July-August 2004

P.O. Box 190, Mount Holly, Virginia 2252
Volume 34, Number 4, Jerry Strope, Editor

"We want to continue to perfect this system, so we can say to tyrants who believe they can blackmail America and the free world: ‘You fire, we’re going to shoot it down.’"

President George W. Bush, August 17, 2004

In this issue:

Is Missile Defense a Reality?

The news in the mainstream media during July and August was dominated by issues bearing on the upcoming presidential election, few of which are directly or indirectly related to strategic defense. Matters related to proliferation of nuclear weapons or long-range missiles seemed to have faded into the background. Then, on August 17, George W. Bush took the opportunity of a campaign visit to a Boeing plant in eastern Pennsylvania to take credit for progress on a national missile defense system and to compliment the workers who were working on elements of the missile defense effort.

This month’s "quotable quote" is drawn from the president’s remarks on that visit. Additionally, Mr. Bush also is reported to have said, "I think those who oppose this ballistic missile system really don’t understand the threats of the 21st century. They’re living in the past. We’re living in the future. We’re going to do what is necessary to protect this country."

The Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry, has an ambiguous position on the matter of missile defense. During his many years in the Senate, Kerry generally has joined his party’s long-standing opposition to funding a missile defense system. But in a campaign appearance earlier in August, Kerry said, "I don’t believe in rapid deployment of a system that hasn’t been adequately tested. I will continue missile defense research, I will continue missile defense work." Whether this campaign promise represents a change in strategic policy seems rather unclear.

A careful parsing of our "quotable quote" would indicate that the president is not claiming that if the tyrant fires, we can shoot it down. What the statement says is that he plans to continue to improve the system until we can shoot it down. This is not the interpretation made by the North Korean leadership. On the 23rd , a flood of invective came from Pyongyang including the phrase, "a tyrant that puts Hitler into the shade." One could almost see Kim Jong Il shouting, "Don’t call me a tyrant, you tyrant!"

The New York Times, claiming to be the newspaper of record, had this explanation for the North Korean outburst: "Yesterday’s tirade was apparently set off by a campaign-stop remark last week by Bush, who referred to Kim Jong Il, North Korea’s hereditary leader, as a ‘tyrant.’" But, as our quote shows, Mr. Bush did not mention either Kim Jong Il or North Korea. It was the North that knew at whom the message was aimed.

The flood of invective seems to bode ill for any progress on disarmament talks in the near future. Indeed, a spokesman for North Korea told the state-controlled news agency, "The meeting of the working group for the six-party talks cannot be opened because the US has become more undisguised in pursuing its hostile policy toward North Korea." New talks were to be held in Beijing sometime in September or October. So, no more diplomacy until after the elections.

"If anything, the anti-American, anti-Japanese rhetoric has intensified,"said C. Kenneth Quinones, who was the State Department’s lead analyst of North Korea in the mid-90s. "They really believe that Bush and Koizumi [Japanese Prime Minister] are in a plot for a pre-emptive attack on North Korea."

North Korean paranoia may reach a high pitch in late October when warships of the US Navy, Japanese Coast Guard and other allies will conduct joint exercises in the Sea of Japan.

The August 30 issue of the Weekly Standard featured an article entitled "The North Korean Nightmare" with a subtitle "It’s later than you think." The article fails to live up to its title and subtitle. Unusually long (8 pages), especially for the Standard, it reviews the history of the decade-long crisis, points out the mutually exclusive outcomes desired by the principals, and seems to predict that the crisis will not be resolved quickly.

In September 2001, coincident with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Chinese President Jiang Zemin went to Pyongyang, the first visit of a principal Chinese leader to North Korea since 1992. Nearly a year later, on August 23, 2002, Kim Jong Il met with Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok. Shortly thereafter, when confronted by US officials, North Korea admitted it had resumed its nuclear weapons program. Since then, according to the authors, Nicholas Eberstadt and Joseph Ferguson, Kim Jung Il "has managed to alienate and alarm most of his neighbors simultaneously—even though they have not yet responded to his mounting threats." This reading contrasts sharply with that of Alexander Nemets and John L. Scherer, co-authors of the recent book, "Sino-Russian Military Relations." In an Insight article last year, Nemets and Scherer concluded that China and Russia are in league to frustrate US and Japanese desires for regime change in North Korea. Their advice still seems most pertinent today:

"We offer five observations: 1) Wash-ington should not expect Moscow or Beijing to help resolve this problem. 2) The crisis is long term and need not be fixed by next Friday. Washington can wait for favorable terms. It is the world’s only superpower after all. 3) The United States should not appease Kim Jong Il or succumb to blackmail. Major concessions will lead only to more Korean coercion. 4) Washington must not acquiesce whenever Pyongyang becomes belligerent, even if it is supported by Russia and China. The Bush administration should not offer diplomatic recognition, food aid, economic assistance or nuclear technology until North Korea ends its WMD programs and begins to cooperate in the family of nations. 5) A U.S. national missile defense (NMD) ultimately may blunt the North Korean/ Chinese/Russian threat. Work on the NMD must proceed speedily."

The Nemets/Scherer conclusions hardly fit with "It’s later than you think" head-lines, especially if the missile defense system is now deployed. Curiously, the Eberstadt/Ferguson paper never mentions missile defense nor does it comment on North Korea’s part in both nuclear and missile proliferation. The paper also assumes the North Koreans do not yet have a nuclear weapon, an assumption that is problematical.

The first interceptor of the Pentagon’s Ground-based Missile Defense program was installed at Fort Greely, Alaska on July 22nd. Five more interceptors at Fort Greely and four at Vanderberg AFB in California are in the pipeline. Ten more interceptors will be deployed in Fort Greely during 2005.

Conferees to the fiscal 2005 defense appropriations bill approved a conference report on July 21 that provides $416.2 billion in Pentagon funding. Conferees approved $10 billion for missile defense programs, $183 million less than the administration’s request. The approved amount included $4.6 billion for the ground-based midcourse missile defense being deployed this fall.

Back in May, after the budget request for the Missile Defense Agency was published, Jeff Kueter, executive director of Marshall Institute, did a review of the budget that provides some insight into what’s in store. As noted above, the bulk of the funds go to the Midcourse program, which is the cornerstone of the system being deployed. But substantial growth is projected in the five-year budget for the Interceptor and Sensors programs. On the other hand, 2005 is the peak funding year for the Midcourse program.

Kueter highlights for special interest the Technology program, which perks along at about a quarter billion a year in the budget projection. "According to the MDA budget, this program element ‘funds component technologies that feed into larger systems, thereby delivering product improvement technologies for deployed systems and funds the initial demonstration of innovative new concepts that, if successful, can enhance the BMDS in a particular block improvement.’ Nearly all the funding requested for this program element resides in an area known as ‘Advanced Technology Development.’ Advanced Technology Development consists of ‘sensor systems, engagement systems, high altitude airship, and other innovative technologies.’ This area of the MDA budget contains some of the most exciting elements of the missile defense program. Microsatellite research resides here as does the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) program."

Clearly, these budding technologies are expected to feed the program elements slated for expansion. For example, the Interceptor program, which got $118 million in 2004, will get over $500 million in 2005 and is budgeted for over a billion in 2006. The Sensor program element got $425 million in 2004, $592 million in 2005 and is slated for over a billion by 2007.

The Bush administration chose the ground-based midcourse system for deployment as the most mature technology available. After all, fielding a BMD was the primary strategy for dealing with the "North Korean Nightmare." This choice caused a good deal of heartburn for Ambassador Henry Cooper, head of High Frontier, and formerly in charge of missile defense in the Pentagon during the Bush I administration. Henry saw his programs demolished by the Clinton administration but not before becoming convinced that a space-based Brilliant Pebbles system was the wave of the future. Henry might be mollified somewhat by the budget elements for advanced technologies but he is skeptical that the "current missile defense staff in the Missile Defense Agency will overcome its apparent prejudice against space-based defenses—and recommend an alternate course to rapidly revive technology available over a decade ago and build an effective space-based defense."

Perhaps once the current deployment controls the North Korean threat, space-based systems can forge ahead. Greg Canavan of the Heritage Foundation has said, "if the appropriate long-term goal is to put missile defense so fsr ahead of offenses that they will dissuade rogues and others from engaging in missile competitions altogether, then a balanced program . . . including space-based sensors and interceptors is required."

A Nuclear Iran?

Iran earned its way onto the Axis of Evil as one of the countries congenial to terrorists that should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Over the past 18 months Iran has begun work on major facilities for enriching uranium. It has also started to build a nuclear reactor that could be used to produce plutonium. The Bush Administration contends that the facilities are part of an effort to build nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is devoted only to generating electricity. Why a country that is afloat on a sea of oil needs to generate its electricity by means of nuclear power has not been answered.

The paragraph above is word for word the same paragraph you will find in the ASDA newsletter of July-August 2003. It probably is useful to review what has happened since then with regard to Iran. The first "breakthrough" came on October 21, 2003, when the foreign ministers of three leading European Union countries—Britain’s Jack Straw, France’s Dominique de Villepin, and Germany’s Joschka Fisher—flew to Tehran to conclude an agreement with Iran’s theocratic government "to suspend uranium-enrichment and reprocessing activities"—that is, to halt production of materials for nuclear weapons.

European newspapers and TV broadcasts were filled with congratulatory reports and quotations. "We often find ourselves on the defensive, being told we are appeasers for engaging with regimes like this," said one EU diplomat. "This agreement gives the lie to that argument. Clearly the Iranians did not do this because they feared EU military action. They did it because they want a relationship with us and want to keep the channels open."

Britain’s Guardian newspaper had this to say, "Iran’s agreement to allow unlimited UN inspections of its nuclear facilities and to suspend its uranium enrichment program marks a tremendous success for European diplomacy. . .Iran will doubtless remain an axis-of-evil rogue state in George Bush’s florid lexicon. But Washington must not try to undermine this accord. To date, its polarizing, aggressive pressure tactics have mostly made a difficult problem worse. Europe demonstrated yesterday that there is a different, more effective way. And it is not the American way."

The Bush-bashing went on and on but it was all a fiction. As pointed out by Leon de Winter, a Dutch writer, in the Weekly Standard, Iran had no intention of adhering to the agreement. The warnings and reports of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), then and since, make that clear. The IAEA went into Iran and put seals on the enrichment equipment. In a matter of weeks, the Iranians found an excuse for breaking the seals and threatening to resume the enrichment process. The excuse was that the IAEA Board had crriticized Iran’s concealment of some equipment in a nuclear facility.

According to de Winter, "The mullahs are quite frank about why they want nuclear weapons. On December 14, 2001, the de facto dictator of Iran, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, spelled out his dream in a sermon at Tehran University. ‘If one day the world of Islam comes to possess the [nuclear] weapons currently in Israel’s possession, on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end.’ This, he said, is because the use of a nuclear bomb on Israel would entirely demolish the Jewish state, whereas it would only damage the Islamic world. Iran’s leaders have made dozens of similar statements."

Last month, the Brookings Institution hosted a conference on the Iran problem. Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was quoted as saying, "Europeans say they understand the threat but then act as if the real problem is not Iran but the United States." As August came to a close, Bush’s Secretary of State, Colin Powell, announced he was referring the Iran problem to the UN Security Council.

How to Survive a Terrorist Attack

The book used in the Health Physics Society’s Summer School, "Public Protection from Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Terrorism" is now available for purchase. The tome has 35 chapters and 800 pages. ASDAite Allen Brodsky is one of three editors and contributed several chapters. ASDAite Marlow Stangler also has several chapters in the book, which is dedicated to Jack Greene. The book is published by Medical Physics Publishing of Madison, Wisconsin and costs $95 (no shipping and handling charge.) You can order the book or look at a sample chapter at www. Your executive secretary is going to buy a copy and will do a review for the next newsletter.

Protection or Prevention

With hurricanes arriving almost weekly during August, FEMA and Director Michael Brown have been in the news. Shortly after Hurricane Charley struck, the Wall Street Journal wrote that once independent FEMA was now just a tiny sliver of the Homeland Security Department. Once the highest-ranked government office for worker satisfaction, FEMA is now dead last. In the most recent union survey, 60% of FEMA staffers said they would take a job elsewhere if one were offered, and 80% said FEMA had become a poorer agency since joining Homeland Security.

The new department’s prime focus is prevention of terrorist attacks. The result has been changes that have left FEMA stripped of many of its funding programs and some of its money. Many of FEMA’s preparedness-funding programs have been taken over by the Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP), which is a former Justice Department entity now responsible for preparing states and locals for the possibility of a terrorist attack with a weapon of mass destruction. Heavily staffed by former police officers, ODP now has the greatest influence on the way new programs are structured. State and local emergency managers call them the "gun-toters." Secretary Tom Ridge says of FEMA: "Its mission of response and recovery is at the core of what we do." Not evident.