Click for next page ( 82


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 81
3 The Nuclear Freeze INTRODUCTION The rapid growth of public support for a comprehensive nuclear freeze has been a remarkable political phenomenon, reflecting a deep and widespread sense of frustration over the lack of progress in arms control negotiations to date. Although freeze proposals have taken somewhat different forms in various local, state, and congressional resolutions, they share the common objective of seeking a verifiable freeze by the United States and the Soviet Union on the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. The freeze concept has increasingly become a political symbol of commitment to arms control and opposition to the Reagan Administration's approach to arms control. The Reagan Administration opposes a comprehensive freeze at current levels as being contrary to U.S. security interests. BACKGROUND The Origins Over the years the United States and the Soviet Union have advanced a variety of nuclear freeze proposals as possible approaches to nuclear arms control. For example, a freeze or cutoff of fissionable material for nuclear weapons purposes, which was first suggested in the Eisen- hower-Bulganin letters in the mid-1950s, surfaced as a concrete U.S. arms control proposal in the early 1960s. In 1964 the United States formally proposed to the Soviet Union a partial freeze on the number 81

OCR for page 81
82 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL and characteristics of strategic nuclear offensive and defensive vehi- cles. The Soviet Union rejected the proposal, saying that it would freeze the Soviet Union into a position of strategic inferiority. In 1970, during the SALT ~ negotiations, the U.S. Senate passed a freeze resolution calling on the President to propose to the Soviet Union an immediate suspension by both countries of "the further development of all offen- sive and defensive nuclear strategic weapons systems." Many other arms control proposals have in fact been partial freezes. Among these are the SALT ~ and SALT II agreements and the proposed comprehen- sive ban on nuclear tests, which has been the subject of intermittent negotiations since the late 1950s. Beginning in 1980, substantial grass-roots support has developed throughout the United States for the proposal of a comprehensive nu- clear freeze on all nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. Within a few years the nuclear freeze had come to the forefront of the public debate on how best to control the nuclear arsenals of the superpowers. The origin of the current comprehensive freeze initiative is generally attributed to Randall Forsberg, founder and director of the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies in Massachusetts. In 1980 Forsberg prepared a public memorandum entitled "Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race," which challenged the United States and the Soviet Union to stop the nuclear arms race by adopting a comprehensive freeze on the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons and their deliv- ery systems. In the memorandum, Forsberg argued that ending the nuclear arms race with a comprehensive freeze was the crucial first step that the superpowers needed to take at this time, because the next generation of more dangerous counterforce nuclear weapons would dis- rupt the present balance of forces and increase the likelihood of nuclear . . . war in a crisis. The simple, straightforward language of the comprehensive nuclear freeze proposal attracted the attention of a private funder in Massachu- setts who contributed the initial money in 1980 that set the freeze campaign in motion. The state senatorial districts in western Massa- chusetts were the first to pass the nuclear freeze referendum based on Forsberg's memorandum in November 1980. In March 1981 a national conference of peace groups met in Washington, D.C., where the groups decided to concentrate on promoting the freeze as a common strategy. The national freeze campaign that developed out of the 1981 Washing- ton conference consisted of a loose coalition of grass-roots networks, including both existing antinuclear groups and new groups established by local citizens to promote the freeze proposal. By early 1982 the freeze campaign was rapidly increasing its momen-

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 83 tom. On ballots and in town meetings in Vermont and California, the freeze had achieved impressive successes. Within two years there were active freeze campaigns in every state and two thirds of the congres- sional districts in the nation. The rapid growth of popular support for the comprehensive nuclear freeze proposal can be attributed to a vari- ety of factors: widespread anxiety about U.S.-Soviet political ant! mili- tary relations, the administration's early statements about fighting and surviving nuclear war, the administration's calls for a vastly in- creased defense budget, the administration's delay in initiating nuclear arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union and its failure to achieve progress once it did so, and the simple, direct language of the proposal. The Congress and Freeze Resolutions The nuclear freeze movement was raised to a national level on March 10, 1982, when identical nuclear freeze resolutions were introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Mark Hatfield (R-Oreg.) and Congressmen Ed- ward Markey (D-Mass.) and Silvio Conte (R-N.Y.~. The Kennedy- Hatfield freeze resolution stated that the United States and the Soviet Union should decide when and how to achieve a mutual verifiable freeze on the testing, production, and further deployment of nuclear war- heads, missiles, and other delivery systems. The freeze would then be followed by negotiated reductions. The main premise of the resolution was that the strategic forces of the two superpowers were in a state of essential parity. This parity provided short-term stability in the strate- gic relationship that the freeze should urgently seek to preserve. The introduction of the freeze resolutions in Congress sparked a heated policy debate. The Reagan Administration immediately re- jectedthe Kennedy-Hatfield freeze approach. On March 31, 1982, Presi- dent Reagan invited the Soviet Union to join the United States in substantially reducing nuclear weapons. But he specifically rejected an immediate freeze on the grounds that the Soviet Union's "definite mar- gin of superiority" would make a freeze disadvantageous and danger- ous to U.S. security and would militate against subsequent reductions. The President instead embraced an alternate resolution proposed by the late Senator Henry Jackson (D-Wash.) and Senator John Warner (R-Va.), which stated that the current nuclear imbalance was destabiliz- ing and that a long-term, mutual, and verifiable freeze should occur after reductions brought the sides to an equal and sharply reduced level of forces.

OCR for page 81
84 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL Leading supporters of the SALT process were split on the freeze. Some endorsed the freeze, while others challenged the approach on the grounds that, despite its apparent simplicity, it would in fact take many years to negotiate and would deflect attention from more promising approaches to arms control, such as the signed but unratified SALT IT Treaty. Moreover, it did not address the instabilities in the strategic balance or the need to reduce force levels. Other SALT supporters, while sharing doubts about the freeze, endorsed it as an effective political vehicle to apply pressure on the Reagan Administration to resume arms control negotiations. Still others supported the freeze while proposing various types of partial freezes that, they argued, might be more easily negotiated than a comprehensive freeze. As a result of this debate, support for the freeze approach began to take on a variety of meanings. Meanwhile, public support for the simply worded grass-roots freeze resolutions continued to grow. An AP/NBC news poll on April 6, 1982, reported that 74 percent of those polled supported a bilateral verifiable freeze, 18 percent opposed it, and ~ percent were not sure. In May 1982 the nuclear freeze movement gained further interna- tional attention when Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev, in declaring the Soviet Union's readiness to negotiate an accord with the United States that would either ban or severely restrict the development of all new types of strategic armaments, called for a nuclear freeze "as soon as the talks begin." Brezhnev said that strategic armaments should be frozen quantitatively and that their modernization should be limited to the utmost. The Soviet press praised the U.S. proponents of the freeze and criticized the Reagan Administration for its militant policies and its rejection of the freeze. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger re- sponded to Brezhnev's statement on the freeze by saying that a nuclear freeze might tempt the Soviet Union to try nuclear blackmail or even a first strike against the United States because of the U.S. disadvantage in nuclear forces. On May 31, 1982, President Reagan announced that the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) would open in June with a focus on substantial reductions. The President also pledged not to undercut SALT IT. As Congress continued to consider the freeze resolutions and the Dem- ocratic party began to assess the issue, the freeze movement emerged as a political symbol of commitment to arms control and opposition to the administration's approach to the problem. The Senate Foreign Rela- tions Committee rejected a resolution that called for a freeze and com- mended the administration's START proposal. However, on August 5, 1982, after extended debate, the full House rejected by the remarkably close vote of 204 to 202 a nonbinding resolution that called for a compre-

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 85 hensive freeze followed by reductions. An alternative resolution, which called for a freeze after reductions to equal levels, won with the aid of extensive pressure by the White House. Because the vote in the House was much closer than political analysts had predicted, the freeze movement was viewed as posing a significant challenge to the Reagan Administration's approach to arms control and its assessment of a strategic imbalance. In July 1982 the Democratic party endorsed the nuclear freeze at its national miniconvention, which set an agenda for both the 1982 congressional elections and the 1984 presidential election. Three months later, in November 1982, various forms of the simply worded nuclear freeze resolution were on 28 state o local ballots, winning in 25 of them. Freeze supporters claimed a net gain of 20 to 30 seats in the House as a result of the freeze movement's impact on congressional races. Several weeks after the election the struggle between the administra- tion's approach to arms control and the grass-roots freeze movement took on a new dimension when President Reagan stated that he be- lieved that a number of "sincere" Americans who were supporting the freeze were being manipulated by foreign interests who wanted to weaken America, and that "foreign agents" had helped "instigate" the freeze movement. The leaders ofthe freeze campaign were outraged and reaffirmed that one of the their projected goals for the 9Sth Congress was to send a joint freeze resolution to the President. After weeks of delay and contentious deliberations in Congress, a much-amended nu- clear freeze resolution finally passed the Democratically controlled House by a vote of 278 to 149. Key congressional freeze supporters, who were largely Democrats, claimed victory in the vote, maintaining that the resolution kept the wording that the freeze should come first, fol- lowedby reductions in weapons. Opponents ofthe freeze, who succeeded in adding major amendments to the resolution, also claimed victory, noting that the resolution required the freeze to end if reductions were not achieved in a specified period of time. The legislative strategy of the opponents, most of whom supported the administration's arms control policy, was to delay the freeze within the Democratically controlled House and complicate the final resolution with so many amendments that the impact of the simple freeze resolution would be lost. By the final vote the freeze resolution was no longer a simple, comprehensive pro- posal but a complex set of sometimes contradictory provisions. President Reagan denounced the amended freeze resolution, pro- claiming his confidence that if the resolution were debated in the Sen- ate "the doubts and opposition to a simple freeze . . . will continue to grow." As the debate over the comprehensive freeze resolution began in

OCR for page 81
86 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL the Senate, several moderate senators, unsatisfied with both the appar- ently one-sided nature of the government's START proposals and the deficiencies of the freeze, sought to mobilize a consensus around an arms control formula that would accommodate reductions in overall forces and modernization of U.S. forces while not requiring radical re- structuring of Soviet forces. This initiative, called the build-down, ini- tially required the retirement of two old warheads for every new one deployed (see Chapter 21. In September 1983 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee failed to muster majorities for either a nuclear freeze resolution or a build-down resolution. Both resolutions were sent to the Senate floor with the word that the committee agreed with neither. On October 31, 1983, the full Senate in effect rejected the Kennedy-Hatfield freeze resolution by vot- ing 58 to 40 to table a freeze amendment offered by Senator Kennedy to the debt ceiling bill. Proponents of the freeze were not expecting a victory in the Republican-controlled Senate, but they wanted to get all senators on record for or against the freeze before the start of the elec- tion year. The build-down amendment was then offered to provide sena- tors who had voted against the freeze a chance to support the build-down. However, by the time of this vote a much more detailed version of the build-down had been incorporated into the U.S. START position, which complicated a straight up or down vote on the build- down. After a complex set of parliamentary maneuvers, the Senate voted 84 to 13 not to table the build-down amendment on the condition that the resolution's sponsors would pull it from the Senate floor. The withdrawal of the amendment prevented a direct test of Senate support for the build-down. In the meantime the Soviet Union had formally submitted a freeze resolution at the United Nations on October 4, 1983. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko stated in his speech, which was read in ab- sentia because his plane hac! not been permitted to land in New York, that the Soviet Union proposed to cease, under effective verification, the buildup of all components of nuclear arsenals, including all kinds of delivery vehicles and nuclear weapons; to renounce the deployment of new-kinds and types of such arms; to establish a moratorium on all tests of nuclear weapons and new kinds and types of nuclear weapon delivery vehicles; and to stop the production of fissionable materials for the purpose of creating arms. Gromyko added that the freeze could initially apply to the Soviet Union and the United States on a bilateral basis, by way of example to other nuclear states. The Soviet proposal received little attention in the United States because of the tense atmosphere

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 87 between the two superpowers after the Soviet downing of a South Ko- rean airliner. On December 15, 1983, the UN General Assembly adopted the Soviet freeze resolution by a vote of S4 in favor, 19 opposed, including the United States, and 17 abstaining. In December 1983, representatives of the nuclear freeze campaign, which now had organizations in two thirds of the congressional districts in the nation, held their fourth national conference. In reassessing the freeze movement's goals for election year 1984, the conference decided to pursue a more forceful legislative strategy that would promote the use of congressional power of the purse to enact parts of a freeze. This approach differed from that of the earlier freeze resolutions, which ex- pressed the sense of Congress without carrying the force of law. The new tactic was to press Congress to implement a limited freeze by suspend- ing funds for the testing of nuclear warheads and the testing and deploy- ment of new ballistic missiles and anti-satellite weapons, provided the Soviet Union halted the same activities. Once the moratorium was enacted, negotiations between the United States and Soviet Union would immediately begin on a comprehensive freeze, including any elements of testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapon sys- tems not covered in the moratorium. This would be follower! by negotia- tions to reduce the number of nuclear weapons systems of both countries. The freeze campaign's new emphasis split the freeze move- ment in Congress. Members could no longer support this freeze resolu- tion and still vote for the MX missile, as some had with the more general freeze resolution of the first session. The result was to diminish the ranks of the freeze supporters in Congress. By the spring of 1984 the freeze had lost some of its preeminence' having become one of several arms control initiatives to emerge from Congress. Nevertheless, in the summer of 1984 the freeze promised to reemerge as a significant issue in the presidential campaign. The Dem- ocratic platform stated that on January 20, l9S5, as a first, practical step, "a Democratic President will initiate temporary, verifiable, and mutual moratoria, to be maintained for a fixed period during negotia- tions so Tong as the Soviets do the same, on the testing of underground nuclear weapons and anti-satellite weapons; on the testing and deploy- ment of all weapons in space; on the testing and deployment of new strategic ballistic missiles now uncler development; and on the deploy- ment of nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles." The platform went on to state that "these steps should lead promptly to the negotia- tion of a comprehensive, mutual, and verifiable freeze on the testing, production, and deployment of all nuclear weapons." Democratic candi-

OCR for page 81
88 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL date Walter Mondale, who had long been a supporter of the freeze, announced his intention to pursue, if elected, the position set forth in the platform. DESCRIPTION OF THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR FREEZE PROPOSAL Despite public enthusiasm for the comprehensive freeze, there has not been an "authoritative" detailed statement of the provisions of the proposal. Since the original nuclear freeze resolutions appeared on state and local referendums in November 1980, there have been many general formulations of the proposal that differ in scope and detail. The leadership of the nuclear freeze campaign has consistently maintained, however, that their objective is to stop the arms race by an immediate, mutual, verifiable, comprehensive freeze that would prevent further testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. This position was initially described by Randall Forsberg in her 1980 paper "Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race," and was subsequently elaborated in an article by her in the November 1982 Scientific Ameri- can. Specifically, the freeze she describes in these sources would stop the following activities: the production of fissionable material (uranium- 235 and plutonium) for nuclear weapons; the testing of nuclear weap- ons; the fabrication and assembly of nuclear warheads; the testing, production, and deployment of all missiles designed to deliver nuclear warheads; and the testing, production, and deployment of any new types of aircraft or additional aircraft designed primarily to deliver nuclear weapons. The freeze would also prohibit modernization of nu- clear weapons or delivery systems, but it would provide for the mainte- nance and replacement of existing systems until they are removed by an agreed process of reductions. Submarines are not included in the freeze and could be replaced on a one-for-one basis if they contained only existing missiles. The freeze offers several approaches to the complex problem of dual- capable systems, such as tactical aircraft, that can deliver both nuclear and conventional weapons. First, dual-capable systems might be al- lowed under this formula, but only with a conventional capability. Al- ternatively, new dual-capable systems could be produced, but only on a one-for-one replacement basis. If these approaches proved too difficult to verify, these systems could be excluded from the freeze, and efforts at control would then be focused on the freeze of associated nuclear war- heads. The comprehensive freeze would not restrict nonnuclear defen-

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 89 sive systems beyond those restraints already included in the SALT ABM Treaty. The Kennedy-Hatf~eld resolution, which was introduced jointly in the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 10, 1982, but which has never been passed in its original form, is probably most widely identified as the legislative formulation of the freeze proposal. The text of this resolution in full is as follows: Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives ofthe United States of America in Congress assembled, that -- (1) as an immediate strategic arms control objective, the United States and the Soviet Union should (a) pursue a complete halt to the nuclear arms race; (b) decide when and how to achieve a mutual and verifiable freeze on the testing, production and further deployment of nuclear warheads, mis- siles and other delivery systems; and (c) give special attention to destabilizing weapons whose deployment would make such a freeze more difficult to achieve. (2) Proceeding from the freeze, the United States and the Soviet Union should pursue major, mutual and verifiable reductions in nuclear warheads, mis- siles and other delivery systems, through annual percentages or equally effective means in a manner that enhances stability. The nuclear freeze resolution that actually passed the House of Repre- sentatives on May 4, 1983, was so extensively amended that both sup- porters and opponents of the freeze claimed victory. The resolution states in part: That consistent with the maintenance of essential equivalence in overall nu- clear capabilities at present and in the future, the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union should have the follow- ing objectives: (1) Pursuing the objective of negotiating an immediate, mutual and verifiable freeze, then pursuing the objective of negotiating immediate, mutual and verifiable reductions in nuclear weapons. (2) Deciding when and how to achieve a mutual verifiable freeze on testing, production and further deployment of nuclear warheads, missiles and other delivery systems and systems which would threaten the viability of sea- based nuclear deterrent forces, and to include all air defense systems de- signed to stop nuclear bombers. Submarines are not delivery systems as used herein. (3) Consistent with pursuing the objective of negotiating an immediate, mu- tual and verifiable freeze, giving special attention to destabilizing weap- ons, especially those which give either nation capabilities which confer upon it even the hypothetical advantages of a first strike. (4) Providing for cooperative measures of verification, including provisions for

OCR for page 81
go NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL on-site inspection, as appropriate to complement National Technical Means of Verif~catior~, and to ensure compliance. These provisions were followed by an extensive series of amendments that called for such diverse and far-reaching requirements as the follow- ing: incorporating the Intermediate Nuclear Force (TNF) negotiations into START; maintaining in the negotiations the ability of the United States to preserve freedom; providing in the negotiations for the main- tenance of a vigorous program of research, development, and safety- related improvements to assure that the U.S. nuclear deterrent forces would not be limited to levels inferior to those of the Soviet Union: providing for a stable international balance and the enhancement ofthe survivability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent forces; and assuring to the extent possible full compliance by all parties with preexisting interna- tional treaties. THE MAIN ISSUES SURROUNDING THE COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR FREEZE* The Strategic Relationship: Equivalence Versus Inferiority Supporters of the Comprehensive Freeze A central aspect of the freeze debate has been the assessment of the current strategic relationship between the superpowers. Supporters of the freeze emphasize that overall nuclear parity exists between the United States and the Soviet Union. They argue that a bilateral freeze would preserve this parity and prevent further destabilizing develop- ments that would begin a dangerous new phase in the U.S.-Soviet nu- clear arms race. They further assert that the development of new U.S. strategic systems with a preemptive counterforce capability in partic- ular the MX, the Trident ]:! missile, and the Pershing ]:l would make such an arms race inevitable and result in a less stable strategic balance. In asserting that the Uniter] States and the Soviet Union are today closer to nuclear parity than they have been at any time since World War. IT, freeze supporters compare the numbers of strategic ballistic missiles and heavy bombers and the numbers of nuclear warheads they carry. Whereas the Soviet Union has more strategic missiles and more and larger lanc3-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that This discussion assumes a comprehensive freeze ~ long the lines outlined in the November 1982 Scientific American article by Randall Forsberg and generally supported by the leader- ship of the freeze movement.

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 91 carry more warheads, the United States has more warheads, owing to the large number of warheads on submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SEBMs) and strategic bombers. The United States also has many more intercontinental bombers, with much larger payloads, and a substan- tial lead in the new technology of small, Tong-range, high-accuracy cruise missiles. Finally, freeze supporters emphasize that more mean- ingfu] than comparisons of numbers of weapons is the fact that both countries have acquired enormous "overkill," that is, each has many times the number of weapons necessary to destroy the other's urban population and society. Critics of the Comprehensive Freeze Administration of ficials and many other critics of the freeze reject the assessment that parity exists between the superpowers. They assert instead that the nuclear forces of the United States are dangerously inferior to those of the Soviet Union and that a freeze of present force postures would lock the United States into this position. Such an un- favorable strategic balance not only places the United States in a poor political bargaining position but in a crisis could encourage the Soviet Union to launch a preemptive attack. These critics assert that Soviet modernization efforts have out- stripped the U.S. efforts, particularly in the development and deploy- ment of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which now pose a serious threat to the U.S. land-based ICBM force. In the last ten years the Soviets have deployed three ICBMs (the SS-17, SS-~S, and SS-l9), the Typhoon and Delta submarines, new submarine-launched ballistic mis- siles, the Backfire bomber, and the SS-20 missiles capable of striking targets in NATO and the Far East. During this same period, according to this view, the United States exercised restraint, deploying no new ICBMs or intermediate-range missiles in Europe. Consequently, ac- cording to these critics, the freeze would prevent the United States from correcting the existing deficiencies in its nuclear forces caused by the sustained Soviet buildup. Specifically, it would stop ongoing U.S. pro- grams (including those for the MX, the Midgetman, the B-1 and Stealth bombers, and the Trident IT missile), extensive future cleployments of cruise missiles on bombers and submarines, and the deployment of Pershing I]: and ground-launched cruise missiles in Europe. Other critics argue that, although overall parity exists between the two sides, it would not improve crisis stability to lock the two sides into their present force structures, since some of the systems on both sides are inherently vulnerable.

OCR for page 81
96 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL retical counterforce capability to destroy a large part of the U.S. land- based ICBM force, could threaten the entire U.S. strategic triad in the foreseeable future, contend the critics. The comprehensive freeze would limit the United States to its present strategic systems and capabilities while not constraining either Soviet nonnuclear air defense systems or nonnuclear antisubmarine warfare systems, thus making the U.S. stra- tegic triad increasingly vulnerable over time. The results would be a progressive erosion of the U.S. deterrent relative to superior Soviet forces. In short, according to freeze critics, a nuclear freeze would leave the United States in a weakened position and make war more, not less, likely. Other freeze critics who disagree with the Reagan Administration's assessment of the present U.S.-Soviet strategic relationship neverthe- less share the concern about the increasing vulnerability of both sides' strategic forces. The freeze approach does not address the fundamental problem of the stability of the U.S.-Soviet strategic relationship, they argue, and would in fact prevent future efforts to improve the stability of this relationship. Some freeze critics agree that the aDDroach would in crincinle hi? in ~ , , ~ ~ the overall interest of U.S. security but question whether it could be negotiated in a form that would, in the end, be acceptable in the United States. For this reason, they are concerned that it might not lead to a ratif~able agreement and would divert arms control efforts from more promising and practical goals. Modernization. From the perspective of most critics ofthe freeze, the U.S. strategic force requires modernization to remain a stable deter- rent. Consequently, afreeze, even if verifiable, would simply perpetuate accumulating problems and vuInerabilities by preventing essential corrective actions. These critics argue that the freeze would terminate every current U.S. program designed to correct problems that have developed in the U.S. strategic posture as a result of the Soviet Union's large-scare arms buildup. At the same time, the freeze would not affect the Soviet pro- grams that have the greatest potential for upsetting the strategic bal- ance. For example, the freeze would bar the United States from developing a new survivable land-based system, but it would do nothing to eliminate the Soviet threat from large land-based missiles with accu- rate MIRVs that make these new U.S. developments necessary. The freeze would bar modernization of the U.S. strategic air force, but it would not block Soviet air defense programs. The freeze would prohibit the modernization of U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missiles, such

OCR for page 81
T!IE NUCLEAR FREEZE 97 as the extended-range Trident IT missile, but it would do nothing to prohibit the development of Soviet antisubmarine warfare capabilities. Europe. According to some critics, the comprehensive freeze would present a special problem in Europe, since by preventing the planned U.S. deployment of intermediate-range missiles, the freeze would place the NATO alliance in a militarily inferior position. The freeze would lock in the overwhelming Soviet advantage in intermediate-range nu- clear missiles in Europe. At present there are some 600 Soviet interme- diate-range nuclear missiles capable of striking U.S. allies and no comparable U.S. systems. Reductions. Some critics of the freeze inside and outside the admin- istration argue that, despite its apparently radical approach to nuclear arms control, the freeze does not go nearly far enough. According to these critics, it neither requires immediate reductions nor creates a framework that would encourage reductions in the future. Although the freeze movement calls for the prompt negotiation of reductions after a comprehensive freeze has been agreed upon, the reduction process is not built into the initial agreement. Such reductions could prove very difficult or impossible to negotiate subsequently, particularly if the Soviet Union is satisfied with the force levels frozen by the agreement. In contrast, supporters of the START approach point out that the central objective of START is substantial reductions in strategic nu- clear forces. Similarly, supporters of the incremental approach of SALT point out that the SALT IT agreement actually went beyond the freeze by requiring significant reductions in Soviet strategic forces. Moreover, the equal aggregate ceilings in SALT, together with the various equal subceilings, provide a framework for a continuing process of reductions. Defensive Systems. Many critics ofthe freeze argue that the proposal to permit nonnuclear air defense and antisubmarine warfare develop- ments to go forward without any constraints while freezing all improve- ments in strategic offensive forces could prove extremely dangerous to U.S. security and increase the risk of war. These critics emphasize the importance of maintaining the retaliatory capabilities ofthe air and sea legs of the strategic triad under a freeze since the existing vulnerability of U.S. land-based ICBMs could not be reduced by new survivable land- based systems. While their assessments of the urgency of the problem differ substan- tially, these critics point out that the ability of the present generation of strategic bombers to penetrate to their targets will certainly decline in

OCR for page 81
98 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL the future as Soviet air defenses improve. Substantial further improve- ments in air defense can be imagined, particularly against the static air threat that wouIcT exist under the freeze. These critics therefore empha- size that the retaliatory capability of the air arm of the triad will deteri- orate gradually some would say rapidlyunless the United States upgrades the penetration capabilities of its strategic bombers. These capabilities can be substantially improved by equipping existing bombers with air-launchecI cruise missiles or by introducing improved new bombers such as the B-1 or Stealth into the force. These develop- ments, however, would be prohibited by the freeze. In the case of antisubmarine warfare, these critics point out that even if the threat is not great today, one cannot rule out major future im- provements that would threaten the sea-based leg of the triad. A freeze on strategic offensive missiles would also stop deployment of the Tri- dent rid missile, a weapon whose increased range will greatly complicate the problem confronting Soviet antisubmarine warfare by allowing U.S. ballistic missile submarines to operate in much larger areas of the ocean. These criticisms would be answered if air defenses and antisubmarine warfare were included in the freeze, as they were in the resolution proposed by the House of Representatives in May 1983. However, critics note that this would add substantial verification problems to the agree- ment and would greatly complicate its negotiability. Negotiability. Many critics ofthe freeze, including some who endorse its objectives, question whether it could in fact be easily and quickly negotiated with the Soviet Union. They argue that the negotiations would inevitably be a long, drawn-out undertaking that would not pro- duce concrete results for several years, during which time the arms race would continue. They point out that the experience of the SALT, START, and Comprehensive Test Ban negotiations demonstrates conclusively that developing the detailed language of a comprehensive freeze agree- ment would prove to be extremely complex and time-consuming. Among other things, the agreement would have to deal with definitions and provisions governing a number of important problems in gray areas that are inherently very difficult and on which proposals have not yet been clearly formulated even by freeze proponents. These problems include the handling of dual-capable systems, definitions of permissible repair and replacement for all types of systems, and the precise limita- tions on testing. These critics also emphasize that although it may be theoretically possible to define procedures that would permit adequate verification of the agreement, these procedures may prove unaccepta-

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 99 ble to the Soviet Union, and possibly to the United States as well, be- cause of the degree of intrusiveness involved. In any event, the negotiation of mutually acceptable verification procedures would be a Tong and difficult process. Those critics who support the incremental approach of the SALT process argue that a prolonged and possibly unsuccessful freeze negoti- ation is a poor alternative to the early ratification of SALT or or an updated version ofthat agreement. Moreover, they express concern that the freeze movement, by raising unrealistic expectations about the prospects of an early freeze agreement, will divert arms control efforts into a controversial and unproductive path while undercutting a public consensus in support of more limited arms control agreements that might be negotiated relatively quickly. Those critics who support the START approach express concern that the freeze movement, even if it does not lead to negotiations, will reduce the prospect of achieving the much more significant arms control objectives that they believe are necessary to improve U.S. security. Verification of a Comprehensive Nuclear Freeze Supporters of the Comprehensive Freeze A great deal of the controversy surrounding the comprehensive nu- clear freeze has focused on the verifiability of such a proposal. The issue involves both the question of the inherent verifiability of the approach and the broader question discussed in Chapter 2 of how much verifica- tion is enough. Freeze supporters argue that the proposal meets the same criterion of "adequate" verification that has been used to judge other arms control agreements, such as SALT ~ and SALT IT. The combination of existing U.S. intelligence assets, cooperative measures, and reasonable on-site inspection, coupled with the existing consultation process, could give the United States ample warning of any significant clandestine pro- gram to violate a freeze on the testing, production, and deployment of additional nuclear weapons and delivery systems. A freeze on the test- ing of nuclear weapons could be adequately verified by National Techni- cal Means supplemented by cooperative measures and on-site inspection procedures already agreed upon by the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom during the Comprehensive Test Ban negotiations. A freeze on the production of fissionable materials for weapons can be verified with high confidence by combining National Technical Means with extensively used safeguards established by the

OCR for page 81
100 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor peaceful nuclear power facilities in other countries. Finally, note freeze supporters, many ofthe important elements of a comprehensive freeze have already been successfully incorporated in the SALT treaties, which the U.S. intelligence community and the Carter Administration judged to be adequately verifiable. The comprehensive nature of a total freeze on all testing, production and deployment activities would facilitate verification, according to supporters. Any indication of deployment or production would signal a possible violation, so details of definition or complex quotas on produc- tion would not arise. The synergistic effect of various mutually reinforc- ing aspects of the comprehensive freeze would make it easier to verify than the total of its individual components. Freeze supporters argue that this synergistic effect would not apply to most partial freezes. Tf all production and deployment of nuclear weapons and delivery systems were suspended, there would be many opportunities to detect continued production of both large and small nuclear systems, freeze supporters argue. Any nuclear weapon system has a Tong production and deployment process, including not only the production of warheads and a particular delivery system but also the production of ancillary support equipment, the training of forces to use the system, the provi- sion of security and command and control that may be unique to particu- lar systems, and the establishment of a chain of command that may also be unique to particular systems in the field. As an example of the verifiability of important aspects ofthe proposal, freeze supporters cite the production of fissionable materials for weap- ons. Soviet production facilities for fissionable materials are well known and regularly monitored by U.S. intelligence. These instalIa- tions, which include both dedicated production facilities and nuclear power reactors, are by their nature large and difficult-to conceal. The closing of these production facilities could be monitored with high confi- dence using National Technical Means alone and with certainty by even superficial periodic on-site inspections. Operating nuclear power reac- tors could be monitored by the effective safeguard procedures of the International Atomic Energy Agency (lAEA), which are now applied worldwide in connection with the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Extensive experience has shown that these IAEA procedures, which involve peri- odic inspections as well as emplacement of secure seals and sensors, can successfully monitor inventories and give timely warning of possible diversions of fissionable materials from peaceful power programs. Freeze supporters note that the Soviet Union, which has historically rejected on-site inspection, has shown some signs of greater flexibility

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 101 on this point, as evidenced by its recent voluntary move to accept some IDEA inspection of its peaceful nuclear power program. This move par- allels similar voluntary arrangements made by the United States and the United Kingdom with the IAEA to indicate their acceptance of the safeguards, which legally apply only to nonnuclear weapons states un- der the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Freeze supporters argue that it is well known where the central stra- tegic Soviet systems (i.e., ICBMs, SEBMs, and strategic aircraft), as well as many other systems, are produced, and that National Technical Means, particularly if supplemented with modest cooperative mea- sures and periodic on-site inspections, would have little difficulty deter- mining whether production had stopped. The only issue is whether clandestine production could take place elsewhere and, if so, whether it would be in sufficient quantity to have any military significance. Freeze supporters assert that the United States' ability to monitor the production path of weapons would ensure that possible clandestine pro- duction would not occur in militarily significant quantities. The halt in production of all nuclear weapons and delivery systems under a compre- hensive freeze would assist this monitoring process. As long as tactical and battlefield systems and associated nuclear warheads continue to be manufactured, the entire production chain for nuclear weapons will remain operational, making verification much more difficult. With regard to dual-capable systems such as tactical aircraft, cruise missiles, and short-range ballistic missiles, freeze supporters argue that, although these systems individually present some very difficult verification problems, there are a number of practical ways of ade- quately dealing with them. For instance, production of some systems could continue but only with a conventional capability. In this connec- tion, special provisions were successfully developed in SALT IT requir- ing functionally related observable differences (FRODs) to differentiate strategic bombers capable of delivering nuclear weapons from similar versions of the same aircraft designed to perform different missions, such as reconnaissance. Similar provisions could differentiate nuclear and nonnuclear tactical aircraft, freeze supporters suggest. An alterna- tive arrangement might be to allow continued monitored production of dual-capable systems but only as replacements for existing equipment on a one-for-one basis. A final possibility might be to exclude these vehicles from the freeze and rely on the freeze on nuclear materials and nuclear warheads to limit their military significance. Concerning the problem of clandestine production activities that might give the Soviet Union a breakout potential, freeze supporters state that in the end there would be little to gain and much to lose in any

OCR for page 81
102 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL clandestine attempt to violate an agreement banning production. Nu- clear weapons made and stockpiled in secret without fully tested deliv- ery systems would not contribute to nuclear deterrence. Moreover, without testing it would not be possible to develop new types of weapons or delivery systems that would be sufficiently reliable in a counterforce mission. Above all, the number of weapons that could be produced cIan- destinely would be very small compared with the size of the current arsenals, about 20,000 to 30,000 warheads on each side. Thus, it is highly unlikely, according to freeze supporters, that either party would see any real military advantage in trying to build a small number of additional nuclear weapons or delivery systems clandestinely. Critics of the Comprehensive Freeze The verifiability of a comprehensive nuclear freeze has been chal- lenged not only by the Reagan Administration but also by many arms control analysts who supported the verifiability of the SALT ~ and SALT II agreements. In this instance, critics often have different standards for the acceptable level of verification. Administration criticisms are based on a perspective demanding higher verification standards than have been called for in the past. Other critics base their assessment on the same standards of adequate verification that were applied to SALT and SALT Il. The administration has flatly stated that a freeze on all testing, pro- duction, and deployment of nuclear weapons and delivery systems could not be verified. In this view, it would not be possible to verify deploy- ment of all types of delivery systems with acceptable confidence. With respect to production of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, the task of verification would become unmanageable. The possibility of ciandes- tine activity would also seriously endanger national security, according to the administration. For example, even with very intrusive on-site inspection, confidence in verifying the ban on the fabrication of nuclear weapons would be very low. Confidence would also be Tow in the verifi- cation of many smaller nuclear delivery systems and the large range of dual-capable delivery systems. The administration also does not accept the verifiability of a ban on nuclear testing. In this regard it is presently challenging the adequacy ofthe verification provisions ofthe Threshold Test Ban Agreement, and it has rejected negotiations on a comprehen- sive test ban in part because of presumed difficulties in verification. Thus, the administration contends that the problem of verification alone is sufficient reason to oppose the nuclear freeze as proposed. The practical result of a comprehensive nuclear freeze, according to

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 103 the administration, would be that the United States, as an open society, would live up to a freeze, while there would at best be considerable doubt as to whether the Soviet Union would abide by the nonverifiable aspects of the agreement. In this connection, the recent charges of So- viet violations and possible violations of the SALT IT Treaty and other agreements designed to be "adequately" verifiable raise serious ques- tions as to probable Soviet actions under a freeze agreement containing many provisions that would be much more difficult to verify. In light of this experience, according to the administration, the United States sim- ply cannot base its national security on trust in the Soviet Union. Some arms control analysts who supported the verifiability of the SALT agreements and a comprehensive test ban share some of the tech- nical concerns about verifying a ban on the production of nuclear deliv- ery systems, particularly those involving the fabrication of nuclear weapons and the production of small and dual-capable systems. Even if theoretically possible, they argue, the technical measures needed to ensure adequate verification would prove to be so intrusive that neither side would agree to them. In any case, negotiating these detailed and intrusive verification measures would be so complex that the negotia- tions would be very protracted. These analysts point out that the negoti- ations on verification provisions in SALT ~ and IT required very extensive discussions. Furthermore, they note, as of the final recess in the START negotiations the Reagan Administration had not been able to work out even within the U.S. government the verification proce- dures for its START proposal, which would be less demanding than those for a comprehensive freeze. Thus, it might require an inordinate amount of time to work out specific measures to assure adequate verifi- cation of a comprehensive freeze. Many of these analysts agree with the administration that none of the proposed approaches to the difficult problem of dual-capable systems offers much promise of assuring adequate verification of a freeze on those systems. In this case, they argue, the inherent problems are so difficult that it may not be possible to resolve them without unrealisti- cally intrusive and extensive inspection. In SALT II even the relatively straightforward problem of defining heavy bombers proved difficult, since the Soviet Union uses Bear and Bison aircraft for reconnaissance and various naval missions as well as for strategic bombing. The sides were finally able to agree on a complex system for determining which aircraft would count against the SALT ceilings, but it is by no means clear that the same approach could be applied effectively to tactical aircraft or cruise missiles. According to these analysts, the endless debate over whether the capabilities of the Soviet Backfire bomber

OCR for page 81
104 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL make it a heavy bomber barely hints at the problems that would be involved in a freeze in defining which U.S. and Soviet tactical aircraft should be treated as having a potential nuclear role. In summary, the verifiability of the freeze has been challenged in many respects and on several levels. Some critics argue that such an agreement simply cannot be verified to meet U.S. security require- ments. Others believe that even if the technical verification measures could be worked out, the requirements would prove so intrusive that neither side would be willing to accept them. Moreover,-any negotia- tions to reach a mutually acceptable compromise would probably be so protracted that an agreement would at best take a Tong time to achieve. The Soviet Union and the Nuclear Freeze The Soviet Union presented a comprehensive freeze proposal to the UN General Assembly in October 1983. The Soviet proposal called on all nuclear weapons states to stop, under effective verification, the buildup of all components of nuclear arsenals, including all kinds of delivery vehicles and weapons; to renounce the deployment of new kinds and types of such arms; to establish a moratorium on all tests of nuclear weapons and new kinds and types of nuclear delivery vehicles; and to stop the production of fissionable materials for the purpose of creating arms. The Soviet Union has also stated that this approach could initially be undertaken by the Soviet Union and the United States on a bilateral basis. The Soviet Union stated that the proposal would allow for nuclear weapons already deployed to be replaced within the limits of the normal requirements of operation. Only tests of nuclear delivery systems al- ready deployed would be allowed in connection with replacement and the normal requirements of operation. Concerning verification, the So- viet Union has stated that the freeze could be effectively monitored by National Technical Means, the Standing Consultative Commission, and, if necessary, additional cooperative measures. The proposal is based on the present nuclear parity between the superpowers, accord- ing to the Soviet Union, and is not an end in itself but rather a first step toward reductions. The Soviet Union emphasizes the point that the freeze must come before reductions. A freeze is important in the Soviet view because it can erect a barrier to more destabilizing deployments of first-strike weapons. Shortly after the Soviet Union formally presented its freeze proposal, several Soviet arms control experts, in unofficial conferences on arms control, stated that a freeze on the maximum spectrum of systems

OCR for page 81
THE NUCLEAR FREEZE 105 should be considered initially; if this proved infeasible, narrower ap- proaches could be discussed. They acknowledged that many compli- cated questions exist, such as verification of dual-capable systems and nonnuclear defense. But they argued that, with political will, leaders could resolve these issues. The introduction of the Soviet freeze proposal at the United Nations was the first official Soviet endorsement of the comprehensive freeze approach, although the Soviet press, in its extensive coverage of the U.S. freeze movement, had earlier praised the proponents of an immedi- ate nuclear weapons freeze and criticized the Reagan Administration for rejecting the approach. Prior to submitting its proposal at the United Nations, the Soviet Union had announced proposals for more narrow freezes, including freezes on the development and deployment of me- dium-range arms in Europe and of strategic arms in general for the duration of the INF and START negotiations. Soviet President Brezhnev announced the first of these proposals in February 1981, when he called for a moratorium on the "establishment" of new facili- ties in Europe for NATO and Soviet medium-range nuclear missiles. This moratorium would extend from the beginning of negotiations on the limitation or reduction of such facilities until a permanent treaty was concluded. On March 16, 1982, soon after the INF negotiations began, Brezhnev announced that he had imposed a unilateral morato- rium on the deployment of "medium-range nuclear armaments" in the European part of the Soviet Union, specifically noting a "freeze" on deployment of SS-20 intermediate-range ballistic missiles. These events were followed by President Brezhnev's call in May 1982 for the freezing of the strategic armaments of the Soviet Union and the United States at the beginning of the START negotiations. In START the Soviet negotiators coupled calls for such a strategic freeze with the traditional SALT approach to arms control. In his message to the UN Special Session on Disarmament in June 1982, Brezhnev stated that the Western freeze proposals "on the whole . . . go in the right direction." He also said that the idea of a mutual freeze on nuclear arsenals as a first step toward reductions "is close to the Soviet point of view." In October 1982, before the UN General Assembly, Soviet Foreign Minis- ter Gromyko followed up on these remarks, characterizing the Brezhnev strategic moratorium as his country's "concrete response" to calls for a freeze on the existing level of nuclear arms. Shortly after his succession, Soviet President Yuri Andropov, in his November 22, 1982, speech to the Central Committee of the Communist Party and in his report "Sixty Years of the USSR," reiterated the call for a freeze while negotiations were in progress.

OCR for page 81
106 NUCLEAR ARMS CONTROL Finally, at the October 1983 UN General Assembly session, the Soviet Union formally embraced the comprehensive freeze approach in a for- mal resolution. The Soviet resolution was endorsed by 84 countries, with the United States and 18 other countries opposed and 17 countries abstaining. Soviet of ficials have stated that the call for a freeze is consis- tent with their positions in the INF and START negotiations and does not preclude other approaches to arms control. In the United States there has been relatively little reaction to the Soviet proposal in the United Nations. The administration and some critics of the freeze have dismissed it as a propaganda move designed to appeal to worldwide antinuclear sentiment. Others have viewed it as a possible first step toward formal discussion of a comprehensive nuclear freeze.