July 1991 Vol. VIII, No. 4




``Assured destruction'' didn't work preemptively in Iraq. Despite the deployment of half the conventional force of the world's Number One nuclear superpower, and tens of thousands of bombing sorties, Iraq's nuclear weapons program eluded destruction.

In the aftermath of war, all weapons-grade nuclear materials, along with chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles, are supposed to be handed over to the United Nations. After first declaring that it had no secret nuclear installations, Iraq has produced a list of such facilities. UN officials would not comment on whether or not they believed the list to be complete and accurate.

If Third-World dictators' nuclear programs survive UN inspectors as well as Iraq withstood General Schwarzkopf's bombs, the outcome of the next war could be very different.

What if the next generation of SCUDs carry nuclear warheads and can reach European cities? It is inconceivable that the US could carry out an operation like Desert Storm if such a threat existed.

To counter the Third-World missile threat, Congress is beginning to accept the need for an improved version of the Patriot. Some advocate concentration on ground-based interceptors (GBIs) and abandonment of space-based interceptors (SBIs) to reduce both costs and potential conflicts with the ABM Treaty.

The George C. Marshall Institute has recently analyzed the relative usefulness of GBIs and SBIs. (See the Report of the Technical Panel on the Emerging Ballistic Missile Threat.) The panel concludes that the answer depends on the specifics of the threat: the range of the attacking missiles, the number of theaters that must be defended, and the number of targets in each theater. GBIs are more effective when the range is short and the area and number of targets to be defended are limited. (Short range means less than 180 miles─the range of the basic SCUD or SCUD-B). The balance shifts toward SBIs for longer range attacking missiles and larger areas and numbers of targets.

To maximize cost-effectiveness, the Marshall Institute recommends a mix of ground- and space-based defenses. This would combine Brilliant Pebbles and advanced GBIs that have nearly a continental ``footprint'' (the GBI-X).

To defend the US, Europe, and the Middle East with GBIs alone would require 7840 interceptors at a cost of $34.7 billion, including R&D. A two-layer defense, combining GBIs with Brilliant Pebbles would require 3500 interceptors at a cost of $25.3 billion. This would include 1000 Brilliant Pebbles costing $4 billion.

These figures assume the deployment of three advanced GBIs per warhead to achieve a 99.9% kill probability against warheads released in accidental or unauthorized Soviet launches, which could involve 200 or more high-yield nuclear bombs. For Third-World attacks, which are likely to involve many fewer weapons, the analysis is based on the deployment of two interceptors per warhead. The costs are based on radar support for the GBIs. Brilliant Eyes may be substituted for the radars at an additional cost of $1.6 billion. If Brilliant Eyes can provide effective mid-course discrimination of decoys, the effectiveness of the defense would be substantially improved.

If we decided to defend against a Third-World threat alone, remaining vulnerable to accidental launches, the cost of defending the US, Europe, and the Middle East would be $16.7 billion for a ground-based defense only, vs. $15.3 billion for a mixture of ground and space defenses.

At present, we depend on a ``combination of defenselessness and hopelessness'' as the basis for retaliatory deterrence against strategic attacks. But ``against third-country or subnational attacks, [this] is the basis for blackmail or disaster,'' states Gregory Canavan of Los Alamos National Laboratory (Space Policy, November, 1990).

To learn more about ``Coping with Global Proliferation of the Ballistic Missile Threat,'' plan to attend the High Frontier seminar in Las Vegas, Monday, September 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (This is the day following the DDP meeting.) Major Scott Lofman, USAFR, will discuss the threat; Nicholas Montanarelli will summarize SDI spinoffs; and Major General J. Milnor Roberts, AUS, Ret., will discuss the need for fast-track deployment of space-based defenses. A model of a Brilliant Pebble will be on display.




Emergency response to chemical spills and chemical and biological warfare will be two of the subjects covered at a Symposia Medicus conference immediately preceding the DDP meeting. This conference, which offers Continuing Medical Education credit, will be held at the Caesar's Palace Hotel in Las Vegas from Friday, September 20, until noon on Saturday, September 21.

Other topics: medical complications of intravenous drug abuse; cardiovascular manifestations of cocaine toxicity; poisoning as a form of child abuse; and the neurological assessment of the poisoned patient.

For further information, contact DDP at 602-325-2680 or Sue Pritchard of Symposia Medicus, 415-935-7889.




``The subject of this analysis is the military-industrial complex, the MIC. We are not even sure exactly what it is or where it is located. Its facilities aren't called by their real names but rather by cryptic appellations....'' (Moscow News Feb 24-Mar 3, 1991).

The MIC becomes more intelligible, the Moscow News article states, if we compare it with the MIC of the US. This ``monster'' appears tame in comparison with the Soviet behemoth. Here are some facts:

The number of employees in the Soviet defense industry is 5 to 8 million. In the US, the figure is 2.2 million. For years, the Soviets were told that only 20.2 billion rubles were spent for defense. Now the government has admitted that the military budget was 77.3 billion, but economists think the true figure is closer to 200 billion rubles, or 20% of the GNP (cf. 6.5% for the US). A bird's eye view of the MIC reveals military farms, bases, airstrips, ports, proving grounds, and military compounds occupying 2% of the Soviet land area. Nonetheless, the MIC is the most unobtrusive in the world. ``No one knows its location; there are only secret addresses.'' In Moscow, one third of all industries work for the military. Each year, the Soviet Union produces 4.5 times as many tanks as the US, nine times as many artillery pieces, three times as many nuclear submarines, and twice as many bombers.

The Soviet Union is the world's foremost arms exporter, selling $11.6 billion worth in 1989 (cf. $10.7 billion worth of sales by the US). Two nuclear reactors were delivered by the Soviets to North Korea.

``People sometimes wonder who permitted this to happen....But who needs permission when the CPSU and the MIC are like the closest of brothers?''


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