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BMDO Chief Answers Missile Defense Critics

The director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) says
it is important not to let misconceptions about a limited U.S.
National Missile Defense (NMD) program cloud the ongoing discussions
about the program between the United States and its alliance partners.

Air Force Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish told attendees at the
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Year 2000 Multinational BMD
Conference" in Philadelphia on June 5 that the ballistic missile
threat is both "real and growing," and the security of the United
States, present and future, depends on its ability to defeat such a
threat. Employing active defenses not only would provide basic
protection, he said, but would also help preserve freedom of action
"and remove a hostile state's capability to coerce U.S. foreign policy
or shape national security decisions."

BMDO engineers "are making significant technological advances" that
will make a limited missile defense of the United States possible, he
said. Kadish said the NMD program has already demonstrated that "We
can hit a bullet with a bullet."

The official said the current debate about the NMD program "is,
perhaps, one of the most important national security discussions to be
held in the United States in the past 25 years." The decisions that
the President must make "on whether and how to proceed with the NMD
program will influence U.S. defense thinking, shape our offensive and
defensive strategic forces, and impact foreign policy for many years
to come," Kadish added.

Following is the text of Kadish's remarks:


I would like to welcome all of you to the Year 2000 Multinational
BMD Conference and Exhibition. This is the first year we have not referred
to this annual gathering as the international "TMD (Theater Missile
Defense)" conference -- and for good reason. The United States,
together with its allies and friends, remain committed to deploying a
range of proven theater missile defense systems to protect our forces
and theater populations and assets from a variety of threats posed by
theater ballistic missiles. However, the growing dialogue with our
allies on the U.S. National Missile Defense (NMD) program has changed
the way we, as allies and friends, must view the entire BMD mission.

With this in mind, and recognizing the fact that the U.S. NMD program
has captured many of the news headlines over the past couple of
months, I'd like to use my time today to address these. Because it is
frequently the target of criticism in the United States and abroad,
many misconceptions have grown up around NMD that have taken on a life
of their own. And with that, I'd like to run through and correct some
of statements many are making about the NMD program.

Headline: "The United States does not need national missile defense."

For the latter half of the 20th Century, the United States relied on
its strategic offensive nuclear forces to deter the Soviet Union from
using its long-range bomber and missile forces against targets on U.S.
territory. This was the basis for our security for more than 50 years.
Now the game has changed and we must act within a new international
security environment. A growing number of countries can do us harm
using ballistic missiles, and their views concerning the use of
weapons of mass destruction are different from ours.

The Director of the CIA testified before Congress last February that,
over the next 15 years, American cities will face ballistic missile
threats from a variety of actors. He emphasized that we now must be
concerned with a longer list of potential adversaries, and he
specifically pointed to North Korea's ability to test its Taepo Dong
II missile this year, a missile that may be capable of delivering a
nuclear payload to the United States. Over 20 countries now have
ballistic missiles of theater range, and the technology for
longer-range missiles is spreading. Also, some two dozen countries
have, or are capable of developing, weapons of mass destruction. While
our potential adversaries may resort at times to suitcase or truck
bombs, the plain fact is that they continue to invest their scarce
resources in ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. And
today, the United States does not have a capability to defend against
this threat.

Domestic and foreign critics of NMD have asserted that a missile
attack on the United States is highly unlikely and that an NMD system
is unnecessary and a considerable waste of money. They do not
understand why we cannot simply rely on the overwhelming power of our
strategic retaliatory forces as a deterrent. Deterrence remains a
fundamental part of the U.S. counterproliferation strategy, but to
stop short of examining possibilities for active defense, I believe,
may be short-sighted in today's world. Missiles are spreading to
dangerous states whose leaders we may not be able to deter in every
instance. Our present and future security, therefore, hinges on our
ability to defeat these possible threats.

According to the 1998 Rumsfeld Commission report on the proliferation
of longer-range missiles, Libyan ruler Col. Qaddafi gave a speech in
1990 that clearly laid out why the United States needs to be concerned
about missile attacks from a far-off nation. He said that "if we (the
Libyan nation0 had possessed a deterrent -- missiles that could reach
New York -- we would have hit at the same moment" as the United States
hit targets in Libya in the 1986 air strike. He was referring to our
air strikes against terrorist base camps on Libyan territory. From
this experience he concluded that Libya "should build this force so
that they and others will no longer think about an attack."

One wonders too, if Saddam Hussein had had longer-range missiles in
the 1991 Gulf War, whether he would have threatened to use them or
actually used them against the capitals of our coalition partners in
Europe to persuade them not to join the coalition, or even against the
United States in order to prevent U.S. actions to support our Middle
East allies or liberate Kuwait. It's clear he was very willing to use
them against Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Missile defense is a reasonable response to a new kind of threat.
Active defenses are not just about providing basic protection. They
also will help preserve our freedom of action and remove a hostile
state's capability to coerce U.S. foreign policy or shape national
security decisions.

Headline: "The NMD system cannot work."

Two central technological problems confront us. The first is the
discrimination problem, or can we find the warhead? The second is the
so-called "hit-a-bullet-with-a-bullet" problem, or, once we find the
warhead, can we hit it? Historically, solutions to both these problems
have eluded us, especially against a massive raid involving hundreds
of incoming warheads and countermeasures -- decoys, radar chaff, and
debris. Up to now, the technological immaturity of our sensors did not
allow us to discriminate, or pick out, the countermeasures within a
target cluster.

During the past decade, we've made significant advances in our sensor
and discrimination technologies, including in the areas of new
high-resolution radars, digital radars with sophisticated electronic
counter-countermeasures, and infrared seekers. Steady improvements in
computer processing power, which has been doubling every 18 months for
the last 30 years, has helped us to develop an interceptor that flies
out quickly, processes the sensor data faster and with greater
accuracy, and destroys the warhead.

We also have shown that we can hit another object in space, something
like a five-foot ice cream cone, at closing speeds greater than 15,000
mph. Last October, on our first attempt, we demonstrated the ability
of the kill vehicle to travel thousands of miles to a very specific
location in space -- one ultimately defined by inches and microseconds
-- discriminate among several objects, identify the right target,
divert towards it, and collide into it. The kinetic energy created by
this high-speed collision of two masses is significant enough to
obliterate the target. Today we don't need nuclear weapons to kill
warheads in-flight.

We are testing the concept of hit-to-kill rigorously. Last year, our
flight tests went a long way to convincing me that we had winning kill
vehicle designs. In 1999, we had six successful intercepts using
hit-to-kill technology, one in our NMD program, and five more in our
theater ballistic missile defense programs.

Do we still have work to do? Absolutely, but I'm increasingly
optimistic that we will not have to revisit the basic science
associated with hit-to-kill.

Headline: "Newly armed states can easily defeat the NMD system with
countermeasures."

The critics of NMD tend to magnify the capabilities of states like
North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. But just because states can build
missiles doesn't mean they can or will develop countermeasures. And
then, even if they demonstrate a capability to build them, it is not
automatically true that they can use them effectively. These countries
can invent on a blackboard almost any kind of countermeasure. But can
they be certain that they can make them work effectively? I would
argue that they can't.

To be confident that these countermeasures can work effectively, these
states also will have to test them. The limited amount of ballistic
missile and countermeasure testing done by our adversaries, in other
words, amplifies the uncertainties that they must face if they are to
use their weapons successfully. This uncertainty will act as a
deterrent in some situations.

Headline: "The U.S. NMD system is "Star Wars" by another name."

The threat we must counter today is very different from the old Soviet
threat involving thousands of warheads. The U.S. NMD system we will
deploy in 2005, if directed, is tailored to counter a very limited
threat of a few or a few tens of warheads and simple countermeasures.
It's not a global protection system, and it does not feature
space-based weapons. "Star Wars" is a misleading and inaccurate label.

The NMD system we are planning to deploy, if authorized, is very
modest in capability, a function of the number of interceptors and
sensors we plan to deploy. We are building this limited system to meet
the threat we'll face over the next several years. It will consist of
20 ground-based interceptors by 2005. Because we expect some states to
develop a capability to launch more missiles in that timeframe, we
plan to expand that system by 2007 by adding 80 more interceptors, for
a total of 100. The ground-based follow-on capabilities we envision
today will not enable the United States to defeat a massive ballistic
missile attack.

Even though we are designing a modest and limited system, the
technological and integration challenges we face with our initial
architecture are daunting. We still have major challenges as we try to
meet our deadline of 2005 -- just five years from now. Our greatest
challenge with this system is to make sure all NMD elements are
properly integrated and work together as they've been designed. The
technological and managerial complexity of what we are trying to
accomplish is on par with some of our country's past highly
challenging programs like the Apollo program, the late 1950s program
to deploy its first nuclear ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile)
force, and the on-going Space Shuttle program.

Headline: "U.S. TMD systems can be used to protect U.S. territory."

It's important to understand that our planned theater missile
defenses, our Patriot, Navy Area, and THAAD (Theater-High Altitude
Area Defense) systems, are not capable of intercepting an ICBM
warhead. Our TMD systems are designed to intercept a different class
of missile, missiles that have a shorter range and fly at
significantly slower speeds than an ICBM. Missile speed and range make
a profound difference. Conversely, the NMD Ground-Based Interceptor,
which flies out at extremely high speeds, cannot defeat short- to
intermediate-range missiles. It runs out of engagement battlespace
much too quickly for it to be effective.

For all of these reasons, the United States must field different
systems to counter a broad range of immediate and emerging threats.
While our TMD system may be perfectly good "national missile defense"
systems for some countries located in the Middle East, Europe, or Asia
the United States must develop a system to protect its cities and
infrastructures against intercontinental, high-speed ballistic
missiles.

Headline: "The United States should delay its NMD deployment readiness
decision."

I'm frequently asked: why has the DRR (Defense Readiness Review) been
scheduled for this summer? The answer is that the threat is emerging
faster than we thought it would just five years ago. For this reason,
it is essential that we protect an option for a presidential decision
to deploy a system as soon as possible. In order to preserve that
option, we need to undertake a technological readiness review soon.

To put the DRR in proper context, you should understand first what it
is not. This summer's internal Defense Department review is not a
decision to deploy the system. The decision to proceed with deploying
missile defenses lies squarely on the desk of the President, in
consultation with the Congress. But before the President can formulate
informed answers to the questions of whether to deploy by 2005, he
must have before him some critical pieces of information concerning
four primary criteria: the threat, the technological readiness of the
system, the cost of that system, and our national security and arms
control objectives. The DRR is actually an on-going internal Secretary
of Defense evaluation that focuses only on two of the criteria --
technological readiness and the cost of the system.

If the President decides that we need an operational capability by
2005, and you back up all of the activities that we need to do to meet
that commitment, it turns out that building the X-band radar must
occur early in the process. If this radar needs to be built in Alaska,
work must begin next spring because of the short construction season.
If work is to begin roughly a year from now, we have to let
construction contracts this fall. If we wait another year to begin
building that radar, I would not be able to assure the country that we
can have the initial system up and running by 2005.

Headline: "We don't have enough test data to make a deployment
decision, and we're not doing adequate testing."

An important part of understanding the error in this headline is
understanding the way we have developed and acquired weapon systems in
the past, and how we have changed our approach to meet an urgent
schedule. The standard approach to weapon-system acquisition has been
simply too risk-averse to allow us to develop new system concepts
rapidly, especially when the threat drives the urgency for
development. With average cycle times for major acquisition programs
over the past decades averaging eight to nine years, and that's eight
to nine years from the time the decision is made to build, it is clear
that the traditional way of doing business in defense procurement will
not handle many of our future demands.

The NMD program is on a compressed, high-risk schedule to deploy a
system by 2005 for one reason and one reason only-the threat. Because
we are moving on that fast track, the program we are executing is
high-risk, which means that a significant setback in any one element
can delay the entire program. Taking such risks is inconsistent with
today's acquisition culture. For this reason, we are being accused by
some of "rushing," or of pushing a system forward that, once fielded,
will not be operationally effective.

But high-risk does not mean reckless. There is a difference between
rushing and moving as fast as is prudent. We have every incentive to
get a capability into the field as quickly as possible. We also have
every incentive to get it right.

A prudent testing program, therefore, will address first the basics of
the system. We've scheduled four tests to get two demonstrations of
hit-to-kill. The first was successful. The second was partially
successful. The next is planned for later this month [now July]. Some
suggest that we are not testing the NMD system against realistic
targets. But they ignore our decades-long practice for testing other
complex systems, such as new aircraft. The first test planned for each
new aircraft has always been a high-speed taxi test. After all, there
is an understandable interest in making sure the basic mechanics,
avionics, and computers work as they should before taking the far more
risky step of lifting off the ground. This is the evolutionary nature
of the testing approach we must use when we develop highly complex
machines-we don't test to the maximum every component of the system
the first few times.

Some are proposing that we wait until we get the results of
"real-world" tests against real-world countermeasures in order to
reduce our risks before we make our decision to deploy. Delay the
decision to proceed with deployment, in other words, to sometime in
the middle of the coming decade before we begin the multi-year process
of constructing the system. A decision to delay on these grounds, of
course, will not allow us to achieve initial operational capability
until well after the 2005 date, probably around 2010. This risk-averse
acquisition approach is not one that is tailored very well to our
current national security requirements. It ignores the one factor that
is driving us to consider a decision to proceed this year-the threat.
As I said earlier, North Korea is capable of testing its Taepo-Dong 2
missile at any time. The more pressing and relevant question,
therefore, is this: can the United States afford to wait?

Our flight test last January, when we missed the target warhead, has
received a great deal of attention. But that test was a partial
success, because hitting the warhead was only one of our objectives.
In the context of testing, it was a successful developmental test that
proved we could integrate the far-flung and separate major elements
and make them work together as one system. The interception phase of
the NMD mission is clearly the most visible phase and it is key to our
success. Yet we must not lose sight of the fact that the successful
integration of the highly interdependent system elements is no less
critical. The integration and support aspects of our testing events
are transparent to most people, and we could not do this mission
without them.

In the final six seconds of that January test, we had a malfunction in
our interceptor sensor system that prevented us from colliding with
the target. (We missed by 76 meters.) We've since taken the necessary
corrective actions, both on the equipment and in our processes, to
mitigate against a recurrence. As a result of the fixes we have had to
make, we postponed by two months the next integrated flight test. But
we should remember that the one thing that failed in January's test
worked last October. At this point in time, we've no reason to
conclude that the overall design of the NMD system is flawed.

By the DRR this summer, we'll have tested some 45-50 percent of the
functionality of the system, almost 90 percent of the elements, and
we'll have gained enough data to be able to support a decision by the
President. Remember, we've been testing and doing simulations to prove
the elements of the NMD system for many years now. There has been
significant ground testing as well as flight testing against the
radars, and we use the data from these tests to validate the results
we derive from our extensive modeling and simulations exercises. So,
while we view the upcoming flight test to be very important to the
progress of the program and the decision to proceed, we will not be
developing a recommendation for the President based only on this one
flight test. Our entire testing program has given us a lot of good and
very valuable data upon which we can base our decisions.

I'd like to close by leaving you with what I think ought to be in the
headlines today.

-- First, the threat is real, and growing.

-- Second, we are making significant technological advances, making a
limited missile defense of the United States possible. We can hit a
bullet with a bullet. Indeed, we've already demonstrated it.

-- Third, the upcoming decisions on whether and how to proceed with
the NMD program will influence U.S. defense thinking, shape our
offensive and defensive strategic forces, and impact foreign policy
for many years to come. The debate over the U.S. NMD program is
perhaps one of the most important national security discussions to be
held in the United States in the last 25 years.

I hope my remarks here today have helped set the record straight on
NMD. As we move forward and the United States and its Alliance
partners continue our dialogue on this subject, it's important that
misconceptions about the U.S. NMD program not cloud our discussions.
We come at this issue from a wide range of backgrounds and
perspectives, so I'm thankful for the opportunity to speak to you
about the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense program.

My hope is that these next few days will provide several opportunities
for expanding our dialogue on this very important mission area.

Thank you. Ballistic Missile Defense Organization Director Answers Critics