Protecting the Homeland
Emerging threats to our homeland by both state and non-state actors may be more likely in the future as our potential adversaries strike against vulnerable civilian targets in the United States to avoid direct confrontation with our military forces. Such acts represent a new dimension of asymmetric threats to our national security. Easier access to the critical technical expertise and technologies enables both state and non-state actors to harness increasingly destructive power with greater ease. In response to such threats, the United States has embarked on a comprehensive strategy to prevent, deter, disrupt, and when necessary, effectively respond to the myriad of threats to our homeland that we will face.
National Missile Defense
The Clinton Administration is committed to the development of a limited National Missile Defense (NMD) system designed to counter the emerging ballistic missile threat from states that threaten international peace and security. On September 1, 2000, the President announced that while the technology for NMD was promising, the system as a whole is not yet proven, and thus he was not prepared to proceed with the deployment of a limited NMD system. The President has instead asked the Secretary of Defense to continue a robust program of development and testing. The Administration recognizes the relationship among the ABM Treaty, strategic stability, and the START process, and is committed to working with Russia on any modifications to the ABM Treaty required to deploy a limited NMD. An NMD system, if deployed, would be part of a larger strategy to preserve and enhance peace and security.
In making this decision, the President considered the threat, cost, technical feasibility and impact overall on our national security of proceeding with NMD, including the impact on arms control and relations with Russia, China, and our allies. He considered a thorough technical review by the Department of Defense as well as the advice of his top national security advisors.
The Pentagon has made progress on developing a system that can address the emerging missile threat. But, at this time, we do not have sufficient information to conclude that it can work reliably under realistic conditions. Critical elements of the program, such as the booster rocket for the missile interceptor, have not been tested; and there are also questions to be resolved about the ability of the system to deal with countermeasures. The President made clear that we should not move forward until we have further confidence that the system will work and until we have made every reasonable diplomatic effort to minimize the international consequences. In the interim, the Pentagon will continue the development and testing of the NMD system. That effort is still at an early stage: three of the nineteen, planned intercept tests have been held so far. Additional ground tests and simulations will also take place.
The development of our NMD is part of the Administration’s comprehensive national security strategy to prevent potential adversaries from acquiring and/or threatening the United States with such weapons. Arms control agreements with Russia are an important part of this strategy because they ensure stability and predictability between the United States and Russia, promote the dismantling of nuclear weapons, and help complete the transition from confrontation to cooperation with Russia. The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty limits anti-missile defenses according to the following principle: neither side should deploy defenses that would undermine the other’s nuclear deterrent, and thus tempt the other to strike first in a crisis or take countermeasures that would make both our countries less secure. The President’s decision not to deploy a limited NMD system will provide additional time to pursue with Russia the goal of adapting the ABM Treaty to permit the deployment of a limited NMD that would not undermine strategic stability. The United States will also continue to consult with allies and hold dialogues with other states.
In August 1999, President Clinton decided that the initial NMD architecture would include: 100 ground-based interceptors deployed in Alaska, one ABM radar in Alaska, and five upgraded early warning radar. This approach is the fastest, most affordable, and most technologically mature approach to fielding an NMD system capable of protecting all 50 states against projected emerging threats.
On July 23, 1999, President Clinton signed H.R. 4, the “National Missile Defense Act of 1999,” stating that it is the policy of the United States to deploy an effective NMD system as soon as technologically possible. The legislation includes two amendments supported by the Administration. The first makes clear that any NMD deployment must be subject to the authorization and appropriations process, and thus that no decision on deployment has been made. The second amendment states that it is the policy of the United States to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces, putting Congress on record as continuing to support negotiated reductions in strategic nuclear arms, reaffirming the Administration’s position that missile defense policy must take into account important arms control and nuclear nonproliferation objectives.
Countering Foreign Intelligence Collection
The United States is a primary target of foreign intelligence services due to our military, scientific, technological and economic preeminence. Foreign intelligence services aggressively seek information about U.S. political and military intentions and capabilities. As the rapidity of global technological change accelerates and the gap with some nations has widened, these countries’ foreign intelligence agencies are stepping up their efforts to collect classified or sensitive information on U.S. weapons systems, U.S. intelligence collection methods, emerging technologies with military applications, and related technical methods. Such information enables potential adversaries to counter U.S. political and military objectives, develop sophisticated weapons more quickly and efficiently, and develop countermeasures against U.S. weapons and related technical methods. Intelligence collection against U.S. economic, commercial, and proprietary information enables foreign states and corporations to obtain shortcuts to industrial development and improve their competitiveness against U.S. corporations in global markets. Although difficult to quantify, economic and industrial espionage results in the loss of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs annually.
To protect sensitive national security information, it is critical for us to effectively counter the collection efforts of foreign intelligence services and non-state actors through vigorous counterintelligence efforts and security programs. Over the last six years, we have created new counterintelligence mechanisms to address economic and industrial espionage and have implemented procedures to improve coordination among intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement agencies. These measures have considerably strengthened our ability to counter the foreign intelligence collection threat. We will continue to refine and enhance our counterintelligence capabilities as we enter the 21st century.