Why SDI Is No Bargaining Chip

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Why SDI Is No Bargaining Chip

October 2, 1985 21 min read Download Report
Manfred R.
Senior Visiting Fellow
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460 October 2, 1985 WHY INTRODUCTION SDI IS NO BARGAt NING CHIP Should the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) be a bargaining chip? Yes, say some policy makers who see SDI, popularly known as Star Wars, as a means of securing deep cuts i n Soviet strategic nuclear missiles at the Geneva arms talks. No, say others who view SDI as the atomic age's first hope of preventing nuclear holocaust. As such, they argue, SDI is much too important to global survival to be bargained away in arms talks e mbraced that position when he stated categorically that the U.S could not accept restrtctions on SDI research as part of an arms agreement with Moscow Ronald Reagan clearly What Moscow thinks of SDI is very clear. It is trying to pressure the U.S. to trad e SDI for Soviet, and presumably U.S offensive weapons cuts. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told a daiegation of visiting U.S. Senators in early September that he would accept Itradical reductions" in nuclear weapons if the U.S. were to abandon SDI.

Moscow has escalated its propaganda campaign against SDI in preparation for the. Reagan-Gorbachev summit.

Eduard Shevardnadze used the platform of the 40th U.N. General Soviet foreign minister 1. This is the thirteenth in a series of Heritage Backnrounders on Strategic Defense. A complete list appears at the end of this study 2 President's News Conference on Foreign and Domestic Issues The New York Times September IS, 1985, p. B6. Assembly to unveil a catchy "Star Peacell proposal of international cooperation i n space in obvious juxtaposition to the U.S Star Wars program. But there is no linkage between this Soviet proposal for international cooperation, properly dealt with in the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and strategic defense researc h.

Many of those Americans who urge the White House to take up Gorbachev on his offer do so by invoking the increasingly discredited concepts on which U.S. arms control and strategic nuclear deterrence policy has been based since the mid-1960s. They believ e that stability between the two superpowers depepds ,on each's ability to annihilate the other with nuclear weapons. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they also continue to claim that mutual assured destruction MAD) will pave the way for. ar ms reductions.

SDI, on the other hand is based on the rapid technological advances of the past decade and on the changed and more threatening global strategic environment resulting from MOSCOW~S enormous nuclear buildup. Rather than ignoring these developm ents, the Reagan Administration is responding to them by proposing research, testing and development of a strategic defense system. Instead of being a achiplv to be tendered, SDI should be viewed as a llleverll to elicit results at the Geneva talks. Advan ces in strategic defense could become the centerpiece of a promising new U.S.-Soviet arms control arrangement. By employing SDI as a lever at Geneva, the U.S. enlists technology in support of arms control.

The U.S. strategic defense effort--SDI or Star Wars--would be a vast improvement over efforts to attain an arms accord by the old model, which has failed to restrain the expansion of nuclear arsenals. To the contrary, SDI offers the promise of a new model for an arms accord that could lead to genuine arms control and reductions. SDI thus should not be abandoned at the Reagan-Gorbachev meeting or at the Geneva arms talks for two reasons: first, strategic defense holds the only current possibility for eventu a lly moving away from a strategic relationship based upon the threat of mutual societal and, perhaps, global destruction; and second, no conceivable Soviet offer of offensive weapons reductions could enhance either strategic stability or U.S. security enou g h to justify giving up or delaying the potential of SDI 3. See, for instance, Thomas K. Longstreth, et al, The Imoact o f lJ.S. and Soviet Ballistic Defense Programs on the ABM Treatv (Washington, D.C The National Campaign to Save the ABM Treaty, 1985 2BE G INNINGS OF THE BARGAINING CHIP CONCEPT After avoiding concrete reduction proposals for years at the Geneva talks and in earlier negotiations with the Nixon, Ford, and Carter Administrations, Moscow recently began hinting that some cuts were possible. This April, Gorbachev vaguely alluded to possible offensive force reductions in excess of 25 percent. Since then various Soviet officials have mentioned that such reductions could involve warheads as well as missile launchers. Soviet officials also have indica ted that they may accept basic SDI-related research as long as development and testing of these technologies were proscribed.

In his U.N. speech, Shevardnadze said that the Soviet delegation had brought far-reaching proposals for "radical reductions of nuc lear weaponsll to the Geneva negotiations. There has been much speculation that the Soviet foreign minister may propose a reduction of around 50 percent in offensive nuclear weapons in return for U.S. acceptance of significant restraints in its SDI progra m.

September 27, Shevardnadze delivered the outlines of a new Soviet arms proposal. The new Soviet proposal apparently calls for cuts in nuclear arsenals up to 50 percent and cessation of important work on the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative.

As a resul t of MOSCOW~S apparent readiness to make concessions the bargaining chip appeal of the SDI has grown--particularly in Western Europe. Even West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has not been immune to its appeal and has suggefted that a trade-off deal might h e lp break the deadlock at Geneva leaders about SDI's role in the Geneva talks prompted a stern warning by Lord Carrington, NATO's Secretary General, not to be tempted by Soviet tactics. And in the jockeying for public relations gains as the Reagan-Gorbache v summit of mid-November nears, the bargaining chip approach has gaJned considerable support even within the Administration. The Department of State, for instance, is trying to persuade the White House to make concessions on SDI development to reach an acc o mmodation with Moscow During his meeting with President Reagan at the White House on Similar attitudes of European 4. Whether the cuts would be in warheads or launchers has never been clarified. I 5. Bernt Conrad Chancellor Appreciates Soviet Position at Geneva Round of Talks Die Welt August 20, 1985, pp. 1,

10. At the CDU Party Convention in Essen earlier this year, Kohl speculated that deep offensive arms reductions might even render SDI unnecessary 6. Don Oberdorfer and David Hoffman Star Wars' Eyed as Bargaining Chip The Washington Post September 15, 1985, p. A1/16 3- U.S. STRATEGIC POLICY AND ARMS CONTROL Arms control, if it is to be a useful adjunct of national security policy, must be compatible with and support the overall goals of U.S. strategic p olicy The principal objective of U.S. policy has been to deter Soviet aggression by maintaining sufficient military capabilities and a stable nuclear balance. To accomplish this, the U.S. must deny the Soviets any plausible nuclear attack options that mig h t tempt them. Furthermore, U.S capabilities must deter the Soviets even in tense, high-stakes crises to assure that the U.S. can attain its foreign policy objectives. Finally, the U.S. must be able to prevent Moscow from employing nuclear threats to intim i date and blackmail the U.S. and its allies An effective nuclear deterrent requires that U.S. forces be both survivable and flexible to afford the President a range of responses to an attack that is commensurate with its scope command, control communicatio n s, and intelligence assets ($1) must be survivable enough to provide positive control over U.S. nuclear forces during a protracted nuclear conflict. Since U.S. nuclear forces underpin U.S. commitments to defend its allies, they also must be flexible and r o bust enough to support NATO's doctrine of graduated response to various types of Soviet attack that it was doubtful that these objectives could be met. At the same time, such Soviet technological advances as deployment of multiple warheads technically kno w n as multiple independent reentry vehicles MIRVs) and more accurate warheads, along with the unremitting Soviet military buildup, eroded U.S. ability to maintain a stable deterrence relationship with Moscow based solely on offensive nuclear forces In addi t ion During the 1970s, U.S. military capabilities deteriorated so much In response to the growing strategic instabilities, President Reagan challenged the U.F. scientific community to explore defense against nuclear missiles as a means of reducing U.S. exc l usive reliance on offensive weapons to deter attack of this endeavor, said Reagan, is "the eventual elimination of all nuclear arms I The ultimate objective In the relatively short term, the U.S. might be able to develop ground-based interceptors to prote c t vital U.S. and allied military assets, such as airfields, command posts, and logistics. Protection 7. As a stop-gap measure, he also initiated a limited strategic modernization program which, however, has run into serious difficulties, owing to congress i onal opposition to the full deployment of the MX "Peacekeeper" missile and other cuts i I I i I I I I I I I 4of U.S. retaliatory forces could thus fulfill the traditional U.S security objective--to deny the Soviet Union any reasonable expectation of fight ing and winning a nuclear war shorter-range Soviet nuclear missiles could greatly enhance NATO's ability to 'resist Soviet aggression without having to resort to nuclear escalation early on.

In the longer term, the more exotic technologies under study coul d intercept attacking Sovtet missiles and warheads during the early phases of their flight. Systems based on these technologies hold out the prospect of successfully defending population centers and the infrastructure against missile attacks. Such defense s could allow the world to escape at last the fragile and morally suspect Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine that holds innocent people hostage to the hope that their leaders are rational and will not engage in a nuclear conflict Defenses against SOVIET O B JECTIVES AT GENEVA MOSCOW'S chief objectives at Geneva are to get the U.S. to agree to limit its SDI and Anti-Satellite (ASAT) programs and to restrain strategic offensive modernization. The Soviets clearly fear that superior technological capabilities wi ll allow the U.S. to make rapid progress in strategic defense. The utility of the Kremlin's massive investment in offensive nuclear missiles targeted at the U.S. is directly threatened by the development of.U.S. defensive systems.

Strategic defense thus th reatens to undermine MOSCOW~S offensive damage limitation1' strategy that has driven its strategic nuclear build-up, explains the acquisition of a first-strike capability against U.S. missiles, and accounts for its refusal to reduce the size of its SS-18 a nd SS-19 force. Moscow also fears that SDI research will generate important technological breakthroughs with spin-offs for conventional defenses capabilities would erode the enormous advantages in this category of weapons currently enjoyed by Moscow A qua litative jump in NATO conventional 8. Brian Green Strategic Defense: The Technology That Makes It Possible," Heritage Foundation Backerounder No. 375, August 19

84. John A. Adam and Mark A. Fischetti Star Wars; SDI: The Grand Experiment IEEE SDectrum, Sept ember 1985, pp. 34-64 5- It has also been a longstanding Soviet goal to freate divisiveness between the West Europeans and the U.S in its attempt last year to scare Europe's NATO members into refusing to accept U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles, Moscow se e s SDI as a new opportunity to revive its propaganda offensive aimed at Western Europe. The Kremlin depicts the U.S. as the real obstacle to progress on arms control so eagerly awaited by the West Europeans as a means of achieving political detente Having f ailed ARMS CONTROL LIMITS ON STRATEGIC DEFENSE: AN ASSESSMENT At the Geneva talks, the Soviets have adopted an extreme position, calling for a complete ban on ballistic missile defenses including scientific research, development, and deplypent, in return for unspecified Soviet reductions in offensive arms. These proposed limitations would be far more stringent than those imposed by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile I(FBM) Treaty, which permit research and a great deal of development.

Research Baq Moscow wants to ban SDI research.

First, such a ban cannot be verified laboratories, where it cannot be detected by satellites or other so-called Itnational technical means.I1 being investigated by researchers also are not specific to strategic defense. Commercial r esearch on high-powered laser technologies, for The U.S. should reject this.

Much research takes place in The science and technologies 9. Manfred R. Hamm Protecting U.S. Interests at the Geneva Umbrella Talks Heritage Foundation Backarounder No. 401, Janu ary 4, 1985, and "The Umbrella Talks The Washington Ouarterlv, Spring 1985, pp. 133-146; the debate over NATO INF deployment in Europe offers a good case study of the way Moscow seeks to exploit the arms control process to sow discord among the NATO allie s . Paul H. Nitze The Objectives of Arms Control Current Policv No. 677, U.S. Department of State, March 28, 1985 10. Edward L. Rowny Arms Talks: Waiting for the3oviet Ship to Come In," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 1985; earlier reports had quoted Paul N itze as saying the Soviets had proposed in the second round of negotiations at Geneva mutual reductions of 25 percent in strategic launchers, a counting category that includes missiles and bombers. William Drozdiak Arms Talks Are Fruitless in 2nd Round Th e Washinaton Post, July 16, 1985 p. Al 11. Anonymous U.S;-Soviet Arms Accords Are No Bar to Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative Heritage Foundation Backnrounde r No. 421, April 4, 1985, and Paul H. Nitze SDI and the ABM Treaty Current Policv No. 71 1, U. S. Department of State, May 30 1985 6example, will continue, regardless of a ban on SDI research. This would have obvious SDI implications, but there would be no way to determine the intended purpose of the research.

Second, past experience teaches that ca pping research in.one weapons technology area merely redirects it to another area. When limits were imposed on the number of ballistic launchers in SALT I and SALT 11 the U.S. and the Soviet Union shifted to development of cruise missile technologies.

Thi rd, the Roviets enjoy a considerable lfpd in certain kinds of SDI technologies and in deployed SDI systems. A research ban would guarantee the Soviet lead more adversely than it would the Soviets. The Soviet offensive buildup, which provides them with som e ability to limit damage from a U.S. nuclear retaliatory attack, continues unrestrained by any domestic political pressure. The U.S., on the other hand, cannot build the kind or quantity of offensive forces it needs to deter by offensive means a Soviet at t ack in Europe (an objective that requires systems such as the MX that can limit damage) or match the Soviet buildup because of serious domestic political constraints however, could provide equivalent security by deterring the Soviets defensively rather th an offensively Fourth, a ban on research would affect U.S. security objectives SDI Develomaent/Testina Ban Moscow recently has tried to draw a distinction between pure I I research and development/testing, emphasizing a ban on the latter.

But such a ban at this point could hardly be in the U.S. interest.

While laboratory tests and simulations can replace some real-life tests, without actual testing of components and systems the program become barriers to innovation and selective eliminatio n of the least promising technologies retarding the programs progress and by creating operational uncertainties of such a magnitude that Congress will hesitate to fund deployment will confront technological uncertainties which, eventually, will I Such a b a n would also prejudice any future deployment decision by 12. Paul H. Nitze, The Soviet SDI Program, Current Policv No. 717, U.S. Department of State, July 1985; Hans Ruehle, Gorbachevs Star Wars, NATO Review, August 1985, pp 26-3 1 13. David B. Rivkin, Jr . and Manfred R. Hamm, In Strategic Defense, Moscow Is Far Ahead Heritage Foundation Backprounder No. 409, February 21, 1985 7- Slowing the U.S. program will heny the U.S. the oppor,unity bo exploit its innovative capability and technological lead, thereby allowing Moscow to more easily keep pace with U.S. missile defense efforts.

Deployment Ban"

It is sometimes argued that the U.S. should continue SDI research to hedge against a Soviet defensive breakthrough, but should agree not to deploy ballistic missi le defenses. Indeed, President Reagan in his September 17 news conference stated the U.S. intention to try to negotiate with Moscow on BMD deployment before beginning unilaterally. Already in December 1984, he had given that assurance to British Prime Min ister Margaret Thatcher so as to allay Western European concerns and enlist their cooperation. But to agree to a deployment ban at this stage of SDI research would be impractical and undesirable for several reasons.

First, agreeing to a ban when so little is known about the eventual effectiveness of SDI puts the proverbial cart before the horse idea, if effective.

Even many of its critics agree strategic defense is a good Segond, a ban on deployment would be ambiguous and difficult to verify. One of the pr oblems with the 1972 ABM Treaty is that the technologies of ballistic missile defense, air defense, anti-satellite weapons, and anti-tactical ballistic missile defense have converged in capabilities. Distinguishing one from the others on the basis of tech n ical characteristics is becoming increasingly difficult verification of compliance with an SDI ban would involve the virtually impossible task of determining the intended use of a system MOSCOW'S record of treaty violations, it cannot be relied upon to ob s erve such a pact in any event Thus Given Third, banning SDI would reflect continuing U.S. acceptance of the theory and assumptions of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD MAD holds that stable deterrence is achieved when both sides are totally 14. See footnote 11 for an analysis of what the U.S. may legally deploy within the constraints of the ABM Treaty 15. Soviet arms delegate Yuli Kvitsinsky alleged in the second round of the Geneva talks that even a ban on "purposeful and directed research on space weaponry could be verifiable. Celestine Bohlen, "Soviet Negotiator Says 'Star Wars' Ban Verifiable The Washinnton Post, July 26, 1985; according to some sources, Moscow simply wanted to prevent testing of U.S. components, such as Talon Gold, a space pointing and t r acking system. Leslie H. Gelb, "U.S. Says Soviets Might Accept SDI Research," International Herald Tribune, July 10, 1985, p. 1 avulnerable to massive retaliatory destruction by the other. The SALT and ABM Treaties assumed that Moscow would end its-nuclea r buildup if the U.S. had no defenses.

In fact, the SALT I and SALT I1 treaties, which embodied MAD theories, have had exactly the opposite results from those intended by the U.S. treaty negotiators. The Soviets never accepted MAD, as the development and g rowth of their nuclear arsenal demonstrates. But if the U.S. abandoned SDI, it would be tantamount to continuing to cling to MAD.

Thus the net result of SALT I and SALT I1 has been reduced strategic stability and a continuing, more dangerous-and very one-sided--arms race violations of SALT I and SALT I1 have contributed to the tensions that inhibit further negotiation.

But even if the Soviet arms programs and commitment to arms control were above reproach, MAD still would not serve as a viable basis for s uccessful arms control agreements. MAD is based on the ability to impose catastrophic damage. Without that ability, the foundation of MAD crumbles. Yet one of the primary goals of arms control has been (and should be) to reduce damage in the event of war m aintenance. of offenses sufficient to impose massive damage and forbids systems that might lessen destruction is inconsistent with the arms control goal of limiting damage Destabilizing Soviet arms programs and Soviet Quite clearly a strategic regime such as MAD that necessitates Thus, under MAD, offensive nuclear arms cannot be reduced to levels low enough to limit damage significantly because total damage limitation is destabilizing and undesirable. SDI, however, offers the possibility of a strategic rel a tionship based on defensive deterrence plus the eventual elimination of the utility of strategic nuclear weapons. For this reason alone, SDI should not be bargained away In any event, there already is a ban on such deployments-the ABM Treatyoand it is bei n g violated by Moscow. Proponents of such an approach have the burden of demonstrating why the U.S. should trade off a potentially positive development (SDI) in return for a ban that Moscow already is violating; especially since, as the past ABM Treaty ind i cates, U.S. spending on defensive research would be likely to 16. Compare, for instance, the testimony of Wolfgang Panofsky, a key proponent of SALT with the more sobering assessment of the limits of arms control offered by Fred Charles Ikle, U.S. Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Arms Control International Law and organization, ABM. MIRV. SALT. and t he Nuclear Arms Race Hearings, 91st Congress, 2nd Session, Washington D.C., 1970, and Foreinn Affairs, Spring 1985, pp. 8 10-826, respe ctively 9-decline after treaty approval, while MOSCOW'S would continue at the same or increased rate.

MOSCOW'S TRADE-OFF OPTIONS AND SDI SDI should be pursued because of its positive potential. Moscow may make an offer to trade off SDI, but no offer should be allowed to block SDI efforts.

Offense-for-Defense Trade-off Moscow has signaled that it may be willing to accept a 25 percent reduction, perhaps even a 50 percent reduction, in offensive strategic forces in exchange for U.S. concessions on SDI. Even t hough Moscow has failed thus far to put forth concrete proposals, defining the types of weapons to be reduced and the ultimate offensive force mix, even large-scale reductions would not obviate the.imperative to explore the potential of strategic defenses because 1) Moscow would retain the ability to destroy too much of the U.S. retaliatory force and command and control structure with its remaining SS-17, SS-18, and SS-19 missiles. Moscow currently has 9,500 strategic nuclear warheads reduction would still leave the Soviets with an awesome capability and the U.S. totally vulnerable, a long-held Soviet goal A 50 percent or 4,750 warhead 2) Soviet missile accuracies are improving. This means that the new SS-248 SS-25s, the SS-N-X-23 carried by the Typhoon sub m arine, and the future SS-26 and SS-27 will have silo-busting abilities thereby threatening the first-strike even if SS-18s and 19s are reduced 3) The last Soviet proposal, made during the 1981-1983 START negotiations, called for reductions from the SALT I 1 level of 2,250 delivery systems to 1,8

00. No sublimit on warheads was proposed but Soviet negotiators talked of "nuclear charges" which should also include bombs and cruise missiles. If a 50 percent reduction is applied to the SALT I1 numbers, if would mean a cut to 1,125 launchers, thus leaving the most threatening Soviet ICBMs unaffected. Without further sublimits on delivery systems a 50 percent cut would not account for the qualitative and operational differences among weapons systems, favor Moscow and result, perhaps, in a highly destabilizing force mix.

Furthermore, the throw-weight limitations sought by the U.S would have to be incorporated in order-to ensure reductions in Soviet first-strike weapons 4) Any offense-defense trade-off would obviate the need for a change in Soviet warfighting strategy which calls for disarming 10 first-strikes against Western military assets to reduce the damage of retaliatory strikes to the Soviet Union.

SDI forces Moscow to give up this offensive damage limitation strategy in favor of a defensive strategy that would make radical offensive force reductions in the Soviet interest 5) It would prevent the West from protecting its population against the nucle a r threat and seeking a morally preferable form of deterrence 6) Past nuclear arms accords have limited only deployed offensive systems but have not addressed the problem of weapons stockpiling production ceilings which, however, are inherently unverifiabl e.

Warhead reductions on deployed systems thus do not protect the U.S. from Soviet stockpiling ofareloads that might give it a decisive strategic advantage over the U.S. during wartime. Thus any attenuation of the Soviet counterforce threat resulting from warhead reductions would be transitory This could be prevented only by establishing 7) The new generation of Soviet land-based strategic missiles is either road or rail mobile, thus rendering verification of treaty compliance exceedingly difficult 8) In v i ew of Soviet noncompliance with existing agreements, such deep reductions may not be in the U.S. interest in the absence of SDI because without defenses, the retention of hidden weapons by Moscow would have a much more serious impact on U.S. security at l o wer levels of warheads than at present higher warhead levels SS-20BDI Trade-off Moscow could try to split NATO and fuel West European opposition to SDI by proposing reductions of its SS-20 intermediate-range missiles targeted against Europe in return for U .S. limitations on SDI. Such a trade-off is militarily and politically dangerous for a number of reasons. Among them 1) Reductions of the relatively short-range SS-20 missiles would not affect the central U.S.-Soviet strategic balance and the emerging str ategic instabilities that SDI seeks to address 2) It would preserve MOSCOW'S decisive advantage over NATO in theater nuclear weapons.

I 3) It would perpetuate MAD as the basis of Western security and retain the balance of terror. This would rekindle Wester n Europe's anti-nuclear and pacifist movements, which could erode the U.S.-European security partnership 11 4) It would preclude NATO deployment of those anti-missile defenses that could bolster the ability to use conventional forces to deter a Soviet att a ck. Presumably, such a trade-off would also ban deployment of European anti-missile defenses since it is inconceivable Moscow would agree to SS-20 reductions while defense against their smaller numbers are erected by NATO. But the critical vulnerability o f NATO assets to Soviet nuclear or conventional preemption makes such defense imperative.

SDI-SS-20 trade-off will ultimately weaken NATOIs conventional posture Thus an 5) Moscow would presumably continue to insist upon a withdrawal of U.S. intermediate-ra nge missiles; if agreed to, this would give Moscow the only intermediate-range missiles in Europe.

Snace-based SDI Ban A ban on space-based SDI, allowing ground-based defenses, would block precisely the area of SDI that offers the best long-term promise f or meeting the original objective of arms control "to make nuclear weapons ~bsolete protect civilians as well as military sites of such a ban would be to block advances in those areas where the U.S is currently moving ahead and leave open those areas wher e Moscow is technologically competitive A space-based SDI could provide a shield to Further, the net effect Site Trade-off for MX Ban The Kremlin might suggest that the ABM Treaty be renegotiated to permit some defenses of military sites in return for a ba n on U.S. MX deployment. Although a renegotiation of the ABM Treaty is inevitable it makes no sense for the U.S. to give up the MX, which is the only weapon it has with potential to counter the Soviet heavy SS-18 and SS-19 ICBMs. .The U.S. would gain the r i ght to protect the aging Minutemen ICBMs, which do not have the capability to destroy hardened Soviet ICBM sites. The Minutemen, moreover, are particularly vulnerable to Soviet land-based strategic defenses and can carry no more than three hard target-kil l capable warheads. Further, the banning of the MX would affect the U.S. now, while defensive protection would not be possible for several more years.

SDI Moratorium Trade-off Moscow may suggest a moratorium on all or some aspects of SDI either in the cont ext of the need for a 'lbetter negotiating climatell or in exchange for some offensive reductions. A moratorium generally is a bad idea projects probing its potential are underway and moratoriums almost always redound to Soviet advantage since U.S. congre s sional and public support for a delayed weapons system tends to wane, and Moscow continues with whatever programs it believes appropriate It would halt SDI momentum just at the time when 12 i ASAT Ban Trade-off Moscow might pursue its ongoing efforts to c u rb U.S attempts to respond to Soviet anti-satellite (ASAT) advances by means of a ban on ASAT activities in return for offensive strategic reductions. The same concerns about offensive reductions apply, and most forms of an ASAT ban also would be unverifi a ble. Most important, the U.S. would observe the restrictions and thereby indirectly give up its SDI program, since certain key SDI technological development programs are essentially the same as those for ASAT CONCLUSION To use SDI as a bargaining chip wil l prevent genuine reductions of offensive forces. Lt. Gen. James Abrahamson observed correctly that SDI opens up a whole new regime for leverage in negotiations that will help redefine the relationship between offensive and defensive weapons. Once such a r edefinition has been, made, Moscow may realize that its strategic objectives are serve6 best by defenses accompanied by real reductions in offensive forces.

Even in the absence of any offensive reductions, a moderately effective SDI could achieve the purpo rted aims of arms controllers more effectively than any Moscow trade-off cost-effective SDI capable of destroying perhaps 50 to 75 percent of incoming warheads would increase the survivability of U.S. retaliatory forces and command and control structures, thus enhancing deterrence.

Such a defense also would limit damage roughly in proportion to its effectiveness, since many secondary Soviet targets would survive the attack A survivable and There would be no need to verify these technologically enforced red uctions. Thus, in terms of stability, damage limitation, and verification, SDI deployments seem to do the job of arms control more effectively than negotiated agreements. SDI is not a bargaining chip. By using it as such, the U.S. not only would relinquis h the principal purpose of strategic defense but would perpetuate the validity of MAD as the guiding doctrine for strategic planning.

Manfred R. Hamm Senior Policy Analyst 17. As quoted by David Halperin in The Christian Science Monitor, December 4, 19

84 . For the contribution SDI can make to real arms control, see also Keith B. Payne, Whv SDIZ Issues in National Security No. 2 (Fairfax, Virginia: National Institute for Public Policy, 1985), pp. 9-13; Colin S. Gray, "Deterrence, Arms Control, and the Defe n se Transition," Orbis Summer 1984, pp. 227-239 13 - Heritage Foundation Backgrounders on Strategic Defense Robert Foelber, IIStrategic Defense: Avoiding Annihilation,Il No. 304 November 9, 1983 C. Richard Whelan, "Wanted: A Space Policy to Defend'America, Il No. 311, December 8, 1983.

Robert Foelber and Brian Green, %pace Weapons, The Key to Assured Surviva1,Il No 327, February 2, 1984.

Brian Green, IlStrategic Defense: The Technology That Makes It Possible,Il No. 375, August 23, 1984 Brian Green, YChe New Case for Civil Defense,Il No. 377, August 29 1984.

Loren Thompson, "Air Defense: Protecting America's Skies," No. 379 David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Manfred R. Hamm, "In Strategic Defense Anonymous, hU.S.-Soviet Arms Accords Are No Bar to Reagan's Strategic W. Bruce Weinrod and Manfred R. Hamm, Wtrategic Defense C America's September 13, 1984.

Moscow Is Far Ahead," No. 409, February 21, 1985.

Defense Initiative,Il No. 421, April 4, 1985 Allies,l# No. 425, April 16, 1985 Francis P. Hoeber, "In the Key Battle of Comparative Costs, Strategic Defense Is A Winner," No. 442, July 5, 1985.

Thomas Krebs, llM n~ Many Problems in Countering A U.S. Strategic Defense System No. 454, September 17, 1985.

Loren Thompson, "Managing ths Transition From Nuclear Offense to Strategic Defense No. 459, September 30, 1985 14


Manfred R.

Senior Visiting Fellow