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STRATEGIC FORCE MODERNIZATION PROGRAMS
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1981
THEATER NUCLEAR FORCES,
AIR FORCE STRATEGIC PROGRAMS
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:38 a.m., in room 212, Russell Senate Office Building, Senator John W. Warner, chairman, presiding.
Present: Senators Warner, Thurmond, Humphrey, Stennis, Cannon, and Levin.
Staff present: Frank Gaffney, professional staff member; Francis J. Sullivan, minority staff director; Paul C. Besozzi, minority counsel; Brenda K. Hudson, assistant chief clerk; Ronald F. Lehman, E. George Riedel, and James C. Smith, professional staff members, and Drew A. Harker, research assistant.
Also present: Dennis P. Sharon, assistant to Senator Goldwater; Buzz Hefti, assistant to Senator Warner; Jim Dykstra, assistant to Senator Cohen; Bill Furniss, assistant to Senator Quayle; Robert Nichols, assistant to Senator Jackson; Frank Krebs, assistant to Senator Cannon; Arnold Punaro, assistant to Senator Nunn; Greg Pallas, assistant to Senator Exon, and Peter Lennon, assistant to Senator Levin.
Nichols, assistarnold Punaro, na Peter Lenn
OPENING STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN W. WARNER,
Senator WARNER. Today, the subcommittee conducts its fourth hearing since the President made his October 2 announcement on the strategic modernization package.
I welcome my senior colleague, former chairman, Senator Stennis, this morning.
The two most controversial decisions made by the President involve the long-range combat aircraft and a basing mode for the MX missile. These are Air Force programs.
To give an Air Force perspective on these decisions this morning, we welcome Chief of Staff, Gen. Lew Allen; Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition, Lt. Gen. Kelly Burke; and Brig. Gen. J. P. McCarthy, special assistant for the MX.
In the fiscal year 1981 defense authorization bill, the Congress authorized R. & D. funds for a multi-role bomber and directed that the Secretary of Defense conduct a study comparing the B-1 bomber, the stretcheu FB-111 aircraft, and the auvanced technology bomber.
This year, funds requested by the President for R. & D. and procurement for the advanced technology bomber were authorized by the Congress, expenditure subject to a two-House veto within 60 days of the President's announcement.
President Reagan has recommended a two-bomber program involving the production of 100 B-1's while development continues on the so-called Stealth bomber.
Testimony received today may well determine whether or not the Congress will agree on the President's recommendation.
Because of the controversy over the MX missile program, the Senate has also provided a two-House veto on MX basing money. The decision by the President to cancel the shell game basing mode for the MX missile represents a major change in approach to our modernization of our land-based missile force.
Most Members of the Congress were quite surprised by the President's decision to deploy between 18 and 50 MX missiles in superhardened existing silos. Such follow-on basing modes as longendurance aircraft remain controversial.
This committee needs far more detail about these MX basing options than thus far provided. I hope that our witnesses today can give the subcommittee a better idea of the hardware and doctrine associated with the deployment of the MX missile in deep underground bases and on long endurance aircraft.
I am interested also in establishing what role the Air Force played in the decision to cancel the MX MPS to instead turn to these longrange R. & D. initiatives.
The MX and the bomber are not the only Air Force programs impacted by the President's decision. Older bombers such as the B-52D's and existing missiles, such as the Titan II, will be retired early which constitutes a sizable reduction in the nuclear megatonnage of our strategic deterrent force.
Increased funding will be provided to C3 and Air Defense and the Air Force plays a dominant role in both of these arenas.
We have a great many questions to ask and we welcome our witnesses. At this time, I defer to my senior colleague, Senator Stennis.
Senator STENNIS. Well, Senator Warner, I am here to learn. I am impressed with your statement. It certainly addresses a lot of my sentiments. I think the committee-even though we have heard testimony on this problem for all these years—we still have an uncertainty in our own minds to some degree in consideration to the chief objectives in my opinion.
If we are uncertain here, how can the average Member on the floor be firm in his thinking in trying to reach the right conclusion? So I am going to listen as long as I can and pursue your written testimony later. I think you have the right witnesses here and I commend you for having the hearing.
Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF GEN. LEW ALLEN, JR., CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. AIR FORCE, ACCOMPANIED BY LT. GEN. KELLY H. BURKE, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND ACQUISITION, AND BRIG. GEN. J. P. MCCARTHY, SPECIAL ASSISTANT FOR MX
General ALLEN. Mr. Chairman, I have submitted a written statement for the record and, with your permission, I would simply like to make some introductory remarks on the various subjects.
Senator WARNER. As you please. We will include the statement in its entirety in the record.
General ALLEN. I would like to comment before starting on a slightly different subject. I realize the Senate went through a difficult decision process yesterday and one to which all of you gave a great deal of thought and care. It is clearly gratifying to me that the President's proposed actions in this matter of foreign policy are being supported by the Senate.
I would like to say that, from the somewhat narrow point of view of the Air Force, we are convinced of two things. One is that our ability to provide better for the defense of national interests in that critical region of the world is enhanced by this decision; and, second, many of the concerns that have properly been expressed by the Senate are ones which we are very confident we will be able to ameliorate in practice.
I assure you we understand the concerns that have come out in this debate and we will expend our efforts toward progressing with that program in a sound way and one that provides the protections that the Senate debate indicated are important to the country.
Senator WARNER. I thank you for those opening remarks, General Allen. Certainly the most persuasive argument that I encountered in this whole debate was the inportance of an AWACS system and its interoperability with our existing and potentially deployed forces in that area.
General ALLEN. Yes, sir.
Senator WARNER. Do you have any comment, Senator Stennis, to his AWACS opening statement ?
Senator STENNIS. No, nothing further. Thank you. General ALLEN. Over the years, this committee has examined with us and with others the nature of the balance in strategic nuclear weapons between the United States and the Soviet Union. You have observed and expressed concern about the fact that this balance has not been trending in favorable directions for some years.
The nature of the bad trends has been such to cause our concerns to increase steadily. Those concerns are expressed in various ways. They are expressed in terms of the perceptions of an imbalance and the reality and dangers are associated with an imbalance.
I think one of the things that expresses an important aspect of this concern was stated by President Mitterrand of France in a recent interview that Senator Rudman called my attention to. President Mitterrand said that since Soviet actions are based on a strategy of menace, U.S. restraint of the Soviets by strategic arms is of vital importance
. If that band to our all of u
to Europe. If that balance is not maintained in a way that is credible to both the Soviets and to our allies, the Soviet strategy will succeed in ways that are very serious for all of us.
I believe that is a sound perception. It is one that to me dictates a considerable sense of urgency for us to pick the right course in determining what our strategic forces should be in the future.
The course that we pick has to be one that is tempered by our shared desire for fiscal constraint, recognizing the importance of not placing undue burdens on the economy, recoynizing the necessity for balance between our strategic forces and our general purpose forces because certainly the needs for both are intertwined and recognizing the requirement to balance our near, intermediate, and long-term needs and tho pace and nature of the program that we recommend.
Now the program which the President decided upon contains five elements. Each one of those elements was subject to a great deal of debato and a great deal of searching consideration. In the final analysis the scope of the program was fiscally constrained due to the President's concern for the necessity of reductions in his previously proposed budget and due to the expressions of concern by many of us in the military about the necessity for a proper balance between strategic forces and general purpose forces.
The program has been prepared with a view toward fiscal constraint, with a comprehensive view of all of the strategic nuclear programs, and it has been prepared after receiving full and sound advice on all of these matters. Not all of the advice received in the matter was accepted, but it was received and given proper consideration.
You asked, for example, about the Air Force's role in the decision process. I have no complaints whatever about the opportunities that tho Air Force had to present its views on each aspect of the strategic programs. We did that through several mechanisms: through papers, through discussions with all aspects of OSD, through our considerations in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in my own case on the particularly controversial aspects of MX through the opportunity to discuss my views before the President.
Now my advice wasn't taken in the MX but I have no quarrel whatever with the fact that it was heard and was considered along with the advice of others before a decision was reached.
The President's program has five major elements. In many people's view the C3 element is the most important because it represents the glue that holds our forces together. We do have concerns about the enduring survivability of those communications and the importance of rectifying them. The Air Force has responsibilities in that area, and we are anxious to proceed vigorously with those improvements.
The D-5 SLBM on the Trident is an important addition and one which I think we all recognized would be made sometime, depending upon when the technology would adequately permit it to go forward and now is that time.
Strategic defense is a matter which we believe requires additional attention. This area has not been given attention needed for a decade or so and additional attention is important.
Of the various elements of the program, one that has been difficult to address is the MX program because the question of how to base that program in order to assure survivability against an increasing
threat of a large number of very accurate Soviet reentry vehicles has given us all great difficulties.
You are aware, of course, because of our previous testimony what the Air Force's preferred solution is. The President's decision was based, as well as I understand it, on the following considerations.
Recognizing the capability which the Soviets have to go to a very large number of accurate RV's in their future force and believing that it is imprudent for the United States to base its weapon systems on the anticipation of effective arms limitations on the Soviets, he concluded that any basing system which depended upon some numerical equivalence between the number of shelters and the number of weapons on the Soviet side could not be relied upon.
For that reason then he disapproved, and that disapproval, as I understand it, is a firm disapproval of basing modes described by the MPS or some modification thereof.
He directed us instead to proceed to develop an alternative survivable basing system. We are directed to proceed in three different areas: continuous patrol aircraft; deep underground basing; and the third is a program, which may be coupled with other programs, based on the concepts of ballistic missile defense applied to the ICBM force,
Now each of those three is being proposed for addressal in the fiscal year 1982 budget. The larger effort will continue the research and development in the ballistic missile defense area where there has been a decade of considerable progress. We are directed to bring these developments and our concepts for survivable basing to a focus in 1984 in order that the administration may select the MX deployment mode.
In the meantime we will continue and, if possible, accelerate the missile development itself. The development is going well. We are confident of it and the President's decision is based on the conclusion that it is extremely important to have a new and accurate missile in the U.S. inventory. The Minuteman system has neither of those characteristics in sufficient degree for the requirements of future decades.
Therefore, we are planning to proceed down that road. This particular sequence of events has the characteristic that the missile will be available for deployment before we can reasonably expect to have any one of those three deployment systems ready to accept the missile.
Therefore, we are faced with the question of what to do in the interim. Does one slow the missile development program? That would be in our view imprudent and inefficient, and the President directed us not to do that.
Does one place the MX missiles in storage for a couple of years while the survivable basing mode is coming into being ? That eliminates ceriain advantages which could be derived from the decision that the President made that we should place an initial number of those missiles into either Minuteman or Titan silos and that we should increase the hardness of those silos. This would provide substantial additional uncertainty in the Soviets' attack plans and would also place at risk the vulnerable and very important component of their ICBM strike force—their large MIRVed systems.
Therefore, we are proceeding to examine carefully that direction. We have been directed and have fulfilled the requirement to provide tr