NAPSNET Weekly FLASH Update 19 September, 2000

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"NAPSNET Weekly FLASH Update 19 September, 2000", NAPSNet Weekly Report, September 19, 2000,

Missile Defense

1. US Perspectives on NMD Decision

US Senator Thad Cochran, Chairman, Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Service, issued a report by the Committee on Governmental Affairs in which he sets out the chronology of NMD, including the Clinton administration’s actions. He argued that the NMD problems the US face today are the result of decisions made by the Clinton administration since January, 1993.
“Stubborn Things: A Decade of Facts About Ballistic Missile Defense”

Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr. argued in Arms Control Today that in passing responsibility for an NMD deployment decision on to his successor, US President Clinton bought time that will allow for the pursuit of diplomatic activities that could reduce the need for an NMD system. These include giving diplomacy a chance to work out the DPRK problem, building an international consensus to constrain Iraq, developing better relations with a changing Iran, and developing an improved cooperation program with Russia and China to counter missile proliferation.
“The Right Thing to Do”

Retired Colonel Daniel Smith, Chief of Research at Center for Defense Information, analyzes the public statements of US President Bill Clinton and of Philip Coyle, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation for the US Defense Department, to demonstrate that diplomatic interests and fundamental concerns about NMD technology led Clinton to delay deployment of NMD.
“Deferring NMD — The President and the Chief Pentagon Tester Speak”

Joseph Cirincione, Director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, provided testimony on the NMD program to the US Congress on September 8. He testified that none of the proposed NMD systems have proven technically feasible and that it is unlikely that any will be militarily effective during the next eight years. He concludes by arguing that until interceptor tests are conducted under combat-like conditions, it will be impossible to ascertain the effectiveness of a missile defense system.
“The Technical Feasibility of National Missile Defense”
“Full Text”

2. Non-US Perspectives on NMD Decision

Camille Grand writes in Arms Control Today that while the European opinion has not yet impacted the US NMD debate, it could become a divisive issue in the NATO alliance at a time when unity is needed to face security challenges other than missile proliferation. Many Europeans are concerned that the US is showing a growing distrust for arms control and non-proliferation regimes and treaties. Although European and US threat assessments are largely similar the two have different strategic cultures and the Europeans are beginning to question whether NMD means a decoupling from Europe, an end to disarmament, and an end to deterrence.
“Missile Defense: The View From the Other Side of the Atlantic”

Chinese Ambassador Hu Xiaodi, speaking at the UN Conference on Disarmament meeting in Geneva urged disarmament negotiators to consider the “grave consequences” of US plans for a national missile defense system, and he was dismissive of President Clinton’s decision to delay deployment of NMD. US Ambassador Robert T. Grey rejected PRC suggestions the US was trying to control the world and added, “The era of empires is over, as is the era of one-party states.”
“China Blasts U.S. Missile Proposal”

3. NMD Alternatives

Richard Garwi argued in Arms Control Today in favor of a surface-based boost-phase intercept (BPI) plan that could be the foundation for an effective anti-ballistic missile defense with advantages over the current NMD plan. This plan would utilize the existing Defense Support Program network of satellites to detect launches and the interceptor would use infrared detectors to locate the missile from as far as 1,000 km away.
“Boost-Phase Intercept: A Better Alternative”

Former Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, who headed U.S. missile defense programs a decade ago, said, “The only option the country has is a sea-based option” if any national missile defense is to be put in place by the administration’s original target date of 2005. Theodore A. Postol, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, said the sea-based boost-phase intercept approach “makes tremendously more sense” than the administration’s plan for shooting down missiles in space.
“Support Builds For Sea-Based Missile Defense System”

Joseph Cirincione, Director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote that sea-based NMD systems are well-discussed but poorly understood. He argued that current systems would require more than a simple upgrading, and that a sea-based NMD system requires overcoming significant uncertainties, could not be deployed for at least a decade, and would likely be prohibitively expensive.
“Lost at Sea”

Charles Peña argued in a Cato Institute Foreign Policy Briefing that claims made about sea-based NMD and boost-phase anti-missile defense capability should be viewed skeptically. The current the Navy Theater Wide system does not have boost-phase intercept capability, can’t be easily and cheaply modified to provide such capability, and it conceptual at this stage.
“From the Sea: National Missile Defense Is Neither Cheap Nor Easy”

Nuclear Weapons

1. Russian Nuclear Forces

Over the past two weeks, Russian Ministry for Nuclear Energy, or Minatom, and the Russian Defence Ministry have carried out three subcritical nuclear tests at Novaya Zemlya. The purpose of the tests is believed to be to ensure that the lifetime of existing warheads can be ensured, but new generation weapons research was also named as a reason for testing.
“Russia Performed Three Subcritical Nuclear Tests”

Russian news sources reported after recent meeting of the Russian Security Council that Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal will be reduced to 1,500 warheads, but the reduction is in part dependent upon progress in strategic arms control agreements. If START III negotiations fail to be initiated or are unsuccessful, or if the US proceeds with deployment of a NMD system, the role of the rocket forces is likely to be revisited.
“Russia Ready to Reduce to 1,500 Warheads, Addressing Dispute Over Strategic Forces’ Fate”

2. Non-Proliferation Issues

Russian deputy minister for atomic energy Valentin Ivanov, commenting on a recent proposal by President Vladimir Putin, said Russia was proposing “a technological instrument to remove pure plutonium and enriched uranium from the fuel cycle.” If accepted, the proposal would “be a new step toward solving the problem of nuclear nonproliferation,” he said.
“Putin Plan New Step in Checking Nuclear Arms Spread”

The US and Russia issued a joint statement, the US-Russia Strategic Stability Cooperation Initiative, signed by US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The link below is to the full text of the joint statement, which describes US and Russian intentions to jointly enhance strategic stability and to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, missiles and missile technologies worldwide.
“U.S.-Russian Strategic Stability Cooperation Initiative – U.S.-Russian Joint Statement and Implementation Plan”

An article in the Washington Post reported that Alik Galiyev, a former Soviet Union biological weapons scientist, feels that the US has devoted time and energy to dismantling biological weapons laboratories but have done little to convert the factory to peaceful use or provide long-term employment for highly skilled scientists. Senior Russian officials complain that much of the US aid for retraining former weapons scientists has been frittered away on administrative expenses. This criticism comes at a time when the US Congress has forbidden the Defense Department to spend any money on these and other Soviet military conversion programs, in part because of lack of access to top secret facilities.
“Program To Halt Bioweapons Work Assailed”

The German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung reported that German Economics Minister Werner Mueller has refused financial aid to the German group Siemens in its bid to sell a plutonium processing plant to Russia. He said, “I will not agree to granting credit for the export of this factory, licensed by the public institute Hermes.” Mueller said he would review the situation if there were a common initiative of the G8 countries to finance the processing of plutonium in such a factory.
“Germany Refuses to Help Siemens Sell Plutonium Plant to Russia”

Russian Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Valentin Ivanov said Russia is engaged in research towards building its first close-cycle nuclear reactor. This reactor design is necessary to implement Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to exclude enriched uranium and plutonium from nuclear power engineering. Ivanov added, “the real introduction of the new technology, if it is accepted by the international community, may take place in 30 years as ‘traditional’ reactors are already operating and cannot be stopped.”
“Russia May Build First Close-Cycle Nuke Reactor”

3. South Asia Nuclear Policy

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace released a Non-Proliferation Project briefing on India’s nuclear program which stated that further “nuclear-device” testing will be required before these can be converted into usable military weapons. India should therefore take this opportunity to pause its program because weaponization and deployment will downgrade India’s national security, will not prevent cross-border violence in Kashmir, and can not suppress sub-national ethnic divisions for nation-building.
“India’s Slow-Motion Nuclear Deployment”

India’s prediction that the international protests against the country’s nuclear tests two years ago would be short-lived have been proven right by the visits of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and US President Clinton, writes Ralph Cossa who is Executive Director of Pacific Forum CSIS. He says that the development sets a dangerous precedent for other nuclear proliferators that going nuclear may be a low-cost method of gaining greater international attention. Getting India to sign the CTBT remains a priority but Japan must take the lead given the US inability to get its own house in order.
“CTBT Remains Unsigned: Pressure India and Pakistan”


1. Russian Military Reform

The online Moscow Times reported that Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said the Russian military will be cut by 350,000 soldiers to 850,000 over the next three years. The article reported that observers said these cuts could seriously undermine the country’s ability to defend its extensive borders. Alexander Pikayev, of the Moscow Carnegie Center, argued that it is not the Defense Ministry’s ground troops that should bear the brunt of the pending cuts, but a better choice would be to cut the troops of other federal agencies whose budgets that have swelled at the expense of the army.
“Military To Cut Its Ranks by A Third”

The BBC published a report by the Russian newspaper Segodnya which argued that a simple downsizing of the armed forces will not generate significant savings. The article argued that downsizing will not help unless Russia stops training for combat operations after a nuclear strike, abandons strategic air defence, disbands the Internal Troops, transfers the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (FAPSI) and the Railway Troops to either the Defence Ministry or to civilian funding. The report stated that downsizing plans could be related to ongoing conflict internal to the Russian military leadership.
“Russian Paper Says Numerical Downsizing Of Military Unlikely To Achieve Aim”

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