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Right after I graduated, I interned with the Arms Control Association. It was terrific.

– George Stephanopolous
Host of ABC's This Week
January 1, 2005
Missile Proliferation

U.S. Intelligence Estimate Warns of Rising Missile Threats

IN A NEW National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), summarized and submitted by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) as an unclassified report to Congress, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that "during the next 15 years the United States most likely will face ICBM threats from Russia, China and North Korea, probably from Iran and possibly from Iraq." While detailing the growing missile capabilities of the so-called rogue states, the report, released on September 9, noted that the Russian threat will remain the "most robust and lethal." Theater and national missile defenses will, according to the report, prompt countries developing missiles to respond by "deploying larger forces, penetration aids and countermeasures."

The NIC identified three key characteristics of the evolving missile threat. First, that the majority of missile proliferation is occurring below the ICBM (5,500-kilometer range) level. Second, many countries developing ICBMs "probably assess that the threat of their use" would deter, complicate or constrain U.S. action, despite Washington's recognized military superiority. Third, the probability of ballistic missile use against "U.S. forces or interests,"including with nuclear, chemical or biological warheads, has increased to a level higher than that experienced during most of the Cold War. The report further pointed out that "emerging long-range missile powers do not appear to rely on robust test programs," and may be willing to deploy missiles after a single test, thereby reducing the intelligence community's ability to provide adequate warning of ICBM deployment.

Overall, the NIC described the new missile threats as involving states with "considerably fewer missiles with less accuracy, yield, survivability, reliability, and range-payload capability" than those faced in the past. In comparison with Chinese and Russian ICBM stocks, the estimate emphasized that "initial North Korean, Iranian and Iraqi ICBMs would probably be fewer in number—a few to tens rather than hundreds or thousands."

The Rogue States

North Korea, using technology in its Taepo Dong-1 rocket, which was fired in a failed August 1998 attempt to place a satellite into orbit, is considered most likely to develop an ICBM capable of threatening the United States. With "an operable third stage and a reentry vehicle capable of surviving ICBM flight, a converted Taepo Dong-1 SLV [space launch vehicle] could deliver a light payload to the United States," the NIC report claims. (Emphasis in original.) But the NIC judged that it would be unlikely that the missile could carry a nuclear warhead, though a chemical or biological weapon payload is considered feasible.

Pyongyang's still-untested Taepo Dong-2, however, is more likely to be weaponized than the Taepo Dong-1, and with two stages would be capable of delivering "a several-hundred kilogram payload to Alaska and Hawaii, and a lighter payload to the western half of the United States." A third stage could enable delivery of the larger payload "anywhere in the United States." Though the report noted a Taepo Dong-2 test was probable, North Korea subsequently announced on September 24 a moratorium on missile tests while engaged in negotiations with Washington to improve bilateral relations. (See story.)

By copying North Korea's example of attempting to use the Taepo Dong-1 to launch a satellite, Iran is thought "likely to test a SLV by 2010 that—once developed—could be converted into an ICBM capable of delivering a several-hundred kilogram payload to the United States." The NIC admits, however, that intelligence analysts are divided over the likely timing of Iran's first flight test of an ICBM capable of reaching the United States. Estimates range from "likely before 2010" to "less than an even chance by 2015." (Emphasis in original.)

Despite the loss of much of Iraq's missile program infrastructure during and after the Persian Gulf War, the NIC reported that Iraq could test an ICBM threatening the United States by 2015. Baghdad, according to the report, is likely to try to emulate North Korea by extending the range of Scud-based ballistic missiles by using staging technology to develop an ICBM capability. As with Iran, analysts differ on the likelihood of Iraq testing an ICBM before either 2010 or 2015.

An ICBM capability by both Iraq and Iran could be accelerated through foreign assistance, the NIC warns. Russian missile assistance was cited as continuing to be "significant," while China was charged with continuing to "contribute" to missile programs in other countries. The report concludes that Moscow and Beijing are unlikely to sell "a complete ICBM, SLV, or the technologies tantamount to a complete ICBM."

Russia and China, which are credited with having "developed numerous countermeasures" to ballistic missile defense, are judged, however, as likely to sell technologies related to these countermeasures. The report assesses that North Korea, Iran and Iraq would probably "rely initially on available technology—including separating RVs [re-entry vehicles], spin-stabilized RVs, RV reorientation, radar absorbing material (RAM), booster fragmentation, low-power jammers, chaff, and simple (balloon) decoys—to develop penetration aids and countermeasures." The report concludes that "these countries could develop countermeasures based on these technologies by the time they flight-test their missiles."

The NIC further reported that countries could pursue non-missile delivery options to avoid missile defenses. Another factor that could prompt delivery by ship, truck or an airplane, according to the report, is that "initial indigenous nuclear weapons designs are likely to be too large and heavy for a modest-sized ballistic missile." The NIC asserts that covert delivery methods, though less impressive, could offer "reliability advantages" over a missile—an important consideration for countries with few nuclear weapons.

Russia and China

Though focused on emerging threats, the NIC observed that Russia's strategic forces will "remain formidable," but will "decrease dramatically...primarily because of budget constraints" to a level "well short of START I or II limitations." The probability of an unauthorized or accidental Russian launch, in the NIC's assessment, is "highly unlikely so long as current technical and procedural safeguards are in place."

The NIE-based report estimated that China, which currently only has about 20 ICBMs that can target the entire United States, will continue modernizing its strategic nuclear forces, introducing two solid-fuel ICBMs: the 8,000-kilometer DF-31 and a longer-range ICBM (usually termed the DF-41). The DF-31 will primarily be targeted at Russia and Asia, while the DF-41 will be directed against the United States.

While noting that Beijing has had the technical capability to develop multiple RV payloads for 20 years, the NIC estimates that Chinese deployment of multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) on "a future mobile missile would be many years off." Ultimately, the NIC predicts Beijing "will likely have tens of missiles targeted against the United States, having added a few tens of more survivable land- and sea-based mobile missiles with smaller nuclear warheads—in part influenced by U.S. technology gained through espionage."

Fresh Controversy Over M-11s

The intelligence community's report produced new controversy over Pakistan's alleged November 1992 acquisition of Chinese M-11 short-range ballistic missiles. Long a red flag for those who believe the Clinton administration has deliberately ignored U.S. non-proliferation laws by not imposing sanctions on China, the report's outright assertion of the Chinese transfer prompted Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) to threaten to hold up a key U.S. State Department nomination until sanctions are imposed on Beijing. "The administration can adhere to the MTCR [Missile Technology Control Regime] law, which it has been flouting for the past six years, or it can make do without any assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation affairs," Helms said at a September 16 hearing.

The State Department has long insisted that the evidence regarding the M-11 transfer is insufficient to satisfy the high threshold needed to impose sanctions for shipments of whole missiles (so-called Category I transfers). The Clinton administration did impose so-called Category II sanctions on China in August 1993 for missile-related materials and technology transfers, and has urged Beijing to join the MTCR.

China obtained relief from the U.S. sanctions in October 1994 by pledging to observe the MTCR's "guidelines and parameters" and end sales of whole ground-to-ground missiles capable of delivering a 500-kilogram payload 300 kilometers or more. Subsequently, China has reportedly continued its trade in missile components and technologies, which are covered by MTCR while Beijing considers joining the regime.

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."

Cyprus Forgoes Russian Missile Deployment

Despite opposition within his own government, Greek Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides announced on December 29 that Cyprus would not take delivery of a January 1997 order of Russian S-300 ground-to-air missiles. The anti-aircraft missiles were a source of tension for Greece and Turkey as well as Cyprus, which has been divided since 1974 into autonomous and mutually hostile Greek and Turkish communities.

Turkey had claimed that the missiles threatened its aircraft and the Turkish mainland and had warned that all means, including military force, would be used to stop deployment of the S-300s. The Greek Cypriots, who have a 1993 defense commitment from Athens—an original backer and long-time defender of the missile purchase—remained steadfast in deploying the missiles up until Clerides' announcement. The reversal of course came amid growing talk among European capitals, including Berlin, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) for the first six months of 1999, that the missile issue could jeopardize EU membership for Cyprus. (The EU announced in December 1997 that Cyprus would be one of six states to begin accession talks.)

The United States, which had criticized the S-300 purchase as a mistake while also condemning Turkey for its threats of force, welcomed the decision, as did the EU. However, the Cyprus Socialist Party EDEK, including the Cypriot defense minister, decided to withdraw from the government on January 2 over Clerides' announcement. Cyprus may now seek shorter-range missiles as an alternative and plans to negotiate with Russia for delivery of the S-300s to the Greek island of Crete.

OAS to Draft Arms Transparency Convention

ON OCTOBER 6, the Organization of American States' (OAS) Committee on Hemispheric Security established a working group to negotiate a convention for transparency in arms acquisitions. When completed—a draft is expected by the end of this year—the convention would mark the first time that any region required annual reports on major weapons exports and imports, as well as timely notifications of arms acquisitions through both imports and domestic production.

The convention, as proposed by the United States and Brazil, would require each OAS country that ratifies the completed convention to make annual reports to the OAS General Secretariat on weapons exports and imports in the seven categories of the voluntary UN Register of Conventional Arms. (Those categories are tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships and missiles and missile systems.) Only 13 of the 34 OAS members submitted reports to the UN register for 1997.

OAS members would also be called on to provide advance notification of arms acquisitions through both imports and national production in the same seven weapon categories. However, states would have 90 days from the inclusion of the weapons into their inventories in which to make the notification. No notifications or reporting is to be mandated for small arms or power projection equipment such as transport helicopters.

 

The Working Group Begins

The OAS working group, which is co-chaired by Brazilian Ambassador Carlos Alberto Leite Barbosa and U.S. Ambassador Victor Marrero, met for the first time on October 27 to begin discussions on the text of the convention. Mexico, which has expressed skepticism regarding the convention, is seeking to include a commitment to future talks on arms limitations and reductions, but other OAS states are not likely to endorse such talks. A U.S. government official familiar with the negotiations said the convention "represents an important first step as we wait for the political will [among OAS states] to develop for more ambitious arms control measures."

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.

CIA Holds to Assessment of Ballistic Missile Threat to U.S.

IN A SEPTEMBER 17 speech, Robert D. Walpole, national intelligence officer for strategic and nuclear programs, unveiled key aspects of the CIA's classified 1998 Annual Report to Congress on Foreign Missile Developments. Walpole said that the ICBM threat to the United States from so-called "rogue states" is unlikely to materialize before 2010, with the possible exception of North Korea. The CIA's analysis, which is consistent with the 1995 National Intelligence Estimate on the missile threat (NIE 95-19) and its subsequent review chaired by Robert Gates, marks the U.S. government's most substantive response thus far to the findings of the independent "Rumsfeld Commission." The commission concluded in July that the United States may have "little or no warning" before facing an ICBM threat from rogue states such as North Korea, Iran and Iraq. (See ACT, June/July, 1998.)

Some congressional Democrats are likely to cite the CIA report in support of their position that deployment of a national missile defense (NMD) is not necessary at this time. A number of congressional Republicans have pointed to the Rumsfeld report as justification for immediate NMD deployment.

In his speech, delivered at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Walpole said the CIA report concluded that North Korea could deploy its 4,000- to 6,000-kilometer-range Taepo Dong-2 in "a few years," thereby putting parts of Alaska and Hawaii within striking distance. Beyond this threat (as well as the existing Russian and Chinese threat), the report stated that it is "unlikely" that any country "will develop, produce, and deploy an ICBM capable of reaching any part of the United States over the next decade," even if given foreign assistance.

Although Walpole admitted that there are alternative scenarios under which a rogue state could acquire an ICBM capability sooner, such as through the purchase of complete systems, he stated that the CIA viewed these acquisition paths as "unlikely." (Walpole noted that unlike the Rumsfeld Commission, the CIA specified the likelihood of particular scenarios in its report. Hence, while some of the scenarios in the Rumsfeld report may be conceivable, the CIA has judged them to be unlikely.)

Walpole said the CIA and Rumsfeld reports agree on North Korea's ballistic missile capabilities, the importance of foreign assistance in the spread of missile technology, and the fact that under some scenarios warning time may be dramatically reduced. The reports differ, however, in their assessments of the Iraqi and Iranian missile threats. While the Rumsfeld Commission argued that Iran and North Korea are further along than Iraq, the CIA believes Baghdad is ahead in some respects because it has not lost its technological expertise since the Gulf War. Moreover, while the commission claimed that the North Korean and Iranian missile programs are at the same level of maturity, the CIA noted that Iran's Shahab-3 is based on North Korean technology tested several years ago.

 

The Russian and Chinese Threat

Walpole also said Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal is being modernized and will remain "formidable," even as deployed warhead levels are reduced in the years ahead under the START process. He stated that China currently possesses about 20 CSS-4 ICBMs, a higher figure than some non-governmental experts had previously reported, and that this number is likely to increase as Beijing modernizes its strategic forces. The CIA report noted, however, that an unauthorized or accidental nuclear launch from Russia or China is "highly unlikely" under present circumstances. According to Walpole, "Russia employs an extensive array of technical and procedural safeguards and China keeps its missiles unfueled and without warheads mated."

NMD Bill Stalled in Senate; New Bill Introduced in House

FOR THE SECOND time this year, on September 9, Senate Republicans fell only one vote short of forcing a floor vote on the "American Missile Protection Act of 1998." The bill (S. 1873), introduced in March by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), states that it is U.S. policy "to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense [NMD] system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate)." Even though all 55 Senate Republicans and four Democrats—Daniel Akaka (HI), Ernest Hollings (SC), Daniel Inouye (HI) and Joseph Lieberman (CT)—voted to end debate on the Cochran bill and bring it up for a floor vote, the measure failed because 60 votes are required for a motion of cloture.

Earlier, on August 5, Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA) introduced a one-sentence bill stating "That it is the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense." Because the Weldon bill (H.R. 4402) does not contain the controversial language that created problems for earlier bills, such as a specific date for NMD deployment, it has already gained 63 co-sponsors, including 24 Democrats. The Clinton administration, which thus far has only committed the United States to the development of an NMD system, has not yet officially commented on the new bill, which may come up for a floor vote before the House adjourns in October.

 

The Cochran Bill

On May 13, the Senate defeated a motion of cloture on the Cochran bill by a vote of 59-41. (See ACT, May 1998.) Since then, a series of key domestic and international events inspired Senate Republicans to bring S. 1873 up again. On July 15, the Rumsfeld Commission concluded that the United States may have "little or no warning" before facing a long-range ballistic missile threat from so-called "rogue states," such as North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Just one week later, on July 22, Iran tested its 1,300-kilometer-range Shahab-3, which will be capable of reaching Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Then, on August 31, North Korea tested the Taepo Dong-1, which, with its range of 1,500 to 2,000 kilometers, could strike targets throughout Japan. In the September 9 floor debate on the Cochran bill, Senate Republicans pointed to these events as evidence that the ballistic missile threat is growing and that the United States must now deploy an NMD system.

The 41 Democrats who voted against cloture countered by citing an August 24 letter to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) by General Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, challenging the Rumsfeld Commission's assessment of the missile threat. Shelton wrote, "[The Chiefs and I] remain confident that the Intelligence Community can provide the necessary warning of the indigenous development and deployment by a rogue state of an ICBM threat to the United States." Furthermore, he stated that rogue states are "unlikely" to acquire an ICBM capability in a short period of time through foreign assistance and high-risk development programs while avoiding detection by the intelligence community. Shelton argued that rogue nations might also employ "unconventional, terrorist-style delivery means" in an attack against the United States and that the United States should address the full range of possible threats.

Accordingly, Shelton reiterated his support for the administration's "3+3" program, under which the United States is developing an NMD system by 2000 that could be deployed by 2003 if three criteria have been met: a specific missile threat has been identified, the technology has proven to be effective and the system is deemed affordable. If the United States decides not to deploy an NMD system in 2000, it will continue to refine the elements of its system, always remaining three years away from actual deployment.

 

The Weldon Bill

In an August 5 press conference, proponents of the Weldon bill charged that the administration is using the "3+3" program to conceal its opposition to NMD deployment. Calling instead for a commitment now to deploy an NMD system, they argued that this would send a clear signal to Russia that the United States is serious about missile defense and might also deter rogue states from expending the vast resources necessary to acquire ballistic missiles capable of reaching U.S. territory.

H.R. 4402 is likely to pass because it seeks to find a common ground between those who favor immediate NMD deployment and those who prefer a more cautious approach. Unlike Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's "National Missile Defense Act of 1997," the Weldon bill does not mandate NMD deployment by a certain date. Weldon's bill also does not identify a specific NMD architecture, does not base a deployment decision solely on the technical feasibility of the system (as does the Cochran bill) and is silent on the issue of U.S. compliance with the ABM Treaty.

N. Korea Launches Staged Rocket That Overflies Japanese Territory

ON AUGUST 31, North Korea launched its first multi-stage rocket in an unsuccessful attempt to place a satellite into orbit. Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) claimed on September 4 that the three-stage system lifted off from Musudan-ri and placed into orbit a satellite that was equipped with sounding instruments and was transmitting two nationalist hymns and a Morse code slogan. While U.S. intelligence later determined that the satellite failed to achieve orbit, the launch of the rocket—which passed over Japanese territory—may nevertheless provoke a crisis in the implementation of the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework, spur calls in the United States and Japan for the development of missile defenses, and lead to a new round of international missile proliferation.

U.S. officials, describing Pyongyang's launch as a test of its liquid-fueled, 1,500–2,000-kilometer-range Taepo Dong-1 ballistic missile, were initially unaware of the attempted satellite deployment. Speaking to reporters in Moscow on September 1, Gary Samore, senior director for non-proliferation on the National Security Council, said that "this is a serious development but certainly not one that has surprised us." Based on satellite imagery of the rocket's support scaffolding and activity at the site, Washington had reportedly anticipated the North Korean launch by as much as two weeks—enough time to position special ships and aircraft to observe the launch.

After Pyongyang announced the satellite launch, however, U.S. officials began to adjust their statements. By September 14 State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said, "We have concluded that North Korea did attempt to orbit a very small satellite. We also have concluded the satellite failed to achieve orbit."

The North Korean rocket was comprised of a No Dong first stage and a Scud second stage, with a solid rocket motor and a small satellite as the payload. A government official told The New York Times on September 15 that with a successful third stage (and an unspecified payload), the Taepo Dong-1 could travel 3,500 kilometers.

Various theories regarding the timing of the launch have been suggested, such as a ploy to extract concessions during the ongoing talks with Washington regarding the Agreed Framework and other issues, or as a salute by the North Korean military to leader Kim Jong Il, who on September 5 acceded to the highest post of the North Korean government. The launch may also have been staged as a reminder to Washington of North Korea's dissatisfaction with U.S. performance in implementing the 1994 nuclear agreement. (See ACT, June/July 1998.) Additionally, the launch may have been intended to demonstrate a new staging capability that North Korea could market to client-states like Pakistan and Iran, which are known to be interested in longer-range missiles. Staging is one of the key barriers preventing missile programs based on Scud technology from achieving greater ranges. Cited in CIA and Defense Department reports as a key proliferator of missile technology, North Korea has attended two rounds of bilateral missile talks with Washington aimed at ending Pyongyang's missile development and export programs.

Reminding Washington of the stakes involved in the missile issue could also have motivated the launch. On June 16 the KCNA announced Pyongyang's willingness to accept financial compensation for ending its missile exports. Two congressional staffers visiting North Korea at the end of August were reportedly told a figure of $500 million. The State Department announced on September 10 that a new round of bilateral missile talks will be held in New York on October 1.

The consequences for Asian security from the missile launch could be severe. On August 31, Japan announced that it was suspending its signature of the cost-sharing agreement reached July 28 for the light-water reactor project at the heart of the Agreed Framework. (See story.) Japan has committed itself to pay $1 billion of the $4.6 billion project. Under pressure from Washington and Seoul, Tokyo may relent on its suspension of cooperation in time for construction to begin in November, the Kyodo News Service reported on September 10.

South Korea and Japan may also use North Korea's action to justify new defense initiatives. The Mainichi Shimbun reported on September 7 that Japan's Defense Agency has begun looking into the development of information-collecting satellites for both civilian and military purposes. Tokyo has also expressed new interest in collaborating with the United States in studying the feasibility of developing ballistic missile defenses, a move sure to raise concern in China.

Within two weeks of the North Korean launch, on September 10, South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hong Sun-yong said that he would call for revision of Seoul's 1979 agreement with the United States not to develop or deploy missiles with a range greater than 180 kilometers.

In the past, Seoul has argued that it should be allowed to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and build missiles capable of delivering a 500-kilogram payload to a range of 300 kilometers, the regime's threshold of control. A State Department official said on September 15 that Washington would like Seoul to join the MTCR but "under the right circumstances"—namely ending its longer-range missile ambitions.

Washington's missile defense debate could also be affected by the North Korean launch. Robert Bell, special assistant to the president for national security affairs, acknowledged to reporters on September 1, "There's no question that the test of the Taepo Dong-1 will factor into the congressional debate on national missile defense." Bell went on to point out that "the degree of technical challenge going from an intermediate-range missile like the Taepo Dong-1 to an intercontinental-range system like the Taepo Dong-2 is really quite profound." Even with the test, Bell said, the administration remains confident there will be "at least three years' warning of an ICBM threat."

Clinton Vetoes Sanctions Bill; Sets, Imposes New Sanctions on Russia

Howard Diamond

HOPING TO avert an override of President Bill Clinton's June 23 veto of a bill to sanction entities aiding Iran's ballistic missile program, the White House announced on July 15 that it would impose new proliferation-related sanctions on seven Russian firms for transfers to Iran and other countries. The U.S. decision followed a Russian announcement earlier that day naming nine companies to be investigated (including the seven targeted for sanctions) by a new Export Control Commission for violations of Russian export control laws. Following the U.S. and Russian announcements, the House of Representatives postponed an override vote scheduled for July 17. Congress will reconsider a vote when it returns from summer recess the second week of September.

The Clinton administration has been seeking ways to cut off the flow of missile technology from Russian firms to Iran since January 1997. Russia's latest attempt to strengthen its export control system came on July 19, when President Boris Yeltsin signed into law new regulations on military-technical cooperation with foreign states. Under pressure from the United States, Moscow adopted a "catch-all" decree in January to regulate exports of all technology usable in weapons of mass destruction. Two additional presidential orders followed in May requiring Russian exporters to determine the end-use of their products, and to give overall regulatory authority for the Russian commercial space industry to the Russian Space Agency. Each of the Russian decrees occurred just ahead of scheduled congressional action on the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act, which administration officials repeatedly warned would be vetoed.

After several delays at the administration's request, the Senate approved the sanctions bill on May 22. (See ACT, May 1998.) On June 9, the House adopted the Senate's version of the bill, which also contained the implementing legislation for U.S. obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Both chambers adopted the legislation by overwhelming—ostensibly veto-proof—margins (392-22 in the House and 90-4 in the Senate).

In his June 24 veto message to Congress, Clinton asserted that the bill set too low an evidentiary standard for imposing sanctions and could result in indiscriminate punishment, thus diminishing U.S. credibility in seeking cooperation on non-proliferation from other governments. The president pointed out that the automatic application of sanctions called for in the bill would hurt U.S. diplomatic efforts to work with supplier states, particularly Russia, on improving their own export-enforcement mechanisms. Clinton also cited steps that have been taken by Moscow as evidence of the success of the administration's approach that would be jeopardized by the proposed legislation.

On July 28, the administration announced the issuance of a new executive order (No. 13094) that broadens the range of both sanctionable activities and of sanctions. The new order, which amends a 1994 executive order (No. 12938) that authorized the imposition of sanctions for proliferation of chemical and biological weapons technology, now covers technology for nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. The amended order will no longer require a finding that a foreign person "knowingly and materially" contributed to sanctionable activity. Now, only a material contribution is necessary to invoke sanctions, dropping the standard that exporters have knowledge of the end-use of their products. In addition, the new order allows the imposition of sanctions in the event of an attempted transfer, instead of only when a transfer has occurred. The amended order also expands the list of possible sanctions by including a ban on U.S. government assistance to the entity.

In his July 28 message to Congress on the new order, Clinton said the amendment gives the United States "greater flexibility and discretion in deciding how and to what extent" to impose penalties. Under the new guidelines, the secretary of state will take into account "the likely effectiveness of such measures in furthering the interests of the United States and the costs and benefits of such measures" when deciding whether to impose sanctions.

Utilizing the authority of the new executive order (which became effective July 29), a July 29 revision of the Commerce Department's "Entity List" (naming foreign end-users involved in proliferation activities), and provisions of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the Clinton administration imposed sanctions on Baltic State Technical University, Europalace 2000, Glavkosmos, Grafit, INOR Scientific Center, MOSO Company, and Polyus Scientific Production Association. Each is barred indefinitely from all exports to the United States; all U.S. government assistance, procurement and contracts (including termination of all existing contracts and assistance); and importation of all defense items or defense services. The firms have also been added to the Entity List, requiring them to obtain a license for all products (not just dual-use and Munitions List items) imported from the United States—with a presumption of denial for all licenses. The two firms that are under investigation by Moscow but have not been sanctioned by Washington are the Tikhomirov Institute and the Komintern plant in Novosibirsk.

 

Iran Tests Shahab-3

On July 22—only days after Clinton announced his new sanctions policy—Iran flight tested its 1,300-kilometer-range Shahab-3 missile. The Shahab-3 is a liquid-fueled road-mobile missile that, according to the State Department, is "largely derived" from North Korean technology. Based on Pyongyang's 1,000–1,300-kilometer-range Nodong missile, the Shahab-3's rapid development has been widely ascribed to illicit transfers of Russian technology, materials and expertise. Iranian Defense Minister Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, however, was quoted by Agence France-Presse on July 25 asserting the Shahab-3 was produced "entirely by Iran" and "without assistance." Iran is also believed to be developing a 2,000-kilometer-range missile known as the Shahab-4, which is believed to incorporate technology from the Soviet SS-4.

If deployed, the Shahab-3 would give Tehran the ability to strike all of Israel and portions of Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Iran is already capable of producing Scud-B and -C missiles, which have ranges of 300 kilometers and 500 kilometers, respectively. Describing the test as a "worrisome development," Defense Department spokesman Kenneth Bacon said July 23 that "this was one test. It does not give them a capability." But coming on the heels of the Rumsfeld Commission report on the ballistic missile threat to the United States, the Iranian test is likely to energize missile defense advocates and undermine efforts to defend the president's veto.

Clinton Vetoes Sanctions Bill; Sets, Imposes New Sanctions on Russia

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