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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 37, May 1999

US Report on Asia-Pacific TMD

'Report on Theater Missile Defense [TMD] architecture options in the Asia-Pacific Region,' US Department of Defense (DoD) Press Release No. 211-99, 4 May 1999

"The Secretary of Defense has submitted to Congress his report on Theater Missile Defense Architecture Options for the Asia-Pacific Region. This report quantifies the architecture force structure needed to provide coverage against specific theater ballistic missile threats to most of the territories for Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. This defense also provides protection of the critical assets identified by the US intelligence community.

This report responds to the Fiscal Year 1999 National Defense Authorization Act which directs the Secretary of Defense to carry out a study of the architecture requirements for the establishment and operation of theater ballistic missile defense (TBMD) systems for Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Taiwan…

The analytical conclusion in this study that certain hypothetical options could allow effective defense should not be construed as a recommendation to deploy TMD in East Asia by our allies and friends. Because the focus of this study is possible TMD architecture, it does not address their feasibility or desirability from political, economic, or other security perspectives. A detailed discussion of these important facets of the issue is outside the mandate and scope of this paper.

No decisions on deployment have been made other than for protecting forward deployed US forces in the region. Any future decision by our allies or friends to develop and deploy advanced missile defenses must take into account a wide range of factors, including foreign policy interests, economic criteria, and domestic concerns. US support for such decisions will be determined by their impact on US security and interests and maintenance of peace and stability in the region.

This report is also not intended to discuss the overall development and production issues surrounding TBMD. Likewise, it does not discuss the criteria for arms transfers generally nor any particular issues surrounding transfers to Japan, ROK, or Taiwan. Finally, this report does not provide a comprehensive analysis of theater missile defenses in the Asia-Pacific region. Instead, as requested by Congress, it provides an overview of various TBMD architecture options, which could become available early in the next century. The defense of Japan, the ROK, and Taiwan against ballistic missile attacks is a complex topic and requires substantial in-depth analysis before definitive conclusions can be drawn. … In general, to deal with the new threat of WMD and theater ballistic missiles that can deliver them, the United States has developed a multifaceted counterproliferation policy and strategy. For East Asia, this policy is spelled out in the 1998 National Security Strategy for the East Asia-Pacific Region. A key component of this policy and strategy is the ability to defend our forces against WMD and their means of delivery. The Secretary of Defense's recent announcement of DoD's intention to increase investment into theater missile defense systems reflects the importance we place on protecting our forward deployed forces.

The Department of Defense welcomes the opportunity to present this report as part of a continuing dialogue and discussion on the subject of TMD. DoD is committed to keeping Congress informed of developments on this subject, to include implications for its allies and friends.

The report can be found on the Department of Defense's website at http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/"

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

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