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Missile Testing

Missile Testing

Israel Conducts Successful Arrow Test

On November 1, Israel conducted its first successful system-wide test of the joint U.S.-Israeli Arrow 2 ballistic missile defense system. The Arrow system, comprised of a fire-control radar system and battle-management center, in addition to the missiles and launcher, intercepted and destroyed a Scud-type target launched from a ship in the Mediterranean. Arrow project manager Danny Peretz said the interceptor missile was not programmed with the target's trajectory before the test, reported Ha'aretz newspaper.

Designed to intercept ballistic missiles at altitudes between six and 25 miles, the Arrow system will be deployed at fixed sites in Israel. Unlike the U.S. Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) systems under development, the Arrow interceptor missile has a blast-fragmentation warhead rather than a hit-to-kill warhead, making it more likely that an incoming missile will be intercepted, but less likely that it will be completely destroyed.

Similar to U.S. theater missile defense efforts, Arrow has been plagued by delays. When Israel first started its theater missile defense program in 1986, the deployment of an initial operating capability was slated for 1995, but Israeli defense officials now estimate that such a capability will not be available until the middle of next year. The United States is paying for approximately $600 million of the estimated $1.6 billion program, which will finance deployment of two Arrow batteries, and the U.S. Congress recently approved $45 million to help fund Israeli acquisition of a third.

NMD System Achieves First Intercept; U.S. Clarifies ABM Negotiating Position

THE PROPOSED U.S. national missile defense (NMD) program achieved a significant milestone in early October when it successfully intercepted an ICBM target for the first time. Russia denounced the test and continued to criticize U.S. efforts to seek amendments to the ABM Treaty that would allow for the deployment of a limited NMD system. About one month before the test, the Clinton administration announced that it would pursue a phased approach to negotiating modifications to the ABM Treaty, with the first phase requiring only modest changes.

The Intercept Test

On October 2, a modified Minuteman ICBM launched from Vandenberg Air Force base in California was destroyed by a "prototype" NMD kill vehicle launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This was the NMD system's third overall flight test, but only its first attempt to intercept an ICBM target. The Defense Department plans to conduct about 20 NMD intercepts over the next six years, but only two more such tests will be held before June 2000, when the Clinton administration is expected to decide whether to deploy a limited NMD system based on four main criteria: technological readiness, the maturity of the so-called "rogue nation" ICBM threat, cost factors and arms control considerations.

Pentagon sources hailed the test as a major accomplishment demonstrating the ability of an exoatmospheric kill vehicle to hit and destory on impact a projectile travelling at the speed of an ICBM re-entry vehicle. Critics noted that the test was carefully preprogrammed under ideal conditions against a known target and that except for the prototype kill vehicle itself, all of the components involved were surrogates of the ones that would be used in the actual system.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin denounced the test, saying "This test is a step that runs counter to the 1972 ABM Treaty in which Article I bans the very creation of a basis for such a defense. These actions by the United States in effect undermine the key provisions of the ABM Treaty with all the ensuing negative consequences, the responsibility for which will rest with the United States."

Vladimir Yakovlev, commander-in-chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces, told Nezavisi-maya Gazeta on October 5 that U.S. actions have the potential to upset strategic stability. He warned, "If the United States throws out the 1972 ABM Treaty, they will effectively become the culprit for a disruption of the process of limiting nuclear weapons. All agreements that have been signed or are being prepared will come under threat—namely, START I, START II and consultations on START III."

U.S. ABM Stance

Meanwhile, in early September, the Clinton administration provided significant new information about its plans for seeking modifications to the ABM Treaty. Responding to an article in The Washington Post, State Department spokesman James Rubin confirmed on September 8 that the United States would seek modifications to the treaty in two phases. In his press briefing, Rubin said, "We anticipate that any initial [NMD] deployment would be Alaska-based, and we have made no decisions regarding the location of a second site, but our long-term goal includes a second site along with additional interceptors and radars, and we will address future threats as we project them now." Rubin continued, "It is now clear that deployment would require changes to the ABM treaty."

Never before has the Clinton administration unequivocally stated that amendments to the ABM Treaty would be required. In the past, administration officials said modifications to the treaty might or might not be necessary, depending on the specific architecture of the NMD system. By announcing that the first site will likely be based in Alaska, the United States must negotiate changes to Article I, which bans a defense of the national territory, and Article III, which allows deployment of up to 100 interceptor missiles at a single site around a nation's capital or at an ICBM field. (The United States originally designated Grand Forks, North Dakota as its ABM site, while the Russian site is located in Moscow.) The second phase will most likely require additional modifications to the treaty.

High-level talks between the United States and Russia continued throughout September on the ABM Treaty and START III, but made little progress. The sides began such discussions in mid-August in Moscow, based on their agreement at the June 1999 Cologne summit.

North Korea Freezes Missile Tests; U.S. to Lift Sanctions; Perry Report Released

Howard Diamond

THE UNITED STATES and North Korea took limited reciprocal steps in September toward strengthening bilateral ties, ending Pyongyang's development and export of long-range missiles, and improving the security of Northeast Asia. President Clinton announced September 17 that he was suspending the sanctions that have been in place since North Korea's 1950 invasion of South Korea. Seven days later, Pyongyang's official news agency, quoting a foreign ministry official, declared that North Korea "will not launch a missile" while negotiations to comprehensively improve relations are ongoing. The moves followed five days of bilateral talks in Berlin.

At a September 17 briefing on the president's decision to lift sanctions, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the understanding reached in Berlin, together with a recently completed review of U.S. policy by former Defense Secretary William Perry, had put the United States on "a new and more hopeful road," but she added that U.S. cooperation "is not a one-way street." Albright pointed out that the sanctions could be quickly re-imposed at any time and that the administration was prepared "to go down a different road altogether" to defend U.S. interests if necessary.

The president's waiver of sanctions did not require congressional approval, and will take several months to implement as officials from the departments of Commerce, Transportation and the Treasury work to draft new regulations. The sanctions lifted were imposed under the Trading with the Enemy Act, the Defense Production Act, and the Commerce Department's Export Administration Regulations. They cover imports of North Korean goods, exports of U.S. goods to North Korea, investment in commercial economic sectors in North Korea, remittances to North Korean nationals, and shipping and commercial flights to and from North Korea.

Still in place are U.S. non-proliferation and counter-terrorism controls, which prohibit trade of all munitions list, dual-use and missile technology-related items; any type of U.S. foreign assistance to Pyongyang; support for loans to North Korea through international financial institutions; and financial transactions between U.S. citizens and the North Korean government. U.S. sanctions imposed on North Korea for missile technology proliferation also remain in place, barring trade with missile-related sectors of the North Korean economy. North Korean assets in the United States remain frozen, and North Korean claims against the United States will remain unsettled.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) applauded the Clinton administration's actions on September 21, describing them as consistent with U.S. obligations under the 1994 Agreed Framework, which froze the Yongbyon plutonium production facilities. The KCNA noted, however, that the U.S. lifting of sanctions came "belatedly" and was not "comprehensive." Pyongyang also reiterated its position that peace on the Korean peninsula will require removal of the 37,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and a bilateral peace agreement. Washington expects a visit in the coming weeks by a senior North Korean official to resume discussions on normalization of relations.

Perry Review Completed

Guiding the Clinton administration was William Perry's recently completed review of U.S. policy toward North Korea. After briefing the president, congressional leaders and Japanese and South Korean officials in September, Perry released an unclassified version of his policy review on October 12. Though Perry and other U.S. officials had made some of its contents known in previous weeks, the published report provided a clearer understanding of the rationale for the Clinton administration's actions following the September talks with North Korea in Berlin and Perry's trip to North Korea in May 1999. (See ACT,April/May 1999.)

President Clinton appointed Perry to conduct the policy review in November 1998 following North Korea's August launch of its Taepo Dong-1 rocket and the discovery of an underground construction site in Kumchang-ni thought to be potentially useful for nuclear weapons-related activities. (Inspection by U.S. officials later showed the Kumchang-ni site to be poorly suited to nuclear activities.)

While confirming the importance and accomplishments of the Agreed Framework, Perry's report notes that there have been several important changes in the region since the nuclear agreement was reached in 1994. First, Pyongyang's ballistic missile development and export activities, combined with "possible continuing nuclear weapons-related work," have newly jeopardized regional security. Also, under the leadership of Kim Jong-Il, North Korea's economic and humanitarian crises have greatly worsened.

The South Korean government has opened up new opportunities on the peninsula through President Kim Dae Jung's policy of "engagement" with the North, according to the report. Also, Japan's critical support for the Agreed Framework has weakened because of Pyongyang's August 1998 missile test and the prospect of further North Korean missile tests overflying Japan. Finally, Chinese interests in North Korea have become more closely aligned with those of the United States and its allies because of Beijing's concern that Pyongyang's missile activities could lead to a U.S.-led Asian missile defense system.

Perry's report concludes that while military deterrence on the Korean Peninsula remains strong, continued North Korean nuclear and missile activities could jeopardize the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and even of the United States. The United States and its allies would be able to triumph convincingly in any military confrontation, the report notes, but only at a catastrophic cost in lives and money. Perry asserts that Washington should therefore attempt to advance U.S. interests cooperatively if Pyongyang is willing, and failing that, to strengthen its containment of the North Korean threat.

Perry recommends that Washington adopt "a new, comprehensive and integrated approach to…negotiations with the DPRK" in order to achieve a "complete and verifiable" cessation of North Korea's nuclear weapons- and missile-related activities, including "testing, production and deployment of missiles exceeding the parameters of the Missile Technology Control Regime, [as well as] export sales of such missiles and the equipment and technology associated with them."

To win Pyongyang's support for the cooperative approach, the Perry report suggests that the United States and its allies "reduce pressures" on North Korea "in a step-by-step and reciprocal fashion." The report continues, "If the DPRK moved to eliminate its nuclear and long-range missile threats, the United States would normalize relations with the DPRK, relax sanctions that have long constrained trade with the DPRK and take other positive steps that would provide opportunities for the DPRK."

Alternatively, if Pyongyang refuses to cooperate, the United States and its allies should "take firm but measured steps to persuade the DPRK" to pursue the cooperative approach and not upset the regional security balance. The details on what disincentives should be considered are listed in the still-classified version of the review. But Perry's report makes clear that "the U.S. and allied steps should seek to keep the Agreed Framework intact and avoid, if possible, direct conflict."

North Korea, U.S. to Meet on Missile Issues

Howard Diamond

AFTER WEEKS OF North Korean preparations for the first flight test of the new Taepo Dong-2 long-range ballistic missile and repeated warnings of severe consequences by the United States, Japan and South Korea, the State Department announced a new round of U.S.-North Korean talks on August 25. The missile talks are to be held in Berlin, September 7-11 and will reportedly seek a moratorium on North Korean missile testing in exchange for relief from U.S. economic sanctions. Since April 1996, the United States and North Korea have held four rounds of missile talks, the last round occurring in March.

In mid-June, only days after South and North Korean naval forces clashed in the Yellow Sea, Japanese news organizations began been reporting North Korean preparations for a new missile test, citing unnamed U.S. and Japanese sources. Japan's Kyodo news service reported on June 16 that U.S. satellite imagery showed North Korea was moving propellant and increasing the size of a launching pad at a missile test site, identified by The New York Times June 22 as being in Musadan-ri, North Hamkyong Province. Quoting unnamed U.S. military sources, NHK, Japan's public television network, also reported June 16 that North Korea had conducted static propulsion tests of its Taepo Dong-2 missile in April. The Taepo Dong-2 is estimated to have a range of 4,000 to 6,000 kilometers.

Already in the midst of a congressionally mandated review of U.S. policy toward North Korea, the Clinton administration began a weeks-long diplomatic campaign combining bilateral meetings with North Korea in late June and the second week of August, together with intensive policy coordination with Japan and South Korea. The coordination resulted in the release July 27 of a trilateral statement by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Japanese Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko and South Korean Foreign Minister Hong Soon-Young, who were attending the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore.

Urging the government to "seize the opportunity" presented in May by former Defense Secretary William Perry's visit to Pyongyang, the joint statement called on North Korea "to build a new and positive relationship with its neighbors and potential partners, and to accept the comprehensive and integrated approach which builds on the engagement policy." (See ACT, April/May 1999.) The foreign ministers' statement also warned Pyongyang that "a missile or satellite launch...would adversely affect peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond, and would have severe negative consequences" for North Korea. While the joint statement confirmed all three nations' support for the 1994 Agreed Framework, Komura told reporters that a North Korean missile test would make it "extremely difficult for Japan to continue its cooperation" with the international consortium implementing the nuclear agreement.

Pyongyang claims that its missiles are needed for self-defense against the United States and that satellite development is a sovereign right.

Chinese Strategic Plans Move Forward With Missile Test

Howard Diamond

CHINA'S STRATEGIC MODERNIZATION plans took an important step forward August 2 with the first successful flight test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), known as the Dong Feng (DF)-31. The 8,000-kilometer-range, three-stage, solid-fuel missile had previously undergone only static tests. The test flight, reportedly covering the 2,000 kilometers from Wuzhai (Shanxi Province) to Lop Nor (Xinjiang Province), was announced in a one-sentence press release from China's official Xinhua news agency.

According to John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists, the missile has had several engine tests on the ground. The first test in April 1992 and the second test were both failures ending in explosions, Pike said. However, six successful tests have followed since, including a soft-launch ejection, or "tube" test. According to Stanford scholars John Wilson Lewis and Hua Di, China has been working on the DF-31 since January 1985 and plans on modifying it for use as the Julang (JL)-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Beijing has already used this method to deploy the twin 1,800-kilometer-range, land-based DF-21 and submarine-based JL-1.

With an estimated payload of 700 kilograms, the DF-31 could be used to deliver multiple warheads if China were to develop light-weight nuclear devices. A select congressional committee led by Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA) reported in May that China had stolen design information on the advanced U.S. W-88 warhead and that it would probably "exploit elements of...stolen U.S. thermonuclear weapons designs on its new ICBMs currently under development." The Cox panel's report said that with a 1999 flight test the DF-31 could be deployed by 2002.

An intelligence community damage assessment prompted by the Cox Report judged that "China has had the technical capability to develop a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)...for many years but has not done so." The assessment also concluded that "U.S. information acquired by the Chinese could help the development of a MIRV for a future mobile missile."

But a U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity said, "We still judge [the DF-31] to be a one-warhead missile; the Chinese haven't made the technical strides needed to MIRV it."

Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon said on August 3 that there was no evidence that the Chinese missile employed any stolen U.S. technology. Bacon said that, depending on the numbers deployed, the DF-31 "does not give them a significantly enhanced military capability."

If deployed in eastern China, the DF-31 would be able to reach significant portions of the western United States. Analysts, however, believe the mobile DF-31 is meant to replace China's current force of 20 liquid-fueled, 4,750-kilometer-range DF-4s, which are thought to be targeted at Russia, India and U.S. bases in the Pacific.

Coming amid growing tensions between China and Taiwan, and prominent efforts by the United States, Japan and South Korea to prevent North Korea from testing a new long-range missile, State Department spokesman James Rubin sought to downplay the test flight's significance. Explaining that Washington had anticipated the launch for some time, Rubin said on August 3, "China already has long-range missiles, and therefore the fact that they've tested a new missile is not a dramatic new development that requires massive effort and diplomacy to try to deter." Rubin also noted, "We do not have any basis to conclude that the timing of the launch is linked to the issues with Taiwan."

THAAD Test Aborted

A critical flight test of the U.S. Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system at White Sands Missile Range was aborted on May 25 after the Hera ballistic missile target malfunctioned. This would have been THAAD's 10th flight test overall and seventh attempt to intercept a missile target. All six previous intercept attempts, the most recent of which took place on March 29, have failed. (See ACT, March 1999.) The THAAD test will most likely be rescheduled for early June.

The Senate's version of the fiscal year (FY) 2000 defense authorization bill, which was approved on May 27, requires the United States to accelerate the deployment of both THAAD and its sea-based counterpart, Navy Theater Wide (NTW). It also retains separate funding for both of these "upper-tier" systems through FY 2005 based on each system's individual performance. This provision would reverse current policy, as articulated by Defense Secretary William Cohen on January 20, whereby THAAD and NTW will compete for funding so that one of the systems can be deployed by 2007.

Meanwhile, the first official intercept attempt of the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system will take place in mid-summer rather than during the week of May 10-14 as originally planned. The test was delayed because of the possibility of forest fires in the vicinity of the White Sands testing grounds.

India, Pakistan Test New Missiles; U.S. Urges Restraint

Howard Diamond

BUILDING ON their tit-for-tat nuclear tests of May 1998, India and Pakistan conducted test flights of new nuclear-capable ballistic missiles on April 11 and on April 14 and 15, respectively, bringing both states closer to deploying strategic arsenals based on ballistic missiles. In keeping with the February 1999 Lahore Declaration, both states informed each other in advance of their tests, and also gave advance notice to the five permanent (P-5) members of the UN Security Council. (See ACT, January/February 1999.) Depending on their payloads, India's Agni-2 and Pakistan's Ghauri-2 and Shaheen-1 missiles could enable both states to reach important new targets: Islamabad may be able to strike all of India, and New Delhi, already capable of striking any target in Pakistan, may be able to reach Beijing and Shanghai.

The P-5 states, Japan and Australia have condemned India's missile test and Pakistan's two tests in response. China, which New Delhi has identified as its primary security concern, warned on April 13 that the Agni-2 test "could trigger a new round of arms race in South Asia," and called on India and Pakistan to resolve their differences "through continuous patient, frank and meaningful dialogue." The statement from Beijing's Foreign Ministry made no reference to any effect the Agni-2 test would have on China's own strategic modernization efforts.

When asked on April 14 about Pakistan's response to New Delhi's missile test, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh asserted, "There is no arms race. There is no danger." Islamabad's Foreign Ministry issued a statement later that day saying, "Pakistan does not want a nuclear and missile race in South Asia" and called on New Delhi to accept Pakistani proposals for a strategic restraint regime. New Delhi has resisted regional and international efforts to limit its nascent nuclear arsenal, insisting that no limitations are feasible without including China.

At an April 14 hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth said that India bore a "special responsibility" for preventing a South Asian arms race, noting that in both the nuclear and missile areas Pakistan "is responding" to Indian actions. "Both sides have said they want to meet their security requirements at the lowest possible level," Inderfurth said. "We would now like to see concrete steps from both countries that they intend to do so."

According to a U.S. official, the Clinton administration has restrained its criticism of the tests, recognizing both countries' stated intentions to develop nuclear deterrent capabilities. Washington has "urged both sides not to test or to do anything to provoke the other" and is trying to persuade the South Asian rivals to accept the need for a stable "minimum deterrent framework," the official said. In discussions with U.S. officials, both India and Pakistan have so far resisted requests to define their concepts of credible minimum deterrence or discuss stable basing modes.

Extended Range

According to reports in the Indian press, tests of the Agni-2 had been canceled in late-January and early-March for a combination of political and technical reasons. The January test would have conflicted with the arrival of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott for non-proliferation talks with Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, and the March test would have come too soon after the successful Indian-Pakistani summit in Lahore. The nature of the so-called "technical hitches" referred to by officials from India's Defense Research and Development Organization as having influenced the two postponements was unclear. India has developed the nuclear-capable Prithvi family of 150-, 250- and 350-kilometer-range ballistic missiles and is alleged to be interested in developing an intercontinental ballistic missile, sometimes referred to as the Agni-3.

According to New Delhi, the Agni-2 missile traveled over 2,000 kilometers and has an estimated range of 2,500 kilometers. Indian officials said the tested missile had a payload of 1,000 kilograms. Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said the Agni-2 could carry a "special weapons payload" and that a decision on whether to deploy a nuclear or conventional warhead "would depend upon the circumstances." Fernandes noted the Agni-2 was rail mobile and could be deployed to "rugged areas" on a "very compact system." With the single test flight, India has "reached the point of operationalization of the Agni-2 as a weapon system," Fernandes said.

Reports in the Indian press offered some additional details about the missile. Unlike its predecessor, the two-stage solid-liquid Agni-1, the Agni-2 used two solid stages which would make the missile easier to deploy and keep ready for launch on short notice. The Agni-2 may also be highly accurate. Flight control was claimed to have been aided by an on-board computer using information from global positioning system (GPS) satellites. The 1,500 to 2,000-kilometer-range Agni-1, which New Delhi has consistantly labled as a technology demonstration project, reportedly uses an on-board computer for terminal guidance of a separating reentry vehicle. India last tested the Agni-1 in February 1994.

Pakistan's Response

Responding to the Agni-2 test—despite international pleas for restraint—Islamabad test-fired its Ghauri-2 missile on April 14 and its Shaheen-1 missile on April 15. A statement from Islamabad on April 14 claimed the missile tests "strengthened national security and will help in maintaining a strategic balance in South Asia." The Ghauri-2 was tested to a range of 1,400 kilometers, but Pakistan claims the missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and can fly up to 2,300 kilometers if its 1,000-kilogram payload is reduced. The technical differences between the Ghauri-1 and -2 remain unclear.

According to another U.S. official, however, there may not actually be a Ghauri-2 missile at all. Based on images of the tested missile, the profile of the flight test and the specifics offered in Islamabad's initial announcement of the test, the missile fired may have actually been a Ghauri-1. When asked for a rationale, the official suggested Islamabad was probably trying to maintain the appearance of keeping pace with the range of India's Agni-2. Pakistan last tested the 1,500-kilometer-range Ghauri-1 in April 1998. Following that test, the United States imposed sanctions on Pakistan and North Korea, claiming the Ghauri-1 was derived from the liquid-fueled 1,300-kilometer-range Nodong missile.

The Shaheen-1 was tested to a reported range of 600 kilometers, but is claimed to be capable of traveling 750 kilometers with a 1,000-kilogram payload. The road-mobile solid-fuel Shaheen is believed to utilize technology from China. According to the Pakistani newspaper The News, the Shaheen-1 is meant to counter India's Prithvi missiles. Pakistan has said it is prepared to test its 2,300-kilometer-range Shaheen-2 missile, but that with the Shaheen-1 test it has completed its current missile testing activities.

THAAD Now 0 for 6; PAC-3 Test Successful

On March 29, the Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system failed to intercept a ballistic missile target at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The most mature of the "upper-tier" theater missile defense (TMD) systems, THAAD has now failed all six intercept tests dating back to December 1995. The interceptor reportedly missed its HERA missile target by 10 to 30 meters, underscoring the difficulty of hitting a "bullet with a bullet" at long ranges and high speeds.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced on January 20 that THAAD, which has had nine flight tests thus far, and the sea-based TMD system Navy Theater Wide will be reviewed together next year to determine which should be the lead upper-tier TMD system. The Pentagon hopes to field such a system by 2007.

Two weeks earlier, on March 15, the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system successfully intercepted a HERA missile target at White Sands, even though this was not the primary objective of its third flight test. The intercept illustrated the feasibility of "hit-to-kill" technology at much shorter ranges and lower speeds. Sixteen intercept tests are planned for PAC-3, one of the core "lower-tier" TMD systems, before its deployment in 2001.

U.S., North Korea Meet on Missiles; Japan, S. Korea Press on Defense

LITTLE PROGRESS was reported in the third round of U.S.-North Korean missile talks, held in New York on October 1. As in the previous talks in April 1996 and June 1997, the Clinton administration tried to persuade North Korea to cease the development and export of ballistic missiles and technologies controlled by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in exchange for a substantial loosening of U.S. economic sanctions.

Pyongyang, which has made clear its willingness to accept financial compensation for lost missile export revenues, has resisted the U.S. proposal, claiming that Washington is already obligated to loosen sanctions as part of the 1994 Agreed Framework. The text of that agreement, which froze Korea's nuclear weapons program, calls for the two sides to "move toward full normalization of political and economic relations." But U.S. officials insist that Pyongyang has to meet U.S. concerns on the missile and other issues before progress can be made on the political and economic fronts.

Additionally, State Department spokesman James P. Rubin warned North Korea following the October 1 talks that any future testing or export of long-range missiles, such as the three-stage Taepo Dong-1, which Pyongyang tested on August 31, would have "very negative consequences."


Japanese, South Korean Initiatives

North Korea's August 31 missile test has also bolstered initiatives in Japan and South Korea to augment their security with new weapons that are likely, in turn, to concern Russia and China. On September 20, the United States and Japan announced that the two nations would proceed with joint feasibility studies on theater missile defense. On October 23, Japanese Defense Minister Fukushiro Nukaga announced that the Japanese Defense Agency (JDA) will request roughly $8 million for Japan's 1999 fiscal year to fund joint research with the United States. The JDA reportedly plans to spend about $175 million to $250 million on the joint research program over the next five years. Tokyo has expressed interest in the U.S. Navy's Theater Wide Defense system, which would utilize Japan's fleet of Aegis-radar-equipped destroyers.

Additionally, the Kyodo News Service reported on October 23 that the government will propose development of a "'multipurpose' satellite system with reconnaissance capabilities within three years." Since Japan launched its first commercial satellite in 1970, Tokyo has abided by a Diet resolution mandating the exclusively peaceful use of space.

Jarred by North Korea's Taepo Dong-1 missile launch over Japan, however, some Japanese officials have concluded that a reconnaissance or early warning satellite for "defensive" purposes could be considered a peaceful use of space.


South Korea and the MTCR

Although the Taepo Dong-1 is unlikely to be used against South Korea—Pyongyang's 500-kilometer-range Scud C missiles can already hit any target in the South—defense officials in Seoul have used the "new" North Korean threat to justify their own missile and space-launch ambitions. In particular, South Korea has been campaigning to end its 1979 agreement with the United States, which prevents Seoul from acquiring ground-to-ground missiles with a range of more than 180 kilometers. (See ACT, August/September, 1998.)

Following U.S.-South Korean missile talks in August, the State Department is reportedly close to consenting to South Korea joining the MTCR and acquiring missiles capable of delivering a 500-kilogram payload to a range of 300 kilometers—the regime's threshold for control.

According to Seoul's semiofficial Yonhap news agency, South Korea has accepted the MTCR limits for military systems. Seoul, however, is pushing for the right to build commercial space launch systems without any range or payload limits, which the 1979 agreement with the United States does not permit. The Korea Herald reported that Washington is insisting that Seoul accept U.S. monitoring to ensure that commercial space technology is not misused. In an effort to clarify, a State Department official said on October 27 that U.S. policy on MTCR membership does not preclude states wishing to join the regime from keeping their ground-to-ground missile programs as long as the retained systems fall within the regime's threshold for control.

Arms Control in 1998: Congress Maintains the Status Quo

The year 1998 was a status quo year for arms control and national security issues in the 105th Congress. There was neither major progress nor significant backsliding. Although the Senate overwhelmingly approved the expansion of NATO, there was no breakthrough in securing Senate approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty. Congress also refused to appropriate the billion-plus dollars required to pay the U.S. debt to the United Nations.

On the other hand, where things could have gotten much worse, they did not. The Senate did not vote to cripple or abrogate the 1972 ABM Treaty. Congress turned back Republican-led efforts to mandate deployment of a national missile defense (NMD) system. B-2 proponents finally gave up hunting for funds to build more than 21 bombers. Congress appropriated just enough money to avoid the loss of the U.S. vote in the UN General Assembly. House Republicans failed to decimate Nunn-Lugar security assistance funding to punish Russia for alleged bad behavior (such as selling advanced weaponry and nuclear-related technology to Iran).

The last major bill adopted by Congress as it headed out the door—the $520 billion omnibus appropriations bill—provided some good news and some bad news. While the bill included more funding to deal with nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union and to implement the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework, Congress also added billions of dollars to the military budget and to ballistic missile defense (BMD) programs in particular.

Considering the lengthy arms control agenda facing Congress, however, 1998 should be judged on opportunity costs; that is, another year lost in which there was scant progress toward reducing or eliminating weapons of mass destruction.


Assault on the ABM Treaty

Republican hopes to cripple or kill the ABM Treaty were thwarted when the Clinton administration refused to submit a series of agreements between the United States, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine clarifying the "demarcation line" between permitted theater missile defense systems and limited strategic missile defenses, and enumerating the successor states to the Soviet Union to which the ABM Treaty applies. The administration held off submitting the agreements to the Senate until after the Russian Duma considered START II, which U.S. officials hope will be before the end of the year.

In 1998, Republicans resumed their push for NMD deployment. They had been wary of the issue since December 1995, when they precipitated a Clinton veto of the fiscal year (FY) 1996 defense authorization bill, which included language mandating deployment of a multiple-site NMD system (intended to protect all 50 states) by 2003. In 1996 and 1997, the administration and Congress reached a tacit compromise on the NMD issue: while avoiding recorded votes, Congress added money to the administration's budget request for NMD but did not try to force the administration's hand on deployment.

In March 1998, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) launched a new campaign by introducing the "American Missile Protection Act of 1998." The bill declared: "It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible, an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate)." Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) brought up the legislation in May as an independent measure in order to avoid another veto of a defense bill, but the bill's supporters fell one vote short in their attempt to force a floor vote.

On May 13, the Senate voted 59-41 (60 votes are needed for a motion of cloture) to end debate and bring the bill before the full Senate. All 55 Republicans voted for the motion, as did four Democrats: Daniel Akaka (HI), Ernest Hollings (SC), Daniel Inouye (HI) and Joseph Lieberman (CT). Lott brought up the measure a second time on September 9 in a vain ploy to inject the issue of missile defense into the upcoming congressional elections, but the motion of cloture was rejected by an identical 59-41 vote.

The House of Representatives never voted on the issue of NMD deployment. On August 5, Representatives Curt Weldon (R-PA) and John Spratt (D-SC) introduced a bill with 49 co-sponsors from both parties stating "That it is the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense." However, that measure was never put to a vote. Hard-line Republicans, hoping to sharpen the differences between the two parties for the mid-term elections, pushed an alternative measure mandating NMD deployment by a date certain. The split among Republicans over the best strategy was never resolved, and the House ran out of time to schedule a vote.

Congressional Republicans did succeed, as in past years, in pumping more money into missile defenses than the administration had requested. After appropriating $3.7 billion in the defense appropriations bill for national and theater defenses (close to the administration's request), Congress added another billion dollars in supplemental appropriations as part of the omnibus appropriations bill passed in October before the 105th Congress adjourned. The exact allocation between national and theater missile defense programs was left to the Pentagon.


The Debate Intensifies

Ironically, the administration's victory on BMD policy and the Republican win on BMD funding—an outcome identical to the previous three years—came despite a series of major developments in 1998 that fueled the debate over missile defense policy. In February, an independent panel of missile defense experts appointed by the Pentagon and headed by retired General Larry Welch, former Air Force chief of staff, issued a study that was highly critical of the flight test programs involving four "hit-to-kill" missile defense systems, including the NMD program. Their report concluded that the programs suffer from a "rush to failure" because of efforts to rapidly deploy the systems without thorough flight testing. The Welch Panel said it was "highly unlikely" that the administration would meet its current goal of developing an NMD system in three years and, should a deployment decision be made, of fielding the system three years later.

On May 12, the day before the Senate voted on the Cochran bill, the U.S. Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system failed its fifth consecutive test, again calling into question the technological viability of the Pentagon's most advanced BMD system. The test failure of THAAD (one of the four programs analyzed by the Welch Panel) underscored a key contention of missile defense opponents: after more than 30 years of research, development and testing, intercepting warheads still remains a major technological hurdle. Any workable NMD system will have to incorporate similar but more sophisticated technology than that used in THAAD and other theater missile defense systems.

Next, on July 7, Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) released a General Accounting Office (GAO) report that reviewed the costs and risks involved in the NMD program, and concluded that the program's schedule and technical objectives remain "high risk." The report cast further doubts on Republican plans to accelerate deployment.

Finally, on July 15, a report from a panel headed by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld—including experts across the arms control spectrum—warned that a long-range missile threat to the United States could develop much earlier than had been anticipated. The Rumsfeld Commission's conclusion was reinforced by Iran's test only one week later of an intermediate-range missile capable of hitting much of the Middle East, and an August 31 North Korean launch of a Taepo Dong-1 missile that demonstrated some aspects of ICBM development, most notably multiple-stage separation.

In response to the Rumsfeld Commission report, the CIA stood by its conclusion that no country other than Russia, China and North Korea could develop ICBMs capable of threatening the United States before the year 2010. And on August 24, the Joint Chiefs of Staff—much to the chagrin of missile defense hawks—weighed in against speeding up NMD deployment. The controversy over the immediacy of the ballistic missile threat to the United States continued to the end of the year.


CTB Treaty

A summation of Senate progress on the CTB Treaty can be short: there was almost no movement whatsoever. While President Clinton submitted the treaty to the Senate in September 1997 and promised to make ratification a top priority in 1998—at least after the Senate voted on NATO expansion—Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) ignored the treaty and the president never followed through on his pledge to make the treaty a top priority.

The president started the year on a high note, with a ringing affirmation of the CTB Treaty in his January State of the Union address and a letter from four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff endorsing the treaty. In February, the president toured the Los Alamos National Laboratory and received a helpful endorsement by the directors of the nation's three major nuclear weapons laboratories of U.S. efforts under the test ban to maintain a robust nuclear weapons force.

Helms, however, had made his views crystal clear at the beginning of the year. In a January 21 letter to the president, Helms said his committee would only consider the CTB Treaty after the president had submitted the ABM Treaty-related agreements and the Kyoto Protocol on global warming to the Senate for prior action. Lott backed up the powerful chairman. True to his word, Helms never held a single hearing on the CTB Treaty all year.

Arms control advocates vainly hoped that after the Senate vote on NATO enlargement at the end of April, the president would make the test ban treaty his top priority and lean on the Senate to act. However, the administration's decision not to submit the ABM Treaty-START II package to the Senate until after the Russian Duma approved START II further stalled consideration of the CTB Treaty. The Duma refused to cooperate by not approving START II, and the administration had no alternative plan.

When Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivered a comprehensive arms control speech to the Henry L. Stimson Center on June 10, she said that all Senator Helms had to do was to whistle and she would be glad to testify on behalf of the treaty. Helms never whistled and the administration turned its attention to fresh crises in Bosnia, North Korea, Iraq and Kosovo.

Even after India and Pakistan conducted their nuclear tests in May, the drift continued. Test ban advocates from the president on down argued that the CTB Treaty was more important than ever. The South Asian nuclear developments, they argued, should serve as a wake-up call for the United States and the world. Treaty critics Helms and Lott, on the other hand, suggested that developments in South Asia rendered the test ban irrelevant, citing the failure of the U.S. intelligence community to anticipate the Indian tests and the likelihood that New Delhi would never sign the test ban treaty. Lott went so far as to argue that the Indians tested nuclear devices because of the administration's support for the CTB Treaty.

While most Senate Republicans, unsure if the test ban will ever be brought up for a vote, have declined to take a position on the treaty, Republican Senator Arlen Specter (PA) was motivated by events in South Asia to endorse the treaty. Working with Democrat Joseph Biden (DE), Specter tried to force the issue by offering an amendment to restore the administration's $28.9 million request for FY 1999 funding for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission, which the Senate Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee had failed to endorse. The CTBTO's International Monitoring System will allow the United States to significantly improve its worldwide nuclear weapons test monitoring capabilities.

On September 1, the Senate approved the Specter-Biden amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill by a vote of 49-44. Not surprisingly, there were two very different interpretations of the vote. CTB advocates pointed to the success of the Specter-Biden amendment, while treaty opponents suggested that the "success" instead showed how far short CTB supporters were of the 67 votes needed for advice and consent to ratification. In the end, this vote will have little long-term significance. Specter pushed the vote while expending little effort to sway colleagues, and although Lott persuaded most Republicans to oppose the amendment, several senators who voted "nay" privately conceded that their vote did not foretell their final position on the treaty.

In the meantime, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott engaged in a series of separate negotiations with Indian and Pakistani officials to defuse the rising nuclear tensions on the sub-continent. Congress cooperated by giving President Clinton the authority to ease U.S. sanctions imposed on both countries after their May tests. In November, after modest progress in the Talbott negotiations, the president announced a relaxed sanctions policy.


Chemical Weapons Convention

In October 1998, a year and a half after the Senate approved the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), Congress finally passed legislation conforming U.S. law to all treaty obligations. This "implementation legislation" became a last-minute insert into the huge omnibus appropriations bill. On April 24, 1997, the Senate had voted 74-26 to give its advice and consent to ratification of the CWC, which entered into force five days later. In May 1997, the Senate approved implementation legislation for the CWC, which the House adopted in November but which was linked to unrelated legislation imposing sanctions on Russian companies accused of selling missile parts and technology to Iran. House International Relations Committee Chairman Ben Gilman (R-NY) sought a trade-off: the CWC legislation, which the administration favored, in return for the Russian sanctions bill the administration opposed and had threatened to veto. A deadlock ensued for the next year and a half, and the administration never made the issue a high priority. Republicans, for their part, were more interested in political gamesmanship.

Throughout that period, the United States was in "technical violation" of the CWC because it had not declared treaty-related activities at U.S. commercial facilities. Both the House and the Senate approved the sanctions legislation (the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act) to which the CWC implementing legislation had been attached, but President Clinton vetoed the legislation on June 23. For a time, it appeared that an overwhelming congressional majority would override the veto, but in mid-July Clinton announced the imposition of trade sanctions against nine Russian companies that had been aiding Iran's missile program. The Republican leadership decided against an override vote.

As the 105th Congress completed its work in October, it appeared that the CWC implementing legislation would have to be reconsidered in 1999. However, a last-minute miracle occurred. With pressure from the Chemical Manufacturers Association and the administration, Representative David Obey of Wisconsin, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, with the acquiescence of incoming House Speaker Bob Livingston (R-LA), managed to include the legislation in the omnibus appropriations bill. However, the implementing legislation contains a number of disputed provisions, including one that gives the president the authority to block "challenge" inspections in this country on national security grounds and a second that prevents the transfer outside the United States of samples from U.S. facilities for analysis. The bill's controversial provisions are likely to be revisited in 1999.


ACDA's Merger

In 1995, then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher proposed merging the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), the Agency for International Development (AID) and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) into the Department of State. Although these agencies fought the merger and won early bureaucratic battles within the Clinton administration, Helms ran with the idea, having long wanted to abolish the independent arms control agency. In April 1997, the administration announced that it would agree to merge ACDA and USIA into the State Department. That plan, after negotiations with Helms and Biden, was inserted into the fiscal years 1998-99 State Department authorization bill in the summer of 1997. As part of the bargain, Helms agreed to payment of the U.S. debt to the United Nations. The legislation stalled, however, when House Republicans insisted on adding anti-abortion restrictions on international family planning funding to the State Department authorization bill. The president had made it clear that he would not jeopardize his support among women by compromising on this issue.

The bill languished through the remainder of 1997 and most of 1998. ACDA, which had engaged in an extensive planning process for the expected merger, was left in limbo. In April 1998, the bill—including the anti-abortion language—cleared Congress, but it was not sent to the president for another six months. Republicans hoped to build pressure on the president to sign the legislation. That tactic failed; on October 21, Clinton vetoed the bill.

ACDA has remained in limbo for two years—neither independent nor a part of the State Department. Administration lines of authority on arms control issues have become even more blurred than usual. ACDA Director John Holum was designated acting under secretary for arms control but held his original post as well. Thus, when Republicans at the last moment attached the State Department reorganization measure to the omnibus appropriations bill—minus the UN funding, which was still linked to the abortion issue—even devoted supporters of ACDA felt that an unsatisfactory solution was better than none at all. The merger is to be completed no later than April 1999.


NATO Expansion

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO grappled uncertainly with its mission. The military alliance established to confront the communist menace had to find a new role for itself. Nevertheless, NATO decided to expand the alliance to include former Warsaw Pact members in Central and Eastern Europe. The enlargement process was moving at a rather languid pace until the 1996 presidential campaign when President Clinton, under pressure from Bob Dole, promised to expedite NATO's expansion. In December 1996, NATO adopted an accelerated timetable for enlargement, and in July 1997 designated the first three countries to be invited into the venerable institution: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In December 1997, NATO formally agreed to accept those three countries, subject to approval by the 16 current members, including a two-thirds vote in the U.S. Senate.

Many arms control advocates opposed NATO expansion on the grounds that it undermined the goal of safeguarding and reducing weapons of mass destruction in an increasingly chaotic former Soviet Union. Partly in response to NATO's decision to expand, which is opposed by Russians of all ideological stripes, the Russian Duma has held up approval of START II for three years. In addition, drawing Russia into closer economic, political and military relationships with the West could help reduce the likelihood of military confrontation in Europe—confrontation that could lead to the use of weapons of mass destruction. The United States chose this path with Germany and Japan after World War II. In contrast, the expansion of NATO served to drive Moscow away from the West, drawing a new dividing line in Europe with struggling Russia on the other side of the line.

The debate over NATO expansion became heated, but only as the Senate approached an April 30 vote on the issue. The Clinton administration had significant advantages in its pursuit of ratification. It was unusually well-organized and highly focused on the NATO issue, having appointed a government-wide coordinator many months before. Moreover, key Republicans such as Helms and Lott agreed with the administration's policy and worked with it to win Senate approval.

In addition, few senators were willing to invest time and energy in the fight against NATO enlargement early, when it would have been most effective. Most senators are reluctant to focus on an issue that is many months away from a vote. By the time senators closely examined NATO expansion, any doubts they may have had were overridden by concerns that it was too late to stop a train that had long since left the station. In other words, first, it was too early; then it was too late. In 1997, only Senator John Warner (R-VA) had publicly declared his opposition to NATO enlargement.

In April 1998, NATO expansion opponents offered a series of amendments to crack the pro-enlargement coalition, but failed. The closest vote, which lost 41-59, came on an amendment offered by Warner to delay further expansion of NATO for at least three years. On April 30, the Senate voted 80-19 to approve the new members. The bipartisan majority included 45 Republicans and 35 Democrats. Opposition too was bipartisan, with the "nay" votes spanning the political spectrum from Paul Wellstone (D-MN) on the left to John Ashcroft (R-MO) on the right.

In April 1999, the 50th anniversary of the founding of NATO, the United States will host a NATO summit in Washington, DC, at which the three countries formally will join the alliance. NATO enlargement opponents hope that the concerns raised in early 1998 will lead NATO to avoid hasty moves to add more Central European countries, and particularly to avoid the flashpoint of admitting the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.


Military Spending

A White House-congressional deal cut in 1997 capped military spending budget authority at $271 billion for FY 1999. That cap was first loosened and then eviscerated completely. Early in the year, the president permitted the Pentagon to retain about $21 billion in extra funding over five years due to savings from lower-than-anticipated inflation rates. Then Congress played budget games to give the Pentagon an additional $3.5 billion in FY 1999 spending. Finally, the omnibus appropriations bill added another $8.3 billion in "emergency" funding for Pentagon programs. The final budget authority total for the Department of Defense comes to about $279 billion. These increases came while many members of Congress, along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, launched a lobbying campaign to persuade President Clinton to include another large hike in the new defense budget to be presented in February 1999.


>North Korea

A number of members of Congress, such as Senator John McCain (R-AZ), threatened to cut off all U.S. funding for North Korean oil purchases due to a raft of stories about possible nuclear weapon-related activities in the North and the country's continuing sales of ballistic missiles. The oil purchases are a key element in the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework, by which the administration is seeking to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons pretensions. At the end of the year, a compromise was reached: the omnibus appropriations bill included $35 million for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), the international consortium leading the implementation of the nuclear deal, but the funds will become available only after March 1999 and only if North Korea makes progress in ending its weapons of mass destruction programs.


Nuclear Security Issues

Congress endorsed and even exceeded the administration's funding requests to deal with the problem of unsecured nuclear materials and weapons in the former Soviet Union. At the beginning of the year, the administration requested $442 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program (the Nunn-Lugar program) in the defense bill. Congress appropriated all but $2 million of that amount. In the omnibus appropriations bill, thanks to efforts by Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM), Congress approved $200 million toward the disposal of 50 tons of excess Russian weapons-derived plutonium, and $325 million to permit the Department of Energy to pay Moscow for some of the costs it incurred in 1997 and 1998 for down-blending highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium for sale to the United States under the 1993 HEU deal.


UN Funding

Congress narrowly avoided a loss of U.S. voting rights in the UN General Assembly by approving a little less than $300 million for the United Nations' regular budget and another $231 million for UN peace-keeping activities. Nonetheless, the United States still owes the United Nations more than $1.3 billion in unpaid dues. A deal at the end of the 105th Congress to fund a substantial portion of those arrears ultimately floundered on the linked anti-abortion issue.


A Peek Ahead to 1999

The 106th Congress, which will be sworn in on January 6, 1999, will look remarkably like the 105th Congress. The Senate will continue to have a ratio of 55 Republicans to 45 Democrats. While the Democrats picked up five seats in the House, Republicans retained control of that body as well. Nonetheless, Democrats have been emboldened and Republicans chastened by a worse-than-expected electoral performance by Republican candidates. Senate Democrats early in the year had been wary of a filibuster-proof, 60-seat Republican majority that would limit their influence in the Senate. Avoiding that train wreck means that Democrats remain in a strong position to push their priority issues.

In 1999, the two parties will have to negotiate in both the House and Senate to enact any legislation. That result, and a possible favorable Russian Duma vote on START II, are good news for the CTB Treaty during the next Congress. Democrats will have an opportunity to force this treaty onto the Senate agenda despite Helms' continued objections.

There is one major unknown at this point that could have a significant impact on the 106th Congress. If the Duma approves START II, the administration is expected to send to the Senate a package of five agreements related to the ABM Treaty in the face of stiff Republican opposition to the 1972 agreement limiting strategic missile defenses.

However, the administration has been gradually giving ground in the face of the onslaught. In October, Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre agreed with Republican questioners that the ABM Treaty would not be permitted to block NMD deployment if the United States deems deployment necessary. As part of its deliberations in December over the budget to be presented in February, the administration has to decide whether to include deployment funds in its five-year Pentagon spending plan. It is also considering an approach to the Russians to propose changes in the treaty to reflect eventual missile defense deployment.

A second major uncertainty is a Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton. For arms control proponents, 1999 offers more than the usual unknowns.

John Isaacs is president and executive director of the Council for a Livable World in Washington, DC.

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