measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. (Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty)
July 1, 1968
As world leaders gather for the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations (April 24 - May 19), the United States is on the verge of deploying a National Missile Defense (NMD) system. Far from providing a reliable defense, the proposed NMD will endanger existing arms control initiatives and spark a new nuclear arms race. NMD will violate the 1972Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and also runs counter to the stated goals of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. NMD, coupled with the failure of the U.S. Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty last fall, are sending the wrong message to the world. It shows a U.S. promoting its own defense through technological and military superiority rather than through cooperative, multilateral reductions in the world's already bloated nuclear arsenal. Now is the time to weigh the costs and consequences of National Missile Defense against the promises of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
COSTS OF NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM AND MAINTAINING THE U.S. NUCLEAR ARSENAL
|Pentagon's Projected Life Cycle Cost for NMD Program
(1991 to 2026)
|Annual Costs of all Ballistic Missile Defense Programs
|Costs since 1950s on Missile Defense Programs
|Annual Cost of Nuclear Arsenal
|Costs since 1940 of Nuclear Arsenal
(to build, deploy, maintain, cleanup)
1) Sparking a new nuclear arms race - Responses to U.S. NMD plans on the part of the other major nuclear powers have been overwhelmingly critical, if the U.S. chooses to deploy:
Russia has promised to deploy more of its Topol-M missiles, which are designed to overcome an anti-missile system by employing decoys and multiple warheads on each missile.
China, with only a handful of ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S., will feel its deterrent capability threatened and would accelerate its nuclear program.
2) Jeopardizing nuclear arms reductions - Russian officials have made it very clear that further reductions of Russia's nuclear arsenal via the START process are conditional upon continued U.S. compliance with the ABM Treaty. Both Russia and the U.S. maintain START I force levels (US: 7,200/Russia: 6,000). START II, which was just recently ratified by the Duma, would reduce the number of active strategic warheads in the U.S. and Russia to 3,500 each and START III would reduce the number of strategic warheads to between 2,000 and 2,500. Russia has indicated it would be willing to reduce their nuclear arsenals even further (to 1,000-1,500 each), but the U.S. has linked START III talks to changes in the ABM Treaty to allow deployment of NMD.
3) Hair-Trigger Nuclear Posture - Russia has revised its nuclear doctrine in response to NMD, substantially lowering the threshold at which Russia would resort to using nuclear weapons. The new document, decreed by acting president Vladimir Putin, states that the use of nuclear weapons would be deemed necessary "to repel armed aggression if all other means of resolving a crisis situation have been exhausted or turn out to be ineffective."
4) A Split within NATO - European and NATO allies fear a decoupling of U.S. and European security interests if the U.S. goes through with an NMD system. Many European allies have suggested that the U.S. get an agreement within NATO before proceeding with NMD.
5) NMD jeopardizes the national security of U.S. allies in Canada, Greenland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom - The system would require the upgrade and/or installation of components of the NMD system on foreign territory thereby putting those nations at risk of being attacked by a nation hostile to the U.S.
A BETTER DEFENSE: WHAT THE U.S. SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON
1) The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program - An immense amount of money has been spent in the U.S. on missile defenses which, at most, could defend against 20 to 100 ICBM's, and even that is questionable. On the other hand, the U.S. has spent $3.2 billion between FY 1992 to FY 2000 - a fraction of the cost for developing missile defense - on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (also known as the Nunn-Lugar program) which has helped Russia dismantle thousands of nuclear warheads. To date 3,300 nuclear warheads have been removed from Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan and more than 4,900 warheads have been deactivated.
2) Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties - The START process has been instrumental in reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. The Russian Duma approved START II, which lowers the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 3,000-3,500, and has stated its readiness to go to even lower levels.
WHAT DOES NMD MEAN TO THE NPT?
NMD represents the "weakest line of defense" against ballistic missiles with the greatest costs, both monetarily and politically. Cooperative initiatives such as START II/III and the Nunn-Lugar program reduce and eliminate the threat posed by nuclear weapons AND fall in line with the aims and goals of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. These agreements show that diplomacy is far more effective at reducing the threat of nuclear war than any missile defense scheme. The continued pursuit of NMD will have far reaching consequences for the future of arms control and the eventual goal of nuclear abolition. It will mean a false sense of security for Americans and an increased threat of nuclear war for the world. It is imperative that nations seize this opportunity to hold the U.S., and the world, accountable for its commitment signed 30 years ago "to pursue negotiations in good faith" towards a nuclear weapons-free world.