Antisatellite Arms Control It is a pleasure to appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss antisatellite (ASAT) arms control. I believe that the most significant recent event in this area was the President's certification, as required by the Department of Defense 1985 authorization act. Thus I would like, in my testimony, to focus today both on the progress of the negotiations in Geneva and that certification and its implications for arms control. First, however, I would like to review Administration thinking on space arms control.
For 25 years, the United States has stationed satellites in space for peaceful purposes, including support of national security and arms control. Launch detection satellites provide immediate warning of a ballistic missile attack. Communication and navigational satellites support the command and control of U.S. and allied military forces. Other satellites provide U.S. national technical means (NTM) to assist in verification of compliance with existing arms control agreements.
The United States has been a contributor and party to several major international agreements that govern space activities, including the UN Charter, Outer Space Treaty, Limited Test Ban Treaty, and Antiballistic Missile Treaty. At U.S. initiative, bilateral talks with the Soviet Union on ASAT arms control were held during 1978-79. The United States supported the recent formation of an ad hoc committee to discuss space arms control in the 40-nation Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva.
U.S. national space policy was articulated by President Reagan on July 4, 1982, and reaffirmed in his March 31, 1984, report to Congress on U.S. policy and ASAT arms control: "The United States will consider verifiable and equitable arms control measures that would ban or otherwise limit testing and deployment of specific weapon systems, should those measures be comatible with United States national security."
Guided by these criteria, the United States has studied a range of possible options for space arms control. Factors which complicate ASAT arms control include signficant difficulties of verification, diverse sources of threats to U.S. and allied satellites, and threats to U.S. and allied terrestrial forces posed by Soviet targeting and reconnaissance satellites.
Depending on the scope and effectiveness of an agreement, a verifiable space arms control agreement, if complied with, might limit specialized threats to satellites and constrain future threats to such key satellites as those for early warning. Limitations on specialized threats to satellites, together with satellite survivablity measures, could help preserve and enhance stability. Agreements could also raise the political threshold for attacks on space …