toxin Weapons Convention stagnate in the current climate.
51. It would be short-sighted for the UK
Government to pretend that the only issue for discussion and decision
is the formal request from the United States for upgrading work
at Fylingdales which "would entail installation of new hardware
and software, but we would not expect it to involve any significant
change to the outward appearance of the radar. We would not expect
any material environmental impact to be involved".
While the UK Government might, in the end, decide to accede to
this request, BASIC believes that it has much to do to convince
parliamentarians and the public of the merits of missile defence
and we trust that the Defence Committee will help to lay the groundwork
for a national debate which considers all the issues related to
a deployed, multi-layered, missile defence system.
52. The other major facility in the UK which
will be required for a fully operational missile defence system
is Menwith Hill which has nearly 30 satellite communications dishes
and is run by the US National Security Agency (NSA). In 1997 the
UK Government announced that Menwith Hill would become the Ground
Relay Station for the Space based Infra Red System (SBIRS). BASIC
believes that proposed developments at Menwith Hill must be included
in the public discussion at this stage.
53. Of the challenges to future peace and
security, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld summarised his
assessment to a NATO meeting by saying "We know this much
for certain: it is unlikely that any of us here even knows what
The proliferation of ballistic missiles and WMD ought to arouse
international concern. However, the US Defence Secretary's comment
shows that what underlies the reaffirmation of nuclear weapons
and missile defence includes a fear of the unknown, rather than
a ready willingness to tackle insecurity at its source through
diplomatic engagement. Nuclear weapons and missile defences are
at best a misguided response to a genuine security concern. At
worst, they are part of a cynical attempt to maintain US strategic
supremacy and disproportionate access to the world's strained
54. US missile defence ambitions are symptomatic
of broken international relationships. They do not fix them. Future
security lies in a multilateral approach based on the common international
interest, as represented by the proper authority and structure
of the United Nations. The US unilateral approach, including its
ability "to impose the will of the United States and its
coalition partners on any adversaries, including states"
usurps the UN in its function and authority.
US Congressional Concerns on Missile Defence
1. Sen Carl Levin, D-Mich, (Ranking Senator
Armed Services Committee) "Untested missile defense setup
poses risks" Detroit News, 29 December 2002 (text
2. Rep Thomas H Allen, D-Maine, 1st District,
Representative Allen: Administration NMD Deployment Decision "All
Politics, Little Defense" 17 December 2002. (text below)
3. Rep Edward J Markey D-Mass., 7th District,
"Markey Missile Defense is Expensive Lesson in False Security."
17 December 2002. (text below)
1. "Untested missile defense setup
poses risks" Detroit News, 29 December 2002
By Democratic Senator Carl Levin (Michigan),
Ranking Senator on the Armed Services Committee
President Bush's decision to deploy a limited
national missile defense system starting in 2004 before it has
been tested and proven to work violates common sense. The Pentagon
will spend large amounts of money to deploy an unproven defense,
money that could be better used to fight more likely and imminent
threats of terrorism.
Many of us have reservations about deployment
of a national defense against long-range ballistic missiles because;
1) the intelligence community says such missiles are one of the
least likely threats to our security (in part because use of such
missiles would leave a "return address" that would guarantee
a devastating response from the United States); and 2) because
deployment of a national missile defense is likely to unleash
an arms race with other countries.
However, even ardent proponents of a national
missile defense should not support deployment of an untested,
The United States may eventually succeed in
developing a national missile defense system that will actually
work against real world threats, but we have not done so yet.
According to the Pentagon, the national missile defense system
to be deployed in 2004 requires a new booster rocket that has
never been tested against any target.
The 2004 system would rely on a radar in Alaska
built in the 1970s that was never designed for missile defense,
that has no capability to differentiate the target warhead from
decoys, that has never been tested against a long-range ballistic
missile, and that the administration never plans to test against
a long-range missile.
No part of the system has been tested against
realistic targets, and there are no plans to test the integrated
system as a whole before it is deployed. Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld has said that this is just an "initial capability"
in a program that "will evolve over time" and will ultimately
"look quite different than it begins."
What the Pentagon has tried not to emphasize
is that this "initial capability" is likely to be marginally
effective, if it works at all. Declaring this untested, marginal
system ready to deploy is like declaring a newly designed airplane
ready to fly before the wings have been attached to the airframe
and the electronics installed in the cockpit.
In his previous tenure as Secretary of Defense,
Rumsfeld had to preside over the dismantling of the Safeguard
missile defense system which he had inherited and which was operational
for less than six months because the technical limitations of
the system rendered it ineffective. The development, deployment
and dismantling of the Safeguard system cost the taxpayers tens
of billions of dollars without enhancing our national security
in any way. This is an experience that we should not want to repeat.
Since that time, Congress has instituted reforms
in the Defense Department to help prevent the premature and costly
fielding of unproven systems. Congress established the Pentagon's
Director of Operational Test and Evaluation to oversee major defense
programs and ensure they are adequately tested and demonstrated
to work before they are deployedin other words, that any
new system is proven to "fly before we buy."
Congress also established the Joint Requirements
Oversight Council, which gives the military services oversight
over weapons programs to ensure that they perform well enough
to be useful on the battlefield.
The Bush administration, however, has unwisely
exempted all missile defense programs from the normal oversight
of these important organizations. As a result, these programs
are not subject to normal review by senior military and civilian
acquisition officials, and they are not subject to the normal
operational test and evaluation process.
Instead, the secretary of defense has delegated
many of the functions of these offices to the Missile Defense
Agency, effectively making that agency responsible for overseeing
itself. History shows that without real oversight, major weapon
systems don't work well, suffer serious schedule delays and have
major cost overruns.
The Bush administration should re-establish
effective oversight of missile defense programs by the Director
of Operational Test and Evaluation, the Joint Requirements Oversight
Council, and other oversight organizations within the Department
of Defense. Rather than rushing to deploy an unproven national
missile defense system, the administration should focus on completing
the development of a missile defense that will be effective against
likely threats and that is shown to work through proper testing.
2. Representative Allen: Administration
NMD Deployment Decision "All Politics, Little Defense"
Pentagon has testified key national missile
defense components will not be ready by Fall `04
17 December 2002, Tom Allen, D-Maine
"The Bush Administration's announcement
today of its plan to proceed with deployment of a national missile
defense system by Fall 2004 is all politics and little defense,"
US Representative Tom Allen said on 12/17. "The Fall `04
date says it all. The Pentagon's missile defense director acknowledged
in Congressional testimony last July that key components of the
system will not undergo realistic testing and will not be ready
by that politically motivated deadline. Our policy regarding this
critical national security decision should be based on rigorous,
successful testing resulting in proven technology, not to meet
an arbitrary deadline on the eve of the next Presidential election."
Representative Allen cited testimony by General
Ronald Kadish, Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), during
hearings before two House Armed Services Subcommittees on 27 June,
2002 and then again before the House Government Reform Committee's
Subcommittee on National Security, International Relations and
Veterans Affairs on 16 July 2002.
Responding to a series of questions from Representative
Allen, General Kadish testified that the MDA anticipated capabilities
of the Ground-Based Mid-Course system (also known as national
missile defense) by Fall 2004. In response, General Kadish testified
that by Fall 2004, the MDA does not plan to have in place an X-Band
radar, identified as a key component needed for advanced tracking
and engagement of an incoming missile; will not have in place
either the SBIRS-High or SBIRS-Low satellite systems, designed
to provide improved early warning of missile launches; will not
have conducted a flight test from the actual deployment site in
Ft Greely (since the booster segments could fall on populated
areas in Alaska); will not have conducted operationally realistic
flight tests in which the trajectory, speed, launch time of, or
countermeasures accompanying, the target missile were unannounced
and unknown to the interceptor; and may not have conducted realistic
flight tests with a full range of countermeasures accompanying
the target designed to fool the interceptor, including a tumbling
re-entry vehicle, a decoy designed to mimic the warhead, radar
jammers, and a warhead that divides into sub-munitions.
"It is ironic, but hardly coincidental,
that today's announcement came less than a week after yet another
notable NMD test failure," Representative Allen said. "I
have long said that one test success does not validate the technology,
and one failure does not invalidate it. But the 11 December test
failure involved the most basic of the overall system's engineering
challengessuccessfully separation of the interceptor from
the booster rocket. With failures at this basic level of system
development, it is troubling that the Bush Administration is basing
its defense strategy on a system that has yet to be proven reliable.
"America was attacked on 9/11 by terrorists
who crashed civilian airliners into national landmarks, killing
more than 3,000 people," Representative Allen said. "Our
defense priorities and our decisions on defense spending should
reflect the most likely and imminent threats to our nation. The
US intelligence community has identified attack by the long range
missiles as the least likely threat posed to America's security.
Though NMD may eventually be proven as an effective defense against
such a threat, we have many more pressing defense needs that are
not dictated by politically transparent election year decisions."
3. Congressman Ed Markey, D-Mass, "Markey
Missile Defense is Expensive Lesson in False Security." 17
December 2002. (PDF File requires Acrobat Reader available at
Failed System Doesn't Work, Doesn't Protect Americans
Against Imminent Terrorist Attacks
Representative Edward J Markey (D-MA), a senior
member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Co-Chair
of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Non-Proliferation,
today released the following statement in response to press reports
that President Bush will deploy a national missile defense system:
"The Bush Administration is rushing headlong
to deploy a missile defense system that simply doesn't work. It
failed a test last week, and it has failed many tests before.
How can the Administration claim the proposed system will protect
the United States if it doesn't even work?
"I will be introducing legislation in the
next Congress to require realistic testing of any missile defense
system to ensure that it works before it is deployed".
"The Administration claims that `we can
hit a bullet with a bullet.' The record of past missile defense
system tests show that we can only hit a bullet if we know exactly
when the bullet was fired, exactly where it was pointed, and if
the bullet told us exactly where it was at all times."
"Finally, the Bush Administration has made
the false claim that a missile defense system would protect the
United States from terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass
destruction. This system is designed to protect against missiles;
it does nothing to protect against dirty bombs, anthrax, chemical
agents released in a subway, or hijacked planes."
"The missile defense system that the Bush
Administration plans to deploy will do nothing to increase the
safety of the United States. Instead, it wastes taxpayers dollars
and lulls us into a false sense of security. I urge the President
to reconsider this decision."
61 "Missile intercept test successful", US
Department of Defense News Release, 14 October 2002. Back
"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 18 November 2002. Back
"Boeing and EADS announce transatlantic partnership",
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"UK considers US missile defence request" statement
by Geoff Hoon, 17 December 2002. Back
Statement by the President of the United States, 17 December 2002. Back
For more information on the MTCR, see http://projects.sipri.se/expcon/mtcr-documents.html Back
Besides the five countries mentioned above, Algeria, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Democratic Republic of Congo,
the Czech Republic, Egypt, Georgia, Hungary, India, Israel, Kazakhstan,
South Korea, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia,
Taiwan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam,
Yemen and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have an operational
short range ballistic missile capability. See D A Wilkening,
"Ballistic Missile Defence and Strategic Stability",
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of the US Missile Defence Plans: Pros and Cons of Striving for
Invulnerability, AIV, No 28, August 2002. Back
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"Missile Defense Deployment Announcement Briefing",
Special Department of Defense Briefing, 17 December 2002. Back
"US-Europe: Bush Plan Could Lead to US Funding of European
Missile Defense", David Ruppe, Global Security Newswire,
20 December 2002. Back
Op cit. "Missile Defense Deployment Announcement Briefing". Back
Statement on "International Co-operation in the Peaceful
Uses of Outer Space", at the UN Fourth Committee, 9 October
Jayantha Dhanapala, "The Outer Space Treaty at Thirty Five",
Roundtable at the United Nations, New York, 14 October 2002. Back
Theresa Hitchens, "US Space Policy: Time to Stop and Think",
Disarmament Diplomacy No 67, October/November 2002. Back
Report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security
Space Management and Organization, 11 January 2001. Back
For an overview of the technological difficulties and recent developments,
see Stan Crock, "Star Wars by '04? Forget it",
Business Week, 7 January 2003. Back
Stephen W Young, "Pushing the Limits" Coalition to
Reduce Nuclear Dangers, Washington, 2000, p 9. Back
New York Times, 17 December 1999. Back
"Military Chief Casts Doubt on Star Wars", The Guardian,
8 July 2001. Back
New York Times, 31 January 2002. Back
Kaufman RF (ed), The Full Costs of Ballistic Missile Defense,
The Center for Arms control and Non-Proliferation and Economists
Allied for Arms Reduction, 3 January 2003. Back
"Missile system's £10 billion price tag". Richard
Norton-Taylor, The Guardian, 28 February 2002. Back
"Intercepted missiles could fall on Europe" New Scientist.com,
29 August 2001. Back
"The Future of Arms Control and Proliferation", Speech
by Jack Straw at King's College, London, 6 February 2002. Back
"EU regrets extension of US sanctions law against Iran and
Libya: Statement by Commissioner for External Relations, Chris
Patten", IP/01/1162, Brussels, 31 July 2001. Back
Missile Defence: a public discussion paper, Ministry of Defence,
December 2002, p 23. Back
Donald Rumsfield, US Defence Secretary, in a speech to NATO North
Atlantic Council, June 2001. Back
Quadrennial Defence Review Report, 30 September 2001, pp 12-13. Back