Rethinking SDI

Material Information

Rethinking SDI
Lewis, Jason Mark
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
120 leaves : ; 29 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Strategic Defense Initiative ( lcsh )
Deterrence (Strategy) ( lcsh )
Deterrence (Strategy) ( fast )
Military policy ( fast )
Strategic Defense Initiative ( fast )
Military policy -- United States ( lcsh )
United States ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of Political Science.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jason Mark Lewis.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
26832161 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L64 1992m .L48 ( lcc )


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text
Jason Mark Lewis
B.A., University of Northern Iowa, 1979
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science

Lewis, Jason Mark (M.A., Political Science)
Rethinking SDI
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Glenn Morris
The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) has been a
polarizing political issuewith serious international
ramificationsfrom its inception in 1982. While
initially receiving sporadic support from conservative
corners in Congress, funding for SDI has never reached
the levels requested by respective Reagan and Bush
administrations. Until recently, congressional
appropriations for what critics call "Star Wars" had been
declining for several years. But with the apparent
success of the Patriot missile in shooting down Iraqi
Scuds in the Persian Gulf War, SDI (especially ground-
based theater defenses) has been given new life. And
concerns over a growing third world nuclear and chemical
threat have added fuel to the SDI fire.
But opposition to strategic defense remains strong.
If technological obstacles have been metand that this
not entirely agreed uponthen skepticism about SDI's
compliance with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM)
Treaty may prove to be an even greater impediment. Due to

the Treaty's prohibition on nationwide deployment of ABM
systems, critics question the funding of research and
development of a system that can never be fully deployed.
While the concept of ABM defense has been around
nearly as long as the missiles themselves, the spotlight
on strategic defense has intensified dramatically since
the early 1980s. This was due not only to the Reagan
administration's affection for its own project, but an
underlying uneasiness with current doctrine: Mutual
Assured Destruction or MAD. Though the entire spectrum of
current doctrine may consist of more comprehensive
strategies than just deterrence, it is the opinion of the
author that the primary debate today is between MAD and
Nevertheless, it should be noted that this is an
advocacy paper for a particular policy prescription. It
is, by admission, a subjective piece of work designed to
persuade. The paper outlines what the author believes to
be the pros and cons of research, development, and
deployment of a strategic defense. It also analyzes SDI's
effects on international relations as well as world
peace. The writer has arrived at a number of conclusions
manifest in an overall policy prescription for the
continuation of research and deployment of ballistic
missile defenses.

This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Jason Mark Lewis
has been approved for the
Department of
Political Science
Steve Thomas

The form and content of this abstract are approved. I
recommend its publication.
Glenn Morris

1. INTRODUCTION ................................. 1
2. MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION .................. 12
APPENDIX: The Strategic
Nuclear Balance .......................... 28
3. ARMS CONTROL................................. 30
4. THE ABM TREATY............................... 49
APPENDIX: The ABM Treaty and
Agreed Statements ........................ 66
6. G.P.A.L.S.: THE NEW FOCUS.................... 83
Strategic and Theater ................... 100
7. CONCLUSION...................................101

On March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan delivered
a nationally televised address that would complicate and
alter international relations for years to come. In it,
Reagan said,
What if free people could live secure in the
knowledge that their security did not rest upon the
threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet
attack, that we could intercept and destroy
strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our
own soil or that of our allies? (SDIO, "SDI
Chronology," 1990: 1).
Reagan's call for a strategic defense initiative
(SDI) that would shield the U.S. from nuclear ballistic
missiles proved to be one of the most controversial
proposals of his administration. According to some
(Smith, 1988), Mr. Reagan's "Star Wars" speech was
primarily a solo effort with only a few top advisors
involved. That may be why SDI realized little bipartisan
support in Congress, with most members ridiculing the
scheme as provocative and dangerous. In fact, by 1990,
proponents of SDI were considered an "endangered species
on Capitol Hill" (Hook, 1990: 25).
Questions about cost, technical feasibility, and
SDI's effect on superpower relationsparticularly with
regard to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty

between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.dogged the proposal.
In the words of Angelo Codevilla and the Hoover
Institution, this put strategic defense on an extended
course of study,
...the U.S. government, unable to make the
political and strategic case for why we should or
should not have anti-missile defenses, has veiled
its vacillation from the American people by
"vigorous" funding of research projects (1988: 5).
But the ostensible success of the Patriot missile in
the Persian Gulf, and the dangerous uncertainty during
the failed Soviet coup, have changed all of that. For
now, the intensified post-coup thaw between the United
States and the newly formed Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) has directed attention toward an accidental
ballistic missile launch, perhaps coming from renegade
commanders within the republics. Additionally, superpower
concerns have shifted, however marginally, from one
another to growing threats from other nations and the
Third World. The apprehension seems to be justified. The
Central Intelligence Agency estimates "that some 15
nations will have ballistic missile capabilities by the
year 2000" (Asker, 1990: 30).
Consequently, a revised (and somewhat down-scaled)
strategic defense aimed at taking out sporadic attacks
rather than all-out superpower assaults is gaining

momentum.1 The Senate Armed Services Committee, working
on the $291 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal
year 1992, approved a plan to deploy a limited ground
based anti-missile system composed of 100 non-nuclear
interceptors. According to Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia,
"The new SDI architecture...would be designed to provide
highly effective defenses for the United States against
limited ballistic missile strikes" (Rocky Mountain News,
5 February 1991, 51).
Due to advances in technology, such as a system of
space-based kinetic weapons called Brilliant Pebbles and
a successful test launch of the long-range Exoatmospheric
Reentry-vehicle Interceptor System (ERIS or E2I), SDI has
been given an added boost.
Nevertheless, doubts persist. Former Secretary of
Defense in the Carter administration, Harold Brown,
remains skeptical. "The people who say the Patriot's
success shows that SDI works don't know what they're
talking about" (Ingersoll, 1991: A18). True enough, due
to immensely complicated circuitry and sensing
requirements, the original "brilliant pebble" came in as
more of a "smart rock"overweight and over cost. "This
1 One manifestation of this new direction is known as
Global Protection Against Limited Strikes or GPALS. As
explained in Chapter 6, GPALS is a three-tiered SDI concept
to protect against enemy strikes of up to 100 missiles
(Holzman, 1991).

thing is rapidly becoming a boulder," notes John Pike of
the Federation of American Scientists (Holzman, 1991:
48). The Patriot itself has even come under post-war
attack for alleged failures in accuracy (Davis, 1991).
Debate over strategic defense has been as wide-
ranging as frequent. In SDI's embryonic stages, most of
the arguments revolved around technical feasibility and
arms control. Much of the debate has since shifted to
strategic concerns between the superpowers and the Third
World. But arguments over strategic defense have also
included domestic political concerns.
Most government programs the size of SDI have
inherent domestic constituencies. But strategic defense
has developed an international angle as well. As Under
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz points out,
Since SDI began, we have negotiated and signed
memoranda of understanding with five of our allies
to facilitate their participation in the program.
While such an MOU is helpful, it is not. mandatory
for participation, and organizations in countries
that have not signed an MOU have successfully
competed for contracts (Defense Issues. POD, 1989,
3) .
As of 1990, U.S. allies have gathered roughly 268
SDI contracts totalling $479 million (Roos, 1991).
Conceivably, this could assist in the popularity of
international research programs and perhaps spill over
into SDI support in the U.S. That is unlikely, however.
The vast bulk of research contracts are awarded

domestically, and it is here that the fight over SDI will
be won or lost. A 20% decrease in funding for the
Strategic Defense Initiative Organization's (SDIO)
research and development account was a blow to
contractors at home and abroad in fiscal year 1991 (Roos,
1991) Though SDI has failed to develop the core
constituency that perpetuates many other forms of
government spending, outlays for strategic defense saw a
boost in fiscal '92 with the planned interceptor
deployment. Moreover, President Bush has proposed
spending an additional 23% for fiscal 93, bringing the
budget for SDI to $5.4 billion (Copeland, 1992).
Despite presidential budget requests, the reality is
that congressional appropriations have never come close
to administration requests for funding. For fiscal year
1992, the Senate Armed Services Committee "recommended
spending a total of $4.6 billion on SDI, about $550
million less than the Bush administration sought. The
House earlier cut SDI funds by 40%" (Rocky Mountain News.
5 February 1991, 51). For the years 1984 through 1990,
Congress reduced administration budget requests for SDI
by some 22% "with $31 billion requested and $24 billion
appropriated. Not one useable weapon was produced with
the money" (Brock, 1991: 15). Indeed, "From the
beginning, Reagan's SDI program has been a target for

U.S. budget-cutters as well as a major Soviet
preoccupation" (Boyle, 1990: 82).
Perhaps the most troubling consequence of SDI to
many of its criticsparticularly within the arms control
communityhas been the idea of replacing the Cold War
doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) with some
sort of ABM defense.2 It seemed the Reagan administration
was threatening to do this when it adopted a broad
definition of the ABM Treaty, thus disputing a ban on
certain defenses in the agreement. But the administration
quickly went out of its way to reassure its critics that
it would continue to abide by their strict interpretation
of the 1972 document. Nevertheless, the Soviets harshly
criticized the broader interpretation and it proved to be
a sticking point in subsequent negotiations over
strategic arms reductions (Bunn, 1990: 11).
Historically, Soviet and American concerns have been
directly related to the strategic balance of
powerregardless of treaty stipulations. This helps to
2 Mutual Assured Destruction, as originally conceived,
depends in part upon the vulnerability of civilian
populations to nuclear attack. The doctrine, formulated in
the early to mid-'60s -under Secretary of Defense Robert
McNamara, was based on the assumption that once the Soviet
Union had acquired our then existing capability to absorb
a first-strike and still launch a retaliatory blow, each
side would then negotiate an acceptable level of deterrence
by holding civilian populations at risk (Graham, 1986). See
Chapter 2 for details.

explain why the roughly 4,500 ballistic missiles in the
former Soviet Union can deliver some 12,000 explosive
nuclear warheads and why the U.S. inventory of about
1,600 ballistic missiles can deliver approximately 6,000
warheads (Codevilla, 1988) Proponents of SDI point to
this escalation of offensive armsaimed at achieving
first-strike capabilityas inherent in the concept of
Mutual Assured Destruction. Critics counter by saying
that arms control agreements, from SALT I to START, have
kept the balance of deterrence intact.
Critics of SDI further insisted that the arms race
of the last forty years would have been heightened
immeasurably by the introduction of a whole new
generation of offensive weapons designed to offset
defensive ones deployed in a race for strategic defense.
"Soviet leaders would surely perceive American moves
toward deployment of a nationwide missile defense as an
effort to disarm the Soviet Union," according to Mathew
Bunn of the Arms Control Association (1990: 6). President
Reagan disagreed and, in fact, offered to share SDI
technology in some loosely formed venture with the
Soviets. Whether Reagan was right or the changing times
have stood conventional wisdom on its head, in the wake
of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's proposal for just

SDI may not be as
such a joint venture with the U.S.,
threatening to international relations as once believed.
Nevertheless, arms control enthusiasts still contend
that agreements limiting defensive options, like the ABM
Treaty, lay the foundation for future accords and
reductions of offensive weaponswhile still maintaining
the appropriate levels of deterrence (Bunn, 1990). SDI
foes continue to insist that a successful strategic
deployment of a nationwide missile defense is dangerously
provocative due to its threat to offensive capabilities.
Whoever has SDI and offensive capability has the option
of international force and power.3
But what about the rising threat from future
superpowers? Critics of strategic defense point out that
while a
substantial number of Third World nations are
gaining access to ballistic missile technology, they
are primarily focusing on the short medium
range-missiles needed to threaten their regional
rivals, not intercontinental missiles for attacks on
the United States (Bunn, 1990: 132).
3 It is important to realize the premise to this line
of reasoning suggests a moral symmetry between nations that
many people in the political arena object to. Would
"international force and power" be utilized,in the same way
by every country? Long before the Soviet collapse, retired
ambassador and State Department director Seymour Weiss said
that those "who think arms control should be the
' centerpiece' of U.S.-Soviet relations ignore the
fundamental incompatibility of U.S. and Soviet objectives"
(Will, 1984: 104) .

Besides, according to Bunn, "only leaders willing to face
a devastating retaliation from the full military power of
the United States" would be foolish enough to undertake
such action (1990: 132). It appears, however, that Saddam
Hussein was willing to take such a risk by launching Scud
missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia, staunch allies of
the U.S. in the Gulf conflict. And before the war Saddam
threatened, "Our missiles cannot reach Washington, but if
they could we would hit there as necessary (Brock, 1991:
16). Ominous verbal threats from Libya's Muammar Qaddafi
have not been in short supply either. In the midst of the
Soviet coup, the dictator was quick to praise its leader,
Gennady Yanayev,
This magnificent work, which you have carried
out today is very important in order to restore the
international prestige of the Soviet Union and the
pride of the Soviet citizen which imperialism wishes
to step on with its dirty feet (Cutler, 1991b: 32).
Perhaps more importantly, if the technology is there
for intermediate range missiles, how far behind can
intercontinental technology be? Some note, for example,
how in less than a decade Iraqi modifications
transformed the Soviet Scud-B, a primitive missile
with a range of only 180 miles, into a weapon of
terror capable of hitting cities 550 miles away
(Ingersoll, 1991: A18) .
But to many of SDI's critics, the debate is
impertinent. Not only due to the demise of the Soviet
threat, but because past attempts at developing ABM

systems have proved inadequate. Why would any nation give
up its offensive capabilityfor a gamble in space, no
lesswhen those weapons are still strategically and
tactically effective? In a 1983 New York Times column,
Andrew Cockburn ridicules Pentagon spending for defensive
systems that don't work,
For example, next year's budget request
contains $2 billion for the Divad and Patriot gun
and missile air-defense systems, the performance of
which is, to put it mildly, disappointing (Bozell,
1991: 24).
The "it won't work" argument is starting to fall on deaf
ears, though. The Patriot, despite any shortcomings,
proved that it is indeed quite possible to hit a "bullet
with a bullet" (one of the exaggerated metaphors
frequently used against SDI). Secretary of Defense Dick
Cheney goes even further, "Almost everyone now will
concede that a defense against ballistic missiles is
possible within a very few years" (1990: 1).
International relations do not exist in a vacuum:
exit the Soviet Union; enter the Commonwealth of
Independent States. In light of Yeltsin's offer on a
combined SDI, prospects for mutual cooperation toward a
defensive transition may be greater than ever. And not
withstanding congressional opposition, public opinion may
even be on the side of SDI. Some contend that U.S. polls
"have consistently shown that the public supports

strategic defense, and that, in fact, the majority think
the U.S. already has one" (Brock,' 1991: 15).
To paraphrase Kupelian and Masters, this would mean
conquering the last refuge of the anti-SDI forces: the
codification of Mutual Assured Destruction through the
ABM Treaty. It would also mean an honest assessment of
what the treaty says by pro-SDI forces in the debate. It
very well may be, as Daniel Graham of High Frontier
explains, "There is no way that we can defend ourselves
and abide by that treatywhich says we must not defend
ourselves" (1991: 31).

Throughout the course of contemporary political
history, there have been a number of traumatic changes in
the leadership of nations. Few, if any, have caused the
world to pause in such a way as the recent revolution in
the Soviet Union, now the CIS. The volatility of the
failed coup d'etat in the U.S.S.R. was exponentially more
dangerous due to the amounts of explosive firepower
especially nuclearthat had been amassed in that nation
over the last 30 years.
In fact, there were serious doubts about just who
controlled the Soviets' nuclear arsenal during the failed
Kremlin coup. According to reports, one of the first
steps initiated by the coup-plotters was to remove the
suitcase of nuclear codes from Mikhail Gorbachev. Though
no alerts were ever enacted, arms analyst Bruce G. Blair
of the Brookings Institution was cautious, "No matter
what the regime might have been, we're talking about
people who were on the brink of physical collapse... They
may behave irrationally" (Waller, 1991: 57). Ironically,
retiring chief of U.S. intelligence, William Webster, had
previously warned of such a problem,

What I think we're seeing now is some concern
on the part of the (Soviet) central government...
this is one (issue) that we will have to pay a lot
of attention to as the (Soviet) central government
loses control on the ground (Mossberg, 1991: A12).
With the size of the former Soviet nuclear arsenal
still intact (despite bold proposals by the superpowers
and the signing of the START agreement), instability
within the republics is cause for concern. Add to that a
growing Third World threat and past critics, such as Rep.
Les Aspin, are starting to reconsider defensive options.
The threat now is essentially from a source
that is non-deterrable. I think there is a better
case than there was for (missile) defenses for the
United States (Karaim & Walters, 1991: 24A).
To be sure, fear of an attack from what was once
known as the Red Menace is, at the least, moribund. The
Bush administration's bold move to unilaterally disarm a
good portion of the United States' nuclear arsenalin
the hope of corresponding reductions in Soviet strategic
weaponrymay further diminish the reliance on nuclear
weapons. However, it is instructive, I think, to review
the realities of the post-WWII doctrine that was so
heavily relied upon (implicit in Aspin's statement about
"non-deterrable" threats) to prevent an all-out nuclear
assault. It is a sad fact, but if history is any lesson,
the circumstances we found ourselves in throughout the
Cold War may once again come to pass.

The United States' uneasy alliance with the Soviet
Union finally disintegrated shortly after World War II
when what most refer to as the "nuclear arms race" began.
Anti-communism intensified during the Eisenhower years
with congressional hearings and the like, but militarily,
the move to stem the tide of communism really took off in
the early '60s. President John Kennedy's first budget
"dramatically accelerated the Polaris and Minuteman
programmes already in outline form and boosted spending
on strategic air and civil defense" (Campbell, 1984: 33).
The new Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara envisioned a
number of military strategies:
We believe in a policy of controlled, flexible
response where the military force of the United
States would become a finely tuned instrument of
national policy, versatile enough to meet with
appropriate force the full spectrum of possible
threats to our national security from guerrilla
subversion to all-out war (Campbell, 1984: 33).
The Kennedy administration relished in America's idea of
its manifest destiny. Whether it requires sending the new
"special forces" to Vietnam or the first nuclear-powered
submarine, the young president would, in his own words,
pay any price for freedom. Of course, this required
substantial spending in conventional, tactical, and
strategic weaponry.4
4 Conventional forces are those considered non-nuclear,
e.g., tanks, artillery, etc. Missiles may be tactical or
strategic; nuclear or conventional, though strategic forces

On the strategic side, there was great emphasis on
air and civil defense, and with some success. According
to Codevilla,
In the 1950s and '60s we built an air defense
that made it highly unlikely that any Soviet
aircraft could get through to the United States. And
what did the Soviets do? Did they build more
aircraft? No, they stopped building aircraft
completely and they resumed building bombers only
after we had torn down our air defense (1991b:
But the eventual direction was toward "'city-busting,'
holding people, not weapons, as hostages. The doctrine
was dressed up in an appropriate acronymMAD or mutual
assured destruction" (Campbell, 1984: 33).
The utility of mass retaliation was given even more
credence as the United States' strategic advantage was
dwindling away.5 Nuclear superiority allowed the West to
are now synonymous with nuclear forces. Tactical missiles,
with conventional or nuclear warheads, are short-range
missiles which normally do not span continents. They are
used in theater warfare, i.e., a limited area. Strategic
nuclear missiles do span the oceans and are contemplated
for use in the world arena, such as defending allies around
the globe, or even launching an undetected preemptive first
strike. An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a
strategic weapon with a range of- 3,000 to 8,000 miles.
ICBMs are really space rockets using chemical energy in a
boost phase to propel its payload into ballistic trajectory
(Campbell, 1984).
5 As Under Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz
explains, "Until the early 1960s, the United States relied
on its massive strategic superiority, including a
substantial commitment to air defenses" to deter attack,
but as "Soviet nuclear capability grew in the late 1950s
and 1960s, the threat of massive retaliation lost
credibility and the United States shifted to a strategy of

dictate international relations, to a degree. Those days
were quickly coming to an end, however. The fast
approaching strategic parity required ostensible controls
on an escalating arms race. Indeed, according to Graham,
The entire concept is dependent upon agreements
on both sides to keep the balance of terror
balanced. Without an agreement with the Soviets as
to just how many of what types of nuclear weapons
each side should have, the pressure to add more and
better offensive systems is inexorable. MAD without
SALT (or START) dictates that each side must keep
adding offensive weapons because each is dependent
upon the surviving fraction of its nuclear force
after a first strike by the opponent. This fraction
diminishes steadily because of technical
improvements to offensive weaponry. Weapon totals
must therefore be periodically increased to insure
that adequate numbers survive. One literally adds
offensive weapons to be destroyed in a first strike
(1986: 39) .
So in the 1960s, arms agreements took hold,
as much to cap the destabilizing new
technologies of multiple independently targetable
warheads (MIRVs) and anti-ballistic missile defense
which might swallow up whole defense budgets as in
response to domestic and diplomatic pressures for
such measures as the partial test ban treaty
(Campbell, 1984: 33).
Note the word "destabilizing"it is a word frequently
used by arms control enthusiasts to stifle debate on arms
agreements. Nuclear superiority, by any nationincluding
the United Statesis "destabilizing." Failure to sign
flexible response" with a reliance on survivable offensive
nuclear weapons. It was "During this period, the United
States began to deploy a triad of strategic forces"
consisting of land-based intercontinental ballistic
missiles (ICBM), sea or submarine-based ballistic missiles
(SLBMs), and manned, penetrating bombers (1989: 1).

agreements will most certainly produce a "destabilizing"
arms race (though it is hard to imagine what anyone would
call the great proliferation of weapons in a supposed era
of arms control). And of course, SDI is surely
"destabilizing." All of which points to an ironic
corollary of MAD that refuses to allow both sides from
enacting defenses against offensive weaponry (with at
least the potential to mitigate their horrific effects)
lest they be "destabilizing."
Still, moral implications aside, one could plausibly
argue that mutual assured destruction would (and has), in
fact, promoted stabilityas long as both superpowers
maintained offensive weaponry solely for their opponent's
civilian annihilation. As Mr. Bunn observes,
The idea of mutual assured destruction, which I
would prefer to call mutual assured deterrence, is
simply that in the nuclear age it's an inevitable
reality that both the United States and the Soviet
Union have enough nuclear to weapons to destroy each
other... (1991: interview).
The advantages of rational deterrence cannot be
dismissed, as Reagan himself pointed out in the now
famous March 1983 speech,
The strategy of deterrence has not changed. It
still works. But what it takes to maintain
deterrence has changed. It took one kind of military
force to deter an attack when we had far more
nuclear weapons than other powersit takes another
kind now that the Soviets, for example, have enough
accurate and powerful nuclear weapons to destroy
virtually all our missiles on the ground (Graham,
1986: 17).

But Reagan made a salient point (which went largely
unnoticed at the time) about Soviet intentions of
targeting our missiles and not only our cities. And it is
precisely here that MAD detractors say the theory breaks
down. After all, "City smashing is what 'mutual assured
destruction' was all about and it remained the policy of
the United States for a long time" (Campbell, 1984: 15).
The problem is "If the U.S. retaliatory force could be
taken out, deterrence would be undermined and the U.S.
would be hostage to Soviet designs" (Brock, 1991: 14).
Thus, through the increased accuracy of "counterforce"
weaponry, the possibility of a preemptive first strike
was suddenly added to the nuclear equation.6
Military journalist Christopher Campbell adds,
In terms of nuclear weapons, counterforce
targeting policy is only relevant in a first strike.
A Soviet strike on the United States would only
invite response by the surviving counterforce
weapons on empty missile silos and deserted bomber
bases. The policy further undermines the structure
of deterrence by opening up "war-fighting"
strategies, with winners and losers (1984: 15).
The strategic concept of a counterforce first strike
renders irrelevant the concerns of many in what was once
6 Counterforce strategy is a means of employing weapons
to attack other weapons; in nuclear terms, primarily
missile silos and underground command, control, and
communications centers (C-cubed or C3)though taking out
C3s is sometimes referred to as "decapitation." For
instance, two Soviet SS-18 ICBMs could destroy NORAD
controls in Cheyenne Mountain which transmit launch orders
to missiles in the United States (Campbell, 1984).

known as the "nuclear freeze" movement. Familiar
criticisms such as "We have enough weapons to blow up the
world several times over" seem a bit overstated simply
because the superpowers haven't been interested in
blowing up the world for quite some time. They have been
quite concerned with a preemptive first strike, however
which requires that certain military targets on each side
be covered. As they are, new ones are built to maintain
the balance of deterrence by assuring a surviving
fraction of weapons available for retaliation, ad
infinitum. It seems fairly conspicuous that an inherent
flaw in the doctrine of mutual assured destruction is an
almost insatiable predisposition toward increasing,
updating, and modernizing nuclear armaments. This, of
course, is genuinely destabilizing, and attempts at
suppression through arms control agreements, as well we
shall see in Chapter 3, have proved problematic.
The 1970s and early 1980s saw the deployment of
counterforce weaponry on both sides with the Soviet SS-18
ICBM and the U.S. Pershing II intermediate-range
ballistic missile (IRBM). This mutual dilution of
deterrence meant that the targetsretaliatory secondary
strike weaponswould be destroyed if they are not fired
even assuming an attack is electronically predicted
(Campbell, 1984). Yet Codevilla, Graham, et al., point to

a basic asymmetry in the overall implementation of MAD by
each side. "We built our warheads for mutual assured
destruction, for killing people; they built their weapons
for killing weapons, this is a significant difference...
(Codevilla, 1991b: interview).
In fact, as Under Secretary Wolfowitz explained,
Soviet strategic forces are structured to
provide a counterforce first-strike capability; to
limit damage from those U.S. weapons they could not
destroy in a counterforce attack, the Soviets place
emphasis on defenses. They have a very extensive air
defense and a modest deployed ABM system. We are
concerned that the Soviets could field a widespread
defense using rapidly deployable ABM components,
although we judge such a deployment to be unlikely
through at least the mid-1990s.
Moreover, the Soviets have long maintained an
aggressive program to develop an advanced defense
against ballistic missiles. However, such defenses,
if deployed, would not prevent massive damage to
Soviet society. The USSR also invests heavily in
passive defenses, including reinforced silos,
protected facilities for key leadership elements and
civil defenses for certain segments of the
industrial base and population (1989: 2).
The Soviets have never accepted the MAD logic. They
built (and the CIS still possesses) rail and road mobile
ICBMs (SS-24 & SS-25), which the United States did not;
they upgraded their heaviest multiple warhead ICBM (SS-
18), whose construction and basing mode, according to
Secretary of Defense Cheney (1990), make it most suitable
for a preemptive first strike; and in 1989, the year when
the Cold War thaw began, the Soviets produced 140 new
ICBMs to our 12. This is not meant to imply a pending

threat of these weapons being used; for sure, things have
changed in the now defunct Soviet Union. It is meant to
show how our respective strategies concerning mutual
assured destruction were implemented.
Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney spoke of
Let me point out, however, that there is an
important difference in our two countries' strategic
programs. The Soviets continue to upgrade their
first-strike ICBMs, the SS-18s. In contrast, we are
not looking for a first-strike capability and never
have. Our emphasis is on systems that can survive a
first strike, if necessary, and respond flexibly
(1990: 2) .
Which is why so much of the cost for our weapons, such as
the MX missile, continues to be found in shelter systems.
Both the Carter and Reagan administrations proposed
adding new missiles to our offensive forces, costing
roughly $350 million per unit. The bulk of the costs, in
some cases upwards of 75%, were for shelter systems to
protect the payload against incoming missiles (Graham,
1986) .
Now, in fact, the MX is a counterforce weapon
designed in response to the hard-target kill capability
of the most threatening of Soviet multiple warhead ICBMs:
the SS-18. The MX, like the Pershing II IRBM, hoped to
close the "window of vulnerability" during the mid-1980s
when some in the defense establishment felt "the
temptation to launch a first strike against suddenly

vulnerable U.S. forces would be overwhelming" (Campbell,
1984: 52). But there have been serious problems with all
of this. In the first place, the proportion of the U.S.
Army's Pershings would as of a few years ago, fall short
of their targeted command centers (Campbell, 1984). The
MX, though not in the same category as the heavy Soviet
missile, would have been a partial counterpart to the SS-
18 if deployed in sufficient numbers. Due to political
considerations, it never was. The 50 silo-based MX
missiles were never a substantial offset to the pre-START
308 Soviet SS-18s. Perhaps that accounts for the Bush
administration's latest proposal for the unilateral
destruction of all IRBMs in Europe and a halt to all MX
production (with elimination of deployed MX missiles to
possibly follow).
What about our sea-based deterrent? Didn't it
possess enough firepower to inflict sizeable damage on
our adversaries, including counterforce capabilities as
well? Mr. Bunn of the Arms Control Association said yes,
saying the submarines we had on alert were "capable of
taking out virtually every military target in the Soviet
Union other than hardened silos (1991: interview). But
Codevilla countered, "It is precisely the hardened silos
that are at issue, the other targets cannot hurt us, it
is the silos that can hurt us" (1991b: interview). In

short, the submarine fleet is a deterrent, but not a
counterforce strategy. Even less so today: again, the
administration is calling for one-third reduction of the
number of sea-based warheads.
Land-based ICBMs are perhaps more feared because
they can carry large payloads and deliver multiple
warheads with great accuracy. The current generation of
submarine-launched missiles incorporate small and
inaccurate weapons. While a small and accurate warhead,
or an inaccurate but large warhead, could take out a
hardened silo, there is little assurance that smaller and
less accurate SLBMs would. In fact,
Our typical weapon today is a Poseidon; we have
more of these warheads than any other. A Poseidon
warhead has about a 1 chance in 30 of destroying a
hardened Soviet silo, and therefore, preventing a
Soviet weapons from being launched at the United
States. The typical Soviet re-entry vehicle, the
typical Soviet weapon, is atop the SS-18 that has
about 90% chance of destroying an American silo and
therefore keeping an American weapon from going
towards the Soviet Union (Codevilla, 1991b:
The same cannot be said of the Trident II submarine-
launched missile, however. Its inertial navigation
system, among other technological advancements, increases
the accuracy of these submarine-based missiles to
"second-strike counterforce capability," i.e., the
ability to survive a first-strike and retaliate with
counterforce precision. These weapons, such as the MX and

Trident II, have been the integral component of a rather
lethargic attempt at U.S. strategic force modernization.
Indeed, they were to be fully deployed by the late '80s
or early '90s. The truth is that U.S. deployment of
counterforce weaponry has been too insignificant to
matter. By 1989, not one Trident II or D-5 submarine-
launched ballistic missile had been deployed.7 Efforts to
speed up production of any of these strategic
modernization programs have been met with harsh criticism
based on budgetary concerns, as well as domestic and
international political considerations.
Even if the United States had completed this nascent
"second-strike counterforce" deployment, MAD critics
charged (Graham, 1986) that the Soviet nuclear force was
designed for first and third strike strategies. "Clearly,
7 Before the recently confirmed closing of DOE's Rocky
Flats Nuclear Weapons facilities by the Bush
administration, proponents of the plant argued against the
shutdown's effect on the Trident II submarine program.
"About 450 new warheads have been delayed by the 21-month
shutdown of plutonium operations at Rocky Flats. Among
those are the W-88s for Trident submarines, which are atop
the national security" (Scanlon, 1991: 21). There have been
suggestions that the Trident should simply use the older,
less accurate C-4 missiles from the Poseidon days, but this
would require extensive retrofitting. "You just don't pick
up a C-4 missile and stick it into a D-5 missile hole...
The diameter is considerably different," remarked one
Pentagon official (Brinkley & Lowry, 1990: 46) Besides,
the other warhead option defeats the purpose of modernizing
the strategic SLBMs to counterforce capability.
Nevertheless, the plant will not resume standard
operations, and it will be the first time since WWII that
the U.S. has not had any new warheads in production.

the United States second-strike force represents the
targets for the Soviet first-strike force. United States
cities represent the targets for the Soviet third-strike
force" (1986: 91). This is why some MAD enthusiasts, like
Mr. Bunn of the ACA, point to the importance of the sea-
based deterrent as the leg of the triad that is clearly
the most difficult to detect. Ironically, many in the
arms control community objected to the modernization of
the Trident program.
The logic of mutual assured destruction, as we have
seen, depended upon much more than weapons; the efficacy
of a first-strike strategy was a crucial variable.
Consequently, the advent of highly accurate multiple
independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs)
spelled trouble for MAD. By the 1970s, the Soviets could,
arm 500 large ICBMs with three five-megaton
warheads and assuming an 80% reliability, strike
their targets and disarm the vital Minuteman arsenal
of the United States in a first strike. All the
surviving U.S. seaborne or land based systems could
do in return would be to attack Russian cities,
inviting the launch of the large number of remaining
Soviet missiles against US cities. Under MAD, the
side which lost its own counterforce weapons would
be forced to surrender or its cities would be
destroyed (Campbell, 1984: 48).
Still today, the former Soviet Union's SS-18s
(within the four CIS republics of Russia, Ukraine,
Byelorussia, and Kazakhstan) each carry 10 warheads
(maybe more), have a reliability factor of 90%, and are

able to destroy the existing U.S. land-based deterrent.
It was perhaps with that prospect in mind that the
strategic arms control process began in earnest with the
first session of SALT in November 1969 and gradually
culminating the just completed START (Strategic Arms
Reductions Talks) Treaty. However, should a second coup
succeed or the rise of an authoritarian dictator evolve,
it is far from certain whether START's retreat to 1982
weapons levels provides any real security from a
potential first-strike. Moreover, the 1991 treaty's
ceilings do not have to be met for seven years, though
Russian President Yeltsin is calling for the timetable to
be reduced to three (The Denver Post. 1992).
Even under the treaty's limits the post-START
strategic balance is uncertain, and most analysts agree
that had the Soviet Union not disintegrated, they would
have maintained their first-strike capability well into
the 21st century. According to Steven Hildreth, a
specialist in national defense for the Congressional
Research Service,
Under START, the Soviets will retain a highly
lethal force of modern SS-18 missiles, which is
sufficient to destroy with high confidence all U.S.
ICBM silos and fixed launch facilities and hardened
command posts. The Soviets will also retain a
significant survivable mobile ICBM force of SS-24s
and SS-25s (1991: CRS-54).

A positive sign, however, is the latest round of
talks between Boris Yeltsin and George Bush which may
drastically reduce post-START levels by some 50% between
the Commonwealth's largest republic and the U.S. Yeltsin
has even pledged to stop targeting U.S. military sites,
though there is no way to independently verify such a
move. Nevertheless, should Yeltsin survive, he may be a
leader to trust: he was democratically elected; he stood
up to the coup; he adopted some restrained market
reforms; and he seems genuine in his plans for unilateral
defense cuts in the republic of Russia. This is a
critical departure from past Soviet policy, and it has
immense implications for U.S. foreign, diplomatic, and
strategic policyespecially with regard to the issue of
trust and verification in weapons accords. For as we
shall see, in arms control, intentions are everything.

Table I: The Slratcgic Nuclear Balance
A. Current US strategic forces under START counting rules
Maximum Loadings without
START Counting Rulesa violating START Counting Rules*
Delivery Launchers Warheads/ Total Warheads/ Total
vehicle type deployed launcher warheads launcher Warheads
ICBM Minuteman II 450 1 450
Minuteman III 500 3 1,500
MX 50 10 500
Sub-total ICBM (1,000) - (2.450) (same)
SLBM Poseidon C-3 192 10 1,920
Trident C*4 384 8 3,072
Trident D-5 48 8 384
Sub-total SLBM (624) (5,376)
Total Ballistic Missiles 1,624 7,826 7,826
(START Limit) (4,900)
Bombers ALCM B-52G 77 10 770 12 .924 1,900
B-52H 95 10 950 20
Sub-total ALCM (172) - (1,720) - (2,824)
(START ALCM Rule)* (150)
Non-AJLCM B-IB 95 1 95 24 2,280
B-52G/H 39 1 39 12 468
Sub-total non-ACLM (134) - (134) - (2,748)
Total Bombers 306 - 1,854 i.572
GRAND TOTAL 1,930 _ 9,680 13,398
(START Limit) (1,600) (6,000)
SLCMrf 357
(Agreed Limit) (880)
Institute for Strategic Studies' Military Balance
source is 1 the International
. 1990-1991. Brasseys, 1990.

B: Current Soviet strategic forces under START .counting rules
Maximum Loadings without
START Counting Rules0 violating START Counting Rules*
Delivery Launchers Warheads/ Total Warheads/ Total
vehicle type deployed launcher warheads launcher. Warheads
Heavy ICBM SS-18 308 10 3,080
(START Heavy Limit) (154) (1,540)
Mobile ICBM SS-24 60 10 600
SS-25 225 1 225
Sub-total Mobiles (285) (825)
(START Mobile Limit) Other ICBM (1.100)
SS-11 350 1 3b0
SS-13 60 1 60 (same)
SS-17 75 4 300
SS-19 320 6 1,920
Sub-total other ICBM (805) (2,640)
SLBM SS-N-6 192 1 192
SS-N-8 280 1 280
SS-N-17 12 1 12
SS-N-18 224 7 1,568
SS-N-20 120 10 1,200
SS-N-23 96 4 384
Sub-total (SLBM) (924) (3.636)
Total Ballistic Missiles 2,322 10,181 10,181
(START Limit) (4,900)
Bombers ALCM Bear 75 8 600 12 900
Blackjack 15 8 120 12 180
Sub-total ALCM (90) - (720) - (1,080)
(START ALCM Rule)0 (210)
Non-ALCM Bear 95 1 95 4 380
Total Bombers 185 815 1,460
GRAND TOTAL 2,497 10,996 11,641
(START Limit) (1,600) (6,000)
SLCM* 150
Agreed Limit (880)
0 For START counting rules and details of agreement, see Sur-
rival, May/June 1988 (pp. 267-9) and Sunital, July/August
1990 (pp. 365-8).
For missiles, the attributed number of warheads per launcher in
general reflects the maximum tested for that missile; but there
are several exceptions, including the Poseidon C-3 (tested at 14
but attributed at 10), the Trident D-5 (tested at 10 but attributed
at 8), the SS-11 mod 3 (tested at 3 but attributed at I), and the
SS-N-23 (tested at 10 but attributed at 4). These attributed
numben for missilei represent a limitation, which will be veri*
lied by on-site inspection.
For bombers, each bomber counts as one delivery vehicle. Non*
ALCM-capable bombers also count is one warhead regardless
of the number of gravity bombs or SRAM which could be car*
tied. US ALCM-capable bombers are attributed as carrying ten
warheads but may be equipped to carry no more than 20
ALCM. (The B-32G is charged in this Table with 12 because it
carries only 12 ALCM .) Similarly Soviet ALCM bombers are
attributed as carrying eight warheads but may be equipped to
carry no more than 12 ALCM. (See footnote f.)
8 This column represents the maximum loadings for current
forces consistent with START counting rules. It more nearly
represents the capabilities of current strategic forces, though
operationally bombers would seldom be fully loaded. The miss-
ile warhead numben are the same is the previous column
because for missiles START counting rules ate limitations. For
bombers, however, this column shows the maximum loading
for gravity bombs and/or SRAM per non-ALCM bomber and
the START limitation (or loading capacity) for ALCM
c Only 150 US ALCM bomben will be attributed as carrying
ten warheads and only 210 Soviet bomben as carrying eight
warheads. Bomben above these limits will be attributed with
the number of ALCM for which they ate actually equipped.
d SLCM are not constrained by START but it has been agreed
that neither side will have more than 880SLCM with a range in
excess of 600km. Figures shown are: total US nuclear SLCM
believed produced; number of Soviet SLCM-capable launchers.

As mentioned earlier (Graham, 1986), the arms
control process had become a vital corollary to mutual
assured destruction. In theory, the absence of weapons
agreements would invite an offensive arms race by the
superpowers (and others later) in order to maintain
retaliatory forces and even first strike capabilities. Of
course, this faith in some sort of paper security was
predicated upon the fidelity of the signing partners to
respective agreementswhich has not always been the case
on either side. Consequently, steadfast adherence to
weapons treaties sometimes put the arms control advocate
in the awkward position of apologizing for violations on
the other side if only to preserve an unwavering belief
in the process. What this usually entailed were outright
denials or a glossing over of suspected transgressions
with slick interpretations of the document in question.
But, in arms control, and certainly in the case of the
ABM Treaty, intentions are indeed paramount.
Regardless of the accuracy of alleged violations by
either side, even some of the most ardent arms control
advocates realize the problems of verification and the
potential of a superpower achieving strategic superiority

through non-compliance with negotiated treaties. In spite
of that, the political reality is one of unending
devotion to the arms control process. Representative
Thomas Downey of New York, who had earlier declared the
Krasnoyarsk battle-management radar installation in
compliance with the ABM Treaty, hailed former Soviet
Foreign Minister Shevardnadze's subsequent admission of
the opposite by saying it was a "good faith effort by the
Soviet Union to acknowledge past mistakes and to
recognize the ABM Treaty as a valuable and respected
guide" (Bernstein, 1989: 35).8
Former Secretary of Defense and ABM Treaty supporter
Harold Brown said in 1985 of the alleged violation,
"Krasnoyarsk is an early warning radar that is located in
the wrong place. I do not think it is a great threat to
U.S. security because I do not think it has that much
capability" (Bunn, 1990: 78). Messrs. McGeorge Bundy,
George Keenan, and Gerald C. Smith, along with fellow
arms control aficionado Robert McNamara, issued a
statement citing Krasnoyarsk's "only marginal importance
in relation to any large-scale breakout from the ABM
8 The early warning radar installation at Krasnoyarsk
appears to be a clear violation of Article VI of the ABM
Treaty due to its location and strategic mission. Before
Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze resigned, he
admitted the breach, "The Krasnoyarsk radar installation...
[is] to put it bluntly, a violation of the ABM Treaty"
(Bunn, 1990: 76) .

Treaty" (Bunn, 1990: 85). Downey, Brown, Bundy, et al.,
fail to consider intentions which are at the heart of the
ABM Treaty itself. The Soviets too cried foul, charging
that the U.S. broke at least the spirit of the treaty by
upgrading their early warning radars at Thule, Greenland,
and Flyingdales Moor, United Kingdom, to large phased-
array radar (LPAR) status.9 Individual breaches may or
may not be threatening; a pattern of duplicity certainly
wasand is. It is in this context that exposed
transgressions may not be as important as the concealed
Appeasement is nothing new; it dates back nearly to
the inception of arms agreements. Some analysts
(Bernstein, 1989) suggest an inherent weakness in
democracies that renders them incapable of enforcing
compliance with such agreements. The Versailles Treaty of
1919 imposed strict restrictions on the German military
in the hope of avoiding in the future what has just
ended: World War. Victorious Allies limited the size of
the defeated nation's army to 100,000 as well as
prohibiting tanks, heavy artillery and chemical weapons.
9 Large phased-array radar (LPAR), such as these and
the one at Krasnoyarsk, allow "a radar beam to be steered
electronically in milliseconds, rather than moving the beam
by turning the radar itself. This allows phased-array
radars to track many targets simultaneously, giving them
much greater ABM potential than any type of radar (Bunn,
1990: 100).

This was all to be enforced by the Inter-Allied Control
Commission through, among other mechanisms, on site
Yet despite these strict measures, Germany "for
seven years did everything in her power to obstruct,
deceive and countercontrol the commission whose duty
it was to disarm her" in the words of one of the
commissioners (Bernstein, 1989: 34).
A few years later, the 1935 Anglo-German Naval
Agreement put severe restrictions on naval tonnage,
including the new, and somewhat colossal, German
battleship, the Bismarck. After British Naval
Intelligence suspected the ship's tonnage of violating
the London Naval Agreement, British officials concocted
the rationalization that if the German vessel had a very
shallow draft, i.e., flat bottom, well, then it would not
be in violation of any treaty. So, for the sake of
preserving the status quo, that is exactly what they did.
Of course, the Bismarck went on to inflict huge
casualties on Allied forces in the war (Graham, 1986).
European pacifism and self-deception throughout the
1930s has been well documented. Winston Churchill's
warnings were easily silenced by the rhetoric of Prime
Minister Neville Chamberlain and fellow adherents in the
Oxford Movement. Chamberlain's memorable chant of "peace
in our time" seems permanently etched in the mind of many
still today. Of course, this is not to suggest that the

enemies of the United States have a monopoly on violating
arms agreements. To be sure, U.S. compliance with
treaties of all sorts is, to say the least, dubious. If
conservatives believe that SDI broke the back of the
Soviet economy, it was only because of the Reagan
administration's willingness to circumvent the ABM
Treaty. Moreover, U.S. actions abroad in the name of
national security have come under intense criticism as
well.10 Perhaps this serves as an indictment of the
process from both sides.
But there is a difference with democratic
government. Some analysts (Will, 1984) contend in an open
and free society, it becomes more difficult to cheat on
arms agreements. However, there is little a government
can do to prevent others from doing soother than
adjusting public policy positions once it is aware of
particular encroachments. I would assert that in the
post-World War II period, U.S. violations of
international arms agreements have not taken on the
egregious nature as those of our adversaries, especially
10 See Betraying the National Interest by Lapp6,
Schurman & Danaher, Grove Press, New York, NY. This book
and others highlight questionable U.S. conduct in foreign
affairs through the manipulation of foreign' aid and
military assistance abroad, especially in the third world.
Alleged violations of international law and of stated U.S.
policy vis-a-vis the Neutrality Act, are among the charges
included here.

the Soviet Union. The issue is debateable, however,
attempting to refute delinquencies on the part of others
by pointing out our own violations merely suggests the
consummate bankruptcy of the arms control process in
toto. Efforts at a cooperative, friendly coexistence--or
detentewith the East have been frequent since the end
of World War II. None at the time more ambitious than one
initiated by presidents Nixon and Brezhnev in their
Moscow summit of May 1972, culminating in the SALT
(Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) Agreements. Although
1979's SALT II was never ratified by the Senate, the
United States unilaterally agreed to abide by its
provisions in the hope of encouraging goodwill between
the superpowers. Unfortunately, it is now fairly apparent
that this was a time for Soviet expansionism throughout
the world. While the SALT I, ABM, Camp David, and SALT II
accords were being negotiated, the Soviets were lending
support for the Yom Kippur surprise attack on Israel in
1973; Cuban troops were being sent abroad (to Syria in
1973) for the first time; South Vietnam, Cambodia,
Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Angola were falling to the
communists; and finally, in 1979, Nicaragua went
communist and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan (Menges,
1987). Whether this was essentially a result of declining

"American imperialism" abroad or not there is little
doubt that this was a time for retreating by the West.
The counter to U.S. vacillation offered by the pro-
detente forces was the proliferation of arms agreements
specifically, the SALT accords of which the ABM Treaty
was a part. But repeated allegations of Soviet non-
compliance with the SALT accordsthe most disconcerting
being the substitution of prohibited "heavy" ICBMs for
"light" ones (i.e., SS-19s for SS-lls)eventually led
the Senate Armed Services Committee to declare of Salt II
The treaty is unequal in favor of the Soviet
Union and inconsistent with PL 92-448 (the Jackson
Amendment requiring equal strategic levels), and its
"constraints on the growing Soviet threat are not
militarily significant." It added that "many
provisions of the treaty... cannot be verified...on a
strict standard of compliance..." (Kraemer, 1991:
7) .
The Reagan administration's overriding concern for
the "window of vulnerability" led it to the conclusion
that SALT II was "fatally flawed" by its codification of
a Soviet first-strike advantage (Bernstein, 1991: 17).
Though agreeing to comply unilaterally for much of his
tenure, Mr. Reagan finally renounced the treaty in May of
1986 (Bernstein, 1991). With regard to intentions, Reagan
took a much more skeptical view of Soviet compliance than
his predecessor, thus ending the latest and most
intensified attempt at East-West detente. The ensuing

military build-up by the new administration, and its
willingness to confront the Soviets on a global scale,
put a decisive end to a cooperative superpower
relationship for the time being. But contrary to
conventional wisdom, Reagan insiders, if not Reagan
himself, never abandoned the arms control process. Their
self-described desire was only to negotiate from a
position of military strength, not to refuse to
negotiate. In fact, what many consider one of the
crowning foreign policy achievements of the Reagan years
was the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF)
Treaty with the Soviets.
As opposed to the SALT accords, Reagan said he
wanted arms agreements that reduced the number of nuclear
forces, not simply ones that capped future weapons
increases. Though INF did not reduce nuclear warheads
fatal flaw to criticsits intention was to eliminate
some 2,600 missiles or launchers. INF negotiators also
proclaimed the treaty as the most verifiable to date. The
major Soviet weapon that was supposed to be removed upon
ratification was the SS-20, and its production was to be
overseen by "perimeter-portal continuous monitoring" that
examines missiles leaving fenced-in facilities
(Bernstein, 1991: 20). But U.S. defense and intelligence
authorities failed to agree on just how many SS-20s the

Soviets actually had. While the CIA and State Department
initially came in at 700 missiles, the Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA) estimated 1,200. At the time of
the INF signing, the Wall Street Journal wrote that:
the Soviets said 650. Just last month, however,
the CIA and State Department reached new estimates
of 700, while DIA stuck with 1,200. "The national
intelligence estimate," a consensus view, is 950.
Grade-school arithmetic can tell you that if
the Soviets chop up 650 missiles out of 950 they
will have 300 left under the zero-poption agreement.
The administration argues that this is a tempest in
a teapot, since the Soviet figure of 650 is "within
the range of our uncertainties." We wonder how
Americans would be surprised to learn that the
supposedly verifiable INF agreement depends on a
"range of uncertainties," extending from zero to
300, not to mention 550 if the high DIA estimate
happens to be right (3 February 1988, 22).
As it turned out, concerns over numbers did amount
to more than the Reagan administration simply "crying
wolf." After the Berlin Wall fell, the West found "scores
of banned mobile SS-23 missiles in three East European
countries during the late 1980s" (Kraemer, 1991: 6).
Like the ABM accord, the INF Treaty was steeped in
the usual vagueness that has come to define arms
agreements. Under Article 14, referred to as the "non-
circumvention clause," both sides agreed not to assume
any "international obligations or undertakings" (Wall
Street Journal, 3 February 1988, 22), which would be at
odds with treaty provisions. Did the clause mean that
both sides were prohibited from selling certain kinds

technology to their respective allies? And what about
shorter-range weapons in Europe? Are they prohibited as
well? The collapse of the Warsaw Pact nations obviously
diminishes any concern today; it did not at the time,
These problems with a treaty that was considered by
many in the international diplomatic corps (as well
almost everyone in the mainstream media) as nearly
inviolable point to the immense difficulties in verifying
arms agreements. Again, compliance with treaties are as
much about political intent as anything else.
The Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE),
supposedly marking the end of the Cold War, provides yet
another example. Theoretically, the CFE was to equalize
the number of heavy weapons between the Warsaw Pact and
NATO in Europe by reducing conventional forces made up of
tanks, armored vehicles, artillery pieces, combat
aircraft and helicopters. Because the Warsaw Pact nations
had enjoyed a distinct advantage in conventional forces
over NATO for years (the rationale for an allied nuclear
presence in Europe), they were required by the accord to
destroy more arms than the West. But from '89 on, and
even before the treaty was signed, the Soviets had moved
half their arsenal east of the Ural Mountains where the
treaty's limits were not in effect. Moscow then followed

up with a redesignation of 5,000 pieces of equipment from
motor-rifle divisions to coast guard, naval infantry,
civil defense, and strategic rocket units. Since naval
forces were not covered by the treaty, these heavy
weapons were spared the cuts (Kern, 1991: A18) .
Aside from the fact that there were also allegations
of Soviet undercounting as well as questions on the
number of allowed verification sites, it is important to
realize these maneuversclearly intending to circumvent
the desired outcome of the treatywere entirely legal
under the terms of the agreement. The paper security
procured through arms control agreements depends not on
the document's contents, but on the integrity of
participants' signatures. There are always loopholes.
Indeed, as Heinz A. J. Kern of Boston University's Center
for Defense Journalism argued with regard to CFE,
The Soviets argue they are fully meeting their
treaty obligations, because the treaty forbids
withdrawal of equipment only after it is signed.
From a legalistic point of view, they are of course
right. But that only calls into question why the
West should have any interest in continuing with
this particular arms control process (1991: A18).
But continue we did. The most ambitious arms control
accord ever reached between the superpowersreducing not
only ballistic missiles, but nuclear warheads as well
was next and it would surely be different than the past

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, otherwise known
as START, signed last July in Moscow and just before the
failed Soviet coup, was as historic in proportions as it
was sweeping in its implications. START's two key
provisions call for a reduction in the number of
ballistic missile warheads to 4,900 on each side and a
similar reduction in delivery systems or launchers to
corresponding totals of 1, 600 per side.11 START proponents
in the West rejoice in the fact that these limits
required the Soviets to eliminate fully half of their
most treasured land-based heavy ICBMs, the SS-18s. The
missile, with its 10-warhead carrying capacity per
launcher, had long been considered the most
"destabilizing" Soviet weapon due to its power, accuracy,
and thus, first-strike capability. The United States has
no comparable weapon deployed in such numbers. START's
mandate to reduce the number of SS-18s from 308 to 154
provides security, the theory goes, by substantially
11 The treaty has a total limit of 6,000 warheads on
all delivery systems, including submarines and bombers.
From a first-strike perspective however, its key provision
is the limit of 4,900 warheads on ballistic missiles,
including sub-limits of no more than 1,540 warheads on
ICBMs and 1,100 warheads on mobile ICBMs. The rest are
allocated to SLBMs. START "encourages a shift away from
silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to
mobile missiles, such as bombers and submarine-launched
missiles, that are more likely to survive a first strike
and thus may be better deterrents" (Barry & Watson, 1991:
36) .

weakening the first-strike threat.. But as mentioned,
START's ceilings have a seven-year grace period; and even
if Yeltsin is successful in shrinking that to three,
there is no assurance the instability within the
republics could not dismantle the treaty's provisions. In
fact, as late as February of 1992, German intelligence
was reporting that weapons plants inside the Commonwealth
are still producing SS-18s, SS-24s, and SS-25s (Jensen,
1992: 3).
Assuming the U.S. Senate and the four governments of
nuclear republics ratify the treaty, however, the Bush
administration predicts it will close the "window of
vulnerability." It may, providing the START provisions
are exercised in good faith, but militarists within the
former Soviet Union wishing to maintain their capability
may not have far to go. A 1988 CIA memo entitled "The SS-
18 Mod 5 ICBM" describes how forces within the former
Soviet Union could
still maintain the capability to destroy all
U.S. silo-based ICBMs with the SS-18. The Soviets
probably agreed to the U.S. 50% reductions proposal
only after assuring themselves that this capability
could be maintained (Bernstein, 1991: 15).
The memo detailed the Soviet efforts to upgrade and
modernize their strategic weapons, which they had been
doing for many years (Kraemer, 1991). The crux of the
problem is whether this is still going on (Yeltsin

pronouncements suggest otherwise); and whether the Mod 5
is merely an upgrade or in fact a new type of super-heavy
ICBM, with an accompanying increase in explosive warhead
power and accuracy. If so, it would enable incipient
authoritarian forces to roughly double their first-strike
efficiency, thus keeping their pre-START hard-target kill
requirements. But how?
In one respect, the report says,' the two
missiles are alike: the Mod 5 has been tested with
10 warheads but "could support a 14-RV [reentry
vehicle, or warhead] configuration, as is the case
with the SS-18 Mod 4." But the yield, or explosive
power, of each warhead on the Mod 5 "potentially is
twice as great as that estimated for the SS-18 Mod
4" (Bernstein, 1991: 17).
An operational increase in throw weight (defined as the
maximum weight a missile can carry over a particular
range) combined with an increase in destructive warhead
power would, even in smaller numbers, provide the
"necessary combination of yield and accuracy to threaten
the entire U.S. land-based ICBM force" (Bernstein, 1991:
17) .
Historically, the U.S. had assumed the Soviets were
allocating two warheads per hard target, if that was
changed to one due to an increased yield, then a 50%
reduction in warheadseven if abided bywould be
strategically meaningless. Not everyone agrees. Dunbar
Lockwood, a senior analyst at the Arms Control
Association says,

First of all, let's assume the yield is higher
and the accuracy is greater, which is certainly
plausible, which is likely. I believe that's the
case. And the percentage probability of a Mod 5
warhead destroying a hardened target is twice the
percentage probability of a Mod 4 warhead destroying
a hardened target. It still doesn't mean you can
destroy twice as many targets.
Its very widely believed that the United States
targets two MX [the U.S. heavy ICBM, with 10
warheads] warheads per hardened target in the Soviet
Uniona silo or command bunker. The MX is certainly
more accurate than the Mod 5, certainly more
accurate and more reliable. If the Soviets are going
to have to target two Mod 5 warheads on each silo,
it's not going to be able to destroy twice as many
targets. It's going to take two Mod 4 warheads to
destroy a hardened target, and it's going to take
two Mod 5 warheads to destroy a target. You just
have a better likelihood of success with the Mod 5
than you have with the Mod 4 (Bernstein, 1991: 19).
While it is true that the U.S. is abandoning its MX
program, it is also reasonable to assume that at least
some nuclear production is being halted now that Russian
President Yeltsin has declared that the United States is
no longer an enemy. Lockwood adds that critics of START
simply ignore the deterrent value in other legs of the
U.S. nuclear triad, i.e., bombers and submarines, though
others have downplayed their current strategic value,
especially as counterforce weaponry (Codevilla, 1991a).
But interestingly, Mr. Lockwood did concede that
recent unilateral cuts in U.S. nuclear forces by the Bush
administration would have made it easier for the former
Soviet military strategists to cover their targets.

Now that we are dismantlingunilaterally, I
might add450 Minuteman II's, that takes away 450
aim points. What I love is that if the Democrats had
suggested doing this a couple of years ago, we would
have been crucified (Bernstein, 1991: 19).
Indeed, the United States is now in its ^.seventh year
of a precipitous decline in defense spending. On top of
cutting back the Army and Navy forces by 25%, the Bush
administration has unilaterally ended MX ICBM and Trident
strategic submarine (that vital third leg of the triad)
production lines (Kraemer, 1991). The president's most
recent proposal will cut defense by another $50 billion
in the next six years and reduce to one the number
warheads on Minuteman missiles. More importantly,
Secretary of State James Baker's willingness to abandon
the original precepts in Reagan's START proposal banning
any modernization of heavy ballistic missiles had led to
worries over the SS-18 Mod 5 (Kraemer, 1991). Some arms
control analysts actually referred to the Mod 5 as a new
type of missile altogether (calling it the SS-26) because
it had, says START's first negotiator Edward Rowny, "gone
by the parameters of the old missile" (Bernstein, 1991:
18). The Bush administration was able get around this by
simply accepting the Mod 5 as another model of the SS-18,
thus legal under their new START guidelines.
Reagan's START also provided for a complete ban on
another major category of ICBMs, the mobile-land based

system. There were several reasons at the time, both of
which seem to have been reinforced by a subsequent chain
of events.
First, Reagan's insistence on a "zero" option was
due in part to problems with verification of mobile
missiles. U.S. experience in tracking down hard to find
Scud missiles in the Gulf War serves as a reminder.
Second, refusal on the part of Congress to fully
fund a U.S. mobile system was far from subsiding. Bush's
recent capitulation on the MX Rail Garrison drives it
home. Yet, as Sven Kraemer, a former National Security
Council official in four administrations, declared,
Bush's START now accepts deployment of 1,100
warheads on mobile ICBMs of which the U.S. has none
and the Soviet Union has manythe modern road- and
rail-mobile SS-25s and SS-24s (1991: 6).
There wereand areother intricacies to START that have
raised some eyebrows. For instance, the treaty's upper
limit of 6,000 weapons (including bomber weapons with
ballistic missiles count) may be technically violated due
to the indirect counting rules for bombers (Congressional
Research Service, 1991). There are also the usual
verification concerns.
Yet, an irresistible urge to discount all of this
because of the momentous events of the past few months
remains. That would be foolish. One could always caution
that even if the Commonwealth of Independent States fully

severs its defense ties, the uncertain leadership in the
Russian republic is going to command a military
superpower sustaining the world's largest nuclear missile
force. This will be true even at post-START strength
because the U.S. Congress will simply not fund American
forces at the limits of any negotiated treaty. Indeed,
most of the criticism George Bush has received for his
1992 State of the Union proposal to cut defense by 30%
during his tenure has been that it did not go far enough.
Still it is doubtful that the most dedicated dove would
be willing to brush aside the uncertainties we all still
But the point to be made with regard to arms control
is that these agreements were all made before the Soviet
revolution. Without assuming the obsolescence of the Cold
War, the strategic powers entered into a number of
agreements whose value, in my opinion, remains in
question. It is revealing to recall Soviet author Vadim
Zagladin's view on international relations. His 1982 book
outlines, among other things
"man's revolutionary transition from
capitalism... to socialism and communism." The book
analyzed in detail the objective utility of the
detente of the 1970s in weakening the West and
helping to shift the overall "correlation of forces"
in a direction favorable to Soviet interests and
ultimate Soviet victory in the long-term competition
with "imperialism" (Wells & Litwak, 1987: 167).

Superpower relations have most certainly been
transformed for the better. But the arms agreements in
question were formulated, negotiated, and signed in a
different era. It is in that context that we should now
turn our attention towards the ABM Treaty and its
continuing value as a superpower guide.

Russia and Ukraine have vowed to honor the 1990 CFE
Treaty; all four nuclear republics within the CIS have
pledged to submit the START accord to their respective
parliaments for ratification. Things are not quite as
neat with the ABM Treaty. Yeltsin's proposal for joint
cooperation on an ABM shield, perhaps discarding the
document in the process, may be nothing more than a
recognition of the controversy that has come to define
ABM accord.
After all, Krasnoyarsk was not the first time the
U.S. has suspected Soviet cheating on the ABM treaty. In
1975, what was perceived to be an anti-ballistic missile
radar on the Kamchatka Peninsula drew a timid response
from U.S. arms control officials. Robin Ranger of the
U.S. Institute of Peace,
citing Amron Katz, who at the time was a
director of the Arms Control and Disarmament
Agency's verification bureau, notes that the U.S.
response was very much like that of Britain's
response to the Bismarck. "The Soviets said, 'If it
pleases you to regard that as an ABM test range
[allowed under the treaty], then that's fine by us.'
And the U.S. said, 'Oh good; we'll call it a test
range, and then it's not a problem" (Bernstein,
1989: 34).

Past encroachments aside, since debate over the ABM
accord is ongoing (if only in the United States), let us
assume the treaty will be adopted by the Commonwealth as
well. So for the purposes of discussion and in order to
bring us to the present, references to "signing parties,"
"sides," etc. will take on the definitional adjustment of
substituting the CIS for the Soviet Union.
To be sure,, part of the problem with treaty
interpretation is the ambiguity of the document itself.
This may be due to an understandable reluctance on both
sides to abandon a substantial investment in ABM defense
dating back to the mid-1950s (Waller, Bruce, & Cook,
1987). Though the agreement is fairly clear on
prohibitions against deployment of nationwide ABM
systems, it does allow the signing parties to "complete
and/or maintain" (Pratt, 1990: 31) one site for which
considerable sums have already been spent. Inherently,
this provision in Article III of the treaty allowing both
sides one confined ABM location sanctions research,
development, and testing of at least theater ABM systems
in order to "complete and/or maintain" these respective
12 The site designed in Article III of the treaty are
Moscow, where the Soviets had started to deploy an ABM
system as early as 1965, and Grand Forks, ND, due to then
President Nixon's plan to defend the U.S. Minuteman missile
silos from attack (Waller, Bruce, & Cook, 1987). The 100

Even the limits on testing and development in
Article III do not apply for ABM systems and components
located in test ranges, as the quote from Mr. Ranger
infers and Article IV clearly states. Furthermore, while
the ABM compact does proscribe
deployment, testing, and development of space-
based ABM systems or their components, it does not
forbid ABM "research." In fact, the term "research"
is never used in the treaty. There is general
agreement that, by implication, ABM research is
permitted. The issue is at what point does research
become development or testing (Waller, Bruce, &
Cook, 1987: 79).
In simplistic terms, the idea that research is O.K., but
testing, development, and, most assuredly deployment of
nationwide ABM systems is strictly prohibited could be
called the traditional view of the treaty.
But the Reagan administration sought to adopt a
broader view based on what actually constitutes system
components "tested in an ABM mode," as declared in
Article II. It also sought to assert that the development
of futuristic technologies was not covered by the treaty.
Statement D of the Agreed Statements, signed by the
delegations the same day the treaty was signed, said that
launcher limit was designed to be so vulnerable as to
render its defensive capability useless. Regardless, the
United States shut down its site in 1975, and only now is
considering redeployment. The Soviets continued to upgrade
their Moscow ABM system (Brock, 1991).

ABM systems "based on other physical
principles" are only subject to future discussion
and amendments under the treaty. Thus, Statement D
and the definition of "ABM systems" in Article II,
read together, exempt exotic ABM systems altogether
from Article V prohibitions on development and
testing (Waller, Bruce, & Cook, 1987: 84).
Since SDI is new technology, the Reagan administration
declares only the broad interpretation as legally
binding. However, Reagan quickly conceded that for the
time being the administration would comply with the
traditional or "strict" interpretation of the treaty
(Waller,.Bruce, & Cook, 1987).
The controversy came to a head in October of 1986 at
the Iceland Summit when President Reagan rebuffed
Secretary General Gorbachev's demand to halt all SDI
efforts as a condition for future strategic arms talks.
Countering harsh criticism, SDI proponents argued that it
was precisely strategic defense that brought the Soviets
to the bargaining table and point to the INF agreement
subsequently signed by the two leaders. Given the
previously mentioned problems with the INF treaty, praise
given that particular accomplishment by arms control
skeptics appears a bit confusing. Moreover, the Soviets
had expressly "linked its future START compliance with
the ABM treaty" (Kraemer, 1991: 7).
The situation is fluid, and decisions over which
interpretation will serve as U.S. policy is obviously

crucial to SDI's fate. As former Pentagon director of
SDI, Lt. Gen. George Monahan, Jr., said,
We think we can go until about '94 or 95
before we have to break out of the narrow
interpretation. Under a broader interpretation, we
can go much further almost to deployment (Asker,
1990: 30).
Shortly before the dissolution of the Soviet Union,
the Bush administration extended an apparent olive branch
by agreeing to limit its latest space-based ABM system,
Global Protection Against Limited Strikes, or GPALS (see
Chapter 4). However, this was primarily based on an
"unexpected agreement by Soviet President Mikhail
Gorbachev to consider amending the terms of a 1972 arms
treaty that until now the Soviets considered sacrosanct"
(The Denver Post. 16 October 1991, 2A) Short of a new
deal being struck with the CIS in Geneva or elsewhereor
a return to a unilateral interpretation that adopts the
broader version of the ABM accordany space-based
testing or deployment would most likely require the U.S.
to withdraw from the treaty under Article XV.
There are a number of confusing political signals as
well. There is little doubt the plan in the Senate's
defense bill for 1992 (deploying 100 non-nuclear ground-
based interceptors back at Grand Forks) presents problems
for anti-SDI forces, such as the Union of Concerned
Scientists who declared the proposal in direct violation

to the ABM Treaty as now written (Brock, 1991). At the
same time, the Senate voted 99-0 for an amendment
requiring any deployment of strategic defense to comply
with the provisions of the treaty (Rocky Mountain News.
1991). Yet amending the treaty, as Article XIV
stipulates, seems to be the preferred route. As Reagan
offered in 1986, Bush and Yeltsin are proposing new
discussions aimed at amending the pact and moving toward
some sort of defensive transition (Wells & Litwak, 1987).
Despite all the rhetoric about broad interpretation, even
the most ardent SDI supporters acknowledge the treaty's
The inescapable fact is that no significant
defense of the United States can be accomplished
within the limit imposed by the ABM Treaty, and no
serious infusion of ABM technology overseas can be
accomplished without violating the Treaty,
says retired General Daniel Graham of the pro-SDI High
Frontier Project (1991: 32).
Then Secretary Gorbachev's acceptance to reopening
the terms of the treaty on the basis of apparent
concessions from Bush may have been the first inkling of
a growing discontentment with the 1972 Cold War document.
The uncertainty of the document now has Boris Yeltsin
flirting with outright abrogation. Interpretation
problems with the ABM accord did not start with SDI,
though that proposal ultimately forced the issue.

Specifically, it required both superpowers to once again
pore over the pact in order to ascertain just what the
actual meaning of the treaty was. That has yet to be
Article II is the premise of the document (and
particularly Article III limiting ABM deployment),
stating that "for the purpose of this Treaty an ABM
system is a system to counter strategic ballistic
missiles or their elements in flight trajectory currently
consisting of..." (emphasis added) and then in somewhat
equivocal fashion, lists applicable components with the
defining characteristic being "tested in an ABM mode,"
(emphasis added). The operative words here are "to, "
"currently consisting," and "tested in an ABM mode."
Codevilla asserts the problems start with the
Article's Section 1:
Note that the treaty does not say "that can
counter," or "that may be able to counter," but
rather "to counter." In other words, the treaty bans
things intended as ABMs rather than things that can
serve as ABMs. This is crucial, because it is
impossible to make a case beyond a reasonable doubt
about what someone intends to do before he does it
(1988: 179) .
The question of intent has risen frequently since the
treaty was signed. The initial Soviet defense of
Krasnoyarsk claimed that the large phased-array radar was
merely part of a new early warning network and was
primarily "designed as a permitted space-tracking radar"

(Bunn, 1990: 75). The fact that it had distinct ABM
capabilities was irrelevant because that was not its
intention. In 1983, the United States rejected this
explanation in the Standing Consultative Commission and
some six years later the Soviets recanted with Foreign
Minister Shevardnadze's admission.13
The issue reemerges with regard to surface-to-air
missile (SAM) technology and anti-satellite (ASAT)
weaponry. The Reagan administration concluded that some
Soviet SAMs, primarily the SA-12 (or SA-X-12), can
intercept reentering warheads just as easily as aircraft.
But according to the treaty text, multipurpose functions,
including ABM capabilities, must be used deliberately in
an "ABM mode." Since SAMs obviously perform another
function, i.e., shooting down aircraft, who can
persuasively say what Soviet intentions for their
surface-to-air technology will be? In this manner, it is
entirely reasonable to contend that the treaty may
accommodate diametrically opposed intentions (Codevilla,
1988) .
13 Article XIII of the ABM Treaty calls for the U.S.-
Soviet Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) as a means of
discussion to iron out ambiguities in treaty
interpretation. The SCC does not possess the power of
judicial determination and its findings are not legally
binding. Thus, its role as only a forum of private
discussion (all talks are confidential) has been criticized
as ineffective (Bunn, 1990).

Still, the evidence in support of U.S. concerns over
SAM capabilities is probably inadequate.
Because of their limited capability against
very high-speed reentry vehicles, the SA-10 and SA-
X-12 may not represent a threat to U.S. ICBMs. They
could, however, be developed to a point where they
might be able to intercept U.S. and third-country
SLBM warheads, which are slower, present larger
radar signatures, and, not insignificantly, are
invulnerable to Soviet counterforce targeting (Wells
& Litwak, 1987: 51).
Mathew Bunn, one of the ABM Treaty's most ardent
defenders, correctly points out that neither the Reagan
nor Bush administrations ever charged that the SA-10 or
SA-12 had been "tested in an ABM mode." Though he
inadvertently illustrates the problem of interpretation
in his explanation of the controversy.
Article VI of the ABM Treaty prohibits giving
non-ABM systems "capabilities to counter strategic
ballistic missiles or their elements in flight
trajectory," as well as testing such systems "in an
ABM mode." No specific definitions of these terms
were reached during the negotiations (emphasis
added). The treaty permits defenses against short
range tactical missiles (so-called anti-tactical
ballistic missiles, or ATBMs) as long as they are
not capable of intercepting strategic missiles. The
February 1990 report acknowledges that "since
virtually any air defense missile system has some
level of ABM capability, the treaty was not intended
to preclude an incidental or insignificant ABM
capability," but rather a "meaningful" capability,
with "military significance." Needless to sav,
determining whether an ABM capability is
"meaningful" is largely a matter of judgement
(emphasis added) (1990: 82).
Judgement?! There are innate ambiguities in judgement.
That is why we negotiate treaties. Bunn suggests that we

not only rely on human judgement, but that we are not at
all sure just what it is we're supposed to be judging, at
least by specific definition anyway. As he suggests, the
vital terms are never explained. There appears to be a
glaring loophole in the treaty in the case of systems
that can plausibly be used for other purposes.
And so it is with ASATs, too. There are great
similarities between anti-satellite systems and those
designed to counter ballistic missiles.
Because low-orbit satellites follow trajections
nearly identical to those of ballistic missiles in
mid-flight, the technological overlap between anti-
satellite (ASAT) weapons and ABMs is perhaps even
greater than that between ABMs and air defense or
ATBMs. Initial development and testing of prohibited
types of ABMssuch as space-based weapons and
sensorscould be disguised as ASAT testing, while
still demonstrating the basic capabilities required
for an ABM mission (Bunn, 1990: 107).
Mr. Bunn contradicts himself. While admitting this
possible loopholeand previously conceding that clear
definitions had not been reached with regard to the above
mentioned termshe declares that
ASATs are permitted, but restrained by the
prohibition on giving non-ABM systems "capabilities
to counter strategic ballistic missiles" or testing
such systems "in an ABM mode" (1990: 107).
How does the lack of a definition restrain anything?
There can be little doubt, however, that certain
aspects of U.S. programs also maximize the dubiousness of

such phases as "tested in an ABM mode."14
development of a ground-launched, direct-ascent ASAT
rocket includes many features that are quite similar to
the Exoatmospheric Reentry Vehicle Interceptor System
(ERIS or E2I) a hallmark of U.S. ground-based strategic
defense. Other SDI experiments plan on "testing potential
space-based ABM technologies against satellites rather
than strategic missiles" (Bunn, 1990: 108)an obvious
attempt at filling loopholes. Zenith Star, a major space-
based laser experiment, also hopes to avoid treaty
stipulations. The Pentagon says while it is true that the
Zenith Star plans to attack ballistic rockets, it is not
tested "in an ABM mode" because the target rockets "would
not follow flight paths similar to those of strategic
ballistic missiles" (Bunn, 1990: 92).
Despite all of these contentions, dealing with
futuristic technologiesnot present or perhaps even
contemplated at the time of ratificationhas proven to
be even more problematic. This is mainly due to the
Reagan administration's claim that much of the SDI
program involves these exotic technologies that are
14 In 1978, a classified Agreed Statement was signed in
the SCC that was supposed to have the effect of defining
the term "tested in an ABM mode." According to Codevilla,
"This consultative exercise did not result in a definition
that was either comprehensive or legally binding. Also,
since it was secret, it could not carry any political
weight" (1988: 180). The statement remains classified.

"based on other physical principles" and not covered by
the treaty. Article II lists what' is considered to be an
ABM system in Sections 1 & 2. It does not mention
anything about exotic strategic systems yet to be
developed. How are the respective sides to judge what, in
the future, may serve as an ABM system while also
functioning as another weapon, etc.? Is it back to being
tested "in an ABM mode"? Treaty proponents argue that
this was in fact debated heavily during negotiations and
was resolved by inserting the words, "currently
consisting of" in the preface of Section 1, just before
listing the components considered to be parts of an ABM
According to Bunn, there was extensive debate among
negotiators about using technology-specific definitions
within the treaty versus some sort of "sweeping
functional definition encompassing all possible ABM
technologies" (1990: 64). The logjam was supposedly
broken, allegedly on the insistence of American
negotiator Raymond Garthoff, by inserting the phrase
"currently consisting of" as a way of "making clear that
the list of components was only illustrative of current
technologies, and that the treaty would apply to future
systems as well" (1990: 65). Still, Bunn concedes the

Garthoff pointed out that the substantive issue
of whether all deployments of future systems would
be banned would be settled elsewhere, since Article
II included only definitions and not specific
obligations (1990: 65).
One has to wonder, however, why the negotiating
teams chose not to merely insert a statement such as:
"All futuristic technologies serving as ABM systems are
hereby prohibited." In other words, if they wanted to ban
those so-called exotic systems not yet developed, why
didn't they just say so? Future systems could certainly
have been delineated under Section 2 of Article II, where
it appears the issue was being addressed. The notion that
this controversy was decided at this particular time, and
with the phrase, "currently consisting of," is even less
likely when one realizes that Agreed Statement D
specifically confronts the issue. It states that those
systems "based on other physical principles" and "created
in the future" would be submitted to the SCC for
"discussion in accordance with Article XIII and agreement
in accordance with Article XIV of the Treaty."
Agreed Statement D has been a hotly contested
provision in the swirling debate over treaty
interpretation. According to the principles of
international law, treaty text, post-ratification
interpretation (e.g., subsequent practice of parties),
and the negotiating record (including in the U.S. Senate

ratification records), are the primary factors in
settling arms accord disputes (Bunn, 1990). In the summer
of 1985, the negotiating record on Statement D,
specifically the legality of futuristic weapons, was the
subject of controversy within the Reagan administration.
A study conducted by the undersecretary of defense sided
with the "broad" interpretation of the treaty, thus
exempting SDI as an exotic program not ^covered by treaty
limits. The study's conclusion was hardly surprisingnor
were the vociferous objections from the Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency and the Department of State. Judge
Abraham Sofaer, the State Department's legal advisor, was
brought in to resolve the issue. He ruled in favor of the
"broad" or "loose" interpretation.
Sofaer's ruling upholding Statement D's redundance
(in light of the fact that future systems were supposedly
already banned under a traditional view of Articles II &
III) met with quick resistance. Treaty supporters argued
that Statement D merely supplemented Articles II & III by
making "an implicit ban explicit" (Bunn, 1990: 62).
Furthermore, it was argued that the statement in question
was actually agreed to "before the final language of
Article III was settled" (Bunn, 1990: 62). Perhaps, but
in the case, why was Agreed Statement D not subsequently
altered or dropped? Could it not be argued that the

Nevertheless, it should be remembered there are those for
and against the ABM Treaty who agree that it literally
prevents the SDI program from moving forward; and it is
quite plausible to contend that at the very least SDI
violates the spirit of the treaty. According to Bunn,
Under the Vienna Convention, a treaty must be
interpreted in light of its "object and purpose."
The fundamental purpose of the ABM Treaty is clear:
the parties agreed to prohibit construction of
nationwide ABM defenses, and to other measures
designed to prevent either side from gaining the
ability to rapidly build such a nationwide system
before the other side could respond (1990: 62).
Though Judge Sofaer's contention was that the negotiating
record as well as the language of the ABM treaty was
patently inconclusive, even supporters of strategic
defense hold no illusions as to the intentions of
American negotiators, i.e., to ban "any and all ABMs now
and forever" (Codevilla, 1988: 189). A Department of
Defense Directive went even further suggesting that any
compliance program not only needs to go beyond the letter
of the treaty, but must also coincide with spirit of the
document. "The DOD notes that, where the treaty does not
specify definitions, 'it is necessary in some cases to
set additional standards'" (Codevilla, 1988: 190). Where
the DOD ascertains such powers is not constitutionally
clear, but their view seems to reflect a consensus of
thought on the subject in many diplomatic circles.

It is true there is an absence of evidence to
suggest "that the ABM Treaty reflected any Soviet
abandonment of the concept of strategic defense" (Wells &
Litwak, 1987: 50).
We now know that the signing of the ABM treaty
of 1972 did not affect the steady build up of
Pechora class radars and the rest of the Soviet ABM
program, just as the 1972 Interim Agreement on
Offensive Forces, which was signed and ratified
together with the ABM treaty, did not stop the
Soviet Union's acquisition of counterforce missiles
(Codevilla, 1988: 194).
Such blatant disregard for the arms control process
should have served as a tempting excuse for U.S.
strategic defense supporters to honestly state their case
for abandoning the ABM Treaty.. Instead, they pledged
their commitment to the document and arguably went about
circumventing it. Of course, raising the issue of
intentions on the part of the West does not imply the
sanctity of the Treaty as a tool for world peace and
freedom. But what does it say about the West's intentions
when we refuse to come face to face with a document that
has ostensibly outlived its usefulness? Surprisingly,
this lack of political will may finally be fading with
what appears to be Washington's recent change of heart
over some sort of limited deployment of SDI.

Treaty Between the United States of America and the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of
Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems
Signed at Moscow May 26,1972
Ratification advised by U.S. Senate August 3,1972
Ratified by U.S. President September 30,1972
Proclaimed by U.S. President October 3,1972
Instruments of ratification exchanged October 3,1972
Entered into force October 3,1972
The United States of America and the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties,
Proceeding from the premise that nuclear war would have
devastating consequences for all mankind.
Considering that effective measures to limit anti-ballistic
missile systems would be a substantial factor in curbing the
race in strategic offensive arms and would lead to a decrease
in the risk of outbreak of war involving nuclear weapons.
Proceeding from the premise that the limitation of anti-bal-
listic missile systems, as well as certain agreed measures with
respect to the limitation of strategic offensive arms, would
contribute to the creation of more favorable condition for
further negotiations on limiting strategic arms.
Mindful of their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty
on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,
Declaring their intention to achieve at the earliest possible
date the cessation of the nuclear arms race and to take effective
measures toward reductions in strategic arms, nuclear disar-
mament, and general and complete disarmament,
Desiring to contribute to the relaxation of international
tension and the strengthening of trust between States,
Have agreed as follows:
Article I
1. Each Party undertakes to limit anti-ballistic missile
(ABM) systems and to adopt other measures in accordance
with the provisions of this Treaty.
2. Each Party undertakes not to deploy ABM systems for a
defense of the territory of its country and not to provide a base
for such a defense, and not to deploy ABM systems for defense
of an individual region except as provided for in Article III of
this Treaty.
Article II
1. For the purpose of this Treaty an ABM system is a system
to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in flight
trajectory, currently consisting of:
(a) ABM interceptor missiles, which are interceptor mis-
siles constructed and deployed for an ABM role, or of a type
tested in an ABM mode;
(b) ABM launchers, which are launchers constructed and
deployed for launching ABM interceptor missiles; and
(c) ABM radars, which are radars constructed and
deployed for an ABM role, or of a type tested in an ABM
2. The ABM system components listed in paragraph 1 of this
Article include those which are:
(a) operational;
(b) under construction;
(c) undergoing testing;
(d) undergoing overhaul, repair or conversion; or
(e) mothballed.
Article III
Each Party undertakes not to deploy ABM systems or their
components except that:
(a) within one ABM system deployment area having a
radius of one hundred and fifty kilometers and centered on
the Party's national capital, a Party may deploy: (1) no more
than one hundred ABM launchers and no more than one
hundred ABM interceptor missiles at launch sites, and (2)
ABM radars within no more than six ABM radar complexes,
the area of each complex being circular and having a
diameter of no more than three kilometers; and
(b) within one ABM system deployment area having a
radius of one hundred and fifty kilometers and containing
ICBM silo launchers, a Party may deploy: (1) no more than
one hundred ABM launchers and no more than one
hundred ABM interceptor missiles at launch sites, (2) two
large phased-anay ABM radars comparable in potential to
corresponding ABM radars operational or under construc-
tion on the date of signature of the Treaty in an ABM system
deployment area containing ICBM silo launchers, and (3)
no more than eighteen ABM radars each having a potential
less than the potential of the smaller of the above-mentioned
two large phased-array ABM radars.
Article IV
The limitations provided for in Article III shall not apply to
ABM systems or their components used for development or
testing, and located within current or additionally agreed test
ranges. Each Party may have no more than a total of fifteen
ABM launchers at test ranges.
Article V
1. Each Party undertakes not to develop, test, or deploy
ABM systems or components which are sea-based, air-based,
space-based, or mobile land-based.
2. Each Party undertakes not to develop, test, or deploy
ABM launchers for launching more than one ABM interceptor
missile at a time from each launcher, not to modify deployed
launchers to provide them with such a capability, not to
develop, test, or deploy automatic or semi-automatic or other
similar systems for rapid reload of ABM launchers.

Article VI
To enhance assurance of the effectiveness of the limitations
on ABM systems and their components provided by the
Treaty, each Party undertakes:
(a) not to give missiles, launchers, or radars, other than
ABM interceptor missiles, ABM launchers, or ABM radars,
capabilities to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their
elements in flight trajectory, and not to test them in an ABM
mode; and
(b) not to deploy in the future radars for early warning of
strategic ballistic missile attack except at locations along the
periphery of its national territory and oriented outward.
Article VII
Subject to the provisions of this Treaty, modernization and
replacement of ABM systems or their components may be
carried out.
Article VIII
ABM systems or their components in excess of the numbers
or outside the areas specified in this Treaty, as well as ABM
systems or their components prohibited by this Treaty shall
be destroyed or dismantled under agreed procedures within
the shortest possible agreed period of time.
Article IX
To assure the viability and effectiveness of this Treaty, each
Party undertakes not to transfer to other States, and not to
deploy outside its national territory, ABM systems or their
components limited by this Treaty.
Article X
Each Party undertakes not to assume any international
obligations which would conflict with this Treaty.
Article XI
The Parties undertake to continue active negotiations for
limitations on strategic offensive arms.
Article XII
1. For the purpose of providing assurance of compliance
with the provisions of this Treaty, each Party shall use national
technical means of verification at its disposal in a manner
consistent with generally recognized principles of interna-
tional law.
2. Each Party undertakes not to interfere with the national
technical means of verification of the other Party operating in
accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article.
3. Each Party undertakes not to use deliberate concealment
measures which impede verification by national technical
means of compliance with the provisions of this Treaty. This
obligation shall not require changes in current construction,
assembly, conversion, or overhaul practices.
Article XIII
1. To promote the objectives and implementation of the
provisions of this Treaty, the Parties shall establish promptly
a Standing Consultative Commission, within the framework
of which they will:
(a) consider questions concerning compliance with the
obligations assumed and related situation which may be
considered ambiguous;
(b) provide on a voluntary basis such information as
either Party considers necessary to assure confidence in
compliance with the obligations assumed;
(c) consider questions involving unintended interference
with national technical means of verification;
(d) consider possible changes in the strategic situation
which have a bearing on the provisions of this Treaty;
(e) agree upon procedures and dates for destruction or
dismantling of ABM systems or their components in cases
provided for by the provisions of this Treaty;
(f) consider, as appropriate, possible proposals for further
increasing the viability of this Treaty; including proposals
for amendments in accordance with the provisions of this
(g) consider, as appropriate, proposals for further
measures aimed at limiting strategic arms.
2. The Parties through consultation shall establish, and may
amend as appropriate. Regulations for the Standing Consult-
ative Commission governing procedures, composition and
other relevant matters.
Article XIV
1. Each Party may propose amendments to this Treaty.
Agreed amendments shall enter into force in accordance
with the procedures governing the entry into force of this
2. Five years after entry into force of this Treaty and at
five-year intervals thereafter, the Parties shall together con-
duct a review of this Treaty.
Article XV
1. This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.
2. Each Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty,
have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that
extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this
Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give
notice of its decision to the other Party six months prior to
withdrawal from the Treaty. Such notice shall include a state-
ment of the extraordinary events the"notifying Party regards
as having jeopardized its supreme interests.
Article XVI
1. This Treaty shall be subject to ratification in accordance
with the constitutional procedures of each Party. The Treaty
shall enter into force on the day of the exchange of instruments
of ratification.
2. This Treaty shall be registered pursuant to Article 102 of
the Charter of the United Nations.
DONE at Moscow on May 26,1972, in two copies, each in
the English and Russian languages, both texts being equally
Richard Nixon
President of the United States of America
L.I. Brezhnev
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU

Agreed Statements. Common Understandings, and
Unilateral Statements Regarding the Treaty Between
The United States of America and
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
On the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems
The document set forth below was agreed upon and ini-
tialed by the Heads of the Delegations on May 26,1972 (letter
designations added);
The Parties understand that, in addition to the ABM radars
which may be deployed in accordance with subparagraph (a)
of Article III of the Treaty, those non-phased-array ABM
radars operational on the date of signature of the Treaty
within the ABM system deployment area for defense of the
national capital may be retained.
The Parties understand that the potential (the product of
mean emitted power in watts and antenna area in square
meters) of the smaller of the two large phased-array ABM
radars referred to in subparagraph (b) of Article III of the
Treaty is considered for purposes of the Treaty to be three
The Parties understand that the center of the ABM system
deployment area centered on the national capital and the
center of the ABM system deployment area containing ICBM
silo launchers for each Party shall be separated by no less than
thirteen hundred kilometers.
In order to insure fulfillment of the obligation not to deploy
ABM systems and their components except as provided in
Article III of the Treaty, the Parties agree that in the event ABM
systems based on other physical principles and including
components capable of substituting for ABM interceptor mis-
siles, ABM launchers, or ABM radars are created in the future,
specific limitations on such systems and their components
world be subject to discussion in accordance with Article XIII
and agreement in accordance with Article XIV of the Treaty.
The Parties understand that Article V of the Trea ty includes
obligations not to develop, test or deploy ABM interceptor
missiles for the delivery by each ABM interceptor missile of
more than one independently guided warhead.
The Parties agree not to deploy phased-array radars having
a potential (the product of mean emitted power in watts and
antenna area in square meters) exceeding three million, except
as provided form Articles III, IV and VI of theTreaty, or except
for the purposes of tracking objects in outer space or for use
as national technical means of verification.
The Parties understand that Article IX of theTreaty includes
the obligation of the U.S. and the USSR not to provide to other
States technical descriptions or blue prints specially worked
out for the construction of ABM systems and their com-
ponents limited by the Treaty.
Common understanding of the Parties on the following
matters was reached during the negotiations:
A. Location of ICBM Defenses
The US. Delegation made the following statement on May 26,
Article III of the ABM Treaty provides for each side one
ABM system deployment area centered on its national
capital and one ABM system deployment area containing
ICBM silo launchers. The two sides have registered agree-
ment on the following statement: 'The Parties under-
stand that the center of the ABM system deployment area
centered on the national capital and the center of the ABM
system deployment area containing ICBM silo launchers
for each Party shall be separated by no less than thirteen
hundred kilometers." In this connection, the U.S. side
notes that its ABM system deployment area for defense
of ICBM silo launchers, located west of the Mississippi
River, will be centered in the Grand Forks ICBM silo
launcher deployment area (See Agreed Statement IC].)
B. ABM Test Ranges
The U.S. Delegation made the following statement on April
Article IV of the ABM Treaty provides that "the limita-
tions provided for in Article III shall not apply to ABM
systems or their components used for development or
testing, and located within current or additionally agreed
test ranges. "We believe it would be useful to assure that

there is no misunderstanding as to current ABM test
ranges. It is our understanding that ABM test ranges
encompass the area within which ABM components are
located for test purposes. The current U.S. ABM test
ranges are at White Sands, New Mexico, and at Kwajalein
Atoll, and the current Soviet ABM test range is near Sary
Shagan in Kazakhstan. We consider that non-phased
array radars of types used for range safety or instrumen-
tation purposes may be located outside of ABM test
ranges. We interpret the reference in Article IV to "addi-
tionally agreed test ranges" to mean that ABM com-
ponents will not be located at any other test ranges
without prior agreement between our Governments that
there will be such additional ABM test ranges.
On May 5,1972, the Soviet Delegation stated that there was
a common understanding on what ABM test ranges were, that
the use of the types of non-ABM radars for range safety or
instrumentation was not limited under the Treaty, that the
reference in Article IV to "additionally agreed" test ranges
was sufficiently dear, and that national means permitted
identifying current test ranges.
C. Mobile ABM Systems
On January 29,1972, the U. S. Delegation made the following
Article V (1) of the Joint Draft Text of the ABM Treaty
includes an undertaking not to develop, test, or deploy
mobile land-based ABM systems and their components.
On May 5,1971, the U.S. side indicated that, in its view,
a prohibition on deployment of mobile ABM systems and
components would rule out the deployment of ABM
launchers and radars which were not permanent fixed
types. At that time, we asked for the Soviet view of this
interpretation. Does the Soviet side agree with the U.S.
side's interpretation put forward on May 5,1971?
On April 13, 1972, the Soviet Delegation said there is a
general common understanding on this matter.
D. Standing Consultative Commission
Ambassador Smith made the following statement on Mav 22,
The United States proposes that the sides agree that,
with regard to initial implementation of the ABM Treaty's
Article XIII on the Standing Consultative Commission
(SCO and of the consultation Articles to the Interim
Agreement on offensive arms and the Accidents Agree-
ment, agreement establishing the SCC will be worked out
early in the follow-on SALT negotiations; until that is
completed, the following arrangements will prevail:
when SALT is in session, any consultation desired by
either side under these Articles can be carried out bv the
two SALT Delegations; when SALT is not in session, ad
hoc arrangements for any desired consultations under
these Articles may be made through diplomatic channels.
Minister Semenov replied that, on an ad referendum
basis, he could agree that the U.S. statement cor-
responded to the Soviet understanding.
E. Standstill
On May 6,1972, Minister Semenov made the following state-
In an effort to accommodate the wishes of the U .S. side,
the Soviet Delegation is prepared to proceed on the basis
that the two sides will in fact observe the obligations of
both the Interim Agreement and the ABM Treaty begin-
ning from the date of signature of these two documents.
In reply, the U.S. Delegation made the following statement
on May 20,1972:
The U.S. agrees in principle with the Soviet statement
made on May 6 concerning observance of obligations
beginning from date of signature but we would like to
make clear our understanding that this means that, pend-
ing ratification and acceptance, neither side would take
any action prohibited by the agreements after they had
entered into force. This understanding would continue to
apply in the absence of notification by either signatory of
its intention not to proceed with ratification or approval.
The Soviet Delegation indicated agreement with the U.S.
The following noteworthy unilateral statements were made
during the negotiations by the United States Delegation:
A. Withdrawal from the ABM Treaty
On May 9,1972, Ambassador Smith made the following state-
The U.S. Delegation has stressed the importance the
U.S. Government attaches to achieving agreement on
more complete limitations on strategic offensive arms,
following agreement on an ABM Treaty and on an Inter-
im Agreement or certain measures with respect to the
limitation of strategic offensive arms. The U.S. Delegation
believes that an objective of the follow-on negotiations
should be to constrain and reduce on a long-term basis
threats to the survivability of our respective strategic
retaliatory forces. The USSR Delegation has also indi-
cated that the objectives of SALT would remain unful-
filled without the achievement of an agreement
providing for more complete limitations on strategic of-
fensive arms. Both sides recognize that the initial agree-
ments would be steps toward the achievement of more
complete limitations on strategic arms. If an agreement
providing for more complete strategic arms offensive
arms limitations were not achieved within five years, U.S.
supreme interests could be jeopardized. Should that
occur, it would constitute a basis for withdrawal from the
ABM Treaty. The U.S. does not wish to see such a situa-

tion occur, nor do we believe that the USSR does. It is
because we wish to prevent such a situation that we
emphasize the importance the U.S. Government attaches
to achievement of more complete limitations on strategic
offensive arms. The US. Executive will inform the Con-
gress, in connection with congressional consideration of
the ABM Treaty and Interim Agreement, of this statement
of the US. position.
B. Tested in ABM Mode
On April 7, 1972, the US. Delegation made the following
Article II of the Joint Text Draft uses the term "tested
in an ABM mode," in defining ABM components, and
Article VI includes certain obligations concerning such
testing. We believe that the sides should have a common
understanding of this phrase. First, we would note that
the testing provisions of the ABM Treaty are intended to
apply to testing which occurs after the date of signature
of the Treaty, and not to any testing which may have
occurred in the past. Next, we would amplify the remarks
we have made on this subject during the previous Hel-
sinki phase by setting forth the objectives which govern
the US. view on the subject, namely, while prohibiting
testing of non-ABM components for ABM purposes: not
to prevent testing of ABM components, and not to
prevent testing of non-ABM components for non-ABM
purposes. To clarify our interpretation of "tested in an
ABM mode," we note that we would consider a launcher,
missile or radar to be "tested in an ABM mode" if, for
example, any of the following events occur: (l)a launcher
is used to launch an ABM interceptor missile, (2) an
interceptor missile is flight tested against a target vehicle
which has a flight trajectory with characterisitics of a
strategic ballistic missile flight trajectory, or is flight
tested in conjunction with the test of an ABM interceptor
missile or an ABM radar at the same test range, or is flight
tested to an altitude inconsistent with interception of
targets against which air defenses are deploved, (3) a
radar makes measurements on a cooperative target
vehicle of the kind referred to in item (2) above during
the reentry portion of its trajectory or makes measure-
ments in conjunction with the test of an ABM interceptor
missile or an ABM radar at the same test range. Radars
used for purposes such as range safety or instrumenta-
tion would be exempt from application of these criteria.
C. No-Transfer Article of ABM Treaty
On April 18, 1972, the U.S. Delegation made the following
In regard to this Article [IX], I have a brief and I believe
self-explanatory statement to make. The U.S. side wishes
to make dear that the provisions of this Article do not set
a precedent for whatever provision may be considered
for a Treaty on Limiting Strategic Offensive Arms. The
question of transfer of strategic offensive arms is a far
more complex issue, which may require a different solu-
D. No Increase in Defense of Early Warning Radars
On July 28, 1970, the U.S. Delegation made the following
Since Hen House radars [Soviet ballistic missile early
warning radars] can detect and track ballistic missile
warheads at great distances, they have a significant ABM
potential. Accordingly, the U.S. would regard any in-
crease in the defenses of such radars by surface-to-air
missiles as inconsistent with an agreement.

The apparent 'success of the Patriot missile during
the Gulf War has evoked an almost unanimous reaction from
the anti-SDI forces, perhaps the most typical coming from
John Pike of the American Federation of Scientists who
subsequently declared: "The Patriot is not SDI"
(Verrengla, 1991: 28). Highlighting the differences in
speed and payload capacities of the Patriot's target, the
Scud missile, and the presumable target of a space-based
SDI weapon, an advanced Soviet-type ICBM, Pike says, "A
Scud comes in by itself at 2,000 mph, while an ICBM comes
in with lots of decoys at 15,000 mph. And if a nuclear
weapon gets through, it will blow up a whole city"
(Verrengla, 1991: 28).
Despite the validity of at least portions of their
argument, it seems the strategy of the arms control
community and others has backfired for the time being.
The defense authorization bill for 1992, gutting a number
of treasured programs as well as total nominal outlays
for the military, does include a fairly substantial
increase for SDI. In part, this is due to the fact that
even obvious limits of the updated anti-aircraft missile
did not prevent the Patriot from (what is metaphorically

referred to as) "hitting a bullet with a bullet"an idea
that was once scoffed at by the anti-SDI groups. In
retrospect, the critics might have been more effective
had they focused on the actual performance of the ground-
based interceptor rather than splitting definitional
hairs over what constitutes strategic defense and what
What made the critics' defense of the Patriot all
the more interesting, and puzzling, was their vociferous
opposition to upgrading the missile to ATBM status in
1986. The FY 1987 House Defense Bill sought to eliminate
Patriot upgrade funding altogether. In the Senate, Ted
Kennedy of Massachusetts, argued vehemently against
funding the Patriot upgrade on the grounds that it would
clearly be a violation of the ABM Treaty (Kupelian &
Masters, 1991) According to one pro-SDI Senator, Malcolm
Wallop of Wyoming, the
Patriot faced virtually all of the same
arguments in the ATBM (anti-tactical ballistic
missile) contextcost, feasibility, contributions
to "stability," etc.that the SDI program has faced
in the strategic context (Kupelian & Masters,
If there is credit due for the Patriot upgrade, it
is somewhat ironic that most authorities, including the
Senate Steering Committee, now award it to the then
junior Senator from Indiana, Dan Quayle. His series of
amendments to defense bills for fiscal years '86 through

'89 resulted in Pentagon assistance for developing
missile defenses in allied countriesspecifically, the
Arrow program in Israel.15 Quayle also held his own
hearings in the spring in 1986 and wrote a "Dear
Colleague" letter warning against allied vulnerability to
tactical missiles, saying that "defenses against missiles
are our best hope to head off instabilities likely to
produce wars" (Adelman, 1991: 19).
So stunned, however, were the SDI critics with the
ostensible success of the Patriot, not to mention the
resultant boost in public opinion of the Raytheon
missile, that they choose to abandon any possible rehash
of the earlier debate. To the contrary, their new focus
would be on the distinctions between the Patriot (an
ATBM) and the full scale SDI (or ABM) programwhile
always being careful to praise the ground-based missile
for its legitimate work in the Gulf. Countering any
suggestion that the basic idea of, say, Brilliant
Pebbles, is even remotely possible, former Secretary of
Defense Harold Brown notes the Patriot's performance in
the Gulf
15 The Arrow program is "a cooperating effort between
the Pentagon and Israel Aircraft Industries to build a
high-altitude interceptor three times larger than the
Patriot with a range of 40 or 50 miles" (Adelman, 1991:
19) .

does nothing to contradict the long standing
consensus that technology offers no reasonable
prospect of protecting the people of the United
States against a sophisticated, large-scale nuclear
attack in the foreseeable future...The threat to
allies from shorter-range systems could develop
sooner. An anti-tactical ballistic missile system,
however, would best consist of ground-based
interceptors and radars. Weapons in space would be
much less able to intercept short-range missiles.
Moreover, ATBMs are not banned by the ABM Treaty
(1991: 8).
Brown points out that the Army upgraded the Patriot
without the help of "funding, technology or management
from the SDI program" (1991: 8). Notwithstanding shared
technology, this is effectively true; only a small amount
of SDIO budgets are dedicated to anti-tactical missile
defensesa problem that concerns supporters of SDI as
well. In past SDI budgets, defense against tactical
missiles has received only about one-seventh of the total
funding (Ingersoll, 1991). The Union of Concerned
Scientists (UCS) was equally as quick to repeat this
principal charge, thus limiting the Patriot to a very
shallow tactical mission and rejecting any implication of
a SDI-related success.16 Nevertheless, even such ardent
opponents as these are forced to admit a crucial
16 It should be recognized that many of these
"scientific organizations, from the left and right, would
be more aptly described as political or public interest
groups. For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists'
only membership requirement is the payment of yearly dues
(Kupelian & Masters, 1991).

relevancy: both the Patriot and SDI destroy ballistic
missiles in flight (Clausen, 1991) .
Technical arguments aside, almost every group or
individual supportive of the Patriot and opposed to SDI,
seeks refuge in the ABM Treaty. "Defense against short-
range missiles is legal. In contrast, territorial defense
against ICBMs are banned by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic
Missile (ABM) Treaty signed by the US and Soviet Union,"
says the UCS's Peter Clausen (1991: 2). The impact of the
disintegration of the U.S.S.R. on international accords
has yet to be addressed. But that aside, the anti-SDI
position is tantamount to saying that it's quite alright
to protect soldiers in a theater field of battle, and
it's perhaps tolerable to provide defenses for a "non-
strategic" attack from Canada or Mexico, but the United
States (and the CIS) is not allowed to provide this same
defense against long-range missiles.
Some would argue that "the artificial distinction
between 'tactical' or short-range and 'strategic' or
long-range ballistic missiles" is a tenuous one indeed
(Codevilla, 1991a: 17). In fact, as Codevilla contends,
this again points to the problem of defining terms within
the Treaty, specifically what constitutes an "ABM mode."
So long as any ABM system or component of it
can arguably be said to serve another purpose as
wellincluding the countering of ballistic missiles
that are not "strategic," a term not defined in the

ABM Treatythere is no restriction whatsoever in
developing, testing, or, of course, producing and
deploying any of them... The distinction between the
anti-tactical and anti-strategic missile function
was always legal fiction. So, either side can build
and deploy as many as it wishes of dual-purpose
anti-air ABM systems, dual-purpose anti-satellite
ABM systems, and dual-purpose anti-tactical
ballistic missile ABM systems. These can be ground-
based, sea-based, or whatever, and of course there
is no limit whatever to their capabilities (1988:
184) .
It is quite true that the terms "strategic,"
"tactical," and "ABM mode" are not adequately defined in
the Treaty; but it is also quite possible, as previously
mentioned, to ascertain the intentions of the
negotiators, i.e., they intended to ban long-range or
strategic ballistic missile defenses. But their
intentions, as well as subsequent statements in support
of the traditional interpretation, have done little to
halt the confusion. According to some sources (Kupelian &
Masters, 1991) even the Patriot itself came under ABM
Treaty attack when the Soviets claimed its use of
satellite reconnaissance in shooting down Scuds violated
the sacrosanct arms accord. These questions were
reportedly raised to Secretary of State James Baker
during the Persian Gulf conflict.
This, I would submit, is the fundamental flaw with
the document: it is contingent upon intentions. Today,
threats from former adversaries seem rather innocuous

(though no one can be certain considering the instability
within the CIS); but while intentions have surely
changed, it is prudent to remember that capabilities have
not. Until some sort of verification of Yeltsin's ICBM
targeting pledge can be ascertained, it might be wise to
remember new CIA Director Robert Gates' comments before
Congress regarding the Commonwealth's condition,
"the collapse of central authority, potentially
large-scale civil disorder and unraveling of social
disciplinewhile it still possesses some 30,000
nuclear weapons, the most powerful of which continue
to be aimed at us" (Rocky Mountain News, 12 December
1991, 52).
How, then, should we evaluate the Patriot missile? A
good place to start is with performance. While it is true
that the Patriot did intercept an overwhelming majority
of Iraqi Scuds, an important caveat remains. At times,
the Patriot would execute a hit, but not a kill. That is,
it would intercept the missile, but not destroy the
warhead. Because of the proximity of contact, falling
debris (including warheads) resulted in serious damage
and casualtiesin a few instances. This was due to a
couple of factors, not the least of which included Scuds
breaking apart upon reentering the atmosphere, perhaps
due to Iraqi modifications of the missile, effectively
doubling its range (Davis, 1991). Patriot batteries,
programmed to launch two missiles at every target,
tracked and hit most of the pieces; however, some of the

debris would scatter outside a 15-mile-wide circle
defended by a Patriot and fall to the ground untouched.
The falling debris, especially in Tel Aviv, was quite
damaging; but the real dangers were the warheads that
eluded interception.
Additionally, the Iraqi missile's design exacerbated
the problem. As Tamir Eshel explains in Defense
...unlike the original Soviet-made single-stage
Scud, the modified Iraqi model, dubbed Al-Hussein,
separates in its terminal phasethe warhead
continues in the ballistic trajectory and the main
missile body, with the rocket encasement and fins,
trails behind as it decelerates due to excessive
drag and friction generated during descent. Patriots
were not ready for that situation, and their radar
and automatic engagement system were "taught" to
intercept each target. Therefore, excessive missiles
launched against single targets did not prevent the
warhead explosions. In an least one instance, a
Patriot intercepted the largest section (body),
while the warhead continued uninterrupted, slamming
into a residential area, killing one person and
wounding 60 (1991: 16).17
Radar used by the Patriot batteries detected
incoming Scuds around 50 miles out; fired when the
17 The flight of a long-range ballistic missile
consists of four main phases. The missile's main rocket
propels it into space in the boost phase; in the post-boost
phase, a smaller rocket (sometimes called the "bus")
maneuvers the individual warheads in place; at mid-course
phase, these warheads now coast through space in a free-
falling ballistic trajectory, i.e., without power, aimed at
separate targets, and lasting about twenty minutes;
finally, in the reentry or terminal phase, warheads reenter
the atmosphere, stripping away decoys, etc., and proceed to
their target usually within one minute (Bunn, 1990).

warheads were around 20 to 30 miles away; and intercepted
just five miles (or less) from the target (Codevilla,
1991a). When the interceptor scored a hit but not a kill
in Saudi Arabia, the residual debris could fall into an
empty desert. Not true in greater Tel Aviv, a 200-square
mile area, where any Scud debris could find viable
targets. Secondly, Israel's narrow coastal plain did not
allow for Patriot batteries to be utilized in the most
effective fashion. According to Eshel, "Patriots are most
successful when fire units can be located in several
positions in front of a defended area, intercepting
incoming missiles ahead of their targets" (1991: 16).
Logistical problems also plagued the effort in Israel,
e.g., operations, maintenance.
Given this, was the Patriot's success a public
relations fantasy? Nearly all of the Scud missiles fired
(ranging anywhere from 47 to 65) were in fact
intercepted. Some Army brass contend that without the
Patriot, "We would have suffered monumental damage"
(Davis, 1991: A16). The missile's record, says Robert
Pflatzgraff, of the Institute for Foreign Policy
Analysis, displayed "a very impressive accomplishment"
that "augurs well for ballistic missile defense" (Davis,
1991: A16). Even the most notable failure of the
missile's computer software, permitting an Iraqi Scud to

demolish a U.S. barrack installation in Saudi Arabia and
costing 28 lives and 98 injuries, has undergone extensive
analysis and may already be remedied. Furthermore,
modifications have been made "in order to program the
missile and automatic engagement system to counter the
Al-Hussein more effectively" (Eshel, 1991: 16).
What's fascinating is that the Patriot is relatively
old technologyoriginally designed for the simpler task
of shooting down aircraft. SDI critics will now freely
admit that it .is. possible to "hit a bullet with a
bullet." Indeed, says Mathew Bunn, "We shot down a
missile with a missile in 1962, and we have been doing
that regularly ever since" (Holzman, 1991: 48). According
to Codevilla (1991a: 17), however, the Patriot's original
design, called SAM-D, "had a radar exactly twice as
powerful as the Patriot's," but in order to comply with
the ABM Treaty its radar power was cut in half so it
could not intercept ballistic missiles. Even so, the
existing radar has tracked targets roughly the size of an
ICBM warhead; the Patriot computer's speed has yet to be
tested all out. And while it is true that an ICBM's
maximum speed is five times as great as the Scud's, in
its terminal phase well into the atmosphere, it is less
than twice as fast. With the certainty of a more advanced
radar, something along the lines of the Navy's AEGIS used

for air defense, it is entirely possible that ground-
based off-the-shelf technology may already possess ABM
capability (Codevilla, 1991a).
Overcoming the ICBM-problem of incoming speed and
engagement proximity was partially accomplished when, on
January 28 of last year, the ground-based Exoatmospheric
Reentry-vehicle Interceptor System (ERIS or E2I)
successfully knocked a Minuteman missile out of the sky
some 160 miles above the Pacific Ocean. Notably, the test
also included decoys which were placed around the
incoming target (Graham, 1991). The experiment began with
the Minuteman launching from Vandenberg Air Force Base
4,200 miles away, and like the Patriot and Brilliant
Pebble Program designs, the interceptor was non-nuclear,
achieving its task by ramming into its target (Holzman,
1991: 48). Again, nothing new here. The Army's Homing
Overlay Experiment (HOE) began as a program to send
optically guided interceptors into the path of attacking
warheads. Originally, HOE utilized only one central
instrument packageto distinguish between warheads and
decoysper 12 kill vehicles.18 But once more, avoiding
18 Sometime around 1981, HOE technology was sold to the
Soviets via Polish intelligence by sleuth James Harper. It
has been suggested that the former Soviet Union's high-
altitude interceptor, the SH-11, was effectively deployed
near Moscow utilizing the original optically guided homing
vehicles (Codevilla, 1991a).

conflicts with the ABM Treaty required the reduction to
only one kill vehicle per HOE rocket, not a dozen or
more. Thus, a discrimination device had to be made
available for each interceptor, driving up costs and lead
times (Codevilla, 1991a).
A few staunch supporters of strategic defense are
now starting to wonder why the United States isn't moving
faster on these ground-based defenseseven if it means
putting off space-based deployment for a while. But even
on the ground, the ABM Treaty serves as an obstacle.
Beyond that, however, the Hoover Institution's Codevilla
says that if we coupled what we now have with an infrared
detector on a high-flying aircraft, we could confidently
detect incoming warheads, similar to what the AWACS plane
does with regard to enemy aircraft. This may already be
adequate protection for most rational military strikes
that are not initially aimed at cities, but the emerging
threat may be anything but rational.
Nevertheless, why not be assured of at least minimal
protection? Because, says Codevilla, the SDIO is
constantly upgrading the test that any defense must meet,
including threats that are nonexistent.
Never again should we indulge in abstract
system-building, matching hypothetical complex
defenses against hypothetical complex offenses. We
ought to build real weapons against threats that
exist or that intelligence can see coming, and we
ought to trust each individual weapon or sensor to
take a chunk out of the problem (1991a: 20).

Up until the Gulf War, SDI was in a free-fall. With
no discernible track record, no stunning victories
outside a laboratory, the structure of the program
including a tangible purpose and planwas seriously
lacking. Thus, in 1987, the Reagan administration decided
on a more gradual approach by doing away with the
program's past emphasis on an exotic laser or particle
beam defense (Brock, 1991). Instead, the new SDI would be
unveiled in phases, the first of which could actually be
deployed in the foreseeable future. At the heart of Phase
I was a concept dubbed "Brilliant Pebbles": non-nuclear
rockets using kinetic energy to destroy incoming warheads
by slamming into them at high speeds.
Critics were quick to pounce. First of all, wasn't
this a glaring admission of the failure of previous SDI
effortsall of which proponents had said would succeed?
Some criticism was deflected by noting that the cost of
matching SDI research convinced the Soviets they could no
longer win the arms race. "The Soviets opposed SDI
because of their technological backwardness," says Edward
Teller, the noted scientist and SDI advocate (also called
the father of the H-Bomb). "I was told this directly by a

close advisor to [Mikhail] Gorbachev" (Brock, 1991:16).
Nevertheless, the program's candid change in gears was at
least an admission that things weren't going as planned,
especially with regard to original proposals for SDI's
ubiquitous space shield.
This restructuring would not be the last. Due to the
political reality of strong pre-Gulf War congressional
opposition; growing threats from Third World ballistic
missile proliferation; and increasing internal unrest in
the Soviet Union (raising the possibility of an
accidental or unauthorized nuclear launch), the Bush
administration further refined SDI's mission starting
with the President's January 1991 State of the Union
Looking forward, I have directed that the SDI
Program be refocused on providing protection from
limited ballistic missile strikes, whatever their
source. Let us pursue an SDI program that can deal
with any future threat to the United States, to our
forces overseas and to our friends and allies (SDIO,
"Briefing on...," 1991: 2).
The novel approach was called Global Protection
Against Limited Strikes (GPALS), and it continues to
serve as the core of the Bush administration's plans for
strategic defense. While refusing to discount the very
real possibility of an unauthorized, limited Soviet
launch, the administration's focus is on ballistic
missile development in the Third World. High ranking

members of the armed services seem to share the
President's concern. In an interview with Aviation Week
and Space Technology, the Commander of U.S. Tactical Air
Force, Lt. Gen. Charles A. Horner, said,
In 15 to 20 years, when very accurate missiles
with mass destruction warheads are available to
third-world nations, the U.S. will need a regional,
wide area air defense force to duplicate on a grand
scale the Patriot's "pivotal role of defanging" the
Scud (SDIO, "Briefing on...," 1991: 11).
Most SDI partisans cheer the new emphasis: Teller
labels the limited mission "precisely right" in today's
strategic arena (Leib, 1991: 1C). The shifting of
strategic concerns away from massive ICBM attacks towards
sporadic, limited strikes may prove to be cost effective
as well. Early estimates for GPALS are about $41 billion
in FY88 dollars, which is considerably lower than the
initial figure of $146 billion for Phase I architecture
(SDIO, 1991). That matters little to the critics,
however. The Federation of American Scientists' John Pike
maintains that threats from a tactical missile strike or
a renegade launch from one of the Soviet republics are
too small to worry about, consequently, even the reduced
spending for GPALS is unjustified (Leib, 1991).
It appears, though, the critics may be giving scant
attention to the growing threat from ballistic missile
proliferation. "There is no foreseeable long-range ICBM
threat to the United States except from the Soviet

Union," said Research Director Clausen in a January 1991
press release for the Union of Concerned Scientists
(1991: 2). Former Defense Secretary Brown adds,
"Fortunately, only China among developing nations could
mount a significant intercontinental ballistic missile
threat to the United States during this decade" (1991:
8). And while admitting tactical strikes may pose a near
term problem, Brown, Clausen, Pike, et al., ignore the
incipient strategic threat most recently displayed in the
Gulf War.
Indeed, much of the news since the cessation of
hostilities in the Middle East has centered around Saddam
Hussein's disregard for the provisions in the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iraq was a
signatory.19 "On the basis of preliminary reports, the
Iraq effort appears breathtaking, clearly the largest
circumvention of arms limitation provisions since
Germany's violations of the treaty of Versailles," says
19 Over 140 countries have signed the 1968 Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty and have pledged to live up to its
relatively broad safeguards. Verification rests with the
Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency; it has
come under severe attack in recent years. "U.N. inspections
of Iraq have dramatically exposed the inherent weaknesses
of the IAEA system. Most obvious, inspections
conducted...apply only to "declared" facilities involving
special nuclear materials. Most, though not all, of Iraq's
massive illicit bomb effort took place either at facilities
outside the IAEA's legal jurisdiction or at potentially
illegal, undeclared sites (Glynn, 1991: 107).

Patrick Glynn in The New Republic magazine (1991: 107).
There has even been speculation that Iraq has already
manufactured a crude prototype of the bomb dropped at
Whatever, it now seems apparent that had the Persian
Gulf War been postponed a year or two, Saddam may have
had a nuclear arsenal, however primitive, at his
disposal. Demonstrating the rapidity with which this
technology is being assimilated, it was initially
believed that Iraq was at least 10 years away from any
sort of atomic weapon. International officials (as well
as U.S. intelligence) who were assigned to monitor Iraq's
nuclear progression now concede otherwise. In fact,
United Nations' inspectors believe Iraq may have already
produced an atom bomb (Rocky Mountain News, 1991) .
Of course, Saddam Hussein was not the first to
threaten the West with nuclear blackmail. In response to
what he believes is U.S. imperialism, Libya's Muammar
Qaddafi has been sabre-rattling for years. Can we be
assured the Qaddafi, who has a German-built poison gas
factory to supplement his extant ballistic technology,
will never make good on the ultimate promise? Defense
Secretary Cheney warns:

Who among us is willing to bet that a missile
will never be used? That threshold has already been
crossed. In 1986, Libya fired two Soviet-made Scud
missiles at a U.S. Coast Guard station on an
offshore Italian island (1990: 3).
Adding to the instability in the Middle East, Iraq's
arch-enemy, Iran, may now be receiving nuclear technology
from India. In what could be a growing trend, those
nations who posses nuclear technology (along with large
amounts of foreign debt) are finding eager customers in
the Third World. Hardly surprising, India's foe,
Pakistan, recently admitted its successful acquisition of
the bomb with the help of China. Almost like a domino
theory in reverse, great pressure is put upon long-time
enemies to respond in kind when their adversaries
threaten them with nuclear weapons. And if past history
is any indication, there is little regard for such arcane
concepts as mutual assured deterrence in many of these
nations. Witness the Iran-Iraq war where the destruction
and carnage of unimaginable proportions had little
influence on those responsible. Moreover, that war
brought to light the horrors of biological warfare,
something that cannot be ignored when matched with
ballistic missile delivery systems.
Authors David Kupelian and Mark Masters quote this
passage from the 1990 book, Defending Against Ballistic

Missile Attack (Freik & Tait (eds.), George C. Marshall
Institute, Washington, D.C. 1990):
One hundred pounds of anthrax can kill a
quarter of a million people. These weapons of mass
destruction, requiring only drugstore technology,
are widely available to Third World countries.
Fifteen non-European nations have built, bought, or
are developing their own ballistic missiles which
can carry these weapons. The list comprises
Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq,
Israel, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,
South Korea, South Yemen, and Syria. These nations
have access to chemical and biological weapons
cheap, easy to buildand as horrible as nuclear
weapons (1991c: 27).
As one can see, problems arise not only with Western
antagonists but with those nations normally considered
less than inimical. Despite improved relations, allowing
numerous U.S. objections to its ballistic missile
program, Argentina's Condor II project perseveres
unencumbered. So far, President Carlos Menem's assurances
to dismantle have been effectively countered by the
influential Argentine military. Coupled with the
country's nuclear energy program, there is real concern
that a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile might someday
evolve (Copeland, 1991).
But certainly one of the more disturbing threats
continues to lie in North Korea, where 79-year-old
dictator Kim II Sung's efforts to reunite the peninsula
have fallen short. It hasn't been for trying, however.
Five years after Kim inherited the regime from Josef

Stalin's Red Army in 1945, he invaded the South, starting
the Korean War that cost some 2.4 million lives
including 54,000 Americans and 10,000 allies. Since then,
he has systematically built an army of over 1 million men
and 3,500 tanks, and he devotes upwards of 20% of North
Korea's GNP toward military spending (Cutler, 1991c: 24).
While the prospects for peace have been heightened as of
latewith the signing of bilateral agreements intended
to keep the Korean peninsula nuclear free and resulting
in a U.S. agreement to remove its nuclear weapons based
in the Souththe government of North Korea has yet to
allow the IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities (Cutler,
1991c: 32) .
More disconcerting, the North's communist government
is on it's third nuclear reactor at Yongbyon,
approximately 60 miles north of the capital of Pyongyang
(Cutler, 1991a: 24). In order for South Korea to abort
its incipient nuclear plans, it wants reassurances that
the North's reactors are for domestic power only, i.e.,
peaceful. But since none of North Korea's reactors
produce electricity, and satellite photographs reveal a
plant nearby to extract plutonium from spent uranium

fuel, Kim's plans seem ominously clear (Cutler, 1991a:
32) .20
There is also speculation that Soviet nuclear
specialists will aggressively try to market their skills
elsewhere now that the domestic market may have
evaporated. "There are 10,000 of them, both nuclear and
biological weapons specialists, some of whom have
acknowledged receiving highly lucrative offers abroad
(Jensen, 1992: 3). Thus, U.S. officials are constantly
revising the perceived threat. Secretary Cheney:
Over the course of the next several years we
will see perhaps 15 or 20 developing nations acquire
ballistic missiles. Some of them already have them.
By our estimates as many as half of those nations
with ballistic missiles may in fact possess, nuclear
weapons by the end of the century, some eight or
20 Two weapons grade or fissile materials used for
making nuclear bombs are plutonium and uranium. Plutonium
is not found in nature but is a byproduct of "peaceful"
nuclear reactors. Importantly, since reactors can be
designed to maximize electricity or plutonium, the
composition of this particular fuel is dependent upon the
desired product. Furthermore, it must also be separated out
by an elaborate chemical recovery process (Glynn, 1991).
This "reprocessing" takes place in building 771 at Denver
Rocky's Flats where scrap plutonium from warhead triggers
and residue from clothing, rags, etc., is run through a
similar recovery process. Contrary to some popular opinion,
Rocky Flats is not a nuclear reactor.
Obtaining nuclear materials from enriched uranium also
involves a costly, complicated separation process, but the
basic substance is found in the natural environmentalbeit
only a tiny fraction of uranium ore is suitable for bombs:
uranium-235. After Israel bombed the Osirac reactor in
1981, the Iraqiswho subsequently could not obtain help
from Franceturned their clandestine efforts towards
uranium enrichment (Glynn, 1991).

nine nations (Rocky Mountain News, 14 January 1992,
3) .
However unstable the New World Order, the Bush
Administration's answer, short of State Department
diplomacy, seems to be the layered defense of GPALS. At
the center of the system is of course Brilliant Pebbles,
but at the heart of Pebbles is a space-based satellite
system called Brilliant Eyes (BE).21 Providing pinpoint
guidance and detection for GPALS rockets (or pebbles,
projectiles, etc.), Brilliant Eyes is of vital importance
to other ground-based theater missile defenses (TMD),
such as a Patriot-type system or others deployed within
the parameters of SDI. This underscores a problem with
the ABM Treaty in that the question is not whether the
U.S. will have space-based technologyit certainly will,
at least with satellites and sensorsbut whether that
technology will include actual weapons.
Though GPALS abandons the Phase I deterrence of a
massive strike, its focus is nonetheless comprehensive,
albeit for limited strikes only. Ideally, ground-based
21 About 300 of the 11,000 employees at Martin Marietta
in Colorado are currently working on Brilliant Pebbles and
about 30 employees doing preliminary work on Brilliant
Eyes. Martin Marietta's Astronautics Group "is bidding to
be a prime contractor on the next phase of Brilliant Eyes,
which could be worth about $300 million" (Leib, 1992: 1C).
Some SDI advocates are increasingly turning to economic
arguments when debating the pros and cons of strategic
defense, though many have complained against government
programs of other kinds.

interceptors would eliminate hostile missiles that might
escape space-borne pebbles. Politically, GPALS is more
appealing as well. The plan sharply reduces the cost of
protection, say proponents, by more closely matching the
defense to the threat. For example, the number of space
rockets comprising Brilliant Pebbles has been cut from
Phase I's 4,000 to something on the order of 1,000 (SDIO,
The rationale for all this is found in a simple
equation: an assumed lower threat equals an acceptable
lower threshold of protection. For instance, drastically
decreasing the number of presumed incoming re-entry
vehicles (RVs) necessitating interception, from several
thousand to anywhere from 10 to 200, allows SDI officials
to suggest that the new focus still provides veritable
global protection (SDIO, 1991). After all, the theory
goes, the Third World threat may be real, but'it lacks
great depth. Reducing the number of interceptors,
however, can be risky; they are supposed to be the first
line of defense.
Indeed, within the new architecture, Brilliant
Pebbles is not the last resort, but the first. The three
major components of GPALS consist, along with Pebbles, of
two ground-based systems (Brock, 1991). Advanced versions
of the Patriot and Arrow serve as theater or tactical

defense, suitable for troops deployed abroad, etc. As
recent events in the Persian Gulf illustrate, these
updated defensesrelying on ground-based radar tracking
(GBRT)would be immediately deployable. The satellite
sensor system of Brilliant Eyes plays a more prominent
role in the other ground-based systems designed for high-
altitude strategic missile interception. Some 750 to 1000
(roughly half of Phase I) ground-based crockets will be
deployed to intercept longer-range enemy missiles in the
high atmosphere, thus avoiding the residual debris
problems inherent in the Patriot. Most likely these
interceptors will be the Exoatmospheric Interceptor (ERIS
or E2I) unless the less expensive Ground-Based
Interceptor (GBI) project is successful in solving a mid-
course decoy discrimination problem. Reentering RVs can
be "distinguished from lighter decoys because the
atmosphere causes distinct deceleration characteristics";
heretofore the E2I, with help from a Ground-Based
Surveillance and Tracking System (GSTS), has been the
only way to overcome these obstacles caused by severe
heating conditions in the atmosphere (SDIO, 1991: 17).
Not surprisingly, SDI officials were jubilant over the
last January's successful kill of a Minuteman missile by
the E2I over the Pacific (Holzman, 1991).

Which brings us back to the kinetic (non-nuclear)
space-weapon of GPALS: Brilliant Pebbles. Deployed for
worldwide protection, advocates insist that it provides
both strategic and tactical missile protection. As long
as any ballistic missile reaches an altitude of
approximately 60 miles, interception in space is quite
feasible.22 Interestingly, once cleared for battle, a
single Pebble acts independently and is not then
controlled by a central authoritythus, the term
"Brilliant." More importantly, this autonomous
characteristic would allegedly prevent the system from
easily being attacked; in other words, it is survivable.
Actual engagement involves the Pebble tracking an
enemy missile from silo or mobile launcher, dropping its
"life-jacket, and maneuvering into the path of the
oncoming missile or, if interception occurs during the
mid-course phase, a reentry vehicle through space. In
order to avoid a duplication of kills, it also
communicates engagement information to neighboring
Pebbles (SDIO, 1991).
22 "A misconception is that Brilliant Pebbles could not
be deployed effectively to counter theater ballistic
missiles. If the range is greater than a few hundred miles,
normal minimum energy trajectories would carry the RVs
above the earth's atmosphere and there would in fact be
time to intercept them from space using Brilliant Pebbles"
(SDIO, 1991: 18). This, according to proponents, might have
allowed Brilliant Pebbles to deal with Iraq's Scud missiles
in the Gulf War.