Legislature(1999 - 2000)
02/02/1999 04:05 PM MLV
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS February 2, 1999 4:05 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Lisa Murkowski, Chair Representative John Coghill, Vice Chair Representative Jeannette James Representative Pete Kott Representative Sharon Cissna Representative Eric Croft Representative Richard Foster MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Gail Phillips COMMITTEE CALENDAR * HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 8 Relating to a national ballistic missile defense system. - MOVED CSHJR 8(MLV) OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HJR 8 SHORT TITLE: NATIONAL BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) HARRIS, Barnes, Murkowski, Phillips, Mulder, Croft Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 1/22/99 61 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 1/22/99 61 (H) MLV, STATE AFFAIRS 1/27/99 95 (H) COSPONSOR(S): MURKOWSKI 1/29/99 106 (H) COSPONSOR(S): PHILLIPS, MULDER, CROFT 2/02/99 (H) MLV AT 4:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE JOHN HARRIS Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 110 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4853 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as prime sponsor of HJR 8. CHRIS NELSON, Staff Director Joint Committee on Military Bases Alaska State Legislature Goldstein Building 130 Seward Street, Suite 220 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3865 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 8. PHILLIP OATES, Colonel [Brigadier General after 2/9/99] Adjutant General/Commissioner Designee Department of Military and Veterans Affairs P.O. Box 5800 Fort Richardson, Alaska 99505-0800 Telephone: (907) 428-6003 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 8. LAUREL BARGER-SHEEN Department of Economic Development City of Delta Junction P.O. Box 229 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737 Telephone: (907) 895-1081 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HJR 8. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 99-1, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIR LISA MURKOWSKI called the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Murkowski, Coghill, James, Kott, Cissna, Croft and Foster. HJR 8 - NATIONAL BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM CHAIR MURKOWSKI brought before the committee House Joint Resolution No. 8, relating to a national ballistic missile defense system. Number 023 REPRESENTATIVE JOHN HARRIS, Alaska State Legislature, prime sponsor, came forward to present the resolution. He told members HJR 8 deals with an issue similar to the Star Wars project discussed during the Reagan Administration; it also deals with protection of the United States and other countries through a missile defense system that he and others are working hard to have deployed in Alaska, and which depends upon approval by the U.S. Congress and the President. Number 061 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked whether there would be any advantage to sending a copy to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS expressed the hope that if the resolution is sent to the Alaska Delegation, it will get to the other members. However, he agreed that could be ensured through the wording. Number 084 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked whether the United States should get out of or amend the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said his understanding is that the present relationship will have to be eliminated first, because it is with the Soviet Union, which no longer exists; under that agreement, he believes the system would have to be located in North Dakota, for example. A new relationship would likely be with Russia, which may be less stable and have less interest in developing this relationship. He suggested Mr. Nelson could address the issue more completely. Number 114 CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked whether Representative Harris would consider adding Secretary of Defense William Cohen to the list of those being sent copies of HJR 8. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS indicated he had no objection, then specified that on page 2, line 8, following "United States", the phrase, "the Honorable William Cohen, Secretary of Defense," would be inserted. Number 136 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT made a motion to adopt that amendment. CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked if there was any objection; none was heard. She then referred members to page 1, lines 9 - 11, which says the United States has recognized that it currently has no means of protecting all of its citizens from attack by these new threats. Mentioning that U.S. citizens may reside in another country, she suggested it say, "protecting Americans living in all 50 states". REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS noted that it says that on line 15. CHAIR MURKOWSKI proposed using that same language on line 10. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS indicated he had no problem with that. Number 170 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a motion to adopt that as an amendment. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT objected, asking what the exact amendment is. CHAIR MURKOWSKI clarified that the proposed amendment is to replace "all of its citizens" with "Americans living in all 50 states". REPRESENTATIVE KOTT withdrew his objection, then suggested that statement ["currently has no means of protecting"] may not be completely true, as he knew of training in response to similar situations. He asked to hear from others on that issue. Number 193 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL proposed saying "borders" instead of "citizens" on line 10. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES suggested that "Americans" is too narrow, and that "citizens" or "residents" would be more inclusive. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS replied, "Either way," then agreed that "borders" probably includes both citizens and noncitizens. CHAIR MURKOWSKI proposed waiting until after hearing additional testimony. Number 224 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES withdrew her motion. Number 236 CHRIS NELSON, Staff Director, Joint Committee on Military Bases, Alaska State Legislature, came forward to testify in support of HJR 8. He told members that on August 21, 1998, North Korea launched a multi-stage ballistic missile that overflew Japan and landed in the North Pacific; it was the signal event that focused discussion regarding the threat to the United States. In addition, last week Secretary of Defense Cohen announced that the U.S. would pursue a ballistic missile defense of the nation, indicating two sites were under consideration: Alaska and North Dakota. MR. NELSON advised members that the previous week, while in Washington, D.C., he met with Brigadier General Willie Nance, program manager for the national ballistic missile defense organization. On Monday, February 22, Brigadier General Nance would come to Juneau specifically to brief legislators. MR. NELSON explained that under the terms of the 1972 ABM Treaty, each nation designated a single site for a ballistic missile defense system. The Soviet Union chose Moscow, its capital, whereas the United States chose North Dakota, which has the missile fields for the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile. At the breakup of the Soviet Union, the U.S. said it would recognize its treaty obligations with the survivor states, which were determined last summer, for purposes of the ABM Treaty, to be Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. MR. NELSON told members Secretary Cohen's announcement had indicated the U.S. would approach the Russians to renegotiate the ABM Treaty; but Secretary Cohen had also stated that if the Russians were not agreeable to changes or amendments, then the U.S., under the terms of the treaty, would exercise its right to abrogate the treaty and go forward on this. Mr. Nelson emphasized that the federal Administration had decided there will be a national ballistic missile defense system. The question is where. MR. NELSON explained that Alaska is the only location from which all 50 states can be defended, because its strategic position allows defense of Alaska and Hawaii. He said SJR 30, passed by the Twentieth Alaska State Legislature, noted that a national intelligence estimate published in 1995 talked about the threat to the Lower 48 but completely omitted discussion of Alaska and Hawaii. That resolution, which sparked a lot of debate, called upon the President to exercise his responsibilities as the Commander in Chief, as well as the constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense of the citizens in every state. An article in the Wall Street Journal had covered the legislature's action. The Heritage Foundation had also picked this up and distributed it nationally. Mr. Nelson said it really put Alaska on the cutting edge in the debate. MR. NELSON indicated the ballistic missile defense office's representatives were in Alaska in December. He said that office has been conducting initial scoping sessions for an environmental impact statement on four Alaska sites: the Yukon Maneuver Area at Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base, Clear Air Force Station in Anderson, and Fort Greely in Delta Junction. Public hearings had been held in all four locations, with an additional public hearing in Anchorage. Mr. Nelson said when he had visited their office in Washington, D.C., the previous week, they were just about finished with initial assessments, and they are coming close to making the decision on where to site the system itself. MR. NELSON told members it would be wonderful if the legislature could greet Brigadier General Nance on February 22 with a resolution showing unanimous and bipartisan support for this system. He pointed out that the growing threat to the U.S. is not from a Cold War, with a possible massive nuclear attack from another superpower, but from a so-called rogue nation like North Korea. He referred to the North Korean missile recently launched in the direction of the U.S., then concluded, "They were testing to see how close they could get to us. And I think that it is important for our citizens here in Alaska, and important for the citizens of all the United States, that that system be deployed here in Alaska just as soon as it is feasible." Number 343 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked whether, setting aside the ABM Treaty restriction, the siting decision is all or nothing. For example, could some be in North Dakota and some in Alaska? MR. NELSON said there could be that decision. The military value of Alaska is the ability to defend all 50 states and make a launch closer to the launch of an incoming missile from just about all areas from which one could potentially be launched. The advantage of North Dakota is that it allows a few more seconds of battle time, enabling a "shoot-look-shoot" scenario. If a missile were coming at the Lower 48, from North Dakota they could launch an intercept missile, have a chance to see how that missile did, then make a second launch. If Alaska were the sole site, there would be a "shoot-shoot-shoot" scenario, "where basically we would throw everything up there and hit it that way." MR. NELSON specified that the intercept vehicle is a kinetic intercept vehicle that hits the missile in flight, and it is an exo-atmospheric intercept; in other words, the missile is intercepted in space before it reenters the atmosphere. He said there has been talk of a more redundant system, adding that in the history of air defense systems, the only ones that have really worked on a continuous basis are the Soviet systems that worked in North Vietnam and in the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the Middle East; those are redundant systems that have multiple launchers with different capabilities and that give an overlapping umbrella. A good military value argument can be made for both sites. Number 372 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked if Alaska is better because of an assumption that an attack will come across the Pacific Ocean or if it has something to do with the trajectory. MR. NELSON said the nations of greatest concern, the so-called rogue nations, would launch across the North Pole. Alaska's geographic position allows faster interception, and defense of Alaska and Hawaii. There is a constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense. "If you want to write off Alaska and Hawaii, and those Americans who live here, then North Dakota makes perfect sense," he added, emphasizing that Alaska is a target now. Number 394 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked why Alaska could defend North Dakota but not the other way around. MR. NELSON explained that a missile's delivery time from North Korea to Alaska, for example, would not allow sufficient time from North Dakota. However, if the same missile were aimed at North Dakota, there would be sufficient intercept time throughout the missile's path for an Alaska-launched missile to intercept it. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked for confirmation that there is little likelihood of a missile attack from over the Atlantic Ocean. MR. NELSON affirmed that, saying it would be a longer flight path to launch from the Middle East across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, to hit a site on the East Coast. It would be easier for Iraq or Iran, for example, to do an over-the-Pole launch, to hit a variety of targets in North America. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked, "But if they did shoot over the Atlantic and tried to hit Florida, we can still intercept that from Alaska?" MR. NELSON said yes, Alaska's reach is total across the territory of the United States. He urged members to direct these excellent questions to Brigadier General Nance when he visits Juneau. Number 415 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked if HJR 8 should perhaps mention the ABM Treaty. MR. NELSON said he believes the resolution addresses the fact that the world has changed, and that treaty constraints and diplomatic understandings valid during the Cold War are no longer valid or a threat. He suggested that HJR 8 probably doesn't need to go further than that, then stated that the Administration has indicated, through Secretary Cohen's statements, its intention to renegotiate the treaty. He added, "Secretary Cohen has gone even further and indicated that in his view, as the official charged with the defense of our nation, that if the surviving states are unwilling to renegotiate the treaty, then we would be within our rights under the treaty to abrogate it, given sufficient notice. So, I think that the 'treaty compliant' issue is being dealt with, and that the Administration has made the decision, that it sees its responsibility to defend all 50 states." Number 434 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked about defending Puerto Rico or any other territory. MR. NELSON suggested that would be best answered by Brigadier General Nance, then stated his understanding that Puerto Rico, specifically, probably would be included. However, places farther out in the Pacific such as American Samoa, Guam and some others may be a bit far afield. Mr. Nelson noted that as this system has evolved, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has developed a series of maps showing Alaska's unique strategic location, from which "we really can reach and do anything in the Northern Hemisphere." Although a launch from the Southern Hemisphere would be somewhat different, thus far a proliferation of missile technology that would lead to this has not been seen there. Number 459 PHILLIP OATES, Colonel, Adjutant General/Commissioner Designee, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said it is important to understand that it would not be treaty compliant to have the location either all in the Dakotas, all in Alaska, or in a combination of the two. He emphasized that it was the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that raised the question of whether the treaty still exists, and he reminded members of the importance of discussing aspects of the treaty. He said another advantage of doing this from Alaska is where the intercept would be; whether it would be over a landmass such as in Alaska, Canada or portions of the U.S. is a consideration. COLONEL OATES said other than that, he believes the resolution is appropriate and that he welcomes Brigadier General Nance's visit. He expressed the belief that the work on the environmental aspects of the site selection is on course, as is the technology. He said the goal in Alaska at this point, from the military side, is to facilitate the work in Alaska, so that when the decision is made, they will be prepared to assist in fielding of the system. Number 497 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT referred to lines 9 and 10, where it says that the U.S. currently has no means of protecting all of its citizens from attack. He asked whether it may be more appropriate to replace "no" with "limited." COLONEL OATES replied, "I don't feel we have even a limited ability to protect our citizens at this point in time, unless protection is actually going to the source that would be launching it and doing something prior to the launch." Number 511 CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked when a siting decision might be released. COLONEL OATES said it is a little premature to even guess. From a siting perspective, although the time line is quite tight, he believes Alaska is on schedule. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked for confirmation that this ballistic missile program is still in the design phase. COLONEL OATES replied, "We are in the process of developing the technology. Boeing is the lead system integrator on it. But I can tell you that, to date, technology for ballistic missile defense is having much more success than some of the theater air defense programs. The tests to date have been successful. We're looking here in the very near-term future to the next series of tests, which will include an actual intercept. And I would say if that goes as we expect it to go, I think that the technology is further along than ever before in our history, and I don't think we'll experience the same problems that the (indisc.) program had." Number 546 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if it would be anticipated, then, that the site selection, preparation, environmental impact statement and so forth would be done in conjunction with the development of the technology, with the hope that when the development is finished, the site would be determined and ready to go. COLONEL OATES answered yes, specifying that it is based on the original "3 plus 3" time line: three years to develop the technology, to prepare and select the sites, and to resolve the treaty aspects; and the next three years for fielding the system. He concluded, "Right now, we're meeting that time line requirement." CHAIR MURKOWSKI informed members that she had received from Delta Junction a faxed copy of 295 signatures from the residents of Fort Greely, expressing their desire for the national missile defense site. Number 573 LAUREL BARGER-SHEEN, Department of Economic Development, City of Delta Junction, testified briefly via teleconference in support of HJR 8. [The sound quality was extremely poor.] She told members the signatures just mentioned had been collected over a period of four to five weeks, following meetings in Town Hall at the beginning of the year. [Blank tape at end of Side A and beginning of Side B -- tape was flipped before next testifier spoke.] TAPE 99-1, SIDE B Number 001 COLONEL OATES referred to page 2, line 5, which said, "the common defense of our nation by selecting an Alaska site". He pointed out that whether Alaska or North Dakota participates, there will be more than one site, because the system requires an X-Band Radar (XBR); a Battle Management, Command and Control (BMC2) center; and the Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) field. He suggested saying, "the common defense of our nation by selecting sites that allow for protection of all 50 states of our union." CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked whether his suggestion included the phrase, "Alaska sites." COLONEL OATES agreed "sites" is appropriate. However, it wouldn't have to specify "Alaska" and would still say the same thing, but in a kinder and gentler way. Number 050 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a motion to adopt Colonel Oates' suggestion as an amendment. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked if the committee had ever addressed Chair Murkowski's proposed changes to page 1, lines 10 and possibly 15. CHAIR MURKOWSKI said no, then asked whether Colonel Oates had been on teleconference when the committee had discussed revisions to page 1, line 10, which says "no means of protecting all of its citizens from attack by these new threats." She noted that consistency with line 15 had been suggested, so that line 10 would read, "protecting Americans living in all 50 states from attack by these new threats". COLONEL OATES said he believes he'd agree with that. Number 077 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT moved to adopt as a friendly amendment that both lines 10 and 15 would say, "persons living in all 50 states". CHAIR MURKOWSKI noted that there was no objection. Number 082 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked for clarification about whether the proposed amendment on page 2, line 5, would say "by selecting sites". CHAIR MURKOWSKI said that was how she had inserted it after Colonel Oates' suggestion. She asked the will of the body. Number 098 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a motion to move HJR 8, as amended, from the committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes, if any. Number 104 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT offered a friendly amendment on page 1, line 12. He noted that they are trying to drive this point home to high-ranking military and government officials. He offered that rather than "four locations in the state", for consistency it should say, "four locations in Alaska". He also suggested, on page 2, line 2, changing "armed forces stationed here" to "armed forces stationed in Alaska". CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked whether there was any objection; none was heard. Number 122 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES, noting the number of changes made, asked to amend her motion to include that after the committee substitute (CS) is prepared, the members be allowed to see it before transfer to the next committee. CHAIR MURKOWSKI agreed that would be appropriate. Number 134 REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked for clarification about how the amendment to page 2, line 5, read. CHAIR MURKOWSKI said she understood it to read, "to provide for the common defense of our nation by selecting sites that allow for protection of all 50 states for the deployment of a national ballistic defense system." REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS said he agrees with Representative Kott, and that to be consistent, it should perhaps say, "by selecting Alaskan sites". REPRESENTATIVE JAMES responded that the discussion with Colonel Oates had indicated there would be several sites; she said it could be possible that one site might be in North Dakota and some in Alaska, for example. In addition, they were trying to not make it so parochial, and to emphasize that whatever sites are selected should be able to defend all 50 states. She added that she personally didn't have a real feeling about it one way or the other, although the plural "sites" is a good idea. REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS restated his desire to make sure "Alaska" is in there, to be consistent and to put forward Alaska's interests. CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked whether Representative James had a problem with the language, "selecting Alaska sites". REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said no. Number 177 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said he didn't have a problem with it, either, but it seemed that there may be a combination, with some sites possible in North Dakota. He suggested it should say "an Alaska site" or "all Alaska sites". REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated his understanding that only one site would be selected in Alaska. MR. NELSON told members that Colonel Oates had correctly pointed out that there are a number of types of facilities in the overall national ballistic missile defense system, some of which will be sited here, such as the acquisition radar at Eareckson Air Station. With HJR 8, they hope to address the fact that of the potential launch facilities - the actual missile intercept launch sites - Alaska has four sites being considered. The selection among those four sites should be made by the national ballistic missile defense organization, based on what they consider the highest military value; they certainly have the option of putting additional sites into North Dakota. Mr. Nelson concluded, "I don't think that we have to apologize for being advocates for the state of Alaska. I think that's correct and proper for the Alaska legislature to do, simply because it guarantees the safety and security and defense of our own citizens." Number 209 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT referred to the Department of Defense fact sheet in committee packets, stating his understanding that the Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) have to be located at one of the four Alaska sites. MR. NELSON replied, "That's what we are advocating." REPRESENTATIVE CROFT agreed it is proper to ensure the defense of Alaska's citizens, then suggested that whereas "we want the site here" may sound parochial, "we want a site that protects us" does not. Number 225 COLONEL OATES said in discussing these issues with a congressional delegation sometime back, he had understood that the decision was not to argue for any specific site and yet argue for protection of all 50 states, to avoid political in-fighting. Although HJR 8 is an Alaska resolution, he indicated an interest in protecting all 50 states. He agreed that the GBI siting is the most important, because it allows protection of all 50 states from Alaska but not from other locations. He concluded by saying either wording would be right and appropriate. Number 251 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted that page 1, lines 12 and 13, which says four locations in Alaska are currently being considered as sites for the deployment of the intercept vehicles, is specific. He proposed as an amendment that page 2, lines 5 and 6, read: "the common defense of our nation by selecting an Alaska site for the deployment of the intercept vehicles for the national ballistic ... missile defense system." REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented that page 1, lines 14 - 16, already says that any of these locations currently being considered provides the unmatched military value of a strategic location from which Americans living in all 50 states can be defended, as required. She suggested it didn't need to be restated. Number 273 CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked if there was any objection to Representative Croft's amendment, then noted that none was heard. Number 285 CHAIR MURKOWSKI told members the new CS would be provided to members. She asked whether there was any objection to the motion to move HJR 8, as amended, from the committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes, if any. There being no objection, CSHJR 8(MLV) moved from the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. Number 300 CHRIS NELSON reminded members that all legislators are invited to meet with Brigadier General Nance on February 22 in the Speaker's office. COLONEL OATES applauded Mr. Nelson for his tireless work for Alaska in this endeavor. [CSHJR 8(MLV) was moved from the committee.] ADJOURNMENT Number 312 There being no further business before the committee, the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was adjourned at 5:03 p.m.