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Congressional Record: June 12, 2001 (House)
Page H3044-H3051           


  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Grucci). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 3, 2001, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Tierney) is recognized for 60 minutes.
  Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, I join a number of my colleagues here this 
evening to discuss the administration's policy on national missile 
  I put up on the board here one of the comics that was recently in a 
newspaper showing Secretary Powell with members of NATO and essentially 
asking Secretary Powell if they really expect him to buy that, and that 
is, of course, a used car which stands symbolically, in this instance, 
for the national missile defense program being discussed and being put 
forth by this administration at this time.
  Mr. Speaker, I join my colleagues to discuss that policy and 
specifically the administration's apparent attempt to move swiftly to 
deploy that system even before tests show that it is feasible.

                              {time}  2100

  There are apparent plans to proceed beyond research and development, 
though no proper consideration has been given to many critical factors. 
We have yet to really assess all threats against the United States, 
whether they be from another state or a nonstate.
  The alleged purpose of this limited national missile defense or the 
early stages of the Bush administration plan is supposedly to protect 
us against rogue nations or against accidental or

[[Page H3045]]

unintended launches. Rogue nation threats are primarily the national 
missile defense concern, or so we are told. If that is the case, we 
should assess them and assess them on whether or not that threat of 
missiles from rogue nations compares to other threats that exist to our 
  Currently, the threat of weapons of mass destruction from missiles 
ranks low on the list of CIA possible threats. While some rogue nations 
have crude missile systems nearing the capability of reaching the 
continental United States, they are, according to the CIA and others, 
less credible threats than other forms of aggression and terrorism. In 
keeping with that train of thought, we should establish most likely 
threats and key our defenses towards those that are most likely.
  With limited funding resources, the United States must be sure that 
our spending is proportionate to our established priorities. Spending 
on any national missile defense must not adversely affect readiness or 
military personnel quality of life or modernization of conventional 
land, air and naval forces, nor should it adversely affect research and 
development efforts aimed at necessary leap-ahead technologies. It 
cannot ignore the benefits of timely and reliable intelligence or 
  In view of all our national priorities, whether they be domestic in 
nature or international and defense prospects that affect our national 
security, the cost that is going to be incurred must be warranted by 
the security benefits we should expect to gain.
  Americans deserve to know before we deploy the realistic cost 
estimates and who will pay. Is it only the United States that is going 
to fit the bill, or will all nations that stand to benefit from any 
deployed national missile defense system participate in sharing the 
cost? So far, the projections show the following costs.
  Mr. Speaker, I have another chart. Mr. Speaker, as the chart 
indicates, the initial estimates for 20 interceptors were originally 
estimated to be at a cost of nine to $11 billion. The fact of the 
matter was that that was in January of 1999 at $10.6 billion. By 
November of that year, it was at $28.7 billion. By February of 2000, it 
had moved up to 100 interceptors being planned, and the estimate then 
was $26.6 billion. By April, it rose to $29.5 billion; by May to $36.2 
billion; by August of 2000, $40.3 billion by the own estimate of the 
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. Now in August of 2000, the CAIG 
report estimates it up to about $43.2 billion. That is with a number of 
items not included.
  As my colleagues can see on the chart, other estimates in testing 
adjustments, alternative booster programs add another $4.5 billion, 
bringing it up to some $47.7 billion. Not included also is the 
restructuring of the program to remedy testing delays. That adds 
another $2.8 billion. Essentially, we are up to $50.5 billion on this 
program and going up, up and forever upward.
  We should not forget the fact that this administration is not only 
talking about a land-based limited system. It is talking about adding a 
second phase and a third phase to the land-based design, adding a sea-
based provision, adding an air-based aspect, and then going on to 
space-based laser.
  So let us add those up. Adding phases 2 and 3 of a ground-based 
system would add another $50 billion. The sea-based system would be 
another $53.5 billion. An air-based system would add another $11 
billion. The space-based laser, besides inviting in the number of 
people to secure items in space which we alone have almost monopoly on, 
would add a cost to seventy to $80 billion. So total estimates on this 
program are at a minimum of $80 billion to $100 billion or as high as a 
trillion dollars, depending on how far out we go.
  That should all bring us to the issue of feasibility. The 
administration now intends to use this system whether or not it works. 
In other words, it is going to buy it before it flies it.
  We have had a number of experiences in our military programs with 
that, most recently with the F-22 and with the Osprey. The Osprey not 
only costs us a lot of money to go back and cure remedies that were not 
caught because we did not test it properly, it has cost us the lives of 
25 Marines.
  In keeping with this administration's ready, shoot and then aim 
prospect, Secretary Rumsfeld has taken an in-your-face attitude to our 
allies as well as to our friends as well as to Russia and China. He is 
determined to put all other considerations aside and deploy this system 
even if the technology is not available and is not proven feasible.
  Astoundingly, the Washington Post reported these comments from an 
administration official, and I quote: ``It is a simple question. Is 
something better than nothing?'' It went on to say, ``The President and 
the Secretary of Defense have made it pretty clear that they believe 
some missile defense in the near term is, in fact, better than 
  Now my colleagues may join me in being astounded in that, but that 
statement should at least rest on two underlying assumptions. One would 
be that that something in fact works, and this does not; and, two, that 
deployment will not subject the country to even greater security 
dangers. This program will.
  What the Pentagon and the Department of Defense and the Secretary and 
the President know but do not apparently want the Americans to discover 
or consider or debate is that the National Missile Defense System's 
effectiveness has not yet been proven even in the most elementary 
  Also, there should be grave concerns regarding the disturbing side 
effects of the National Missile Defense System, such as uncontrollable 
launches and their attendant risk to world security.
  A study has been completed, not by groups opposed to missile defense, 
but by the department's own internal experts. That study makes it clear 
that potentially profound problems exist with the National Missile 
Defense System. The Office of Operational Test and Evaluation, known by 
its initials OT&E, is an independent assessment office within the 
Department of Defense. It was created to oversee testing programs and 
in particular to ensure that weapons development programs are 
adequately tested in realistic operating conditions.
  Its former director, Mr. Philip Coyle testified on September 8 of 
last year before the Subcommitte on National Security, Veterans' 
Affairs and International Relations of the Committee on Government 
Reform. He testified about a report that he had compiled during the 
deployment readiness review that was conducted in the summer of 2000.
  As a result of that testimony, it became apparent that the Pentagon 
was overstating the technological progress and potential of this 
National Missile Defense System.
  Because I thought it was imperative that the public have full access 
to Mr. Coyle's study, I asked Mr. Coyle to provide the full report for 
the record of that committee, and he agreed to my request. My motion 
that the subcommittee include that study on the public record for the 
September 8, 2000 hearing was accepted without objection. At no time 
did Mr. Coyle or Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish, the Director of the 
Missile Program, express any reservations.
  Well, after 8 months and at least six separate requests and a 
subpoena threat, the subcommittee finally obtained the study. But the 
Department of Defense asked that that study be kept confidential. I 
think this is precisely the wrong response.
  The Bush administration is proposing to our allies and strategic 
partners that deployment be speeded up even beyond optimistic 
evaluations. In this context, the need for public debate about the 
system's capabilities and its potential dangers if deployed prematurely 
is urgently needed.
  I have, therefore, written to Secretary Rumsfeld for a full 
explanation of the Department of Defense request to hush up this 
report. I have asked the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays), the 
subcommittee chairman, to schedule hearings on this study and its 
implications as expeditiously as possible. In conversations earlier 
this evening with the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays), I have 
been informed that those hearings will be pursued.
  Now, Mr. Coyle raises fundamental problems with the national missile 
defense testing programs. He tells us it is far behind schedule, and it 
is slipping further. The test program is severely deficient, failing to 
test basic elements of the system. In fact, after numerous

[[Page H3046]]

 failures, Mr. Coyle tells us that the Pentagon actually altered the 
test program to make it easier, and still it continued to fail.
  Mr. Coyle described the immature status of the program. There are 
limitations in flight testing and inadequacy of available simulations. 
Therefore, a rigorous assessment of potential system performance cannot 
be made. That is, no one can reliably predict that the National Missile 
Defense System, as planned by this administration, will perform at the 
required levels.
  Testimony of the Director found several ways the system may not work: 
its inability to defend against decoys. As discussed extensively in 
open literature, the enemy could employ various types of 
countermeasures and overwhelm this function.
  I hope that our speakers this evening will talk at length at that. I 
know the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Holt) is here. He has 
particular expertise in this area, and we should discuss it at length.
  But rather than address the fatal errors, the omission of tests with 
countermeasures could make the system unable to fulfill its core 
function of defending against accidental or intended launches; and 
rather than discuss that, the Pentagon is hitting them by dumbing down 
the testing requirements.
  The Department of Defense also provides interceptors with key 
discrimination information ahead of time. In other words, it rigs the 
game. It tells them trajectory. It tells them timing. It tells them 
height. It tells them all sorts of information. Yet, the system will 
not have that benefit if and when it is deployed.
  So there is a need for rehearsed engagements without advanced 
knowledge, yet none have been done so far and none are planned to be 
  The director criticizes the software user simulations as it suffers 
from an unfounded reliance on unrealistic and overly optimistic 
parameters. There is no plan to consider conducting flight tests with 
multiple targets or interceptors even though multiple engagements could 
be expected to be the norm. These are potential security risks of 
premature deployment.
  Phantom tracks. The system automatically allocates interceptors 
against phantom objects. In other words, these are created when the 
radar coverage transfers from one radar system to a second radar 
system, and the system mistakenly interprets the new radar rhythms as 
originating from a second reentry vehicle.
  The operators, the manual operators were unable to deal with that. 
There is one very serious immediate danger if the United States 
launches multiple interceptors against missiles that do not exist. 
Adversaries may interpret these launches as a hostile first strike and 
respond accordingly.
  So it brings us back to this idea that we are going to deploy this 
system before we have adequately tested it, before we have talked about 
the cost of this program, before we have talked about our priorities in 
defense and whether or not this is, in fact, the most serious issue we 
ought to be confronting at such an enormous cost while it is still very 
far from being feasible.
  Deployment has been defined to mean the fielding of an operational 
system with some military utility which is effective under realistic 
combat conditions against realistic threats and countermeasures, 
possibly without adequate prior knowledge of the target cluster 
composition, timing, trajectory or direction and when operated by 
military personnel at all times of the day and night in all weather.
  In almost every one of those categories, there have been tests that 
have been failed or tests that are not even planned to determine 
whether or not this system can work.
  Yet, we have a Secretary and apparently an entire administration that 
is willing to walk that plank and commit billions and billions of 
dollars on a system that has not been proven to work, casting aside all 
of our other defense needs, casting aside the questions that it brings 
to our national security, and casting aside the issues of others 
priorities within this country.
  We have a report that seriously calls into question the readiness of 
this national missile defense. I think that report leads to serious 
questions of this administration's ill-advised plan to deploy before it 
has proven technologically feasible and apparently with total disregard 
for costs, stability in this country and the world, and effect on other 
  This is no time for the Department of Defense to bury a study. It is 
time for full disclosure, for deliberation and for debate.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Holt) and 
cede the floor to him.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts, and 
I commend him for setting aside some time this evening to talk about it 
because every one of us in this room has an obligation to talk about 
this important issue. Polling data shows that the public does not feel 
well informed about what could be the most expensive defense ever 
deployed and one that has serious flaws.
  The President is trying to sell his magical mystery shield to the 
allies today. As the gentleman's cartoon shows, it is a used car with 
no guarantee. The problem with the missile defense, quite simply, is it 
would be costly to deploy, easily circumvented, and it would be 
strategically destabilizing. In other words, it would actually detract 
from our national and international security.
  One does not need to read a lot of history to be reminded of the--
Maginot line, the so-called impenetrable wall that has become the 
symbol of misguided defense policy. The proposed missile defense shield 
probably would not work as designed and wishing will not overcome the 
physics. It could be confused with decoys as the gentleman from 
Massachusetts mentioned a moment ago.
  I am a physicist by background, but one does not need advanced 
physics to understand that a Nation that would be capable of building 
an intercontinental ballistic missile, that could deliver a weapon of 
mass destruction could also deploy decoys by the hundreds, by the 
  In the vacuum of space, a balloon travels just as well as a rocket. 
Without the resistance of air, it is easy to inflate a balloon.

                              {time}  2115

  You could inflate dozens or hundreds of balloons. One of them might 
contain a warhead, others would look identical. They could all travel 
at thousands of miles per hour, many thousands of miles per hour, miles 
per second.
  I have spent some time looking at the physics of the detection 
systems, and I am convinced that it would be very difficult to 
determine the decoys from the actual warheads. But putting that aside, 
a Maginot-type missile defense system, designed to defend an entire 
continent, or as the President has suggested defend all nations from 
weapons coming from any nation, well, it could be bypassed with 
suitcase bombs or pickup trucks or fishing trawlers or sea-launched 
missiles, and so it would be billions of dollars down the drain.
  But the real tragedy is it would not be just a diversion of precious 
resources that we would not have available for health care, for smaller 
class sizes, for modern school facilities, for securing open space, for 
taking care of America's veterans, for all of those things that make 
America worth defending. No, it would be worse than a waste of money, 
because simple strategic analysis will tell us that provocative, yet 
permeable, systems are destabilizing and they lead to reduced security.
  Think of it this way: we say we are building a defensive system. Some 
potential enemy says, well, you are going to prepare an offensive 
strike, and then you will use your defensive system to prevent us from 
retaliating. And we say, no, no, no, it is only a defensive system. And 
they say, sure, we believe you. Well, if they believed us, they would 
not be our enemy. In fact, this is a weapon system in search of a 
cooperative enemy, an enemy that would not try to spoof us with decoys, 
an enemy that would not wonder what is going on behind that shield.
  We have all read stories of the knights of yore. When knights carried 
shields, they did not carry the shields around the house; they used 
those shields in battle, to thrust and parry from behind the shield. 
That is why, as counterintuitive as it may seem, a defensive system 
becomes a destabilizing

[[Page H3047]]

offensive threat. So this would undo decades of arms control.
  And, in fact, the President has said he would use such a missile 
defense to go beyond the anti-ballistic missile treaty; in other words, 
to abrogate the treaty, to break the treaty, to throw it away. This 
system, or any imaginable system, is not going to be a substitute for 
cooperative arms control. This is not something where technology will 
overcome cooperation. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to 
understand that technology will not solve this fundamental problem.
  In fact, the President has said that whereas some years ago President 
Reagan presented his program, the Strategic Defense Initiative, as 
something to render nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete, President 
Bush says he understands that will not happen. So that even with an 
international missile defense such as he is proposing, it would still 
be necessary to maintain the option of massive retaliation; in other 
words, mutual assured destruction. Well, this is not a technological 
solution to our strategic predicament. This is not an answer to weapons 
of mass destruction.
  The United States has not been able to develop a workable missile 
defense system after 40 years of trying. We have had the Nike Zeus, the 
Sentinel, the Safeguard, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and actually 
there was SDI-I, which was a space-based laser, or directed energy 
system, known as Star Wars colloquially, and then there was Strategic 
Defense Initiative II, which was kinetic kill vehicles, or Brilliant 
Pebbles, and there was G-PALS and National Missile Defense; and now 
President Bush has extended this to international missile defense. 
Well, after all of these years of trying and tens of billions of 
dollars spent, we are still nowhere close.
  My colleague, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney), 
referred to the study that the Pentagon had undertaken of the system. 
And essentially they said that not only have there been no successful 
intercepts, but that simulations that would give confidence that this 
would work do not exist, and that the current state of test facilities 
is immature. We are not close to deployment.
  And maybe we can take some solace in the fact that we are not close 
to deployment, because once this is deployed, it will set off a series 
of dominoes of the arms race around the world where countries that 
might feel threatened by it, say China, would increase their arsenals 
and in turn threaten other countries, say India, who in turn might 
build up their arsenals and threaten other countries, say Pakistan. 
Now, that is certainly not our intention. This is purely defensive. But 
that is the way it would work, and it will not get us out of our 
nuclear predicament.
  Again, I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for setting aside this 
time. We have an important and difficult job to do over the coming 
weeks to make sure everyone in the country understands the choice that 
is before us here.

  Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Maine (Mr. 
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Tierney) for holding this event tonight to talk about national missile 
defense and the Bush administration's enthusiasm for an untested and 
uncertain project.
  The reason I think it is so important to have this conversation 
tonight is that it is very clear to me that this is one of the most 
critical issues facing this Congress and one in which the public 
obviously needs more information. And whatever the right answer is, we 
have to have this kind of discussion and debate. We are not going to 
get it during the regular legislative day, so we need to get it after 
  In many respects, all of us believe that if we had a national missile 
defense system that actually worked and did not threaten our security, 
that would be a good thing to have. The difficulties are several: first 
of all, we have now spent tens of billions of dollars on the system to 
date, and we are a long way from having a system that is actually 
tested and that works. There are scientists across this country who are 
convinced that this system can never work. It is also clear that to 
build a system on the scale that the Bush administration envisions is a 
hundred billion dollars and up. A huge amount of money.
  Third, there is a problem. We need defenses that are proportional to 
the threat. And it is not at all clear that a threat of a ballistic 
missile attack by North Korea, by Iran, or some other rogue state is 
really at the top of the list of the threats that we face. Many of us 
in this room today joined with other concerned citizens who came to 
Washington with a simple message for President Bush, and for all of us 
as policymakers. First, the President's fast-track missile defense will 
make the world less stable, not more stable. Second, rushing deployment 
of missile defense will provoke other nations to increase their 
offensive arms and undermine U.S. national security.
  In particular, it is very likely to encourage the Chinese to develop 
more ICBMs, which in turn will make India uncertain and insecure, which 
will add to a race in missile development in India and in Pakistan.
  Third, abandoning arms control agreements and gambling on unproven 
missile defense technologies is unsafe and unwise. When we look back 
through the centuries, military history has really been a battle 
between the sword and the shield. Building a better shield has always 
compelled the forging of a better sword. The Bush administration needs 
to explain why it thinks this missile shield is exempt from the laws of 
  As I said before, missile defense might be justified if it could be 
proven to work reliably and consistently and if we were confident that 
it would improve our overall national security. But President Bush has 
not provided any particulars about his proposal. It is only a 
multilayered proposal which will protect us against all kinds of 
  Congress and the American people really have to force this 
administration to answer the hard questions that they have so far 
avoided. For example: one, can missile defense technology be proven to 
work reliably and consistently? To date, the answer is no.
  Second, what is the cost? To date, the answer is, who knows, but 
perhaps tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars.
  Third, will national missile defense improve other overall national 
security? Well, not if we abandon the ABM Treaty and abandon an arms 
control regime that has kept the peace for 50-odd years.
  Fourth, is national missile defense a proportional response to a 
credible threat?
  I serve on the House Committee on Armed Services, which evaluates 
threats to our security. The U.S. intelligence community recently 
issued a report on global threats and challenges we may face by 2015. 
This is shown on the chart beside me here, ``Threats and Challenges in 
2015, a National Intelligence Council Report.'' There are many diverse 
threats here. Some of them relate to population trends, aging patterns, 
migration, health and AIDS. Others relate to natural resources and the 
environment, access to food or to clean water, the availability of 
energy, or environmental degradation. Some are related to science and 
technology, the global economy, or to national and international 
  There are some threats that do relate to future conflicts, and a 
national missile defense system protects against one of those threats, 
that is, a weapon of mass destruction delivered by means of a long-
range missile. It does not protect against a Ryder truck or a boat or a 
suitcase that can be carried into a building or near a building and 
blown up.
  If we look at what happened tragically in Oklahoma City, or if we 
look at what happened to the U.S.S. Cole, I submit that is the future. 
Those are the risks that we in this country really have to worry about 
far more than having some country decide they are going to fire a 
missile at our country, which would be tracked from the moment it left 
the ground in North Korea or Iran or somewhere else.
  Over the last 55 years, deterrence has worked and it continues to 
work. Just take one example. During the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein did 
not use his chemical and biological weapons. Why? Because the first 
Bush administration made it clear that if he did that there would be 
massive retaliation. Even

[[Page H3048]]

Saddam Hussein, in the middle of a conflict, respected the power of 
retaliation of this country.
  My concern is if we put all our money into missile defense, there is 
no way that we are not going to underfund these other threats to us 
with the delivery of weapons of mass destruction by other means.

                              {time}  2130

  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman would yield. The gentleman 
served on the Committee on National Security, and I know he must have 
heard many demands to see that our men and women in arms are justly 
paid, to see that they have the facilities that they need, that all of 
the branches of the armed services have the equipment and the support 
that they need.
  I listened recently to the former chair of the Senate Committee on 
Armed Services, Sam Nunn, who noted that we risk the possibility of 
having vital resources that we need for other aspects of the military 
all sucked up into this one plan that does not work.
  I have been surprised as I have traveled around my district in Texas 
at how many people who are coming up and expressing opposition to this 
plan who are veterans who have served and who recognize how foolhardy 
it is to divert all our resources into one area, and that area being 
one that is not proven to work.
  I am wondering if the gentleman is hearing from other people who are 
in our military services informally or have served in the military who 
recognize the danger that has been spotlighted tonight and that former 
Senator Nunn has voiced publicly?
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman would yield. The gentleman 
from Texas is exactly right. In my home State of Maine, we have Bath 
Ironworks where half of the destroyers for the Navy are built. There is 
no question in my mind or the minds of many people in Maine, those who 
served in the military and those who did not, if you spend tens of 
billions of dollars more on a national missile defense system, it will 
simply sit there. And we will not have the kind of Navy we need to 
protect our interests around the globe. The same argument can be made 
with respect to procurement for tactical aircraft. Clearly it can be 
made with respect to the pay and benefits for the men and women in our 
armed services.
  Mr. Speaker, what we have to remember about a national missile 
defense system is that it protects against one single threat and is 
useful for no other purpose. It would not be effective against Russia 
or China. It would only be effective against a state like North Korea 
or Iran. When you look at those states, North Korea is willing to sit 
down and negotiate away their missile defense program. Iran just 
elected a reformist president with 75 percent of the vote. We can deal 
with these countries and negotiate with these countries. Believe me, it 
is a lot less expensive to do that, negotiate away the threat than it 
is to build this kind of system.
  But the gentleman is absolutely right, you stay within the defense 
budget and before we get to education and health care and the 
environment, this kind of system will drain money away from other 
urgent national priorities.
  If I may add one more thing, it is important to note that Secretary 
Rumsfeld recently said that he thought there should be deployed the 
rudiments of a missile defense system by 2004, even before the testing 
is complete. As one of our colleagues mentioned today, that date is 
significant. The point is, try to get something in the ground before 
the next election, before the President comes up for reelection. That 
is no way to run this kind of defense procurement effort and weapons 
  Mr. Speaker, if we know anything about weapons systems for the 
Department of Defense, we should fly before we buy, we need to test 
before we purchase. It is particularly true of the most complex system 
on the drawing board at the Pentagon. This system is being rushed in a 
way that is destructive not only to our military, but to our national 
security. And we need the public to understand this is not a simple 
issue, but a great deal is at stake.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to say personally to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney), I appreciate very much his holding this 
event tonight and yield back.
  Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. Even if we were to 
assume on our wildest dreams, because that is essentially what it would 
be, North Korea, one of the poorest nations in the world, that cannot 
even feed its own people, would wake up some morning and would have the 
vision that it wanted to commit mass suicide, and assuming it is 
several years in the future and they had somehow developed a nuclear 
missile with the capacity to even reach our coast with any sort of 
precision at all, it would be much more likely they would put a 
biological or chemical weapon on it, in which case they would use 
multiple warheads. In that case, it would overwhelm any limited 
national missile defense system we would have.
  We are having to project forward and do a system that is much larger, 
and get into hundreds of billions of dollars and a prospect that is 
  The second issue is the issue of confidence. Ostensibly we are doing 
this to have some sort of strategic advantage over some rogue nation 
holding us hostage with the prospect that they might send off a weapon 
of mass destruction by missile. The fact of the matter is that there is 
speculation that we may not be able to come close to 100 percent 

  Twenty or so years ago when they were talking about President 
Reagan's Star Wars, one of the groups that was advocating against it 
used to come out with an umbrella with holes in it and say that is the 
kind of protection you are getting. It is essentially the same 
situation here. The probability that you would be able to get 100 
percent of any weapon sent over in most estimations of any reasonable 
scientist is nonexisting. So you would have no confidence that it was 
100 percent reliable, and I would suggest that leaves you with no 
ability to effect a strategic decision. It is not a useful prospect to 
have if it worked on its best abilities on any given day because even 
its best abilities are not projected at 100 percent.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur).
  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the hardworking and able gentleman 
from Massachusetts (Mr. Tierney) for sponsoring this special order this 
evening, and it is a pleasure to join the gentlewoman from Illinois 
(Ms. Schakowsky) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Holt) and the 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Kind) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Doggett) in this important discussion.
  Today in Madrid, a reporter asked President Bush how he could 
reconcile his opposition to the Kyoto Treaty, an opposition that he 
says is based upon a lack of scientific evidence, with his support for 
Star Wars which is also not supported by scientific evidence.
  ``How do we know it is going to work?'' President Bush stated. 
``Well, we have to spend the dollars on research and development.'' But 
I am sure President Bush is aware, he is not proposing only research 
and development. The Bush Star Wars proposal involves deployment of the 
system, not just research and development. Indeed, this shocking lack 
of scientific evidence is the Achilles' heel of the administration's 
single-minded pursuit of this system.
  As others have mentioned, a Star Wars program will cost our people 
over $50 billion or more and still counting, and that is only the first 
  Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, would the gentleman yield?
  Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman.
  Mr. DOGGETT. I know one of the areas that the gentlewoman has 
considerable expertise in is in reference to agriculture and her work 
for farmers across the country. It has been suggested by some 
administration officials that we apply an agricultural approach to 
this. We take this $100 billion, and it does not make any difference if 
it works because it can be a giant scarecrow and it will scare off the 
people from around the world. I am wondering from your expertise in 
agriculture if you think that using Star Wars as a scarecrow might be 
sufficient to protect our families?
  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, I think the gentleman raises a very good 
point. I do not think scarecrows work.
  Our experience over a decade ago with the MX missile proposal, and to

[[Page H3049]]

have been a party to those debates to a system that first was proposed 
to be stationary, and then when they realized that is a sitting duck, 
maybe it was a scarecrow, I do not know, they said maybe we should put 
it on a train on a track and move it around. We eventually were able to 
defeat that and say that the real strength lay in our triad, and the 
fact that we had a mobile Navy, we had a mobile Air Force and the best 
trained Army in the entire world.
  We have to do better, but it does not make any sense to be throwing 
billions of dollars away on an unknown system; and, quite frankly, 
enraging our European allies and other allies around the world and 
ratcheting up the arms race without consultation by this ill-advised 
proposal. We know that the scientific evidence is not there, and we 
always have been pushing for what kind of system are we talking about. 
What is this thing going to do?
  Here in Congress we are often given the argument we cannot solve a 
problem simply by throwing money at it, whether it is agriculture, 
child poverty, prescription drugs, we cannot just throw money at these 
problems. But with Star Wars, it seems to be different. Just throw 
enough money at it, and we will be lucky if something works in the end. 
Do not test the system against the full range of countermeasures and do 
not develop a fully integrated prototype before protection, and do not 
require an adequate testing program. Just spend $50 billion.
  Mr. Speaker, we do not have that luxury because we have a $5 trillion 
debt overhang in this economy, and we are dealing with precious 
taxpayer dollars. Others have talked about health care and education 
and the environment and prescription drugs for our senior citizens, 
money to update our food safety systems, all of the money to strengthen 
Medicaid and Medicare.
  Mr. Speaker, if we go around and look at the real strength of this 
country in our Armed Forces, it is those who choose to serve America, 
dedicated young men and women living in some of the worst housing 
conditions anywhere in the world, including right here in the Nation's 
Capital. If we are going to have the best armed men and women systems 
in the world, my goodness, should we not be paying attention to those 
already serving.
  Mr. Speaker, why are our adjutants general from around the country 
complaining about too many missions with not enough money? We have to 
take care of what we are asked to do today, not throw away money on 
deployment of a system that nobody ever fully understood.
  I had military retirees come up to me and say, ``Why did we have to 
take cuts in benefits? Why are people who served our country put in a 
different position in terms of retirement than those who have served on 
the civilian side?
  The budget that the administration has produced will not meet all of 
the health care needs that our veterans have across this country. We 
have them classified, A, B, C, D. Everybody is on a different platform 
in terms of veterans' health services. We have 25.6 million veterans in 
this country. We have to pass a good budget to serve them, and we have 
to do what is right and put America's priorities in order.

  Truly, this Star Wars proposal is a misplaced priority.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for allowing me to share in this 
special order.
  Mr. TIERNEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman for joining us 
tonight. I have a quote here on the board. It is a quote that the 
Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, made on May 29. He was referring 
to a comment made by President Bush. He stated, ``We ought to engage 
our brains before we engage our pocketbooks.'' What sharp contrast that 
statement is to the administration's apparent focus now on starting a 
system that they admit has not been shown to have been tested 
thoroughly and that has not been shown to work. We are making an 
exception for national missile defense, and hundreds of billions of 
dollars. We are not going to engage our brains, we are going to engage 
our pocketbooks and start down a path that creates all sorts of mishaps 
and mischievous.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Kind).
  Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I 
commend him for the leadership he has shown in raising the education 
level in this body and hopefully throughout the country in regards to 
the importance of this debate, and a thorough study and analysis of the 
various proposals that we are hearing coming out of the Bush 
  I am glad we have with us as a colleague in this Chamber our own 
solar physicist, a former employee at the Nuclear Fusion Laboratory at 
Princeton, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Holt), because what we 
are talking about is rocket science, and it is nice to have his 
perspective in regard to the technological capability that we currently 
possess on such an important but expensive program.
  Mr. Speaker, it is hard to engage in a thorough analysis or 
conversation or review of what the Bush administration is talking about 
in regards to a missile defense system because I am not sure they know 
what this system is going to look like ultimately. How do you get into 
the details of a policy proposal when the details are lacking?

                              {time}  2145

  Mr. TIERNEY. I would just point out this next quote up here, the 
gentleman has exactly hit on the point. On June 7, Donald Rumsfeld, the 
Secretary of Defense, at a press conference, people were asking him, 
``Does it even work?''
  His answer was, ``This is an interesting question in the sense of 
what do you mean when you say that works?''
  You look at that on its face value as what is he talking about? We 
know when it works. That is why we do studies. That is why Mr. Coyle 
did his study, that in case it does not work. Not only does it not 
work, it needs considerably more testing until it gets to a point we 
are comfortable that it works reasonably well or sufficiently, and they 
do not even plan to do the tests so far on that.
  But again they want to engage our pocketbooks before we engage our 
national brain on this and start building and committing us down that 
path. I would just make that point.
  Mr. KIND. I thank the gentleman for making that point. It is an 
important point. It is a little bit frustrating as we are trying to get 
more information from the administration to find out exactly what their 
vision is in regards to missile defense: Is it going to just be land-
based or sea-based, air-based? Is it going to involve a space-based 
type of missile defense system? Is it going to be a limited defense 
system? Is it going to be a national missile defense system or a 
universal application which we will share with our allies or any 
country in the globe who wants it? Because what kind of moral position 
would we be taking if we do in fact develop the technical means to 
deploy a system such as this but not offer it to other nations around 
the globe when an intentional or an accidental launch of a nuclear 
weapon could result in tens of thousands or millions of casualties in a 
particular country?
  This is what we need to keep asking the administration about. I for 
one am not sure if it is the right moral position to just come out and 
oppose any type of system at all. There is a lot of discussion about a 
rogue madman launching a nuclear missile at the United States, but 
there is also the possibility of these missiles falling into the wrong 
hands, a possible terrorist gaining control of some launch capability 
in Russia, for instance, I think is a real possibility, or even an 
accidental launch and what kind of position would we be in then if we 
were not at least going forward on the research and development and 
exploring the feasibility of this type of system at some point in the 
  But for me at least fundamentally there are three overriding 
questions that I am waiting to get answers for. Firstly, will it work? 
Do we have the technological capability of pulling it off? Secondly, 
how much is it going to cost the American taxpayers to deploy such a 
system? And, thirdly, even if we do find something that works and we 
can deploy it, is it going to make the United States more or less 
secure in the final analysis?
  Mr. DOGGETT. I know the gentleman from Wisconsin is well known in 
this body as a hawk of sorts, a deficit hawk. He is always up there on 
the top in the ratings of the Concord Coalition on fiscal 
responsibility. We have got a budget. This plan that they are

[[Page H3050]]

not sure what they are going to do and when they are going to do it, 
has there been any provision made for that in this budget or in future 
budgets to tell the American people what this questionable project will 
cost and how we are going to pay for it?
  Mr. KIND. It is a great question. No. One of the more frustrating 
aspects of the budget resolution debate that we had earlier this year, 
the context of the tax cut debate that we had earlier this year was 
that there was in fact no provision, no asked-for appropriation for the 
ongoing deployment of a missile defense system within the 
administration. All this has got to add up. It should add up within the 
context of a balanced budget, one that does not jeopardize the fiscal 
solvency of the current generation or future generations. That again is 
more information which is lacking from the administration. Cost 
estimates that I am hearing from some of the engineers, some of the 
experts who would be in charge of deploying such a system, range 
anywhere from $100 billion to $200 billion over a 10-year period.
  I just had a conversation with former Senator Sam Nunn this 
afternoon. He said that whatever figure you get, you might as well 
double or triple that amount because it is going to be inherently 
difficult to do this in a fiscally responsible manner without the 
defense contractors opening up and the subcontractors wanting their 
piece of the deployment pie. But even more fundamentally, we have had 
test after test after test in trying to hit a bullet with a bullet, 
that is, the missile defense test. Each time it has failed. Obviously 
we do not today have the current technological capability to pull it 
off. I think that is one of the misunderstandings that the general 
American public might have. They see that we have gone to the Moon, 
they see all this great technological development around us and how it 
is transforming our lives and many of them may just assume that we have 
the technological smarts to do this, to knock the bullet out of the air 
with another bullet when in fact when all the preconditions and the 
inputted variables are in the test to begin with, the tests are still 
failing. That is a fundamental issue that we need to keep asking 
ourselves, is should we first have the technological means to do it 
before we deploy or just move forward with deployment regardless of the 
cost and regardless of the effectiveness of the system?

  Mr. TIERNEY. I think there is an obvious answer to that. For this 
country to move forward and commit billions of dollars on a system that 
is not known to work, has not been tested, and when Mr. Coyle, the 
reporter of which I spoke earlier, specifically says the tests are 
inadequate and unrealistic and they do not even plan to do tests that 
would be adequate and realistic as this moves forward is a frightening 
prospect. I think if we were to be able to have that report instead of 
the Department of Defense trying to hide it and trying to keep it 
hushed up, if we were to have the Secretary come in and explain to us 
why an unclassified report is being kept from the American public or at 
least attempted to be kept from the American public, we would be able 
to debate the context of that report which specifically says not only 
are there tests that are unreasonable, that they had very few 
countermeasures in those tests, and then when they decided that they at 
one point were not being very successful, they dummied the tests down 
and they had even fewer.
  At one point there were plans for nine or 10 or more countermeasures 
to come in and then they dummied it down to just two items up there and 
then one of them was easily distinguishable from the other and they 
gave all of the coordinates and other information ahead of time and 
still missed. We are not going to have that luxury of any system that 
is expected to work, we are not going to get advance notice of where it 
is going, what the trajectory is and all the other information.
  So I think that that question answers itself, that we would be 
foolish as a Nation to spend the kind of money that we are talking 
about just for the limited land-based system. And this is testimony I 
referred to earlier in front of our Committee on Government Reform, the 
Subcommittee on National Security, where they were already up over $50 
billion for a program that started at 9 to $11 billion, and that is 
only at that stage. Add on phases 2 and 3, you are over $100 billion. 
Add on the sea-based, add on the air-based, add on the space-based that 
they are talking about, you could be anywhere between $300 billion and 
$1 trillion. I think if we start down that path with no expectation 
that it is going to add to our national security, the answer is pretty 
clear, I think, that we are being pretty irresponsible as a government.
  Mr. KIND. I think as far as the two initial questions that I have, 
there are some huge question marks in regards to how expensive this is 
going to be, whether or not we can in fact deploy a system that is 
going to work but, finally, is this going to make us more or less 
secure in the final analysis? My friend from Massachusetts recognized 
that a lot of the experts working on this system are hoping for maybe 
an 80 percent effectiveness rate. Well, 80 percent quite frankly does 
not cut it. If you have got multiple missiles being launched at us, 
what city are we going to sacrifice? Is that going to be acceptable? I 
do not think it gives us much more flexibility in foreign policy 
negotiations with rogue nations if we just have an 80 percent effective 
system. But perhaps more importantly is what is going to be the 
response of Russia and China to even a limited missile defense shield? 
Is this going to encourage increased nuclear proliferation within their 
country? Because generally the response from countries that feel 
threatened from such a system is to ramp up their production of more 
nuclear weapons so they can overwhelm our system. It is not just China 
we are talking about. This has profound ramifications with India and 
Pakistani nuclear policy, perhaps one of the most dangerous areas of 
nuclear proliferation on the globe right now. We need to ask ourselves 
what will be the response of these other nations. Even though the Bush 
administration is claiming that such a shield is not meant to better 
Russia or China but rather the rogue nuclear threat that may exist out 
there at some point in the future, but I am still not convinced that 
our handling of foreign policy as it relates to China is the best 
course of action right now. We are very close to engaging them in a new 
Cold War atmosphere as we start the 21st century when I feel it can be 
ultimately avoided.
  Mr. TIERNEY. Reclaiming my time just for a second, conjure up now 
information in the report that the administration and the Department of 
Defense should let us debate and talk about, about phantom 
trajectories, about the prospect of as the radar passes from one to a 
second radar, there are phantom tracks and that they are unable to 
control missiles shot against those phantom tracks, what is the message 
they send to a Russia or a China? How much time do they have to decide 
whether or not these are in fact something going after a phantom track 
or are they the launch of an offensive capacity against them? And now 
you understand somewhat why they feel that if you put this national 
missile defense on the drawing table, they already threatened that they 
will increase their supply of national defense missiles in the case of 
China or in Russia that they will not go into a program or agreement 
with us to de-alert those that they already have.
  We should all know that is one thing the President has talked about 
doing that we should support is de-alerting as many on each side as we 
can and moving towards incapacitating them or at least having them 
situated where it takes a subsequent and a sufficient amount of time to 
have to get them activated so we can step back from the precipice and 
have a more reasonable policy on that.
  Mr. DOGGETT. I just wanted to point out to the gentleman from 
Wisconsin that former Defense Secretary William Perry made much the 
same point that you are making within the last few months in saying 
that even, quote, a relatively small deployment of defensive systems 
could have the effect of triggering a regional nuclear arms race of 
considerable proportion.
  As we look around the world, as you were just doing, you really 
cannot find any enthusiasm out there among our weak allies or among our 
strongest allies, some of whom we will have to count on to put these 
forward radar stations in their countries. None of them are coming 
forward and saying,

[[Page H3051]]

please give us this defense. It seems to be more of a political defense 
in this country.
  Certainly there are some weapons manufacturers who see hundreds of 
billions of dollars of future contracts out of this. But as you search 
around the world, have you seen any indication of support in other 
parts of the world for this kind of system? I know the current Lone 
Star approach as carried here and somewhat misguidedly to Washington is 
that it no longer makes any difference what the rest of the world 
thinks, but what does the rest of the world think about this?
  Mr. KIND. It is interesting. The President is abroad right now in 
Europe trying to sell at least partly on this trip the merits of his 
missile defense program. It was interesting to read some comments from 
some of the military experts within France who kind of chuckled at the 
thought. They are not obviously enthusiastic supporters of the program. 
They said, well, we kind of tried that, too, after the First World War. 
It was called the Maginot Line, trying to deal with a perceived threat. 
Obviously we saw how well that worked during the Second World War. Once 
the enemy saw what type of defense system was deployed, they figured 
out a way to get around it. That is the concern really for a lot of our 
allies, our European allies whom we are going to have to rely on and 
work with in order to bring greater stability across the globe. That I 
think is a very, very important issue.
  I think all of us here in the House have seen the defense reviews 
from CIA, from the Defense Department, ranking the real threats that we 
face today, from the greatest threats to the least threat. Missile 
defense, a launch of a nuclear missile basically airmailed to us 
because we will know exactly where it was launched from and who sent 
it, is one of the least likely threats we face right now in our 
national security basket. More likely it would come from biological 
terrorism or shipping a nuclear device in a boat up the Hudson or up 
the Potomac River, for instance, than someone would just airmail a 
nuclear weapon towards us. Yet what is most troubling with the Bush 
administration's approach to this is they are defunding a lot of the 
important nonproliferation programs we have in place at the Department 
of Energy right now and the nuclear collaboration programs that we need 
to be pursuing and funding in order to reduce the threat of nuclear 
proliferation or terrorism across the globe. Yet in the budget that 
they submitted, there were serious funding cutbacks in an area that we 
should be encouraging and investing wisely in. That I think is another 
serious issue.
  Again, I thank my friend from Massachusetts for claiming some time 
this evening to talk about this very important issue. I have a feeling 
we have not had the last word on this subject.
  Mr. TIERNEY. I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin. We certainly have 
not, I hope.
  For the last word I would like to recognize the gentlewoman from 
Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky).
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from 
Massachusetts for putting together such an assembly of experts on the 
subject, including yourself, who have presented so many important 
facts. We have scientific expertise and budgetary expertise.
  I have two reasons primarily that I oppose the national missile 
defense. I wish I had a poster. It would be one of Isabel Hart, age 3, 
and Eve Schakowsky, age 1, my granddaughters. More than anything in the 
whole world, I want them to be safe. If I thought that I could be part 
of this United States Congress to create a safety shield for these 
children, believe me, I would. But the more I have learned from my 
colleague from Massachusetts and others and reading about it and 
talking to the experts, I am convinced that far from creating a safety 
shield, that this plan actually endangers my granddaughters.
  Today, a number of us participated in a press conference where Peace 
Action, Women's Action for New Directions, Physicians for Social 
Responsibility announced their plan to deliver thousands of petitions 
to Members of Congress from people across the country expressing 
opposition to Star Wars. I had visitors from the North Suburban Peace 
Initiative from my district who delivered that same message to my 
  I am proud and grateful that my constituents understand the risks and 
realities involved with President Bush's national missile defense 
plans. I hope that all of my colleagues had an opportunity to review 
the important materials that they and other committed citizens 
distributed on the Hill this week.
  National missile defense is a program that is destined for failure on 
so many levels.


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