RUMSFELD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. I thank you for this opportunity to discuss the Moscow Treaty with the committee. I understand that the ranking member, Senator Helms, has just returned home from an illness, and certainly we wish him well.
I know that you have spent time with Secretary Powell, and I want to recognize his fine work in support of the president and that of Undersecretary Bolton and Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, as well as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Dick Myers, who have all worked closely on these efforts.
I would like to abbreviate my remarks somewhat, the prepared remarks, and have them included in the record. I also want to apologize for the distraction of my hand waving in your face, but the surgeon tells me it shouldn't go below my heart. So I have this Statue of Liberty pose that I've adopted. It is solely for that reason. I'd much prefer...
BIDEN: It's probably uncomfortable, but it's very becoming.
RUMSFELD: Senator Lugar, there are lots of reasons to pass the '02 supplemental, the one you mentioned, to be sure, but also the fact that we're not able to pay the training for the Afghan national army, we're not able to pay the funds we owe the Pakistanis for their support in fuel and various other things, to say nothing of the needs of the men and women in the armed services for maintenance and overhaul, repairs and spare parts. So we are anxious to have that supplemental passed. When President Bush took office last year he made clear his determination to transform the Russian-American relationship, to put hostility and distrust that has been built up over so many decades behind us and to set our two nations on a course towards greater cooperation.
Some naysayers insisted that it really couldn't be done. They looked at his agenda, his promise to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, his commitment to build defenses, its friends and allies, to protect friends and allies and ourselves from ballistic missile attack, his determination to strengthen the NATO alliance by making new allies of old adversaries. And the prediction was that the U.S. and Russia were really on a collision course.
The past year suggests what a difference a year can make. None of these dire predictions came to pass. To the contrary, the U.S.-Russian relationship is stronger today than perhaps at any time in my adult lifetime. Far from a clash over NATO expansion, the president has cemented a new NATO-Russian relationship that will permit increasing cooperation between Russia and the members of the Atlantic alliance. Far from causing a deep chill in relations, the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty was greeted in Russia with something approximating a yawn. Indeed, President Putin declared the decision does not pose a threat to Russia, which of course it does not.
Far from launching a new arms race, the U.S. and Russia have both decided to move towards historic reductions in their deployed offensive nuclear arsenals, reductions to be codified in the Moscow Treaty before your committee.
Indeed, President Putin chose to announce the Russian reductions on the very same day that President Bush announced his intention to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.
In little over a year, President Bush has defied the critics and set in motion a fundamental transformation in U.S.-Russian relationship, one that's designed to benefit the people of both of our nations and indeed the world.
As the record shows, that it is a transformation that began before the terrible events of September 11.
In the last 12 months, the president of the United States and of Russia have had probably more interaction and forged more areas of cooperation across a broader range of political, economic and security issues than at any time. Today, the U.S. and Russia are working together to develop new avenues for trade and economic cooperation, we're working together to fight terrorism and deal with new and emerging threats that will face both of our countries in this new and dangerous century. We're working together to reduce deployed offensive nuclear weapons, weapons that are a legacy of the past and which no longer needed when Russia and the U.S. are basing our relationship on one of increasing friendship and cooperation, rather than a fear of mutual annihilation.
So these are historic changes, changes of a breadth and scale that few imagined and many openly doubted could be achieved in so short a period of time.
Of course, there's a good deal of work ahead and challenges to overcome, let there be no doubt. Our success is by no means assured. But we have an opportunity to build a new relationship for our peoples, a relationship that can contribute to peace and stability and prosperity for generations of Russians and Americans.
It will require a change in our thinking. Thinking in the bureaucracy in both countries. Thinking in the Congress and in the Duma. Thinking in the press and in academic institutions. We have decades of momentum going in the opposite direction, and we need to recalibrate our thinking and our approaches with respect to this relationship.
In both of our countries there are those who are still struggling with the transition. Habits built up over many decades become ingrained and are hard to break. Here in the U.S., there are some who would have preferred to see us continue the adversarial arms control negotiations of the Soviet era, where teams of lawyers drafted hundreds of pages of treaty text and each side worked to gain the upper hand, while focusing on ways to preserve a balance of nuclear terror. That's an approach that President Bush rejected, insisting instead that we deal with Russia as we deal with other normal countries, in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.
RUMSFELD: Similarly, in Russia today there are those who are stuck in the past, who look warily at American offers of greater cooperation and friendship, preferring to keep us at arm's length. I've had many, many hours of meetings with them, as has General Myers.
And there are others in Russia who want to see her embrace the future and take her rightful place in Europe through increased integration with the Western industrialized democracies and by embracing political and economic freedom and the prosperity and improved standard of living, domestic peace and thriving culture that are the products of free societies.
Sometimes these divergent impulses can even be found in the same people.
Russia and the United States entered this new century saddled with two legacies of the Cold War: the adversarial relationship to which we had both grown accustomed and the physical manifestation of that adversarial relationship, the massive arsenals of weapons that we built up to destroy each other.
In the past year, we have made progress in dealing with both. Last November, at the Crawford summit, President Bush announced his intention to reduce the U.S. operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads by some two-thirds, to between 1,700 and 2,200 weapons. Soon after that, President Putin made a similar commitment.
These reductions, these proposed reductions are a reflection of our new relationship. When President Reagan spoke to the students at Moscow State University in 1988, he told them nations do not distrust each other because they are armed; they are armed because they distrust each other. And clearly we do not distrust each other the way the U.S. and Soviet Union once did.
But what's remarkable is not simply the fact of these planned reductions, but how they have happened. After a careful review, President Bush simply announced his intention to cut our stocks of operationally deployed nuclear warheads. This was the result of the Nuclear Posture Review that we spent many months on, as you indicated in your opening remarks.
President Putin shortly thereafter did exactly the same thing. And when they met in Moscow, they recorded these unilaterally announced changes in a treaty that will survive their two presidencies, the Moscow Treaty, which the Senate will now consider. But it's significant that while we consulted closely and we engaged in a process that has been open and transparent, we did not engage in the lengthy adversarial negotiations in which the U.S. kept thousands of weapons it did not need as a bargaining chip and Russia did the same. We did not establish standing negotiating teams in Geneva with armies of arms control aficionados ready to do battle over every colon and every comma. If we had done so, we would still be negotiating today, as Senator Lugar suggested. Instead, we're moving directly towards dramatic reductions in the ready nuclear weapons of our two countries and in clearing the way for a new relationship between our countries based on increasing trust and friendship.
If you want an illustration how far we have come in that regard, consider there is the START Treaty, if I can lift it. It is massive. Here's the Moscow Treaty. It's three pages. The START Treaty between President Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev is 700 pages long and took nine years to negotiate. The Moscow Treaty was concluded in the summer, some six months to negotiate, and it's three pages long.
Mr. Chairman, we are working towards the day when the relationship between our two countries is such that no arms control treaties will be necessary. That's how normal countries deal with each other. The U.S. and Great Britain both have nuclear weapons, yet we do not spend hundreds of hours negotiating with each other the fine details of mutual reductions on offensive weapons. We do not feel the need to preserve a balance of terror between us.
We would like the relationship with Russia to move in that direction, and indeed it is.
We would have made these cuts regardless of what Russia did with its arsenal. We are making them not because we signed the treaty in Moscow, but because the fundamental transformation in the relationship with Russia means that we do not need so many deployed weapons.
Russia has made a similar calculation, and the agreement we reached in Moscow was the result of those judgments, those determinations, not the cause of those judgments or determinations.
And that's also why we saw no need to include detailed verification measures in the treaty.
First, there simply isn't any way on Earth to verify what Russia is doing with all their warheads and their weapons.
Second, we don't need to. Neither side has an interest in evading the terms of the treaty since it simply codifies unilateral announced intentions and reductions, and it gives both sides broad flexibility in implementing those decisions.
Third, we saw no benefit in creating a new form for bitter debates over compliance and enforcement. Today, the last place in the world where U.S. and Russian officials still sit across a table arguing with each other is in Geneva. Our goal is to move beyond that kind of Cold War animosity, not to find new ways to extend it into the 21st century. Similarly flawed, in my view, is the complaint that because Moscow Treaty does not contain a requirement to destroy warheads removed from the missiles and the bombers that the cuts are reversible and therefore they're not real. Put aside for a moment the fact that no previous arms control agreement, not SALT, not START, not the INF, has required the destruction of warheads, and no one offered objections to those treaties on the basis that they did not require the reductions in warheads -- the destruction of warheads.
This charge is based, in my view, on a flawed premise: that irreversible reductions in nuclear weapons are possible. In point of fact, there is no such thing, in my view, as irreversible reductions in nuclear weapons. The knowledge of how to build nuclear weapons exists. There's no possibility that that knowledge is going to disappear from the face of the Earth. Every reduction is reversible given enough time and enough money.
RUMSFELD: Indeed, when it comes to building nuclear weapons, Russia has a distinct advantage over the United States. Today Russia can and does produce both nuclear weapons and strategic nuclear delivery vehicles. They have open, warm production lines. The U.S. does not produce either ICBMs or nuclear warheads. It has been a decade since we have produced a nuclear weapon, and it would likely take us the better part of a decade to begin producing some capabilities again. In the time it would take us to redeploy decommissioned nuclear warheads, Russia could easily produce a larger number of new ones, because they have an open, warm productions line.
But the question is, why would we want to do so? Barring some unforeseen or dramatic change in the global security environment, like the sudden emergence of hostile peer competitor on a par with the old Soviet Union, there's no reason why we would want to redeploy the warheads we are reducing.
The reason to keep rather than destroy some of those decommissioned warheads is to have them available in the event of a problem with safety or reliability in our arsenal. Since we do not have an open production line, it would be in my view simply mindless for us to destroy all of those warheads, and then not have them for the backup in the event that we run into safety or reliability problems, or indeed a sudden unexpected change in the global security environment. Russia, by contrast, has less need to maintain reserve warheads since it has an active production capability.
Mr. Chairman, if we had pursued the path of traditional arms control as some suggested, we would not be proceeding with the reductions outlined in this treaty before you. Rather we would be still at the negotiating table arguing over how to reconcile these and a dozen other asymmetries that exist between how Russia is arranged and how we are arranged.
They have different geography, they have a different technical base, they have a different GNP, they have different currently deployed capabilities from the United States of America. So it ought not to be surprising that trying to make an agreement with countries that have those numerous asymmetries would be an enormously difficult thing had we not done what we did, namely to each look at our own circumstance and make the best judgment we could as to what was in the interests of our respective national security.
For example, if we had said that we're going to pursue the traditional approach, we would have had to address those asymmetries. We would have had to try to balance Russia's active production capacity against the U.S. lack of a production capacity. Russia might have insisted that any agreement take into account the size of our economy and our ability to mobilize resources quickly to develop new productions facilities.
We might have argued that Russia's proximity to rogue nations allows them to deter these regimes with tactical systems; because they are many thousands of miles away from us, the United States distance from them requires more intercontinental systems possibly than theater systems. This could have resulted in a mind-numbing debate over how many non-strategic systems -- which was raised I believe by Senator Lugar -- should equal an intercontinental system, or open the door to a discussion of whether an agreement should include all nuclear warheads regardless of whether they're strategic or tactical.
Russian negotiators might have countered that the U.S. advantage in advanced high-tech conventional weapons, should also be taken into account. And so forth on ad infinitum.
But the point is this: You don't need to reconcile all of those asymmetries, because neither Russia nor the U.S. has an interest in taking advantage of the other by increasing its respective deployed nuclear forces.
The approach we've taken is to treat Russia not as an adversary, but as a friendly power. In so doing, we have been able to preserve the benefits attributed to arms control -- the dialogue, the consultations, lower force levels, predictability, stability, we hope greater transparency -- but we have done so without all the drawbacks: the protracting negotiations, the withholding of bargaining chips, the legalistic and adversarial process that more often than not becomes a source of bitterness between the participants, and the extended and bitter debates over compliance and enforcement agreements.
Because Russia and the U.S. are no longer adversaries, our interests have changed. As enemies, we had an interest in each other's failure. As friends, we ought to have an interest in each other's success. As enemies we had an interest in keeping each other off balance. As friends, we have an interest in promoting stability.
When Russia and the U.S. were adversaries, our principal focus was trying to maintain and freeze into place the balance of nuclear terror. With the recently completed Nuclear Posture Review, the U.S. has declared that we are not interested in preserving that balance of terror with Russia.
Today the threats we both face are no longer from each other. They come from new sources. And as our adversaries change, our deterrence calculus must change as well.
And that's why we're working to transform our nuclear posture from one aimed at deterring the Soviet Union that no longer exists to one designed to deter new adversaries, adversaries who may not be discouraged from attacking us by the threat of U.S. nuclear retaliation, just as the terrorists who struck us on September 11th were certainly not deterred by the United States massive nuclear arsenal.
RUMSFELD: With the Nuclear Posture Review, President Bush is taking a new approach to strategy deterrence, one that combines deep reductions in offensive nuclear forces with new conventional offensive and defensive systems more appropriate for deterring the potential adversaries we face in the 21st century.
Some have asked why in the post-Cold War we need to maintain as many as 1,700 to 2,200 operationally deployed warheads. The fact that the Soviet threat has receded does not mean that we no longer need nuclear weapons. To the contrary, the U.S. nuclear arsenal remains an important part of our deterrent strategy and helps us to dissuade the emergence of potential or would-be peer competitors by underscoring the futility of trying to sprint toward parity with us.
Indeed, Mr. Chairman, our decision to proceed with reductions as deep as the ones outlined in the Moscow Treaty is premised on decisions to invest in a number of other critical areas, such as intelligence, ballistic and cruise missile defense, and a variety of conventional weapons programs funded in our 2003 budget request.
Others have asked why there's no reduction schedule in the treaty. The answer is quite simple: flexibility. Our approach to the Nuclear Posture Review was to recognize that we're entering a period of surprise and uncertainty when the sudden emergence of unexpected threats will be an increasingly common feature of our security environment. We were surprised on September 11th, and let there be no doubt, we will be surprised again.
I was interested to note that we ought to have a healthy respect for all we don't know. When the Senate committee heard the hearing of Senator (sic) Bob McNamara, not one senator nor Secretary McNamara ever raised the word Vietnam. And when Dick Cheney was before his committee for his Senate confirmation for secretary of defense, he did not, nor did the committee raise the word Iraq. When I appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for confirmation hearings, no one, including Don Rumsfeld, raised the word Afghanistan.
If one thinks back to the rapidity with which Iran went from being a regional power in close and intimate relationship with the United States to being led by the ayatollah and hostile to the United States, we have to recognize that it is an uncertain world. It is not only an uncertain world, it is a world that, besides promising surprise and promising little or not warning, is a world that has weapons of mass destruction. So the penalty for not being able to cope with surprise or cope with little or no warning can be enormous. Our intelligence has repeatedly underestimated the capabilities of different countries of concern to us. I say that not to be critical of the intelligence community, it stretches back over decades, but the fact is that it's a big world, there are a lot of closed societies, and we have historically had significant gaps in our knowledge, gaps where some significant event occurred in a country and we did not know about it -- in an important country that we were looking at, a significant event, and we did not know it for two years, four years, six, eight, 10 -- in case 12 years or 13 years before we became aware of that event.
Indeed, the only surprise is that so many among us are still surprised when we find that there were things happening in the world that we didn't know. We have to accept that.
This as a problem is certainly more acute in an age when the spread of weapons of mass destruction into the hands of terrorist states and potentially terrorist networks means that our margin of error is significantly less than it had been. The cost of a mistake could be not thousands of lives, but tens of thousands of lives.
Because of that smaller margin for error and the uncertainty of the future security environment, the U.S. will need flexibility. Through the Nuclear Posture Review, we determined the force levels and the flexibility that we'll need to deal with that new world, and then we negotiated a treaty that allows both deep reductions in offensive weapons and the flexibility to be able to respond to sudden changes in our strategic environment should that be necessary.
We're working to develop the right mix of offensive and defense capabilities. If we do so, we believe the result will be that nations are less likely to acquire or use nuclear weapons.
None of these changes in any way is a threat to Russia. Far from it: This new approach to deterrence should help us to better contribute to peace and stability and address the new threats and challenges that we both will face in this century.
In this century, Russia and the United States both face new and different security challenges, not exactly the same, but certainly the threats of terrorism and fundamentalism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction to rogue states are common. The difference is that these are threats our two nations have in common and that we can face together rather than threats from each other.
It means that we've entered a period when cooperation will be increasingly important to our security and our prosperity. We can work together to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction into the hands of terrorists. And we can work together to support Russia's economic transformation and deeper integration into the Euro-Atlantic community, because a prosperous Russia will not face the same pressures to sell to rogue states the tools of mass destruction. And we can work together to help Russia's transformation into a stable, free market democracy.
If one were to look down on Mars (ph), one would see that the world pretty neatly divides countries into those that are doing pretty well by their people and those that aren't doing very well by their people. And the countries that are doing well are the ones that have freer political systems, freer economic systems, the rule of law, transparency, predictability and are integrated into the world economy. These are nations where there is growth and opportunity.
If Russia hopes to attract foreign capital or retain her most gifted citizens, she must provide them with a climate of economic opportunity and political freedom, a climate that's the critical foundation upon which prosperity, cultural creativity and national greatness is built. We in the United States can encourage Russia by working together to put the past behind us and establish bonds and friendships between our people.
In the end, of course, the choice and the struggle belong to the Russian people.
RUMSFELD: This treaty is by no means the foundation of that new relationship. It is just one element of a growing multi-faceted relationship between our two countries that involves not just security but also increasing political, economic, diplomatic and cultural and other forms of cooperation.
These reductions in the nuclear arsenals of our two countries are an important step in that process. The reductions characterized in the Moscow Treaty will help eliminate the debris of past hostility that has been blocking our way as we build a new relationship.
The treaty President Bush has fashioned and the process by which he fashioned it are a model for future cooperation between our two countries. We will achieve deep reductions and enhance security of both of our countries and do so without perpetuating a Cold War-way of thinking that hinders our desire for better relations.
I certainly urge the Senate to advise and consent to this treaty and to approve a clean resolution of ratification.
Mr. Chairman, I'd be pleased to respond to questions.
BIDEN: Thank you.
General Myers, we'd invite you to make any comments you may have.
MYERS: Thank you, Chairman Biden and Senator Lugar, distinguished members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. And I'd like to join with the secretary to extend my personal wishes for a speedy recovery for Senator Helms after his recent surgery.
It's an honor to appear before you today to discuss the Moscow Treaty. Mr. Chairman, I would request that my prepared statement be submitted for the record and I'll just make a few short introductory remarks now and then answer any questions you and the committee might have.
Mr. Chairman, the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I all support the Moscow Treaty. We believe it provides for the long-term security interests of our nation and we also believe that it preserves our flexibility in an uncertain strategic environment. Moreover, the treaty allows us to implement the recommendations that came out of our Nuclear Posture Review, as the secretary has said.
As you consider the treaty's protocols, there are three key aspects that I'd like to briefly comment on.
First, we welcome the fact that with this treaty we'll focus on operationally deployed warheads. This enables us to preserve critical conventional capabilities while we manage the reduction in strategic nuclear warheads.
Second, the 10-year implementation schedule gives us flexibility in terms of drawing down our forces. The security imperatives over the next decade may change radically from what we anticipate today.
And third, the treaty's provision that allows the U.S. to withdraw with a 90-day notification requirement provides a hedge against sudden changes in the global strategic environment.
Together these provisions enable us to adjust our strategy, if necessary, both in the short and long term to meet the nation's security needs. And they also allow us to make significant reductions in nuclear warheads and continue a reduction process that has been ongoing now for over three decades.
Perhaps most important of all, it forms the basis of a new relationship with our Russian counterparts, putting to rest, in my mind anyway, the Cold War at last.
Mr. Chairman, the secretary and I look forward to your questions.
BIDEN: Thank you very much, I thank both of you.
As I indicated earlier we'll have 10-minute rounds, if we would keep those it'd be good, and I'll begin.
Mr. Secretary, I thought your statement was, obviously, very thorough and I thought your holding up of the START treaty and the Moscow Treaty illustrate a significant difference in both approach and in terms of detail and content.
But you indicated, and I have your statement here, you said, "It's a reflection" -- it says, "these three pages it took six months to negotiate. This is how much we trust each other in '91," you held up the START treaty, "and this is how much we trust each other today," and you held up the Moscow Treaty.
Now, I don't doubt for a minute that that reflects the feeling of the administration. But one of the things that confuses me is that as much as we trust them, you don't trust them enough for us to go forward and build a plant in Shchuchye that will allow us to destroy up to 2 million chemical-tipped shells that Senator Lugar recently visited that as I know the size of some of them, that my 9-year-old granddaughter, if she was able, could put in her backpack and easily carry to school, to state a ridiculous example, because we're not talking about lifting large warheads.
Senator Lugar has told us that he was told by the Russian military, and I stand corrected if I misstated, that one of those smaller shells, if they were detonated at the Dover Speedway, which can hold up to 120,000 people, would kill all 120,000 people. And with all this trust, even though public law -- the so-called Cooperative Threat Reduction Act, Public Law 103-60, Section 1203d, says "Restrictions: Assistance authorized by this section," Section a, that's the one that allows us to spend money to destroy their weapons, "may not be provided to any independent state of the former Soviet Union for any year unless the president certifies to the Congress for that year that the proposed recipient is committed to each of the following" -- and one of the following is is committed to complying with all relevant arms control agreements.
BIDEN: Now, for the first time -- and the second opportunity for this administration, but the first time since we passed this law, you and others have advised the president that he cannot certify that the Russians are committed to complying with all relevant arms control agreements.
Where's all this trust? I mean, you trust them to have a three-page treaty instead of a 700-page treaty, but you don't trust them enough to allow us to destroy up to 1 million, or up to 2 million chemical-tipped artillery shells. You confuse me. Maybe you can enlighten me.
RUMSFELD: Let me see if I can reverse it.
BIDEN: I knew you'd try.
RUMSFELD: I think using the word "trust" in that context is not appropriate. I think it's a question of the administration supports the waiver and it is the Congress at the present time, I believe, that is the impediment to the waiver. Is that not right?
BIDEN: No, it's not right. And let me be precise. You have concluded for the first time...
RUMSFELD: Oh, OK, with respect to the certification.
RUMSFELD: Right. OK. First of all, I have not concluded that.
BIDEN: Oh, OK.
RUMSFELD: Secretary Powell did and advised the president, and we were advised, and we agreed with him that he is not in a position to make that certification. You're quite right. It is, I believe, the first time that that's happened, in recent times at least.
And I think that that is an honest, direct reflection of the situation. He is simply not able to look you and the world and the Senate committee in the face and say to them and the president that we can certify that they are, in fact, complying with all arms agreements. And, of course, you have the same kind of intelligence that we do that supports his decision.
BIDEN: Well, let me say...
RUMSFELD: Nonetheless, he asked for a waiver, and that waiver, I believe, is what's pending before the Congress.
BIDEN: But, again, he doesn't have to certify anything other than that they're committed to comply. Now, again, if you don't think they're committed to comply with all relevant arms control agreements today, how in the hell could you sign an agreement with them that is based on so much trust in the future?
RUMSFELD: Well, I'd say two things there. First of all...
BIDEN: Excuse me. How in the heck could you have...
I'm going to get a phone call from my mother, and you think I'm kidding, but I'm not.
I apologize. How in the heck could you not...
RUMSFELD: First of all, the agreement that was signed in Moscow is an agreement that reflected something that the president of the United States announced he intended to do regardless of what Russia did. If Russia decided today to say they decided against this treaty, the United States, the president would recommend that we go forward. He has made a judgment, at the conclusion of the Nuclear Posture Review, that we can go from many thousands down to 1,700 to 2,200 and still have the kind of capability that this country will need for deterrence and defense. And therefore that issue about the treaty does not require trust.
BIDEN: I got you. But I just wondered why you talked about it then. I mean, it was dramatic. I mean, what's difference does it make? I mean, you're going to do it anyway, so the fact we went to three pages has nothing to do with trust, does it?
RUMSFELD: Well, I think so. I think it has to do with several things. It has to do with the president's conclusion that the old arms control approach was rooted in hostility and mutual assured destruction and distrust. And the approach that he has taken is that we ought to look at our own circumstances, put our two countries on a vector that they're going to have a more cooperative, a friendlier relationship, a more trusting relationship, and I think that's been a good thing for the country and I think it's been a good thing for the world.
BIDEN: I don't disagree with that, and I don't understand why you just can't look at it practically as well and say, "Look, there are 2 million warheads there, they're ready to let us destroy them, and we should just go ahead and destroy them because it's clearly in our interest to do that."
RUMSFELD: Well, Senator, that would require the secretary of state to recommend to the president something that he doesn't believe is a fact. He would have had to say that, "I can certify to that," and he concluded he could not, and in my judgment he was correct. He did say that it is nonetheless important to move ahead with the program that you're describing, and he asked for the waivers so that he could proceed with it. It is not a matter of not wanting to do it, it is a matter of not wanting to certify to something that he does not believe is a fact.
BIDEN: Well, this is the first time I'm aware -- and, again, I won't prolong this -- I'm aware of we changed the standard of what he had to certify to. In the past, we used to look for evidence of any evidence that they have violated the treaty, and now we're saying we can't guarantee they haven't. That seems to me to be a little different.
But we'll hopefully get into that. Hopefully you will use every bit of your influence to get the appropriate committees to give a permanent waiver quickly so we can get on with what is clearly in their interest so that we don't stop this mindless situation of refusing to act in our own interest and destroy weapons that clearly are able -- are more likely to be available to dissidents within Russia and/or terrorist groups. And I suspect and hope you share that view. Because this is mindless, absolutely mindless. And maybe we can work together to get this permanent waiver.
BIDEN: Let me move to a question about the cost, in case my time is already up. Can you tell me, General Myers, and/or Mr. Secretary, how much its going to cost us to comply with this treaty? That is their cost associated with taking these warheads off the top of a missile or off a platform that is designed to fire the weapon. How much is it going to cost to do that? How many storage facilities do we have to build? How much is it going to cost for us to destroy these -- what we decide to destroy?
And I might add, my understanding is, in the out-year budget, you are planning to build a new nuclear warhead manufacturing capability. I've been told that you want our support for that purpose: You want to construct a new warhead manufacturing capacity.
So how much is it going to cost to do these things? And the reason I ask is to give us some sense of what it's going to cost the Russians to focus on how much they're going to need or not need our help. So do we have an estimate of cost?
RUMSFELD: I can give you a quick answer. The things we know we are going to do, one is to take out the 50 Peacekeepers with 10 warheads each for 500, and the four Trident -- move four Trident submarines out of the strategic force and to not maintain the nuclear capabilities on the B-1. Those are decided.
The other ways or methods that we would go from moving down from the many thousands of nuclear deployed weapons down to the 1,700 to 2,200 has not been decided. Therefore it is not possible to calculate costs on the other aspects of it. That will be devised and developed as we move through the coming period.
BIDEN: Can you give us a sense of what the cost of what you decided is?
RUMSFELD: No, I can't, but we'll submit it for the record.
BIDEN: I'd appreciate that very much.
RUMSFELD: Do you happen to know?
MYERS: I don't know.
RUMSFELD: My time is up.
I yield to Senator... RUMSFELD: Oh, one other thing with respect to the nuclear facility, the Department of Energy I believe is what you are referring to. The interest that...
BIDEN: We assume you all signed off on that. They seldom send us requests like that that you all didn't sign off on.
RUMSFELD: No, no. That's right. But I can not tell you what the cost would be because I don't know that it's been decided.
And what the interest is, I don't believe, in building a facility. I think the interest is in -- at the present time I'm told it would take us two to three years to produce a nuclear weapon, and we've not produced a nuclear weapon in at least a decade to my knowledge. And the interest would be in reducing that down from two to three years to one year to 18 months, the ability to produce one.
BIDEN: No, I understand that. I was just commenting on your very important emphasis on the fact that we do not possess the capability. The implication was we do not seek the capability of being able to reproduce. And I just wanted to make it clear that my understanding was we do seek -- we don't have, seek the ability. Not that we would necessarily build it, but we seek the ability to be able to if we choose to.
RUMSFELD: I think that I said it technically correctly, that what we want to do is to not seek the capability to do it, but to reduce the period of time it would take us from two to three years down to one year to 18 months to have the ability, in the event that someone in the future did decide to do it.
BIDEN: But that requires the construction of a remanufacturing facility that does not exist now. So that seems to me, you need to...
RUMSFELD: We can talk about that later. I'm taking too much time.
LUGAR: Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Rumsfeld, I thought in your testimony that you made an extremely important point, and really in several ways, that each one of us has to learn to think anew about the relationship. You even suggested there may be ambivalence or contrasts even the minds of some people as they go back and forth through this.
Just tracing arms control debates that we've had in this committee, over the course of time, there were many senators who felt that no trust should be given to Russia. And furthermore, not a dime to help them dismantle even if the treaty required that; you just simply had a gut feeling that this was not in the best interests of our country. And you've not suggested that, really quite to the contrary, that this is a very strong statement in terms of the nature of the change.
And the president feels this and expresses this frequently. When Senator Biden and I were honored to be asked to come visit with the president and vice president, and Condoleezza Rice and Mr. Card over six weeks ago, they made this point in asking for our leadership in trying to gain assent to this treaty as rapidly as possible.
LUGAR: And we've pledged to do that. But in the course of that conversation, fresh from this experience in Russia, I mentioned to the president, as Senator Biden has suggested, that we visit once again chemical weapons facilities and in particular the one at Shchuchye.
And I mention that because that is one which the equipment to neutralize the sarin gas or the VX coming out of holes drilled in the bottom of each of these shells, ad seriatim, for six years, effectively eliminates about one-seventh of the chemicals that are now in Russia.
Now, it's relevant to our discussion today because we had a very big debate in the Senate a while back on the Chemical Weapons Convention. That was really our last big treaty debate prior to this one, hearings like this one and so forth.
The Senate deliberated, it was hardly unanimous and as a matter of fact it took weeks and months to convince our colleagues, but we ratified the treaty. The Russians may have been surprised that we did so.
But they finally proceeded, too, but likewise with the assumption that we and others around the world would be helpful to them because they said, "We don't have the money really to destroy these weapons."
Well, five years have passed. We're at half-time in the game, because it was a 10-year period. We're busy in our country trying to get rid of the weapons and we were going to do that unilaterally anyway. We'd already declared that. The Russians have yet to get through the first few pounds out of 40,000 metric tons.
So the dilemma here is that in this year, as Senator Biden said, of all years, at a moment when we are talking about changing attitudes and so forth, and I expressed it very bluntly to the president, I said. "There are some worker bees somewhere in your administration, Mr. President, who really have a different idea about this."
And Ms. Rice spoke up and said, "Well, they're not worker bees, they're high-level people." Well, fair enough, they're, sort of, floating up there. But somebody in the midst of all these negotiations really stopped the music because the net effect of not certifying means we have just stopped. Along the path in which we have war on terror, you and the president speak every day about the need that we have no intersection between these materials and the terrorists, and yet at the very moment we have opportunities to continue our progress we've stopped. Now the reasons given, as I understand are, first of all, that there were four biological sites -- military biological sites the Russians have not given us access to. And that is correct as far as I know. I've not gotten into them, we've gotten into almost every place else, and these sites are an embarrassment to Russians. These scientists are refugees reaching out for us to help them, even sometimes countermanded two or three years by their central government.
So it can happen, sort of, bit by bit if you work at it tediously. I think we're into all the chemical situations now at this point. But there's almost a theological argument that the 40,000 metric tons declared was not the right figure and, by golly, somebody wants to know what the right figure is.
And I mention this because, candidly, this is the hold-up. Now the assumption by the administration was that, after all, we were running a supplemental and as you pointed out we need that money to fight the war.
And we had an armed services authorization and I was going along and surely somewhere in there they might include this waiver to get the president out of the jam. But as we pointed out six weeks ago, it wasn't going to happen very fast, and it isn't happening fast, for all sorts of other reasons, parliamentary procedure here. And national security problems are being held up.
Now, that's water over the dam. Eventually somebody will pass a bill here and something will happen out at Shchuchye, and the Norwegians now and the Germans, the English others have contributed and that is all to the good.
And the Duma has appropriated more money this year. All I'm saying is as we take a look at the treaty we're looking at now, I believe more money is going to be required on our part to help them.
Now it's fair enough that your department and State and others ought to try to analyze the Russian budget. And you may have different figures. The best given to us by think tanks are their budget is $50 billion, in dollar terms. Defense budget is about $8 billion. As we discussed this before the hearing, even if you talk about in-kind contributions and bartering, you double or triple that, that's compared to our $390 billion, a single digit is a small figure.
This is one reason an ambitious treaty, and this is one, that's going to cost us a lot of money, just as the chemical weapons reduction is costing us a lot of money, is going to cost them some money, too.
Now, they've pledged to do the chemical thing but nothing's happened, we're halfway in the game and nothing has occurred. All I'm saying is that before we go in eyes wide open to this treaty, we need to have a pretty guideline from our administration as to how it ever happens, how physically these weapons could ever be destroyed, how much it would cost, how much we plan to contribute, how much we want to ask of the G-8 or Japan or the Saudis or anybody else who has a real problem too we think in the world with all of this.
It's a fair question, I think, as opposed to blindly indicating that both of us unilaterally were planning to do this, and the Russians have pledged to do all the chemical weapons, but they're not doing any.
So, this is, you know, the problem I have with it, as I've said in my opening statement. You can't solve that today, but I take advantage of this hearing to simply say that this is a dimension as we get into the Senate debate, the floor debate and what have you, that we need to, sort of, fill out, to figure out practically, pragmatically, how does this ever happen, how do we have any hope that, we'll get there, but that the Russians get there.
LUGAR: And then having said that, that we can guard either the warheads that were taken off or the fissile material, if we get that far, that was extracted. And both are expensive and both are dangerous, and in terms of the war on terror, both have a lot of additional problems quite apart from these warheads that are on the missiles now.
So I raise all of this simply to ask for your recognition. This is not a session of trying to determine who should have done what. The administration can say to the Congress, "You shouldn't have put all these stipulations on the Nunn-Lugar Act, you've just created a problem for us in the administration, and then we are trying to overcome it." Well, fair enough.
As I say, these attitudes you talked about 10 years ago, eight years, some still prevail. I can find people in this body in the United States Senate, they say, "Not a dime for those Russians. As a matter of fact, we mistrust the whole business. What is the president thinking of in talking about a new relationship?" They don't see it at all.
We see it here, these four of us that are talking to each other now. That's important because you are leading the country, you're asking us for a ratification that's important. But what we're asking you for is some guidance in terms of the pragmatism of a 10-year period of time, how it gets done.
Now finally let me just conclude by saying that I believe that all sorts of possibilities with the Russians that come from this -- I had talked about the tactical nuclear weapons. And you are probably right, this doesn't cover all of that. But it is something we probably ought to talk about. Secretary Powell indicated as much, that he'd like to talk about that. So would all of our European friends. I mentioned the Norwegians, but this would be true of the Danes, and it would be true of everybody. They're pretty close to those tactical weapons.
And you've thought about this a great deal. All I'm saying is, if we can get some flexibility and Nunn-Lugar money to deal with that, plus if you should comment to something in Pakistan or India or what have you, (inaudible) reason that these folks from your department came over and asked me to introduce this bill, which I did. And it's included, but the House folks just perhaps don't understand what you see I believe to be the urgency of flexibility of the money.
Now if you don't need it in that form, fair enough. But it seemed to me to be a good idea, that if there are targets of opportunity, we seize them.
And so I ask for your comment on this or all of it.
RUMSFELD: Well, Senator Lugar, there is no question about that. You know from your meeting with the senior administration officials who were active in this subject that they share your concern about the security of nuclear weapons, ours as well as the Russians. And with respect to the cooperative threat program, my recollection is we've spent something like $4 billion; maybe it's more.
LUGAR: Not $4 billion over the 10 years.
RUMSFELD: And we have in the budget this year I think something between $500 million and $600 million.
LUGAR: And a billion for all forms, including Energy plus State.
RUMSFELD: And that is not nothing. That's a good chunk of money.
I asked of the -- and you also mentioned what just took place where the U.S. was involved in providing leadership on the $10 billion, the $10 billion, and the $10 billion with respect to the other program.
On the theater nuclear weapons, it is a worry. The Russians unquestionably have many multiples of what we have, I mean thousands and thousands. And the fact that we have a gap in our knowledge as to what that number is, that is enormous. It tells you how little we know about what they have, what they look like, where they are located, what their security circumstance is.
Now I have raised this subject I believe in every single meeting I have had with the Russians. Secretary Powell indicated in his hearing here that he is interested in the subject. We are going to be meeting with the defense minister and the foreign minister in September again, and we are certainly going to have that back on the table.
We were not uncomfortable not addressing it in this current treaty. The Moscow Treaty was addressed to offensive strategic systems. Theater systems are different.
Furthermore, I don't know that we would ever want to have symmetry between the United States and Russia. Their circumstances is different and their geography's different. Their neighborhood is different. And I, for one, would understand it if at some point we ended up learning more and gaining a greater degree of confidence as to their security and their nature. But I would be perfectly comfortable having them have a good many more than we have, simply because of the differences in our two circumstances. So I'm not looking for symmetry, but I am looking for greater transparency.
LUGAR: And safety too.
RUMSFELD: Safety, absolutely. LUGAR: You know, the fact is the Wall Street Journal pointed out a long time ago, you can cart away these tactical weapons on a flat bed truck always gives pause with regard to the proliferation issue and the terrorists and all.
I thank you for your comments, and I -- the billion dollars is important. My point is that much of the money can't be spent, and time is going by. Six weeks since we saw the president and so forth. The money in the budget was fine, but tactically you can't move. And I wish you could. And so, we are trying to work together to that date.
BIDEN: Translated: Help.
FEINGOLD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for scheduling the committee's second hearing on this important treaty. I think these really have been excellent hearings and I've been pleased to be able to attend most of the time in both of them.
And I welcome Secretary Rumsfeld and General Meyers.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to continue today the discussion of the Moscow Treaty that this committee began last week with the secretary of state.
FEINGOLD: I believe that we covered a lot of ground in that hearing and that we began to explore the concerns that I and a number of members of this committee have regarding the issues of compliance and verification. Also the lack of a timetable for the reductions required by the treaty and that the treaty does not require that any nuclear warheads actually be destroyed.
I'd like to reiterate my view that the goal of meaningful nuclear arms reduction can only be achieved by dismantling and destroying those weapons, and I look forward to more about how the DOD plans to implement these reductions.
But in addition, I am also troubled by the language contained in Article 4 of the treaty, regarding the process by which one of the parties may withdraw from the treaty. I'm concerned that either of the parties would be able to withdraw with only three months written notice and without a reason.
As you know, Mr. Secretary and General Myers, I found the president's decision to unilaterally withdraw the United States from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to be troubling on both policy and constitutional grounds. And I discussed this at some length with Secretary Powell last week, and I am troubled by his contention that this administration apparently does not believe that it was required to consult with or obtain the approval of the Congress to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, and that such consultation and approval would not be required to withdraw from the Moscow Treaty.
The Senate has a constitutional role to play in treaty withdrawal, and I am concerned that the administration is not taking seriously the role of the Senate in this process.
I just have a couple of brief questions. Secretary Rumsfeld, under what specific circumstances would the administration contemplate redeploying strategic offensive nuclear weapons that have been removed from service -- a warhead?
RUMSFELD: The answer, I think, would fall into several parts. One, one of the worrisome things that could happen is the phone could ring and say that, "Mr. Secretary, you have a responsibility for the safety and reliability of your weapons and we're sorry to tell you but that we've got a safety problem or a reliability problem of your currently deployed weapons."
And having warheads that are available that could replace some of those questionable, potentially unsafe, potentially unreliable weapons, it seems to me is a responsibility of the president to see that, in fact, we have that capability.
Since we do not have an open production line, clearly the only way we could replace an unsafe or unreliable warhead would be if we had excess warheads in reserve. So that would be an instance where you might take a warhead and deploy it.
A second possibility that one has to consider is a change in the security environment that was unexpected.
We have had many, many unexpected things occur in my lifetime that were big surprises to our country, of a strategic nature. Changes in countries' leadership dramatically from one day to the next.
There is also a great deal we don't know. I cited a number of instances where our intelligence capabilities simply doesn't allow us to know all the things that are going on. We can be surprised and we have been surprised.
Third, a country could decide to -- that they would like to sprint toward parity or superiority in nuclear capabilities. With not an open production line, the only way one could do anything if you decided you needed to, would be from reserve warheads and uploading --for example, if you don't have the full number of warheads on a specific missile that you could have, you could increase the number if you decided you needed that kind of capability, either for deterrence or for potentially for defense.
FEINGOLD: Well, I appreciate that direct answer. And I'd like to ask you if the administration will agree to consult with Congress before any directive for redeployment is issued and before any possible notification of withdrawal is announced?
RUMSFELD: You're asking me things that are out of my lane, Senator. You know that's a presidential decision and the secretary of state would be the administration official who would be advising him on that.
It seems to me that for the Department of Defense or the Department of Energy to do much of anything with respect to nuclear weapons we have to come to the Congress for money to do it. So to the extent there's that consultation process, obviously that takes place on a continuing basis, not with your committee but with the committees that have jurisdiction over energy and defense.
With respect to the other aspect of it, did you say withdrawal from the treaty?
FEINGOLD: Withdrawal from the treaty. Would the administration agree to consult with Congress before any decision to withdraw from this treaty is announced?
RUMSFELD: I can't describe what decision the president might make or what definition of consultation one might have. But there's no question but that in the event the president -- just as with the ABM Treaty, the president discussed that publicly, it was debated and discussed and considered all across the globe, it was talked about with Russia on repeated occasions, it was talked about with our European allies in NATO. There were many hearings before Congress about pros and cons on that type of thing, and if that's consultation then that's consultation.
If you're talking about approval, my understanding from Secretary Powell's responses to you, which I certainly concur with, is that the administration's judgment is that that's not a constitutional requirement.
FEINGOLD: I would respectfully suggest that from the sound of it, possibly the least consultation was with the U.S. Senate and the greatest amount in other places and that troubles me, from the point of view of the role of the Senate.
And I asked you, although I recognize, Mr. Secretary, you don't have a direct role in this, I wasn't very happy with the answer I got from the distinguished secretary of state, for whom I have tremendous admiration, but I'm still not getting anything from the administration that suggests that the Senate's traditional role with regard to withdrawing from treaties means anything to the administration. So that does trouble me.
I'm interested to hear a bit more about how you plan to modify the existing arsenal of Trident II missiles to comply with the Moscow Treaty, and if you have an estimate of how much these modifications will cost.
RUMSFELD: We can submit that for the record. The precise cost of taking four Trident submarines and moving them out of the strategic force, just as we could with respect to the 50 Peacekeepers and the no-longer-maintaining the B-1 bombers as nuclear-capable, but we, neither the general or I have that precise number, but it is knowable.
FEINGOLD: I look forward to receiving that.
Let me ask you this. What do you plan to do with the warheads that are removed from existing Trident II missiles?
RUMSFELD: We have made no decision with respect to -- well there have been a decision. The Peacekeeper warheads are going to be used to upgrade the...
MYERS: They're going to replace 18 warheads on the Minuteman system because they're the only ones that are drill-compliant (ph) right now.
MYERS: So then those warheads will go into storage and await final disposition.
RUMSFELD: My guess is they'll fall into several baskets. One basket would be that you'd end up putting them in the queue to be disposed of. A second would be that you might dismember them and save piece parts to the extent that some portions -- I'm trying to think what I can say in this forum. No, I'm not going to get into that.
FEINGOLD: Fair enough.
RUMSFELD: I can go into it privately if you want.
FEINGOLD: Let me finally ask -- appreciate the answer you did give, and pursue the rest if necessary in another setting.
What's step do you plan to take to assure that any new Trident II missiles that are built after this treaty enters into force actually comply with the treaty?
RUMSFELD: I'm sorry, I don't follow it.
FEINGOLD: What do you plan to do to ensure that any new Trident II missiles that would be built after this treaty is entered into force actually comply with the treaty?
RUMSFELD: Well, the treaty sets numbers, and we have no plans to build additional Trident II missiles. So since we have no plans, it couldn't be affected, and if we did have plans, which we don't, it would fall within the 1,700 to 2,200 and that's the only compliance that there would have to be.
FEINGOLD: Thank you very much both of you.
RUMSFELD: Yes, sir.
FEINGOLD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
BIDEN: Thank you very much.
Mr. Secretary, we've got maybe one more round here. Do you guys need a break or do you -- I'd like to go back to this notion of need to verify, the need not to verify. And I'm going to refer to this, we'll know, but for the record, as the Moscow Treaty for lack of a better phrase now.
You went and explained very -- in a very lucid manner why there was really no need for verification. You were going to go down to this number anyway. It was in our own interest to go down to this number. And we would have gone down to this number over this period of time regardless of whether or not the Russians were willing to go down to this number. That's correct, right?
And now in the first Bush administration, President Bush reached a -- President Bush's father, George the first, reached the conclusion, with the advice of the military, that we would do away with the tactical nuclear weapons we did away with whether or not the Russians did. We didn't need them, and we were going to do away with them.
Then in 1991 he and Gorbachev, in separate declarations, talked about the reduction in the tactical deployed nuclear weapons. But --and there were no verification.
Now 11 years later it has, sort of, reared its ugly head in a way that -- and I fully agree with your assessment by the way, that these need not be symmetric. You could see how their needs and ours are very different. It doesn't worry me nearly as much as they have. They'd have more tactical weapons than we do given their circumstance and given ours.
But it has been injected into other aspects of the debates relating to our relationship. And as a matter of fact it is one of the reasons proffered in the popular press and in -- at the think tanks that is the reason why maybe we should not verify their keeping their commitments to arms control agreements they entered into.
And as you said, the numbers we estimate the range from a few thousand to 10,000. They have multiples more that we have. And we don't have any way to verify that, yet this gap in knowledge about what they have and what they said they were going to do has lead to, in some quarters at least, questions about, "Are they on the up and up? Can you trust them?"
It's also led to some concern about what they may be doing in the future. Maybe are they going to build more of these things?
And that has caused some difficulty for us when there were reports earlier last year and a brief controversy broke out in the press that indicated that maybe the Russians have reintroduced tactical nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad in the Russia enclave bordering the Baltic states.
Again, that went to not upsetting the apple cart, but having some strain, introducing some strain in the relationship.
So it is really -- does it really not matter than you, that we can't verify any of this? I mean is the fact that if we're going to go down to a number we should just go down, it doesn't matter? Or has -- would we have been better off had we been able to verify or entered into some kind of agreement where we could fill in that gap of knowledge about what they have?
RUMSFELD: That's a fair question. And let me answer it in several ways.
RUMSFELD: First of all, the START treaty is in effect, and according to its terms, we do have those verification.
BIDEN: As it relates to Moscow Treaty as being able to take over...
RUMSFELD: Yes. So it exists and it's a similar subject. And the verification element's there, which we both need to respond to and comply with, give us that by way of verification.
Second, we do have...
BIDEN: Let me make sure -- but there's a three-year gap there.
RUMSFELD: Three -- from '09 to '12. Exactly.
RUMSFELD: But between now and '09...
RUMSFELD: ... it's there and there's plenty of time to sort through we'll do thereafter.
Second, we do have national technical means.
Third, we have agreed that we will meet and work through improved transparency and predictability with the Russians.
Now, will we be able to do something that's better than the START treaty? I hope so. Do we have a number of years that we can work on that? Yes. And we're starting in September. So I think that that is not something that is -- ought to in any way stand in way of approving the treaty it seems to me.
If I could, Mr. Chairman, I was given a piece of clarification back here that's helpful to me, and I'd like to get the record corrected so no one goes out with a misimpression.
I had in my head not a new production facility when I was answering that question. I had in my head the ability to begin to test and I apologize. And I'd like the record to show that when I said the current ability is two to three years to be able to build a weapon I should have said "to test." And I suspect some people knew that, but I'm glad it was clarified. And I misspoke. BIDEN: Marshall (ph) used to do that to us all of the time too when he sat up behind us, up here.
RUMSFELD: Well, I'm glad he did it to me.
And that's what we're trying to -- that's what we're proposing may want to come down to a year to 18 months, not the testing. And whoever said it was quite correct. Apparently the Department of Energy is, in fact, struggling to build a small-scale capability weapon lab, and that process...
BIDEN: To construct new warheads...
RUMSFELD: ... and I believe...
BIDEN: ... or actually build new warheads.
RUMSFELD: Right -- to do that.
BIDEN: I appreciate the clarification.
RUMSFELD: And I've also told that -- that it was correct to the extent we build any new Trident II missiles, they would be within that limit, but I'm advised that we may very well build some new Trident II missiles. And the answer remains the same: They would have to be within the 1,700 to 2,200 limit that Senator Feingold was asking about.
BIDEN: One of the things that we have running into difficulty on in this new relationship -- and if you think about it, it's, you know, 15, 20 years from now our grandchildren will be writing about or doing papers on or speaking about how self-evident it was that some of the, sort of, gaps and/or misunderstandings that exist today between the United States and Russia, that it was, sort of, self-evident that we should have expected they would.
And one of those areas I think, at least speaking for myself, is that we've gone through a period unrelated to the Moscow Treaty, unrelated to an arms control treaty but related to assertions and commitments made by a head of state in Russia to a head of state in the United States as to what they might or might not be doing; for example, the Russians with Iran, with Iraq, with transfer of technology and the like.
And often we've heard explanations that range from queries as to whether or not the political establishment controls every agency within Russia, whether or not there's some free agents out there, General, who are wearing uniforms on their side of the border that maybe have different agendas and so on.
And the reason I give that as background is to raise this issue. It seems pretty clear that there is a consensus in the administration, at the White House, at the Defense Department, and at the State Department, and I suspect and I believe in the intelligence community, that Mr. Putin and his government is committed to comply with arms control agreements. But my question is, is the same degree of confidence exists that the rest of the Russian bureaucracy and the remains of the establishment is equally as committed? Or put another way, is there concern that Putin's desire to comply may be limited somewhat by the ability to ensure they're complying because of not renegade, but different bureaucratic strongholds or lack of central control?
I wonder if you would speak to that for a minute.
RUMSFELD: Well, you're right. The discussion that you've raised is one that is fairly continuous in the intelligence community and in the governments around the world.
RUMSFELD: And the responses we get formally from Russia on arms control agreements is a statement by them that they obviously intend to abide by their agreements. And yet we get intelligence that suggests that there are things happening out there that are harmful, frequently in the proliferation area.
And sometimes it's a difference of view, and sometimes there are things happening maybe that are the result of either government tolerance or a lack of awareness of something that's happening. I suspect that it crosses the full spectrum. In some instances, I suspect that there are things that are quite purposeful and believed to be by some definition inside the line. Although that is not where I would put them. In other cases, it may be a wink and a nod. And still, other cases it may be totally unwitting.
But there's no question but that there are a lot of very smart, capable Russian scientists, systems integrators, mathematicians, weapons developers, missile developers who are of interest to other countries in the world who have an appetite for acquiring weapons of mass destruction and the ability to deliver them.
BIDEN: Well, my time's up, if my colleague will allow me just to finish this one point, did our desire not to have more stringent verification regimes as related to our systems play any part in not seeking additional verification capability beyond START I provisions that exist that could apply to the Moscow Treaty?
RUMSFELD: The answer's flat no. Indeed we repeatedly raised verification and transparency and predictability issues. And the Cold War mindset felt that there simply wasn't time to do that, it's so laborious and difficult and thick.
BIDEN: You mean the Cold War mindset in Russia. I see.
RUMSFELD: Not in everyone's mind, in the people who -- in a group of the people who we needed cooperation from.
BIDEN: No, no, I understand that. The people who had to sign off.
RUMSFELD: And as a result, we had to put that off, and that's fair enough. But I still believe we will end up having serious discussions about this, and we may even find better ways.
The reason for transparency is that it develops confidence. And the United States is not going to do anything with respect to our activities that are going to be adverse to Russia's interests. And therefore we have an interest in transparency. We have got to find a...
BIDEN: The only reason I asked the question related to the second to last paragraph in your statement, General Myers, you say, "And the Moscow Treaty will not subject the U.S. to intrusive inspections in some of our most sensitive military areas," which implies that there are certain inspections that you would not -- you would view to be as against our interests, inspections we were determined to avoid. And that is why I asked the question. We just never got to that point.
MYERS: We never got to that point where that became an issue, but I can tell you that personally, as the secretary will say as well, that we pushed hard on a verification regime. We were trying to get some action there, and it just never materializes.
BIDEN: OK, Senator Lugar?
LUGAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Rumsfeld, in your statement you mentioned the 21st century Russia and United States faced both new and different security challenges: the threats of terrorism and fundamentalism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction to rogue states. The difference is that these are threats that our two nations have in common; threats we can face together. And then you point out that this means we have entered a new period of cooperation, increasingly important security and prosperity of our countries, and proceed to point out that we can work with Russia to help their transformation to a stable free market democracy.
These are extremely important points. I appreciate your outlining this in the midst of this treaty business, because essentially it reflects, as the president has pointed out, a view of President Putin, his general success with the Duma, moving on things like land reform. Clearly pointing out that Russia is a state that doesn't have much money. I think he equated it to Portugal or something -- yet after 10 years of growth at a certain level so that -- and there's no posturing here about the fact that Russia's fate lies in integration with us, with European countries, in trade.
And too clearly, in a movement in the energy industry in Russia, there has been extraordinary cooperation, which has alleviated some occasional OPEC threats or Iraq's threats or whatever came along.
LUGAR: So you have some concrete manifestations of this in the practical world.
You also point out that this means that we are proceeding with these reductions as deep as these because of a decision to invest in a number of other critical areas, such as intelligence, ballistic and cruise missile defense, and a variety of conventional weapons in our 2003 budget, and urge, once again, the Senate to approve that budget. And I think those are good reasons.
And essentially the Russians, for many years at least, they've discussed their problems. They've indicated that they don't have the money to maintain all of this.
I'm still -- get back to the point without beating it over the head -- probably, in terms of our consideration, some idea of the money involved is really a critical consideration. My own view is that this is going to be a very expensive proposition on both sides. That's not a good reason for rejecting a treaty, it's just a recognition that they're going to be some obligations there up front, Congress ought to understand over a 10-year period of time. These are the terms in which we discuss these budgets now and we need to know that.
And so that this should not be a question of replacing intelligence or other items that the Defense Department has asked for but a recognition it will cost some money.
What I hope there might be an analysis beyond the money that we haven't seen thus far is some technical briefing to the Congress, either classified or unclassified, and hopefully unclassified, as to really the risk to our countries, Russia and the United States, of not doing anything with these nuclear weapons.
The reason I ask that and I raised this in the hearing with Secretary Powell, when I went into a vault at one of these secured nuclear sites and saw these warheads lying like in tombs and so forth, and little histories of when they were constructed, what sort of maintenance they'd had. Even then I was told by the Russians, because I couldn't translate what was on the cards, some idea of the efficacy of these warheads. That is, how long you could anticipate they would be useful in terms of being shot and explode correctly.
Then there was a more sinister thought that came into this and I don't think this was on the card. This was suppositioned by the Russians who were guiding, General (inaudible) through this drill, that at some point, the maintenance has not been adequate. If there have been gaps or has not constant or what have you, there could be accidents. Namely the unstable fuels make this something other than an inert piece of wood or what have you.
So that there are impelling reasons why Russians would want to get rid of the older ones, or at least some that seem to be less stable than others, and that's tough to do. From that bunker where we saw them, you have 30 miles of roadway to the train station which was pretty well guarded. That would have been one way of getting them out to some place that might do the job.
But I keep getting back to the nitty gritty problem practically of what do we do? Now, it's not just numbers. These are rather dynamic -- unfortunately, dynamic weapons or warheads even deconstructed they could kill a lot of Russians if they were there in the tomb for that matter.
And I don't know what our condition is. I've always been assured essentially that we have maintained all of ours to a point that there is not a danger of something blowing up somewhere in the United States with one of these. I hope that is the case and I trust everybody every day is concerned about this. But it is one reason of getting rid of thousands of warheads that you don't need. Because they clearly are simply dangerous to the country in which they are involved as rest of the world.
But, if you do, then the problem of getting rid of the fissile material poses a whole set of new problems in terms of transportation or storage or downgrading. And you're busy at work on that, and new agreements have been made by this administration with the Russians and this private concern now that deals with highly enriched uranium; buys it from them, tries to downgrade it.
But this is a very serious subject which comes back to this same treaty. Because if the warheads were just left somewhere while you don't have the fissile material. If they are disassembled you do. In either case, this is subject to theft or misappropriation by somebody in a renegade state in Russia if things don't work out well.
So, my point is, once again, to try to get more testimony from the administration on cost, on the plans of really how this works as best you can lay it out.
Now, in your testimony you said, "Well, we want flexibility," and I don't disagree with that. Maybe some years the Russians want to get rid of 1,000 of these and others do 500. Maybe the same for us in terms of our timetable and our budget and so forth. But at the end of the day we're talking about a 10-year period of time or at least some period of time even if you pledge a year or two in which this has to get done. And so it seems to me useful to, sort of, have a workload idea of how it happens and how we have some assurance it will happen.
- Then finally, at the end of the day we estimate 1,100 tons of highly enriched uranium as I understand it coming from all of this. We're picking up increments of this through this private corporation but that is a heavy overload if we really get serious about this many weapons being destroyed. And we are serious. This is the import of the treaty.
Do you have any further comments about this?
RUMSFELD: Well, a few comments, Senator, and maybe General Myers would want to chime in.
The Russians have -- the Soviets and their successor, the Russians, have had a pattern of not building, developing nuclear weapons with the same life of our nuclear weapons.
RUMSFELD: We all know that. They have a shorter life.
They also have a pattern of, on a dispersed basis, of moving warheads on and off and into the shop for repair and review and consideration.
And we do not know, I think this is correct, at least I do not know, but I don't think we know, the number of weapons they can produce a year. We don't know the numbers of weapons that they have in the queue for destruction at any given time. We don't know the number that they can destroy in any given year. We do not know the extent to which they can dismember these and use piece parts for various aspects of new production. And we don't know what the remainder is, that is to say what's left over.
There is a great deal we do not know. They are not leaning forward to discuss these things with us. They have parcelled out information that they felt appropriate for them to parcel out, but they have kept in a great deal of information.
As you properly point out, Russia's economy is probably the size of Holland's, but they have the weapons of the old Soviet Union. It's an anomaly. They have an outflow of brain power, their task is to create an environment that's hospitable to investment and enterprise.
And the power of that, if they can get their economy -- and they have had good growth in the last two or three years -- if they can keep that economy going, the value of that, in terms of their financial capabilities, will dwarf any assistance we can give them.
So our real interest is in getting them to turn West and be integrated into the Atlantic-European world and have people want to invest there.
And money is fungible. I mean to the extent we give them money, they don't have to spend their money to do what we're doing with respect to weapon destruction.
So the real question is, how do you get a net increase of dollars, whether it's our or theirs, going toward the elimination of a lot of question marks that we currently have?
And what we need to do is, I think as you're suggesting, we've got to pursue it, we have to recognize it, but the reality is that simply because those weapons exist does not make them dangerous. It's the security of those weapons until they are destroyed that becomes the critical element. And it seems to me, and I know you've addressed this as well, that we also need to address the management and security of that process, accepting the reality that it's going to take a good chunk of time to undo what it took decades to build up.
LUGAR: I generally agree with that, although I just, sort of, query the problem that even the reality of the weapons, quite apart from their security, is a problem; that is they may be secure but they might have an accident, may destruct.
That subject, some technical analysis and when I ask, you know, your folks to take a look at that, because that really is another of urgency.
RUMSFELD: I'm worried also about what they're selling to Iran and Iraq and the People's Republic of China and other countries in terms of high-performance capabilities, military capabilities.
LUGAR: Now this is beyond the treaty but it gets at least to the general line of thinking that I've been pursuing. And that is, essentially, if we have some idea -- some rudimentary idea of expenses, plan of how this is going to happen, I suspect, from the experience with the chemical weapons business, the Russians will have more to visit with us about.
That is they may not be totally forthcoming but, for example, with the chemical weapons business for quite a long while very difficult to get a handle on what was going to happen there until President Putin decided to cut through his own bureaucracy and appointed Dr. Pock (ph) to be, sort of, an overall coordinator of everybody, with authority coming from President Putin himself, to ride herd over the chemical weapons business.
Now, Dr. Pock (ph) and others greet a congressional delegation at Shchuchye, there's a festival of the citizens who are going to see something happen to a place in which a ditch goes down the center of the road and half of the people take their water out of it. Primitive, horrible situation, that they want to change, because suddenly we've gotten there and we're working with Dr. Pock (ph) and the rest of them. So that we see everything, you can touch them, count them.
Now the problem is that as you enter into that thing, you have no idea about the safety of the leaks, the rest of it. Even if you are finally on top of the whole business, but it's changed materially.
I think that can occur as we get working with the Russians on the nuclear side. If they understand we're serious, that we've got some money and some investment and more importantly American contractors -- 85 percent of the cooperative threat reduction money, as you know, goes to Americans to go over there, organize all this.
So that we have a very good idea of what is going on, piece by piece. Now that offends some Russian military people, saying, "Why in the world did we invite all these people into the living room, and is there nothing left of Russian nationalism?" and so forth. Well, there's a lot left of Russian nationalism, but as a practical matter, the people in the living room are Americans. And they do a good job, and it seems to me that can occur on this one if as opposed -- I'm not saying you're leaving it vague, but the thought is that somehow this is going to happen anyway; unilaterally we were going to do these things.
LUGAR: Well, maybe so. I'm arguing it probably won't happen on the Russian side without a lot of organization involving us. We may have to organize the party. And with Russian cooperation because we are heavily involved monetarily and opening avenues for the commercial success that President Putin wants. And the bottom line for him may very well be to suffer Americans working their way through all of this in return really for entrees that we give to him and to Russians.
RUMSFELD: Well, Senator, not to nay-say anything you've said, I'd like to add another thought, which ought to be a part of the record. And that is, if there is a lot we don't know about their nuclear capabilities and numbers and production capabilities and destruction capabilities; there's even more we don't know about their chemical and biological programs. They have been very, very, very tight.
And the things we do know are what we know. They are the things they show us. And there may be a few things that we know we don't know but there are a pile of things we don't even know we don't know because we keep systematically learning more as we go along.
LUGAR: And, by having a persistent program, we are likely to know more. Each year more, in fact, is revealed and cooperation. And given the overall thrust of your testimony and the president's that this is the theme of this, how we work together against terrorists against the rest of the world together, there is some optimism which you clearly expressed and that's going to be the basis for ratification of this treaty, that this is a different era, even given all the phobias and reality that you've expressed so well.
RUMSFELD: Thank you.
LUGAR: I thank you again for coming today and this testimony.
RUMSFELD: Thank you sir.
BIDEN: I have a few more questions if I may. By the way, there are things we do know that we know because we know them, we should do something about them.
But, General Myers, let me ask you. Last week, your -- one of your predecessors, the secretary of state, said when was asked by one of our colleagues about MIRVed warheads and whether or not, by not going to a START III and going to a Moscow Treaty, we had foregone the -- what had been sort of one of the holy grails of the Defense Department, which was to get Moscow to -- or Russia and the Soviet Union before that to dismantle their MIRVed systems. Secretary Powell said, quote, speaking about what he told -- what the administration told Putin, quote, "You can do whatever you think you have to do for your security. You can MIRV your missiles, you can keep more. Do what you think you need to do. That's what we know we need and we're going to this level," end of quote.
From a strictly military standpoint, are you comfortable with the fact that it doesn't matter to us whether or not they keep MIRVed warheads -- I mean, excuse me, MIRVed platforms or single warhead platforms? From a military standpoint -- I know they're not our enemy. I know they're our friends but I also know the only reason we keep this many missiles right now is because they have that many. If the Lord Almighty came down, sat in the middle of this room and said, "I guarantee you folks that the Russians don't have a single solitary nuclear warhead," your SIOP would change significantly, I hope it would unless you're taking leave of your senses.
And so it does have something to do with what they have. And what I'm trying to get at is does it -- from a military man standpoint and you've got to plan the worse case scenario; you can't base everything on trust -- does it matter whether or not they keep their SS-18s and destroy their single warhead missiles? Or whether they destroy -- I mean, tell me from your planning standpoint.
MYERS: Mr. Chairman, this is something we discussed with the commander of Strategic Command and with the Joints Chiefs of Staff along with many other items. And I think our conclusion was that it really doesn't matter; that we are very comfortable with the range of warheads of 1,700 to 2,200 that was decided upon, as that flowed out of the Nuclear Posture Review and the rest of what went with the Nuclear Posture Review, some of which we discussed today. But the new triad, if you will...
MYERS: ... with offensive weapons, not just nuclear but other capabilities, with defenses, with infrastructure, the intelligence, the command and control, the things that we talked about. That we're comfortable with our capability to defend this nation. And what another country has is of interest, of course, and we will have to plan for that but where we are, we're not worried about it. Where we are, we're confident we can defend the country.
BIDEN: We used to -- I mean you guys, for 30 years, have been trained fellows like me as we've gone over year after year to learn about strategic doctrine and what we should be looking for. We used to and your shop used to talk about the most destabilizing weapons are MIRVed warheads because they necessarily are the first targets. And that then creates a circumstance where those possessing them are in the position, knowing they'd be targeted first, launch on warning.
And we also -- I have gotten over the last eight years, as we all have, very insightful briefings on our lack of confidence in their early warnings systems. And our concern that they may conclude at some point they might be under attack when, in fact, they weren't because their systems are inadequate. And therefore it sets that whole scenario in place that these are destabilizing.
BIDEN: But I'm reassured that you're not worried about that any more, at least not worried about it in the sense that you have multiple ways in which to deal with it you think.
MYERS: That's correct.
BIDEN: But I just tell you that I still am, but I'm not a military man so I feel good knowing you're not.
Let me ask you about SIOP if I may. And obviously I know I can't -- by SIOP for the audience, the single integrated operations plan, which translated means the targets that we feel we have to target in order to be assured that we would prevail in an exchange.
My recollection is, and I literally don't have it before me, but my recollection is that back with Clinton and Gorbachev, they talked about getting down to a level that was in the -- for our projected START III into the 2,300 range. And that the last time there was a real top-to-bottom of the SIOP was in the mid-'90s.
And so my question is, is the reason why we are -- we did not think we could go lower than 1,700, is it because that we think there are that many targets and redundancy we need in Russia if things went bad? Or is there -- explain to me the rationale here of the relationship of the SIOP to the 1,700 to 2,200 level. And has there been a review of the SIOP since the mid-'90s?
MYERS: Yes, there absolutely has. In fact, the secretary and I spent considerable time reviewing the SIOP. I think we started that last year and have got another major review ongoing. And...
BIDEN: Does it take into account the reduction of forces from 6,000 or so deployed to 1,700 to 2,200 for the Russians? Or does it assume the Russians possessing 6,000 deployed for up to the next 10 years?
MYERS: Without going into an area we ought to do in another setting, I think, I think...
BIDEN: Maybe we can arrange -- with the consent of my colleagues, I think we should arrange for that in 407 at a later date. But it would be -- I'm anxious to know the thinking. I'm not looking for the target list. I'm just trying to figure out the...
MYERS: The relationship and I think it goes back to the Nuclear Posture Review, where instead of being threat-based, and having to cover certain countries, that we looked at the capabilities that we want to have as the United States, and are these capabilities we have, are they sufficient to deter and dissuade? And if it comes to conflict, can we prevail?
And those were the notions that go into all of our planning. And that's the new triad, the offensive forces of which the nuclear piece is now just one piece. There are other forces we think about. And, of course, we talked about the defenses and the infrastructure.
So in that respect, there is not a direct correlation between this number of 1,700 to 2,200. As I understand your question, there's not a direct correlation between that and the -- or any of our nuclear plans. They are much more capabilities-based than threat-based.
Now, of course, any planning function like this to change from the way we used to think, the old think to the new think, takes time. And so it takes time to transition to a new way of thinking. What we're really talking about here is the essence of transformation, because what we're talking about is a cultural change. You know, how do we think? How do people think about this problem?
And I think that all goes back to the Nuclear Posture Review and as that flowed into the Moscow Treaty now, I think that embodies it. And...
BIDEN: I think that makes sense -- deter and dissuade. But I'm trying to figure out with this new relation, who are we deterring and dissuading.
RUMSFELD: I think it would be a mistake to leave the impression that I think your question could that either the SIOP or the 1,700 to 2,200 is premised on Russia.
I mean, the reality is we live in the world. There is a security environment. Russia exists and has capabilities to be sure, but so does the People's Republic of China. And they are increasing their defense budget. And they are increasing their nuclear capabilities purposefully.
There are other countries that have...
RUMSFELD: ... or are developing -- pardon me?
RUMSFELD: Have or are developing...
BIDEN: ... multiples of 10 right now, Mr. Secretary.
RUMSFELD: Very low, very low.
BIDEN: I mean, you know, 2,200... RUMSFELD: I understand. We have -- I'm coming to that.
RUMSFELD: And there is the deterrent aspect. To the extent you lower down so low that it looks like some country can, in fact, sprint and get up to a level, then the deterrent effect of having your capability is probably less persuasive.
- The 1,700 to 2,200 down from many thousands clearly is a reflection of all of those things and not any single country, I think it's fair to say. It is both a recognition of capabilities that exist, of trends that are taking place, of uncertainties and, in addition, of a desire to have a deterrent effect.
RUMSFELD: There's no question in my mind but that weakness is provocative, and if we were to go down to some very low level, some country might decide that that is an area of weakness, an asymmetry that they can take advantage of. And we do not want to create that interest on anybody's part which is, we think as low as 1,700 to 2,200 sounds from where we've been, it is still, as you point out, a non-trivial number.
BIDEN: A thousand's a non-trivial number. But at any rate, I think we should probably pursue this -- I have a couple more questions I want to ask on this point but as you suggested, this may not be the forum. This is probably not the forum to do it.
Let me just take a quick look here and I won't keep you much longer.
RUMSFELD: Can I come to the 4,600 number you raised?
BIDEN: Sure. I think that'd be very good if you would.
RUMSFELD: I think you discuss this with Secretary Powell, as you point out.
BIDEN: Actually, Secretary Powell raised it. We did not raise the number.
RUMSFELD: Right. And I would like to say that there is no magic to that number. We have not come to a conclusion as to the numbers that would be appropriate to not be destroyed that are not currently deployed on offensive strategic nuclear weapons. I think the number 4,600 was a fallout of a theoretical number that you might be able to upload on the platforms that you might have, depending if you make a certain set of assumptions as to what you would do between now and 10 years from now. Those would only be assumptions, therefore I think that we ought not to get 4,600 chipped into concrete.
Let me ask you, let's assume that Putin becomes seized with the notion that security of these weapons and these warheads is of great concern to him, and concludes that they are, quite frankly, safer staying on the platforms and disabling the platforms. Would that be compliant with the treaty? In other words, would, if you refused to take -- let's just take an extreme example. He concludes that he's going to decommission one SS-18 by decommissioning the platform, the SS-18, and leaving the warheads on, because it would make it a whole heck of a lot harder for the terrorists to get hold of and cart out an SS-18 with 10 warheads on it than it would to have 10 warheads be stored in a facility. Would they be in compliance?
RUMSFELD: It is not an issue that I think it likely to occur, needless to say. But were it to occur, I think one would have to look at what we consider to be an offensively deployed nuclear strategic weapon. And it would be hard to characterize a disabled platform with active warheads as a ostensibly deployed strategic nuclear capability.
BIDEN: So it might comply theoretically then if they did that? I see. I'm just trying to get a sense here of the parameters here.
Now, is there -- was there a reason other than the hope or the prospect or the belief that everything will be done by 2009? Was there a reason why you didn't try to fill in a verification piece between 2009 and 2012?
Because, I mean, I know we don't expect it but it is for financial, political, subversive, any reason available, the Russians could be in compliance with the treaty by not doing a single solitary thing, not disabling a single warhead to the year 2010. And then tell us that they've disabled them all between 2010, 2011 and 2012. But other than national technical means, we have -- there is no verification regime in place during that period that would...
RUMSFELD: From '09 to '12.
BIDEN: From '09 to '12. Is there a reason why you didn't try to put one in? Was it the expectation that we'd be, quote, "done by then" or...
RUMSFELD: No. No, no. We did try. In other words we did have this whole series of meetings. At the Feith and Bolton levels, at the Rumsfeld and Sergey Ivanov and at Colin's level with Igor Ivanov we had a series of meetings. And for whatever reason, just getting what we got done consumed the time. We raised it, we pushed it and we're interested in it, in greater transparency and predictability, and we have alerted them and they're fully aware of it. We're going to be raising it right back up again in September.
BIDEN: This is a welcome transformation, but, I mean, to have Bolton and Feith trusting like this is really amazing. This is an epiphany. These are the same guys who spent hours of my time beating my brains out about why we were going to take all those in the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Treaty. They're going to hide all these missiles in garages and roll them back out, and even Mr. Billingsly (ph) behind you was worried about that stuff. And now, heck, we're going to sign a treaty we don't even worry we're able, you know, to verify for three years and we don't question why they won't be willing to let us verify. I think that's called being born again.
RUMSFELD: Well, I don't know that. I think that it's important to realize that we spend months and months and months looking at the new security environment in the Nuclear Posture Review effort. We had all the senior military and civilian leadership. The president participated on a number of occasions. People from the National Security Council staff did. Secretary Powell did.
And we worked through that and we came to a conclusion that it was in the best interest of the United States of America to go to 1,700 to 2,200. Now, we were ready and are ready today to do that regardless of this treaty. Therefore, it is not a matter of trust in that sense, because we're ready to do that.
BIDEN: Again, I keep getting confused by you always going back and talking about how we trust them. That's the part that's confusing me.
OK. I really -- the only questions I have remaining relate to not again whether or not we should ratify this treaty. And so that I understand where you all are going, because, you know, some press person said to me, "Well, Biden, if you have these concerns about these things that could happen, why are you for the treaty?"
BIDEN: And I said, "You know, it's kind of like -- a little like my car breaking down in the desert 20 miles from out of town -- the nearest town. Someone comes along and says, 'Hey, look, I can give you a ride for four miles'."
Get me four miles closer, I'm for it. This gets us four miles closer or whatever, so I'm for it. But I hope it's not the end of the ride. I hope we're going to be doing more and I expect that you may attempt in terms of transparency and other things.
There is one last question, and I promise this will be the last one. Is there any sense -- and you may not be able to answer this or want to answer, but is there any sense that, to the degree that we are transparent about doing what we say we're going to do anyway, that that will encourage and/or put pressure on them to be more transparent about what they need not at the moment be transparent about, that they are moving in the direction the treaty calls for?
Do you see any correlation there? And if you do, what are the things that we are likely to do to demonstrate that transparency? And if you don't, then it doesn't matter. Just, kind of, curious.
RUMSFELD: We are probably as transparent as any nation on Earth.
BIDEN: Well, we are. I know. I'm just asking if the...
RUMSFELD: Part of it is intentional and part of it's not.
BIDEN: I'm seeking the intentional part.
RUMSFELD: I understand. I don't know the answer to the question. I suspect not. That is to say, I don't think that if we were unilaterally even more transparent than we already are that we would necessarily get a sympathetic reaction to that.
I think that what we're seeing happen in our time is a country going from a communist dictatorship, an empire, to a much smaller country that is trying to navigate from serfdom to communism to something that will be different and that will enable then to connect with the rest of the world in a rationale way.
Whether they'll stay on that vector I don't know. I hope and pray they do. There are people in the country who would like that to be the case, and there are people in the country who wouldn't.
I personally think that, to the extent they are more successful economically, rather than less successful, they have a greater chance of going in the right direction. And to the extent they end up knitting themselves to our country and to Western Europe and to freer political and economic systems, they are more likely to begin to behave in a way that is trustworthy.
And I think that to go from a system that was totally untrustworthy and secret and doing things underground and behind cloaks as a way of life, to something where they let the sunshine in is not something someone does in five minutes, nor should we expect it.
Our hope is that they will continue on the vector they're on, and I do believe they're on that vector. And if they stay on it, it will be a terrific accomplishment for them and for the countries that are trying to help them do that.
BIDEN: Well, I -- on that, that's a good note to end on because I concur with your hope and the way you stated it.
Senator, do you have any closing comment or question?
Gentlemen, I thank you very much for being here.
And, Mr. Secretary, I may if the time permits I'd like -- we may very well ask and it need not require you, but obviously it would be enhanced if you were there, prior to the -- our final vote on this, which we hope will be timely and we will move this expeditiously, is possibly have a relatively short session, an hour or two, in S-407 on some of the things we couldn't discuss here, although I'm not sure that's necessary.
But again, I thank you and your staffs for a very useful presentation.
We are adjourned.