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Drell, Dr. Sidney D., deputy director, Stanford Linear Accelerator, Stan-
.................. 177, 197
Defensive Technologies Study Sets Funding Profile Options—reprinted
from Aviation Week & Space Technologies, October 24, 1983..
& Space Technologies, October 31, 1983...............
tion Week & Space Technology, January 23, 1984......
Avoiding a Crippling Space-Weapons Race-reprinted from the Los Ange-
les Times, January 6, 1983...
Is Verification Impossible?-reprinted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
9, 1984 ............
Hephaestian Folly in Space-reprinted from the New York Times, April
Stop Satellite Killers at the Negotiating Table-reprinted from the Phila-
4, 1984 .............
STRATEGIC DEFENSE AND ANTISATELLITE
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 1984
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:06 a.m., in room SD-419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon Larry Pressler presiding
Present: Senators Percy, Pressler, Pell, Biden, Glenn, and Tsongas.
Senator PRESSLER. If I may begin. Today's hearing is the fourth in a series on space weaponry and arms control.
When we began this process in 1982, space weaponry attracted little attention. Times have changed. Since then, the United States has begun advanced flight tests of an F-15 based antisatellite weapon (ASAT). Press reports indicate that this weapon will be launched at a space target next fall.
In 1982, the notion of space-based or space-directed energy beam weapons was known to only a handful of specialists. Today, Congress is being asked to fund a 5-year, $26-billion effort. This effort is little more than the first downpayment on a program requiring $500 billion to $1 trillion to complete.
Today's hearing will consider both the immediate concerns raised by ASAT weapons and the long-term implications of futuristic strategic defenses.
With regard to ASAT, I believe the United States is best served by arms control talks. If the Soviets are as serious about ASAT negotiations as they claim to be, then our governments can reach agreement on effective verification. The contention that an ASAT ban is unverifiable rests on an unrealistic standard of verification.
Space arms control must seek to ban or very strictly limit the greatest threats to our satellites. Controls on the Soviet SS-9 ASAT and on high energy laser facilities can be verified. Defensive countermeasures, rather than arms control, can protect against the lesser threats of jimmy-rigged and untested systems. If we can do away with the most sophisticated ASAT threats, countermeasures can help to do away with latent ASAT capabilities.
Many specialists believe that a ban on dedicated ASAT's can be verified since they are associated with known launch facilities. Similarly, we can monitor strict limitations on high energy lasers. They are few in number. Therefore, unlike a so-called comprehen
perations to meet were verificat
sive ASAT ban, restraints on the most direct threats to satellites are verifiable.
Such an approach is consistent with the verification standards applied in the START [strategic arms reductions talks) and INF [intermediate-range nuclear forces] talks. If we were to demand comprehensiveness in nuclear arms control, there would be no hope of ever reducing nuclear weapons. If verification standards currently applied to ASAT arms control were applied to nuclear arms control, we might refuse to negotiate while commercial airliners remained in operation. Airliners have a residual capability to deliver nuclear weapons, just as any satellite jimmy-rigged with explosives potentially can attack U.S. satellites.
Fortunately, attacking satellites is a complicated task. The Soviet ASAT's dismal test record, of 11 failures in 20 attempts, is testimony to the difficulty of satellite attacks, even by a dedicated system.
If we can rid ourselves of the dedicated Soviet ASAT and strictly limit the major threats confronting U.S. space systems, countermeasures can manage much of the rest. Without restraints, countermeasures could prove useless.
In the area of ballistic missile defense, the possibility of ever producing a total defense against nuclear attack “is so remote that it should not serve as the basis of public expectation or national policy.” This is the view held in an Office Technology Assessment (OTA) paper released yesterday. We will be hearing more about this today. I agree with it and believe that the United States would be better served by arms control for these space weapons.
It is evident from congressional testimony that many Defense Department specialists are equally skeptical on the feasibility of a total defense. More and more, Pentagon officials point to the technological hurdles that must be overcome before advanced missile defenses will be possible. At the same time, less is being said about people protection. Protecting missile silos against nuclear attack has begun to replace population defense as the justification for developing beam weaponry.
Some people have asked: “Isn't reducing the vulnerability of our missile fields a sufficient reason for going ahead with research on advanced ballistic missile defenses?” My reply is this. If we wanted a defense for the MX, Congress would have funded the $35 billion Densepack plan. If a $35 billion Densepack missile protection concept made no sense, a trillion dollar beam-powered missile defense makes even less sense.
I support research on defenses as a prudent hedge against a Soviet technological breakthrough. But the program proposed under the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) goes well beyond requirements for keeping pace with Soviet activities. Moreover, the SDI would not help the United States address the short-term Soviet breakout risks. The fruits of the SDI are at least two decades away. Expanding U.S. futuristic defense programs has diverted resources away from more traditional ballistic missile defense concepts. This may leave the United States exposed to Soviet challenges between now and the year 2000.
In summary, the risks and costs of a space weapons race could prove to be extremely high. At a minimum, the United States
needs to think long and hard about the implications of a space arms race. Through talks with the Soviet Union, we can determine whether space arms control can contribute to our Nation's security.
Today we are fortunate to have a large number of distinguished witnesses. But first, I would like to call on other members of the committee who have worked in this area a great deal.
I will first call on whoever would wish to go first.
The CHAIRMAN. I ask for regular order, Mr. Chairman. Senator Pell is next.
Senator PELL. Mr. Chairman, I am an original cosponsor, and am very glad to be one, of Senate Joint Resolution 129, bearing on the subject covered here this morning.
At my suggestion, the resolution calls for a mutual, verifiable moratorium of limited duration on the testing of antisatellite weapons against objects in space.
Senator Pressler has authored the call for a bilateral agreement on antisatellite weapons, and, at Senator Tsongas' suggestion, the resolution looks beyond ASAT's to call for a comprehensive ban on space-based and space-directed weapons.
That resolution was approved unanimously last year by our committee, and I would hope for floor consideration in the not too distant future.
In contrast with this congressional initiative, the administration has expressed its reluctance to seek a comprehensive ban on antisatellite weapons, claiming that verification requirements prevent progress. In addition, the Pentagon clearly has its heart set on a whole new array of space weapons.
I welcome the opportunity this morning to learn more, first hand, about the administration's rationale for slowing down and dragging its feet on space arms control.
Our outside witnesses can help us reach a judgment on what space-related arms control they believe is possible, on what priorities they would set. I hope Congress will have the wisdom and the foresight to apply the brakes now, before we are too far along to turn back from the present rush to “Star Wars.”
Our earlier experience with MIRV's (multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles) should have taught us that arms limitation often is smarter than the head-long pursuit of new weapons systems.
I remember as vividly as if it were last month the original discussions about MIRV's and how the administration at that time wanted us to go ahead because we had a slight edge. We went ahead and found the Soviets had soon caught up with us. I now believe all hands would be delighted if we had not MIRV'd those years ago.
The space race we now are confronting could involve similar incalculable costs and great peril.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Incidentally, we do have a commitment to get that resolution up by Memorial Day-
Senator PELL. Great.
Senator PRESSLER [continuing). Thanks to Senator Percy's letter to Senator Baker.