The Global Environment: Critical Issues for the Next Century - Henry W. Kendall Memorial Symposium at MIT (3/5)
LOW: Okay, I'll Franc-- I'll say it again. I'm Francis Low. I'm the chairman.
We're continuing this afternoon with the issue is arms control and security policy. The first speaker is Richard Garwin, who is emeritus IBM, Thomas Watson-- what are you? Thomas Watson-- fellow emeritus Thomas Watson Research Center.
Richard Garwin is, I think, everybody's candidate for the most knowledgeable and most believable, most critical and reliable student of weapons, of issues involving weapons and arms control. And it's a great pleasure to introduce him. Richard Garwin-- the title of his talk is "Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century-- Prospects and Policy."
GARWIN: Well, with that introduction, people will pay attention and find errors in my speech. As the 20th century comes to a close, the United States and Russia maintain enormous forces of nuclear weaponry. Some 12,000 nuclear warheads in the United States and, perhaps, 18,000 in Russia. Each side deploy some 6,000 strategic nuclear warheads, typically, of 500 kilotons-- that is 500,000 tons-- 500,000 tons of TNT equivalent or other high explosive.
This yield is to be compared with the 15 or 20 kiloton yield of the only two nuclear weapons exploded in warfare. Those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945. A mere 20 of these modern warheads targeted on cities or on military targets in cities would kill 25 million Americans or Russians.
Each of these typical warheads has a destructive area about nine times that of the first nuclear weapons. In 1952, the US tested its first large scale hydrogen bomb prototype, deriving its energy in large part from thermonuclear fusion of deuterium heavy hydrogen rather than from the neutron-induced splitting of uranium-235 or plutonium. This 10 megaton monster had an explosive yield some 600 times that of the first fission bombs.
By 1957, with many additional nuclear explosion tests, the United States had developed a more usable thermonuclear weapon that weighed some 400 pounds with a diameter of only 12 inches and a yield of 70 kilotons-- much less than the 10 megatons, considerably more than the 15 kilotons.
Compare this with the first atomic bombs on some 9,000 pound weight-- 400 pounds instead of 9,000 pounds. By 1962 or so, US weapons had reached maturity. At that time, we could have built and did build weapons with the same yield and weight as the modern W 88 warheads that has been much in the news recently. But many years of further effort allowed these weapons to be packaged in narrow conical reentry vehicles-- about my size but more pointy about 9 degree included angle-- that could descend through the atmosphere with sufficient accuracy for the thermonuclear explosion to crush Soviet missile silos. And that was the reason for all of this additional effort.
The US in 1967 had a peak stockpile of some 33,000 nuclear warheads. And Russia in 1982 had some 45,000 nuclear weapons. Roughly speaking, Britain, France, and China each have some 300 nuclear weapons. Of these, China has only about 20 warheads that can be mounted on long range rockets to reach the United States. Note that 33,000 is 100 times the number of warheads held by any of these lesser of the five official nuclear weapon states.
Now, that we have only about 12,000, we have only about 40 times as many, not 100 times as many. The Non-Proliferation Treaty, NPT, of 1970 distinguishes the five nuclear weapon states that is in order of acquiring and testing nuclear weapons-- The United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China-- from all the rest of the countries of the world. These are the nations that have tested nuclear weapons by 1964.
So Israel believed to have now more than 100 thermonuclear warheads never tested. And India and Pakistan having conducted on the order of five nuclear explosions each in 1998, last year, have nuclear weapons but are not entitled to the non weapon benefits of the NPT because they have been acquiring nuclear weapons. The non-nuclear weapon states under the NPT bind themselves not to acquire nuclear weapons. And the nuclear weapons states are obligated not to transfer nuclear weapons to the non-nuclear weapon states or to help them acquire nuclear weapons.
In 1995, the members of the NPT extended the treaty indefinitely with the agreement of the five nuclear weapon states to negotiate and adopt a comprehensive ban on nuclear explosion tests-- briefly a CTBT, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty-- which was signed in 1996 and presented for ratification to the Senate in 1997. During the administration of John F. Kennedy in 1962, it was predicted that 20 or more states would have nuclear weapons within a decade or so.
I believe that it is the banning of tests in the atmosphere, the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, and the NPT that have kept the number of such states small, together with the shelter of NATO and the US-Japan Alliance. Pief Panofsky, who is here in the audience, as a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee worked energetically and effectively on the technical aspects of the Limited Test Ban Treaty and on many other of these arms control and national security programs. And I was involved with the LTBT and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as well.
These treaties control an enormous destructive force. They don't do it perfectly, but they help. The 6 kilograms of plutonium, about 13 pounds, required for the Nagasaki weapon could be used to trigger a thermonuclear weapon of any yield-- 100 times, 1,000 times the yield of the Nagasaki weapon. Hydrogen bombs are a great extender of the stockpile of fissionable material. So not only can you make much more powerful bombs, you can make a lot more of them.
During the 1950s, nuclear weapons were widely deployed for use on the battlefield to destroy enemy troop concentrations, aircraft in the air, and for anti-submarine warfare. It was the day of more bang for our buck. Long range strategic nuclear weapons were to be delivered by heavy bomber aircraft with air-to-air refueling that was mastered early by the United States and took other countries long time, or they don't have it yet.
Land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles soon to be sheltered in reinforced concrete silos and submarine launched ballistic missiles were to augment the bomber force, delivering thousands, in fact, more than 10,000 thermonuclear weapons against targets of choice. As testing validated the smaller thermonuclear warheads and reentry vehicles that protected them in coming through the atmosphere, the large rockets were fitted with dispensing buses so-called that allowed as many as 14 reentry vehicles to be deployed on a single missile and sent against individual targets.
These are the so-called MIRVs, the Multiple Independently Targeted Reentry Vehicles. Incidentally, the bus also increased the accuracy of the weapon. Because it propelled it with low acceleration and with the proper velocity without the necessity for precise timing of the cut off of the missile thrust. The MIRVs also increased greatly the difficulty that would be faced by a system for defending against the nuclear warheads in flight, a ballistic missile defense. So they were very welcomed by the military.
With the advent of accurate MIRVs, there was the specter of destruction of an entire ICBM force by a fraction, a mere fraction of a comparable ICBM force on the other side. A first disarming strike that would preclude retaliation. This led to the permanent deployment of SLBMs at sea on submarines that are difficult to locate.
It also led to a capability of launch on warning or launch under attack and to the necessity of warning systems that would allow land-based missiles to be launched before they were destroyed. The warning systems and the launch on warning capability deter attack on the ICBM force by the clear capability to destroy population centers in the attacking country. So that was the prospect in 1972 or so when the United States and the Soviet Union, after about five years of negotiation, signed the ABM Treaty and a limited offensive agreement, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.
That limited the number of missile launchers, but it did not limit the number of warheads because of the multiple reentry vehicles. Nevertheless, it helped to cap and stable stabilize this confrontation. But it was not until the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement of the 1980s that the eliminated a whole class of US and Soviet land-based cruise missiles and ballistic missile launchers worldwide but not their warheads that major reductions in nuclear confrontation occurred. Strategic forces were further limited during the Reagan administration in START I to launchers capable of carrying some 6,000 warheads in the United States and in the Soviet union. And in a second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, START II, still not ratified by Russia limiting deployments to 3,000 to 3,500 warheads more or less.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia did a magnificent job of repatriating all of the tactical nuclear weapons and, ultimately, all of the strategic warheads from other countries where they had been deployed, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. So that by 1996, there were no nuclear warheads in these successor states to the Soviet Union.
Presidents Bush and Gorbachev reduced the nuclear threat by informal agreement to eliminate many of the tactical nuclear weapons, such as those on surface ships. And START III might limit deployed strategic warheads to 1,500 on each side. Domestic politics in Russia and in the United States, together with the Russian resentment of NATO expansion, have delayed the ratification of START II by Russia. And the Congress has forbidden the negotiation of START III until a START II is ratified.
Arms control is often impeded by a "go slow" attitude as if it were the most dangerous opportunity in the world. This happened in the beginning when the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency was created. And it has happened recurrently ever since.
In 1994, the Nuclear Posture Review of the US department of defense emphasized the importance of retaining 10,000 or so strategic nuclear warheads as a hedge against failure of the START process. And those strategic warheads in excess of START whatever levels are now apparently prized as a reserve force or a means of substituting warheads in case of problems that may arise with individual warheads or a class of warheads as time goes on.
Unfortunately, this legitimizes the retention by Russia of any number of nuclear weapons at a time when Russia no longer has the means or the focus to protect them properly against theft or diversion. Russia is the only nation with nuclear forces capable of destroying the United States as a society. And it is irrational to prize the possession of US forces of negligible marginal utility above the reduction of Russian capability.
A seemingly plausible argument to maintain a hedge or a reserve conceals an inability to move to improve US security. The Clinton administration that was unable to move in the Nuclear Posture Review did however gradually implement a Cooperative Threat Reduction program initiated by Senator Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar that has been spending some $400 million per year to secure nuclear materials in Russia and the former Soviet Union. While reductions of nuclear weapons are stalled by the economic and political disarray in Russia, by the lack of leadership in the United States, and the inability of the congressional leadership to recognize the magnitude of the nuclear threat to the United States and to support the process of reducing it.
But there are other threats besides the existing nuclear weapons in Russia. And these are related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The general advance and spread of technology permits the accomplishment of new tasks and makes that of old ones easier, even trivial.
A roomful of IBM punch card machines calculating at 10 operations per second suffice to design the first fission bombs. While a single PC costing $4,000 now provides a billion operations per second on your desk-- more computing power than was used to design any of the modern thermonuclear weapons. The Non-Proliferation Treaty embodies the judgment of the five nuclear weapon states and the vast majority of others that their security is improved by preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Not only states but non-state groups could acquire nuclear weapons if they desired by theft or by building them. They do not, primarily because they don't want them or because they are unable to obtain the fissionable material, high enriched uranium or plutonium, or to produce it themselves. This enriched uranium and plutonium have been produced specifically for the weapons programs in the nuclear weapons states and high enriched uranium in South Africa to build six modern Hiroshima type weapons that were dismantled when South Africa in the early 1990s decided to join the NPT.
So here is an example of a country that acquired its indigenous nuclear weapons, which would in my opinion have worked quite well, but decided that they were more secure as a non-nuclear weapon state. About 100 tons of plutonium have been separated in the civil nuclear power programs of France, Japan, and some other states. It would take less than 10 kilograms of this so-called civil plutonium to make a nuclear weapon without significantly more difficulty than would be involved in the use of so-called military plutonium.
Some 10,000 nuclear weapons could thus be produced and each of these could be a thermonuclear weapon. Those who separate plutonium from the irradiated fuel for profit do it really quite well in plants that are very well operated. But they return the plutonium and the separated radioactive material to the country of origin. So Japan now has tens of tons of plutonium in storage there. And Germany presumably has some as well and other countries that participate in this reprocessing of civil reactor fuel.
At least, 100 tons of military plutonium and 1,000 tons of enriched uranium are surplus to the weapon programs of the US and Russia. Over 20 years, Russia is selling 500 tons of high enriched uranium. Enough for some 20,000 nuclear weapons to the United States for about $12 billion. The US has no need for this as military material and, in fact, under the terms of the contract must be devoted to several purposes.
This material will be used in the civil nuclear power program. It would fuel 100 power reactors, about the number the United States has, for some five years. There are other options the US could buy Russian military plutonium. The US could buy Russian nuclear weapons. For that matter, Bill Gates could buy Russian nuclear weapons and contribute them to the civil economy.
And I think that some of these large scale contributions really ought to be thought seriously about while the stock is still up there in order to contribute to the next generation and to succeeding generations. I remember, oh, about 15 years ago I suppose with the end of the Cold War approaching at a meeting at Cambridge University, we were wondering what to do about the military industrial complex, the aerospace complex in the United States. It's not very profitable, but maybe $100 billion a year goes into it. At 4% or 5% profit, it's less profitable actually than normal business, a few percent profit.
All the treasury would need to do is to put away $100 billion in one year in treasury bonds and then use the income to pay the profits of the industry-- that is, buy it all up so the Russians could buy the US industry and the US could buy US industry. The US could buy Russian industry. And the managers, at least, and the owners of the companies would make out just as well and more surely as than they had before.
But for some reason, we didn't do this. And we have much larger programs of all kinds that we don't need. I think it has something to do with congressional elections.
In India's decision, to test its nuclear weapons in 1998-- they had had a single nuclear test in 1974-- and to incorporate nuclear weapons into its military forces has led to its consideration of a full triad of nuclear forces-- that is, bombers, missiles on the ground, missiles in submarines-- together with a corresponding system of command and control. This in a theater of repeated armed conflict between India and Pakistan.
These nuclear weapons do not threaten the United States directly, but Pakistan has obtained missiles and technology from North Korea. And the transfer of nuclear weapons or weapon uranium from Pakistan to North Korea would reverse the gains that have been made in limiting North Korea's nuclear weapon program, and its missile tests. As is evident in the India-Pakistan confrontation, the acquisition of nuclear weapons by one nation has a direct impact on its neighbors. And with the spread of long range missiles, it has an influence on states at a substantial distance.
The future of the Non-Proliferation Treaty depends on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which the Senate rejected a week ago-- October 13, 1999. The CBT poses no additional limits on a non-nuclear weapons state that's a member of the NPT. They're already denying themselves nuclear weapons, so they couldn't possibly test one without violating the NPT.
But the five nuclear weapon states have signed it, as has Israel, which is not a member of the NPT. The US has not tested since 1992 and China since 1996. In declining to consent to ratification of the CTBT, senators argued that Russia and China would conduct clandestine nuclear weapon explosive tests in violation of the 0 Threshold Test Ban Treaty-- it doesn't allow any nuclear energy release-- that proliferate states would not join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and could test openly, that the International Monitoring System to be set up by this treaty and that is in operation as a provisional system, even supplemented by US intelligence might not detect the smallest tests. And they argued that the US nuclear stockpile could not be maintained safe and reliable without nuclear explosion testing.
US military leaders and the heads of the three US nuclear weapon laboratories support the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty when it is supplemented by six safeguards, the last of which includes the promise to release ourselves from the treaty if a weapon critical to our inventory could not be certified as reliable or safe without nuclear testing. As I argued in my testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee October, 7, those tiny tests that cannot be detected confidently under the CTBT would not militarily disadvantage the United States.
And a 4.5 billion annual stockpile stewardship program of surveillance, analysis, and remanufacturing will maintain our nuclear weapons in pristine state for many decades. It's not just that we test the components of nuclear weapons and hope that when they're put together the whole thing will work. No, we have some precision vehicles, which are the nuclear weapons themselves but just with the plutonium removed that are sent all the way to mock targets by missile or bombs, and they work.
If they don't work, then we know a lot more than in the days when we were conducting nuclear tests. Because they do not test the other parts of the system-- many essential component of a nuclear weapon not involved at all in an underground nuclear test. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty cannot enter into force without US ratification. Beyond that, it needs a signature of India, Pakistan, and North Korea.
Former ambassadors to India and Pakistan, Frank Wisner and Bob Oakley, write that without US ratification, India will test further to develop a true thermonuclear weapon. And Pakistan will match India's tests one for one. China would find it difficult to refrain from testing under those circumstances, having had only 45 nuclear tests themselves. The United States has had more than 1,000.
The leaders of France, Britain, and Germany have implored the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in a very unusual article in the New York Times. Further development of US nuclear weapons will not counter proliferation. The US has by far the greatest and the most flexible military capability in the world. And its nuclear weapon technology is the most advanced.
More than 1,000 US nuclear explosion tests contributed to this technological lead. But effective nuclear weapons of 1957 vintage that I mentioned before or even the fission weapons of 1950 half a century ago are enough to destroy millions of people. This threat cannot be contained by further nuclear weapons development and nuclear tests. It must be constrained by arms control, by deterrence of acquisition, or use of nuclear weapons, and, if necessary, by destruction of the nuclear weapons before they can be used or by defense against their delivery.
It is natural to want to rely solely on US actions to protect US security, but technological realities get in the way. There are many means to deliver nuclear weapons and long range missiles are only one. The Rumsfeld Commission of which I was a member warned in 1998 that North Korea, Iran or Iraq could have ICBMs within five years if they mounted a well financed and urgent program to obtain them.
But we also noted that it would be far easier for any of these countries to use short range cruise missiles-- available by the tens of thousands in the world-- or ballistic missiles, short range ballistic missiles from a cargo ship to attack US cities. Not having any hope or desire to destroy all of US society with a few nuclear weapons on long range missiles, they would have to choose appropriate targets. And they might as well choose the important ports and population centers along the coast and use the easier, more reliable, and more accurate do every means of cruise missiles or short range ballistic missiles.
In this era of global trade, it would be even easier to detonate a nuclear weapon in a US harbor or to spread biological warfare agents from an automobile or light aircraft, exposing a city or a military base much more effectively than by the use of missiles of uncertain reliability and accuracy. I mentioned the Countering of such systems by defense. And, indeed, Congress has long demanded a national missile defense.
We deployed one once in 1974, the Safeguard System with 100 nuclear armed interceptors deployed at Grand Forks, North Dakota with one long range acquisition radar and a missile defense radar there. This had had a checkered career. It had originated in the Johnson administration as a city protection system, a light area defense against Chinese ICBMs arms, which, in fact, did not materialize for 11 years after the speech announcing the development and deployment of that system.
And by the time the Nixon administration took office, it was clear that there would not be a race of people in cities to be defended but a race out from under the nuclear umbrella. So never mind that the program was to defend population, it had so much momentum that it was going to go forward for some purpose. And its name was changed to protect the guilty.
It was now going to defend Minuteman silos, the retaliatory force against Russia, not against China. Of course, it wouldn't have done that either because the Minuteman silos were hard and tough. Whereas, the radars were very vulnerable. And so they could easily have been overcome. So $21 billion in current dollars, $12 billion in then year dollars, down the drain. However, there is supposed to be a rosy side to this because Jerry Smith, our ambassador to the ABM treaty talks and the Limited Offensive Agreement talks, had his arm twisted sufficiently vigorously that he wrote home and said that he needed the deployment of this system in order to get the Russians to agree to the proposed treaty. Now, in 1999, the Clinton administration has for two years been developing a system based on a different kind of interceptor-- not nuclear armed but so-called hit to kill, which would strike these warheads and collide with them in the vacuum of outer space.
It would have advanced radars and some facilities deployed in space for observation to counter four or five, or if you've been paying attention in the last few weeks, a few tens of warheads from a rogue state. These emerging missile states like North Korea, Iraq, and Iran. It is always stated also that this proposed system would have some capability against a small accidental or unauthorized launch of long range missiles from China or Russia.
Unfortunately, this system will have 0 effectiveness even against a few warheads launched from North Korea. North Korea would not go to all of the trouble making ICBMs and putting nuclear warheads or biological warfare agents on their missiles, launching them at the United States, provoking certain retaliation without taking measures to have them militarily effective, if possible. And unfortunately, it is easy to do that.
To send 100 kilograms of anthrax or other BW agent against a city is to waste delivery capability. It comes down in one place. And then there is a narrow plume in which everybody will die but the rest of the people will not be exposed. Much better from the attackers point of view is to repackage this material in the form of bomblets, each of which weighs a pound or so, and as the missile comes up through the atmosphere and the rocket engines shut off, then these bomblets can be dispersed.
Easy to do with a rotating payload. And you then split the shroud, and the individual bomblets come off. They have their individual heat shield so they can re-enter the atmosphere. And when they strike the ground at low speed, just as if they were dropped from an elevator or an aircraft.
We have designs that we published in the 1950, declassified US biological weapons programs, that shows you how to disseminate this stuff to maximum effectiveness. So it would be an anomaly, it would be irrational, it would not be sensible, and it won't happen for North Korea to send over a unitary warhead that has any possibility of being intercepted if they are going to deal with biological warfare agents. But, perhaps, they will have nuclear weapons, mating an untested, perhaps, Nuclear weapon but an unreliable one with an unreliable and inaccurate ICBM. They might do that.
But then they would want to make sure, if possible, that the nuclear weapon would not be intercepted. And, unfortunately, that's very easy. Their nuclear weapon would be larger than I am. It might be the size of two of these lecterns. But it would be small compared with the size of the room.
And so all they would need to do is to have an enclosing balloon made up thin aluminized plastic, which you can buy at the party favorite store. And you lay it out-- so this plastic and adhesive, self-adhesive tape or a heat sealer, you make it into a big-- doesn't have to be round-- balloon. And so some place within that big balloon, which will be inflated as soon as the warhead is separated from the rocket, there will be the warhead.
If the ballistic missile defense system works perfectly, the interceptor will strike the enclosing balloon. It will not strike the warhead. Both of these threats could be countered by a missile defense system that works in boost phase, and it seems feasible to deploy a joint US-Russian system south of Vladivostok or on US military cargo ships in the Japan Basin to counter any eventual North Korean ICBM threat.
But it would be foolish to rely on countering nuclear attack if it were possible to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The question is whether the 21st century will be one of nuclear weapons for all or have nuclear weapon restraint. A sick Russian president, deep suspicion in the Russian Duma, lack of leadership in the United States keep us from recognizing and dealing with the threat to US security posed by nuclear weapons and by their proliferation.
In an era of domestic political confrontation, there is also no agreement on the path to be taken. President Clinton has emphasized that the US will continue to abide by its signature on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, despite the fact that it has not ratified the treaty. So domestically, the failure of the CTBT has no impact, but internationally it does.
The greatest threat to US and global security is the enormous Russian nuclear arsenal. We have to get our priorities right-- strengthening Russian control, reducing the size of the arsenal, and erecting higher barriers to its leakage are the highest priority. If relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China should deteriorate to downright enmity, as might occur through initiatives on the side of the Chinese or gratuitously by our demonization of China, China could evolve to pose a serious threat. This is far better averted than countered.
You should not welcome a nuclear arms race, even with a lesser competitor. The US must exert every effort to bring India and Pakistan into the CTBT in order that the Non-Proliferation Treaty not fall apart. An urgent and feasible US agenda for reducing the nuclear threat in a multipolar world such as we have would include the recognition that US security is secured more by limiting the threat than by increasing US arms.
It would include proper hearings leading to a better understanding of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and to its ratification and entry into force, perhaps, with other understandings between the Congress and the administration. It could include extending the START regime with Russia to include all nuclear warheads and nuclear weapon usable materials, not just delivery vehicles, and limiting the total to 2,000 warhead equivalents on each side. That could be done very quickly. The remainder would be demilitarized and committed irreversibly to the civil economy long before they could be dismantled.
If Britain, France, and China limit their nuclear weapons to 300 each, the US and Russia could drop to 1,000. US weapons would be largely deployed a single warhead ICBM is in silos, on submarine launched ballistic missiles, and relatively few on bombers. Russian weapons would likely be deployed largely on ICBMs, either mobile or in silos. We shouldn't care.
Just as the US commitment to NATO and to the security of Japan has facilitated Germany and Japan's non-nuclear weapons status, so what a commitment of the United States and other nuclear weapons states through the United Nations or regional agreements to provide security guarantees of non-nuclear weapons states against nuclear attack. Other than arms control treaties, there are less formal actions that can be taken by presidents in the context of similar or comparable actions on the other side, such as the Bush-Gorbachev reduction of tactical nuclear weaponry. These could reduce the likelihood or the damage of war by accident or misunderstanding.
Since the large nuclear forces of the United States and Russia exist mostly for some future an unspecified eventuality, removing them from alert would be a useful step. Half of the silo-based ICBM could be covered with 50 feet of earth, but it is not so simple to verifiably de-alert submarine large ballistic missiles. A joint US-Russian working group should be established to evaluate such options without a commitment to implementing them.
We should continue to keep weapons out of space and to ban tests of anti satellite systems. That's another area that is ripe for confrontation. It is incredible to believe-- it is incredible that Russia, even in its diminished state, would permit the United States to put in weapons that would dominate not only nuclear but conventional war-- that is, orbiting lasers that the Air Force hankered for-- without threatening them with space mines or with anti satellites.
And we have very important resources civil and military in space now to keep watch on the world and maintain stability. I worked with Henry Kendall and Kurt Gottfried in the mid 1980s in the Star Wars-era to do something about that foolish and dangerous initiative. But our job is not finished. To do any of these things, to do arms control treaties, one needs to get the Congress, the Senate onboard. But to do these informal things, one needs to have presidential leadership.
In a new administration, whether it's Democratic or Republican, I believe that the Defense Department and the other elements of the government have an obligation to review US national security. And I hope that we do a better job this time than we did with the Nuclear Posture Review. We need to do some other things to trim up the United Nations and the international mechanisms-- for instance, the Conference on Disarmament, which prides itself on being the sole negotiating body for arms control can handle only one topic at a time.
But there are many more problems than that. And it's all too easy to fill the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament with something of lesser importance so that it cannot attack the problems of major importance. It would be a tragedy if the arms control agenda could be energized only following the nuclear destruction of cities in Pakistan and India. It would be too late if the US and Russia nuclear confrontation, a residue of the Cold War, were unleashed by accident or inadvertence. Thank you.