Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, June 3, 2003

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For IMMEDIATE Release

U.S. Nonproliferation Policy After Iraq
Hyde Schedules Wednesday Hearing to Examine Weapons Issues

BACKGROUND: The September 2001 attacks on the United States heightened awareness of the potentially disastrous consequences should terrorists gain access to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Bush Administration outlined its policy in the December 2002 National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction. “WMD in the possession of hostile states and terrorists represent one of the greatest security challenges facing the United States.” In the 1990s, there has been an increase in the number of international terrorist groups seeking WMD capabilities. If the nexus of terrorism, rogue states and WMD is the benchmark by which to judge such threats, there are several more nations that deserve attention as state sponsors of terrorism with WMD capabilities, including Cuba, Libya, Sudan and Syria (as well as Iran, Iraq and North Korea). The proliferation threat from North Korea has taken on new urgency since late December 2002. The revelation of its uranium enrichment program, with assistance from Pakistan, effectively ended the 1994 Agreed Framework with the United States. Recent revelations about Iran’s new nuclear facilities also have raised concerns that Iran may be further along in its nuclear weapons program than previously thought. Iran continues to test ballistic missiles and is thought to have biological weapons (BW) and chemical weapons (CW) programs. A second category of states includes those with significant terrorist activity on their soil and known or suspected WMD capabilities. Pakistan is a particular concern because of the instability of its government and a potential “insider threat.” Pakistani scientists have been reported to have contacts with terrorists and rogue states. India and Israel are also concerns because of terrorist activity on their soil, but their weapons systems are generally considered to be more secure. In addition, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt are likely concerns for CW programs and terrorism. Egypt is also a concern because it has conducted BW research.

WHAT: Oversight hearing: U.S. Nonproliferation Policy After Iraq

WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 4, 2003

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Bldg.

WITNESSES: Panel I: John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, U.S. Department of State; Panel II: Henry D. Sokolski, Executive Director, The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center; Fred C. Ikle, Ph.D., Distinguished Scholar, The Center for Strategic and International Studies; Alan Zelikoff, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Center for National Security and Arms Control, Sandia National Laboratories; George Perkovich, Vice President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Among the issues expected to be addressed during the hearing:

bulletIs the forcible disarmament of a violator of the nonproliferation regimes an approach of last resort, quite possibly unique to Iraq? Or, is it a more effective means of combating WMD than a nonproliferation approach that relies on multilateral institutions?
bulletSome observers believe a stronger emphasis on counterproliferation “tools” strengthens U.S. capabilities to combat WMD. According to the 2002 National Strategy to Combat WMD, these tools include interdiction, deterrence, defense, and mitigation. Are these tools as effective against terrorists determined to acquire WMD as they are against states? What are the obstacles or challenges in pursuing preemptive strikes against terrorist groups that reside abroad?
bulletWill proliferators conclude that acquiring WMD will be severely punished, or that it is possible to hide capabilities even from the United States?
bulletWill some countries redouble their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons as the ultimate bargaining chip to use with the United States? Does the possibility that hostile states with WMD may want to keep them as a weapon of last resort change the calculation of threat to the United States?
bulletWhat are the next steps with regard to Iran’s nuclear program? CW program?
bulletThe Administration has had remarkable success in the war on terrorism, but in the case of Pakistan, it appears that the price has been acceptance of proliferation behavior that might previously have been unacceptable. How does the Administration balance these competing policy priorities?

 

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