[Senate Hearing 111-218]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 111-218
THE REPORT OF THE CONGRESSIONAL COMMISSION ON THE STRATEGIC POSTURE OF
THE UNITED STATES
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS
MAY 7, 2009
Printed for the use of the Committee on Armed Services
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COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
CARL LEVIN, Michigan, Chairman
EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts JOHN McCAIN, Arizona
ROBERT C. BYRD, West Virginia JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut JEFF SESSIONS, Alabama
JACK REED, Rhode Island SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
BILL NELSON, Florida JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
E. BENJAMIN NELSON, Nebraska MEL MARTINEZ, Florida
EVAN BAYH, Indiana ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
JIM WEBB, Virginia RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
MARK UDALL, Colorado SUSAN M. COLLINS, Maine
KAY R. HAGAN, North Carolina
MARK BEGICH, Alaska
ROLAND W. BURRIS, Illinois
Richard D. DeBobes, Staff Director
Joseph W. Bowab, Republican Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF WITNESSES
The Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of
the United States
may 7, 2009
Perry, Dr. William J., Chairman, Congressional Commission on the
Strategic Posture of the United States......................... 4
Schlesinger, Dr. James R., Vice Chairman, Congressional
Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States;
Accompanied by Senator John Glenn, Dr. Harry Cartland, and Dr.
John Foster.................................................... 11
THE REPORT OF THE CONGRESSIONAL COMMISSION ON THE STRATEGIC POSTURE OF
THE UNITED STATES
THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2009
Committee on Armed Services,
The committee met, pusuant to notice, at 9:36 a.m., in room
SH-216, Hart Senate Office Building, Senator Carl Levin
Committee members present: Senators Levin, Lieberman, E.
Benjamin Nelson, Udall, Hagan, Begich, Burris, McCain, Inhofe,
Sessions, Thune, Martinez, and Collins.
Committee staff members present: Richard D. DeBobes, staff
director; Leah C. Brewer, nominations and hearings clerk; and
Paul J. Hubbard, receptionist.
Majority staff members present: Madelyn R. Creedon,
counsel; and Richard W. Fieldhouse, professional staff member.
Minority staff members present: Richard H. Fontaine, Jr.,
deputy Republican staff director; Michael V. Kostiw,
professional staff member; Daniel A. Lerner, professional staff
member; and Dana W. White, professional staff member.
Staff assistants present: Kevin A. Cronin, Mary C.
Holloway, Jessica L. Kingston, and Brian F. Sebold.
Committee members' assistants present: James Tuite,
assistant to Senator Byrd; Christopher Caple, assistant to
Senator Bill Nelson; Gordon I. Peterson, assistant to Senator
Webb; Jennifer Barrett, assistant to Senator Udall; Roger Pena,
assistant to Senator Hagan; Gerald Thomas, assistant to Senator
Burris; Anthony J. Lazarski, assistant to Senator Inhofe; Rob
Soofer, assistant to Senator Inhofe; Lenwood Landrum and Sandra
Luff, assistants to Senator Sessions; Brian W. Walsh, assistant
to Senator Martinez; and Chip Kennett, assistant to Senator
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR CARL LEVIN, CHAIRMAN
Chairman Levin. Good morning, everybody. First, let me
welcome our Commission, Dr. Perry, Dr. Schlesinger, Chairman
and Vice Chairman, John Glenn, a dear and old friend of ours,
Dr. Foster, Dr. Cartland. We welcome you all. We thank you for
your wonderful service. Many of you are old friends and have
been before us, served with us, in the case of Senator Glenn
for many, many years, and so this is a homecoming in a sense, a
little bit of a reunion. I hated to bang the gavel. We're
having some reminisces going on. But we must get on with our
work because we have a bill on the Senate Floor and that means
I'm going to have to leave at 10:30 a.m.
I know that Senator McCain probably will want to be there,
as well. He's been a total partner on a bill that we have on
the Senate floor. This is going to be a bit hurried for the two
of us and maybe others, as well, but you're used to that.
The Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of
the United States was established by the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 to examine
recommendations with respect to the long-term strategic posture
of the United States.
Over the course of the last several years, there's been
much debate and discussion about the future of nuclear weapons
but there's been a lack of a coherent plan or policy. For the
most part, the debates here in Congress center on specific
programs, such as low-yield nuclear weapons, the mini-nukes,
the robust nuclear earth-penetrator, the reliable replacement
Then in September 2007, when the Air Force unknowingly flew
nuclear weapons across the country and then later on when the
Air Force discovered it had unknowingly shipped
intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) nose cones to Taiwan,
nuclear matters became the source of public discussion again
and the cause for dismissal, in fact, of the Secretary and
Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
Various reviews and reports in the months following those
events disclosed additional problems and issues within the
The conclusions in these reports demonstrate that the
uncertainty and confusion in U.S. nuclear policy was a major
source of the chaos in the nuclear enterprise. All of these
events led in turn to the erosion of the funding, to
conflicting direction, and to the general breakdown of
consensus that had generally existed for the first decade of
the Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP).
The task before this Commission was to examine all elements
of the nuclear enterprise and nuclear policy, to make
recommendations as appropriate and to determine where there is
and is not consensus on these important matters.
The Commission's report contains 11 separate discussion
topics and 100 recommendations. Some will have very broad
support, such as the conclusion that the United States must
lead international efforts to prevent the proliferation of
nuclear weapons and reduce the number of nuclear weapons
worldwide. Other conclusions will need more discussion and
review and have less consensus behind them perhaps.
An overarching finding of the report is that the United
States has an opportunity and there's urgency to reengage with
the international community by seeking international solutions
to the problems of nuclear proliferation and nuclear threats.
Our committee thanks you all for your extraordinarily hard
work. The staff, the working group members, all of you, we're
grateful to all of you for this report, and together with the
Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), this report should help to
restore clarity and hopefully consensus to U.S. nuclear policy.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN McCAIN
Senator McCain. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to again
echo your sentiments about our witnesses today who we've had
the opportunity to work with and to serve with for many years
and through many contributions to the security of this Nation.
Thank you, Dr. Schlesinger, Dr. Perry, Senator Glenn, Dr.
Cartland, and Dr. Foster. Thank you all for being here and
thank you for this latest contribution you've made in helping
us ensure the future security of this Nation.
This Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture
report both addresses many of the complexities we face in the
world today and plays an important role in fostering a national
bipartisan discussion on the current state and path forward of
our strategic deterrent.
This report takes an important look at the steps needed to
make sure that our deterrent remains credible and that our
nuclear infrastructure remains viable. It addresses missile
defense as well as the path forward for reenergizing our
The work of this Commission will likely influence the
upcoming NPR as well as congressional consideration of
strategic issues over the next few years. It will also play an
important role as the United States formulates its approach to
discussions about the future of the Strategic Arms Reduction
Treaty (START) which will expire at the end of this year.
As we move through these steps, it's imperative that we
move to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal to the lowest
levels possible, while at the same time taking the appropriate
steps to ensure that our nuclear deterrent remains safe and
In addition, we must maintain our focus on developing a
robust missile defense system and superior conventional forces
capable of defending both the United States and our allies.
As we all know, there are significant hurdles before us,
including the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs,
ensuring that nuclear weapons remain out of the hands of
terrorists, and strengthening the international will of imposed
sanctions towards those who seek to proliferate nuclear arms.
We should begin a dialogue with China to encourage its
conformity with the practices of the other foreign nuclear
weapon states recognized in the Nuclear Nonpoliferation Treaty
(NPT) and work with Russia to build confidence in our missile
Among the other steps we must take, I agree in principle
with a number of the recommendations outlined in the report
that we're here today to discuss.
Above all, it is imperative that America lead by example.
Our leadership on strategic issues is as vital today as it was
during the Cold War.
Internationally, reports from Pakistan are a major cause
for concern. With the Taliban only 60 miles outside of
Islamabad, the prospect of an insecure Pakistani nuclear
arsenal poses a grave threat to our national security. We must
do whatever it takes to ensure that Pakistan is able to secure
its nuclear assets, and I look forward to hearing the panel's
views on this matter.
As for missile defense, early last month Secretary Gates
announced the transition in focus to the theater missile threat
posed by rogue states. I have some concerns with the proposed
$1.4 billion overall reduction in funding and I look forward to
hearing from our Commission about Secretary Gates' proposal and
how the changes he has outlined could affect the important role
missile defense plays in our strategic posture.
For too long Congress has avoided serious debate on
significant strategic force issues. I thank the members of this
Commission for their thoughtful assessments and recommendations
and I look forward to today's hearing and working with you to
address the future of our strategic posture and our shared
desire to reduce the danger of nuclear weapons being used.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I do apologize to the
witnesses. We are on the floor at 10:30 a.m. with our first
real serious attempt in some time in bringing the cost overruns
of our defense systems under control.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the witnesses.
Chairman Levin. Thank you, Senator McCain.
Dr. Perry, let's start with you.
STATEMENT OF DR. WILLIAM J. PERRY, CHAIRMAN, CONGRESSIONAL
COMMISSION ON THE STRATEGIC POSTURE OF THE UNITED STATES
Dr. Perry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Very early in our deliberations, we met with Senator
Sessions and he urged us to come up with a consensus report. He
said, ``A consensus report would have a much greater weight
with the Senate than anything else we'd come up with.'' At the
time, I said, ``Easy for you to say.'' [Laughter.]
But we gave it our best shot and with one exception this
report is a consensus report and that was no small effort to
Chairman Levin. Senator Sessions was right. It does have
greater power when you're able to do that and we congratulate
you for it.
Dr. Perry. We have, as you pointed out, 100 different
recommendations in this report. I do not propose to review all
those with you. I do have written testimony which I would like
to submit for the record.
Chairman Levin. It will be part of the record.
Dr. Perry. My comments then are going to be focused on
briefly relating the major findings in this report. The
strategic policies of the administration as it goes into
office. These policies will no doubt evolve as the
administration does their own NPR, but I'm relating these
policies to the going-in policies, articulated by President
Obama in his speech in Prague.
First of all, he said, ``The nation faces a new threat,
nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, but besides that,
it needs to hedge against the possible resurgence of the old
threat.'' One statement of policy. This Commission agrees with
Second, he had said, ``NPT is critical to dealing with this
new threat. The United States should work to strengthen the NPT
and, in particular, should commit more resources to the
International Atomic Energy Agency.'' This Commission agrees
with that finding.
Third, he said, ``The success in preventing proliferation
will require the effort of all nations, not just the United
States, and not just the nuclear powers, and getting
cooperation will entail the United States and other nuclear
powers making progress in nuclear disarmament.'' I agree fully
with this statement. Some of our members think that would be
overstated. Others say there's a difference in degree of that
issue, but all of us see some coupling between those two areas.
Fourth, the President, in his Prague speech, made a very
strong statement that ``the United States seeks a world without
nuclear weapons and that therefore we should reduce their
numbers and their salience,'' but he says, ``As long as nuclear
weapons exist, the United States must maintain safe, secure,
reliable forces capable of providing deterrence and extended
deterrence.'' All of our members agree with the latter part of
that statement, mainly the importance of maintaining safe,
secure, and reliable deterrent forces.
I strongly agree with the full statement. I must say that
some of the members do not agree that we should be seeking a
world without nuclear weapons, but all of them fully support
the view that we should be reducing the numbers of nuclear
weapons, if that can be done in a bilateral fashion.
The fifth statement of the administration is that ``we
should seek new treaties, a new START, a fissile material cut-
off treaty, and a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).'' All
of our members agree that it's important to seek a new START
and a treaty on fissile material cut-off.
On the CTBT ratification, our members are divided. We
clearly articulate that division in the report and the pros and
cons. My own view is that the United States cannot assume
leadership in the field of proliferation if we do not ratify
the CTBT and so I strongly support that ratification. This is
an issue which will be coming before the Senate very shortly.
Many of us will no doubt be asked to testify on that matter. I
will be testifying in favor of it, some of our members will be
testifying against it. So we are divided on that issue.
On missile defense, we focused on two different aspects.
One, the President said, ``We should move forward on missile
defense as long as the Iranian threat persists'' and that ``we
should seek to find a way of cooperating with the Russians on
this.'' We agree with both of those conclusions.
There are real differences among our members on the
relative role as well as the importance of missile defense, but
on those two issues, we are in agreement.
The President has talked about civilian nuclear programs,
and we need to get that under control; and we need a new
international framework to discourage the spread of enrichment
and processing capabilities, and we all agree with that.
Finally, the President said, ``We should seek to roll back
North Korea's nuclear program and prevent Iran.'' He observed,
``The Six-Party Talks have failed to stop North Korea from
going ahead with their nuclear program,'' that ``compliance
with the NPT is in tatters and that there must be consequences
when nations violate it.'' We agree with all of those
conclusions. The question is: how do you do those things?
Beyond reporting on these policy issues, we make specific
recommendations on how to sustain the deterrent force,
particularly in the face of an American policy of no testing,
no design of new weapons, and the limited funding that has been
put on the program.
The key to doing this is maintaining the strength of our
weapons laboratories which have outstanding technical staffs.
We have had remarkable success to this date in the SSP and the
Life Extension Program, but as our weapons age, that success is
going to become very much harder to achieve.
Given that problem, the government has responded by cutting
the staff at the weapons laboratories and we find that
inexplicable. We argue that that trend should be reversed and
beyond that we suggest that the laboratories should have added
responsibilities in other fields besides nuclear weapons. In
particular, in civilian energy, nuclear intelligence, and in
general research and development.
The labs are unique national assets and by giving them this
expanded national security role, they can be a great benefit to
the Nation. If that were done, they probably should be renamed
national security laboratories for the Nation, not just the
nuclear weapons labs.
If this were done, we should really give them freedom of
action appropriate for this mission. In particular, the
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) should have
more autonomy than it now has and we have recommended that it
report to the President through the Secretary of the Department
of Energy (DOE) which is different from present reporting
The problem in the past with NNSA was its inability to
provide adequate management, because of the bureaucratic staff,
mostly in DOE. We need to find a way of getting full engagement
of the Secretary of Energy without the burdensome bureaucracy
imposed by his staff.
I'm going to conclude by observing that we have a world
ahead of us which has very imposing dangers. The danger that
the non-proliferation regime will collapse is facing us right
now. There is also the danger that there will be a cascade of
proliferation in the next few years. Both of these increase the
risk of nuclear terrorism; and the danger that nuclear powers
will reengage in a competition, reminiscent of the Cold War.
There is also some hope we can have a brighter future if we can
find a way of sustaining the nuclear nonproliferation regime,
constraining proliferation, stymieing nuclear terrorism, and
that the nuclear powers will find a way of cooperating instead
of competing in the nuclear field.
The report which we are submitting to you describes the
strategy which we think will lead to a more hopeful future
rather than the bleak future which I've previously described.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to now turn it over to
[The prepared statement of Dr. Perry follows:]
Prepared Statement by Dr. William J. Perry
Chairman Levin, Ranking Member McCain, and Members of the Armed
Services Committee, it is a pleasure to be here today with my colleague
Dr. Schlesinger to present to you the findings and results of the work
of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United
Last year, Congress appointed our 12-person bipartisan group to
conduct this review of U.S. strategic posture, and asked me to serve as
Chairman with Jim Schlesinger as Vice Chairman. This Commission has
deliberated for the last 11 months and is now prepared to report to the
administration, to Congress, and to the American people, and we are
here today to do so. We all applaud the wisdom of Congress in setting
up this Commission. For too long, there have been unanswered, even
unasked, questions about the strategic posture of the United States,
especially the nuclear dimensions of that posture. This ``strategic
silence'' has not served America well. Continuing questions about our
broader strategic posture have gone unaddressed, while the military,
geopolitical, and technical needs that underlie these questions have
grown ever more insistent. We understood from the outset that the lack
of consensus about the future of the U.S. nuclear deterrent was a key
motivator in Congress's charge to the Commission. So your tasking last
year to the Commission was timely. We hope that our report will be a
useful input to the new administration as it prepares to undertake a
new nuclear posture review.
The Commission has greatly benefited from the input of a number of
Members of Congress, outside groups and individuals of every stripe
that care deeply about these issues and their country. Likewise we have
been enriched in our understanding of these issues by the thoughtful
perspectives and advice of nations that are U.S. allies, friends, or
fellow nuclear powers. We received unstinting assistance from the
executive branch, which has been individually and collectively
supportive of the Commission. The United States Institute of Peace, its
employees and contractors have provided outstanding support to the
Commission, and I thank them. I also want to make special mention of
and praise the members of our five Expert Working Groups and their
leaders, who have volunteered countless hours of their time in
supporting the Commission and its work and provided us with strong
intellectual assistance of the highest caliber.
While each Commissioner would have written a report that would be
worded somewhat differently than our final report, it is most
significant that with the exception of parts of the chapter on the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), this is a consensus document.
Even with CTBT, while we could not agree on common language overall, we
did agree on recommendations that would prepare the way for Senate
reconsideration of the Treaty. We strove to ensure that the essence of
our disagreement was presented as clearly and succinctly as possible so
that interested individuals and groups can review the arguments, weigh
them carefully, and reach their own conclusions.
At the beginning of the Commission's work, I did not imagine that
such an ideologically disparate group of senior experts would find so
much common ground. The trail we followed to arrive at this document
was not always easy for us, logistically, intellectually, or
emotionally. But the seriousness of the issues, and the stakes involved
for America and the world, called forth the ``better angels'' in all of
us Commissioners, producing the largely consensus document you have
before you today. We hope that the executive branch and Congress will
also face these critical security policy issues in a similar
In conducting its work, the Commission has adopted a broad
definition of strategic posture. We defined the scope of our work to
include all dimensions of nuclear weapons, including the key
infrastructures that support them, and all the major tools to counter
the nuclear threat to the United States and its allies, including arms
control, missile defense, and countering nuclear proliferation. But we
also defined some limits to our inquiry. For example, we chose not to
expand our scope of work to address issues associated with all weapons
of mass destruction, though we did address the question of whether and
how nuclear weapons have a role in deterring attacks with biological
weapons. Neither did we examine threats such as cyber attacks and space
conflict, though this does not mean we consider them unimportant, and
believe they merit serious examination in the near future. Also, our
pre-eminent conventional military capabilities are themselves a major
strategic force, but we understood Congress was not seeking our advice
on these matters.
When one considers the destructive power of the nuclear weapons
within our strategic posture, which generated important disagreements
throughout the Cold War and after, it is not surprising the American
nuclear posture has been, and will continue to be, highly controversial
on key issues. What was surprising is the extent to which our
commission did reach agreement on numerous issues related to our
deterrent capabilities, nonproliferation initiatives and arms control
strategies--what I believe are the three key components of U.S.
strategic posture in the years ahead. The Commission agreed that the
Nation must continue to safeguard itself by maintaining a nuclear
deterrent appropriate to existing threats until such time as verifiable
international agreements are in place that could set the conditions for
the final abolition of nuclear weapons. That is, we seek to safeguard
our security by supporting military and intelligence programs that
maintain our deterrence force. At the same time, we also seek to
safeguard our security by supporting largely non-military programs that
prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other states, that
reduce the number of nuclear weapons worldwide, and that provide better
protection for the residual nuclear forces and fissile material. Both
approaches are necessary for America's future; each can and should
reinforce the other; and neither by itself is sufficient as long as
nuclear weapons still exist in the world.
Nuclear weapons safeguarded our security for decades during the
Cold War by deterring an attack on the U.S. and its allies. We will
need them to continue to perform this deterrence role as long as others
possess them as well. On the other hand, if nuclear weapons were to
fall into the hands of a terror organization, they could pose an
extremely serious threat to our security, and one for which traditional
forms of deterrence would not be applicable, given the terrorist
mindset. We must be mindful that al Qaeda, for example, has declared
that obtaining a nuclear weapon is a ``holy duty'' for its members.
Preventing nuclear terrorism is closely tied to stopping the
proliferation of nuclear weapons, and recent developments in North
Korea and Iran suggest that we may be at or near a tipping point in
nuclear proliferation. (The urgency of stopping proliferation is
articulated compellingly in the recent WMD Commission report: ``World
While the programs that maintain our deterrence force are national,
the programs that prevent proliferation and safeguard nuclear weapons
and fissile material are both national and international. Indeed, it is
clear that we cannot meet our goal of reducing the proliferation threat
without substantial international cooperation. We cannot ``go it
alone'' on this crucial security issue, nor need we, given that other
nations are at risk from nuclear proliferation as much as we. But the
international programs that are most effective in containing and
rolling back proliferation can sometimes be in conflict with the
national programs designed to maintain deterrence. Thus a strategic
posture for the U.S. that meets both of these security requirements
will necessarily have to make some tradeoffs between these two
important security goals when they are in conflict. Some commissioners
give a priority to dealing with one threat while others give a priority
to dealing with the other threat. But throughout the deliberations of
the commission, there was unswerving member loyalty to the importance
of assuring U.S. security in the years ahead, and all of our members
sought to strike a balance that supports, to reasonable levels, both of
these security needs. To a large extent, I am pleased to say, we were
able to meet that objective.
The need to strike such a balance has been with us at least since
the ending of the Cold War. President Clinton's policy on nuclear
posture spoke of the need to ``lead but hedge.'' That policy called for
the U.S. to lead the world in mutual nuclear arms reductions and to
lead in programs to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, while
at the same time maintaining a nuclear deterrent force that hedged
against adverse geopolitical developments. The leadership aspect of
this policy was demonstrated most vividly by a cooperative program with
Russia, established under the Nunn-Lugar Program that dismantled more
than 4,000 Russian nuclear weapons and assisted Ukraine, Belarus, and
Kazakhstan in removing all of their nuclear weapons, a signal
contribution to a safer world. U.S. leadership was also demonstrated by
signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which seeks a
permanent end to all nuclear testing, and negotiating with Russia a new
arms control treaty for further reductions in nuclear weapons. However,
neither treaty was ratified by the Senate. The Bush administration
initially took a different view on U.S. strategic posture, but last
year Defense Secretary Gates explicitly reaffirmed that the American
nuclear posture would be based on the time-tested ``lead but hedge''
President Obama has moved this strategy forward, stating that the
U.S. should work towards the goal of eventually eliminating all nuclear
weapons. But he has also said that until that goal is reached, he is
committed to maintain a U.S. nuclear deterrent that is safe, secure,
and reliable. This is, in a sense, the most recent formulation of the
``lead but hedge'' policy. The Commission believes that reaching the
ultimate goal of global nuclear elimination would require a fundamental
change in the world geopolitical situation, something that none of us
believe is imminent. Senator Sam Nunn, former chairman of this
committee, who has espoused the vision of nuclear elimination, has
described this vision as the ``top of the mountain,'' which cannot be
seen at this time, and the exact path to which is not yet visible. But
he argues that we should be heading up the mountain to a ``base camp''
that would be safer than where we are today, and from which the path to
the mountaintop becomes clearer. In Nunn's view, getting the
international political support to move to this ``base camp'' requires
the United States to affirm the vision of global elimination of nuclear
weapons. When we reach the base camp, it would:
provide for U.S. nuclear forces that are safe, secure
and can reliably deter attacks against the U.S. and our allies;
be headed in the direction of the global elimination
of nuclear weapons; and
be stable--that is, it should be sustainable even
under typical fluctuations in geopolitical conditions.
This base camp concept serves as an organizing principle for my own
thinking about our strategic posture, since it allows the United States
to both lead in the struggle to reduce and ultimately eliminate the
nuclear danger; and hedge against a reversal in this struggle,
providing an important safety net for U.S. security. While some of the
commissioners do not accept this view of the base camp as an organizing
principle, all commissioners accept the view that the U.S. must support
programs that both lead and hedge; that is, programs that move in two
parallel paths--one path which protects our security by maintaining
deterrence, and the other which protects our security by reducing the
danger of nuclear weapons.
The first path, ``Deterrence,'' would include the following
Clarify our policy on use of nuclear weapons to
include a statement that our nuclear forces are intended to
deter an attack against the U.S. or its allies (extending this
security guarantee to our allies is often referred to as
``extended deterrence'') and would be used only as a defensive
last resort; at the same time, our policy would reaffirm the
security assurances we have made to non-nuclear states that
signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Back up our deterrent and extended deterrent policy by
assuring that our nuclear forces--including the weapons
themselves, their delivery platforms, and the surveillance,
detection, and command/control/communications/intelligence
infrastructures that support them and the National Command
Authority--are safe, secure, and reliable, and in sufficient
quantities to perform their deterrent tasks;
Maintain the safety, security, reliability, and
effectiveness of our nuclear weapons stockpile by an enhanced
nuclear weapons life extension program as long as it is
feasible; but ensure the nuclear weapons laboratories maintain
their capability to design a new weapon should that ever become
Provide robust support for the Stockpile Stewardship
Program, DOE's highly successful program to ensure the safety,
security and reliability of the Nation's nuclear stockpile
without testing. This program seeks a comprehensive, science-
based understanding of nuclear weapon systems, and entails
pushing the frontiers of computing and simulation along with
ensuring robust laboratory experimental capabilities. The
weapons labs have achieved remarkable success with stockpile
stewardship, but continued success is endangered by recent
personnel and funding cuts.
Maintain all three weapon laboratories with programs
that fully support the nuclear weapons programs and maintain
their scientific and design vitality. Besides weapons programs,
their program mix should include fundamental research and
energy technologies as well as an expanded national security
role, which will benefit other dimensions of the security
challenges we face.
Transform our weapons production capability by
reducing and modernizing it, giving first priority to the Los
Alamos plutonium facility, followed by the Y-12 site Uranium
Processing Facility site after the plutonium facilities are
under construction. The goal would be to have a capability to
produce small numbers of nuclear weapons as needed to maintain
nuclear stockpile reliability.
Provide proven strategic missile defenses sufficient
to limit damage from and defend against a limited nuclear
threat such as posed by North Korea or Iran, as long as the
defenses are effective enough to at least sow doubts in the
minds of such countries that an attack would succeed. These
defenses should not be so sizable or capable as to sow such
doubts in the minds of Russia or China, which could well lead
them to take countering actions, increasing the nuclear threat
to the U.S. and its allies and friends and undermining efforts
to reduce nuclear numbers, and nuclear dangers.
Reprogram funding to initiate F-35 fighter aircraft
contractor participation with NNSA to assure that the U.S.
would maintain current capabilities available to support U.S.
The Commission recognizes the tension between modernization and
nonproliferation. But so long as modernization proceeds within the
framework of existing U.S. policy, it should minimize political
difficulties. As a matter of policy, the United States does not produce
fissile materials and does not conduct nuclear explosive tests, and
does not currently seek new weapons with new military characteristics.
Within this framework, the United States should seek all of the
possible benefits of improved safety, security, and reliability.
The second path, ``Reducing the Danger,'' includes the following
Re-energize efforts to reverse the nuclear
proliferation of North Korea and prevent the nuclear
proliferation of Iran. Seek global cooperation to deal with
other potential proliferation concerns arising from the
anticipated global expansion of civilian nuclear power.
Negotiate arms reduction treaties with Russia that
make significant reductions in the nuclear stockpiles of Russia
and the United States. The treaties should include verification
procedures and should entail real reductions, not just a
transfer from deployed to Reserve Forces. The first treaty
could decrease deployed strategic warheads to numbers lower
than the lower SORT limit (Moscow Treaty of 2002), but the
actual numbers are probably less important than the ``counting
and attribution rules'' of preceding agreements. I am quite
encouraged by President Obama's announcement that he will seek
a replacement strategic arms agreement before START I expires
this December, and the positive Russian response. Follow-on
treaties should seek deeper reductions, which would require
finding ways to deal with difficult problems such as addressing
``tactical'' nuclear forces, Reserve weapons and engaging other
Seek a deeper strategic dialogue with Russia that is
broader than nuclear treaties, to include civilian nuclear
energy, ballistic missile defenses, space systems, nuclear
nonproliferation steps, and ways of improving warning systems
and increasing decision time.
Renew and strengthen strategic dialogue with a broad
set of states interested in strategic stability, including not
just Russia and our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies
but also China and U.S. allies and friends in Asia.
Augment funding for threat reduction activities that
strengthen controls at vulnerable nuclear sites. The surest way
to prevent nuclear terrorism is to deny terrorist acquisitions
of nuclear weapons or fissile materials. An accelerated
campaign to close or secure the world's most vulnerable nuclear
sites as quickly as possible should be a top national priority.
This would build on and expand the important foundation of work
begun under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction
Program. Commit to the investment necessary to remove or secure
all fissile material at vulnerable sites worldwide in 4 years.
This relatively small investment could dramatically decrease
the prospects of terrorist nuclear acquisition.
Seek Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty and encourage other hold-outs to do likewise. I strongly
support Senate ratification of the CTBT, but I want to be clear
that my view is not shared by all commissioners. I believe that
the Stockpile Stewardship Program, established as a safeguard
when the U.S. signed the CTBT, has been an outstanding success,
and, with sufficient funding support, can continue to be. The
United States has refrained from testing nuclear weapons for 17
years already and has no plans to resume such testing in the
future. Prior to seeking ratification, the administration
should obtain an explicit understanding with the P-5 states as
to what tests are permitted by the treaty, and conduct a
careful analysis of the issues that prevented ratification a
decade ago. (All commissioners agree that these preceding steps
should be taken, but not all commissioners support ratifying
While the Senate has the responsibility for
considering the CTBT for ratification, both the Senate and the
House should support funding for any Treaty safeguards the
Obama administration may propose, which will be essential to
the ratification process.
Prepare carefully for the NPT review conference in
2010. If we are able to make progress in a new arms reduction
treaty and CTBT ratification, this would reassert U.S.
leadership and create favorable conditions for a successful
Seek an international Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty,
as President Obama has called for, that includes verification
procedures, and redouble domestic and international efforts to
secure all stocks of fissile material, steps that would
discourage both nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.
Seek to strengthen the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) in its task to prevent the proliferation of
nuclear weapons to other nations and control access to fissile
material. In particular, work with the IAEA to promote
universal adoption of the Additional Protocol to the NPT, which
would allow extra inspections of suspected nuclear facilities
as well as declared facilities.
Develop and pursue options for advancing U.S.
interests in stability in outer space and in increasing warning
and decision-time. The options could include the possibility of
Renew the practice and spirit of executive-legislative
dialogue on nuclear strategy that helped pave the way for
bipartisanship and continuity in policy in past years. To this
end, we urge the Senate to consider reviving the Arms Control
Observer Group, which served the country well in the past.
In surveying six-plus decades of nuclear history, the Commission
notes that nuclear weapons have not been used since 1945. It is clear
that a tradition against the use of nuclear weapons has taken hold,
which we must strive to maintain, and urge all nuclear-armed nations to
adhere to it.
In sum, this is a moment of opportunity but also of urgency. The
opportunity arises from the arrival of the new administration in
Washington and the top-down reassessment that must now begin of
national security strategy and of the purposes of U.S. nuclear weapons.
The opportunity also arises because the Russian government has
indicated a readiness to undertake a serious dialogue with the U.S. on
strategic issues. The urgency arises because of the imminent danger of
nuclear terrorism if we pass a tipping point in nuclear proliferation.
The urgency also arises because of an accumulation of difficult
decisions affecting our nuclear posture.
The commissioners know and agree on what direction they want to see
the world take. We reject the vision of a future world defined by a
collapse of the nonproliferation regime, a cascade of nuclear
proliferation to new states, a resulting dramatic rise in the risks of
nuclear terrorism, and renewed fruitless competition for nuclear
advantage among major powers.
As pragmatic experts, we embrace a different vision. We see a world
where the occasional nonproliferation failure is counter-balanced by
the occasional rollback of some and continued restraint by the many. We
see a world in which nuclear terrorism risks are steadily reduced
through stronger cooperative measures to control terrorist access to
materials, technology, and expertise. We see a world of cooperation
among the major powers that ensures strategic stability and order, and
steadily diminishes reliance on nuclear weapons to preserve world
peace, not as a favor to others, but because it is in the best
interests of the United States, and the world. We commissioners believe
that implementing the strategy our report recommends will help the
United States lead the global effort to give fruitful birth to this new
Chairman Levin. Dr. Perry, thank you so much.
STATEMENT OF DR. JAMES R. SCHLESINGER, VICE CHAIRMAN,
CONGRESSIONAL COMMISSION ON THE STRATEGIC POSTURE OF THE UNITED
STATES; ACCOMPANIED BY SENATOR JOHN GLENN, DR. HARRY CARTLAND,
AND DR. JOHN FOSTER
Dr. Schlesinger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Congress established the Congressional Commission on the
Strategic Posture of the United States in order to provide
recommendations regarding the appropriate posture for the
United States under the changed conditions of the 21st century.
The appointed commissioners represented a wide range of the
political spectrum and had quite diverse judgments on these
Nonetheless, urged by Members of Congress, including
Senator Sessions, the Commission has sought to develop a
consensus view. To a large extent and to some an astonishing
extent, the Commission has succeeded in that effort.
Secretary Perry and I are here to present this consensus to
the committee. We are, of course, indebted to the committee for
this opportunity to present these recommendations.
For over half a century, the U.S. strategic policy has been
driven by two critical elements: to maintain a deterrent that
prevents attacks on the United States, its interests and,
notably, its allies, and to prevent a proliferation of nuclear
Dr. Perry mentioned that nuclear proliferation is a new
issue. It is an old issue which is now enhanced by subsequent
The end of the Cold War and particularly the collapse of
the Soviet Union Warsaw Pact, along with the substantial edge
that the United States is developing conventional military
capabilities, have permitted this country sharply to reduce our
reliance on nuclear weapons, radically to reduce our nuclear
forces, and to move away from a doctrine of nuclear initiation
to a stance of nuclear response only under extreme
circumstances of major attack on the United States or its
On the other hand, the growing availability of nuclear
technology, along with the relaxation of the constraints of the
Cold War, have obliged us to turn increasing attention to the
problem of non-proliferation and, in particular, the
possibility of a terrorist nuclear attack on the United States.
Secretary Perry has just spoken on the issues of arms
control, diplomacy, the problems of proliferation, and the
risks of nuclear terrorism. I, for my part, will focus on the
need, despite its substantially shrunken role in the post Cold
War world, to maintain a deterrent reduced in size, yet
nonetheless reliable and secure and sufficiently impressive and
visible to provide assurance to the 30-odd nations that are
protected under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.
Since the early days of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO), the United States has provided extended
deterrence for its allies. That has proved a far more demanding
task than the protection of the United States itself. In the
past that has required a deterrence sufficiently large and
sophisticated to deter a conventional attack by the Soviet
Union Warsaw Pact.
It also meant that the United States discouraged the
development of national nuclear capabilities, particularly
during the Kennedy administration, both to prevent
proliferation and to avoid the diversion of resources away from
the development of conventional allied capabilities.
With the end of the Cold War and the achievement of U.S.
preponderance and conventional capabilities, the need for so
substantial a deterrent largely disappeared. Nonetheless, the
requirements for extended deterrence still remain at the heart
of the design of the U.S. nuclear posture. Extended deterrence
still remains a major barrier to proliferation. Both the size
and the specific elements of our forces are driven more by the
need to reassure those that we protect under the nuclear
umbrella than by U.S. requirements alone.
Even though the overall requirements of our nuclear forces
have shrunk by some 80 percent since the height of the Cold
War, nonetheless, the expansion of NATO and the rise of the
Chinese nuclear force is significant, if modest, have altered
somewhat the requirements for our own nuclear forces.
Two, even though the modest probable source of a weapon
landing on American soil, increasingly as that of a terrorist
attack, nonetheless, the sizing of our forces, in addition to
other elements of our deterrent posture, remains driven in
large degree by Russia.
Our NATO allies, and most notably the new members of NATO,
remain wary of Russia and would eye any sharp reduction of our
nuclear forces relative to those of Russia, especially in light
of the now greater emphasis by Russia on tactical nuclear
Consequently, the Commission did conclude that we should
not engage in unilateral reductions in our nuclear forces and
that such reductions should occur only as a result of bilateral
negotiations with Russia under a follow-on START agreement. Any
such reductions must, of course, be thoroughly discussed with
Three, our East Asian allies also view with great interest
our capabilities relative to the slowly-burgeoning Chinese
force. Clearly that adds complexities, for example, to the
protection of Japan, though that remains a lesser driver with
respect to overall numbers. Still, the time has come to engage
Japan in more comprehensive discussions akin to those with NATO
in the Nuclear Planning Group. It will also augment the
credibility of the Pacific extended deterrent.
Four, the Commission has been urged to specify the numbers
of nuclear weapons the United States should have. That is an
understandable question, particularly in light of the demands
of the appropriations process in Congress. Nonetheless, it is a
mistake to focus unduly on numbers without reference to the
overall strategic context.
Clearly, it would be illogical to provide a number outside
the process of negotiations with Russia, given the need to
avoid giving away bargaining leverage. In preparation for the
Treaty of Moscow, as with all of its predecessors, the
composition for our prospective forces was subject to the most
rigorous analysis. Thus, it would seem to be unacceptable to go
below the numbers specified in that treaty without a similarly
rigorous analysis of the strategic context which has not yet
Moreover, as our Russian friends have repeatedly told us,
strategic balance is more important than the numbers
Five, given the existence of other nations' nuclear
capabilities and the international role that the United States
necessarily plays, the Commission quickly reached the judgment
that the United States must maintain a nuclear deterrent for
the indefinite future. It must convey not only the capacity but
the will to respond in necessity.
Some members of the Commission have expressed a hope that
at some future date we might see the worldwide abolition of
nuclear weapons. The judgment of the Commission, however, has
been that attainment of such a goal would require a
transformation of world politics.
President Obama also has expressed that goal but has added
that as long as nuclear weapons exist in the world, the United
States must maintain a strong deterrent. We should all bear in
mind that the abolition of nuclear weapons will not occur
outside the transformation of world politics.
Six, we sometimes hear or read the query: why are we
investing in these capabilities which will never be used? This
is a fallacy. A deterrent, if it is effective, is in use every
day. The purpose in sustaining these capabilities is to be
sufficiently impressive, sufficiently formidable to avoid their
use in the sense of the actual need to deliver weapons to
targets. That is the nature of any deterrent but particularly
so a nuclear deterrent. It exists to deter major attacks
against the United States, its allies, and its interests.
Years ago the role and the details of our nuclear deterrent
commanded sustained and high-level national interest.
Regrettably today, they do so far less than is necessary.
Nonetheless, the role of the deterrent remains crucial.
Therefore, I and the other members of the Commission thank this
committee for its continued attention to these critical
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Schlesinger follows:]
Prepared Statement by Dr. James Schlesinger
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee: Congress established the
Commission on Strategic Posture in order to provide recommendations
regarding the appropriate posture for the United States under the
changed conditions of the early 21st century. The appointed
Commissioners represent a wide range of the political spectrum and have
had quite diverse judgments on these matters. Nonetheless, urged by
Members of Congress, the Commission has sought to develop a consensus
view. To a large--and, to some, a surprising--extent, the Commission
has succeeded in this effort. Secretary Perry and I are here to present
that consensus to this committee. We are, of course, indebted to the
committee for this opportunity to present these recommendations.
For over half a century, the U.S. strategic policy has been driven
by two critical elements: to maintain a deterrent that prevents attacks
on the United States, its interests, and, notably, its allies--and to
prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The end of the Cold War,
and particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact, along
with the substantial edge that the United States has developed in
conventional military capabilities have permitted this country sharply
to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons, radically to reduce our
nuclear forces, and to move away from a doctrine of nuclear initiation
to a stance of nuclear response only under extreme circumstances of
major attack on the United States or its allies.
On the other hand, the growing availability of nuclear technology,
along with the relaxation of the constraints of the Cold War, have
obliged us to turn increasing attention to the problem of
nonproliferation and, in particular, to the possibility of a terrorist
nuclear attack on the United States.
Secretary Perry has just spoken on the diplomatic issues and the
problems of preventing proliferation, and the risks of nuclear
terrorism. I, for my part, will focus on the need, despite its
substantially shrunken role in the post-Cold War world, to maintain a
deterrent reduced in size, yet nonetheless reliable and secure--and
sufficiently impressive and visible to provide assurance to the 30-odd
nations that are protected under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.
1. Since the early days of NATO, the United States has
provided Extended Deterrence for its allies. That has proved a
far more demanding task than protection of the United States
itself. In the past that has required a deterrent sufficiently
large and sophisticated, to deter a conventional attack by the
Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact. It also meant that the United States
discouraged the development of national nuclear capabilities,
particularly during the Kennedy administration, both to prevent
proliferation and to avoid the diversion of resources away from
the development of conventional allied capabilities. With the
end of the Cold War and the achievement of U.S. preponderance
in conventional capabilities, the need for so substantial a
deterrent largely disappeared. Nonetheless, the requirements
for Extended Deterrence still remain at the heart of the design
of the U.S. nuclear posture. Extended Deterrence still remains
a major barrier to proliferation. Both the size and the
specific elements of our forces are driven more by the need to
reassure those that we protect under the nuclear umbrella than
by U.S. requirements alone. Even though the overall
requirements of our nuclear forces have shrunk some 80 percent
since the height of the Cold War, nonetheless the expansion of
NATO and the rise of Chinese nuclear forces, significant if
modest, have altered somewhat the requirements for our own
2. Even though the most probable source of a weapon landing
on American soil increasingly is that of a nuclear terrorist
attack, nonetheless the sizing of our own nuclear forces (in
addition to other elements of our deterrent posture) remains
driven in large degree by Russia. Our NATO allies--and most
notably the new members of NATO--remain wary of Russia and
would eye nervously any sharp reduction of our nuclear forces
relative to those of Russia--especially in light of the now
greater emphasis by Russia on tactical nuclear weapons.
Consequently, the Commission did conclude that we should not
engage in unilateral reductions in our nuclear forces and that
such reductions should occur only as a result of bilateral
negotiations with Russia under a follow-on START Agreement. Any
such reductions must, of course, be thoroughly discussed with
3. Our East Asian allies also view with great interest our
capabilities relative to the slowly burgeoning Chinese force.
Clearly that adds complexities, for example, to the protection
of Japan, though that remains a lesser driver with respect to
overall numbers. Still, the time has come to engage Japan in
more comprehensive discussions--akin to those with NATO in the
Nuclear Planning Group. It will also augment the credibility of
the Extended Deterrent.
4. The Commission has been urged to specify the number of
nuclear weapons the United States should have. That is an
understandable question--particularly in light of the demands
of the appropriations process in Congress. Nonetheless, it is a
mistake to focus unduly on numbers, without reference to the
overall strategic context. Clearly, it would be illogical to
provide a number outside of the process of negotiation with
Russia--given the need to avoid giving away bargaining
leverage. In preparation for the Treaty of Moscow, as with all
of its predecessors, the composition for our prospective forces
was subjected to the most rigorous analyses. Thus, it would
seem to be unacceptable to go below the numbers specified in
that Treaty without a similarly rigorous analysis of the
strategic context--which has not yet taken place. Moreover, as
our Russian friends have repeatedly told us: strategic balance
is more important than the numbers.
5. Given the existence of other nations' nuclear capabilities
and the international role that the United States necessarily
plays, the Commission quickly reached the judgment that the
United States must maintain a nuclear deterrent for ``the
indefinite future.'' It must convey, not only the capacity, but
the will to respond--in necessity. Some members of the
Commission have expressed a hope that at some future date we
might see the worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons. The
judgment of the Commission, however, has been that attainment
of such a goal would require a ``transformation of world
politics.'' President Obama also has expressed that goal, but
has added that as long as nuclear weapons exist in the world,
the United States must maintain ``a strong deterrent.'' We
should all bear in mind that abolition of nuclear weapons will
not occur outside that ``transformation of world politics.''
6. We sometimes hear or read the query: why are we investing
in these capabilities which will never be used?'' This is a
fallacy. A deterrent, if it is effective, is in ``use'' every
day. The purpose in sustaining these capabilities is to be
sufficiently impressive to avoid their ``use''--in the sense of
the actual need to deliver the weapons to targets. That is the
nature of any deterrent, but particularly a nuclear deterrent.
It exists to deter major attacks against the United States, its
allies, and its interests.
Years ago the role and the details of our nuclear deterrent
commanded sustained and high-level national attention. Regrettably,
today they do so far less than is necessary. Nonetheless, the role of
the deterrent remains crucial. Therefore, I thank this committee for
its continued attention to these critical questions.
Chairman Levin. Thank you very much, Dr. Schlesinger.
Senator Glenn or other members of the Commission, do you want
to add anything at this point? [No response.]
Let's try a 6-minute round for our first round. I'd like to
focus on one of the many notable provisions of this report and
that's the area of missile defense.
This report supports a direction for a missile defense
program which could help missile defense become a unifying
issue instead of a divisive issue. First of all, you provide
strong support for missile defense systems against short- to
medium-range missiles. There has been a consensus on this
committee in support of such missile defenses throughout the
history of those defenses, including Patriot and Theatre High
Altitude Area Defense and other defenses.
As a matter of fact, this committee, I think it's fair to
say, has actually led the way in a sense because we have not
only supported these efforts, we've added to them significantly
in terms of funding over the years.
However, we've been not together and whether it's been
divisiveness has to do mainly with the ground-based systems
they are intended to defend against long-range missiles and
there, the Commission is making some points which could unify
us in a lot of ways and open and support a direction which a
number of us have been exploring. I want to just read a couple
paragraphs here. I usually don't do this. I look to the
Commission to usually read their own report, but I want to
emphasize what you've provided here.
``Further, in terms of these long-range defense
interceptors,'' let me read from page 32, ``further development
and deployment of these long-range defense interceptors should
depend on the results of tests and depend upon developments in
the ICBM threats facing the United States and its allies.''
``For more than a decade,'' you write, ``the development of
U.S. Ballistic Missile Defenses (BMDs) has been guided by the
principles of protecting against limited strikes while taking
into account the legitimate concerns of Russia and China about
strategic stability. These remain sound guiding principles.
Defenses sufficient to sow doubts in Moscow or Beijing about
the viability of their deterrents could lead them to take
actions that increase the threat to the United States and its
allies and friends. Both Russia and China have expressed
concerns. Current U.S. plans for missile defense should not
call into question the viability of Russia's nuclear
Then the Commission says the following: ``The Commission
supports a substantial role for defenses against short- to
medium-range missiles. Defenses against longer-range missiles
should be based upon demonstrated effectiveness and the
projected threat from North Korea and Iran. Defenses against
these limited threats should be designed to avoid giving Russia
or China a reason to increase their strategic threat to the
United States or its allies but these defenses should become
capable against more complex limited threats as they mature. As
noted above, this long-range missile defense system is now
incapable of defending against complex threats.''
This is the line that I want to focus on after I read it.
``Cooperative missile defense efforts with allies should be
strengthened and opportunities for missile defense cooperation
with Russia should be further explored.''
Now, three of us recently went to Russia, Poland, and the
Czech Republic to explore that possibility, of whether or not
we could move to greater cooperation with Russia on missile
defense, at the same time maintaining our cooperation obviously
with our NATO allies, including Poland and the Czech Republic.
I went with, by the way, Senator Bill Nelson and Senator
Collins. We spent about 4 days on our trip. From my
perspective, and I think the others join in this, one of the
reasons for trying to figure out a way to involve Russia in
missile defense is the statement that it would make to Iran. It
would be a very powerful statement to Iran if Russia joined
with us or with NATO in a missile defense program which, from
our perspective, would clearly be aimed against an Iranian
missile threat. If they moved to the nuclear weapon direction,
clearly it will make a statement to them about how the world,
including Russia, views that threat, if we were able to work
together on a missile defense system.
I wanted to ask you--let me start with Dr. Perry--about
that recommendation that you're making that we explore
opportunities for missile defense cooperation with Russia.
Again, I just wanted to add one further thought and that is
that there is now in Azerbaijan a Russian radar. It's the
Gambala radar, and there's a radar under construction in
Southern Russia itself at Armivir and both of these clearly
provide coverage of Iran in a way that probably provides better
coverage of Iran than any other radars we could locate.
So, Dr. Perry, do you believe that that radar-sharing, that
information or in other ways that cooperation with Russia on
missile defense could be a very useful move?
Dr. Perry. I have met with Russians three times this year
exploring that and other questions but with a major focus on
that question. I met with both technical people and policy
people in Russia.
It seems clear to me that the Russian view on this issue
has been evolving in the last year. It's now possible to do
things that it was not possible to do a year ago. First of all,
they have today a clear concern for the danger that Iran
nuclear missiles pose to Russia. In fact, they think that the
potential threat to Russia is greater than the threat to the
Second, their best course of action is to try to prevent
Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and I think it's now
possible to get cooperation with Russia on that in a way that
was not possible a year or 2 ago.
Third, if that prevention is not successful, they would
like to see a missile defense program to protect them as well
as to protect us and Western Europe. They're not only willing
but anxious to work with us on a joint missile defense program
and that joint missile defense program could include systems
based in Russia as well as other countries.
The best way of designing that system, I think, is still
open. I would think it would involve that Azerbaijan radar
which you described, but it could also involve interceptors in
Russia. I would recommend that the United States undertake a
program for serious discussion with Russia, first of all, at
the technical level on what is the best way of designing such a
system and that would be done in parallel with the policy
efforts we have with them to try to develop a diplomatic
approach to prevent nuclear weapons from being developed.
I do think that the time is right for some real progress in
Chairman Levin. Thank you, and just in conclusion before I
turn it over to Senator McCain, I know that President Obama has
talked to the Russian president, at least in a general way,
about this possibility. I've talked to our Secretary of State
as well as to President Obama about this. I've talked to
Secretary Gates who, before this committee, has expressed the
kind of support for exploring this possibility that the
Commission report describes.
General Jones, I've also talked to him about this, and so
there is, I think, a willingness at the highest levels of this
government to further explore this possibility.
I'm glad, Dr. Perry, that you mentioned the prevention of
Iran getting missiles or nuclear weapons in the first place has
to be our Number 1 goal. That has to be the focus and I've also
heard from the Russians directly that they do not want Iran to
receive or obtain, more accurately, a nuclear weapon. As a
matter of fact, former President Gorbachev put it just as
succinctly as you did a moment ago, as has the Russian Foreign
Minister, that our number one goal should be to prevent Iran
from getting that nuclear weapon.
Hopefully Russia will join us much more strongly in that
effort. If there's a possibility of a joint missile defense
system for the reasons that your Commission gives, we want to
explore, the three of us and others obviously are exploring,
that. It could really be a very strong statement of moral unity
against Iran that may give them a wake-up call as to how
serious their effort would appear to us and be to us if they
decide to move in the nuclear weapon direction.
Senator McCain. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Schlesinger, have you detected the same eagerness on
the part of Russia to cooperate with us on missile defense and
their belief that the Iranian nuclear weapons are a greater
threat to them than to us or Israel?
I think I pay close attention to events of the day and I
haven't detected that same eagerness on the part of the
Russians. In fact, I've seen them engage in attempts to
reassert their view abroad and breaking an agreement with
President Sarkozy concerning the presence of troops in Georgia
and many others.
Specifically, have you detected this same eagerness that
the Chairman and Dr. Perry have detected, which I obviously
Dr. Schlesinger. The Russians, indeed, have a reason to
have extended conversations with us in this area. Our relations
with Russia are subject to ups and downs, but this is an area
of potential cooperation.
Senator McCain. I guess my question was, Doctor, have you
detected any real moves towards that cooperation, besides
Dr. Schlesinger. I think that the conversations that Dr.
Perry and others have had in Moscow are suggestive that the
proof is in the pudding, as you have suggested.
With regard to the Chairman's question, when President
Reagan suggested the Strategic Defense Initiative in the 1980s,
it was directed against Russia. There have been two
developments since that time. First, the threat has, to a
substantial extent, disappeared. We do not expect to get
engaged in a missile exchange with Russia, and second, defenses
can be overwhelmed by offensive capabilities which the Russians
have in terms of innumerable warheads and so on.
So the interest has shifted to work with the allies. I'd
add to what the Chairman said, particularly not just our allies
in Europe but in Japan, as well, which has shown a great deal
of interest in missile defense vis-a-vis China and North Korea.
Only time will tell, Senator McCain, whether or not there's
real possibility here for close cooperation with Russia.
Senator McCain. Again, I hope that's the case. I've heard
conversations and we have a new day. I've not seen any concrete
proposals or significant proposals on the part of the Russians.
Meanwhile, the Iranians continue inexorably on their path to
the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
The one issue I would ask the witnesses, the one issue
where the Commission was unable to reach a consensus was on the
CTBT. A few weeks ago during a conference in Rome, former
Secretary of State George Schultz urged ratification of the
CTBT. With respect to the 1999 vote in the Senate, Secretary
Schultz stated that his fellow Republicans may ``have been
right in voting against it some years ago but they would be
right voting for it now based on new facts.''
Secretary Schultz cites the development over the past
decade of a vast global monitoring system of seismic and other
technologies dedicated to detecting small and clandestine
nuclear tests like that of North Korea's small nuclear blast in
2006. As for the reliability of our nuclear arsenal, Secretary
Schultz cited the SSP and the DOE Annual Certification as
additional reasons why CTBT should be ratified.
I would ask, do you agree with Secretary Schultz's
assessment on the notion of detection? Do you believe that, in
light of Secretary Gates' assessment, without testing it will
``become impossible to keep extending the life of our
arsenal?'' Do you believe that any ratification of the CTBT
must be preceded by plans for a new, redesigned and more
Dr. Perry. In our report we state that it is essential to
maintain the reliability and security of our warheads for the
indefinite future. If that requires new designs, then we would
support new designs. To this date that reliability has been
achieved without new designs. We do not think we should
preclude the laboratory from making new designs, if that's what
is required to maintain.
On the testing issue, I think it's quite correct that the
global monitoring system has improved greatly since the day
that the Senate had the vote on the ratification and can be
improved more in the future. Nonetheless, I think it would be
desirable to have some onsite monitoring systems. For example,
to have an agreement with Russia that there would be onsite
monitoring systems built in the United States and in Russia to
give further confidence in that area.
Senator McCain. Thank you. Dr. Schlesinger.
Dr. Schlesinger. As Secretary Schultz indicated, the SSP
has enhanced our ability to sustain confidence in the
stockpile. It is not total confidence and the laboratory
directors have testified before the Senate, stating that the
uncertainties are growing as the force ages, which raises the
question whether it is wise for the United States to surrender
the option of testing.
We are not going to test in the foreseeable future, but to
retain the option is the question that is open.
I should point out that the CTBT mechanism for enforcement
is quite questionable. An Executive Council was established
with 51 members. It requires a vote of 30 members to
investigate a presumed violation. The number of Western
countries on that Council is limited and there is grave
question about whether or not we could ever get an affirmative
vote with regard to investigating such a site.
Senator McCain. I thank you. Senator Glenn, do you have
anything to add to this, given your long involvement in this
Senator Glenn. Thank you. I wasn't here when we voted on
that before but I was here when we had a lot of the discussion
of it before on CTBT.
In my view, I would like to have the CTBT, but I'd want to
know what we're agreeing to. I don't think it's adequately
defined yet. The Soviets or the Russians now define it, their
interpretation of it, in a different way than we do, and I
think the value of the CTBT is probably not in my mind as great
as it was back some 20 years ago or so. At that time we thought
that any nation to be a valid nuclear weapons nation, had to
have a test. We didn't know that they were going to be a
nuclear nation and they didn't know themselves whether their
technology was good enough to set the bomb off, so they tested.
Now we know that anybody that has the material can have a
bomb. The value of CTBT to me is that we retain a leadership
position in our own psychological thinking and the way the
world looks at us as being an advocate for peace and for a
balance and for not going ahead with unbridled weaponry. I
would favor CTBT, but I would only vote for it if it had better
Right now the Russians do not have an agreement with us, as
far as I know, on exactly what it is we're agreeing to. They,
for instance, have said that, as I understand it, they can test
to smaller levels as long as it's not detectable. To me that's
like saying it's okay to rob the bank so long as nobody catches
me and it just doesn't fit right. If we're going to agree to
this thing and they should agree to it, it becomes an
international treaty. A treaty is equal on both parties and
right now the Russians do not see it that way, as I understand
I would want better definition of it and then I'd be for it
because I think I would want to see us keep a leadership
position in the world's drive toward controlling some of these
Senator McCain. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the
Chairman Levin. Thank you. Senator Lieberman is next, and
I'm going to ask him, and he's more than willing to take the
gavel, to keep us going and Senator McCain and I can go to the
Senate Floor. We thank you for your really tremendous
Senator Lieberman. Thanks, Mr. Chairman. Before you go, I
do want to thank you and Senator McCain for convening this
hearing so that we can hear from the members of the Commission.
There's surprisingly little discussion in Congress today of
America's strategic nuclear posture. There's somewhat more
discussion about BMD which is obviously related and there is a
lot of discussion about the Iranian nuclear program. I think
too often we've not connected those and I'm going to explore
that a bit with you; that is, we haven't connected our own
nuclear strategic posture and the set of agreements we've had
with the threat of the Iranian nuclear program.
I thank all of you. This is a very important piece of work.
It's good to see Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger and Senator
Glenn again. Senator Glenn did really pioneer work in his time
particularly, I say with pride, on what was then the
Governmental Affairs Committee as chairman in focusing Congress
on some of these issues. It's been my honor to succeed him as
chairman of the committee.
Dr. Perry, it struck me at one point in your remarks, you
said that this is the time of peril but hopefulness. You said
there's a possibility of worries, let's put it that way, that
the existing nonproliferation regime in the world could
I took that to be a reference to the consequences of an
Iranian nuclear program, am I right?
Dr. Perry. Yes.
Senator Lieberman. Dr. Schlesinger, you talked about the
extent to which a smaller but still robust American nuclear
capacity is a deterrent to proliferation and I took that to
mean, again particularly with reference to the real case of
Iran now, that the fact that nations, particularly in the
Middle East but even beyond but particularly in the Middle
East, certainly Arab countries, are somewhat discouraged from
pushing ahead on their own nuclear programs because they know
that we have ours, should Iran go nuclear. Am I right in that?
Dr. Schlesinger. It is primarily the impact on our allies
who are under the nuclear umbrella, and perhaps most notably at
this occasion, Japan.
Senator Lieberman. Okay. Even more perhaps than in the
Dr. Schlesinger. Unquestionably, the Iranians recognize
that the United States has immense military capabilities and
that is going to be a deterrent to any military action on their
Senator Lieberman. Right. So I just appreciate your answers
because it is what I thought I heard you say. When we talk
about Iran developing a nuclear weapon, we naturally talk about
the consequences that would have most immediately for our
allies in the Middle East, Israel and the Arab allies, and
ourselves. But it would also have, in a larger strategic
context, a very threatening impact on the existing nuclear
nonproliferation through the world and that would be a terrible
Dr. Schlesinger. As Dr. Perry indicated, it may be the
Senator Lieberman. It may be the tipping point.
Dr. Schlesinger. We may have an Iranian nuclear weapon
before the NPT Review Conference in 2010 that would do
significant damage to the possibility of making that stronger.
Senator Lieberman. I appreciate that. I agree totally and
that's a real concern.
Let me go the next step on that, Dr. Perry, if you're able
to share with us what some of the discussions were with the
Russians, you have very valuable communication access there,
about what you think they may be willing to do with us now to
prevent the Iranians from obtaining nuclear capacity.
Dr. Perry. I look at the history of the negotiations in the
past, it's been the Russians and the Europeans with the
Iranians and the Americans on the sideline.
I think the first step is to get the Americans as a key
part of the team that's negotiating so that we--and that
involves developing a common strategy with them. I do not
believe the Iranians are going to easily give up nuclear
Senator Lieberman. I agree.
Dr. Perry. They see many advantages to having a virtual
nuclear weapon capability, to be within a few months of
building a bomb. They're not going to give that up very easily.
I think it would take coercive diplomacy for that to happen.
Setting aside the possibility of a military action, the
coercions are going to have to be economic and the nations in a
position to apply it--no one nation can apply that economic
effectively. It has to be Russia and the United States all
agreeing on it. I think that Iran is highly vulnerable to
economic pressure, more so than most people realize. As long as
Russia or China or some other nation is not going along with
that, then there's an easy way out for it.
It does require that cooperation and the indication I got
in my discussions at least was that the Russians, the
Europeans, and the United States could be on a common strategy
of that kind of economic pressure. I've not discussed this
issue with China, but in my judgment, it would require China to
be agreeable to that, also.
Senator Lieberman. That makes a lot of sense to me. I
agree. I think you spoke with real clarity which is that it's
not going to be easy to convince the Iranians to stop the
nuclear program. To do so will require not just diplomacy but,
I liked your adjective, coercive diplomacy, and probably the
most effective thing we can do is to put very strict severe
economic sanctions on them or the threat of those.
For that to be effective, we have to have support and the
Russians can play a very important part in that, if they will
cooperate with us. I had somebody say to me, and I think it was
consistent with what you've just said, I don't want to put
these words in your mouth, but it relates, which is that
there's only one thing more important to the Iranian regime
right now than the development of nuclear weapons and it is the
survival of the regime. If coercive diplomacy could threaten
the survival of the regime, then there is a chance that they
might negotiate to stop their nuclear weapons.
Dr. Perry. I agree with that.
Senator Lieberman. Thank you very much.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm going to go back to the CTBT from a little different
perspective. As Senator McCain said, we had a rather impressive
vote back in 1999 as to the feelings about the ratification of
this treaty and I was pretty active in that debate.
I think the first matter any arms control treaties have to
address is compliance with its obligations and that it can be
verified, as Ronald Reagan said, ``Trust, but verify.'' I think
it was found by the Senate to be lacking in this point and as
recently as October 2008, Secretary Gates stated, when he made
his speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
``To be blunt, there's absolutely no way we can maintain a
credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our
stockpile without either resorting to testing our stockpile or
pursuing a modernization program.''
Dr. Perry, we talked informally before the meeting about
the fact that perhaps the most important part of the job that
you had to do was addressing the CTBT. However, you had made
the statement that it's impossible to have any kind of
Personally, I'd ask, could you define consensus? Is that a
majority or is that 100 percent?
Dr. Perry. We're split about evenly on that.
Senator Inhofe. Oh, you were? Okay. So if you have
consensus, you would actually have--by consensus, I meant
It doesn't mean everybody, it means a majority?
Dr. Perry. Yes, it means everybody.
Senator Inhofe. It means 100 percent?
Dr. Perry. 100 percent.
Senator Inhofe. The problem with 100 percent is you have
two problems. As we've mentioned, I use the word ``prima
donnas'' and I shouldn't have. That has a negative sense.
Highly-educated proven authorities in these areas which all 12
were. However, you have that problem, along with the fact that
there are 12 and to get consensus in 12 people would be a very
Was it pretty well split even in terms of the ratification
of the CTBT?
Dr. Perry. Yes, it was.
Senator Inhofe. Okay. That's interesting to know.
Dr. Perry. In our report we gave each side the opportunity
to give their reasons.
Senator Inhofe. Okay. Let me ask you this. Senator Glenn
has already made his comments as to his feelings. Would the
rest of you state whether or not you agree with Secretary
Gates' statement of October 2008.
Dr. Cartland, do you pretty much agree with that?
Dr. Cartland. Yes, I agree.
Senator Inhofe. Okay. Dr. Perry?
Dr. Perry. Yes.
Senator Inhofe. Okay. Now, one other thing that is
confusing to me because I'm not quite into this as most of the
rest of them are, when we talk about numbers, we had our
private meeting, Dr. Schlesinger here, and I appreciate that
very much. As I understand it now, our number that we're using
is a range between 1,700 and 2,200.
Obviously there may be something that's classified that
would be more specific than that. I won't ask you what that is.
But it's also my understanding that the Russians are at about
2,800 now, is that correct?
Dr. Schlesinger. They exceed the prospective limit. They
have to come down by 2012.
Senator Inhofe. Okay. You're anticipating they have to come
down a little further than we have to come down if we're going
to come to some unknown figure to me anyway by that time?
Dr. Schlesinger. The Commission expressed concern about the
number of tactical nuclear weapons that they have.
Senator Inhofe. All right. That's good. The second thing
I'd like to get into is Recommendation 1. The report states
that the ``force structure should be sized and shaped to meet a
diverse set of national objectives. This requires a high-level
assessment of strategic contacts,'' and I agree with that. But
this is precisely what the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and
the NPR would be giving you the information that is in your
Why is it we can't, since that's starting right now, go
ahead and proceed or do away with that decision until we have
the results of the QDR and NPR? I know that you have a deadline
of the expiration of December 5. I understand that, but I also
know that there are provisions by which that deadline can be
extended up to 5 years.
Is the problem we can't do that mostly that Russia wouldn't
do it or would you comment as to any way that we could delay
this until we have the information that will be given to us by
the NPR and the QDR?
Dr. Perry. I think the START follow-on either could be
negotiated by the end of the year or, if there are still issues
remaining, they could get an extension of the previous START.
Senator Inhofe. At that time--so if we have information
that you would have--we would have the benefit of into December
as a result of our QDR, we might then at that time request an
Dr. Perry. I think that's conceivable.
Senator Inhofe. Okay. My time's going by fast here and I
want to get into missile defense.
When the announcement came out as to Secretary Gates and
what's going to be the position of the administration, of
course, I was stressed over a lot of things you were not
addressing in this meeting, such as the F-22, C-17, the Future
Combat System, but they do get pretty specific in some of the
recommendations in terms of our Missile Defense System.
I know you've already addressed this and I'm going a little
bit over my time, Mr. Chairman. I'd just like to get your
feeling about the recommendation on the Czech Republic and
It would seem to me that that could be pretty well verified
that that is to preclude a threat that would emanate from Iran.
Yet, I think those parliaments, and I was there and I was told
that they were ready to come to the table on that and agree
that they could have the radar capability in the Czech Republic
and the capability, the launching capability in Poland, except
they were waiting to see where this administration was going to
That was a disappointment to me, the $1.4 billion cut, and
I'd just like to have the feeling of the Commission on those
particular sites, if that was addressed in your report.
Dr. Perry. We do not address that in our report, Senator
Inhofe. My own personal view is that if, and it's a big if, we
can negotiate an agreement for a site based in Russia, it would
be a more effective site against an Iranian missile.
If we cannot do that, the sites in Poland and
Czechoslovakia could be satisfactory.
Senator Inhofe. I like that answer. Do the other members
pretty much agree with that answer? All right.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Schlesinger. This is a political issue, Senator Inhofe.
The Russians do not so much object to missile defense in Europe
or against Iran. They object to our putting those sites in
former satellite territory which they regard as provocative.
Senator Inhofe. I understand that, although I think the
words that were used were they don't object to doing it against
rogue nations and, I think we all have our definition of that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Lieberman. Thank you, Senator Inhofe.
Senator Hagan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to
welcome all of you here and I am honored to be here listening
to you and I applaud you for the work that you've done on this
Senator Glenn actually brought this up, talking about the
use of the fissile material, but what I was concerned was with
the ongoing nuclear proliferation coupled with the
accessibility of information on the Internet that could enable
terrorists with the human capital to construct a nuclear
weapon, provided that they obtained the required fissile
material, to include the highly-enriched uranium.
I'm concerned about the civilian nuclear reactor
facilities, do they have the capability and the power to
protect and safeguard the highly-enriched uranium and other
fissile materials onsite at those locations?
Could you please provide information on initiatives in
place aimed to work with our international partners to
safeguard the fissile materials in the civilian nuclear reactor
facilities and also perhaps address the security
vulnerabilities at these sites?
Dr. Perry. We agree that that's a very serious problem. The
basic premise is that if a terror group could get their hands
on enough highly-enriched uranium they could make a bomb and we
agree with that. We think that's one of the most important
dangers facing us today.
Some of the facilities have highly-enriched uranium, not
all of them, because most of reactors operate on low-enriched
uranium. The move has been to try to get that highly-enriched
uranium under safe control and also have these reactors
converted so they can operate into low-enriched uranium.
The administration is working on that and we encourage that
effort to be accelerated.
Senator Hagan. But are there initiatives in place to secure
Dr. Perry. There are initiatives in place. We think they
should be accelerated.
Senator Hagan. I also was concerned in your opening remarks
in the written testimony, there was talk about cyber attacks.
You didn't examine threats related to the cyber attacks, and it
seems like in any area of the military today that so much of it
would be involved with.
Dr. Perry. All of the Commission members would agree that
cyber attack is potentially very dangerous in the future. We
did not go into that in enough detail to represent ourselves
and the Commission has no authority on that subject.
Senator Hagan. Do you think that's something we should
begin the process and examine that in great detail?
Dr. Perry. I strongly agree with that. I see it as a very
serious potential future problem.
Senator Hagan. Also on the proposed cuts by Secretary Gates
involving missile defense affect our capability to counter
against nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran?
Dr. Perry. I'm sorry. I didn't understand the question.
Senator Hagan. How do the proposed cuts by Secretary Gates
involving missile defense affect our capability to counter
attacks against the nuclear threats posed by North Korea and
At one point you talked, too, about the number of people
that had been cut over the years.
Dr. Perry. I think we do not now have the capability
against Iran and the question is whether we should continue to
put resources into the program established a few years ago
based in the Czech Republic or whether we should move towards a
program in cooperation with Russia. I think that's an open
question right now, and I believe that if it turns out to be
possible to have a joint program with the Russians, that's the
way I would recommend going.
Senator Hagan. Dr. Schlesinger, any other comments?
Dr. Schlesinger. With regard to Iran and North Korea, they
are not going to be much affected in the short run by anything
that we do with regard to missile defense.
Senator Hagan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Lieberman. Thank you very much, Senator Hagan.
Senator Sessions. Thank you.
Senator Lieberman. The consensus builder.
Senator Sessions. The issue, the feeling that we had,
members of the panel, thank you so much for your service, that
two things were happening.
One, we were having some divergent ideas about the nuclear
posture of the United States, but, two, I think there was a
feeling that Congress had not dealt with this issue in a long
time. We had not thought about it and the world was going
forward. There was even some suggestion that the errors in
Minot were all to some degree part of an ignoring of this whole
question and putting on the back burner and were such a big
deal that we needed to get our graybeards--I don't see any
beards out there, but thoughtful people to help us reach a
national consensus about where we needed to go.
I know Senator Bill Nelson, my colleague on the Strategic
Subcommittee, supported this, as have others, and we thank you
for your service and the importance of it.
A number of questions have been raised. I would just like
to point out a few things I think are themes in this report,
Mr. Chairman, and make a few comments and also just say how
much I appreciate, Senator Lieberman, your depth of
understanding of these issues and commitment to them over the
The report, I think, is pretty clear in saying there is a
need to maintain a nuclear deterrent for an indefinite future.
In fact, you say nuclear elimination would, ``require a
fundamental transformation of the world political order.''
I don't know how many of us have seen those in our lifetime
but it is not likely, I think, that we'll be in a world where
we can completely eliminate nuclear weapons. So we have to
think rationally about what we can do to reduce risk and
Non-material. I think the report indicates the importance
of extended deterrence to reassure our allies and that that
should influence heavily our design and size of our nuclear
forces. If it's going to destabilize our allies and cause them
to perhaps develop their own nuclear weapon system, then we
would have the perverse consequence of maybe reducing our
forces to provide world safety and actually creating a
proliferation. I think that was reflected to some degree in
Nuclear force reductions, you find, must be done
bilaterally with Russia and must be based on a rigorous
analysis of the strategic context and the current balance in
non-strategic forces is a concern, you find: ``Dealing with
this imbalance is urgent.''
Now what I understand that to mean is that while we
negotiate with Russia to draw down their total nuclear weapons
and they're doing so but not as much, nearly as much as have,
they have 3,800 tactical nuclear weapons, we have only five and
that's not being part of this negotiation or at least we
haven't dealt with that with clarity. So that is a matter I
think you've put on our plate that we need to and the
administration needs to deal with.
You deal with the question of force modernization pretty
directly, including the weapons complex, which is necessary,
you find, to maintain a nuclear deterrent at reduced levels. If
we're going to reduce the number continually and go further
than we are today, we need to be sure it's modernized and
Dr. Foster, you've had some experience in that. Maybe you'd
like to share a thought on that.
Dr. Foster. I'm sorry, Senator. Would you sharpen the
question for me, please?
Senator Sessions. Yes. With regard to the modernization of
our nuclear weapons, why, based on your experience and
expertise in these areas, do you think that is a factor we have
to deal with if we reduce the numbers even further?
Dr. Foster. As the Secretary has pointed out, we recognize
that we have a problem trying to maintain the nuclear stockpile
indefinitely and it would be helpful if the laboratories were
permitted more freedom to make the necessary adjustments.
I believe that there is a more serious problem and that has
to do with the tactical nuclear situation, which Dr.
Schlesinger has referred to.
We had the opportunity to listen to comments by a number of
nations who were represented and presented their views to us,
in particular their concerns. Those allies that are on the
periphery of Russia and those allies that are on the periphery
of China are concerned. They are concerned about whether or not
the nuclear umbrella will be credible, as they see it, against
the statements that have been made by potential adversaries.
Now, in particular, the representatives from one of our
allies have described in some detail the kind of capabilities
that they believe the U.S. nuclear umbrella should possess and
so they have talked about capabilities that can be stealthy and
they can be transparent and they can be prompt, and then they
would like capabilities that can penetrate hard targets with
minimum collateral damage and low yield and so on.
Now those are not the characteristics that we currently
deploy, and so the question is whether or not, in discussions
with our allies, we will be able to accommodate their concerns.
Now, I believe one cannot answer that question without
having the laboratories given the freedom to address whether or
not such capabilities might be provided without nuclear testing
and with confidence.
Does that answer the question?
Senator Sessions. Well said, Dr. Foster. I think it was and
it just drives home this point of we do need to let our
laboratories have some freedom to anticipate future
capabilities and make sure our system is modernized.
You also support and indicate that BMD supports deterrence
and damage limitations. You find that the United States should
deploy missile defenses against regional nuclear aggressors,
including limited long-range threats, and should ``also develop
effective capabilities to defend against increasing complex
missile threats,'' and I'm afraid our budget may be being
whacked enough there that that may not meet those standards
that you've asked for.
We've had a major reduction, more than a lot of people
realize, in our National Missile Defense Program, but you call
for it to not only be in place but to be prepared to deal with
increasingly complex threats and, finally, I would note that
the United States must take steps to reduce nuclear dangers of
proliferation and nuclear terrorism, and I believe that this is
the real danger in the 21st century.
I would ask just briefly, my time has expired, while it's
important for us to deal with, Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger,
the Russians and to negotiate with them and continue to have
more of a partnership relationship and not an adversarial
relationship, do you agree that the most likely immediate
threat to us would be through a rogue nation or nuclear
terrorism rather than----
Dr. Perry. I would agree that the most likely threat would
be from nuclear terrorism. My concern with rogue nations is not
that they would attack us but that they might let their nuclear
fissile material or nuclear bombs out of their hands into the
hands of the terrorists.
Senator Sessions. Thank you. Dr. Schlesinger.
Dr. Schlesinger. The likelihood of a terrorist attack is
the most likely, most probable weapon that will last on
American soil. As we have discussed, though, it is necessary to
deal with a much larger set of issues in constructing our
deterrent. The ability of the nuclear deterrent to deter a
nuclear terrorist attack is very modest.
Senator Sessions. Thank you.
Senator Lieberman. Thank you, Senator Sessions. Thanks for
your informed leadership on this question which has been unique
in the Senate in recent years and therefore all the more
I think you made a very important point at the end, Dr.
Schlesinger, and maybe if I get a second round, I can come
back, which is the extent to which our nuclear deterrent can
deter nuclear terrorists.
Senator Ben Nelson.
Senator Ben Nelson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The potential nuclear threats posed by the vulnerabilities
in Pakistan's nuclear posture, coupled with the fact that the
United States doesn't know where all of Pakistan's nuclear
sites are located, clearly leaves us in a position to no longer
accept blanket assurances from Pakistan that the weapons are
As a matter of fact, in 2002, in a meeting in Islamabad
with President Musharraf, I asked him directly the question if
he was confident that all of the nuclear armaments were under
satisfactory control and were secure and his answer was that he
was 95 percent certain.
So we have every right to be concerned about that, if his
answer was anywhere near correct. I hope that he was on the low
side as opposed to the high side.
In any event, do you have any recommendations to what might
be the nuclear tipping point caused by the ever-emboldened
Dr. Perry. Senator Nelson, I believe you are correct in
saying that's the most serious danger we face today. I'm not in
the position to make recommendations on how our government
should deal with that. I know they're serious about the
problem. I know they're working very hard on it, but I don't
feel that I'm in a position to recommend what they should do on
Senator Ben Nelson. Dr. Schlesinger, do you feel emboldened
to make a suggestion?
Dr. Schlesinger. One of the things that the United States
should be a model on is with respect to protecting nuclear
weapons. An enterprising journalist from the New York Times
interviewed after the Minot incident the general officer in
Pakistan who was in charge of safety of nuclear weapons and the
New York Times reporter said, ``What help are you getting from
the Americans?'' to which the general officer responded, ``Who
the hell are the Americans to give us advice with regard to the
safety of nuclear weapons? You just took missiles off from
Minot Air Force Base, flew them down to Barksdale Air Force
Base, and you didn't know what you were doing, and we are
supposed to turn to you for advice?''
We have to be credible if we are to be convincing in
dealing with countries like Pakistan and the safety issue.
Senator Ben Nelson. Senator Glenn, perhaps you have some
thoughts, having spent a great deal of time being concerned
about these issues.
Senator Glenn. I was concerned way back when President Zia
was still President of Pakistan, and I made two trips over
there when they sat and lied to us about whether they were
making nuclear weapons or not. We had very good intelligence
information at that time and they just denied they were making
any nuclear weapons at all.
I've been concerned about this for a long time, about what
might happen if al Qaeda, or other sympathetic groups, came
into power in Pakistan. The best hope we can have is that I
hope they are keeping some of the triggers and things like that
of their nuclear weapons separate and in some spread-out area
where, if the actual bomb case itself was taken over in a raid
by al Qaeda or something like that, that they still wouldn't be
able to use a nuclear weapon as such already constructed.
The biggest danger to me, I think, that we face right now
in this whole field is loose fissile material, because making a
nuclear weapon these days is no problem if you have the fissile
material. It's fairly simple, and if you have enough of it and
know what you're doing, which I think they would have the
expertise to do it, why, they would have weapons to use against
That's my concern in Iran, also. I'm not quite as concerned
as some people are about whether in Iran we should put in
missile defenses and all for what might be a single shot or
even a double shot. If they ever develop nuclear weapons or
boosters to that point, but I am concerned in Iran that maybe
their control of fissile material might be weak enough that
some of the al Qaeda sympathetic people in Iran might be able
to get fissile material, and I think any of our negotiations
from now on, whether it's START or anything else, should make
every effort we can to get fissile material control back and
make that the emphasis.
Our ability, our controlling this whole thing through the
last 60 years or so has been pretty doggone good and I don't
look at the use in World War II, like some people do, that was
horrible and never should have done it. It saved probably a
couple million lives. I was in a squad and getting ready to go
back to Japan at that time for the invasion and we saved lives
by that. So in that case, I think it was a good use of nuclear
weapons to end that war.
But do we ever want to repeat that? No, absolutely not, but
I think the greatest danger we have now--and the point I'm
making is that our agreements so far, the treaties now have
been nation state to nation state and so we do that in the
international treaties and through the U.N. sanctions and it's
dealing with nation states.
Now, our threat is not from nation states, as I see. I
don't think the likelihood that Russia is going to attack us or
China is going to attack us. I think there's a major danger,
though, from fissile material running around from people who
are not representing nation states. They're representing their
own interests, their own whatever interests they have,
terrorism, and if they get fissile material, then we have deep
trouble, and it's not going to be something that's going to be
subject to treaties and things like that.
I think that's the biggest danger we have right now and how
we control or get a better inventory of all the fissile
material in the world, that's a big, big challenge, and I think
we should be concentrating a lot more effort on that than we
Senator Ben Nelson. Even if we get the inventory in the
case in Pakistan, it remains that the government could be
toppled and these terrorists, these rogue individuals could end
up with the whole weapon in their hands and perhaps through
some magic or otherwise they could find the detonating
capability, as well, and that is a threat.
Well, thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Lieberman. Thank you, Senator Nelson. Interesting
Senator Collins, good morning.
Senator Collins. Thank you. Good morning.
First, let me join in welcoming such a distinguished panel
before our committee today. Senator Glenn, it's always
wonderful to welcome you back to the Senate. We had the honor
of serving together on what was then known as the Governmental
Affairs Committee for many years, and I have such respect for
all of the members of this panel.
Dr. Perry, a couple of years ago Max Kampelman came to see
me and he brought with him the Wall Street Journal op-ed that
you, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn authored and
it's called ``A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,'' and I must
say, as I talked with Mr. Kampelman and read this op-ed, it put
forth an inspiring vision, one that I think all of us wish
could come about today.
When I looked through your report, it seems to reach a
different conclusion. Rather than reflecting a plan to go
forward to achieve the goal outlined in this op-ed, it says
that we need to maintain a reliance on nuclear weapons as a
So I wonder if you could talk about the two different
visions presented in this op-ed 2 years ago and in your report
today. Second, I would be interested in knowing whether the
increasing threat from Iran and the North Koreans has altered
Dr. Perry. Thank you, Senator Collins.
My colleague and your colleague, Sam Nunn, has described
this vision in the Wall Street Journal article, in which Max
Kampelman was describing as being like the top of a mountain
and he says we cannot see the top of the mountain today but we
should be moving in that direction. He argues that the
immediate goal should be establishing a base camp much higher
up the mountain than we are now and at that base camp we should
be able to see the top of the mountain and therefore we can
plan the final ascent. That base camp has to be safer than we
are today, and it has to be stable enough that if we have to
stay there for a few years, we can do that.
Our immediate goal is moving up the mountain, and I think
this report is consistent with moving up the mountain. It makes
recommendations for positions which make us safer than we are
today which reduces our nuclear weapons and which deals more
specifically with the most immediate dangers which are
proliferation dangers, the dangers of nuclear terrorism.
This report is dealing more with the near future and
through the Wall Street Journal op-ed it can be described as a
strategy for getting to the base camp, not as a strategy for
getting to the top of the mountain.
Both Sam Nunn and I have said publicly that this vision,
which we call the top of the mountain, is a vision where we
cannot even see the top of the mountains now, and that's what
we mean when we say it's going to require a change in the
geopolitical situation to do that. But we also believe, and I
want to make very clear on this point, that this vision helps
us get up to the base camp. Without that vision, we feel we're
going to slip farther down the mountain.
We need the support of nations all over the world to do
that. In more practical terms, other nations of the world want
to see we're serious about maintaining our commitment under the
NPT, of moving towards disarmament.
Senator Collins. Thank you. Dr. Schlesinger, the
Commission, as I indicated, calls for a continued reliance on
nuclear weapons as a deterrent. Nevertheless, and I do accept
that conclusion, should steps be taken to change or reduce the
danger of an accidental or unauthorized use of a nuclear
I'm talking about the debate of the deployment, the
targeting, the hair trigger debate that we've had. Could we and
should we be taking steps to help lower tensions by still
having that deterrent but perhaps moving back?
Dr. Schlesinger. The question has been raised about so-
called hair trigger alert and we speak to that at some length
in the Commission report.
The hair trigger alert problem, I think, is, as we say in
the report, substantially exaggerated in that on both sides,
there are very careful controls, including electronic controls,
coming from the President of the United States or the President
of Russia, to prevent the launch of a weapon.
Our concern, following this, is that there be enough
decision time for the President of the United States, and I
think particularly the President of Russia, to examine the
evidence before he hypothetically responds, and lengthening
that decision time will be helpful. Negotiations with the
Russians will, I think, help with regard to the decision time
issue, but the question with respect to hair trigger alert is
really a question of the past with regard to both U.S. and
Russian forces and thus Chinese forces, as well.
Senator Collins. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Lieberman. Thanks very much, Senator Collins.
Senator Udall, welcome back.
Senator Udall. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to welcome the panel. It's truly an honor to be
able to sit here today and soak up the accumulated wisdom and
experience at this table before us. I am a casual mountain
climber myself, Secretary Perry. So I find your climbing
I wonder what Senator Glenn would utilize, given his
experience as a fighter pilot and an astronaut, as the base
camp that we need to reach. I don't know if it would be a space
station, Senator Glenn, or whether it's a forward operating
base, in Marine parlance, but I really appreciate you all and
the work you've done.
If I might, Secretary Perry, I'd turn a question to you but
I'd invite the entire panel to comment.
I'm interested in delivery systems, specifically the land-
based leg of the Triad or ICBMs, and do you have any views on
retaining our current number, which total about 450, or
reducing those ICBMs as part of an overall arms agreement?
Dr. Perry. In our report we have argued the desirability of
maintaining the Triad, even if we reduce the overall number of
weapon systems. We think that the Triad is the way to configure
those. We would argue for continuing to maintain the land-based
ICBMs for the particular advantages that they bring to
deterrence, but we could also be open to seeing that number
reduced if it's done bilaterally with the Russians.
Senator Udall. Dr. Schlesinger, do you have a comment?
Dr. Schlesinger. I think Dr. Perry's covered the point. As
we come down from the 2,200 level, unavoidably it will have an
impact on our missile posture. So some of the ICBMs will be
reduced. Some of our sea-based forces will be reduced as we
One of the things that I hope that the Senate watches, and
we recommend the revival of the Arms Control Observer Group
that the Senate has had in the past, needs to watch what is the
impact of the reduction in force on the specifics of the
composition of our forces and does this weaken our overall
deterrence, including extended deterrence?
Senator Udall. So in effect, you're saying keep the three
legs of the Triad and they may be adjusted but you need all
three legs and they're interactive, if you will. They
complement each other.
Dr. Schlesinger. That was the belief of the Commission. It
is not a universal belief.
Senator Udall. Other panelists would like to comment on
that particular question? Dr. Cartland?
Dr. Cartland. No. I agree. I obviously support that
position myself, at least with regards to any near-term
reductions that might be done in the stockpile.
Unfortunately, at some point dollars do matter, and at some
point in the future we may have to reconsider this issue again,
whether it makes sense to maintain three legs of the Triad.
Senator Udall. Senator Glenn.
Senator Glenn. I think what you want to do in trying to
discourage any potential aggressor that might be wishing us
ill, you want to keep them guessing as to what the response may
be if they do something dumb and attack us. You have the
greatest flexibility there if you have the whole Triad, and
that way they can't just defend against submarines, they can't
just defend against the ICBM, or just defend against whatever.
The Triad is the very thing that gives them the most doubt.
It's the most ambiguous thing you can do to keep them guessing
and make them less confident in any attack they might consider
on us. So I favor, at least for now, until we can maybe some
time in this nirvana we're talking about in the future, work
our forces down and everybody else works their forces down,
that's the time when to consider this but certainly not now.
Dr. Perry. The one point we should keep in mind, if I might
add, is the impact of the Triad in the Cold War, where the
Russians spent an excessive amount, in our judgment, on air
defense, and they would not have been spending that money on
air defense if we did not have the bomber force; if they had
not been spending it on air defense, they would have been
spending it on offensive forces that might have been a greater
worry to us.
Senator Udall. Dr. Foster, did you want to comment, as
Before I move to a question in the broader sense, Nunn-
Lugar and working further with the Russians, I just want to
take a minute, Dr. Schlesinger, to commend you for the work you
did on the Rudman-Hart Commission and the prescience that the
Commission showed. I think the fundamental recommendations that
you have about investing in our country, whether it's in the
public health system or in a new energy policy and a
transformed military, I think the conclusions in that important
seminal document are still very, very applicable to this day. I
use the wisdom that was put forth in that document on the stump
in campaigns and in policy settings and I want to just take a
minute to thank you for that.
Dr. Schlesinger. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Udall. I think it's a document that will live a
long time and the template's clear where we need to invest to
keep our country strong.
If I could, I'd like to throw to the panel, and I see my
time's expired, but perhaps a brief comment from one or two of
the panelists, some thoughts on why we haven't been able to
make, I think, all the strides we could under the umbrella of
Is it the intransigence of the Russians in some cases? Is
it clumsiness on our part? Would anybody care to comment
briefly on that?
Dr. Perry. First of all, I think we've made considerable
progress on Nunn-Lugar. During the period I was Secretary of
Defense we dismantled 4,000 nuclear weapons which we could not
have done without the Nunn-Lugar program.
Senator Udall. I stand corrected, Mr. Secretary.
Dr. Perry. The program continues to this day. I cannot give
you an authoritative current account of what's going on, but I
know the program still continues. I think it's been
indispensable, though certainly in my role as Secretary of
Defense, it was indispensable. Beyond the dismantlement, it
provided the safety of many of the facilities in Russia. I
think the world is far safer today because of what the Nunn-
Lugar program has done.
Dr. Schlesinger. I think that DOE is quite satisfied with
the achievements in terms of providing security for Soviet
nuclear weapons which did not exist in the past. They are less
than satisfied with regard to fissile material, but this is an
ongoing process and Nunn-Lugar has been an immense success,
even though sometimes we get into squabbles with the Russians
with regard to security issues.
Senator Udall. Thanks again to the panel.
Senator Lieberman. Thank you, Senator Udall. Thanks for
your interest and good questions.
If the panel is prepared, I think Senator Sessions and I
would like to do one more round.
Let me go back to a question underneath what we've been
discussing and you alluded to it in your answer about the
nuclear terrorists, which is the question of whether, in the
context of the most serious challenges we face today from
terrorists, from Iran, and now control, the great country
controlled by an extremist Islamist regime, does our nuclear
strength actually deter?
In other words, as you all know better than I, during the
Cold War we reached a point with the Soviet leadership where it
was pretty clear that they were not going to die from Marxist-
Leninist principles. Maybe they reached the point where they
stopped believing them as a matter of fact, but, unfortunately,
it's painfully clear post-September 11 that the Islamist
terrorists are prepared to die, in fact they yearn for it.
Perhaps it's not as clear with regard to the leadership of a
country like Iran, although you can find statements from top
leaders that seem to be prepared to accept the large loss of
life in the interest of the greater cause.
Do nuclear weapons still deter? I know that you've thought
about that and I invite it.
Dr. Schlesinger. I think, unquestionably, our overall
military capability, including nuclear, is a substantial
deterrent to other nation states, including Iran.
Senator Lieberman. Okay.
Dr. Schlesinger. Ayatollah Khameni is not about to see the
end of Iran or Shiism in order to fulfill the wilder comments
of President Ahmadinejad.
Senator Lieberman. Right.
Dr. Schlesinger. So with regard to nation states, we do
quite well, I think, on deterrence, not as well as with the
Soviet Union in which their belief was that history was on
Senator Lieberman. Right.
Dr. Schlesinger. It was an erroneous belief, but they
believed it at the time.
With regard to the issue of terrorists, if they get ahold
of nuclear weapons, it is plain that our forces are not much of
What we have to hope is that any nation such as Iran or
North Korea will be deterred from turning over weapons or
fissile materials to terrorist groups. That is a much more
Senator Lieberman. Dr. Perry, do you have a thought on
Dr. Perry. I would say the same thing that Dr. Schlesinger
Senator Lieberman. Okay. Anyone else want to get into that?
It does strike me that, to some extent, now this won't work
with a nuclear--well, one reaction to the nuclear terrorism and
this goes back to the Hart-Rudman report, is that the best
defense to nuclear terrorism is homeland security, a robust
homeland security. I don't want to dwell on that.
Another defense, which perhaps rises to some extent against
a country that has leadership that's perhaps less rationale, is
a robust BMD, so that at least they know that the prospects of
succeeding are reduced by that defense.
I want to bounce an idea off of that somebody put to me the
other day and in some sense it's kind of an inside Congress/
inside Washington grand bargain. I must say there are parts of
the basis of the bargain that are suggested in some of the
conclusions or our inability to include in the report.
I'm speaking specifically of the CTBT where you had a
disagreement. I would say about your BMD sections, I don't mean
any disrespect, but they're more summary than some of the other
This is what one of the think tankers in town said--who
happens, to disclose all the cards, both for the CTBT and a
very robust BMD, and he observes that, I'm overstating the case
here, but that there's a lot of support on the left in American
politics here in Washington for the CTBT. There's less support
on the left for BMD, reluctant or limited.
On the right, there's a lot of support for the robust BMD
but many more questions about the CTBT. So he raises the
suggestion about whether there ought to be an inside Washington
brand where we agree to support both CTBT and a BMD which in
this case would involve restoring some of the funds that the
President's budget will apparently cut from the Missile Defense
Insofar as you care as individuals to respond to such a
thought, I would welcome it. Anybody so bold?
Dr. Schlesinger. It's inside Washington, inside political
Senator Lieberman. Yes.
Dr. Schlesinger. We're going to leave it to Congress to
work out those kinds of things.
Senator Lieberman. Very wise.
Dr. Schlesinger. I might throw in that, in addition to BMD,
we are concerned about the funding of the laboratories and that
would have to be part of it.
Senator Lieberman. That's good. That's my last question.
Dr. Perry. On CTBT, my support of it is contingent on
safeguards and the most important of those safeguards is robust
support on the laboratories. That is what gives us our main
Senator Lieberman. Okay. That's very interesting. I have a
final question. It seems to me as I read the report, which is
an excellent piece of work, that the most comprehensive set of
recommendations is not with regard to the sort of flash
button--flashier public issues, CTBT, START, BMD. It's about
the NNSA, but I think you make a very compelling argument,
including the suggestion of some potential legislative action
that might make NNSA a separate agency reporting to the
President through the Secretary of Energy as opposed to being
just within DOE.
Do you want to add anything to that, any sort of flesh to
what we've said about this part of your report, because
ultimately it may be what is really most important in the short
Dr. Schlesinger. We recognize that NNSA, as designed by
Congress and hopefully designed by Congress in 1999, has been a
failure and it's been a failure because of the intrusion of
other elements of DOE, so that the laboratories and the plants
have to get triple approval of anything that they want to
Senator Lieberman. Yes.
Dr. Schlesinger. We have models like the Agency for
International Development and previously the Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency in the Department of State which were
Senator Lieberman. Right.
Dr. Schlesinger. Within the DOE, we have the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC) which is independent. We also have
the Energy Information Administration (EIA) which is
Senator Lieberman. Right.
Dr. Schlesinger. It does not necessarily, in the case of
the EIA, even have to have the approval of the Secretary of
Energy, but those are models in which the ability of, say, the
General Counsel's Office or the Environmental Health and Safety
Group in the DOE cannot come down on the laboratories with
additional requirements and, indeed, we have had in the various
departments these kinds of arrangements.
FERC is not the best example simply because it's a
regulatory body and therefore separate from the DOE Secretary.
Senator Lieberman. The fact is that, as Senator Glenn well
remembers, that creation of NNSA in 1999 came not so much out
of concern for the scientific and engineering base as it was a
reaction to the Wen Ho Lee case, the scandal, the concern about
Chinese interruption or espionage really.
You make a very strong point and almost regardless of what
side you're on in any of these issues, I suppose unless you're
for total nuclear disarmament, this makes a lot of sense and I
appreciate it very much.
Senator Sessions. Dr. Schlesinger, I remember you making a
comment once, not too long ago, that when Americans make
declarations of policy and set goals, by nature we tend to want
to achieve them and that the Europeans are used to living with
more ambiguity and internal contradictions than the United
States is. You deal with some of those issues, I think, in
Chapter 4, the Declarations of Policy.
Would you express to us the hesitance of the Commission in
not explicitly adopting a goal of a total elimination of
Dr. Schlesinger. I think that Secretary Perry may have some
comments after I'm through. If we look back to the old days,
the United States regarded nuclear weapons as this great
equalizer in dealing with a possible Soviet Warsaw Pact
conventional attack on Western Europe. Other nations think in
terms of great equalizers, including Iran, that the Chairman
has mentioned, and when one thinks about these other nations,
what incentive do they have to give up nuclear weapons?
The United States now has conventional superiority and as a
consequence of our conventional superiority, we are quite
comfortable with a world without nuclear weapons, if we could
get there, but for the other nations that have nuclear weapons,
Pakistan, India; Pakistan looking across perhaps excessively at
now the conventional superiority of India. The North Koreans,
their only stake in this world is their nuclear capability
which they have exploited politically with great effectiveness.
The Russians today, as mentioned in the report, moved towards
an emphasis on tactical nuclear weapons.
It is not clear which countries we could persuade to give
up nuclear weapons. Undoubtedly, the British would be prepared
to do so. Perhaps the Chinese, but to find the incentives that
will persuade all nuclear powers today and possibly in the
future to abandon nuclear weapons is, I think, an uphill fight.
Bill, you may want to develop on that.
Dr. Perry. I do not disagree with what Dr. Schlesinger
said. It is really an uphill fight.
I would also point out that during the Cold War, the
nuclear weapons protected our security in very important ways.
Now with the ending of the Cold War, we see India getting
nuclear weapons and Pakistan getting nuclear weapons.
Pakistan selling their technology to other countries
through A.Q. Khan Network, Iran on the verge of nuclear
weapons, and where Iran goes, we see Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
wanting nuclear weapons.
Then in the face of all of this proliferation, we now have
terrorist groups emerging whose professed goal is to kill large
numbers of American civilians. Now we see nuclear weapons today
as a danger. If they could be eliminated, the world would be
I agree with Dr. Schlesinger. I don't see a way to do that
today, but that should not stop us from trying to work towards
Senator Sessions. One question, I'll ask if any of you
would like to comment on it. The Commission dealt with an issue
that we hear about periodically, I don't think from the
administration, but we hear sometimes raised that we should
renounce first-use capability or policy.
You conclude in Chapter 4, the United States ``should not
abandon calculated ambiguity by adopting a policy of no first
Would any of you like to comment on that conclusion?
Dr. Perry. Besides the danger of nuclear weapons, there's
also a danger of biological weapons. We have renounced
biological weapons. There's a danger that biological weapons
might be used against us and we believe we should use
deterrence of biological weapons that are used against us with
the threat of nuclear retaliation. We do not have the ability
to threaten biological retaliation nor would we want to. We do
not want to abandon it for that reason.
Dr. Schlesinger. I think, Senator Sessions, that the United
States is not going to use nuclear weapons against others, save
in extraordinary conditions. The ambiguity to which you refer
deals not with a nuclear attack on the United States but with
other types of attacks.
For example, the possibility--I stress the possibility--of
electromagnetic pulse attack, cyber warfare. There is no
defense against a sophisticated cyber warfare attack and the
Russians and the Chinese and perhaps others have developed
cyber offensive capabilities.
We may need to use a nuclear response to such things.
Biological warfare. The retention of ambiguity there is not to
suggest that we are going to use weapons initially. We are
prepared not to do so, but that we might have to respond to a
non-nuclear attack with the use of nuclear weapons if it is
Senator Sessions. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and let me thank
the panel for helping all of us in Congress and I thank the
American people to think through very challenging issues and to
get our heads straight as we go forward because there are some
actions that Congress needs to take and they will reflect some
of the policies and suggestions you've made.
Senator Lieberman. Thank you again, Senator Sessions.
Senator Udall. I want to thank the panel again and commend
you for creating what I think I could characterize as a
realistically idealistic approach to a world without nuclear
weapons. We have a long ways to go.
Senator Sessions. I like that phrase. Realistically
idealistic. I think that's good. Thank you.
Senator Lieberman. The first time either Senator Sessions
or I use that phrase, we'll give you credit. After that, it
will be ours. [Laughter.]
I want to join in thanking the panel and all members of the
Commission for what you've done. This has been a very
thoughtful and, I'd say, informative exchange we've had this
morning. I hope that some folks may be watching on television.
We have some significant decisions to make. We've had a
change of administrations obviously. There's going to be a
renewed focus on START and CTBT and, of course, ongoing
discussions about BMD. So you've really given us a primer here,
all Members of Congress and the public, to get us ready for
these discussions, and I appreciate it very, very much.
Almost all the members of the Commission, this is just the
latest chapter in a long story of public service by all of you.
Dr. Perry. If I may make a final comment?
Senator Lieberman. Please.
Dr. Perry. When Congress asked me to undertake this as
Chairman, I requested that the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP)
be selected as the administrator of the program and that has
I just want to acknowledge the very great support I
received from them.
Senator Lieberman. I appreciate your doing that and they
deserve our thanks, as well.
Dr. Schlesinger. May I interrupt there?
Senator Lieberman. Please, yes.
Dr. Schlesinger. The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA)
has also cooperated with USIP in providing security for us and
providing considerable editorial assistance to USIP. So IDA
should also be thanked.
Senator Lieberman. Good. We join you in thanking them.
Any other members of the panel want to make a final
It's the custom here, well, it's the reality, that
nongovernmental witnesses, which you're now in that glorious
status, are not required to respond to questions for the
record. If you're willing, I'd like to keep the record open
until next Tuesday for questions from any members, particularly
those who were not here, and we'll give you plenty of time to
answer them in writing. Is that acceptable?
Dr. Perry. Yes.
Dr. Schlesinger. Thank you.
Senator Lieberman. All right. I appreciate it very much.
I thank my colleagues. I thank all of you. The hearing is
[Questions for the record with answers supplied follow:]
Questions Submitted by Senator Carl Levin
joint u.s.-russia early warning
1. Senator Levin. Dr. Schlesinger, one of the elements in the joint
U.S.-Russian initiative is a recommended effort to increase decision
time for the Russian President or the U.S. President before launching a
retaliatory launch. One of the steps that the Commission recommends
taking is to revive the crisis hot line. What is the status of the hot
Dr. Schlesinger. The Direct Communications Link (DCL) (``hot
line'') was established in 1963 in the aftermath of the Cuban missile
crisis to help resolve misunderstandings and thereby help avert the
outbreak of nuclear war. It has operated continuously on a 24/7 basis
for over 45 years and has been upgraded several times since 1963. We
understand that there are several further upgrades being considered now
for the DCL that would expand and strengthen its capabilities to ensure
continuous service and broaden the kinds of services that can be
provided to our leaders. We support improvements to this vitally
2. Senator Levin. Dr. Schlesinger, a second recommendation is to
establish a joint early warning center. There was a previous effort
that failed. What steps should be taken this time to ensure a center is
Dr. Schlesinger. In June 2000, Presidents Clinton and Putin signed
a Memorandum of Understanding to create a Joint Data Exchange Center in
Moscow to provide for advance notifications of launchings of spacecraft
and ballistic missiles. As we understand it, implementation of that
agreement became embroiled in a larger dispute about tax and liability
issues for U.S. funded projects in Russia. More recently, continuing
disagreements over U.S. planned deployment of ballistic missile defense
components in Poland and the Czech Republic have also complicated
moving forward. We believe that as part of the process of ``resetting''
U.S.-Russian relations the United States should make renewed efforts to
implement the 2000 agreement.
3. Senator Levin. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, much has been
written about the concept of dealerting--removing the U.S. and Russian
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) from ``hair trigger
alert.'' The report is pretty clear that the Commission believes that
this is an ``erroneous characterization of the issue.'' Could you
explain this conclusion and why efforts to insert physical effects or
changes to ICBMs, to achieve additional decision time, are not
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. The term ``hair trigger'' suggests
to many the possibility of accidental or unauthorized launch. We
believe this concern to be unfounded. As our report notes, ``The alert
postures of both countries are in fact highly stable. They are subject
to multiple layers of control, ensuring clear civilian and indeed
presidential decisionmaking.'' We note that ICBMs in the United States
have been on alert for almost half a century with no suggestion that
accidental or unauthorized launch has been a risk. Instead, once again
quoting our report, we believe that the real risk is ``the possibility
that the president of Russia [or, less likely, the U.S. President]
might authorize a launch as a result of a decision made in haste that
is deliberate but mistaken. The best approach to this problem has been
and remains to improve Russian warning systems. . . .''
Inserting changes in ICBMs that delay implementation of an
authorized launch would not increase decision time available to either
president. Instead, by shortening the window during which ICBMs could
escape destruction such changes would put additional pressure for rapid
decision, especially in Russia, which is more dependent on ICBMs than
is the United States. While increasing decision time is valuable, until
we can devise an effective method for doing so, improving Russian
warning systems to avoid bad decisions remains the best approach to
reducing the chance of launch through miscalculation. We note that the
DCL would play an important role during the decisionmaking process.
national nuclear security administration
4. Senator Levin. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, among the
recommendations made by the Commission are changes to the
organizational structure of the National Nuclear Security
Administration (NNSA). One of these is to have the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) regulate the weapons complex, including the
laboratories. Did the Commission members discuss this recommendation
with the NRC and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB)?
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. No, it did not.
5. Senator Levin. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, do either of you
have an assessment of the cost to the NNSA and the delay in new
construction a shift to the NRC would entail?
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. We have no assessment of cost,
although we do not believe it would be high. Indeed, some of the
experts the Commission consulted believe that the total operations
costs for NNSA would probably decrease over time with NRC oversight.
The NRC must define their requirements in a public arena, and must
measure site performance against those requirements. One of the major
problems with existing NNSA oversight is that firm requirements are not
defined. Therefore, over time, sites operations are ratcheted up in the
level of controls and associated costs.
Our proposal was not intended to require a delay in construction of
any presently planned facilities. The 3-year transition period the
Commission recommends would allow working out of arrangements for
regulation of existing facilities. We would include those facilities
previously approved for construction in this process. In the 1990s
Congress provided a similar period for the United States Enrichment
Corporation (USEC) to come into compliance with Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) requirements when the Energy Policy Act of
1992 required Department of Energy (DOE) to lease the gaseous diffusion
plants to USEC.
6. Senator Levin. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, does the
regulatory approach of the NRC, which is strict compliance, match the
needs of the weapons complex?
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. We believe that it does. Having a
civil regulator regulate weapons facilities has been effective in the
United Kingdom. Navy fuel production facilities are presently operating
satisfactorily under NRC regulation. ``Strict compliance'' is, in
theory, the current DOE standard, so the shift should be manageable.
7. Senator Levin. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, nuclear safety
oversight is currently provided by the DNFSB, a small, 100-plus-person,
oversight body that makes recommendations to DOE and the NNSA, to
ensure the DOE and the NNSA are following their own safety orders and
procedures. The DNFSB does not have regulatory authority or shutdown
authority as does the NRC. Did you look at changing the nature of the
DNFSB to a regulatory body rather than assigning the task to the NRC?
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. The Commission did not consider this
option. Rather, our proposal would permit external regulation by the
DNFSB rather than the NRC as the single regulator. The Commission's
concern is with multiple levels of regulation. Under the current
system, NNSA provides oversight of contractor facilities. DOE provides
oversight of that oversight, in practice if not in theory. The DNFSB
similarly provides oversight. We believe that regulation by a single
entity is preferable to the current system and will allow clarification
of roles and responsibilities, reduction in the overall regulatory
burden and no diminution of the safety of nuclear operations. Whether
the DNFSB or the NRC should be that regulator requires additional
analysis. There are several factors to consider. The DNFSB has
specialized knowledge the NRC does not possess. The NRC has broader
experience, perhaps more standardized rules, and an independent
viewpoint developed over the years. The experience and viewpoints of
the DNFSB have been developed around the much-criticized (risk averse,
uncoordinated) DOE rules. It would be important to evaluate not only
which entity has the most detailed immediate expertise, but also which
one could best meet the objectives the Commission set forth. The
Commission did not perform such an evaluation.
8. Senator Levin. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, the DNFSB is
intimately familiar with all of the operational nuclear safety issues
and there are many in the complex. How will the NRC improve operational
nuclear safety in older unlicensed facilities?
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. The Commission proposal is not based
on improving operational nuclear safety but on providing equivalent
safety in a more effective manner. It is our judgment that NRC
oversight would accomplish this.
9. Senator Levin. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, would design and
construction on new facilities, such as the uranium processing facility
at the Oak Ridge Site in Tennessee and the chemical and metallurgical
facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have to stop to allow
the NRC to develop standards and a licensing process for the
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. Not under the Commission's proposal.
Our proposal is not intended to require a delay in construction of any
presently planned facilities.
10. Senator Levin. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, the report
appears to conclude that there is too much oversight of the operating
contractors by the NNSA and that the contractors should be told what
work is expected of them by the NNSA and then the NNSA should get out
of the way, letting the contractors implement the direction. This
approach to contract management appears to be contradictory to every
lesson that the Department of Defense (DOD) has learned in the last
decade. Would this approach still produce clear requirements, full and
complete cost estimates, comprehensive schedules, and clearly
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. There is every reason to believe
this recommended management approach should safely enhance NNSA safety,
effectiveness, and efficiencies, especially for the production
facilities. ``Clear requirements, full and complete cost estimates,
comprehensive schedules, and clearly understood milestones,'' are an
inherent part of specifying what is to be done. We note, however, that
scientific projects--as opposed to construction--at the national
laboratories are inherently less subject to binding schedules. A good
DOD analogue might be operation of shipyards. The government
establishes requirements and holds the contractor responsible for
meeting those requirements. However, it does not prescribe internal
operating procedures. This is the distinction between what to do (a
government function) and how to operate (a contractor responsibility)
that we seek to reestablish within NNSA.
Our report provides an illustration of why we believe this approach
will succeed. In 2006 and 2007, NNSA conducted a pilot program
exempting the Kansas City Plant from essentially all DOE regulations
and making other management changes in oversight. An external audit
documented $24 million in first year savings, about 5 percent of the
Kansas City annual budget. No problems with schedules or milestones
We note that the traditional government-owned, contractor-operated
approach to the national laboratories has been a great success in
fostering world-class science and technology. Excessive regulation and
micro-management threatens the continuation of this success. Our
proposal for OSHA and NRC regulation is intended to avoid this threat
while addressing past operational concerns and ensuring future safety.
Questions Submitted by Senator John Thune
post-strategic arms reduction treaty arms control negotiations
11. Senator Thune. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, on April 6, 2009,
Secretary Gates announced a series of major budget decisions aimed
toward reshaping the priorities of the America's defense establishment,
and which would profoundly reform how DOD does business. With regard to
U.S. nuclear and strategic posture, Secretary Gates said, ``We will
examine all of our strategic requirements during the Quadrennial
Defense Review (QDR), the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), and in light of
post-Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) arms control
negotiations.'' Of particular interest to me is that it appears that
Secretary Gates is proposing to suspend development of the Next
Generation Bomber until a new START is negotiated. The current START is
set to expire on December 5 of this year. To me, this proposal to delay
development of the Next Generation Bomber until post-START arms control
talks are completed appears problematic. Waiting until a new START is
negotiated could literally take years. In fact, the lead START
negotiator at the State Department has already indicated that the
negotiations for a follow-on START could last beyond December 5, 2009.
Secretary Gates himself also voiced concerns during a speech last fall
at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace about how long it
might take to negotiate a follow-on START. With regard to post-START
arms control negotiations, is it realistic to expect that a follow-on
START will be negotiated by December 5, 2009, when the current START
expires, particularly when the lead START negotiator for the United
States is already lowering expectations on that front?
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. We believe it is possible, although
unlikely, that negotiations will be completed by December 2009. Whether
they conclude by then will depend heavily on the attitude of the
Russian Federation. We believe it is unlikely that negotiations will be
completed in time to allow ratification and entry into force of the new
treaty before December 2009; therefore, some interim arrangements may
12. Senator Thune. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, in your view,
when do you believe a follow-on START could be successfully concluded?
A year from now? Longer?
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. Assuming a reasonable attitude on
the part of the Russian Federation, we believe a new treaty could be
concluded by the end of 2009, or more likely, early in 2010.
13. Senator Thune. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, if negotiations
for the follow-on START drag on after December 5, 2009, wouldn't it be
problematic for DOD to delay decisions about its strategic requirements
until after negotiations for the follow-on START are concluded?
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. We assume that decisions on
strategic requirements will be made during the QDR and NPR, both of
which we anticipate will be completed this year and both of which are
required by law to be submitted with the fiscal year 2011 budget early
next year. While we assume both the QDR and NPR will be informed by the
progress of ongoing arms reduction negotiations, we doubt that
decisions on either review will be delayed pending completion of START
follow-on negotiations. We would oppose such a delay.
14. Senator Thune. Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, the President
announced an objective to complete post-START negotiations by the end
of this year, which would provide a better idea of strategic
requirements by early next year once the QDR and NPR are finished.
However, Congress made it pretty clear that any negotiations should be
informed by the NPR. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 2008 mandates the review and clearly states, ``It is the sense of
Congress that the NPR . . . should be used as a basis for establishing
future United States arms control objectives and negotiating
positions.'' If the NPR is supposed to inform post-START negotiations,
then the President won't be able to complete negotiations by the end of
this year. In your opinion, should the administration complete the NPR
prior to post-START negotiations in accordance with the wishes of
Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger. We believe the administration should
complete the NPR prior to actually signing a post-START. This is
consistent with the legislation establishing the NPR, which requires
evaluating the ``relationship among United States nuclear deterrence
policy, targeting strategy, and arms control objectives.'' Given the
importance the Commission attached to continuity in an arms control
regime with Russia, we would not favor delaying the beginning of
negotiations until completion of the NPR. We would expect the post-
START negotiations and the NPR to be closely coordinated. Indeed, the
results of the NPR will depend, in part, on the degree to which Russia
is interested in an improved strategic relationship. The post-START
negotiations should provide insights into this issue and thus improve
the quality of the NPR.
[The Report ``America's Strategic Posture--The Final Report
of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the
United States'' follows:]
[Whereupon, at 11:39 a.m., the committee adjourned.]