FACT SHEET: National Missile Defense
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                     September 1, 2000

                                FACT SHEET

                         National Missile Defense

The Clinton Administration is committed to the development of a limited
National Missile Defense (NMD) system designed to protect all 50 states
from the emerging ballistic missile threat from nations that threaten
international peace and security.  In the event of an attack, American
satellites would detect the launch of missiles; radar would track the enemy
warheads; and highly accurate, high-speed ground-based interceptors would
destroy missiles before they reach targets in the United States.


President Clinton announced today that the NMD program is sufficiently
promising and affordable to justify continued development and testing, but
that there is not sufficient information about the technical and
operational effectiveness of the entire NMD system to move forward with

In making this decision, the President considered the threat, the cost,
technical feasibility and the impact overall on our national security of
proceeding with NMD.  He considered a thorough technical review by the
Department of Defense as well as the advice of his top national security

The Pentagon has made progress on developing a system that can address the
emerging missile threat. But we do not have sufficient information to
conclude that it can work reliably under realistic conditions.  Critical
elements of the program, such as the booster rocket for the missile
interceptor, have not been tested; and there are questions to be resolved
about the ability of the system to deal with countermeasures.  The
President made clear we should not move forward until we have further
confidence that the system will work and until we have made every
reasonable diplomatic effort to minimize the costs.

The Pentagon will continue the development and testing of the NMD system.
That effort is still at an early stage: three of the nineteen planned
intercept tests have been held so far.  Additional ground tests and
simulations will also take place.

The development of our NMD is part of the Administration?s comprehensive
national security strategy to prevent potential adversaries from
threatening the United States with such weapons and acquiring the weapons
in the first place.

Arms control agreements with Russia are an important part of this strategy
because they ensure stability and predictability between the United States
and Russia, promote the dismantling of nuclear weapons, and help complete
the transition from confrontation to cooperation with Russia.  The
Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972 limits anti-missile defenses
according to a simple principle: neither side should deploy defenses that
would undermine the other?s nuclear deterrent, and thus tempt the other to
strike first in a crisis or take countermeasures that would make both our
countries less secure.

This announcement will provide additional time to pursue with Russia the
goal of adapting the ABM treaty to permit the deployment of a limited NMD
that would not undermine strategic stability.  The United States will also
continue to consult with Allies and continue the dialogue with China and
other states.

An NMD program that meets the projected threat

Last August, the President decided that the initial NMD architecture would
include: 100 ground-based interceptors deployed in Alaska, one ABM radar in
Alaska, and five upgraded early warning radars.

This approach is the fastest, most affordable, and most technologically
mature approach to fielding an effective NMD against the projected threat.
It would protect all 50 states against emerging threats from both North
Korea and the Middle East and is optimized against the most immediate and
certain threat, North Korea.

On July 23, 1999, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 4, the ?National
Missile Defense Act of 1999,? stating that it is the policy of the United
States to deploy as soon as technologically possible an effective NMD
system.  The legislation includes two amendments supported by the
Administration: the first making clear that any NMD deployment must be
subject to the authorization and appropriations process, and thus that no
decision on deployment has been made; the second stating it is the policy
of the United States to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian
nuclear forces, putting Congress on record as continuing to support
negotiated reductions in strategic nuclear arms, reaffirming the
Administration?s position that  missile defense policy must take into
account important arms control and nuclear nonproliferation objectives.

NMD Budget

The Clinton Administration has spent approximately $5.7 billion on NMD, and
budgeted an additional $10.4 billion in FY 2001-2005 to support possible
deployment of the initial NMD architecture.
Our current estimate for developing, procuring and deploying our initial
system ? 100 interceptors, an ABM radar, upgrades to 5 early warning
radars, and command and control ? is around $25 billion (Fiscal Years
91-09).  But to put that in perspective, it represents less than 1 percent
of the defense budget over the coming six years.

Joint Statement of Principles on Strategic Stability

At the June 4 Moscow summit, Presidents Clinton and Putin signed a Joint
Statement of Principles on Strategic Stability.  The Principles state that
the international community faces a dangerous and growing threat of
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery,
including missiles and missile technologies, and that there is a need to
address these threats, including through consideration of changes to the
ABM Treaty.  The Principles also record agreement to intensify discussions
on both ABM issues and START III.

Joint Statement on Cooperation on Strategic Stability

The United States has made clear to Russia that we are prepared to engage
in serious cooperation to address the emerging ballistic missile threat and
have identified a number of specific ideas for discussion.  At the June 4
Moscow Summit, Presidents Clinton and Putin signed an agreement to
establish a Joint Center for exchanging early warning data on missile
launches; they also agreed to explore more far-reaching cooperation to
address missile threats.

On July 21 in Okinawa, Presidents Clinton and Putin issued a Joint
Statement on Cooperation on Strategic Stability, which identifies specific
areas and projects for cooperation to control the spread of missiles,
missile technology and weapons of mass destruction.

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