Arms-Control Chief Says Pact Allows Missile Defense

Article excerpt

The United States will deploy a national defense against missile attacks based on emerging threats and will not be hindered by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) said yesterday.

ACDA Director John D. Holum, also told a Senate subcommittee that several options being considered by the Pentagon would require amendments to the ABM treaty, although all efforts to develop a missile defense system are legal.

U.S. defenses are being designed to "answer the threat" of long-range missile attack, Mr. Holum told the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee on international security. "The determinant of our national missile defense program designed to deal with rogue state threats is going to be what the threat requires, not what the Russians think or what the treaty says.

"We will begin by determining what the national security requires" before seeking negotiations with Moscow on treaty changes, he said.

Mr. Holum said he believed the ABM treaty can be modified to allow defenses against limited missile attacks and that the administration regards the treaty as the "cornerstone" of U.S.-Russian strategic ties.

North Korea is building a medium-range missile that the Pentagon estimates can hit parts of Alaska and Hawaii and possibly the continental United States. …