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The growing concerns over the national missile defense programs in america

Footnotes Summary The issue of missile defense cooperation with Japan intersects with several issues of direct concern to Congress, ranging from support for developing a capability to protect U. Japan's current participation in the U.

Navy Theater-Wide NTW anti-missile system--a sea-based "upper tier" exo-atmospheric capability against short- and medium-range missiles up to 3,500 kilometers.

  • The program called Sea-Based Midcourse Defense SMD is designed to achieve a capability to intercept short- and medium ballistic missiles in mid-course or in their early terminal phase, and to defend a much larger geographic area than the canceled NAD;
  • On the positive side, Japanese defense officials seem clearly to be leaning in the direction of at least a national BMD capability that would be interoperable with that of the United States;
  • Throughout most of the post-World War II era, the long-ruling LDP was the only political party in Japan that supported a strong military capability and the alliance with the United States;
  • BMD program are potentially significant, although not critical;
  • President Johnson announces plans to deploy the Sentinel missile defense system a successor to the Nike X program.

In the spring of 2001, the Administration changed the context of the cooperative research effort when it reorganized and redirected the U. The Pentagon redesignated the NTW program as the Sea-Based Midcourse System, with a goal of developing a capability for attacking missiles of all ranges in the initial or middle phases of their flight path. This change added to an already complex list of Japanese policy concerns, by putting Japan in the position of possibly cooperating in the development of technology that could become part of an American national missile defense capability -- a step that many Japanese see as transgressing a constitutional ban on "collective defense.

Japan has not made a decision regarding the acquisition of a missile defense capability. Japanese policymakers and defense firms generally are enthusiastic about missile defense cooperation, but the political parties, the media, and the general public are split over the issue. Proponents view BMD cooperation as a means to counter a perceived North Korean missile threat, and perhaps a Chinese threat as well. Other Japanese are fearful of aggravating relations with China or triggering an Asian missile race.

Even groups in Japan favoring BMD cooperation are concerned about the large costs associated with the still-unproven technology. The popular Koizumi administration seems inclined to finesse the constitutional issue, if possible. Japan's future stance will likely depend on regional developments and how the issue plays out in the currently unstable political environment.

Japan-U.S. Cooperation on Ballistic Missile Defense: Issues and Prospects

Issue Overview Japan's August 1999 agreement to engage in ballistic missile defense cooperation with the United States has the potential for contributing materially to the ability of the U. Navy to field an Asian regional defense against intermediate-range ballistic missiles, a goal that has long received strong support from Congress.

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It is even less clear how far Japan might be prepared to move in the direction of an integrated regional missile defense cooperation arrangement. The extent of Japan's future participation in missile defense will be governed by a number of considerations, including its threat perceptions, overall national defense strategy, regional relationships, constitutional constraints, domestic political impact, technical feasibility, and cost.

The relative importance of these factors cannot be established with any precision -- any one or combination of them could have a make or break effect on Japanese decisionmaking.

To date, these considerations have had a mixed and sometimes contradictory effect on Japanese policy.

Focus and Scope of This Report This report documents and analyzes Japanese perspectives on ballistic missile defense and on participation in the U. It notes areas of convergence as well as issues on which American and Japanese perspectives tend to diverge.

Finally, the report briefly addresses a number of policy considerations for Congress and the Bush Administration in light of ongoing uncertainties about Japan's participation. For broader background on U. Issues for Congress regularly updated. Congressional Support for An "Asian" Missile Defense Capability Since the mid-1990s, Congress has supported the development of a missile defense capability to protect forward-deployed U.

The 1991 Persian Gulf War highlighted the threat of short-range Scud ballistic missiles and the inadequacy of the Army's Patriot missile defense system to protect U.

Similar concerns have been expressed regarding the U. Navy's current lack of a defense against both short- and intermediate- or "theater"-range, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles.

Testimony by numerous defense and intelligence officials highlighted the growing threat posed by the development of intermediate-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction WMD by anti-U.

Following China's firing of ballistic missiles in the vicinity of Taiwan during a Taiwan Strait confrontation in early 1996, Congress acted to support the development and deployment of a missile defense system explicitly oriented towards Asia and the western Pacific. The report was to describe any U. Congress clarified the term "key regional allies" in the conference report H. The report focused on five ballistic missile defense systems currently under development for U.

The report assumed that the missiles would not employ special measures to evade destruction, such as the use of decoys or altered trajectories. The unclassified version of the DoD report addressed hypothetical architectures for each country's situation, but did not attempt to suggest or describe any region-wide system architecture, nor did it address the most challenging types of threats.

Congress continued to show support for developing and deploying a "theater" level missile defense capability in 2001, but also for more ambitious development objectives that might allow TMD systems--especially the Navy's sea-based TMD capability to serve as a basis for an early national missile defense capability.

Vitter introduced two related bills expressing strong support for an Asian missile defense capability but also for upgrading the planned speed of the Navy Theater-Wide NTW interceptor missile to give it the ability to intercept North Korea's Taepo Dong I missile and Iran's Shahab 5 missile, and requiring the Department of Defense to conduct at least one test against an incoming missile with the flight characteristics, including velocity, of the Taepo Dong I.

Although neither bill went beyond referral to the Armed Services Committee, the proposed legislation implicitly supported the decision of the Bush Administration to radically revamp the U.

BMD program, with the goal of applying various ABM technologies across a range of missions, including the early deployment of a capability to defend U. The United States military uses the term Ballistic Missile Defense BMD as a generic designation for systems designed to defend against ballistic missiles of whatever range--from short-range "Scud" type missiles to intercontinental ballistic missiles ICBMs.

TMD systems are intended to be deployed in a military theater of operations to defend against short-range and theater-range up to 3,500 km ballistic missiles; NMD systems are intended to defend U. Currently, both the U. Army and the U. Navy are developing anti-missile systems for theater-wide defense, but the U. The reasoning behind this decision appears to be the growing concerns over the national missile defense programs in america least two-fold.

First, the relevant technologies are applicable across the whole range of BMD threats.

  • Since BMD capable ships are being designed to be self-supporting, if necessary, these limitations are not critical, but they raise questions about the ultimate value to U;
  • If the latter achieves its design objectives, an appropriately positioned Aegis-equipped ship deploying the SMD could -- for instance -- shield most of Japan from an attack by a North Korean missile;
  • These are consistent with the risk reduction initiatives that have been pursued by the U;
  • Navy, on the other hand, have consistently viewed Japanese participation in the U;
  • Japanese policymakers and defense firms generally are enthusiastic about missile defense cooperation, but the political parties, the media, and the general public are split over the issue;
  • Were Japan to amend or reinterpret Article 9, however, Japanese policy would still be based on its national interest perceptions.

Second, and relatedly, certain programs currently in development for lower tier threats are deemed to have the potential, if suitably enhanced, of serving as a stop-gap, near-term NMD capability in the absence of a full-scope NMD system.

One possible sea-based option would build upon the technologies being developed in the former NTW program to develop a system that could be deployed on the Navy's Aegis cruisers stationed off the U. Pacific coast, with the mission of intercepting ICBMs in mid-course, outside the atmosphere.

  • One aspect of Japan's response to the request of the United States that Japan "show the flag" with logistical support of U;
  • While described by MDA as a success, later information came out that suggested that one of the motors on the kill vehicle did not restart after being shut down, and that the kill vehicle veered far off course from its nominal target.

Another concept is to deploy a sea-based system in the Sea of Japan with a capability to intercept North Korean intercontinental missiles in their assent, or "boost" phase, when they are most vulnerable. This report discusses and analyses the Administration's approach to missile defense and its implications for U.

In other words, the main ballistic missile threat to U. Even though some of the technology being developed in the NTW program would be relevant to the defense against strategic missiles, the design characteristics for Standard SM-3 interceptor missile being developed for the NTW are deficient in speed and range for the task of intercepting an ICBM. This is especially the case if the the growing concerns over the national missile defense programs in america missile is launched from a position that requires it to chase down an ICBM from behind.

In addition to having a higher velocity and longer range, the job of intercepting and destroying an ICBM may require a different kinetic kill vehicle KKV -- the cannister-shaped projectile that smashes into the missile warhead.

It also may need an upgraded sensor. How challenging this requirement would be is a matter of some dispute. They asserted that with relatively minor technical changes the planned velocity of interceptor missile could and should be upgraded to better deal both with medium-range missile threats as well as ICBMs. Some analysts argue that in theory, attacking missiles close to the point of launch -- as in the proposed boost-phase interceptor -- would require different sensors than those being designed for the SMD.

In action on the FY2002 defense authorization bill, both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees reduced the Defense Department's request for boost-phase interceptor testing on grounds that the concept design had not been completed. The Senate Report noted that "Boost-phase technology is extremely challenging. Navy had been developing two missile defense systems for shipboard deployment.

Both were intended to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, but at different points in their flight path. The NAD was roughly analogous to the Army's Patriot-3 PAC-3also a lower tier system to protect military forces against high value targets from short-and medium-ballistic missiles, such as the ubiquitous Scuds and their variants. The NAD was cancelled by the Pentagon in December 2001 because of poor performance of components and related unit cost increased which exceeded limits established by Congress.

The Defense Department declined to use it authority to certify the program for continued funding. There are, however, several uncertainties about the future of this system.

The basic building block of the SMD is the same Standard Missile that was to be employed by the NAD, but with much higher performance characteristics than the cancelled lower tier system. Also, the former NTW had been described as "the least mature" of the various systems under development by the Pentagon by one expert. These changes raise some questions about organizational lines of control between the MDA and the Navy, and mission priorities.

As of February 2002, the Pentagon anticipates that the Sea-Based Midcourse System could achieve initial capability for short- and intermediate-range sea-based missile defense by about 2006, with an ICBM capability to come several years later. The program called Sea-Based Midcourse Defense SMD is designed to achieve a capability to intercept short- and medium ballistic missiles in mid-course or in their early terminal phase, and to defend a much larger geographic area than the canceled NAD.

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The SMD is designed to intercept enemy missiles at altitudes above the atmosphere i. Intercepting a ballistic missile in midcourse, i.

A missile within the atmosphere follows a flight path that is affected by air pressure on its reentry vehicle nose cone with warheadwhereas a missile in mid-course--above the atmosphere--follows a more predictable ballistic trajectory. Figure 1 shows the different areas of coverage that would be provided by the now-cancelled NAD system--or any replacement terminal missile defense system, and the Sea-Based Midcourse Defense system.

If the latter achieves its design objectives, an appropriately positioned Aegis-equipped ship deploying the SMD could -- for instance -- shield most of Japan from an attack by a North Korean missile. Japan declined to participate but did partly relax its post-World War II arms export ban to open the way for sharing military and dual use technology with the United States.

Subsequently, Japan shared technology with the United States for several weapons systems, including portable surface-air missile SAM systems, naval ship construction, a ducted rocket engine, and the controversial FS-X, next-generation fighter program. It is widely accepted among students of US-Japan alliance relations that the Japanese government, backed by domestic industry and influential Diet Members, strongly preferred to develop an indigenous fighter aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of F-1 fighters, but decided reluctantly that the maintenance of smooth alliance relations required yielding to pressure from the Reagan Administration for co-development.

Among other considerations for the Nakasone government in Tokyo, the Reagan Administration had imposed stiff sanctions on semiconductor imports as a result of Japan's failure to meet the terms of a trade agreement, and Members of Congress were strongly criticizing Japan and the Toshiba Corporation for the sale of some sensitive U.

US Ballistic Missile Defense Timeline: 1945-Today

Commerce Department, and others, over the wisdom of technology cooperation with the United States' main high tech competitor. In early February 1989 the newly inaugurated George H. Bush administration yielded to these pressures and initiated a policy review that eventually required Japan to renegotiate the terms of technology transfer in the co-development project. Whatever the merits of the objections of U.

The frustrating FS-X experience, as will be seen, could play a significant role in future Japanese decisionmaking regarding the acquisition of a BMD capability. The Japanese government kept its role to the minimum in this four-year study to avoid sensitive political issues such as the weaponization of space and nuclear weapons related research associated with the so-called "Star Wars" program of the Reagan Administration.

Additionally, some sources say that the Japanese government was wary of U. Even before it introduced ballistic missiles with on-board guidance systems in the early 1990s, Pyongyang test-fired Scud-B missiles with ranges of 250 km to 300 km in the Sea of Japan.

The No-Dong 1 was a new and more threatening ballistic missile with an estimated range of about 1,000 km -- enough to threaten most of Japan, including major population areas the growing concerns over the national missile defense programs in america key U.

The solid-fuel three-stage missile launching illuminated Japan's vulnerability to North Korea's missile threat, as its third stage flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

Japan's 1999 Defense White Paper dedicated separate sections to the Taepo Dong incident of 1998, and devoted five times more pages to North Korea's military affairs than previous white papers. In December 1998, about four months after North Korea launched a Taepo Dong-I ballistic missile that passed over Japanese territory, the Japanese government made an internal decision to engage with the United States in cooperative research and development of a ballistic missile defense system.

Less than a year later, in August 1999, the U. Navy Theater Wide NTW ballistic missile defense program, but Japan has made no decision about acquisition of a missile defense capability and current constitutional interpretations appear to rule out the integration of any such Japanese capability with that of the U.

Implications of the Bush Administration's Redirection of the U. Approach to Missile Defense on U. In particular, the Japanese government has serious qualms about the constitutionality of cooperating on the development of technology that effectively could become part of a system to defend U. Japan's constitution established the right of collective self defense under international law, but disallows the exercise of that right.