Remarks to the Congressional Missile Defense Conference
Over the past seven years, the Bush Administration fundamentally changed the face of U.S. missile defense. In so doing, it has significantly improved this Nation’s ability to defend against ballistic missile threats of various ranges. It also created a legacy that the next Administration must confront. The Bush Administration’s major accomplishments include:
* First, the abrogation of the ABM Treaty. This was an important, albeit controversial step. This decision placed U.S.-Russian strategic relations on a different plane. It marked a rejection of the defense through deterrence only model that had dominated during the Cold War. It also created the opportunity to develop and deploy highly effective missile defenses.
* Second, the development, and, in several instances, initial deployment of increasingly effective theater missile defenses. These included the Pac-3 and the Aegis BMD System with the Standard II missile. Additional theater defense capabilities such as the Theater High Altitude Air Defense System or THAAD will soon be ready for initial deployment.
* Third, deployment of a limited capability to protect the United States against long-range ballistic missiles. This system consisted of satellite-based launch detection and warning, ground and sea-based radars and ground-based interceptors (GBIs) deployed at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California.
* Fourth, the Administration made substantial investments in advanced technologies, particularly in the areas of sensors, boosters and kill vehicles. These new technologies hold out the possibility of addressing many of the political, operational and technical concerns voiced by missile defense skeptics. It also explored exotic technologies, most notably directed energy systems.
There is no possibility of returning to the past. The ABM Treaty is dead. The global proliferation of ballistic missiles and the potential rise of additional nuclear-weapons states will necessitate the expanded deployment of highly-effective theater missile defenses. A limited defense of CONUS is operational. The Administration is moving ahead on negotiations for a so-called third site in Europe. Extensive international collaboration and technology sharing programs have been established with a number of allies.
Yet, the present international security environment is not what the Bush Administration anticipated when it took office. We have reached a point, coincident with the upcoming presidential elections, at which it is worth considering the kind of future the Nation wishes to pursue in missile defense.
We need a strategic review of missile defense, one that considers the alternative paths available to the next Administration. In principal, I see two ways forward.
One path would involve a continuation of the present, in effect finishing off what we have. This means continued investment in theater missile defenses and the sensors, primarily ground and sea-based radars, to support them. It might include modest upgrades to the existing GMD sites and possibly a defense of Europe by means of a third site.
In effect, this path would continue to rely primarily on systems built on technologies developed during the time when the restrictions created by the ABM Treaty were in force. Also it would be constrained by a Cold War strategy for missile defense that presumed the ability to anticipate the location and technical characteristics of missile threats.
The alternative path would be a leap into the future. It would be based upon a strategy reflective of an international security environment dominated by uncertainty. What would be some of the guiding principles of a new strategy? Let me suggest a few.
* First, the new strategy would recognize that the United States no longer faces the kinds of threats it did during the Cold War. The strategic concerns of that era, those that caused the U.S. and USSR to agree to limit strategic defenses – prevention of first strike instabilities, maintenance of a secure second strike capability, escalation dominance – are all but irrelevant today.
* Second, at the same time, we need to consider the possibility that classic deterrence may not always be applicable.
* Third, confronted with the threat posed by rogue regimes, the idea of inflicting nuclear devastation on innocent, subject peoples seems increasingly to be both an ineffective deterrent and an immoral act. The search for conventional capabilities that limit collateral damage should be matched by efforts to develop alternatives to nuclear retaliation.
* Fourth, it is important to develop responsive capabilities that can address uncertainty with respect to threats. At the same time missile defense deployments should not create incentives for nuclear states to expand their arsenals.
* Fifth, because it is likely to be difficult to adequately project the location and timing of future threats, the U.S. will need a system that deploys globally but operates locally.
* Finally, recognizing that strategic surprise is still possible, any future missile defense program must provide hedges against a future strategic offensive arms race.
This alternative path would seek to exploit many of the advanced technologies and emerging systems concepts developed free of the constraints imposed by the ABM Treaty. A future, globally responsive missile defense system will be built around a set of emerging capabilities. Let me focus on three of these that I believe to be the most important.
Birth-to-death tracking. At present, available missile defenses rely exclusively on a limited set of ground and sea-based radars. In theory, this network could be expanded to provide more extensive coverage of prospective threats.
The real advantage will come from the deployment of advanced sensors in space. The planned Space Based Infra-red System (SBIRS) and the Space Tracking and Surveillance Systems (STSS) will provide high quality global warning, surveillance and tracking of missile launches. Equally important, fire solution data will be passed directly to interceptor missiles, vastly improving both their range and precision.
Globally deployable interceptors. This capability already exists, to a limited degree in the current Aegis BMDS. The THAAD system will be mobile, but will only have the capability to engage short and medium-range missiles.
The next generation of long-range ground-based interceptors must be mobile. They could be based in CONUS or established regional locations. By not building fixed installations, future defenses will be responsive to changes in threat. In addition, mobile systems will not require a permanent overseas presence. Nor need they have a large footprint when deployed. There is evidence that a number of U.S. allies, while reluctant to see permanent missile defense installations built on their territory would welcome the temporary deployment of mobile land-based systems.
Improved discrimination. In addition to improved ground and space-based midcourse sensors, MDA is looking to the deployment of multiple kill vehicles as a means of solving the discrimination problem. Future options could include the use of large numbers of small objects to sweep away decoys. In this concept, two interceptors would be launched, the first to eliminate decoys and the second to target the incoming warhead.
There are a number of new, unconstrained capabilities in development that could, in the near-future provide the means for realizing the vision of a globally responsive missile defense system. In each instance, the availability of forward deployed or space-based sensors will add considerably to both the reach and performance of the interceptors.
One such capability is the Aegis BMDS equipped with the 21-inch Standard-3 Block IA (later Block IIB) missile currently being developed in cooperation with Japan. The larger booster, which takes full advantage of the space available in the current Vertical Launch System (VLS) will increase substantially the defended footprint of the Aegis BMDS. Anti-missile variants of the Standard could be deployed on all of the more than 100 Navy surface combatants equipped with the VLS.
The new capabilities provided by the upgraded Aegis BMDS can be further enhanced by integrating them with the Navy’s emerging system for Integrated Fire Control – Counter-Air (NIFC-CA). The goal of NIFC-CA is to create a joint tracking and fire control network that can support joint, distributed and long-range defensive fires. NIFC-CA is intended to create the best opportunity to detect, identify and track targets and to put the right shooter on the right target.
The cornerstone of the NIFC-CA network will be the E-2D, an advanced version of the venerable E-2 Hawkeye family of carrier-capable, airborne sensor platforms. The E-2D will have a new solid-state, electronically steered UHF radar capable of conducting surface as well as airborne surveillance, integration of multiple sensors, an advanced tactical cockpit and software to support theater missile defense engagements.
Even with a new missile and improved command and control, the Aegis BMDS alone will not be sufficient to provide a global, response missile defense capability. To achieve that goal, the vision I propose includes a new, next-generation ground-based interceptor. Fortunately such a system is in development and, based on additional funding available, could be deployed as early as the middle of the next decade.
I am speaking about the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI). The KEI is an extremely energetic interceptor with the speed to engage medium and long-range ballistic missiles in the early ascent and midcourse phases of flight. Its speed and high acceleration allow a single forward-deployed site to provide extremely large area coverage.
Equally important, the ground-based KEI will be highly mobile. Two KEI missiles will be carried on a mobile launcher similar to that used for the Patriot air defense system. The command and control system for each KEI battery will be housed in a set of wheeled vehicles. The KEI launcher and associated vehicles will be easily transportable by C-17 to any point on the globe in 24 hours or less. Once on land, it will take only a few hours to prepare a battery for use.
Unlike other air and missile defense systems, the KEI will not deploy with its own dedicated radar. Instead, it will rely on other BMD sensors such as the Aegis AN/SPY-1, upgraded early warning radars, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) and the STSS satellite system.
As a result of its mobility and its reliance on an array of different sensor systems, the KEI can be CONUS based and deployed on strategic warning. Yet, within a matter of hours, this system can be deployed virtually anywhere in the world providing a highly flexible global defense capability. KEI could support an alternative approach to the defense of Europe, one that would not necessitate the permanent basing of interceptors.
KEI could also be deployed at sea. A recent study of alternative basing modes identified a number of different platforms that could support sea-based KEI. Based at sea, KEI would constitute a significant additional missile capability to that provided by the current Aegis system.
Regardless of who occupies the White House next year, the Nation’s approach to missile defense is likely to change. What I have attempted to suggest in my remarks is that the potential exists for a future that would provide real capabilities at the tactical, theater and strategic levels without many of the problems experienced by the current missile defense programs.
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