- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2001

Final of two parts

Propsals to enter Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty "modification talks" with Russia, China or others are doomed to failure by an irreconcilable contradiction no experts group or diplomatic alchemy can resolve. That is the requirement for effective anti-missile programs and the opposite requirement for the wholesale elimination of the treatys preamble and at least 10 of its 15 articles, all of which specifically ban such defenses. (This contradiction was addressed in Part I of this series.)
The Bush administration should finally and fully reject the Clinton myth that the ABM treaty is the "cornerstone of strategic stability" and a "viable" foundation for arms control. After rejecting the related treaty "modification" trap as a quagmire and fools quest that merely invites dispute, veto and delay, a new missile defense policy should focus on the following eight elements:
(1) Incremental Defense: Rather than locking into artificial two-tier theater/national defense systems, the administration should assure incremental evolutionary ballistic missile defense capabilities against the continuum of theater and strategic threats (including offshore sea-based threats) directed against our homeland and our forces and allies overseas.
(2) Sea-based Systems: The administration should conduct systematic early reviews focused on the most rapid possible deployment of the technologically most promising concepts for mobile anti-missile interceptor, radar and sensor systems, especially sea-based systems. Sea-based systems raise far fewer survivability, environmental and alliance problems than President Clintons fragile land-locked national missile defense system. They could cost-effectively handle a far wider range of potential threat angles and trajectories, including sea-launched threats and those directed against our allies and through boost-phase interception that would largely eliminate difficulties in discriminating warheads hidden by enemy countermeasures. And even while in or near U.S. ports, they could begin to provide significant terminal defense and deterrence against likely "theater" missile threats from ships offshore.
(3) Emergency Planning: The administration should establish highest-level national priority for the most promising national anti-missile programs, to include an emergency program for early deployment of boost-phase sea-based systems. An invigorated Ballistic Missile Defense Office (responsible for the theater-strategic missile defense continuum) should report directly to the defense secretary, with a dynamic civilian in charge to minimize interservice rivalry, and should be tasked to assure strongest possible support from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military services and industry.
(4) Allies: The administration should work with our democratic allies to describe emerging threats, explain fatal ABM Treaty flaws and Treaty "modification" follies, and outline cost-effective mobile forward deployment options, particularly promising sea-based systems, in whose benefits our allies could share and in which they might participate.
(5) Rogues: The administration needs a strategy, maximally shared by our allies, to get tough with hostile states and terrorist organizations and those who support them, who are seeking to acquire advanced missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
(6) Russia and China: While leading a global charge against effective U.S. and allied missile defenses, Russia and China are the worlds key proliferators and are both investing heavily in unwarranted new offensive strategic warfare systems. With them, the administration should explain but not negotiate our counterproliferation and missile defense policies. We need to make clear that:
(a) The ABM Treaty is an expired, unviable and destabilizing relic of the Cold War, long broken in its provisions, arms control assumptions, and legal standing.
(b) We object to Russias and Chinas increasingly dangerous proliferation activities with Iran.
(c) Our people want defense deployments, large majorities of our Congress support them (by a Senate vote of 97-3, and a House vote of 345-71 in 1999) and we reject Russias and Chinas attempts to veto the anti-missile systems we require.
(d) Furthermore, we see very serious consequences for defense, arms control and trade from Russias and Chinas numerous arms-control treaty violations and deception activities, from their stepped-up intelligence efforts to acquire and proliferate advanced warfare technologies, and from their recent provocative actions against U.S. civilian and military personnel.
(e) We view their recent buildups in strategic offensive arms, (e.g. Russias third regiment of SS-27 Topol Ms and Chinas mobile DF-31 ICBM) as highly destabilizing, and we expect substantial reductions in their programs, even as we have sharply cut ours.
(f) We believe real democracy and full human rights offer the greatest confidence-building measures for building international trust and for effective arms control, we oppose their crackdowns and we look for substantial early progress in these areas in Russia and China.
(7) Ending the Myth: It is time to end the ABM Treaty myth. We can declare the treaty as expired with the Soviet Union in 1991 and/or can review dangerous global proliferation developments, including Russias and Chinas roles, and cite the Treatys Article 15, Section 2, which states that: "Each party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision to the other party six months prior to withdrawal."
(8) The Path Ahead: In explicitly putting the ABM Treaty aside, President Bush and his team should choose the technologically most advanced options available for accelerated deployment of effective anti-missile defenses focused especially on sea-based systems with boost-phase capabilities, and we should organize for this mission as an urgent, highest-level national priority.
Without missile defense there can be no national security and without assured national security there can be no liberty, Social Security, health care or education. Costing only about 1 percent to 2 percent of the U.S. defense budget, no program would be more cost-effective than missile defense in implementing the constitutional imperative "to provide for the common defense" and "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."


Sven F. Kraemer served on the National Security Council staff under four presidents. He was director of arms control on President Reagans NSC from 1981 to 1987.

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