HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY
STATEMENT OF JOHN DEUTCH
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02139
FEBRUARY 12, 1998
It is a pleasure to appear before this Committee, especially as a private
citizen. I want to review briefly the security challenges our country faces
and to highlight a few Defense and Intelligence programs that I believe
deserve the Committeeís support.
1. Russia continues to be our top security concern, even without
the adversarial relationship of the Cold War, because Russia still possesses
20,000+ nuclear weapons. Widespread corruption and the absence of honest
and accountable internal governmental administrative functions threaten
Russiaís slow and erratic evolution towards democracy and a market
economy. Thus, internal political developments must be followed closely.
So must Russian foreign policy activity, for example, relations with Iran,
which is an indicator and a test of official Russian attitudes toward the
U.S. and the West.
U.S. cooperative threat reduction efforts, most of which are funded in the
Department of Defense budget are of continuing importance. The objective
of these efforts is to lower the risk of ìloose nukesî by reducing
the number of active nuclear weapons, and the strengthening of Russiaís
capacity to manage, control and account for its nuclear stockpile and strategic
2. China has adopted a strategy of economic liberalization while
maintaining political control. Whether this strategy is viable over the
long term remains to be seen. For example, will China successfully re-engineer
its vast state-owned enterprises? But, for the next decade, one should have
modest expectations about our ability to influence China on those issues
that are important to us but not as important to them: trade, non-proliferation,
human rights, and environment.
It is unclear whether in the long run the direction of U.S.-China relations
will evolve toward strategic competition or a relationship such as we have
with a democracy, France, just to choose an example. Accordingly, it is
of paramount importance for the U.S. to maintain a strong presence in the
Pacific region and strong alliance relationships, most particularly with
Japan. The uncertain future of the Korean peninsula and the situation of
Taiwan reinforces this need.
3. Iraq, Iran and other rogue nations
The past two Administrations have adopted a dual containment policy towards
Iran and Iraq. For differing reasons, I do not judge either policy to be
a smashing success.
In the case of Iraq, while Saddam is increasingly militarily constrained
by the U.S. and its coalition partners, he continues to be a major threat
to security in the region and the cause of the misery of the Iraqi people.
Finding an alternative to Saddam should remain a high priority. Because
Saddam continues to frustrate international inspections, there is good reason
to believe that our allies and coalition partners will assist in this effort
to thwart production of weapons of mass destruction. On the other hand,
Saddam enjoys considerable sympathy in the Middle East and elsewhere; he
remains politically strong because of his skill at balancing competing political
interests in the region.
The situation with Iran is quite different. Despite a clear record of sponsoring
terrorism and advocating extremist Islamic separatist policies, our European
allies, Japan, Russia and others, have shown progressively less willingness
to attempt to influence Iranian behavior by the use of sanctions, especially
as opportunities to do business with Iran loom larger.
Without denying either the record of Iran or the character of Iranian policy,
I believe it is time to explore replacing the current policy of containment
with a policy of measured engagement whereby step-by-step political and
economic normalization would accompany verifiable progress on key issues:
cessation of state sponsored terrorism, cessation of work on weapons of
mass destruction, support for the Middle East peace process, and greater
respect for the individual. There is some indication of as yet uncertain
value that Iran is receptive to an alternative approach. We shall see.
While there are significant differences between those nations that we classify
as ìrogue statesî -- Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea -- none
of them have abandoned the effort to acquire greater nuclear, chemical or
biological capability. Accordingly, I urge this Committee to continue to
support the counter-proliferation programs of the Department of Defense.
4. Terrorism is a growing threat to our governmental infrastructure,
to international businesses, and to citizens at home and abroad. The new
character of this threat is (1) the possibility that terrorists will use
weapons of mass destruction, (2) the growing international scope of terrorist
organizations, and (3) the increased vulnerability of critical governmental
infrastructure and the telecommunications and computer control systems that
regulate everyday life.
While there is widespread awareness of the foreign terrorist threat and
some progress in marshaling efforts to protect us against them, much remains
to be done. The roles of the different government agencies involved in combating
terrorism -- Defense, Intelligence, and Law Enforcement -- must be better
defined, and effective counter-terrorism programs must be put into place.
But, this Committee should make no mistake about it: foreign terrorism is
a national security threat and not simply a law enforcement matter.