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Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding this hearing today and I want to commend your active leadership in foreign relations and defense-related policy issues. Several of our congressional colleagues and many outside the government have shown strong interest in deploying a ballistic missile defense to protect the United States from attack. I strongly support National Missile Defense (NMD) and believe that the United States must amend or abrogate the ABM treaty so that it can pursue a more robust defense.

While I understand my colleagues' concerns about NMD, I believe the United States must continue to develop such a system. To address the threats of the 21st century, we need a new concept of deterrence that includes both offensive and defensive forces. Today, the list of countries with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles includes some of the world's least responsible nations. For example, North Korea and Iran are continuing to test more advanced ballistic missiles.

These nations seek weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors and to keep the United States and other responsible nations from helping allies and friends in strategic parts of the world. When rogue nations such as these gain access to this kind of technology, it illustrates just how important it is for us to protect our nation and our troops abroad. In the less predictable world of the 21st century, our challenge is to deter multiple potential adversaries not only from using weapons of mass destruction, but to dissuade them from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and missiles in the first place.

The ABM Treaty prohibits nationwide defense, but permits the United States to deploy up to 100 interceptors for long-range ballistic missiles at a single site. I have strong concerns that the ABM Treaty bans development, testing, and deployment of many of the most promising technologies and basing modes for strategic missile defense, like sea- and air-based defenses.

The United States has pursued the development and deployment of defenses against long-range ballistic missiles since the early 1950s. The Bush Administration favors a more robust NMD program, that is likely to include land-, sea- and space-based assets. We need a robust development and testing program to determine what works. To criticize the Bush Administration's approach on the effectiveness or cost grounds of the NMD now, before we have been able to pursue our development and testing program, is premature.

I support President Bush's willingness to work with Russia to craft a new strategic framework that reflects our nations' common interests and cooperation. I believe the new strategic framework should be premised on openness, mutual confidence, and real opportunities for cooperation, including the area of missile defense. This framework should allow both countries to share information so that each nation can improve its early warning capability and its capability to defend its people and territory. Furthermore, the framework should focus on cooperation to strengthen and enlarge bilateral and multilateral non- and counterproliferation measures.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today. I know it is unclear what direction missile defense will take in the future, but I welcome the witnesses and look forward to hearing their testimonies. I believe these NMD capabilities are not an alternative or substitute for traditional deterrence, but rather an essential means to enhance deterrence against the new threats of today, not those of the past.