U.S. Missile Defense Efforts Will 'Move Beyond' ABM Treaty
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 13, 2001 Ballistic missile defense is crucial to U.S. national security, and its development will eventually conflict with the 1972 U.S.-Soviet Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said here July 12.
"Our program is designed to develop the most capable possible defense for our country, our allies and our deployed forces at the earliest feasible time," Wolfowitz said before the Senate Armed Forces Committee. "That means it will at some point -- and increasingly over time -- encounter the constraints imposed by the ABM Treaty."
Wolfowitz emphasized that the administration "does not intend to violate the ABM Treaty. We intend to move beyond it" by working with the Russians to develop "a new security framework that reflects the fact that the Cold War is over and that the U.S. and Russia are not enemies."
He added that the United States expects to have reached an understanding with Russia by the time its development program bumps up against the constraints of the ABM Treaty.
The amended DoD fiscal 2002 budget asks for $8.3 billion for missile defense, up about $3 billion from the original proposal. Pending congressional approval, Pentagon officials said, the money will be used to conduct more testing at Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and to establish more test facilities in Alaska.
Wolfowitz said missile defense is a critical deterrent against 21st century threats posed by chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction delivered by ballistic missiles. He pointed to unfriendly governments in North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya that have, or are developing, such weaponry and delivery systems.
"If we do not build defenses against these weapons now, hostile powers will soon have -- or may already have -- the ability to strike U.S. and allied cities with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons," he said. "They will have the power to hold our people hostage to blackmail and terror."