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Anti-Sate]]ite 6 (ASAT)Arms Con tro Since Sputnik was launched in 1957, satellites have played an im- portant role in the military programs of both the United States and the Soviet Union. Today, satellites serve a wide variety of extremely impor- tant security functions, including early warning of strategic attack, intelligence on the current and projected military threat, precision nav- igation and targeting, communications for command and control, and verification of arms control agreements. The critical importance of sat- ellites to U.S. national security has focused special attention on the evolving threat posed by anti-satellite (ASAT) systems designed to at- tack satellites. The problem is complicated by the interaction of anti- satellite and anti-ballistic missile (ABM) developments. Ballistic missile defense systems have an inherent ASAT capability; ASAT tech- nology can contribute to ballistic missile defense development; and space-based ABM systems would be vulnerable to ASAT systems. The United States and the Soviet Union both initiated ASAT pro- grams in the early 1960s. The United States maintained a direct-ascent nuclear-armed ASAT system until the mid 1970s. The Soviet Union has worked intermittently on a coorbital nonnuclear ASAT system that is now considered to be operational. The United States is on the threshold of testing a new dedicated nonnuclear ASAT system with considerably greater capabilities than the existing Soviet ASAT system. There is a long history of arms control agreements relating to space. In 1963 the Limited Test Ban Treaty prohibited nuclear tests in space. In 1967 the Outer Space Treaty prohibited stationing -weapons of mass destruction in space. In 1972 the SALT ~ ABM Treaty prohibited inter- 159
160 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL ference with satellites that helped verify the agreement. In 1978 the Carter Administration initiated negotiations on an ASAT agreement with the Soviet Union. An agreement was not reached, and there have been no further negotiations since 1979. The Soviet Union has contin- ued to advocate such an agreement and in 1983 presented to the United Nations a detailed draft treaty banning weapons in space, ASAT sys- tems, and the use of force against satellites. The Reagan Administra- tion has formally taken the position that a ban on ASAT systems would be contrary to U.S. security interests. Nevertheless, in the summer of 1984 the U.S. government accepted a Soviet invitation to discuss the ban on weapons in space in Vienna in September 1984 but indicated it would discuss other arms control proposals as well. As of September 1, 1984, the two sides had been unable to agree on an agenda for the meeting. BACKGROUND The Origin of the ASAT Program The earliest U.S. studies of specific systems designed to attack satel- lites were commissioned by the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s. They focused on two basic approaches: a "killer satellite" interceptor, which would be placed in orbit and then maneuvered to its target, and a direct- ascent interceptor, which would intercept the target when it passed overhead. In 1960, three years after the Soviet Union's successful launch of Sputnik, the U.S. Air Force began research and development on the first U.S. anti-satellite program. The program (designated SAINT), which never reached the test phase and was canceled in 1962, involved the concept of a coorbital interceptor that could inspect and destroy a target. The U.S. ASAT program was then temporarily incorpo- rated into the Army's anti-ballistic missile program, since it was recog- nized that the Nike-Zeus ABM test facilities on KwajaTein Island in the Pacific could also serve as a nuclear-armed direct-ascent anti-satellite system against satellites that came within a range of a few hundred kilometers. From 1964 to 1967 a few Nike-Zeus interceptors were de- ployed there as an anti-satellite system. In response to what appeared to be an emerging threat of a Soviet system for orbital nuclear bombardment, the U.S. Air Force also re- sumed its ASAT mission. In 1964 several intermediate-range Thor rock- ets, which were modified for an anti-satellite mission, were deployed on Johnston Island in the Pacific. Although the Thor system had consider- ably greater range than the Nike-Zeus, its kill mechanism, a high-yield
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 161 nuclear warhead, meant that its use in peacetime or conventional war would risk collateral damage to friendly satellites at great distances, as well as nuclear escalation. When the anticipated threat of Soviet orbital nuclear weapons never materialized, U.S. interest in an anti-satellite weapons capability faded and the Thor missiles, which had been exten- sively tested, were finally retired in 1976. The Thor system reportedly could still be restored to operational status on relatively short notice. The early Soviet efforts on ASAT weapons probably began in 1964 with the establishment of a division of the strategic defense forces whose mission was that of "destroying the enemy's cosmic means of fighting." By 1967, preliminary tests of a Soviet ASAT system had begun. The multiton Soviet ASAT system is launched by a modified version of the Soviet Union's early large ICBM (the SS-91. The ASAT itself is a coorbital interceptor that uses an active radar to home in on its target within two orbits after launch and destroys its target with a nonnuclear warhead. The initial test program of the interceptor from 1968 to 1972 was judged by the United States to have been successful. During the 1960s and early 1970s, the United States and the Soviet Union concluded a number of arms agreements limiting the militariza- tion of outer space. The Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 bans the testing of nuclear weapons in space. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons and other "weapons of mass de- struction" in space. The 1972 SALT ~ ABM Treaty bans the develop- ment, testing, or deployment of ballistic missile defense systems in space. Both SALT ~ and the 1979 SALT IT Treaty also ban interference with any satellite providing National Technical Means to verify those agreements. Although the cumulative effect of these agreements re- stricts many weapon systems in space and protects intelligence satel- lites used for verification purposes, none of the agreements explicitly limits the development and deployment of dedicated anti-satellite sys- tems unless they involve the deployment of nuclear weapons in space. The Ford-Carter Years In 1976 the Soviet Union resumed the testing of its ASAT system using the same technology upgraded to permit intercept on the first orbit instead of the second orbit. In response to this development, the Ford Administration in its final days directed the initiation of a new ASAT program for the stated purpose of deterring use of the Soviet system. The directive also called for a study of arms control options. The Carter Administration undertook a two-track approach to the ASAT problem. It sought to negotiate an agreement limiting such sys-
162 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL tems while concurrently developing the new ASAT system. Moving quickly to initiate the arms control process in this area, the Carter Administration agreed with the Soviet Union in March 1977 to estab- lish a U.S.-Soviet working group on ASAT as one item on the agenda of arms control issues the two countries would explore. Three rounds of ASAT negotiations were held between the United States and the Soviet Union during 1978-79. The first session in Helsinki in May 1978 was preliminary in nature and devoted to discussion of the scope of a possi- ble agreement. Two subsequent rounds of ASAT talks were held in Bern, Switzerland, from January 23 to February 16, 1979, and in Vienna, Austria, from April 23 to June 17,1979. The U.S. approach to the negotiations was to seek a treaty banning attacks on all satellites and to establish an agreed moratorium lasting for a year or so on the testing of ASAT systems. The moratorium would provide time to negotiate a more detailed treaty on ASAT testing and deployment that would deal with the verification problems involved. The draft texts developed in these negotiations have never been made public, and there are varying opinions on how close to agreement the two sides came in the negotiations. Although important progress was made, it seems clear that several important issues remained unre- solved. Among these issues was whether the treaty would apply only to U.S. and Soviet space objects or to those of other countries as well. The United States considered this an important issue since unless nonsigna- tories were covered the agreement appeared to legalize attacks on third parties. The sides also disagreed on whether ASATs could be used for self-defense against "hostile" acts. The United States objected to a for- mulation that could again legalize the use of ASATs. The problem was complicated by ambiguities as to what activities were covered by the concept of "hostile" acts. The Soviet Union also reportedly proposed language that might limit the Space Shuttle because of its inherent ability to rendezvous and capture or interfere with satellites. The U.S. position was that the shuttle was neither an ASAT nor an ASAT launch platform. In addition, there was a fundamental unresolved issue within the U.S. government as to whether a moratorium on the testing of ASAT systems should include all potential ASAT systems, including those using directed energy kill mechanisms, or simply those systems using direct-ascent and coorbital interceptors. In June 197S, a year after the United States declared the Soviet ASAT operational, President Carter summarized his Presidential Directive on National Space Policy, stating that "while the United States seeks verifiable, comprehensive limits on anti-satellite capabilities and use, in the absence of such agreement, the United States will vigorously
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 163 pursue the development of its own capabilities." The ASAT system cho- sen for development, which is the system currently in the testing phase, was an air-launched miniature homing vehicle delivered by a small two-stage rocket carried on an F-15 fighter aircraft. The rocket is guided by an inertial guidance system to intercept a satellite whose orbital parameters have been determined by ground-based sensors. In the final engagement, the miniature homing vehicle uses infrared sensors to home in on the satellite and destroys it on impact. By 1978 the Soviet Union had encountered difficulties in its-attempts to upgrade its low-altitude ASAT system to permit it to attack its target on the first orbit. The Soviet Union had also begun testing a more advanced interceptor with an optical homing device, which would be less vulnerable to countermeasures such as evasive maneuvering and jamming. All six ofthe tests ofthis improved system failed. Just prior to the opening of the ASAT negotiations in May 197S, the Soviet Union announced that it would undertake a unilateral testing moratorium on ASATs. By June 1979 the ratification of the SALT II Treaty had taken overrid- ing priority in the arms control planning of the U.S. government, and it was decided not to press ahead with the uncertain ASAT negotiations, which involved unresolved policy issues, until the SALT IT ratification was completed. Nevertheless, the United States and the Soviet Union did agree in a joint communique at the signing of the SALT II Treaty in Vienna "to continue actively searching for mutually acceptable agreement in the continuing negotiations on anti-satellite systems." After the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, the United States made no effort to resume the bilateral ASAT negotiations. The Reagan Years The policy agenda of the new Reagan Administration called for a complete review of arms control policy and objectives and consequently put any further movement on these issues, including the ASAT negotia- tions, on the back burner. In March 1981 the Soviet Union, which had never previously destroyed a target with an ASAT system, successfully performed a complete operational test of its ASAT system using a radar homing device. Although the technology used in the Soviet system was still significantly inferior to the proposed U.S. program, the test sparked increased interest both in the press and in the government in ASAT research and development. Several months after the Soviet ASAT test, Foreign Minister Andrei
164 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL Gromyko on August 11, 1981, submitted to the UN General Assembly a draft treaty banning the deployment of any weapons in outer space. He explained that the proposed treaty would preclude the stationing of weapons in outer space that were not already covered by the definition of "weapons of mass destruction." The Soviet draft treaty had a limited impact on ASAT development. While it would have banned space-based ASATs, it did not appear to restrict ground-based or air-launched sys- tems, such as the U.S. system currently under development. The draft treaty obligated the parties to the agreement "not to place in orbit around the earth objects carrying weapons of any kind, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner, including on reusable manned space vehicles of an existing type or of other types" that parties may develop in the future. The parties also undertook "not to destroy, damage, disturb the normal functioning or change the flight trajectory of space objects" of other parties. The U.S. government did not react favorably to the Soviet draft treaty. The UN General Assembly, however, approved the draft treaty and referred it to the First Committee. The Committee on Disarmament was instructed to include on its agenda for negotiations the Soviet draft treaty as well as the question of negotiating agreements to prevent an arms race in outer space. The United States was the only country that opposed the establishment of a working group on the subject, stating that immediate progress could not be expected and that the area had to be approached with extreme care. Without U.S. cooperation, the activ- ity in the Committee on Disarmament stagnated. By the early 1980s the United States already hack an active program for developing the technology for more sophisticated ASAT systems, such as ground-based and space-based lasers. Tests of an airborne gas dynamic laser for use against tactical missiles had been conducted by the Air Force, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency was funding a space-based laser program, involving the Alpha 2-MOO infra- red chemical laser, the Talon Gold pointing and tracking system, and the Large Optics Demonstration Experiment (LODE). By this time the Soviet Union also had an active high-powered laser research and devel- opment program. The press reported that the Soviet Union had, along with its coorbital interceptor system, ground-based test lasers with probable ASAT capabilities. l:t was also speculated that the Soviet Union was conducting research and development in the area of space- based laser ASAT weapons. In early 1983 top aciministration officials explained that the U.S. rationale for developing ASAT weapons was largely to deter the Soviet
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 165 Union from using its capability. With the administration's position on space weapons and with the upcoming U.S. F-15 ASAT test scheduled for the fall, domestic pressure began to build in Congress and in the arms control community for movement in the area of space arms control. On March 23, 1983, in a major address to the American people, Presi- dent Reagan escalated the entire debate on weapons in space by calling on the scientific community to support a major technological effort to develop a defense against strategic nuclear missiles that would eventu- ally make these systems "impotent and obsolete." The president's speech added fuel to the debate over ASAT arms control. Due to the overlap of technologies, the new Strategic Defense Initiative suggested that the administration was unlikely to agree to an ASAT ban that would restrict ballistic missile defense developments. While the Presi- dent asserted that the program should be consistent with the provisions of the SALT ~ ABM Treaty, the new initiative raised many questions about technical developments that could be related to either ballistic missiles or ASAT systems. Soviet President Yuri Andropov quickly followed the Reagan Admin- istration's announcements with further calls for arms control negotia- tions on these issues. In response to a petition from a group of American scientists to ban weapons in space, Andropov stated that the United States and the Soviet Union were approaching a crucial time when failure to negotiate a ban on weapons in outer space would make an extension of the arms race into outer space inevitable. The U.S. State Department indirectly responded to Andropov's call for a ban on weap- ons in space by noting that the Soviet Union was the leader in develop- ing an ASAT interceptor and that the Soviet arms control initiatives were in fact efforts to maintain a monopoly in this area. By mid-May, with no movement by the U.S. administration in this area, the Union of Concerned Scientists presented a draft treaty for arms control in space at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The draft treaty included a ban on the testing of all anti- satellite weapons. Its supporters emphasized that an ASAT treaty would clearly be in the U.S. interest because the United States is more dependent on space systems than is the Soviet Union. They also voiced the opinion that if the United States proceeded with tests of its air- launched ASAT weapon, verifying restraints on these systems would be made much more difficult. At the same hearings, the Reagan Administration stated that it was not considering negotiations on ASAT in the near term. The Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Kenneth Adelman,
166 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL told the Senate committee that the United States, which was on the verge of testing its anti-satellite weapon in space, had no plans to re- sume negotiations with the Soviet Union to limit such weapons. Adelman said, "We should not rush into negotiations on these subjects unless we are ready with verifiable proposals that will enhance na- tional security." Adelman stated that "there are difficult technical prob- lems, including verification, that constitute fundamental obstacles to progress in this area." Among his key concerns were Soviet ASAT capa- bilities, which he said had created an asymmetry that "is a serious obstacle to achieving an equitable space arms control agreement." Throughout the summer of 1983, a number of resolutions were intro- duced in Congress on both sides of the space weapons issue. The most significant action came on July 26, 1983, when the Republican-con- trolled Senate unanimously approved Senator Paul Tsongas's (D-Mass.) amendment to the fiscal year 1984 Department of Defense authoriza- tion bill stating that no funds could be obligated or expended to test any explosive or inert anti-satellite warheads against objects in space un- less the President determines and certifies to the Congress that (1) the United States is endeavoring in good faith to negotiate with the Soviet Union a mutual and verifiable ban on anti-satellite weapons and (2), pending agreement on such a ban, testing of explosive or inert anti- satellite warheads against objects in space by the United States is nec- essary to avert clear and irrevocable harm to the national security. The fiscal year 1984 request for the ASAT system was $225 million. This included $19.4 million for components for the first production line version ofthe ASAT. On August 5, 1983, the House and Senate conferees included the Tsongas amendment in the defense authorization, making it law until September 1984. The conferees also specified that the $19.4 million for procurement for the first ASATs could not be obligated un- less the President submitted a report to Congress on U.S. ASAT policy and arms control plans no later than March 31, 1984. Two weeks later, Soviet President Andropov announced for the first time Soviet willingness specifically to ban all ASAT systems. At a meet- ing in the Kremlin with a group of Democratic senators in August 1983, Andropov called on the United States to negotiate a complete prohibi- tion on the testing and deployment of any space-based weapons for hit- ting targets on earth, in the air, or in outer space. He stated that the Soviet Union was also prepared to agree to prohibit the testing and development of all new anti-satellite systems and to eliminate all exist- ing anti-satellite systems. In addition to these proposals, Andropov stated that the Soviet Union "assumes the commitment not to be the first to put into outer space any type of anti-satellite weapon." Shortly
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 167 after Andropov's announcement, Foreign Minister Gromyko, in a letter to the UN Secretary General, made public a new Soviet draft treaty on space weapons entitled the Treaty on the Prohibition of the Use of Force in Outer Space and from Space Against the Earth. The draft treaty incorporated Andropov's proposals but excluded the unilateral morato- rium on testing, which was transmitted separately. At the United Nations the new Soviet draft treaty was referred to the First Committee. The United States was the only member of that com- mittee to vote against a compromise resolution that would have estab- lished an ad hoc working group on outer space with a view toward undertaking negotiations. The U.S. position was that it supported the establishment of a working group on outer space to address a broad range of space arms control issues before any conclusions could be drawn about pursuing negotiations in the Committee on Disarmament. However, the United States did not favor having a working group un- dertake negotiations. On January 21, 1984, the U.S. Air Force conducted the first test ofthe U.S. F-15 ASAT over the test range at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The missile was fired at a point in space rather than at an actual target, so that it did not violate the Tsongas amendment. Never- theless, the Soviet news agency Tass criticized the U.S. government's test on January 24, 1984, stating that the "tests of the anti-satellite system carried out by the United States are an open challenge to the U.N. resolutions directed against the arms race in outer space." A month after the U.S. test, during a hearing on the fiscal year 1985 defense budget, Richard DeLauer, Under Secretary of Defense for Re- search and Engineering, told the House Armed Services Committee that "ambitious tests" were planned during the coming year to demon- strate the capability of the F-15 ASAT system. DeLauer also disclosed that work had begun on a comprehensive study to select a "follow-on system with additional capability to place a wider range of Soviet satel- lite vehicles at risk" and that research on the Strategic Defense Initia- tive will also include an anti-satellite component. The test launching of the U.S. F-15 ASAT, closely following the col- lapse of the START and INF negotiations, was viewed by critics of the administration's approach to arms control as a major step toward a situation in which it would be impossible to negotiate an ASAT agree- ment. Joining congressional voices for movement on space arms con- trol, Democratic presidential contender Walter Mondale in February 1984 proposed that the United States initiate a temporary moratorium on the testing of ASAT systems along with a six-month moratorium on underground nuclear testing to break the impass on arms control talks
168 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL with the Soviet Union. Mondale also pledged that if elected he would vigorously move forward on negotiations to reach an ASAT treaty. As the administration was finalizing its report on ASAT arms control for Congress in March 1984, the new Soviet leader, Konstantin Chernenko, made his first appeal for negotiations on the militarization of outer space. In a speech carried by Tass, Chernenko stated that the United States could prove its "peaceableness" by concluding an agree- ment renouncing the militarization of outer space. This appeal was reiterated by Soviet officials in Moscow during a visit by several U.S. senators in the same month. In his official ASAT report to Congress on March 31, 1984, President Reagan formally rejected the comprehensive ban proposed by the Soviet Union. President Reagan stated in the transmittal letter that "no ar- rangements beyond those already governing military activities in outer space have been found to date that are judged to be in the overall interest of the United States and its allies." The report stated that the factors that impede the identification of effective ASAT arms control measures include significant difficulties of verification, diverse sources of threats to U.S. and allied satellites, and threats posed by Soviet targeting and reconnaissance satellites that undermine conventional and nuclear deterrence. The President cautioned Congress that even though the executive branch would continue to study space arms con- troT in search of selected limits on specific activities in space, he did not believe it would be productive to engage in formal negotiations. The report concluded that verification problems were profound and that the Soviets had a "destabilizing advantage" with the anti-satellite weap- ons they already had. Following the release of the President's report, Soviet leader Chernenko, while renewing calls for negotiations on space, stated in an interview in Pravda on April 9, 1984, that "bluntly and frankly, they do not want to reach an agreement. But going so far as to make a mockery of common sense, they express readiness to talk with us with the sole aim of agreeing that accord on this issue is impossible. It is thus that the people in Washington understand political dialogue and talks in general." In response to these developments, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House rallied around resolutions calling for space arms control. A version of Senator Larry Pressler's (R-S.Dak.) resolution, which called for a temporary halt in the ongoing U.S. effort to develop an ASAT, and resolutions challenging the Tsongas amendment, which was to expire in September, provided the vehicles for debate. In the House a new umbrella organization, the Coalition for Peaceful Uses of
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 169 Outer Space led by Representative George Brown (D-Calif.), was formed to try to eliminate funding for ASAT testing from the fiscal year 1985 military requests. Democratic presidential candidate Mondale once again criticized the administration for its space policy and outlined a five-point proposal that went beyond his earlier call for a "temporary" moratorium on testing anti-satellite weapons and negotiations with the Soviets "to get a verifiable ban" on these weapons. This proposal in- cluded a reaffirmation ofthe U.S. commitment to the 1972 ABM Treaty; a temporary moratorium on the testing and deployment of all weapons in space; and, following that, negotiation of a "verifiable treaty block- ing weaponry in the heavens." Other critics of the administration's report argued that it was simply a laundry list of problems facing ASAT arms control and failed to compare the advantages to U.S. national security of an ASAT ban with an unconstrained ASAT race. The NATO Defense Ministers, meeting in April for NATO's Nuclear Planning Group session, also reportedly expressed skepticism and anxiety about U.S. military plans for space, and several allies urged the U.S. adminis- tration to enter into negotiations with the Soviet Union to forestall an arms race in space. On May 28, 1984, the House of Representatives approved by a vote of 238 to 181 a ban sponsored by Representative Brown on the further testing of U.S. ASAT weapons until the Soviet Union resumed testing. Following the House vote, Soviet leader Chernenko once again called on the United States to negotiate "without delay" a pact banning the use of anti-satellite weapons. The Soviet leader said the Soviet Union would maintain its "unilateral moratorium" on launchings of anti-satellite weapons as long as the United States abstained "from placing in space anti-satellite weapons of any type," which he said also covered "test launchings of anti-satellite weapons." Chernenko also renewed Andro- pov's offer to "liquidate" all existing anti-satellite systems as part of an agreement. The U.S. State Department responded that Washington was ready to "talk" about anti-satellite weapons but not "negotiate" and that the government would not engage in formal negotiation on an issue where it believed there was no reasonable chance of verification. The following day, July 12, 1984, the Senate passed a compromise amendment to the fiscal year 1985 military authorization bill that was less restrictive than the previous year's version of the Tsongas amendment but more restrictive than the challengers to that amendment desired. Among other provisions, the amendment stated that no funds could be obli- gated or expended to test any explosive or inert anti-satellite warheads against objects in space unless the United States was endeavoring in
170 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL good faith to negotiate with the Soviet Union a mutual and verifiable agreement with the strictest possible limitations on anti-satellite weap- ons consistent with the national security interests of the United States. The previous year's language had called for a ban on these systems. The compromise was approved on a 61 to 28 vote. In a prime time news conference following the Senate action, Presi- dent Reagan stated that the United States had not "slammed the door" on ASAT negotiations. Subsequent news stories quoted an unnamed White House official as stating that the United States--intended to present ASAT treaty proposals to the Soviet Union within a month. According to press reports, White House officials also stated that four options were being considered for a limited agreement on ASAT weap- ons: limiting each nation to one type of satellite interceptor, banning ASATs that could destroy high-altitude satellites, confidence-building measures involving the exchange of information about each other's weapons in space, and an agreement under which both nations would agree not to interfere with each other's satellites. Following the President's press conference, Soviet Ambassador Ana- toli Dobrynin presented a note to Secretary of State George Shultz on June 29, 1984, proposing formal negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union in Vienna in September on an agreement to prevent "the militarization of outer space," including a ban on space weapons and the mutual renunciation of anti-satellite systems. Presi- dent Reagan responded almost immediately, stating that the United States was prepared to hold wide-ranging arms control talks with the Soviet Union, including discussions seeking agreement on "feasible negotiating approaches" to limits on anti-satellite systems, but would not allow the agenda to be restricted to the militarization of outer space. The President stated that the United States would also discuss "mutu- ally agreeable arrangements under which negotiations on the reduc- tion of strategic and intermediate-range nuclear weapons can be resumed." The Soviet Union rejected the U.S. response to the proposal for talks as "totally unsatisfactory," but emphasized that the offer to open negoti- atiorls in September on preventing "the militarization of outer space" remained open. There followed a series of diplomatic andL public ex- changes on the nature and scope of the proposed meeting in which each side insisted it was prepared to meet but accused the other side of at- tempting to manipulate the agenda for political purposes and ques- tioned the seriousness of the other side's interest in the meeting. While at first the White House took the position that the meeting was deBl-
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 171 nitely on and the U.S. delegation would be in Vienna on September 17 to start the talks, by the end of July both sides discounted the likelihood that the meeting would actually start on that date or before the U.S. presidential election. It was reported that President Reagan offered in a letter to Soviet leader Chernenko to delay the start of the proposed talks until after the November election to keep the issue out of the presiden- tial campaign. After a month of diplomatic and political maneuvering, there were reportedly still several basic differences separating the approaches of the two sides to the proposed September meetings. The most fundamen- tal difference was that the Soviet Union insisted on limiting the talks to the militarization of outer space and space-based weapons, while the United States refused to discuss space weapons other than ASATs and insisted on the right to raise other subjects that it considered related to the substance of the meeting. The subjects the United States wanted to discuss included the general problem of offensive weapons and the spe- cific question of the resumption of the START and INF negotiations. With regard to the character of the meetings, the Soviet Union wanted to identify the talks as representing a commitment to the negotiating process on arms control of space-based weapons and objected to the U.S. formulation that cast the talks as simply seeking "agreement on feasi- ble negotiating approaches." Finally, the Soviet Union reportedly refused to accept U.S. efforts to limit the stated agenda of the talks to anti-satellite weapons as opposed to the Soviet proposal to deal with all space-based weapons. The Soviet approach would have broadened the talks to deal explicitly with the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative as well as dedicated ASAT systems. SUMMARY OF U.S. AND SOVIET POSITIONS ON ASAT ARMS CONTROL The U. S. Position President Reagan reported to Congress on March 31, 1984, that no arrangements or agreements beyond those already governing military activities in outer space have been found to date that are judged to be in the overall interest of the United States and its allies. The factors that impede the identification of effective ASAT arms control measures in- clude major verification problems, existing threats to U.S. and allied satellites, and threats posed by Soviet targeting and reconnaissance satellites. The President reported that, notwithstanding these difficul-
172 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL ties, the United States would continue to study space arms control in search of selected limits on specific types of space systems or activities that could satisfactorily deal with the problems outlined. In connection with the talks proposed for September 1984 in Vienna, the U.S. government has undertaken a major internal review of its approach to arms control of space-based and ASAT weapons. According to press reports, this review includes assessment of four options for a less comprehensive approach to the ASAT issue: limiting each nation to one type of satellite interceptor, banning ASATs that can destroy high- altitude satellites, confidence-building measures involving the ex- change of information about each other's weapons in space, and an agreement under which both nations would agree not to interfere with each other's satellites. There is no indication as to which of these posi- tions the United States will advance if the Vienna meeting takes place. The Soviet Position The Soviet offer of a unilateral testing moratorium, announced by Andropov in August 1983, states, as reported by Tass, that the Soviet Union "assumes the commitment not to be the first to put into outer space any type of anti-satellite weapon, that is, imposes a unilateral moratorium on such launchings for the entire period during which other countries, including the U.S.A., will refrain from stationing in outer space anti-satellite weapons of any type." The Soviet 1983 draft Treaty on the Prohibition of the Use of Force in Outer Space and from Space Against the Earth is comprehensive in scope and of unlimited duration. The treaty prohibits both the use of force or the threat of its use against space objects and the use of force or the threat of its use by space objects against targets in space, in the atmosphere, and on earth. The treaty specifically prohibits testing and deployment of any space-based weapons intended to attack targets on earth, in the air, or in space. The treaty would obligate the signatories not to destroy, damage, or disrupt the normal functioning of other states' space objects or to change their flight trajectories. It specifically requires the elimination of all existing anti-satellite systems and pro- hibits the testing or development of new anti-satellite systems. It also specifically prohibits the testing or use for "military" purposes, includ- ing anti-satellite purposes, of any manned spacecraft. The Soviet draft treaty, which is a multilateral treaty, states that verification would be provided by National Technical Means and calls for consultation and cooperation with regard to those means.
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL THE MAIN ISSUES SURROUNDING ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL The U. S. View 173 Although President Reagan has recently announced that the United States is willing to discuss with the Soviet Union feasible negotiating approaches to constraints on anti-satellite systems, he has taken a strong public position against a comprehensive ban on anti-satellite systems, saying that it would not be in the overall security interest of the United States and its allies. According to the administration, the problems facing ASAT arms control, which more than offset the poten- tial benefits, include the lack of effective verification, the Soviet poten- tial for breakout, the problem of defining ASAT systems, and the risks of disclosing sensitive information. The administration also argues that a U.S. ASAT capability is necessary for U.S. security and to maintain deterrence. Verification. The Reagan Administration argues that it is not possi- ble to verify a comprehensive ASAT ban. The verification problem is particularly serious in the case of ASAT systems since a small number of satellites serve critical U.S. security needs. Consequently, even very limited cheating on ASAT limitations could pose a very large risk to the United States. The administration emphasizes that it would be ex- tremely difficult, if not impossible, to verify that the current opera- tional Soviet ASAT interceptor had been eliminated. This verification problem is complicated by the fact that the interceptor is launched by a space booster, the SS-9, that is also used for a number of other space launch missions and would presumably be retained by the Soviet Union. Since it is not known how many ASAT interceptors or SS-9 boost- ers are available, the Soviet Union cou]Ld maintain a covert supply of interceptors that could be quickly readied for operational use with little risk of detection by the United States. SS-9 boosters could then be di- verted from other missions to launch the interceptors. The verification problem is also complicated by the inherent difficul- ties in defining an ASAT system, since it can be a by-product of systems developed for other missions. This creates problems in specifying what systems or tests should be prohibited. According to the administration, the fact that ASAT capabilities are inherent in some systems cleveloped for other missions or could be developed in an undetected or surrepti- tious manner makes it impossible to verify compliance with a truly
174 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL comprehensive testing limitation that would prohibit tests of all meth- ods of attacking satellites. Government witnesses have testified that test bans on more limited classes of ASAT systems may be verifiable, but the breakout threat from limited bans is a very serious problem. As further examples of the verification problems of ASAT arms con- trol, the government asserts that ground tests of a ground-based laser ASAT weapon would be easy to conceal and that space tests of such systems could be difficult to detect. Moreover, although circumstances might be suspicious, it would be extremely difficult as a practical mat- ter to determine whether an orbiting satellite contained a weapon. Finally, while there would normally be little question that a satellite had been destroyed or damaged, it could be difficult, or impossible, to verify the source of the attack. Breakout. The Reagan Administration has argued that the tremen- dous importance of a few critical U.S. satellites creates a strong incen- tive for the Soviet Union to maintain a capability to break out of any agreement. This breakout potential could exist even if the Soviet Union actually destroyed all of its existing ASAT interceptors, since it would retain the capability to produce and redeploy relatively quickly a sys- tem in which it could have confidence. If prior to a ban the United States had not tested its own ASAT system, the Soviet Union alone would possess such proven technology. Under a strict ASAT ban, the Soviet Union could change the basic character of its ASAT program. For exam- ple, under the guise of space rendezvous and docking operations, which the Soviet Union routinely conducts, spacecraft could be developed to detonate next to another nation's spacecraft. Definition. The Reagan Administration has emphasized that a cen- tral problem inherent with ASAT arms control is the difficulty in defin- ing an ASAT or a space weapon for arms control purposes. There are technologies and systems designed for purposes other than ASAT mis- sions, even some with little or no ASAT capabilities, that may be diffi- cult to exclude from an ASAT definition. Likewise, there are technologies and systems with a possible ASAT application that might not be included in an ASAT definition. If the survivability of satellites is a main concern, then ASAT capability relates to all systems capable of damaging, destroying, or otherwise interrupting the functioning of sat- ellites. Such systems would include: · Maneuvering spacecraft, such as the coorbital interceptor opera- tionally deployed by the Soviet Union.
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 175 · Direct-ascent interceptors, such as the miniature homing vehicle system being developed by the United States. This category would also include exo-atmospheric ABM interceptors and intercontinental ballis- tic missiles with nuclear payloads. The Soviet nuclear-armed ABM in- terceptors would have such ASAT capabilities. · Directed energy weapons, such as lasers and particle beams, whether ground-based or space-based. The United States has stated that current Soviet ground-based test lasers have probable ASAT capabilities. · Electronic countermeasures of sufficient power output to damage or interrupt satellite functions. The United States considers this a cur- rent Soviet ASAT capability. · Weapons that could be carried on the Space Shuttle or space stations. Clearly, there are many different types of systems that could be used to destroy satellites, and many space activities have capabilities inher- ently useful for ASAT purposes. For example, the rendezvous and dock- ing operations routinely conducted by the Soviet Union could be used to conceal development of one or more types of ASAT techniques. Restrict- ing the definition of what is an ASAT weapon could simplify an agree- ment and make it easier to verify, but it could make such an agreement ineffective in achieving its purpose of protecting satellites. Disclosure of Information. The administration has also pointed out that while the establishment of cooperative measures might diminish the difficult verification problems associated with ASAT arms control, these measures could cause additional problems. Cooperative measures meant to enhance verification of an ASAT arms control agreement might require access to U.S. space systems that the Soviet Union al- leged to have ASAT capabilities. This could create an unacceptable risk of compromising sensitive security information. U.S. Military Requirements and Deterrence. The Reagan Adminis- tration has argued that ASAT limitations could undermine deterrence. Since the Soviet Union has an operational ASAT capability and the United States does not, the current situation is viewed as destabilizing. For example, if during a crisis or conflict the Soviet Union were to destroy a U.S. satellite, the United States would lack the capability to respond in kind and would either have to accept a major Toss in capabili- ties or escalate the conflict. The administration argues that to counter Soviet satellites by attacking their ground facilities would be an uncer-
176 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL fain alternative to an ASAT capability and would certainly risk escala- tion of a conflict. Thus, it is argued that a U.S. capability to destroy satellites clearly responds to the need to deter such Soviet attacks on U.S. satellites. The U.S. government also argues that the United States must be able to protect its forces against the threats posed by Soviet satellites. Specif- ically, a comprehensive ASAT ban would afford a sanctuary to existing Soviet reconnaissance satellites designed to target U.S. naval and land forces. The absence of a U.S. ASAT capability to prevent Soviet target- ing from satellites could be seen by the Soviet Union as a substantial factor in its ability to conduct a successful conventional attack on U.S. and allied forces. It might also offset the deterrent effect of superior U.S. and allied naval warfare capabilities. Conversely, Soviet uncertainty over the availability of satellites to target naval forces would decrease Soviet confidence in its ability to attack U.S. naval forces, thereby add- ing to deterrence and stability. In this manner, a U.S. ASAT capability would help deter a conventional conflict. U.S. Evaluation of Soviet Initiatives. The Reagan Administration has taken the position that the Soviet ciraft treaty and the proposed moratorium are unacceptable. Tt argues that the motives behind the Soviet initiatives are suspect. The timing of the Soviet offer suggests that it is designed to curtail the testing of the new U.S. ASAT program, thereby leaving the Soviet Union with a unilateral advantage in ASAT capability. Moreover, in addition to its operational ASAT system, the Soviet Union currently has other systems with potential ASAT capabil- ities that would not be constrained by the Soviet moratorium, which clears only with space-based systems. The proposed moratorium, for example, would not affect tests of ground-based lasers in an ASAT mode. Furthermore, according to the administration, a test moratorium would not necessarily cause the Soviet operational system to atrophy. After a hiatus of several years in ASAT testing, the administration points out, the Soviet Union was able to resume testing of its ASAT system without any apparent degradation in performance. Research and development programs, such as the U.S. ASAT program, would pay a much higher price for a moratorium on testing, and even a short delay in the test program would delay the time that the U.S. ASAT could be operational. With regard to the draft treaty itself, the Reagan Administration argues that it lacks effective verification provisions since it provides for nothing beyond National Technical Means of verification, which are deemed inadequate. Specifically, the draft treaty does not indicate how
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 177 the elimination of the operational Soviet ASAT system would be verified. Moreover, the prohibition on the destruction, damaging, and disruption of other states' space objects could pose verification problems. The administration argues that the draft also does not deal with resid- ual ASAT capabilities. For example, dismantling of the Soviet coorbital ASAT system would still permit the Soviet Union to use its Galosh ABM interceptor missiles in an anti-satellite role. In addition, the draft treaty proposes that "piloted" spacecraft not be used for ''military" purposes. Since the term "military" does not appear elsewhere in the draft and would appear to cover such activities as reconnaissance and communications as well as weapons, the administration suggests that this provision is intended to constrain the Space Shuttle, which is the primary U.S. launch system for national security as well as civil space . . missions. The Soviet View The 1983 Draft Treaty Constraints. The Soviet government has proposed that U.S.-Soviet talks on space should deal not only with ASAT systems but also with the broader question of the militarization of space as addressed in the Soviet 1983 draft treaty. The Soviet draft treaty specifically calls for a ban on the testing and development of new anti- satellite systems and for the elimination of all existing anti-satellite systems. The Soviet Union has also stated that its unilateral commit- ment not to be the first to put into space any type of "anti-satellite weapon" is still in force as a first step toward a total ban on anti-satellite weapons. The Soviet Union has called on the United States to declare a similar moratorium on its activities before the opening of official arms control negotiations on space. The 1983 Soviet draft is broader in scope and more precise in defini- tion and terms than the 1981 draft, which Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko referred to as simply an extension of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The parties to the draft treaty undertake "not to destroy, dam- age or disrupt the normal functioning of other states' space objects, nor change their flight trajectories." Along with the more comprehensive constraints on ASAT systems, which were not included in the 1981 draft, the new Soviet proposals cover a range of activities, including a prohibition on the use, threat of use, testing, and deployment of any space-based weapons against targets in space, in the atmosphere, or on earth.
178 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL Verification. The verification provisions in the 1983 Soviet draft treaty call for the use of National Technical Means of verification and state that the parties will undertake to consult and cooperate with each other in resolving any questions that may arise with regard to the objectives of the treaty or its observance. Soviet leader Chernenko has asserted that a moratorium on anti-satellite weapons tests is verifiable. He stated on June 12, 1984, "The Soviet Union is convinced that moni- toring a freeze on anti-satellite weapons tests is possible, and, moreover, is extremely reliable above all through the national technical means the sides have at their disposal.... Effective monitoring of the sides' compliance with a moratorium on orbital anti-satellite weapons could be ensured by the means both sides have at their disposal for tracking objects in space. As for suborbital anti-satellite systems, then apart from the aforementioned facilities it would also be possible to enlist the use of other radioelectronic facilities of the United States and of the Soviet Union that are stationed on the ground, in the worId's oceans and in space." Chernenko continued that consultations, the exchange of information, or possibly other forms of cooperation could be found to deal with uncertain situations. Given real interest in finding effective solutions, he said, any questions relating to the militarization of outer space could be successfully resolved during negotiations. Soviet analysts point out the impossibility of trying to solve the prob- lem of verification without even discussing it within a negotiating framework. The U.S. position on verification has been criticized by the Soviet Union as a means of undercutting negotiations to permit the U.S. space weapons program to proceed. Soviet analysts argue that the technical difficulties involved in the verification of an ASAT agreement are no more difficult than the techni- cal difficulties involved in the verification of any other arms control agreement. They point out that ASAT weapons would be much easier to control before the systems are deployed rather than after they are de- ployed by both sides. Concerning the verification problems presented by residual ASAT capabilities, Soviet analysts acknowledge that there are various ways of destroying satellites, including such clumsy procedures as docking with enemy satellites. Nonetheless, they argue that there is no problem in verifying whether or not a satellite has been destroyed and that it is much easier to see what is happening in space than it is to see what is happening on earth from space. Arguments for ASAT Arms Control. Soviet analysts have argued that the matter of banning anti-satellite weapons is urgent because the deployment of such weapons would destabilize the strategic situation.
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 179 By being able to destroy early warning satellites, such weapons would have the capability to blind the other side. Soviet analysts note that an attack on a single satellite, or even the failure of a satellite, during a time of tension, could have grave consequences. Some Soviet analysts emphasize that an attempt to destroy the opponent's satellites would be regarded as the first step to a nuclear war. Soviet spokesmen have emphasized that urgent steps are necessary before the militarization of space becomes irreversible. The U.S. ASAT systems are viewed as the first step toward a more comprehensive U.S antimissile system. Because of the link between ASAT and ABM devel- opments, the Soviets have urged comprehensive bans on the militariza- tion of outer space. Anti-satellite systems are also connected by Soviet analysts to the buildup of U.S. strategic offensive systems, including the MX, the Trident I] missile, the Stealth bomber, and Pershing IT and cruise missiles. These analysts assert that the U.S. ASAT program is part of a larger move by the United States to develop a destabilizing first-strike capability. U. S. Supporters ofASATArms Control Although there are different opinions on what may be the best for- mula for ASAT arms control, domestic supporters of ASAT arms control agree that the strictest possible limitation on anti-satellite weapons is in the national security interest of the United States. The following arguments are usually highlighted in support of urgent ASAT arms control efforts. The Importance of Satellites to U. S. Security. Domestic supporters of ASAT arms control emphasize that satellites are vital to U.S. national security and strategic stability and that their survival can best be pro- tected by strict ASAT arms control limitations. To the extent that criti- cal satellite systems were still considered at risk under an ASAT agreement, survivability measures such as hardening and redundancy should be incorporated into future satellite systems. Conversely, unre- stricted ASAT development endangers the survival of all U.S. satellite systems. While satellite systems are also important to the Soviet Union, there is little question that the United States is more dependent on these systems. In a political crisis, both superpowers would depend on satellites to assess the actions of the other side and of the rest of the world as well. These systems serve a critical role in deterring either side from attempting a preemptive strike in a severe crisis, since the possi- biTity of effective surprise would be greatly reduced. If hostilities oc-
180 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL curred, the information and communications from satellites would be vital to efforts to keep the crisis from escalating to a nuclear catastro- phe. If an attack occurred, satellites would provide early warning and permit the launching of retaliatory forces. Since satellites play such an important role in deterrence, domestic supporters point out, ASAT systems are inherently destabilizing. ASAT systems will inevitably be viewed by the other side as supporting a first- strike strategy. By having the capability to shoot down crucial military satellites at the outset of a preemptive first strike, a potential adversary could be perceived as planning to degrade the effectiveness of an oppo- nent's retaliatory forces in a crisis. Some of these domestic supporters point out that ASAT arms control is also in the U.S. security interest since the United States is more depen- dent on military communication satellites than is the Soviet Union. U.S. military forces are spread around the globe and require secure Tong-range communications. More than 60 percent of Tong-hau] U.S. military communications are now transmitted via satellites, and it is argued that there are no alternative facilities that provide a satisfac- tory replacement for this satellite system. In contrast, Soviet military forces are mainly on or near to the Eurasian land mass and can readily communicate by a variety of ground-based and airborne facilities in addition to satellites. Indeed, one can argue that the Soviet Union uses its satellites as a backup for its ground-based and airborne communica- tions and intelligence gathering systems, while the converse is true of the United States. These domestic supporters also argue that ASAT arms control is in the U.S. interest because the United States will be less able to adapt to the costs of an unrestrained ASAT competition. The United States operates with fewer satellites than does the Soviet Union since U.S. satellites are much more sophisticated and Tong-lived than the Soviet counterparts. Moreover, although many U.S. satellites are currently secure in high orbits, this situation will not Tong be the case if ASAT technology con- tinues unconstrained. In contrast, Soviet satellites for the most part ar relatively short-lived systems in low earth orbit. Soviet practice is to replace satellites frequently and maintain more in orbit. The Soviet Union is therefore better situated to deal with a race for satellite redun- dancy. Since ASAT technology strongly favors the attacker over the defending satellite, critics argue that advocates of ASAT development have lost sight of the cost to the United States of developing defensive capabilities for satellites. Adding survivability features such as armor plating, antijamming devices, evasive maneuvering capabilities, or shielding against lasers, or developing active defenses for a satellite,
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 181 will markedly increase the weight, and hence the cost, of future satel- lites while providing marginal protection against improved ASAT weapons. Deterring a Soviet ASAT attack on high-value U.S. satellites also would not be achieved by the sure response of destroying a single Soviet satellite, supporters argue, as that would be a price the Soviet Union is willing to pay. Time Urgency for ASAT Arms Control. Domestic supporters of ASAT arms control emphasize that there is now a unique opportunity for agreement since the tested but rudimentary technology of the Soviet ASAT system and the untested but more advanced technology of the U.S. F-15 ASAT system do not provide either side with a really threaten- ing ASAT capability. When fully developed the U.S. F-15 ASAT system will pose a much more serious threat to satellites. The Soviet Union must be expected to move quickly to cluplicate the more advanced tech- nology of the U.S. system. Of particular concern is the fact that once tested and deployed, the small size and mobility of a jet-launched minia- ture homing vehicle system will present a very difficult verification problem for future ASAT agreements. This will take on particular sig- nificance given the greater capabilities of the F-15 ASAT system. The result of an unrestrained ASAT weapons clevelopment, according to domestic supporters of ASAT arms control, would be an extremely expensive, destabilizing arms race in space from which neither side would gain any security advantage. Currently, all anti-satellite weap- ons deployed or undergoing field tests have a maximum altitude of several thousand kilometers or less. Hence, they could attack satellites only in Tow or highly elliptical orbits. Since the early warning, naviga- tion, attack assessment, and communications satellites essential to the U.S. strategic forces are all in very high orbits, they are not at risk in the near term. The Soviet Union faces a somewhat greater potential threat, since some of its essential communications satellites and all of its early warning satellites are currently in highly elliptical MoIniya orbits that the new U.S. F-15 ASAT system could attack from bases in the general area of the orbits' perigees. These domestic supporters argue that it is logical to constrain the Soviet program now, while the system is slow-, only marginally reliable, and capable of attacking only a few satellites at a time. The technology of the U.S. F-15 ASAT system, on the other hand, would potentially present a prompt threat against a large component of deployed satel- lites. Achievement of this capability, which could represent a signifi- cant military threat if fully exploited, constitutes the crossing of an important threshold leading to an arms race in space.
182 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL Arguments Against the Military Utility of ASATs. Domestic sup- porters argue that, contrary to the administration's assessments, devel- opment of ASAT weapons will not improve but rather undermine deterrence. If both countries achieve an ability to destroy the opponent's early warning, communications, and navigation satellites, they argue, each would have considerable incentive to initiate such an attack dur- ing a time of acute crisis. The existence of significant ASAT capabilities on both sides would therefore decrease crisis stability and increase the threat of war. If past experience is any guide, supporters argue, the U.S. ASAT program, far from discouraging the Soviet Union from further ASAT developments, will only stimulate these developments. Domestic supporters also challenge the administration's rationale that ASATs are needed to deny a sanctuary to Soviet ocean reconnais- sance satellites capable of guiding aircraft and submarines to impor- tant U.S. naval ships. It is argued that the Soviet Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satellite (RORSAT) is not an extremely threatening system and that the capability to destroy Soviet reconnaissance satel- lites is neither necessary nor sufficient to protect the U.S. fleet. Coun- termeasures against such a system, such as jamming from ships, are available and fairly straightforward. Verification. Supporters of ASAT arms control do not accept the ad- ministration's conclusion that a comprehensive ASAT agreement poses impossible verification problems. They argue that when the verifiabil- ity of a comprehensive ASAT ban is examined in detail, the risks to U.S. security of possible violations are small compared with the dangers inherent in unlimited development of ASAT capabilities. Supporters emphasize that the United States has a very effective and redundant intelligence system for keeping track of Soviet activities in space. Moreover, these capabilities will increase significantly in the future. As evidence of past capabilities, they point out that the United States has successfully monitored Soviet ASAT activities for the last 15 years even though the Soviet Union has never acknowledged the exis- tence of its ASAT program. Supporters argue that the prohibition on attacks on satellites can be verified with high confidence, since the operation of U.S. satellites is closely monitored and sensors can diagnose the cause of failure. While direct evidence of the source of the attack might not always be immedi- ately available, circumstantial evidence would be overwhelming, since no country other than the Soviet Union will have the capability or motivation to undertake such attacks against U.S. satellites in the foreseeable future.
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 183 Supporters argue that, while problems exist, a ban on dedicated ASAT systems can be adequately verified. Specifically, a ban on the further testing of the existing coorbital systems could be verified with high confidence. Such tests are easily identified and would be monitored from launch to intercept, as they have been in the past. Any effort to upgrade this system to give it a high-altitude capability would be partic- ularly obvious, since it would require an extremely large booster to get the heavy payload into a geosynchronous orbit. Without additional tests it would not be possible to upgrade the capability of this system significantly. Supporters acknowledge that the complete elimination of the existing Soviet ASAT system cannot be verified with high confidence since some payloads might not be destroyed. But they argue that if launchers for the specialized SS-9 boosters are eliminated or kept to small numbers for other missions, a covertly reconstituted system would have limited capabilities and would not endanger the most critical U.S. satellites in geosynchronous orbits. In the absence of further tests, Soviet confidence in the system would decline and retained payloads could not be used with other boosters. With regard to new systems employing directed energy (high-energy lasers or particle beams) as kill mechanisms, supporters argue that deployment of such systems would be a major undertaking and would require an extended test program that would be easily identifiable. While ground-based high-energy lasers might present a more difficult verification problem, supporters argue that use of such a system against U.S. targets would certainly be identified. Testing it with coop- erative Soviet satellites could also be detected by monitoring the illumi- nation and heating of the target, they contend. With regard to the potential future threat posed by "space mines," supporters argue that this development could be monitored with confi- dence, since all satellites are tracked and a Soviet satellite following a critical U.S. satellite closely in the same orbit would be immediately apparent. This threat could be contained by including in the agreement "rules of the road" that prohibit such trailing activities. Finally, supporters argue that various indirect ASAT capabilities that are inherent in other military and civil space activities are not in fact serious threats at present. Moreover, efforts to upgrade these sys- tems for an ASAT role would be easily verified, they assert. Specifically, while the existing Soviet ABM system deployed at Moscow and inter- continental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads have an inherent capability against Tow-altitude satellites, it is extremely un- likely that they would be used for this purpose in peacetime or in a
184 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL conventional conflict due to the risk of escalation and the danger to Soviet satellites. Supporters argue that any attempts to arm these sys- tems with nonnuclear homing warheads would require extensive test- ing that could be easily detected. With regard to civil systems such as the U.S. Space Shuttle or the Soviet Progress resupply vehicles that have a rendezvous capability, supporters argue that the capabilities of these systems are very limited in an ASAT role and that efforts to operate them in this manner would be easily detected. Breakout. Supporters of ASAT arms control also disagree with the assertion that under an arms control regime the Soviet Union would be in a unilateral position to constrain a new U.S. ASAT system because the Soviet system is tested whereas the U.S. system is not. It is argued that the United States has already conducted enough engineering tests of its own ASAT interceptor to be ready for immediate space tests, if a moratorium or ASAT agreement were terminated. It is also argued that incorporation of reasonable survivability measures in U.S. satellites would erode Soviet confidence in its ASAT system in the absence of tests. Supporters also disagree with the government's assessment that since U.S. satellites are so few in number, Soviet possession of only a few ASAT interceptors after a breakout would pose a prohibitive risk. They note that most of the important U.S. satellites are out of range of the present Soviet ASAT system, which would be the only Soviet capability available after a breakout from an agreement. Breakout using an entirely new ASAT weapon that had been tested only on the ground or covertly would involve prohibitive technical risk. Breaking the ASAT system down into component parts for covert test- ing entails a high risk that the whole system may not work. Without tests the Soviet Union, which has experienced many failures in its space technology plans and performance over the years (particularly in the ASAT field), could not confidently predict how soon a new device could be made to work after breakout. Soviet attempts to conduct a series of full-system ASAT tests in space would almost certainly be detected even if deceptive tactics were attempted. ASAT Link with ABM. Another reason for ASAT arms control, ac- cording to some supporters, is to assure that the SAI,T ~ ABM Treaty limitir~g anti-ballistic missile systems is not undermined. These critics are concerned that the lack of restrictions on ASAT development poten- tially provides a way to circumvent the ABM Treaty. Either side can claim that a weapon system under development is intended to be de- ployed as an ASAT when the Tonger-term objective is really ballistic
ANTI-SATELLITE ARMS CONTROL 185 missile defense. Conversely, a program that really is intended only to achieve an ASAT capability may be perceived by the other side as a nascent ABM system, sparking fears of ABM breakout. In this context some supporters charge that the real reason the United States does not want to negotiate ASAT controls is because they could interfere with the government's Strategic Defense Initiative. Comprehensive Versus Partial Limitations. Many supporters of ASAT arms control emphasize the criticality of achieving comprehen- sive limitations on ASAT development as opposed to partial limitations designed to avoid problems raised by a comprehensive proposal. For example, one of the partial limitations that is reportedly under consid- eration by the Reagan Administration is a ban on ASAT systems capa- ble of attacking satellites in high (geosynchronous) orbits. This would allow both sides to develop their Tow-altitude ASATs while protecting the most vital U.S. satellites, which are in high orbits. An argument for this approach is that it will avoid some ofthe verification difficulties of a comprehensive ban, including the elimination of existing interceptors, while giving the United States a chance to match the Soviet Union with an operational ASAT system. However, supporters of ASAT arms con- trol oppose this limited approach on the grounds that it would not pre- vent the development of dangerous and destabilizing ASAT capabilities that would threaten some critical satellites on each side. They argue that this limited approach would undercut the ABM Treaty in the same manner as unrestricted competition. Finally, they question whether it would in fact resolve the verification problem, since it might be difficult to distinguish permitted activities from developments leading to a high- altitude capability. The Soviet Draft Treaty. Some supporters of ASAT arms control dis- agree with the administration's negative assessment of the Soviet 1983 draft treaty. They argue that it is a significant improvement over the much less comprehensive 1981 Soviet draft and a sign that the Soviets mar have a serious interest in negotiating a ban on space weapons, including ASAT systems. While cautioning that the Soviet draft treaty should not be taken as the final word and that deficiencies, such as the apparently discriminatory handling of manned space vehicles (the Space Shuttle), need to be resolved satisfactorily in negotiations, these supporters believe that the U.S. government should respond positively to this proposal. They note with approval that the Soviet Union has announced an ASAT moratorium, and that the new draft treaty i broader in scope and includes more precise definitions of the types of
186 acbvibes and systems that are limited than the 1981 drain. For the first bme the Soviet Union teas indicated ~ ~iHingness to Thee to dismantle As existing ASK system. The new drag Spears to brave ehminated lan~age Tom the earher ASK negotiations that some interpreted as legalizing the use of AS~s against <:bostUe>, satelUtes and third par- ties. In short, these supporters see the Soviet drag treaty as providing basis Or serious negotiations.