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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 34, February 1999

US Congressional Testimony

Statement by CIA Director

Statement by George J. Tenet, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on projected national security threats, 2 February 1999

"Transnational Issues: WMD Proliferation

... As you know, 1998 saw the nuclear tests in South Asia, continued concerns about Iraq's WMD [weapons of mass destruction] programs, accelerated missile development in Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and India, and broader availability of BW and CW relevant technologies. Particularly worrisome to the Intelligence Community is the security of Russian WMD materials, increased cooperation among rogue States, and more effective efforts by proliferants to conceal illicit activities. US intelligence is increasing its emphasis and resources on many of these issues, but I must tell you that there is a continued and growing risk of surprise.

Looking at the supply-side first: Russian and Chinese assistance to proliferant countries has merited particular attention for several years. This year, unfortunately, is no exception. I mentioned in my statement last year that Russia had just announced new controls on transfers of missile-related technology. There were some positive signs in Russia's performance early last year but, unfortunately, there has not been a sustained improvement. Especially during the last six months, expertise and materiel from Russia has continued to assist the Iranian missile effort in areas ranging from training, to testing, to components. This assistance is continuing as we speak, and there is no doubt that it will play a crucial role in Iran's ability to develop more sophisticated and longer range missiles.

Making matters worse, societal and economic stress in Russia seems likely to grow, raising even more concerns about the security of nuclear weapons and fissile material. Although we have not had recent reports of weapons usable nuclear material missing in Russia, what we have noticed are reports of strikes, lax discipline, and poor morale, and criminal activity at nuclear facilities. For me...these are alarm bells that warrant our closest attention and concern.

The China story is a mixed picture... China's senior leaders are actively studying membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime and have pledged to prevent the export of materials or technology that could assist missile and nuclear programs in South Asia. Beijing has promulgated controls on dual-use nuclear technology and tightened chemical export controls.

We cannot yet assure you, however, that the new export control mechanisms will be effective. Both the Chinese Government and Chinese firms have long-standing and deep relationships with proliferant countries, and we are not convinced that China's companies fully share the commitments undertaken by senior Chinese leaders. While all aspects of China's proliferation behavior bear continued watching, we see more signs of progress on nuclear matters than on missile assistance. Moreover, the restructuring of China's defense industrial bureaucracy - including entities charged with export oversight - holds the potential to create confusion and incentives that would impede the effectiveness of this system. In short, Mr. Chairman, our guard remains up on this question.

There is little positive I can say...about North Korea, the third major global proliferator, whose incentive to engage in such behavior increases as its economy continues to decline. Missiles and WMD know-how are North Korean products for which there is a real market. North Korea's sales of such products over the years have dramatically heightened the WMD threat in countries of key concern, such as Iran and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, countries, such as India, Pakistan, and Iran that traditionally have been seen as technology customers, have now developed capabilities that they could export to others.

Looking at the demand side...let's focus first on nuclear programs. Last spring dramatically made clear that both India and Pakistan are well positioned to build significant nuclear arsenals. Meanwhile, Iran, too, seems to be pushing its program forward. With regard to North Korea, the Agreed Framework has frozen Pyongyang's ability to produce additional plutonium at Yongbyon, but we are deeply concerned that North Korea has a covert program. The key target for us to watch is the underground construction project at Kumchangni, which is large enough to house a plutonium production facility and perhaps a reprocessing plant as well.

The missile story is no more encouraging. Indeed, we expect the high level of launch activity in 1998 to continue in 1999. Last year's activity included the first launches of the North Korean Taepo Dong 1, the Pakistani Ghauri and the Iranian Shahab-3, the latter two based on North Korea's No Dong. With a range of 1,300 km, the No Dong, Shahab-3, and Ghauri significantly alter the military equations in their respective regions; each is probably capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

In short, theater-range missiles with increasing range pose an immediate and growing threat to US interests, military forces, and allies - and the threat is increasing. This threat is here and now.

More disturbing, is that foreign missiles of increased range and military potential are under development. North Korea's three-stage Taepo Dong 1, launched last August, demonstrated technology that, with the resolution of some important technical issues, would give North Korea the ability to deliver a very small payload to intercontinental ranges - including parts of the United States - although not very accurately.

Pyongyang is also working on another missile - the Taepo Dong-2. With two stages, the Taepo Dong-2, which has not yet been flight-tested, would be able to deliver significantly larger payloads to mainland Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands and smaller payloads to other parts of the United States. In other words, the lighter the payload, the greater the range. With a third stage like the one demonstrated last August on the Taepo Dong 1, this missile would be able to deliver large payloads to the rest of the US. The proliferation implications of these missiles are obviously significant.

Foreign assistance is a fundamental factor behind the growth in the missile threat. For example, foreign assistance helped Iran save years in its development of the Shahab-3 missile, which is based on the North Korean No Dong and, as I noted earlier, includes Russian assistance. Moreover, Iran will continue to seek longer range missiles and to seek foreign assistance in their development.

If Iran follows a development time line similar to that demonstrated with the Shahab-3, which included significant foreign assistance, it would take Iran many years to develop a 9,000 to 10,000 km range ICBM [Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile] capable of reaching the United States. But Iran could significantly shorten the acquisition time - and warning time - by purchasing key components or entire systems from potential sellers such as North Korea.

Iraqi capabilities to develop missiles also continues to be a concern. Iraq was ahead of Iran before the Gulf war, and if sanctions were lifted, we would have to assume that Iraq would seek longer-range capabilities.

Against the backdrop of an increasing missile threat...the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons takes on more alarming dimensions. At least sixteen States, including those with the missile programs mentioned earlier, currently have active CW programs, and perhaps a dozen are pursuing offensive BW programs. And a number of these programs are run by countries with a history of sponsoring terrorism."

Source: Text - CIA Director Tenet's Statement at Senate Hearing Feb. 2, United States Information Service, 2 February.

Statement by Under-Secretary of Energy

Statement by Ernest Moniz, Under-Secretary of Energy, to the Subcommittee on Energy & Power of the Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives, 24 February 1999

"Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Subcommittee, for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the FY 2000 budget request for the Department of Energy.

In FY 2000, the Department requests $17.8 billion dollars for all of its science, energy research, energy security, and defense activities. This is slightly less than the amount requested last year. This request supports the Departments activities in four business lines:
  • National Security: $6.228 billion
  • Energy Resources: $2.318 billion
  • Environmental Quality: $6.452 billion
  • Science: $2.844 billion

DOE's Missions

In National Security, DOE plays a critical role by ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of our nuclear arsenal, and through our efforts, to reduce the dangers of the spread and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Department is maintaining the nuclear stockpile safely and reliably without testing, thereby supporting the Comprehensive Test Ban while sustaining the nuclear deterrent. The Department also plays a central role in securing nuclear material and knowhow in the Former Soviet Union, in support of America's non-proliferation goals. The technological strength of the Department's laboratories is being used to protect America from the threat of weapons of mass destruction. ...

In Environmental Quality, the Department's task is clear. We will continue to make progress in cleaning up the environmental legacy of the cold war nuclear weapons program, and we will do so while minimizing the risks to human health and safety. Our goal is to finish the cleanup job at most of our sites by the year 2006, while systematically addressing the persistent challenges at our largest cleanup sites, in accordance with various regulatory agreements. ...

National Security

The Department's $6.228 billion request for National Security programs is an increase of $244 million over the FY 1999 appropriation. The FY 2000 request for Weapons Activities is $4.531 billion; this includes $2.286 billion for the Stockpile Stewardship program and $2.071 billion for the Stockpile Management program. The Stockpile Stewardship program is a science-based program designed to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the nuclear deterrent without underground nuclear testing. Critical to the success of this effort is the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI), which is developing state-of-the-art supercomputers and associated applications.

Another important component of this program is the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a 192-laser beam facility under construction at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, that will advance not only our understanding of the physics of nuclear weapons, but will also advance mankind's knowledge in fusion and basic science. The Stockpile Management program request includes $170 million for the tritium program, which will be used to develop the irradiation services option chosen by Secretary Richardson, and to complete design work on the accelerator option in order to preserve it as a 'back-up' capability.

The $767 million dollar budget for Nonproliferation and National Security is an increase from $697 in FY 1999. This does not include separate requests for Intelligence ($36.1 million) and Counterintelligence ($31.2 million - $18.6 in new budget authority). We are asking for $221 million for Nonproliferation Research and Development to develop technologies for detecting nuclear explosions, detecting the production of different forms of WMD, countering chemical and biological weapons that could be released in our cities, and aiding federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.

Our request also includes $30 million for the Initiative for Proliferation Prevention and $30 million for the Nuclear Cities Initiative. These programs are designed to ensure that Russia's most experienced scientists and technicians can be gainfully employed at a time when they are highly sought after by rogue nations and terrorist organizations.

The Fissile Materials Disposition program includes a request for $200 million to provide storage for US weapons usable uranium and plutonium, while providing a technical basis for similar actions by the Russians. The Department recently announced that Savannah River is the preferred site for the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility (FY 2000 request of $28.8 million) and the Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) Fabrication facility ($12.4 million).

The Worker and Community Transition program request is $30 million. This will allow the Department to facilitate earlier site closures and to promote the reindustrialization of excess facilities. The result should be long term savings approaching $1 billion. The program also makes it possible to move to more efficient contracting mechanisms while utilizing the skills of the existing work force. In the case of Oak Ridge, for example, we were able to avoid immediate severance liabilities of up to $45 million. ..."

Source: Department of Energy web-site, http://www.doe.gov

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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