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SEN. LEVIN: Good morning, everybody. First, let me welcome our commission: Dr. Perry, Dr. Schlesinger, chairman and vice chairman; John Glenn, a dear and old friend of ours; Dr. Foster; Dr. Cartland. We welcome you all. We thank you for your wonderful service. Many of you are old friends, have been before us -- served with us, for that matter, in the case of Senator Glenn, for many, many years. And so this is kind of a homecoming in a sense, a little bit of a reunion. I kind of hated to bang the gavel, because we were having some reminiscences going on.
But we must get on with our work, because we have a bill on the floor, and that means I'm going to have to leave at 10:30. I know that Senator McCain probably will want to be there as well. He's been a total partner on a bill that we have on the floor. So this is going to be a bit hurried for the two of us, and maybe others as well; but you're used to that.
The commission was established by the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008 to examine recommendations with respect to the long-term strategic posture of the United States. Over the course of the last several years, there's been much debate and discussion about the future of nuclear weapons, but there's been a lack of a coherent plan or policy. For the most part, the debates here in the Congress centered on specific programs, such as low-yield nuclear weapons, the mini-nukes; the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, the RNEP; the Reliable Replacement Warhead, the RRW.
And then in September of 2007, when the Air Force unknowingly flew nuclear weapons across the country, and then later on, when the Air Force discovered it had unknowingly shipped ICBM nose cones to Taiwan, nuclear matters became the source of public discussion again, and the cause for dismissal, in fact, of the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force.
Various reviews and reports in the months following those events disclosed additional problems and issues within the nuclear enterprise. The conclusions in these reports demonstrate that the uncertainty and confusion in U.S. nuclear policy was a major source of the chaos in the nuclear enterprise. So all of these events led, in turn, to the erosion of the funding, led to conflicting direction and to the general breakdown of consensus that had generally existed for the first decade of the Stockpile Stewardship Program.
The task before this commission was to examine all elements of the nuclear enterprise and nuclear policy, to make recommendations as appropriate and to determine where there is and is not consensus on these important matters. The commission's report -- the commission that's before us today -- their report contains 11 separate discussion topics and a hundred recommendations. Some will have very broad support, such as the conclusion that the United States must lead international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and reduce the number of nuclear weapons worldwide. Other conclusions will need more discussion and review, and have less consensus behind them, perhaps.
But an overarching finding of the report is that the United States has an opportunity, and there is urgency, to reengage with the international community by seeking international solutions to the problems of nuclear proliferation and nuclear threats. So our committee thanks you all for your extraordinarily hard work. The staff, the working group members, all of you -- we're grateful to all of you for this report. And together with the Nuclear Posture Review, this report should help to restore clarity and hopefully consensus to U.S. nuclear policy.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to again echo your sentiments about our witnesses today, who we've had the opportunity of working with and serving with and -- for many years, and their many contributions to the security of this nation.
And thank you, Dr. Schlesinger, Dr. Perry, Senator Glenn, Dr. Cartland and Dr. Foster; thank you all for being here, and thank you for your -- this latest contribution you've made in helping us ensure the future security of this nation.
This congressional commission's strategic posture report both addresses many of the complexities we face in the world today and plays an important role in fostering a national bipartisan discussion on the current state and path forward of our strategic deterrent. This report takes an important look at the steps needed to make sure that our deterrent remains credible and that our nuclear infrastructure remains viable, addresses missile defense as well as the path forward for re-energizing our non-proliferation efforts.
The work of this commission will likely influence the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review, as well as congressional consideration of strategic issues over the next few years.
It will also play an important role as the United States formulates its approach to discussions about the future of the START Treaty, which will expire at the end of this year.
As we move through these steps, it's imperative that we move to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenal to the lowest levels possible, while at the same time taking the appropriate steps to assure that our nuclear deterrent remains safe and reliable. In addition, we must maintain our focus on developing a robust missile defense system and superior conventional forces capable of defending both the United States and our allies.
As we all know, there are significant hurdles before us, including the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, assuring that nuclear weapons remain out of the hands of terrorists, and strengthening the international will to impose sanctions that have teeth on those who seek to proliferate nuclear arms.
We should begin a dialogue with China to encourage its conformity with the practices of the other foreign nuclear weapons states recognized in the Non-Proliferation Treaty and work with Russia to build confidence in our missile defense program.
Among the other steps we must take, I agree in principle with a number of the recommendations outlined in the Strategic Posture Report that we're here today to discuss. Nonetheless, and above all, it is imperative that America lead by example. Our leadership on strategic issues is as vital today as it was during the Cold War.
Internationally, reports from Pakistan are a major cause for concern. With the Taliban at least once only 60 miles outside of Islamabad, the prospect of an insecure Pakistani nuclear arsenal poses a grave threat to our national security. We must do whatever it takes to ensure that Pakistan is able to secure its nuclear assets, and I look forward to hearing the panel's views on this matter.
As for missile defense, early last month Secretary Gates announced a transition in focus to the theater missile threat posed by rogue states. I have some concerns with the proposed $1.4 billion overall reduction in funding, and I look forward to hearing from our commission about Secretary Gates' proposal and how the changes he has outlined could affect the important role missile defense plays in our strategic posture.
For too long Congress has avoided serious debate on significant strategic force issues. I thank the members of this commission for their thoughtful assessments and recommendation, and I look forward to today's hearing and look forward to working with you, to addressing the future of our strategic posture and shared desire to reduce the danger that nuclear weapons will ever be used.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I do apologize to the witnesses; we are on the floor at 10:30 with our first real serious attempt in some time in bringing the cost overruns of our defense systems under control. And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the witnesses.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you, Senator McCain.
Dr. Perry, let's start with you.
MR. PERRY: Thank you very much.
SEN. LEVIN: Can you put your mike on? Your mike?
MR. PERRY: Very early in our deliberations, we met with Senator Sessions, and he urged us to come up with a consensus report. He said a consensus report would have a much greater weight with the Senate than anything else we would come up with. And I -- what was it -- Tom -- I said, "Easy for you to say." (Laughter.) But we gave it our best shot.
And with one exception, this report is a consensus report. That was no small effort to achieve that, I must say.
SEN. LEVIN: And Senator Sessions was right. It does have greater power when you're able to do that, and we congratulate you for it.
MR. PERRY: We have, as you pointed out, a hundred different recommendations in this report. I do not propose to review all those with you. I do have a written testimony which I would like to submit for the record.
SEN. LEVIN: And that will be part of the record.
MR. PERRY: My comments, then, are going to be focused on briefly relating the major findings in this report to what I see as the strategic policies of the administration as it goes into office. Those will no doubt evolve as it writes its -- as they do their Nuclear Posture Review. But I'm relating these to the -- going-in policies, mostly as articulated by President Obama and his speech in Prague.
First of all, he said that the nation faces a new threat, nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism; that beyond -- but besides that, it needs to hedge against the possible resurgence of the old threat. One statement of policy; these -- this commission agrees with that statement.
Secondly, he has said that the nuclear -- the NPT -- the nuclear nonproliferation treaty -- is critical to dealing with this new threat. The United States should work to strengthen the NPT. And in particular, we should commit more resources to the International Atomic Energy Agency. This commission agrees with that finding.
Third, he has said that success in preventing proliferation will require the effort of all nations, not just the United States and not just the nuclear powers, and that getting that full cooperation will entail the United States and other nuclear powers' making progress in nuclear disarmament. I agree fully with that statement. Our members -- some of our members think that (may ?) be overstated. Others -- so it's a difference of degree on that issue, but all of us see some coupling between those two areas.
Fourth, the president, in his Prague speech, made a very strong statement that the United States seeks a world without nuclear weapons, and that therefore we should reduce their numbers and their salience. But he said as long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must maintain a -- safe, secure, reliable forces capable of providing deterrence and extended deterrence.
All of our members agree with the latter part of that statement, namely, the importance of maintaining the safe, secure and reliable deterrent forces. I strongly agree with the full statement, but I must say that some of our members do not agree that we should be seeking a world without nuclear weapons. But all of them fully support the view that we should be reducing the numbers of nuclear weapons if that can be done in a bilateral fashion.
The fifth statement -- the fifth policy of the administration is that we should seek new treaties, a START -- new START treaty, a fissile-material cutoff treaty, and a comprehensive test ban treaty. All of our members agree it's important to seek a new START treaty and a new -- and a new -- and a treaty on fissile-material cutoff. On the CTB -- on the CTBT ratification, our members are divided.
And we clearly articulate that division, in the report, and the pros- and-cons views here.
My own view is that the United States cannot assume leadership, in the field of proliferation, if we do not ratify the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty. And so I strongly support that ratification.
This is an issue which will be coming before the Senate very shortly. Many of us will be no doubt asked to testify on that. I will be testifying in favor. Some of our other members will be testifying against. We are divided on that issue.
On missile defense, happy to say more about that. We've focused our issue on two different aspects here. One, the president has said, we should move forward on missile defense, as long as the Iranian threat persists, and that we should seek to find a way of cooperating with the Russians on this.
We agree with both of those conclusions. There are real differences among our members on the relative role and relative importance on missile defense. But on those two issues, we were in agreement.
The president has talked about the civilian nuclear program, saying we need to get the loose fissile material under control and that we need a new international framework, to discourage the spread of enrichment and processing. And we all agree with that.
And finally the president has said that we should seek to roll back North Korea's nuclear program and prevent Iran. He observed that the six-party talks have failed to stop North Korea from going ahead with their nuclear program, that the compliance with the NPT is in tatters, and that there must be consequences when nations violate it.
We agree with all of those conclusions. Of course, the question is, how do you do those things?
Beyond reporting on these policy issues, we made specific recommendations on how to sustain the deterrence force, particularly in the face of the American policy of no testing, no design of new weapons, and the limits of funding which have been put on the program.
The key to doing this, we all believe, is maintaining the strength of our weapons laboratories, which have an outstanding technical staff. We have had remarkable success, to this date, in the stockpile stewardship program and the life extension program. But as our weapons age, that success is going to become very much harder to achieve.
Given that problem, the government has responded to that problem by cutting the staff at the weapons laboratory. We find that inexplicable, argue that that trend should be reversed. And beyond that, we suggest that the laboratory should have added responsibilities in other fields, besides nuclear weapons, in particular in civilian energy, nuclear intelligence and in general R&D research.
The labs are a unique national asset. And by giving them this expanded national security role, this can be of great benefit to the nation. If that was done, they probably should be renamed, not just as the nuclear weapons lab but as national security laboratories for the nation.
If this also were done, we should be able to give them a freedom of action appropriate with this mission. And in particular the NNSA should have more autonomy than it now has. And we have recommended that it be reported to the president, through the secretary of Energy, different from its present reporting channels.
The problem in the past with NNSA has been their inability to provide adequate management, because of the bureaucratic staff mostly in the Department of Energy. We need to find a way of getting the full engagement of the secretary of Energy without the burdensome bureaucracy imposed by his staff.
I'm going to conclude by observing that we have a world ahead of us which has very imposing dangers. The danger that the non- proliferation regime will collapse is facing us right now. The danger is, there will be a cascade of proliferation in the few years ahead of us, and both of these increasing the risk of nuclear terrorism. And the danger is that nuclear powers will reengage in a competition reminiscent of the Cold War.
But there's also some hopes we can have a brighter future ahead of us, that we can find a way of sustaining the nonproliferation regime, constraining proliferation, stymieing nuclear terrorism, and that the nuclear powers will find a way of cooperating instead of competing in the nuclear field.
The report which we are submitting to you describes the strategy which we think will lead to that more hopeful future, rather than the bleak future which I have previously described.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to now turn it over to Secretary James Schlesinger.
SEN. LEVIN: Dr. Perry, thank you so much.
MR. SCHLESINGER: Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Congress established the Commission on Strategic Posture in order to provide recommendations regarding the appropriate posture for the United States under the changed conditions of the 21st century.
The appointed commissioners represented a wide range of the political spectrum and had quite diverse judgments on these matters. Nonetheless, urged by members of Congress, including Senator Sessions --
SEN. LEVIN: Can you talk just a little bit louder, Dr. Schlesinger?
MR. SCHLESINGER: -- the commission has sought to develop a consensus view. To a large extent, and to some an astonishing extent, the commission has succeeded in that effort.
Secretary Perry and I are here to present this consensus to the committee. We are of course indebted to the committee for this opportunity to present these recommendations.
For over half a century the U.S. strategic policy has been driven by two critical elements: to maintain a deterrent that prevents attacks on the United States, its interests and notably its allies, and to prevent a proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Dr. Perry mentioned that nuclear proliferation is a new issue. It is an old issue which is now enhanced by subsequent developments. The end of the Cold War, and particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact, along with the substantial edge that the United States has developed in conventional military capabilities, have permitted this country sharply to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons, radically to reduce our nuclear forces, and to move away from a doctrine of nuclear initiation to a stance of nuclear response only under extreme circumstances of major attack on the United States or its allies.
On the other hand, the growing availability of nuclear technology, along with the relaxation of the constraints of the Cold War, have obliged us to turn increasing attention to the problem of nonproliferation and, in particular, the possibility of a terrorist nuclear attack on the United States.
Secretary Perry has just spoken on the issues of arms control, diplomacy, the problems of proliferation, and the risks of nuclear terrorism. I, for my part, will focus on the need, despite its substantially shrunken role in the post-Cold War world, to maintain a deterrent reduced in size, yet nonetheless reliable and secure, and sufficiently impressive and visible to provide assurance to the 30-odd nations that are protected under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.
Since the early days of NATO, the United States as provided extended deterrence for its allies.
That has proved a far more demanding task than the protection of the United States itself. In the past, that has required a deterrent sufficiently large and sophisticated to deter a conventional attack by the Soviet Union Warsaw Pact. It also meant that the United States discouraged the development of national nuclear capabilities, particularly during the Kennedy administration, both to prevent proliferation and to avoid the diversion of resources away from the development of conventional allied capabilities.
With the end of the Cold War and the achievement of U.S. preponderance in conventional capabilities, the need for so substantial a deterrent largely disappeared. Nonetheless, the requirements for extended deterrence still remain at the heart of the design of the U.S. nuclear posture. Extended deterrence still remains a major barrier to proliferation. Both the size and the specific elements of our forces are driven more by the need to reassure those that we protect under the nuclear umbrella than by U.S. requirements alone. Even though the overall requirements of our nuclear forces have shrunk by some 80 percent since the height of the Cold War, nonetheless the expansion of NATO and the rise of Chinese nuclear forces -- significant, if modest -- have altered somewhat the requirements for our own nuclear forces.
Two, even though the most probable source of a weapon landing on American soil increasingly is that of a nuclear terrorist attack, nonetheless the sizing of our forces, in addition to other elements of our deterrent posture, remains driven in large degree by Russia. Our NATO allies, and most notably the new members of NATO, remain wary of Russia and would eye nervously any sharp reduction of our nuclear forces relative to those of Russia, especially in light of the now greater emphasis by Russia on tactical nuclear weapons.
Consequently, the commission did conclude that we should not engage in unilateral reductions in our nuclear forces, and that such reductions should occur only as the result of bilateral negotiations with Russia under a follow-on START agreement. Any such reductions must, of course, be thoroughly discussed with our allies.
Three, our East Asian allies also view with great interest our capabilities relative to the slowly burgeoning Chinese force. Clearly, that adds complexities, for example, to the protection of Japan; though that remains a lesser driver with respect to overall numbers.
Still, the time has come to engage Japan in more comprehensive discussions, akin to those with NATO in the Nuclear Planning Group. It will also augment the credibility of the Pacific Extended Deterrent.
Four, the Commission has been urged to specify the numbers of nuclear weapons the United States should have. That is an understandable question, particularly in light of the demands of the appropriations process in Congress. Nonetheless, it is a mistake to focus unduly on numbers, without reference to the overall strategic context. Clearly, it would be illogical to provide a number outside the process of negotiations with Russia, given the need to avoid giving away bargaining leverage.
In preparation for the Treaty of Moscow, as with all of its predecessors, the composition for our prospective forces was subject to the most rigorous analysis. Thus, it would seem to be unacceptable to go below the numbers specified in that treaty without a similarly rigorous analysis of the strategic context, which has not yet taken place. Moreover, as our Russian friends have repeatedly told us, strategic balance is more important than the numbers themselves.
Five, given the existence of other nations' nuclear capabilities and the international role that the United States necessarily plays, the commission quickly reached the judgment that the United States must maintain a nuclear deterrent for the indefinite future. It must convey not only the capacity, but the will to respond in necessity. Some members of the commission have expressed a hope that at some future date we might see the worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons. The judgment of the commission, however, has been that attainment of such a goal would require a transformation of world politics. President Obama also has expressed that goal, but has added that as long as nuclear weapons exist in the world, the United States must maintain a strong deterrent. We should all bear in mind that the abolition of nuclear weapons will not occur outside the transformation of world politics.
Six, we sometimes hear or read the query: Why are we investing in these capabilities which will never be used? This is a fallacy. A deterrent, if it is effective, is in use every day.
The purpose in sustaining these capabilities is to be sufficiently impressive, sufficiently formidable to avoid their use, in the sense of the actual need to deliver weapons to targets. That is the nature of any deterrent, but particularly so a nuclear deterrent. It exists to deter major attacks against the United States, its allies and its interests.
Years ago, the role and the details of our nuclear deterrent commanded sustained and high-level national interest. Regrettably, today, they do so far less than is necessary. Nonetheless, the role of the deterrent remains crucial. Therefore, I and the other members of the committee -- commission thank this committee for its continued attention to these critical questions.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you very much, Dr. Schlesinger.
Senator Glenn or other members of the commission, do you want to add anything at this point? (No audible reply.)
Okay. Let's try a 6-minute round for our first round.
I'd like to focus on one of the many notable provisions of this report, and that's the area of missile defense. This report supports a direction for a missile-defense program which could help missile defense become a unifying issue instead of a divisive issue.
First of all, you provide strong support for missile-defense systems against short-to-medium-range missiles. This committee has -- there's been a consensus on this committee in support of such missile defenses throughout the history of those defenses, including Patriot and THAAD and other defenses.
As a matter of fact, this committee, I think it's fair to say, has actually led the way, in a sense, because we have not only supported these efforts, but we've added to them significantly in terms of funding for these efforts over the year. Where we've been not together, and where there's been divisive -- divisiveness, has to do mainly with the ground-based systems which are intended to defend against long-range missiles. And there, the commission, it seems to me, is making some points which could unify us in a lot of ways, and open and support a direction which a number of us have been exploring.
And I want to just read a couple paragraphs here. I usually don't do this; I let the commission usually read their own report. But I want to emphasize what you've provided here.
"Further" -- in terms of these long-range defense interceptors, let me read from page 32 -- "further development and deployment of these long-range defense interceptors should depend upon the results of tests and -- on the developments -- depend on the results of tests and depend upon developments in the ICBM threats facing the United States and its allies.
"For more than a decade," you write, "the development of U.S. ballistic missile defenses has been guided by the principles of protecting against limited strikes while taking into account the legitimate concerns of Russia and China about strategic stability.
"These remain sound guiding principles. Defenses sufficient to sow doubts in Moscow or Beijing about the viability of their deterrents could lead them to take actions that increase the threat to the United States and its allies and friends.
"Both Russia and China have expressed concerns. Current U.S. plans for missile defense should not call into question the viability of Russia's nuclear deterrent."
Then the commission says the following: "The commission supports a substantial role for defenses against short- to medium-range missiles. Defenses against longer-range missiles should be based on their demonstrated effectiveness and the projected threat from North Korea and Iran. Defenses against these limited threats should be designed to avoid giving Russia or China a reason to increase their strategic threat to the United States or its allies. But these defenses should become capable against more complex limited threats as they mature."
"As noted above, this long-range missile defense system is now incapable of defending against complex threats."
And then -- this is the line that I want to focus on after I read it -- "cooperative missile defense efforts with allies should be strengthened, and opportunities for missile defense cooperation with Russia should be further explored."
Now, three of us recently went to Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic to explore that possibility, of whether or not we could move to greater cooperation with Russia on missile defense -- at the same time maintaining our cooperation, obviously with our NATO allies, including Poland and the Czech Republic.
The purpose -- and I went with, by the way, Senator Bill Nelson and Senator Collins; those are the three of us who went. We went about four days on our trip.
From my perspective -- and I think the others join in this -- one of the reasons for trying to figure out a way to involve Russia in a missile defense is the statement that it would make to Iran. It would be a very powerful statement to Iran if Russia joined with us or with NATO in a missile defense which, from our perspective, would clearly be aimed against an Iranian missile threat, and if they moved in a nuclear weapon direction, clearly would make a statement to them about how the world, including Russia, views that threat, if we were able to work together on a missile defense system.
And so I wanted to ask you -- let me start with Dr. Perry -- about that recommendation that you're making, that we explore opportunities for missile defense cooperation with Russia.
And again I just wanted to add one further thought. And that is that there is now, in Azerbaijan, a Russian radar. It's a Qabala Radar, it's called. And there's a radar under construction in southern Russia itself at Armavir. And both of these clearly provide coverage of Iran, in a way that probably provides better coverage of Iran than any other radars we could locate.
So Dr. Perry, do you believe that, for instance, that radar sharing that information or in other ways that cooperation with Russia, on missile defense, could be a very useful move?
MR. PERRY: I have met with Russians three times this year, exploring that and other questions, with a major focus on that question. I met with both technical people and policy people in Russia.
It seems clear to me that the Russian view on this issue has been evolving in the last year. It's now possible to do things it was not possible to do a year ago. The conclusions I came to from those meetings.
First of all, they today have a clear concern for the danger that Iran poses, Iran nuclear missiles pose, to Russia. In fact, they think that the potential threat to Russia is greater than the threat to the United States.
Secondly they agree that the best course of action is to try to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. And I think it's now possible to get cooperation with Russia, in that field, in a way that was not possible a year or two ago.
Third, they say that if that prevention is not successful, they would like to see a missile defense program, to protect them as well as to protect us and Western Europe. And they are not willing but anxious to work with us, on a joint missile defense program. And that joint missile defense program could include systems based in Russia as well as in other countries.
The best way of designing that system, I think, is still open. I would think it would involve that -- the Azerbaijan radar, which you have described, but it could also involve interceptors in Russia.
I would recommend that the United States undertake a serious -- a program for serious discussions with Russia, first of all, at the technical level, on what is the best way of designing such a system. And that would be done in parallel with the policy efforts we have with them to try to develop a diplomatic approach to preventing new nuclear weapons from being developed. I do think that the time is ripe for some real progress in that area.
SEN. LEVIN: Well, thank you. And just in conclusion before I turn it over to Senator McCain, I know that our president has talked to the Russian president, at least in a general way, about this possibility. I know our -- I've talked to our secretary of State as well as to President Obama about this. I've talked to Secretary Gates, who before this committee has expressed the kind of support for exploring this possibility that you've just described and your report describes, your commission report describes. General Jones is -- I've also talked to him about this. And so there is, I think, a willingness at the highest levels of this government to further explore this possibility.
And I'm glad, Dr. Perry, that you mentioned that prevention of Iran getting missiles or nuclear weapons in the first place has got to be our number-one goal. I mean, that's got to be the focus. And I've also heard from the Russians directly that they do not want Iran to receive -- or obtain, more accurately -- a nuclear weapon. And as a matter of fact, President Gorbachev, former President Gorbachev, put it just as succinctly as you did a moment ago, as has the Russian foreign minister.
But that should be our number-one goal, is to prevent Iran from getting that nuclear weapon. Hopefully, Russia will join us much more strongly in that effort. But also, if there's a possibility of a joint missile defense for the reasons that your commission gives and that we've explored -- the three of us and others, obviously, are exploring -- that could really be an additional, very strong statement of world unity against Iran that may give them a wake-up call as to how serious their effort would appear to us, and be to us, if they decide to move in the nuclear weapon direction.
Thank you. Senator McCain.
SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Schlesinger, have you detected this same eagerness on the part of Russia to cooperate with us on missile defense and their belief that Iranian nuclear weapons are a greater threat to them than to us or Israel? I think I pay close attention to events of the day, and I haven't detected that same eagerness on the part of the Russians. In fact I've seen them engage in attempts to reassert their "near abroad" -- and breaking an agreement with President Sarkozy concerning the presence of troops of in Georgia -- many others.
But specifically, have you detected the same eagerness that the Chairman and Dr. Perry have detected? Which I obviously have missed.
MR. SCHLESINGER: I think it's clear that they have a curiosity to develop --
SEN./MR. : We can't hear --
SEN. LEVIN: Could you --
SEN. MCCAIN: You have to speak up a little.
MR. SCHLESINGER: I'm sorry.
SEN. LEVIN: Could you repeat that? We didn't hear that.
MR. SCHLESINGER: That the Russians indeed have a reason to have extended conversations with us on -- in this area. Our relations with Russia, as you know, are subject to ups and downs. But this is an area of potential -- potential -- cooperation.
SEN. MCCAIN: Well, I guess my question was, Doctor, have you detected any real moves towards that cooperation besides rhetoric?
MR. SCHLESINGER: I think that the conversations that Dr. Perry and others have had in Moscow are suggestive. But the proof is in the pudding, as you have suggested.
With regard to the chairman's question, when President Reagan suggested the SDI in the 1980s, it was directed against Russia.
There have been two developments since that time. First, the threat has to a substantial extent disappeared. We do not expect to get engaged in a missile exchange with Russia. And secondly, defenses can be overwhelmed by offensive capabilities, which the Russians have, in terms of maneuverable warheads and so on.
And so the interest has shifted to work with the allies -- and I add to the what the chairman said -- particularly not just our allies in Europe but in Japan as well, which has shown a great deal of interest in missile defense vis-a-vis China and North Korea.
Only time will tell, Senator McCain, whether or not there's real possibility here for close cooperation with Russia.
SEN. MCCAIN: Well, again, I hope that's the case. I've heard conversations and we have a new day. I've not seen any concrete proposals or significant proposals on the part of the Russians.
Meanwhile, the Iranians continue inexorably on their path to the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
The one issue I would ask the witnesses -- the one issue where the commission was unable to reach a consensus was on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. A few weeks ago, during a conference in Rome, former Secretary of State George Shultz urged ratification of the CTBT. With respect to the 1990 vote in the -- '99 vote in the Senate, Shultz stated that his fellow Republicans may, quote, "have been right voting against it some years ago, but they would be right voting for it now, based on new facts," unquote.
Shultz cites the development in the past decade of a vast global monitoring system of seismic and other technologies dedicated to detecting small and clandestine nuclear tests like that of North Korea's small nuclear blast in 2006.
As for the reliability of our nuclear arsenal, Shultz cited the Stockpile Stewardship Program and the DOE annual certification as additional reasons why CTBT should be ratified.
I would ask, do you agree with Secretary Shultz's assessment on the notion of detection? And do you believe that in light of Secretary Gates' assessment without testing it will, quote, "become impossible to keep extending the life of our arsenal," do you believe that any ratification of the CTBT must be preceded by plans for a new, redesigned and more reliable warhead?
MR. PERRY: In our report, we state that it is essential to maintain the reliability and security of our warheads for the indefinite future. If that requires new designs, then we would support new designs. To this date, that reliability has been achieved without new designs, but we do not think we should preclude the laboratory from making a new design if that's what is required to maintain.
On the testing issue, I think it's quite correct that the global monitoring system has improved greatly since the days that the Senate had to vote on the ratification, and can be improved more in the future. Nevertheless, I think it still would be desirable to have some on-site monitoring systems; for example, have an agreement, for example, with Russia that there would be on-site monitoring systems both in the United States and in Russia, to give further confidence in that area.
SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you. Dr. Schlesinger?
MR. SCHLESINGER: (Off mike.)
SEN. LEVIN: Put your mike on.
MR. SCHLESINGER: Sorry. As Secretary Shultz indicated, the Stockpile Stewardship Program has indeed enhanced our ability to --
SEN. LEVIN: We still can't hear you, Doctor. I'm sorry. Would you pull it a little closer?
MR. SCHLESINGER: The Stockpile Stewardship Program has enhanced our ability to sustain confidence in the stockpile. It is not total confidence. And the laboratory directors have testified before the Senate stating that the uncertainties are growing as the force ages, which raises the question whether it is wise for the United States to surrender the option of testing. We are not going to test in the foreseeable future, but to retain the option is the question that is open.
I should point out that the CTBT mechanism for enforcement is quite questionable. An executive council is established with 51 members.
It requires a vote of 30 members to investigate a presumed violation. The number of Western countries on that council is limited and there's a grave question about whether or not we could ever get an affirmative vote with regard to investigating such a site.
SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you. Senator Glenn, do you have anything to add to this, given your long involvement in this issue?
MR. GLENN: Thank you. I wasn't here when we voted on that before, but I was here when we had a lot of discussion of it before on CTBT. My view of CTBT is I would like to have it, but I'd want to know what we're agreeing to. I don't think it's adequately defined yet. The Soviets -- or the Russians now, define it -- their interpretation of it in a different way than we do. And I think the value of the CTBT is probably, not in my mind, as great as it was back some 20 years ago or so because at that time we thought that any nation to be a valid nuclear nation, nuclear weapons nation was a -- had to have a test or that we didn't know that they were going to be a nuclear nation and they didn't know themselves whether their technology was good enough to set the bomb off. So they tested.
Now, we know that anybody who gets fissile material can have a bomb. And so the value of CTBT to me is that we retain a leadership position in our own psychological thinking in the way the world looks at us as being an advocate for peace and for balance and for not going ahead with unbridled weaponry. And so I would favor CTBT, but I would only vote for it if it had a better definition.
Right now, the Russians do not have an agreement with us as far as I know on exactly what it is we're agreeing to. They, for instance, have said that as long as they can test to smaller levels as I understand it, they can test the smaller levels as long as it's not detectable. Well, to me, that's like saying it's okay to rob a bank so long as nobody catches me, and it just doesn't fit right.
And so if we're going to agree to this thing and they should agree to it, we should agree to it, it becomes an international treaty. A treaty is equal on both parties, and right now, the Russians do not see it that way, as I understand it. So I would want a better definition of it and then I'd be for it because I think I would want to see us keep a leadership position in the world's drive toward controlling some of these things.
SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the witnesses.
SEN. LEVIN: Thank you. And Senator Lieberman is next, and I'm going to ask him and he's more than willing to take the gavel to keep us going. And Senator McCain and I need to go to the floor so we -- again, we thank you before we -- for your really tremendous contribution here.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Mr. Chairman. Before you go, I do want to thank you and Senator McCain for convening this hearing so that we can hear from the members of the Commission.
The truth is, which one of you alluded to, there's surprisingly little discussion in Congress today of America's strategic nuclear posture. There's somewhat more discussion about ballistic missile defense, which is obviously related, and there is a lot of discussion about the Iranian nuclear program.
But I think too often we've not connected those and I want to explore that a bit with you; that is, we haven't connected our own nuclear strategic posture and the set of agreements we've had with the threat of the Iranian nuclear program.
I thank all of you. This is a very important piece of work. It's great to see Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger and Senator Glenn again. Senator Glenn did really pioneering work in his time, particularly I say with pride on the what then was the Governmental Affairs Committee as chairman and focusing Congress on some of these issues. And it's been my honor to succeed him as chairman of the committee.
But Dr. Perry, it struck me at one point in your remarks you said that, you know, this is a time of peril, but hopefulness, and you said there's a possibility or worries, let's put it that way, that the existing nonproliferation regime in the world could collapse.
I took that to be a reference to the consequences of an Iranian nuclear program. Am I right?
MR. PERRY: Yes.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: And Dr. Schlesinger, you talked about the extent to which a robust, a smaller, but still robust American nuclear capacity is a deterrent to proliferation and I took that to mean, again, particularly with reference to the real case of Iran now that the fact nations, particularly in the Middle East, but even beyond, but particularly in the Middle East, certainly Arab countries are somewhat discouraged from pushing ahead on their own nuclear programs because they know that we have ours should Iran go nuclear.
Am I right on that?
MR. SCHLESINGER: It is primarily the impact on our allies who are under the nuclear umbrella and perhaps, most notably at this occasion, Japan.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay. Even more perhaps than the Middle East?
MR. SCHLESINGER: Unquestionably, the Iranians recognize that the United States has immense military capabilities and that is going to be a deterrent to any military action on their part.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right. So I'm just -- I appreciate your answers because it was what I thought I heard you say. And when we talk about Iran developing a nuclear weapon, we naturally talk about the consequences that would have most immediately for our allies in the Middle East, Israel and the Arab allies and ourselves, but it would also have in a larger strategic context, a very threatening impact on the existing Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in the world, and that would be a terrible consequence.
I want to ask you --
MR. SCHLESINGER: Can I just --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Go ahead.
MR. SCHLESINGER: -- Dr. Perry indicated it may be the tipping point --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: It may be the tipping point.
MR. SCHLESINGER: -- and we may have an Iranian nuclear weapon before the NPT review conference in 2010.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah.
MR. SCHLESINGER: That would do significant damage to the possibility of making that stronger.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Well, I appreciate that. I agree with you totally and that's a real concern.
Let me go to the next step on that, Dr. Perry, if you're able to, and share with us what some of the discussions were with the Russians.
I know you have very valuable communication access there about what you think they may be willing to do with us now to prevent the Iranians from obtaining nuclear capacity?
MR. PERRY: I think the -- if I look at the history of the negotiations in the past, it's been the Russians and the Europeans dealing with the Iranians and the Americans on the sideline. I think the first step is to get the Americans as a key part of that team that's negotiating, and that involves developing a common strategy with them.
I do not believe the Iranians are going to easily give up nuclear weapons.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: I agree.
MR. PERRY: They see many advantages to having a virtual nuclear weapon capability, an ability to be within a few months of building a bomb and they're not going to give that up easily. I think it will take coercive diplomacy for that to happen.
Setting aside the possibility of a military action, the coercion is going to have to be economic and the nations that are in a position to apply that economic, no one nation can apply that economic effectively, it has to be Russia, Europe and the United States all agreeing on it.
I think that Iran is highly vulnerable to economic pressure, more so than most people realize, but as long as Russia or China or some other nation is not going along with that, then there's an easy way out for it.
So it does require their cooperation and the indication I got in my discussions at least was that the Russians and the Europeans and the United States could agree on a common strategy of that kind economic pressure.
I have not discussed this issue with China, but in my judgment, it would require China being agreeable to that, also.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Well, that makes a lot of sense to me. I agree. I think you spoke with real clarity, which is that it's not going to be easy to convince the Iranians to stop their nuclear program. To do so will require not just diplomacy, but -- I liked your adjective -- coercive diplomacy. And probably the most effective thing we could do is to put very strict, severe economic sanctions on them or the threat of those. But for that to be effective, we've got to have support and the Russians can play a very important part in that if they will cooperate with us.
And then I had somebody say to me and I think it's consistent with what you've just said -- I don't want to put any of these words into your mouth but it relates -- which is that there's only thing more important to the Iranian regime right now than the development of nuclear weapons and it is the survival of the regime.
So that if coercive diplomacy could threaten the survival of the regime, then there is a chance that they might negotiate to stop their nuclear weapons.
MR. PERRY: I agree with that.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: I thank you very much.
SEN. INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm going to go back to the CTBT from a little different perspective. As Senator McCain said, we had a rather impressive vote back in 1999 as to the feelings about the ratification of this treaty, and I was pretty active in that debate.
The -- I think the first matter any arms control treaty is going to have to address is compliance with its obligations, and that can be verified as Ronald Reagan said, "Trust but verify." I think it was found by the Senate to be lacking in this point. And as recently as October of '08, Secretary Gates stated when he made his speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he said -- this is a quote -- he said, "To be blunt, there's absolutely no way we can maintain a credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without either resorting to testing our stockpile or pursuing a modernization program."
Now, we talked -- Dr. Perry, when we talked informally before the meeting about the fact that this -- to me, one of the most, perhaps the most important part of the job that you had to do was addressing the CTBT. However, you had made the statement that it's impossible to have any kind of consensus.
The first thing I'd ask is, could you define consensus? Is that a majority or is that 100 percent or somewhere in the middle?
MR. PERRY: You mean, among the Commission?
SEN. INHOFE: Mm hmm. MR. PERRY: We were split about evenly on that.
SEN. INHOFE: Oh, you were. Okay. So to have consensus, you would actually have --
MR. PERRY: By consensus, I meant everybody.
SEN. INHOFE: It doesn't mean everyone, it means a majority?
MR. PERRY: No, not a majority, everybody.
SEN. INHOFE: It means 100 percent?
MR. PERRY: One hundred percent.
SEN. INHOFE: Well, you know, the problem with 100 percent is when you get -- you have two problems as we mentioned. I use the word prima donna, as I shouldn't have -- that has a negative sense -- I mean highly educated proven authorities in these areas, which all 12 were. However, you have that problem, along with the fact there are 12 to get consensus, and 12 people would be a very difficult thing.
So was it pretty well split even in terms of the ratification of the comprehensive test ban treaty?
MR. PERRY: Yes it was.
SEN. INHOFE: Okay. That's interesting to know.
MR. PERRY: And in our report, we gave each side the opportunity to give their reasons.
SEN. INHOFE: Okay. Well, let me ask you this. Senator Glenn has already made his comments as to his feelings. Would the rest of you state whether or not you agree with Secretary Gates' statement of October of '08 that -- and Dr. Cartland, do you pretty much agree with that?
MR. CARTLAND: (Off mike.)
SEN. INHOFE: Okay. Dr. Perry?
MR. PERRY: Yes.
SEN. INHOFE: Yeah. Okay --
MR. SCHLESINGER: All agree.
SEN. INHOFE: Mm hmm. Now, one other thing that is confusing to me because I'm not quite into this as most of the rest of them are. When we talk about numbers, we had our private meeting, Dr. Schlesinger, and I appreciate that very much. As I understand it now, our number that we're using is a range between 1,700 and 2,200. Obviously, there may be something that's classified that would be more specific than that and I won't ask you what that is. But it's also my understanding that the Russians are at about 2,800 now.
Is that correct?
MR. SCHLESINGER: (Off mike.)
SEN. INHOFE: I can't hear you, I'm sorry. Turn that on.
MR. SCHLESINGER: They exceed the prospective limit. They have to come down by 2012.
SEN. INHOFE: Okay. And you're anticipating -- they have to come down a lot further than we have to come down if we're going to come to some unknown figure -- to me, anyway -- by that time?
MR. SCHLESINGER: And the commission expressed concern about the number of tactical nuclear weapons that they have.
SEN. INHOFE: All right. All right. That's good.
The second thing I'd like to get into is the Recommendation One. The report states that the force structure should be size and shape to meet a diverse set of national objectives. This requires a high level assessment of strategic context. And I agree with that. But this is precisely what the QDR and the NP are -- would be giving you the information that is in your recommendation, number one.
Why is it we can't -- since that's starting right now, we can't go ahead and proceed or delay that decision until we have the results of the QDR and NPR (sic)? I know that you have a deadline of the expiration of the 5th of December, I understand that, but also know that there are provisions by which that deadline can be extended up to five years.
Is the problem we can't do that -- mostly that Russia wouldn't do it? Would you comment -- any way that we could delay this until we have the information that will be given us by the NPR (sic) and the QDR?
MR. PERRY: I think the START -- either could be negotiated by the end of the year or if there are still issues remaining, they could get an extension of the previous START.
SEN. INHOFE: At that time -- so if we have information that you would have -- we would have the benefit of into December as a result of our QDR, we might then at that time request an extension?
MR. PERRY: I think that's conceivable.
SEN. INHOFE: Okay. My time is going by fast here and I want to get into the missile defense thing here. When the announcement came out as to the -- Secretary Gates and what's going to be the position of the administration, of course, I was a little distressed over a lot of things that you are not addressing in this meeting, such as the F- 22, the C-17, the future combat system, but they did get pretty specific in some of the recommendations in terms of our missile defense system.
I know you've already addressed this, and I'm going a little bit over my time, Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to get your feeling about the recommendation on the Czech Republic and Poland. It would seem to me that that could be pretty well verified that that is to preclude a threat that would emanate from Iran. And yet, we're -- I think those parliaments -- and I was there and I was told that they were ready to come to the table on it and agree that they could have the radar capability in the Czech Republic and the capability -- the launching capability in Poland, except they were waiting to see where this administration was going to be.
That was a disappointment to me, the $1.4 billion cut, and I'd just like to have the feeling of the Commission on those particular sites if that was addressed in your report.
MR. PERRY: We did not address that in our report, Senator Inhofe. My own personal view is that if -- and this is a big if -- if we can negotiate an agreement for a site based in Russia, it will be a more effective site against the Iranian missiles. If we cannot do that, the sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia should be satisfactory.
SEN. INHOFE: I like that answer. Do the other four agree pretty much with that answer? (No audible response.) All right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Dr. Schlesinger, did you want to --
MR. SCHLESINGER: -- political issue, Senator Inhofe. The Russians do not so much object to missile defense in Europe or against Iran, they object to our putting those sites in former satellite territory, which they regard as provocative.
SEN. INHOFE: I understand that, although, I think the words that were used were they don't object to doing it against rogue nations and, you know, I think we all have our definition of that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Senator Inhofe. Senator Hagen.
SEN. KAY HAGEN (D-NC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to welcome all of you here and I am honored to be here listening to you and I applaud you for the work that you've done on this Commission.
Senator Glenn actually brought this up, talking about the use of the fissile material, but what I was concerned about was with the ongoing nuclear proliferation coupled with the accessibility of information on the Internet it could enable terrorists with the human capital to construct a nuclear weapon, provided that they obtained the required fissile materials to include the highly enriched uranium.
And I'm concerned that the civilian nuclear reactor facilities -- do they have the capability and the power to protect and safeguard the highly enriched uranium and other fissile materials on the site at those locations?
And could you please provide information on initiatives in place aimed to work with our international partners to safeguard the fissile materials in the civilian nuclear reactor facilities, and also perhaps address the security vulnerabilities at these sites.
MR. PERRY: We agree that that's a very serious problem, and your basic premise is if a terror group could get their hands on enough highly enriched uranium, they could make a bomb and we agree with that. We think that's one of the most important dangers facing us today. Some of the civilian facilities have highly enriched uranium, not all of them, because most reactors operate on low enriched uranium.
So the move has been to try to get that highly enriched uranium under safe control, and also to have these reactors converted so that they can operate in the longer term. The administration is working on that and we only encourage that effort to be accelerated. We're not pointing out to the administration anything they don't already understand.
SEN. HAGEN: But are there initiatives in place to secure that currently?
MR. PERRY: That initiative is in place. We think it should be accelerated.
SEN. HAGEN: I also was concerned in your opening remarks -- in the written testimony, there was talk about that cyber attacks, that you didn't examine threats related to the cyber attacks. And it seems like in any area of the military today that so much of it would be involved with --
MR. PERRY: I think all of the commission members would agree that a cyber attack is potentially very dangerous in the future. We did not go into that in enough detail to represent ourselves and the commission as an authority on the subject.
SEN. HAGEN: Do you think that's something that we should begin the process and examine that in great detail?
MR. PERRY: I strongly agree with that. I see it as a very serious potential future problem.
SEN. HAGEN: And also on the proposed cuts by Secretary Gates involving missile defense affect our capability to counter against nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran.
MR. PERRY: I'm sorry, I didn't understand the question.
SEN. HAGEN: How do the proposed cuts by Secretary Gates involving our missile defense affect our capability to counterattacks against the nuclear threats posed by North Korea and Iran? At one point, you talked about the number of people that had been cut over the years.
MR. PERRY: I think we do not now have the capability against Iran and the question is whether we should continue to put resources into the program established a few years ago based on Poland and the Czech Republic or whether we should move towards a program in cooperation with Russia.
I think that's an open question right now, and I believe that if it turns out to be possible to have a joint program with the Russians, that's the way I would recommend going.
SEN. HAGAN: Dr. Schlesinger, any other comments?
MR. SCHLESINGER: With regard to Iran and North Korea, they are not going to be much affected in the short run by anything that we do with regard to missile defense.
SEN. HAGAN: Thank you Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you very much Senator Hagan. Senator Sessions?
SEN. SESSIONS: Thank you Senator Lieberman.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: The consensus builder.
SEN. SESSIONS: This was a -- you know, a feeling that we had -- members of the panel and thank you so much for your service -- that two things were happening. One we were having some diverging ideas about the nuclear posture of the United States, but two I think there was a feeling that Congress had not dealt with this issue in a long time. We have not thought about it and the world was going forward.
There was even some suggestion that the errors in Minot were all -- were to some degree a part of an ignoring this whole question and putting it on the back burner. And it's such a big deal what we needed to get our gray beards -- I don't see any beards out there -- but our thoughtful people to help us reach a national consensus about where we needed to go.
I know Senator Bill Nelson, my Democratic colleague on the Strategic Subcommittee, supported this as have others. And we thank you for your service and the importance of it. A number of questions have been raised. I would just like to point out a few things I think are themes in this report, Mr. Chairman, and make a few comments and also just say how much I appreciate, Senator Lieberman, your depth of understanding of these issues and commitment to them over the years.
The report I think is pretty clear in saying there is a need to maintain a nuclear deterrent for the indefinite future. In fact, you say nuclear elimination would, quote, "require a fundamental transformation of the world political order", closed quote. I don't know how many of us have seen those in our lifetime, but it's not likely I think that we'll be in a world where we can completely eliminate nuclear weapons. So we have to think rationally about what we can do to reduce risk and threats.
Number two, I think the report indicates the importance of extended deterrents to reassure our allies and that that should influence heavily our design and size of our nuclear forces. If this is going to destabilize our allies and cause them to perhaps develop their own nuclear weapon system, then we would have the perverse consequence of maybe reducing our forces to provide world safety and actually creating a proliferation. I think that was reflected to some degree in your report.
Nuclear force reductions you find must be done bilaterally with Russia and must be based on a rigorous analysis of the strategic context, and the current balance in non-strategic forces is a concern you find, quote, "dealing with this imbalance is urgent". Now what I understand that to mean is that while we negotiate with Russia to draw down their total nuclear weapons, and they are doing so but not as much -- nearly as much as we have, they have 3,800 tactical nuclear weapons, we have only five and that's not being part of this negotiation, or at least we haven't dealt with that with clarity.
So that is a matter I think you've put on our plate that we need to -- and the administration needs to deal with. You deal with the question of forced modernization pretty directly, including the weapons complex which is necessary, you find, to maintain a nuclear deterrent at reduced levels. If we're going to reduce the number continually and go further than we are today, we need to be sure it's modernized and workable.
Dr. Foster, you've had some experience in that, maybe you'd like to share a thought on that.
MR. FOSTER: I'm sorry, Senator, would you sharpen the question for me please?
SEN. SESSIONS: Yes. With regard to the modernization of our nuclear weapons, why -- based on your experience and expertise in these areas, why do you think that is a factor we've got to deal with if we reduced the numbers even further?
MR. FOSTER: As Secretary Perry has pointed out, we recognize that we have a trouble -- a problem trying to maintain the nuclear stockpile indefinitely, and it would be helpful if the laboratories were permitted more freedom to make the necessary adjustments.
I believe that there is a more serious problem and that has to do with the tactical nuclear situation which Dr. Schlesinger has referred to. We had the opportunity to listen to comments by a number of nations who were represented and presented their views to us, in particular their concerns. Those allies that are on the periphery of Russia and those allies that are on the periphery of China are concerned, they are concerned about whether or not the nuclear umbrella will be credible as they see it against the statements that have been made by potential adversaries.
Now in particular, representatives from Japan have described in some detail the kind of capabilities that they believed the U.S. nuclear umbrella should possess. And so they have talked about capabilities that can be stealthy and they can be transparent and they can be prompt. And then they would like capabilities that can penetrate hard targets with minimum collateral damage and low yield and so on.
Now those are not the characteristics that we currently deploy. And so the question is whether or not in discussions with our allies we will be able to accommodate their concerns. Now I believe one cannot answer that question without having the laboratories given the freedom to address whether or not such capabilities might be provided without nuclear testing and with confidence.
Does that answer the question?
SEN. SESSIONS: That was well said --
MR. FOSTER: Well thank you.
SEN. SESSIONS: -- Dr. Foster, I think it was and it just drives home this point of we do need to let our laboratories have some freedom to anticipate future capabilities and make sure our system is modernized.
You also support -- and indicate that ballistic missile defense supports deterrence and damage-limitation. You find that the U.S. should deploy missile defenses against regional nuclear aggressors, including limited long-range threats, and which should, quote, "also develop effective capabilities to defend against increasing complex missile threats."
And I'm afraid our budget may be being whacked enough there that that may not can meet those standards that you've asked for. We've had a major reduction -- more than a lot of people realize, in our national missile defense program. But, you call for it to not only be in place, but to be prepared to deal with "increasingly complex threats."
And finally, I would note that "the U.S. must take steps to reduce nuclear dangers of proliferation and nuclear terrorism." And I believe that this is the real danger in the 21st century. And I would ask, just briefly -- and my time has expired, while it's important for us to deal, Dr. Perry and Dr. Schlesinger, with the Russians, and to negotiate with them and continue to have more of a partnership relationship, and not an adversarial relationship, do you agree that the most likely immediate threat to us would be through a rogue nation on nuclear terrorism? As that would -- rather than a --
MR. PERRY: I would agree that the most threat would be from nuclear terrorism. My concern of rogue nations is not that they would attack us, but that they might let the nuclear fissile material or nuclear bombs out of their hands into the hands of a terrorist.
SEN. SESSIONS: Thank you.
MR. SCHLESINGER: Yeah, the likelihood of a terrorist attack is the most likely, most probable weapon that will last on American soil. As we have discussed, though, it is necessary to deal with a much larger set of issues in constructing our deterrent. The ability of the nuclear deterrent to deter a nuclear terrorist attack is modest.
SEN. SESSIONS: Thank you.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Senator Sessions. Thanks for your informed leadership on this question, which has been unique in the Senate in recent years and, therefore, all the more important.
I thought you made a very important point at the end, Dr. Schlesinger -- and maybe if I get a second round, I'm going to come back -- which is the extent to which our nuclear deterrent can deter nuclear terrorists.
But, Senator Nelson?
SEN. NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The potential nuclear threats posed by the vulnerabilities in Pakistan's nuclear posture, coupled with the fact that the United States doesn't know where all of Pakistan's nuclear sites are located, clearly leaves us in a position no longer -- to no longer accept blanket assurances from Pakistan that the weapons are safe.
As a matter of fact, in '02, in a meeting in Islamabad with President Musharraf, I asked him directly the question, if he was confident that all of the nuclear armaments were under satisfactory control and were secure. And his answer was that he was 95 percent certain. So, we have every right to be concerned about that if his answer was anywhere near correct. I hope that it was -- that he was on the low side, as opposed to the high side.
In any event, do you have any recommendations to what might be their nuclear tipping point caused by this -- by the ever-emboldened Pakistani insurgency?
MR. PERRY: Senator Nelson, I believe you are correct in citing that as the most serious danger we face today. I'm not in a position to make recommendations on how our government should deal with that. I know it's -- I know they're seized with the problem, and I know they're working very hard on it, but I don't feel that I'm in a position to recommend what they should do on that.
SEN. NELSON: Dr. Schlesinger, do you feel emboldened to make a suggestion?
MR. SCHLESINGER: One of the things that the United States should be a model on is with respect to protecting nuclear weapons. An enterprising journalist from The New York Times interviewed, after the Minot incident, the general officer in Pakistan who was in charge of safety of nuclear weapons.
And The New York Times reporter said, what help are you getting from the Americans? To which the general officer responded, "Who the hell are the Americans to give us advice with regard to the safety of nuclear weapons? You just took missiles off from Minot Air Force Base, sent them down to Barksdale, and you didn't know what you were doing. And we are supposed to turn to you for advice?"
We have to be credible if we are to be convincing in dealing with countries like Pakistan and the safety issue.
SEN. NELSON: Senator Glenn, perhaps you have some thoughts, having spent a great deal of time being concerned about these issues?
MR. GLENN: Well, I was concerned way back when President Zia was still president in Pakistan, and made two trips over there when they sat and lied to us about whether they were making nuclear weapons or not. We had very good intelligence information at that time, and they just denied they were making any nuclear weapons at all.
I've been concerned about this for a long time, about what might happen if al-Qaeda-sympathetic groups came into power in Pakistan. The best hope we can have is that I hope that they are keeping some of the triggers, and things like that, of their nuclear weapons, separate, and in some spread-out area, where if the actual bomb case itself was taken over by a raid of al-Qaeda, or something like that, that they still wouldn't be able to use a nuclear weapon as such -- already constructed.
The biggest danger to me, I think, that we face right now in this whole field, is loose fissile material. Making a nuclear weapon these days is no problem if you have the fissile material. It's fairly simple. And if you had enough of it, and knew what you were doing -- which I think they would have the expertise to do, why, they would have weapons to use against us.
That's my concern in Iran also. I'm not quite as concerned, as some people are, about whether Iran -- we should put in missile defenses, and all, for their, what might be a single shot, or even a double shot, if they ever develop nuclear weapons to that -- or boosters to that point.
But, I am concerned that Iran -- that maybe their control of fissile material might be weak enough that some of the al-Qaeda- sympathetic people in Iran might be able to get fissile material. And I think any of our negotiations from now on, whether it's START, or anything else, should have every -- make every effort we can to get fissile material control back, and make that the emphasis.
Our ability -- our controlling this whole thing, through the last 60 years or so, has been pretty doggone good. And I don't look at the use in World War II like some people do -- that it was horrible; we never should have done that. It saved probably a couple of million lives. I was in a squadron getting ready to go back to Japan at that time for the invasion. And we saved lives by that. So, in that case, I think it was a good use of nuclear weapons to end that war.
But, do we ever want to repeat that? No. Absolutely not. But, I think the greatest danger we have now -- the point I'm making is that our agreements, so far, the treaties and all, have been nation- state to nation-state. And so we do that in international treaties, and through the U.N. we're going to bring sanctions, and it's dealing with nation-states. Now our threat is not from nation-states, as I see it. I don't think there's a likelihood that Russia is going to attack us, or China is going to attack us.
I think there is a major danger, though, from fissile material running around, from people who are not representing nation-states. They're representing their own interests, their own -- what interests they have, terrorism. And if they get fissile material, then we have deep trouble. And it's not going to be something that's going to be subject to treaties and things like that.
But, it's a -- I think that's the biggest danger we have right now. And how we control, or get a better inventory of all -- all -- the fissile materials in the world, that's a big, big challenge. And I think we should be concentrating a lot more effort on that than we do.
SEN. NELSON: And even if we get the inventory, in the case of Pakistan the risk remains that the government could be toppled and these terrorists -- these rogue individuals could end up with the whole weapon in their hands.
And perhaps through some magic or otherwise, they could find the detonating capability as well. And that is a threat.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Senator Nelson. Interesting questions.
Senator Collins, good morning.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): Thank you. Good morning.
First, let me join in welcoming such a distinguished panel before our committee today. Senator Glenn, it's always wonderful to welcome you back in the Senate. We had the honor of serving together on what was then known as the Governmental Affairs Committee for many years. And I have such respect for all the members of this panel.
Dr. Perry, a couple of years ago, Max Kempleman came to see me. And he brought with him The Wall Street Journal op-ed that you and George Schulz and Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn authored. And it's called "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons." And I must say, as I talked with Mr. Kempleman and read this op-ed, it puts forth an inspiring vision, one that I think all of us wish could come about today. When I look through your report, it seems to reach a different conclusion. Rather than reflecting a plan to go forward to achieve the goal outlined in this op-ed, it says that we need to maintain a reliance on nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
So I wonder if you could talk about the two different visions presented in this op-ed two years ago and in your report today. And second, I would be interested in knowing whether the increasing threat from Iran and the North Koreans has altered your view.
MR. PERRY: Thank you, Senator Collins. My colleague and your colleague, Sam Nunn, has described this vision in The Wall Street Journal in which Max Kempleman was describing as being like the top of a mountain. And he says we cannot see the top of the mountain today, but we should be moving in that direction. And he argues that our immediate goal should be establishing a base camp much higher up the mountain than we are now.
And at that base camp, we should be able to see the top of the mountain. And therefore, we can plan the final ascent. But that base camp has to be safer than we are today, and it has to be stable enough that if we had to stay there for a few years we can do that.
So our immediate goal is moving up the mountain. And I think this report is consistent with moving up the mountain. It makes recommendations for positions which make us safer than we are today, which reduces our nuclear weapons and which deals more specifically with the most immediate dangers which are proliferation dangers and the dangers of nuclear terrorism.
So this report is dealing more with the near future. And relative to The Wall Street Journal op-ed, it can be described as a strategy for getting to the base camp, not as a strategy for getting to the top of the mountain. But both Senator Nunn and I have said publicly that that vision which we call the top of the mountains is a vision which we cannot even see the top of the mountains now. And that's what we mean when we say it's going to require a change in geopolitical (orders ?) to do that.
But we also believe, and I want to make very clear on this one, we believe that that vision helps us get up to the base camp. Without that vision, we feel we're going to slip farther down the mountain. We need the support of nations all over the world to do that. Put in more practical terms, other nations of the world want to see that we are serious about maintaining our commitment under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, of moving towards disarmament.
SEN. COLLINS: Thank you.
Dr. Schlesinger, the commission, as I indicated, calls for a continued reliance on nuclear weapons as a deterrent. Nevertheless, and I do accept that conclusion, should steps be taken to change or reduce the danger of an accidental or unauthorized use of a nuclear weapon? I'm talking about the debate of the deployment, the targeting, the hair-trigger debate that we've had. Could we and should we be taking steps to help lower tensions by still having that deterrent but perhaps moving back?
MR. SCHLESINGER: The question has been raised about so-called hair-trigger alert.
SEN. COLLINS: Yes.
MR. SCHLESINGER: And we speak to that at some length in the commission report. The hair-trigger alert problem, I think, is, as we say in the report, substantially exaggerated in that on both sides there are very careful controls, including electronic controls coming from the president of the United States or the president of Russia to prevent the launch of a weapon.
Our concern following this is that there be enough decision time for the president of the United States and, I think particularly, the president of Russia to examine the evidence before he hypothetically responds, and lengthening that decision time will be helpful. Negotiations with the Russians will, I think, help with regard to the decision issue. But the question with respect to hair-trigger alert is really a question of the past with regard to both U.S. and Russian forces and, of course, Chinese forces.
SEN. COLLINS: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thanks very much, Senator Collins.
Senator Udall, welcome back.
SEN. MARK UDALL (D-CO): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to welcome the panel. It's truly an honor to be able to sit here today and soak up the accumulated wisdom and experience at this table before us. I am a casual mountain climber myself, Secretary Perry, so I find your climbing analogies apt. I wonder what Senator Glenn would utilize given his experience as a fighter pilot and an astronaut as the base camp that we need to reach. I don't know if it would be the space station, Senator Glenn, or whether it's a forward operating base in Marine parlance. But I really appreciate you all and the work you've done.
If I might, Secretary Perry, I'd turn a question to you but invite the entire panel to comment. I'm interested in delivery systems, specifically the land-based leg of the Triad or ICBMs. Do you have any views on retaining our current number which total about 450, or reducing those ICBMs as part of an overall arms agreement?
MR. PERRY: In our report, we have argued the desirability of maintaining the Triad. Even if we reduce the overall number of weapon systems, we think that the Triad is a way to configure those. So we would continue -- we would argue for continuing to maintain land-based ICBMs for the particular advantages that they bring to deterrence. But we could also be open to seeing that number reduced if it's don bilaterally with the Russians.
SEN. UDALL: Dr. Schlesinger, do you have a comment or thought?
MR. SCHLESINGER: I think Dr. Perry's covered the point. As we come down from the 2,200 level, unavoidably it will have an impact on our missile posture. So some of the ICBMs will be reduced, some of our sea-based forces will be reduced as we come down.
One of the things that I hope that the Senate watches, and we recommend the revival of the Arms Control Observer Group that the Senate has had in the past, needs to watch, what is the impact of the reduction in force and the specifics of the composition of our forces? And does this weaken our overall deterrent, including extended deterrence?
SEN. UDALL: So in effect, you're saying keep the three legs of the Triad, and they may be adjusted, but you need all three legs, and they're interactive, if you will, they complement each other.
MR. SCHLESINGER: That was the belief of the commission. It is not a universal belief, as you know,
SEN. UDALL: Other panelists would like to comment on that particular question? Dr. Cartland, do you?
MR. CARTLAND: No. I agree. I obviously support that position myself -- at least with regards to any near-term reductions that might be done in the stockpile.
Unfortunately, at some point dollars do matter. And at some point far in the future, we may have to sort of reconsider this issue again -- whether it makes sense to maintain three legs of a triad.
SEN. UDALL: Senator Glenn?
MR. GLENN: One of the things you want to do in trying to discourage any potential aggressor that might be wishing us ill, you want to keep them guessing as to what the response may be if they do something dumb and attack us. And you have the greatest flexibility there if you have the whole triad. That way they can't just defend against submarines. They can't just defend against ICBMs or just defend against whatever.
It's a varied thing that gives them the most doubt. It's the most ambiguous thing you can do to keep them guessing and make them less confident in any attack they might consider on us.
So I favor, at least for now, until we can maybe sometime -- in this nirvana we're talking about in the future -- work our forces down, everybody else works forces down, that's the time then to consider this, but certainly not now.
MR. SCHLESINGER: One should keep in mind --
SEN. UDALL: Yes.
MR. SCHLESINGER: -- if I might add, that the vicarious impact of the triad in the Cold War the Russians spent and excessive amount, in our judgment, on air defense. And they would not have been spending that money on air defense did we not have the bomb, of course. And if they had not been spending it on air defense, they would have been spending it on offensive forces that might be a greater worry to us.
SEN. UDALL: Dr. Foster, did you want to comment as well?
Before I move to a question in the broader sense about Nunn-Lugar and working further with the Russians, I just want to take a minute, Dr. Schlesinger, to commend you for the work you did on the Rudman- Hart Commission and the prescience that the commission showed. But also, I think the fundamental recommendations that you have about investing in our country -- whether it's in the public health system or in a new energy policy in a transformed military.
I think the conclusions in that important seminal document are still very, very applicable to this day. And I use the wisdom that was put forth in that document on the stump in campaigns and in policy settings.
And I just want to take a minute to thank you for that.
MR. SCHLESINGER: Well, thank you, Senator.
SEN. UDALL: And I think it's a document that will live a long time and the template's clear where we need to invest to keep our country strong.
If I could, I'd like to throw to the panel -- and I see my time's expired, but perhaps a brief comment from one or two of the panelists -- some thoughts on why we haven't been able to make, I think, all the strides we could under the umbrella of Nunn-Lugar.
Is it the intransience of the Russians in some cases? Is it clumsiness on our part? Would anybody care to comment briefly on that?
MR. PERRY: First of all, I would say that I think we made considerable progress on Nunn-Lugar. During the period I was secretary of Defense, we dismantled 4,000 nuclear weapons, which we could not have done without the Nunn-Lugar program.
SEN. UDALL: I stand corrected, Mr. Secretary.
MR. PERRY: And the program continues to this day. I cannot give you an authoritative current account of what's going on, but I know the program still continues. I think it's been an indispensible -- though certainly in my role as secretary of Defense it was indispensible in doing the dismantlement.
Beyond the dismantlement, it provided the safety of many of the facilities in Russia. So I think the world is far safer today because of what the Nunn-Lugar program has done.
MR. SCHLESINGER: I think that the Department of Energy is quite satisfied with the achievements in terms of providing security for Soviet nuclear weapons, which did not exist in the past. They are less than satisfied with regard to fissile material.
But this is an ongoing process and Nunn-Lugar has been an immense success, even though sometimes we get into squabbles with the Russians with regard to security issues.
SEN. UDALL: Thanks again to the panel.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Senator Udall. Thanks for your interest and good questions.
If the panel is prepared, I think Senator Sessions and I would like to do one more round.
Let me go back to sort of a question underneath what we've been discussing -- and you alluded to it in your answer about the nuclear terrorists -- which is the question of whether in the context of the most serious challenges we face today from terrorists from Iran, now controlled -- a great country now controlled by an extremist Islamist regime -- does our nuclear strength actually deter?
In other words, as you all know better than I, during the Cold War we reached a point with the Soviet leadership where it was pretty clear that they were not going to die for Marxist-Leninist principles, you know? Maybe they reached a point where they stopped believing them, as a matter of fact.
But unfortunately, it's painfully clear, post 9/11, that the Islamist terrorists are prepared to die -- in fact, yearn for it. Perhaps it's not as clear with regard to the leadership of a country like Iran, although you can find statements from top leaders that seem to be prepared to accept large loss of life in the interest of the greater cause.
So what is the role of -- do nuclear weapons still deter? I know that you've thought about that and I invite it.
MR. SCHLESINGER: I think unquestionably, our overall military capability -- including nuclear -- is a substantial deterrent to other nation states, including Iran.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay.
MR. SCHLESINGER: Ayatollah Khamenei is not about to see the end of Iran or "Shi'ism" in order to fulfill the wilder comments of President Ahmadinejad.
So with regard to nation states, we do quite well, I think, on deterrents -- not as well as with the Soviet Union in which their belief was that history was on their side. It was an erroneous belief, but they believed it at the time.
With regard to the issue of terrorists if they get hold of nuclear weapons, it is plain that our forces are not much of a deterrent. What we have to hope is that any nation such as Iran or North Korea will be deterred from turning over weapons or fissile materials to terrorist groups. That is a much more limited deterrent.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Dr. Perry, do you have a thought on that?
MR. PERRY: I would say the same thing that Dr. Schlesinger said.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay, anyone else want to get into that?
It does strike me that to some extent -- now this won't work with a nuclear -- well, one reaction to the nuclear terrorism, and this goes back to the Hart-Rudman report, is that the best defense to nuclear terrorism is homeland security -- is robust, effective homeland security.
Another defense, which perhaps rises to some extent against a country that's less -- has leadership that's less rational -- is robust ballistic missile defense, so at least they know that the prospects of succeeding are reduced by that defense.
I want to bounce off you an idea that somebody put to me the other day. And in some sense, it's kind of an inside Congress or inside Washington grand bargain. And I must say there are parts of the basis of the bargain that are suggested in some of the conclusions of our inability to conclude in a report -- I'm speaking specifically of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty where you had a disagreement.
I'd say about your ballistic missile defense sections, they're -- I don't mean any disrespect -- but they're more summary than some of the other sections.
So this is one of the think-tankers in town said -- who happens to disclose all the cards both for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a very robust ballistic missile defense -- and he observes that -- and this is -- I'm overstating the case here -- but that there is a lot of support on the left in American politics here in Washington for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
There's less support on the left for ballistic missile defense -- reluctant or limited.
On the right, there's a lot of support for the robust ballistic missile defense but many more questions about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. So he raises the suggestion about whether there ought to be an inside Washington grand bargain where we agree to support both the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the ballistic missile defense, which, in this case, would involve restoring some of the funds that the president's budget will apparently cut from the Missile Defense Agency.
Insofar as you care as individuals to respond to such a thought, I would welcome. Is anybody so bold?
MR. SCHLESINGER: It's inside Washington, inside political Washington.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah.
MR. SCHLESINGER: We're going to leave it to the Congress to work out those kinds of arrangements. (Laughter.)
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Ah, very wise.
MR. SCHLESINGER: I might throw in that in addition to ballistic missile defense, we are concerned about the funding of the laboratories, and that would have to be part of anything.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: That's good. That's my last question. To me it was interesting that probably the most comprehensive --
MR. PERRY: Could I comment on that one too?
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Oh, please, yeah, go ahead, Dr. Perry.
MR. PERRY: That, relative to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, my support of it is contingent on safeguards --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right.
MR. PERRY: -- and the most important of those safeguards is robust support on the laboratories. That is what gives us our main confidence.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Okay. That's very interesting.
My final question -- if you want to add anything to that -- it seemed to me as I read the report, which is an excellent piece of work, that the most comprehensive set of recommendations is not with regard to the sort of flash button, flashier public issues -- CTB, START, Ballistic Missile Defense -- it's about the National Nuclear Security Administration. But I think you make a very compelling argument, including the suggestion of some potential legislative action that might make the NNSA a separate agency reporting to the president through the Secretary of Energy, as opposed to being just within the Department of Energy.
Do you want to add anything to it -- any sort of flesh to what we said about this part of your report? Because ultimately, it may be that is what is really most important in the short term.
MR. SCHLESINGER: Well, we recognize that NNSA, as designed by Congress -- hopefully designed by Congress in 1999 -- has been a failure. And it's been a failure because of the intrusion of other elements of the DOE so that the laboratories and the plants have to get triple approval of anything that they --
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah.
MR. SCHLESINGER: -- want to achieve.
We have models like the AID and, previously, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the Department of State, which were separate.
MR. SCHLESINGER: Within the Department of Energy, we have the FERC, which is independent. We also have the Energy Information Administration, which is independent.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right.
MR. SCHLESINGER: It does not necessarily -- in the case of the EIA, it doesn't even have to have an approval of the Secretary of Energy.
But those are models in which the ability of, say, the General Counsel's office or the Environmental Health and Safety Group in the DOE cannot come down on the laboratories with additional requirements. And indeed, we have had in the various departments these kinds of arrangements.
FERC is not the best example, simply because it's a regulatory body and, therefore, separate from the DOE -- that's DOE Secretary.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: The effect is that, as Senator Glenn well remembers, that that creation of the NNSA in 1999 came not so much out of concern for the scientific and engineering base -- as it was a reaction to the Wen Ho Lee case or scandal, the concern about Chinese interruption or espionage, really.
You make a very strong point. Almost regardless of what side you're on in any of these issues -- unless you're for total nuclear disarmament -- this makes a lot of sense. And I appreciate it very much.
SEN. SESSIONS: Dr. Schlesinger, I remember you making the comment once not too long ago that when Americans set declarations of policy and set goals, by nature we tend to want to achieve them and that the Europeans are used to living with more ambiguity and internal contradictions than the United States is.
And you deal with some of those issues, I think, in Chapter Four: The Declarations of Policy. Would you express to us the hesitance of the commission in not explicitly adopting a goal of a total elimination of nuclear weapons?
MR. SCHLESINGER: Well, I think that Secretary Perry may want to have some comments after I'm through. But if we look back to the old days, the United States regarded nuclear weapons as this great equalizer in dealing with a possible Soviet Warsaw Pact conventional attack on Western Europe. Other nations think in terms of great equalizers, including Iran, that the chairman has mentioned. And when one thinks about these other nations, what incentive do they have to give up nuclear weapons? The United States now has conventional superiority and, as a consequence of our conventional superiority, we are comfortable with a world without nuclear weapons, if we could get there. But the other nations that have nuclear weapons -- Pakistan, India -- Pakistan looking across, perhaps excessively, at the conventional superiority of India. The North Koreans, their only stake in this world is their nuclear capability, which they have exploited politically with great effectiveness.
The Russians today, as mentioned in the report, have moved towards an emphasis on tactical nuclear weapons. So it is not clear which countries we could persuade to give up nuclear weapons. Undoubtedly, the British would be prepared to do so -- perhaps the Chinese. But to find the incentives that will persuade all nuclear powers today and possibly in the future to abandon nuclear weapons is, I think, an uphill fight.
Bill, you may want to develop on that.
MR. PERRY: I do not disagree with what Dr. Schlesinger said; it is really an uphill fight. But I would also point out that during the Cold War, the nuclear weapons protected our security in very important ways. Now with the ending of the Cold War and now we see India getting nuclear weapons, Pakistan getting nuclear weapons -- Pakistan selling the technology to other countries through the A.Q. Khan network. Iran is on the verge of nuclear weapons and if Iran goes, we see Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia wanting nuclear weapons.
And in the face of all of this proliferation, we now have terrorist groups emerging whose professed goal is to kill large numbers of American civilians. So now we see nuclear weapons today as the danger. If they could be eliminated, the world would be better. I agree with Dr. Schlesinger, I don't see the way to do that today, but that should not stop us from trying to work towards that goal.
SEN. SESSIONS: One question I'll ask -- if any of you would like to comment on it. The commission dealt with an issue that we hear about periodically -- I don't think from the administration. But we hear it sometimes raised that we should renounce first-use capability or policy.
You conclude in Chapter Four, quote -- well, you conclude the United States, quote, "Should not abandon calculated ambiguity by adopting a policy of no first use" closed quote. Would any of you like to comment on that conclusion?
MR. PERRY: Well, besides the danger of nuclear weapons, there's also a danger of biological weapons. We have renounced biological weapons, but there is a danger that biological weapons might be used against us. And we believe that we should -- a deterrent to biological weapons being used against us was the threat of nuclear retaliation since we do not have the ability to threaten biological retaliation, even though we want to.
So we did not want to abandon it for that reason.
MR. SCHLESINGER: I think, Senator Sessions, that the United States is not going to use nuclear weapons against others, save in extraordinary conditions. The ambiguity to which you refer deals not with a nuclear attack on the United States but with other types of attacks. For example, the possibility, and I stress the possibility, of EMP attack. Cyber warfare, there is no defense against a sophisticated cyber warfare attack. And the Russians and the Chinese and perhaps others have developed cyber offensive capabilities. We may need to use a nuclear response to such things, biological warfare.
So the retention of ambiguity there is not to suggest that we are going to use weapons initially -- we are prepared not to do so -- but that we might have to respond to a non-nuclear attack with the use of nuclear weapons if it is severe enough.
SEN. SESSIONS: Mr. Chairman, thank you. And let me thank the panel for helping all of us and the Congress and, I think, the American people to think through very challenging issues and to get our heads straight as we go forward because there's some actions that Congress needs to take, and they will reflect some of the policies and suggestions you've made.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Thank you, again, Senator Sessions.
Senator Udall. That's it.
SEN. UDALL: I want to leave the chairman the last word, but I want to thank the panel again and commend you for creating what I think could characterize a realistically idealistic approach to a world without nuclear weapons. We have a long ways to go. Thank you for --
SEN. SESSIONS: I like that phrase -- realistically idealistic. I think that's good. Thank you.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: The first time either Senator Sessions or I use that phrase, we'll give you credit. (Laughter.) But after that, it will be ours.
I want to join in thanking the panel and all members of the commission for what you've done. This has been a very thoughtful and, I'd say, informative exchange we've had this morning. I hope that some folks may be watching on television. But we have some significant decisions to make. We've got a change of administration, obviously. There's going to be renewed focus on START and Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, CTBT, and, of course, ongoing discussions about the ballistic missile defense. So you've really given us a primer here, all members of Congress and the public, to get us ready for these discussions. And I appreciate it very, very much. And in the case of almost all the members of the commission, this is just the latest chapter in a long story of public service by all of you.
MR. PERRY: Senator Lieberman, if I may make a final comment.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Please.
MR. PERRY: When the Congress asked me to undertake this as chairman, I requested that the U.S. Institute for Peace be selected as the administrator for the program, and that has happened. I just want to acknowledge the very great support I got from them.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: I appreciate your doing that, and they deserve our thanks as well.
MR. SCHLESINGER: May I interrupt there?
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Please, yes.
MR. SCHLESINGER: The Institute for Defense Analysis has also cooperated with USIP in providing security for us and providing considerable editorial assistance to the United States Institute for Peace. So the Institute for Defense Analysis would also be thanked.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: Good. Well, we join you in thanking them.
Any other members of the panel want to make a final statement?
It's the custom here -- well, it's a reality -- that nongovernmental witnesses, which you're now in that glorious status, are not required to respond to questions for the record. If you're willing, I'd like to keep the record open until next Tuesday for questions from any members, particularly those who were not here, and then we'll give you plenty of time to answer them in writing. Is that acceptable?
MR. PERRY: Yes.
SEN. LIEBERMAN: All right. I appreciate it very much. I thank my colleagues. I thank all of you. The hearing is adjourned.
MR. SCHLESINGER: Thank you.