News Release


July 20 2000

by Bruce Gagnon

The planned July 22 flight test by the Army and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) of the mobile Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) system at White Sands, N.M. is another step toward creating regional instability in Asia. The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space is calling for a cancellation of the entire TMD system.

The Army's Patriot PAC-3 system is intended to intercept short- and medium-range "theatre" missiles.

The BMDO is now working on three separate TMD programs. The Air Force is developing the Airborne Laser while the Navy is seeking to deploy a ship-based system. According to Global Network Coordinator Bruce Gagnon, "The Army's land-based, mobile system now being tested at White Sands, would complete the so-called triad that would be forward deployed in Asia effectively boxing in China. Recent statements by China indicate that they see the TMD system as an attempt by the U.S. to spur an arms race in their region that they will be forced to match. Now is the time to negotiate a global ban on all ballistic missile defense and space-based weapons systems."

China and Russia have requested such negotiations at the United Nations but the U.S. has refused stating that there is no problem to negotiate about.

The U.S. has recently expanded arms sales in the region to both South Korea and Taiwan.

The Army's land-based mobile TMD system would likely be deployed in South Korea. The Navy TMD system would be based on U.S. Aegis destroyers now homeported in Japan.

Just as NATO has grown in order to virtually surround Russia, the U.S. is now moving to dramatically expand its military presence in the Pacific Ocean. "Viewing China as a certain economic competitor in the years to come, the U.S. intends to use TMD deployments as a checkmate to 'control and dominate' China," Gagnon said.

Key proponents of the TMD system are now strongly promoting deployment of the system as the "first choice" in ballistic missile defense because it would allow for simpler circumvention of the ABM Treaty and make it easier to mollify European opposition to NMD.

Home Page