Full transcript of the first panel “The Architecture – Capabilities and Technical Implications of the Administration’s Plan” at the 2009 missile defense conference “Missile Defense in Europe: Next Steps.”
Panel 1 — The Architecture: Capabilities and Technical Implications of the Administration’s Plan
- Jacques Gansler, Former Under Secretary of State for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; Robert C. Lipitz Chair of Public Policy, University of Maryland; Atlantic Council Board member
- Walter B. Slocombe, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy & Secretary; Atlantic Council Board member
- Jim Townsend, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy
- Dov Zakheim, Former Under Secretary of Defense and Comptroller & Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
October 7, 2009
JACQUES GANSLER: Okay, I’m Jacques Gansler. I was told I have to do my own introduction and they wanted to know, did I need a résumé to help me? I said I could handle it, I think. I remember what I was in the 6th grade and stuff. I, actually, am from the missile defense regime, although I suspect that I would probably be categorized as from the military-industrial complex having been on both sides of this and I am, by the way, a director of the Atlantic Council as well.
Because this panel is, specifically is, addressing architecture capabilities, technical implications of the plans – and the current plan and maybe what it’ll go in the future, I should point out that I’m an engineer. When I got out of Yale, my first job, actually, was designing anti-aircraft missiles and that evolved rather rapidly into anti-missile systems and anti-cruise missile systems and so forth, although later I did manage to get a Ph.D. in economics so I could understand what they cost. The other advantage, of course, being an engineer is the answers always come out the same. In economics, there are none. So it was a lot different issue.
I’ve literally spent most of my life on missile defense, on both sides of the issue, from the viewpoint of the defense side, modifying anti-aircraft systems to able to shoot down ballistic and cruise missiles. The predecessor of the PAC-3, the Patriot, that you heard about, was actually the HAWK missile that I designed the guidance control system for that at Raytheon, who’s the sponsor of this session. I should throw that in, I suppose.
And then I did a lot of work on maneuvering re-entry systems and decoy systems and things like that on the offense side. And this is the constant offense-defense game that we will clearly have to talk about. Today I’m a professor at the University of Maryland so I can say what I want; I don’t have to worry about either representing an industry or government’s position so I can be critical of both. But my last job was as undersecretary of defense for acquisition technology and logistics.
It was a small job then; it was only 180 billion [dollars]. Now it’s doubled essentially. But, nonetheless, the important parts of it, relevant to this discussion, is that the Missile Defense Agency did report to me, as you know; it was not one of the service agencies and it did get a lot of visibility, as a result. It was a major policy issue that I was involved with.
But I also got involved with the MEADS, which you heard about today, which was the NATO program and the interesting aspects of that, of trying to get the command and control and funding from multiple countries and, of course, it is designed as an air defense as well as cruise missile defense system and the challenge that you heard from Gen. O’Reilly, as well, of command and control is really critical here because its initial function is that of theater missile defense for the multiple NATO troops out there and the normal systems, command and control, operate within a single country.
So how do you now get this command and control system that has to operate in seconds, not even in minutes, when a bunch of missiles are coming in against a distributed set of troops, French, German, U.S., U.K., so forth? Do you pick up the phone and say, you know, Pierre, you take the first one; Hans, you take the second one but I got to check with my government first to see if it’s okay to shoot them down? Or do you actually have an integrated, automated system and that’s one of the real challenges that we’ll talk about in terms of the evolutions of these systems.
I should also point out that Israel has now got one of these integrated systems. It’s question about the integration of the PAC-3 and a national defense system. The ARROW is a joint system, U.S. and Israel, and any of you may have gone over to Israel and seen the command and control system there, they actually have an integrated system between Patriot and ARROW. They see this threat as very real, there’s no question about the capabilities of the threat in that case.
Okay, my job as moderator, I think, is two roles: first, to put into perspective the discussions that we’re going to be having and then to introduce the important speakers. And Walt Slocombe is going to be here as soon as he gets out of the garage. I think the story that we’re talking about for this whole day actually began on September 8th, 1944. That was the date when the first of the two V-2s launched from Germany actually impacted in downtown London. And then the second one, 16 seconds later, actually impacted in Epping. This is the multiple launch that Gen. O’Reilly pointed out and since 1944, this has been, for 65 years – the world has been debating the, what I would categorize as enduring missile defense issues – two of them.
First, can we hit a bullet with a bullet? There’s been lots of attacks from, of course, in fact the Union of Concerned Scientists accused me of fixing – wrote a letter to the president of the United States accusing me of fixing the flights when we shot down a ballistic missile over the Pacific. There’s a lot of concern about theoretical decoys versus real decoys, what I can hypothesize as a real threat versus one I could make up. How I could do it on a computer and so forth. So there’s a question, can we hit a missile with a missile?
Second question is should it be deployed? And that’s literally, over these 65 years, been a religious debate. It goes in the full spectrum from affordability and arms control on up to the multinational questions, the political questions that you just heard from the undersecretary of state. So those two questions – I think the first of these, can you hit a bullet with a bullet? Was actually initially answered in 1959 when the HAWK missile was modified so its speed gate could take a higher closing velocity and it actually shot down an Honest John missile at White Sands Missile Range.
That was the first, actual intercept of a ballistic missile by a missile and that was, literally, in 1959. I would take credit for it because I did modify the speed gate but you’ll figure out how old I am so – I was only six at the time when I did that. But that didn’t stop the debate – because the questions of can it be done and should it be done continued to be debated today. And that’s part of the discussion we’re going to be having for the last, literally, 50 years since that intercept.
The R&D and the initial deployment, and I would not say the D is for deployment as the secretary did – I think it truly is a question on both the defense and the offense side. The offense being overcome the defense systems, have continued and what’s impressive about the architecture questions are the wide variety of different systems on both offense and defense that have continued to reoccur.
On the defensive side, as you know, we have satellite, ground, sea, air-based detection systems, tracking systems, discrimination systems, radar, electro-optical, so forth. On the question of intercept, we have the boost intercept, the mid-course intercept, the terminal intercept and, again, from space, ground, sea and air for each of those phases. And then, how do we kill it? Do we do it with a hit to kill? Do we do it with a kinetic warhead? Do we do it with a nuclear warhead, such as the Russian system did and our earlier systems did? And so we have this whole spectrum all the way on up to high energy laser kills which we’ve been looking at lately.
And then, again, the most difficult part of it being the command and control with many forces and many countries going to be clearly involved because this is intercontinental almost by definition, but even in the theater area, it’s multinational. And the decision-making part of that, ranging from automatic response to having to get somebody in a political position to say, yeah, we’ll shoot it down. That’s the sort of spectrum in the command and control.
On the offensive side, various techniques for overcoming the missile defense systems: Multiple warheads, so now you have the discrimination problems but they’re all easy because they’re all just warheads. But introduce on top of that, decoys – midcourse decoys, re-entry decoys, even boost decoys that people have been talking about and then maneuvering re-entry systems. So that if you have a terminal system you maneuver against it. Or midcourse maneuvering because you think otherwise you have a ballistic trajectory. And the very sophisticated decoys with electronic countermeasures.
So what about the threat? Today there are over 30 nations with ballistic missiles – mostly shorter range, mostly moving towards mid-range and a number of them going to longer range, some of which already have longer range, many working on getting longer range. And there’s growing agreement, I think widespread agreement, on the need for theater missile defense systems. There’s no question with that many countries having ballistic missiles, shorter range ones, that we need it in the theater for our war fighters.
In fact, when I was undersecretary we had a meeting of the combatant commanders one time and they all came in, sat around the table and we asked them what do you need, number on priority? And it was, theater missile defense and it was being under funded, I should point that out.
Okay. But now there’s a growing question about the line between theater missile defense and strategic missile defense, or national missile defense if you want to call it that. That’s blurring rapidly and that’s the reason you hear about the systems that cover the spectrum in order to be able to handle the spectrum. I mean, clearly, it’s obvious in the case of Tel Aviv, there’s no distinction between national missile defense and theater missile defense, it’s short range systems.
In the case of Rome, Paris, Berlin, London – starting to get increasingly blurred, again, between what is theater and what is strategic. And the questions now are not just, can it be done or should it be done, but now the questions we’re going to talk about are how it should be done. And that immediately raises the question of with whom it should be done and that raises the question which we’re going to discuss later to about with Russia. And it leads to the obvious question of the impact of all of this on arms control, offense and defense arms control. Which is clearly the direction that the future is taking us, I think.
So that’s kind of the background. With that I’m going to now introduce our panel and I’m going to do that in which it’s on the program, not because of any other criteria that’s listed. I would point out then that the first issue to be addressed is, first person, I mean, who’s going to be addressing it, Dov Zakheim, I should point out – one of the major issues that keeps coming up in this area is affordability and he certainly has the background and I’ll introduce each of them as they speak but then he’ll be followed by Jim Townsend, who I hope most of you know from here, but I will introduce Jim again and then also Walt Slocombe – we give Walt the last word, maybe, on this one. But all three of them I will introduce as they come up.
So let me start off by introducing Dov. They’re all good friends but I found it very nice to go back and read what they’ve done in their life. Dov is now a senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton. He leads in their firm’s global defense business. He was an undersecretary of defense when he was comptroller and chief financial officer there for the Department of Defense, which I should point out, is the largest budget in the world.
He has been a corporate vice president of Systems Planning Corporation and he was deputy undersecretary of defense for planning and resources in the past and was a principal analyst in the national security -international affairs division of the Congressional Budget Office – so a wide background. Dov is a graduate of Columbia – undergraduate, and then studied at London School of Economics and got his doctorate in economics and politics at Oxford University. Dov?
DOV ZAKHEIM: Thanks very much, Jack. It is true; we all know each other pretty well. I’m quite used to having Walt have the last word. I’ve always believed when you win you govern, when you lose you consult and I consulted to Walt for about 8 years and he always had the last word because he was the undersecretary at the time.
Those of you who heard Ellen Tauscher and Pat O’Reilly speak realize that the administration was really putting its best foot forward with these folks. What Ellen said about trying to negotiate through the minefield of the Democratic left which hated missile defense and my side of the aisle, which never had enough of it, is absolutely true. And I think she did a very good job at that and I think that’s one of the reasons why I suspect she’ll do a very good job in her current position.
And as for Pat, everybody who knows anything about Missile Defense Agency, if you don’t know who Pat O’Reilly is, you probably are not in this room because everybody who is in this room knows who Pat O’Reilly is: a first-rate manager and an engineer. He knows the technical stuff as well as anybody.
Which brings me to my first of a few concerns that I have – questions, if you will. Until about eight months ago, less, we were hearing from MDA, regardless of who the director was, by the way, and the staff, the technical argument that the so-called third site was the most cost effective, was the most technically capable, did the job for all of Europe because all the other systems that Ellen mentioned, THAAD, Aegis, NEADS, whatever you want, were all plugged in already in the theoretical construct.
And so, one has to ask, the about face seems to have been pretty sharp on technical grounds, not talking politically now. And that leaves me a little puzzled and I think it’s left a lot of other people a little puzzled. Just why something that was so technically dominant that any other argument was simply swept aside, all of a sudden is no longer technically the case. So the answer is, well, we’ve got new intelligence. Well, that begs some questions as well. As you just heard from Jack, it’s no secret that there are a lot of countries with short-range ballistic missiles. That’s been something that has been written about in the literature for at least 25 years.
And, of course, the Israeli experience with Iraqi missiles, going back to 1991 – or if you want to go back to the ’80s, the War of the Cities between Iraq and Iran – there is nothing new here. And if you want to talk about mating missiles with weapons of mass destruction, well, 30 or 40 short-range missiles at one time presupposes 30 or 40 nuclear warheads at one time because if we’re talking about chemical and biological systems, again, those are nothing new.
So the whole new intelligence thrust raises a question in my mind, leaving aside the fact that we’re basing a new approach on a difference of a couple of years. And since when was our intel that good that it could fine-tune exactly when a threat would emerge and at what magnitude that threat would emerge? With all due respect to the intelligence community, they have not had that good of a track record of getting that sort of precision. So there is a question in my mind there.
Then I’m told – and we heard it, and we’ve heard it in a very articulate way – that this is the most cost-effective approach. Well, sure, if you presuppose that you’re firing at multiple missiles, buys one; and you just take the cost of a standard missile, buy us across to the ground-base interceptor, that’s absolutely right.
The only problem is, that’s not how you measure cost effectiveness. Jack answered maybe one part of it, which is the cost of internetting everything, the cost of training for the, the cost of sustaining the. And, oh, by the way, if we’re going to have Aegis ships, guess what? We’re going to have to buy them. And an Aegis ship costs a lot more than a missile of any size like, you know, 3 billion [dollars], roughly, per ship.
Now, why do we need more Aegis ships? Well, we’re converting about 18 of them. It’s not about 18; it is 18, 18 ships to Aegis ships right now. They are all spoken for in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. There are no Aegis ships running around the Mediterranean; there are no Aegis ships running around the Baltic Sea. And to sustain one in the Mediterranean will take you about four, four-and-a-half ships; it’s just classic naval analysis. To sustain two, therefore, is nine ships.
We don’t have those ships. In fact, we’re not going to get them even – if we started today, it would take us a while to get them and where is the money going to come from? Everybody knows the defense budget is under tremendous pressure. Well, if you want to count Aegis ships into this mix, it’s hard for me to see how it’s cost effective because now I’ve got to find upwards of $25 billion if I want to buy new ships; if I want to modify the ships, it will still cost me in the vicinity of about a billion [dollars]. And if I want to have two ships in the Mediterranean, it’s roughly $9 billion right there.
So the cost-effectiveness argument worries me. And then there is the question of, well, if we’re not going to pay for all of it – for the ships we absolutely have to – and this is now a NATO-wide project, although NATO not all that long ago accepted the third-site approach as a NATO-wide project. Leaving that one aside, is NATO going to pay?
We just heard Ellen say that they don’t want to – NATO countries want to only spend 1 percent of their GDP on defense, as opposed to 2 percent. When I got into this business, people complained that NATO wasn’t spending 3 percent. There is even actually a book called the three-percent solution, which proved not to be a solution and didn’t sell very much as a book either. One-percent of GDP for defense spending is not going to get you NATO contributions to this system. It’s just as simple as that. So on the one hand, the cost is a lot higher, I believe, than is being presented.
On the other hand, the source of funding to meet that cost ain’t there. So that worries me as well. And finally, you know, the argument’s been made that, well, this is a system that’s – well, it’s not finally – penultimately, I should say. The argument’s been made that the system is really there, we have it, but we really don’t. We haven’t tested the new standard missile system that’s at the core of this, it’s got to be tested in 2011 – that’s what the charts just said.
Are we presupposing it will work? Hasn’t one of the arguments against third site and anything else that the Missile Defense Agency does consistently been, you’re always presupposing that everything will work? You’re always presupposing your tests will go fine. Well, if that’s the case, then how can we presuppose that this new block-two version is going to be fine? How can we presuppose that the command-and-control system will work perfectly? I’m not saying that it won’t. I’m just saying, how can we make that presupposition?
And lastly, I want to talk about Russia, but I don’t want to talk about Russia the way most people have. Most people have said, you know, this was some kind of a deal with Russia, we caved to Russia and so on. And I think Ellen Tauscher was being perfectly honest when she said, Russia didn’t come into it. And my concern is, well, it should have. I mean, if we’re doing something that Mr. Medvedev wants and Mr. Putin wants, and there are an awful lot of things we want out of Russia, then for goodness’ sake, why didn’t we try to get something out of Russia?
After all is said and done, popular opinion – and maybe they’re wrong – but popular opinion in Poland and popular opinion in the Czech Republic is that this decision is reminiscent of the neutron bomb decision. For those of you who don’t remember that, Mr. Carter left Helmut Schmidt of Germany hanging out to dry when he decided to reverse the neutron bomb decision after having forced it down Germany’s throat.
The Czech Republic wasn’t – the public of the Czech Republic was not excited about having the radar in the Czech Republic. The public in Poland was never uniformly behind having the missiles in Poland. We pushed it. The former administration, my crowd pushed it, no question about it, but once we did that and once we created the impression that the United States was even more firmly committed to doing things in those two countries, to just flip around and create a new impression that we were backing off – and create that impression amongst ordinary people who have – many of whom still remember World War II, or parents tell them about World War II, and come from countries that historically have always been let down by outside powers – I mean, after all, Poland was divided and dismembered three times in the 18th century – we were their great hope. And now the ordinary public isn’t sure.
So given all of that and given that we went that step and given that we did what we did, why didn’t we try to get something out of the Russians? So I totally accept what Ellen Tauscher says. My problem is, in that case, we should have asked for something, and we didn’t. So on intelligence grounds, on technical grounds, on cost effectiveness grounds and on political grounds, I’m just worried. Do I think this is a disaster? No. Am I going to throw rocks at it? No. Do I think the people who are making the case for the administration are capable people? Yes. Am I worried? Absolutely.
MR. GANSLER: This is not a slam-dunk case, as you see. As you can see, there’s controversy about it, and that’s one of the things that we wanted to bring out in this panel discussion, and Dov, thank you for doing that. Okay. Jim Townsend is now the deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy. Just recently, though, Jim was vice president of the Atlantic Council and he was director of the council’s programs on international security. He has a long and distinguished career in the Pentagon and at NATO, and I’m not going to go through that, but he’s got lots of exposure relative to this whole question of the European aspects and the NATO aspects of it, and not only here but in the DOD and elsewhere. And Jim has a bachelor’s from Duke and a master’s from Johns Hopkins. Jim?
JAMES TOWNSEND: Well, thank you very much, it’s great to be back at the Atlantic Council, and if I could have it my way, I’d be back here tomorrow and Damon would be taking my place back in the Pentagon, and you can handle all the rocks thrown by Dov Zakheim. So – but no, I will –
MR. ZAKHEIM: Softballs, please, not rocks. (Laughter.)
MR. TOWNSEND: When I sat down, I shook Dov’s hand, and Dov gave me a heads up that he’d be throwing rocks, so I’m ready. I have my SM-3 here, and as they come my way, they’ll be knocked down. But it’s great to be here, and it’s particularly great to be here with Walt Slocombe, who was – while I didn’t consult with Walt Slocombe, he was my boss, and so he always had the last word with me. And so once again, it’s good to be following in that pattern, so it’s great to be here, Walt, with you on the dais.
Two – I’m going to approach this is in two different ways. I certainly can’t – as Dov said, I mean, with Gen. O’Reilly, it’s hard to do better than him in terms of laying out the technical side and the thinking, and it was Gen. O’Reilly who was here two years ago, when we did our first missile-defense conference, which was a tremendous event focused on third site, and Gen. O’Reilly did a great job laying that out, and I’m sure he did it again. But I thought I would bring in two elements that are unique to me, and then in the discussion we can talk about some of the points that Dov raised, all of them very worthy of discussion and trying to explain, the first just in terms of missile defense.
I – you know, I don’t think necessarily that we are in a place now where the debate, certainly today, right here in this room, is over whether missile defense is a good thing or not. I think all of us here understand there’s a role for missile defense; how one goes about doing it – making sure it’s cost effective, making sure it is addressed towards the threat, that’s kind of what we’re talking about.
But I thought I’d give you a little personal story to tell you how important this issue is. All my life, as you go through my career at the Pentagon, it wasn’t missile defense. It was Europe and NATO and political science. I’m not an engineer like Jack; I’m a lowly political science, history guy who was looking for a job when he got out of school. So I wasn’t as well suited to the technical side of things, but in my career, missile defense didn’t crop up that much, and I was a bit of a skeptic. A bullet hitting a bullet, the amounts of money, Star Wars, that type of thing.
I was a bit of a skeptic, but that wasn’t in my inbox to do until July of 2006, when I was asleep in my room, in my house here with my kids and my wife, and the phone rings, this is the Hillary Clinton 3:00 a.m. phone call from the Pentagon. I finally got my 3:00 a.m. phone call, and I had to rush down to the Pentagon and – which I did like a Tom Clancy novel, burst into the office where missile defense was being worked, and I said, why do you need me?
And they said, well, we just want you to know that we’re getting reports that there’s a missile in North Korea, it’s being fueled, we’re not sure where it’s going to go, we’re not sure what it’s carrying, we’re not sure necessarily of its range. All we know is, this is something that we think potentially could threaten the United States.
And this Air Force general who was telling me this, her eyes were this big. And so my eyes went this big, because for the first time, I was really confronted with the reality of the threat. And what had been theoretical, something was discussed on the Sunday talk shows all of a sudden became very real to me, having left my family sleeping in my house and 20 minutes later being told that we’ve actually got a threat. And my job on that night was to – is to write talking points for the secretary to use to advise his colleagues in the alliance and the section that we might be using what was then a very new missile-defense system for Greely, Vandenberg, the GBIs that we’ve been talking about so much, that all of a sudden, we might be facing having to use them. And that was a real wake-up call for someone who wasn’t in the missile-defense world.
And I became a real fan and a real believer in missile defense. Now, what was also happening at that time was taken for what we call third site. It’s now being called the Program of Record, but I prefer third site. This was something my office became involved in because it was a – at the time, focused on really the bilateral discussions between Poland and the Czech Republic as we began to wrestle with setting this – the GBI field in Poland and the radar in the Czech Republic. How would this work, how do we go about explaining it to our publics, the technical details, the threats, this type of thing?
And so I became quite interested in missile defense after that July incident, and now it was in my inbox on a pol-mil side as we began to work with missile defense, Peppi Debiaso and John Rood, who I understand was here somewhere, and others from the team the past couple of years as we began to put together something that was very important. When I came to the Atlantic Council, I believed in it so much we had our first big show on missile defense, my first year, and I went to Prague and I think I gave one of the best speeches I ever gave on missile defense, laying out what my feelings were and how important this was.
When I came back into government back in February, late February, to my surprise, one of the first things that happened when I walked into my office was Gen. O’Reilly was sitting there, who I hadn’t seen since the days of the missile-defense event that we held here, and I said, hi, and he goes, I need to talk to you right now very quickly, because we are in the midst of this congressionally mandated review of the U.S. missile-defense program, not just Europe but globally.
And I said, well, sure, and we sat down, and before my jetlag from making the transition from the private side back into government was even over, he was going through a thick stack of slides, trying to get me up to speed on the threat that Dov was just talking about, get me up to speed on the changes in technology that Dov was just talking about, and all these options that were now being looked at on what do we do now?
The assessment of Iran had changed a bit, and it wasn’t just over the past two years since I had left, but it was the assessments that had gone back a number of years and in fact that had lead to third site, the – where the assessment was as far as Iranian ICBMs were going, that that had changed and particularly that the technology had changed. And that’s what really surprised me, was that the SM-3, and the sensor capability particularly, had made such strides that even in two years while it was gone, we were able to have a system that was more flexible than we originally had with these fixed sites in Poland and with the big radar that was going to be in the Czech Republic.
And as Gen. O’Reilly began to roll this out, it became obvious to me that no matter who was sitting in that chair as the deputies and secretaries for Europe and NATO, again, not the technical guy but the pol-mil guy that we were facing something – the Earth was shifting under our feet, and that we had to come to grips with this because what we had been planning for wasn’t going to happen as soon as we thought it was, and we had this opportunity full of flexibility that we did not have with those silo-based GBI sites.
So the administration went into a – and I’m sure Gen. O’Reilly talked about this, we went into a very deep period of trying to make a decision and choose an option, which was done just a few weeks ago, as a matter of fact . And so we adopted this four-phase program, which I won’t go into the details of, I think you know those, but a four-phase program where this first phase will be – will involve, particularly on the sensor and on the technical side, it’ll involve equipment that is pretty much in hand or will shortly be in hand.
I think was Dov was talking about in terms of things not being tested, that’s many years in the out years, which we can talk about, but in terms of the threat as it was being assessed from Iran right now, in terms of both numbers of missiles and in terms of the capabilities of those missiles, the technology that we had was well in hand, and the potential target area of these missiles, which was left – unfortunately, and that’s something we struggled with on third site, and we struggle with at NATO, that part of Europe that was not going to be covered under the third site would in fact be the site – the area that could be covered.
The decision was made by the president just within hours, pretty much, of the formal statement by the president, and the dispatch of teams to go to Prague, go to Warsaw and to go to NATO and to begin to brief our two very important partners, both in the Czech Republic and in Poland that will continue to play a role, as well as NATO allies who now are finding themselves much more part of the process than under the third site, which was primarily on a bilateral side.
But as Dov said, the alliance, and both in Bucharest as well as at the last summit, began to want to play more and more of a role, and now, in fact, this will be something that will be rolled out within an alliance context, and we’re beginning to talk to allies about how we could marry up a NATO approach with what the U.S. is thinking about right now.
The rollout was fast, the rollout was not as pretty as we would have wanted it to be, but I think we have – we’re in a place now where discussions are happening at NATO and there seems to be some positive movement in thinking about the technical details of, how do you marry up where NATO is on ALT-BMD with the – with certainly, at least, Phase One of the U.S. proposal, and where do we go from here? Early days, but I think what we can do in the Q&A side is explore those a bit.
So I’m going to sign off here and turn to Walt Slocombe to give the final word, and then we can get right at it.
MR. GANSLER: Okay, Walt is a member of the law firm of Caplin & Drysdale, and more importantly relevant to this, he served as undersecretary of defense for policy from September ’94 to January 2001. Walt was also in 2003 the senior advisor and director of the security affairs for national security and defense in the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. In earlier DOD service, he’s been deputy undersecretary for policy planning, he’s been principal deputy assistant secretary of international security affairs, and both of those jobs, he served concurrently as the director of the DOD taskforce on strategic arms limitations talks, assault talks.
Walt has an undergraduate degree from Princeton, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. His legal training was at Harvard Law School and he clerked for the United States Supreme Court justice Abe Fortas. Walt?
WALTER SLOCOMBE: And when I first started to work for the National Security Council staff, my job was to write talking points pending the ABM decision. (Laughter.) And I think there’s a story in that, that as – and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be here for the presentations by Gen. O’Reilly and Undersecretary Tauscher, but this has been an issue of theology, not reality, for far too long, and I think there is a fair chance – not a certainty, but there is a fair chance that it would – this is the beginning of a process that will make it a matter of reality and not of – not a faith-based approach to missile defense.
And I don’t just mean the advocates, but the opponents for whom too often, one group has said, the answer to everything is missile defense and others have said, the root of all evil is missile defense. I have in mind to write a memorandum – I don’t consult for the Russian government – (laughter) – but I think it would be interesting to write a memorandum that lays out the real impact of this decision on Russia, and I think the Russians – one of the sensible things about this is it is a good decision, to the degree that I understand it. I mean, I’m like Jim, and I think, with respect, like Dov, but not like Jack. (Laughter.)
To some degree, you have to accept the technical judgments. You can raise questions about them, make sure the right questions have been asked, but I think on the intelligence, I agree that it’s not an issue that you can tell with precision exactly when which parts of the Iranian will hit which milestones. It is hard to doubt that the sequence will be that the shorter-range stuff comes first and the longer-range later on. And as to the technology, again, I think one in the – there is a strong default position that the technological development of the standard missile and potential follow-ons has gone along far better, and indeed differently than was expected.
And as I expect some of you to know, I’ve written in support of the third site program, but there is no question that there were always technical issues about the GBI system, about the capabilities of the radar, and so on, and that if there is a clearly better – if the same people who made the technical argument that the GBI system was the best answer to the problem are now prepared to say that an alternative is a better technical answer, I’m inclined to believe as a layman that that is probably their view.
I think – and I – this is the only original point I think I have come up with on the technological side, which is, I would have thought that one of the advantages of relying on the standard-missile system is that it can be tested in a much greater variety of ways and a much greater range of possible problems. The difficulty with the ground-based interceptor, simply because of where the test beds are, where the locations are, you were test – and it was one of the technical criticisms that was always made of the ground-based system.
I must say, I agree with Dov on the cost issue. These systems are going to be expensive; it is not playing fair to act as if the platforms are all sunk cost, particularly when they’re ships. I also think that some of the location issues will not be as simple as perhaps they should be, and I think there will be an issue of whether the alliance – I mean, the original theory, going back a year ago, was that NATO would provide, as a NATO initiative, the short and medium-range defense of a line roughly from, I guess, Sicily to Kiev, east of which – east and south of which was not going to be defended.
Unfortunately, the history is that it’s not at all clear that the alliance will actually be able to do this on any realistic – at least on any realistic timeframe. And I think it’s also true that it – well, the criticism of the way it was rolled out is, those are always easy to make because they are by definition that the reaction was not what the people making the decision hoped it would be or wanted it to be, or indeed what the merits of the decision entitled them to. Those – because they turn on how the headlines were written, it’s always easier to say, well, you should have done it, you should have known how to do it better before.
But I think the great advantage of this approach is really internal, and I think it marks the beginning of a time when we will be able to look at these issues in the kind of – the advocates of more missile defense hopefully will take some notice of the fact that a Democratic administration is now actually committed to the National Missile Defense. One of the sort of unnoticed points is that the California and Alaska system seem to be taken as a part of the base case that are as the Marine Corps, I guess – nothing is as much as the Marine Corps, but – and second, that I expect the counter measure to be – to revive. The mere fact that this is a boost-based system doesn’t mean you can’t invent countermeasures. And it will be interesting to see whether the very robust and resolute technical opposition on – the grounds of the systems were not designed against a realistic threat, whether that will revive or whether it will descend to a much more realistic base.
Let me run through my memo for Putin. Look at what you have allowed the Americans to do, and you have welcomed it. A Democratic government is now committed to National Missile Defense. It is proposing to put the elements of a short-range missile defense all over Europe, and God save us, part of it in the Caucasus, and the last time, Mr. President, I looked at the Caucasus, there was only one country other than Turkey which might take it.
It is going to be integrated with the Israeli defense system, and it begins to build the base for some kind of an answer to if, God forbid, the Americans and the Europeans and we have to live with an Iranian capability, you got some answer other than fighting a war with them. So that’s why I think it’s good to see.
MR. GANSLER: His introductory comment reminded me of a statement by Thomas Edison – “vision without execution is hallucination”. And the reality is that we are moving towards a system that at least does sincerely address the European as well as the U.S. defense against what is, I think clearly, a recognized threat, although there’s a wide range of what the threat is and when it will and against whom and why and so forth. So with this, I think since we only have a few minutes left of – we’re the thing between you and lunch, I think better throw it open and take some questions and get some last minute –
MR. ZAKHEIM: Can I make a quick point?
MR. GANSLER: Okay.
MR. ZAKHEIM: Walt made a very, very important point about the nature of the administration’s acceptance, if you will, of National Missile Defense, and I just want to elaborate on it, because this is something that has not really been picked up on by many people, and Jim Townsend was nodding in agreement. If we still had an ABM treaty, we would not have a defense that includes Aegis ships. If we had an ABM treaty, we would not have a defense that includes any kind of space-based support to speak of. The whole command-and-control approach would not really exist. So what this administration has, in effect, done is said, this is all behind us now, and that is very, very important because it does change the nature of the debate.
And Jim said I was throwing rocks. No, I wasn’t throwing rocks, I was asking questions because –
MR. TOWNSEND: Not if you’re on the receiving end –
MR. ZAKHEIM: Well, that’s true. (Laughter.)
MR. TOWNSEND: – showing that I have a memory, only brilliant pebbles. (Laughter.)
MR. ZAKHEIM: Ah-ha. The point is that the nature of the debate has moved much more towards the center, and we are debating issues that – the fundaments of which we now agree on it.
MR. TOWNSEND: Yeah. I – if I could jump on that, because I do think that’s an important point. You know, as we were – as I – when I came in and was listening to Gen. O’Reilly, that first couple of days, go through his slides, and dealing with the NSC and the NSC staff as we worked this and then the incredibly pressurized week that led up to the decision and the rollout of the teams, we were not going back and rehashing over the ABM treaty, or – you know, it was – and nor was this review of missile defense something that the administration said, we’re going to review missile defense because we – this was something that Congress had mandated.
So I think the points are well taken. There was quite a foundation of work that has evolved over time as an understanding of – the threats, in terms of proliferation, have matured, the – as technology and the possibilities of missile defense have matured over years. We’re so far away from Star Wars and the talk in the ’80s. So I think, frankly, this is quite a movement where all of us recognize that missile defense is something – and this has happened at NATO, too.
I have to say, when I went to NATO in 1998 and ’99, the idea I could get some – no matter what the instructions for Walt Slocombe, the idea that I could get a paragraph into a communiqué saying NATO should get involved in missile defense, that wasn’t going to happen. So there has been great leaps in terms of the United States, in terms of our NATO allies and understanding the threat that comes from ballistic-missile proliferation and the ability that, through technical means, we might be able to have an answer to address this kind of threat than going to war with where that threat is coming from. So this is – this has – this is an important movement, I think, for all of us.
MR. GANSLER: I think the view in Europe clearly has changed. Even during the Clinton administration, we found it difficult to talk to the Europeans about –
MR. TOWNSEND: Very difficult.
MR. GANSLER : – a missile threat. Let’s see, questions? Harlan, are you going to ask your cruise-missile question again? (Laughter.)
Q: You covered that nicely. I’m Harlan Ullman. Thanks for a really terrific conversation. I think one of the really critical things that comes out that has not really emerged yet in the debate is the geo-strategic and political significance of this whole idea that goes beyond the initial issue of Iran. Now, how do we prevent that from getting lost? And let me provide a hypothetical situation which I would ask that Dov and Walt do not reject because you’re not longer in government, but because so much of this is based on Iran, supposing one were to get absolute guarantees that Iran was not going to develop nuclear weapons, how would this change everything, or would it?
MR. GANSLER: Walt?
MR. SLOCOMBE: Well, it would change the – I mean, I guess part of the answer is one of the advantages of the decision is that it would mean you wouldn’t have to worry about the Iranian threat, but presumably there’ll be plenty of others. Jacques, what did you say, 40 countries –
MR. GANSLER: Well, thirty.
MR. ZAKHEIM: There’s one in particular that I think we’ll still worry about –
MR. ULLMAN: North Korea.
MR. ZAKHEIM: Exactly, North Korea is still there, and the fact is, we are also – we as a country are terrible at predicting the next real crisis we’re going to face, whether it’s the next war we fight in or the next emerging enemy. We’ve got a track record that’s nearly perfect in getting it wrong. So given that there are, as Jacques said, 30 or 40 countries out there, given that the technology is a lot easier to get hold of now than ever before, given that North Korea is already there, it seems to me that yes, it would be great if Iran walked away from the nuclear program, but the fundamental problem would still be there.
MR. GANSLER: You also need to think about other reentry vehicles, contained such as biological weapons that are equally –
MR. SLOCOMBE: I was operating on the assumption that the Iran problem would go away, not just –
MR. ZAKHEIM: Yeah, yeah.
MR. GANSLER: No, but there is a lot of serious consideration associated with multiple reentry vehicles containing biological warheads.
MR. SLOCOMBE: And presumably, the kind of technology to which this was relevant – not presumably the exact same system, but the kind of technology and especially the sensor technology for anti-ship missiles, for access-denial systems.
MR. ZAKHEIM: And, you know, the Shahab missile, for example, was essentially taken from North Korean missiles, which in turn were taken from Soviet missiles. So you know, again, people get their hands on stuff now very quickly if they have a little bit of money.
MR. TOWNSEND: If I could jump in there too, if not to be able to say for the first time as a U.S. government official, I don’t address hypotheticals. (Laughter.) But – unlike six months ago, where I would have knocked that out of the park, being in a think tank. But I will say, though, just to buttress, I think it was Dov, you know, the president has made public statements about what happens if the Iranian threat goes away, and what does – how does that impact our program? And so that obviously is the response to that particular question, but I would throw, on a personal basis, that we just don’t know 15 years from now what is going – what we will be facing in terms of a missile threat, and from where.
We just don’t know, and so I think what we’ve seen over the past couple of years is, as we work on this technology, based on the threats that we do know, and we begin to upgrade, we’re going to continue to work on the GBIs, we’re going to continue to work on SM-3s and on the sensors and on how one nets this together, I think that work has got to continue so that we are able to handle that unknown 15 years from there. So it’s not just Iran focused – I mean, missile defense. That’s who we have to focus on now, particularly as we deal with Europe. I mean, that’s where it is. But I think that we will continue to work, as other administrations have done, continue to work on missile defense, trying to make that balance of cost effectiveness with a technology that can – that’s realistic and can address those threats that we don’t see yet.
MR. GANSLER: You may remember that Qaddafi made the announcement when we bombed him that if I had a missile, I would send it to New York today. That was a public statement that he made.
Q: Boyko Noev. I have a question, why do you continue calling it the European instead of a NATO defense? Don’t you think that talking about the European defense is diluting, a little bit, there? And the second question is that I do believe that this idea, because it’s still an idea, is a good one. It’s probably one of the only or the few uniting ideas for the alliance at the moment, and I do believe that it has to be a number one uniting factor for the alliance, especially now, when we are designing the new strategic concept. My question is to what extent the doubts that Dov had about cost effectiveness and others of the four could overweigh this – overweigh the political importance of the idea. Now that the Russians have agreed with it, and we are very happy, they have said, good idea, so we now could have an allied missile defense. Thank you.
MR. TOWNSEND: Well, I’m not sure we – on Russia, I’m not sure we’ve heard that the last word out of Moscow yet on this. I think they’re still trying to figure out how they want to play this one way or another, so – I mean, that’s my personal view. But in terms of calling it European versus NATO, well, NATO hasn’t agreed yet, so we can’t call – you know, we don’t want to necessarily go and say, this is the NATO program. We’re talking to allies, we’re talking to NATO as an institution, we’ve briefed the NAC twice, and meetings are going on even as we speak trying to figure out how this would work.
So right now, this is a – the European portion of U.S. global missile defense that we’re focused on, and what our recommendations would be to allies and to European partners on, this is – this would make the most sense, given the threat that the alliance sees. And I fully expect the allies will come on board and will take something forward. We’ve got to sort out exactly what that might look like.
In terms of the points that Dov raised on cost effectiveness and that type of thing, I think those points – it’s hard to argue against a former NATO comptroller – I mean, a former DOD comptroller. But I think cost – I think the cost factors in this and those types of things that are still unknown, I – you know, we’re going to have to work those as we get closer. We don’t even have the absolute specific details on what the deployments might look like, where, the exact phrasing, the NATO play, so coming up with a figure in terms of what it’s going to cost, we’re away from that yet. Certainly, we’re talking about cost effectiveness and there’s various points of view, but those points are not strong enough, I think, to overcome the importance of the – of trying to master this threat, deal with this threat as it is today, doing it within a NATO context.
The political importance of this – and I think your point on unity within NATO is absolutely right, I think this is something that is unifying the alliance in terms of a mission to take on, and I think in this strategic concept, there will be something in there about missile defense whether we do this or not, because I think there’s a recognition, as we’ve seen for two years now in communiqués, there’s a recognition of the missile-defense threat. So I think this will proceed on, and we’ll deal with the issues that Dov raised as we get closer to getting details.
MR. GANSLER: I’m reminded by the fact that the Atlantic Council periodically runs conferences on the future of NATO in EU. And this interrelationship – we certainly don’t want a separate missile defense for EU and NATO, and so let’s make sure that EU and NATO are together on this issue. I would also point out that –
MR. SLOCOMBE: As long as it doesn’t defend Cyprus. (Laughter.)
MR. GANSLER: I would also point out that we should be looking for ways to bring Russia – and this is going to be a later panel – Russia, and I would even argue China, into more of a partnership in the U.S. in the future, rather than making either of them into enemies, and to the extent we have the opportunity in this program to discuss this, as Dov was pointing out, with Russia and take advantage of the partnership here with Russia, I think we’d get agreement with them that would be highly desirable.
MR. ZAKHEIM: As a director of the Atlantic Council, I would totally support what Jacques said. Good advertisement, Jacques.
MR. GANSLER: (Chuckles.) Question?
Q: Hi, I’m [inaudible] from the University of Maryland, and since I’m not an engineer, I’ll sort of – I hope you forgive my very basic questions.
MR. GANSLER: Some of my best friends are, though. (Laughter.)
Q: (Chuckles.) Okay. So one, Undersecretary Tauscher talked about the architecture being kind of like a plug-and-play system, right? So if we have multiple allies that want to participate in this plug-and-play system, is there a point where the more sensors you plug into the system, the system doesn’t get any better? So your picture doesn’t improve, it only kind of complicates the bandwidth or any other issues. So is there kind of that issues of scale, and –
MR. GANSLER: You sound like an engineer to me.
Q: No. (Laughter.) And the second question is, you know, coming back to your point of involving the Russians, is – you know, just with the two-radars – one is, how compatible are they or any other Russian sensors with the NATO C-2, and two is, how do you negotiate sort of information-access issues with the Russians? Because I would imagine, you know, how much of the NATO picture would they be allowed to see, and sort of, how do you resolve those issues?
MR. GANSLER: Well, you’ve raised a really interesting question that I’d like the panel to comment on, but let me do it first. It seems to me that as we get to more multinational programs, even including with Russia, we are going to have to revise our ITAR provisions and our EAR provisions and so forth. I mean, you probably have all heard this expression, you know, other than the Congress, everyone does recognize that globalization exists and that – (laughter) – somebody even referred to Congress as a leading trailing indicator in this area. (Laughter.)
The reality is, the technology is spread worldwide and the industry is spread worldwide, except our laws haven’t adjusted to that reality. And if we’re going to work and share with our allies – and this includes Europe, by the way, we haven’t been overly cooperative not just Russia – we’ve got to change our whole strategy there, and it seems to me that we’re going to have to do that, and we’re going to have to start to share much more technologies. I mean, it struck me, when our planes and the Dutch planes were flying along next to each other in Kosovo and they couldn’t talk to each other, that made our pilots vulnerable. That, to me, was a perfect indication of why we have to change our rules.
So in terms of the multi-sensor question, as an engineer, I can tell you that the benefits from multiple sensors, looking at the discrimination question alone, is huge if you can look at it in multi-spectral capabilities, so you’re not saturating it by bringing in multiple sensors you can design. Today, we have very wideband systems that can handle multiple sensors. Now, at some point, you saturate it, of course, but we’re not going to get to that point yet.
We’re far from that, and what you do want is infrared, radar, x-band, low frequency, et cetera, et cetera, all the capabilities that you can get for the discrimination problems that are being hypothesized by all those who can say, we can overcome your system in theory, you know, by doing the following things: we’ll build balloons with warheads inside of them and blah, blah, blah. And so you really want multiple sensors to be able to handle that kind of hypothesized threat, and to the extent you integrate these sensors, you want – basically, that’s net-centric warfare, distributed sensors and distributed shooters with multiple capabilities for discrimination, for tracking and so forth. Anyone else want to add?
MR. SLOCOMBE: Well, I do think you’ve identified on the – if you will, the political side. One of the biggest problems about any kind of cooperation with the Russians is not only access to the data, which is I think in many ways the simpler part of the problem. It’s the degree to which you have any kind of agreed procedures for deciding when and how to use the system, and I must say, I can’t imagine the United States agreeing to a system in which the Russians would have a voice in whether or not it was actually used. Frankly, I can’t imagine – the Russians are not exactly not in the high-end defense business. They have some very good interceptors of – and I can’t imagine they are really ceding to the United States here, to NATO, any real voice of when they would be used, either.
But that doesn’t meant that you can’t have a system which would, in good times, at least, and when there was cooperation, be prepared – be able to get data from the – from Russian sources, but I think my sense is that it would be a requirement that it not depend on the Russian sources.
MR. GANSLER: Yeah, it gets into the command-and-control issue.
MR. ZAKHEIM: Yeah, let me address your plug and play. I think Jacques handled the plug part as well as anybody could. The play part, to me, is the question. Who’s going to play? Who’s going to pay to play? It’s a question I raised earlier. It goes to this whole issue of NATO cohesion, because if you put two much on NATO’s shoulders, as we’re seeing in Afghanistan, it doesn’t necessarily become more cohesive. And so if this becomes the trademark NATO project and then it turns out that NATO doesn’t – you know, parts of NATO don’t want to play, that creates some real challenges.
The ITAR provisions I totally agree with. There is going to be a problem with that, and it’ll be especially a problem vis-à-vis Russia on two grounds. The first one is the one that Harlan mentioned. If Iran goes away as a threat, that really totally changes the way we might want to be looking at Russia in terms of cooperation. I mean, if the threat’s from Venezuela, we don’t need Russia.
There’s an additional problem, which is, there are certain technologies, like the countermeasure technologies that Jacques mentioned. I mean, that stuff, which I’ve been familiar with for about a quarter century, I have never seen any real countermeasures work done that wasn’t secret or above. So now the question becomes, who are you sharing that with? How are you sharing it? Under what circumstances are you sharing it? These are some really serious issues that, again, they just have to be looked at. What we’re seeing in this rollout of a proposal is just that, it’s a rollout. It’s almost like you’re rolling out a prototype, not a finished project.
MR. SLOCOMBE: There’s just one point I would add, which is, there is a distinction between a NATO system, of which AWACS – NATO AWACS is one of the very few examples, and a bunch of national systems, some of which are strictly one-country, others which may be cooperative, which are made available to NATO. And the overwhelming bulk of NATO’s military capability consists of nationally owned – nationally owned and operated systems. So I don’t think the whole question turns on whether you have a kind of equivalent to NATO AWACS to do missile defense.
MR. TOWNSEND: Right, and I find –
MR. SLOCOMBE: That makes the problem too hard.
MR. TOWNSEND: Absolutely right, and I think the – that both panelists have nailed it. Very good questions, and I think that the answers coming out I agree with 100 percent, and I think it does underline that this is going to be – a lot of discussion is going to take a long time to sort out what makes the most sense in terms of playing to play, plug and play, that type of thing. I think we could make it more difficult than it has to be, and that NATO – we sometimes take on programs like AGS and other things that become too – that we make them too hard, and I think what I’ve been just counseling with a very loud voice is, for god’s sake, let’s keep this very simple and go back to what Walt Slocombe just said, in the sense that this isn’t – this doesn’t have to be a NATO owned and operated program, like NATO AWACS.
If you think about the C-17 consortium, if you all are aware of that, and that was a different approach at providing alliance capability that didn’t have to be birthed out of NATO. It’s where everyone plays, whether it’s national, whether it is – going back to the analogy here, or the fact that within the alliance, capability comes from nations, it’s what do nations bring to the table or how can we net them together, with NATO’s role being to net it together. The U.S. role is bringing capabilities. We’ve got other allies that have capabilities as well that can be netted in.
So what I’m hoping we do is we – as – and we’re doing this right now, is coming up with a system that is – a relationship at NATO that is as flexible and as simple as, in fact, the PAA is a flexible system, something that – where you can plug and play as the threat requires, and that nations can play to their strengths, whether they have national capabilities, equipment actually, like sensors, as you were saying that you can plug in, or whether it’s participating in terms of providing common funding or siting for other people’s equipment. There’s different ways that we can play, and that’s what we’ll be sorting out within the alliance, as well as ROE and all of these kinds of things where we make sure that it’s very efficient.
And it goes back to what Dov was saying, or maybe it was Jacques, earlier on about the need to make very quick decisions on what happens when you need to use this system. And we’ll have to work that out as well. So we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. I’m just – you know, I’m going to come back to Atlantic Council earlier than I thought with all this on my plate, but there is a lot to do. But the good news here, and it goes back to what Boyko said – there is the political will within the alliance to take this on; there is the political understanding within the alliance that we’ve got a threat that we’ve got to deal with.
I think we have a program now that we can all get our arms around, and it’s not rejecting what was done before as much as it was building on all of the work that we had done previously. And I think what we’re going to do is, over the next year or two, put together something that is simple and makes sense and can help us deal with this threat coming out of Iran, and whatever else might be out there in the future that we don’t know about today.
MR. GANSLER: The questions are going to clearly no just involve technical questions. They’re going to be political decision-making, who’s going to authorize use and not use, and then equally important, when we did the MEADS, which now has gone from a U.S.-German-Italian into a NATO program, missile-defense program, the biggest issues is, who pays, not whether it can be done. And so – and how it’s going to work, that the political questions are going to have to keep evolving, as Jim was saying. Yeah. And I think I’m going to have to close this up.
Q: [Inaudible], Center for Nonproliferation Studies– in response to the last comment, I’m just wondering if there is some discussion of some kind of equivalent of the Nuclear Planning Group that would be in charge of this function, kind of the political decision-making when it comes to missile defense.
MR. ZAKHEIM: You’re in the government now. (Laughter.)
MR. SLOCOMBE: NATO needs more committees. (Laughter.)
MR. TOWNSEND: That’s right. I hope Peter Flory and –
MR. GANSLER: Especially a group that has a veto power over everybody else.
Q: As long as you’re not chairman, it’s okay.
MR. TOWNSEND: Yeah, we’re going to proliferate committees on this one, that’s for sure, and lots of jobs for everyone. (Laughter.)
MR. ZAKHEIM: I thought the Nonproliferation Treaty eliminated committees. (Laughter.)
MR. TOWNSEND: Well, I – maybe in a few years, but right now – it’s an excellent question, and that’s something that we’re trying to work right now. Again, I think taking it back, and to Peter, this is something that we’ve been talking about is, at NATO, obviously, there’s work that’s been done under the aegis of the CENAD on ALT-BMD, which is what you all have certainly talked about this morning that I won’t go into.
So NATO has been working for a number of years now, has committees, or at least that one particular committee that’s been doing some work, and the trick for us in the next year, is what I would guess – maybe next six months, Peter – is to go and begin to work on the political side to make sure that in terms of the alliance, that we can have the alliance view widen from deployed forces, which is kind of where it is now. There is some studies on broader than that, but actually migrate that language into something that gives authority for the alliance to talk about a broader missile-defense approach, begin work on that and then try to figure out within the alliance how do we go about working this in terms of – in a very simple, efficient way.
Not building a big – the last thing we need is another NATO agency in the Hague, you know, or wherever that’s going to be complicating things, but keep it simple and try to come up with an approach that marries work that NATO is already doing, which has been very good work. Peter Flory, if you all don’t know him, has been head of a lot of that, and so take forward and build upon progress that we’ve been embarked upon since about 2001 or so.
MR. GANSLER: And to be serious, I think the NATO – the Nuclear Planning Group model may make sense, because there’s a practicum that you can’t have a Ballistic Missile Defense system which depends on a political decision. That doesn’t mean that some staff sergeant sitting at a console, or even a one-star sitting at a console, is going to really make the decision. You’re going to have to have guidance in advance of ROEs and circumstances of when you would employ the system.
MR. GANSLER: Yeah. Rules established.
MR. TOWNSEND: But I think what we’ll eventually come up with is going to be something a little bit different than what we’re seeing now.
MR. GANSLER: I’ve been given the hook, but I’ll allow one more last question.
Q: This was a comment, since my name has been invoked, but as Jim says, a great deal of work has actually been done in the last several years in looking at – (inaudible) – questions. Everybody understands, and frankly, I understood this – but it’s obvious, that you can’t be in the council and say, if a missile comes in, now what do we do about it? The work that’s been done builds on a lot of work that the alliance has done for decades in the last decades over commanding – (inaudible) – but also tipped you over nuclear weapons, outgoing as opposed to incoming, in this case.
So it’s not operating in a vacuum. There are several committees, no new ones, but the Air Defense Committee, the NATO military authorities who were looking at this and were already working for over a year now on recommendations on this. So I can’t say what the answer exactly is going to be, but I think people are looking at it, people understand the principles of it in a sensible way, and it’s2 not unplowed ground for the alliance to consider.
MR. TOWNSEND: But we’ve learned a lot from what hasn’t gone well in the past number of years at NATO in terms of organizing the alliance to take on a task, and I think we’ll build on that to make sure that what we come up with and how we handle this is something that is simple and is efficient.
MR. GANSLER: So this is a work in process, and all of you can contribute to it. Think about it over lunch, and thank the panel very much. (Applause.)
Transcript by Federal News Service, Washington, D.C.