29 December 2000
Rumsfeld: Star Wars Booster

Senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute and co-author of the recent report "Tangled Web: The Marketing of Missile Defense, 1994-2000," Hartung said today: "Donald Rumsfeld has a reputation as a moderate, dating back to his days as secretary of defense in the Ford administration in the mid-1970s, but during the 1990s he has become a darling of right-wing Republicans and a member in good standing of the Star Wars lobby. As Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott's handpicked chairman of a congressionally-mandated commission on Third World ballistic missiles that bore his name, Rumsfeld grossly exaggerated the ballistic missile threat to the United States posed by so-called rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. At the same time that he was providing this allegedly objective assessment of missile threats, Rumsfeld was a close associate of Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, a corporate-financed, ideologically driven think tank that serves as the nerve center of the missile defense lobby. He also served on the board of Empower America, which ran misleading, pro-Star Wars ads against Democratic senators who opposed the plan during the 1998 mid-term elections. Before Rumsfeld is confirmed as secretary of defense, he needs to answer some tough questions about whether he has the temperament and the objectivity to be entrusted with decisions about a National Missile Defense system that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars and spark a new nuclear arms race in the bargain."

KARL GROSSMAN , kgrossman@hamptons.com - Author of the forthcoming "Weapons In Space" and professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, Grossman said today: "Star Wars has received a huge push with the assumption of power by the Bush-Cheney administration, intimately linked to corporate interests committed to expanding space military activities. The goal, as U.S. military documents state [e.g., http://www.spacecom.af.mil/usspace], is to have the U.S. 'control space' and from space 'dominate' the Earth below. That's why, in November 2000, some 160 nations voted in the United Nations -- the U.S. abstained -- to reaffirm the Outer Space Treaty, the basic international law on space, enacted in 1967 to keep war out of space. Now the U.S. would push full-speed-ahead to make space a new arena of war. Spearheading the drive will be Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney, a former member of the TRW board. His wife, Lynne Cheney, remains on the Lockheed Martin board but is on a 'leave of absence.' (Lockheed Martin, the world's biggest weapons manufacturer, and TRW are major Star Wars contractors -- and have spent many millions of dollars lobbying for the program.) A main player, too, will be National Security Council deputy director-designee Stephen J. Hadley, a Star Wars advocate whose Washington law firm represents Lockheed Martin. And they will be working from a foreign policy platform put together at the Republican National Convention by a committee chaired by Bruce Jackson, vice president for corporate strategy and development at Lockheed Martin."

29 December 2000
Daryl Kimball

Executive Director
Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers
110 Maryland Avenue NE, Suite 505
Washington, DC 20002
(ph) 202-546-0795 x136 (fax) 202-546-7970
website http://www.crnd.org

With the selection of Donald Rumsfeld to be the next Defense Secretary, George W. Bush has, in the words of The New York Times reporter Steven Meyers, "... signaled that the politically and diplomatically divisive goal of building a shield against nuclear missiles will be at the core of the new administration's national security agenda." Whether, the Bush team can decide on a system architecture, prove that it works under real world conditions, gain the support of allies and avoid adverse reactions from Russia and China, and whether the percieved missile threat increases or decreases is another question. (See article below.)

Rumsfeld has not been friendly to arms control and disarmament. In his first go-round as defense secretary, he supported acquistion of major new strategic nuclear weapons systems. In the late 1970s, he opposed the SALT II agreement. More recently, he testified against the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, and in 1999, he signed a letter against ratification of the CTBT. He was the Chair of the 1998 Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the U.S., which helped raise fears of new and imminent missile threats.

He is, like George W. Bush, dismissive of the value of the ABM Treaty. In an interview with IntellectualCapital.com from 9/3/2000, he was asked: "Some people say that any missile-defense system would break the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty .... What's your opinion on that?" Rumsfeld replied: "Well, it is a treaty that was signed 25 years ago in a country that doesn't exist at a time when the technologies had not evolved to the point where they are today. It seems to me that it is past time to review ... a treaty that inhibits the development of capabilities to dissuade their use really ought to be reviewed and changed."

In a 1/12/1999 interview on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Rumsfeld was asked: "...how do you respond to [the argument] that NMD shouldn't be developed because it won't work?" Rumsfeld replied, in part, by saying: "If we relieve ourselves of the restrictions of that treaty [i.e. ABM Treaty] so that we do not have to do contortions to do what is the quickest, cheapest, most effective way of doing this, and organize to do it in an effective way, that the United States will be able to do it."

See http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/secdef_histories/bios/rumsfeld.htm for further biographical information on Rumsfeld.


In addition to sorting out which of several possible "robust" missile defense architectures they may wish to pursue, the Bush national security team of Cheney-Powell-Rumsfeld-Rice are due to make other decisions with great bearing on whether or not the U.S. begins actual deployment of an NMD system. These include:

  • FY 2001 and 2002 NMD Funding -- the Bush administration may restore the FY 2001 funding for construction of the Shemya Island radar that President Clinton decided to withold based on his September 1 decision not to move forward with NMD. If they do not restore this funding for FY 2001 (which would allow construction of the radar to begin as soon as the weather clears), they may request it for FY 2001. The Bush administration may also seek to increase near and long-term R&D for various technologies that would support NMD technologies and architectures under consideration.

  • Deployment Decisions on Limited Ground-Based System -- the Bush administration may decide to move forward on the "limited" ground-based system with an initial site in Alaska as part of a wider array of NMD assets, or it may scrap that approach in favor of others. The Bush administration has until the late summer (September-October) of 2001 to make a decision on the ground-based system and radar in Alaska in order to initiate construction there by 2002, though it could make a decision sooner.

  • Testing Criteria -- a key stumbling block for the NMD program to date is that it has not met the Pentagon's own testing requirements. Rumsfeld and the Bush administration may decide to lower or weaken the testing standards.

  • Deployment Criteria -- the Bush administration may adopt, modify, or abandon the four NMD deployment criteria established by President Clinton: evaluation of the missile threat; operational effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and the effect on arms control objectives, including progress in negotiating any amendments to the ABM Treaty that may be required to accommodate a possible NMD deployment.

    Many NMD proponents claim that the only criteria that has not been met is to demonstrate the "feasibility" of NMD. Secretary of State-designee Powell implied that the Bush administration criterial would be broader, in his December 17 comments to reporters: "We have been pursuing the technology. I'm quite confident that when a secretary of defense is named, that person will go into the Pentagon and make a full assessment of the state of technology -- Where are we? What can we accomplish? -- and structure a plan that is consistent with the approach that then-Governor Bush gave in Washington early this year. So we're going to go forward. We have to spend time discussing it with our allies, discussing it with other nations in the world that possess strategic offensive weapons and don't yet understand our thinking with respect to national missile defense."

  • ABM Treaty legal issues -- it is possible that some in the Bush administration may seek use legal sleight-of-hand to argue -- as some of the strongest NMD proponents falsely claim -- that the ABM Treaty no longer exists and that the U.S. can unilaterally move forward with its NMD program. Such an approach would likely foment major domestic and international criticism.

  • Approach to Talks with the Russia, Allies, China -- the overarching and perhaps most immediate issue is how the Bush administration will try to convince Russia to modify the ABM Treaty and if it cannot, whether, when and how it might seek to withdraw from the ABM Treaty against formidable international and domestic opposition. Russia continues to state its opposition to NMD without Russian acquiescence.

  • Also, the Bush team must consider how it might approach the stalled START II situation and possible talks on START III. Most indicators suggest that the Bush administration will try to convince U.S. allies that NMD is necessary for the U.S. and for them. To try to demonstrate to Russia and the allies the United States' good intentions, the Bush team might offer unilateral reductions in U.S. strategic forces.


In other developments, President Clinton has decided not to visit North Korea to try to finalize an agreement on a verifiable and lasting freeze on that country's missile program. Also, even as Boeing is granted another contract as the lead system integrator for the NMD program, the Pentagon director of operational test and evaluation has found that Boeing's primary simulation program for the NMD system has been "seriously delayed to date, and model fidelity [has been] significantly lower that what had been planned."

NOTE:For previous editions of the Coalition's "NMD/START Update," see http://www.clw.org/coalition/nmdnews.htm

Rumsfeld Strongly Endorses U.S. Missile Defense - http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010111/pl/rumsfeld_missiles_dc_5.html

Missile Range Building Catches Fire - http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/koat/20010111/lo/288243_1.html

Rumsfeld Calls for Missile Defense - http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010111/el/bush_rumsfeld_6.html

Helms Says U.S. Not Bound by ABM Treaty - http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010111/pl/congress_helms_dc_1.html

Rumsfeld Presses Call for U.S. Missile Defense - http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010111/pl/rumsfeld_missiles_dc_3.html

Bush Pentagon Nominee Says Missile Defense Needed -http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010111/pl/rumsfeld_missiles_dc_2.html

Rumsfeld: U.S. Must Defend Itself Against New Threats - http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010111/ts/rumsfeld_missiles_dc_2.html

Global Network