December 29, 2002

The Bush Administration's fiscal 2002 defense budget request proposes a substantial increase in spending on missile defenses. The Bush budget calls for fifty-seven percent more spending on missile defense, from $5.3 billion in fiscal 2001, to a proposed $8.3 billion for fiscal 2002. The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich.), has said he would seek to block funding for activities that would unilaterally abrogate U.S. treaty commitments.



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RECONSTRUCTION


Abrogating the ABM Treaty against the objections of most Europeans makes a mockery of President Bush's pledge to 'consult' with allies and with Russia on the missile defense issue. Consultation should be a two-way process, as our security will be adversely affected if the United States breaks its treaty commitments

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Rather than rush toward deployment of an unproven NMD system, President Bush should redouble efforts to secure nuclear material in the former Soviet Union, pursue deep, verifiable, U.S. and Russian nuclear arms reductions, elimination of dangerous, Cold War launchonwarning and targeting plans, and pursue a comprehensive nuclear proliferation effort, including the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and a verifiable freeze of North Korea's ballistic missile program.

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The plan outlined by the Pentagon would provide very little protection should an attack occur. Even if the interceptor and kill vehicle technology worked to some level of effectiveness by 2004-2005, the system would use existing and relatively inadequate radars that would have very little capability to discriminate the warhead from other objects, including debris or simple decoys. Thus, it could be fooled by very simple countermeasures...

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