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Rumsfeld Vows Not to Break Missile Treaty

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2001 – The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was outdated even before the events of Sept. 11, but the United States won't violate it to test a missile shield, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today.

"As we prosecute today's war on terrorism, the president has made clear that we also need to prepare to defend against other emerging asymmetric threats, including the threat of ballistic missile attack against our cities and people," Rumsfeld said during the daily media briefing.

To avoid violating the treaty, the Defense Department cancelled two events that might have been construed as violations. On Oct. 24, an Aegis radar on a surface ship was scheduled to track a strategic ballistic missile test target. On Nov. 14, another Aegis radar was to have tracked a Titan II space-launched vehicle, Rumsfeld said.

The secretary explained that the treaty is fairly ambiguous and some people might have construed these two tests as violations. But, he noted that other tests and research are still going on.

"We are continuing with many aspects of the very robust test development program," Rumsfeld said. "But I do not want to put the United States in a position of having someone raise a question about whether or not something is a violation of a treaty."

Rumsfeld said the United States and Russia are still talking about the treaty. Eventually, though, the United States will need to set aside the treaty and continue with testing for the proposed missile shield.

"For some time now, we have advised the Congress and the government of the Russian Federation that the planned missile defense testing program was going to bump up against the ABM treaty," Rumsfeld said. "That has now happened."

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Related Sites:
DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers, Oct. 25, 2001
DoD News Briefing Slides and Video Clips, Oct. 25, 2001

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