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Clinton: Staunch Opponent of Missile Defense

Publicly and on the surface Clinton was touted as supporting Missile Defense, but his actions suggested he was a staunch opponent. It suggests he held a view completely opposite of the Reagan view. Here are the facts on what Clinton did year by year to oppose Missile Defense:


Fact: Clinton cut $2.5 billion from the Bush missile defense budget request for fiscal year 1994.

Fact: Clinton halted all cooperation with Russia on a joint global missile defense program; terminated the Reagan-Bush Strategic Defense Initiative program.

Fact: Clinton downgraded National Missile Defense to a research and development program only.

Fact: Clinton cut 5-year missile defense funding by 54 percent from $39 billion to $18 billion.

Fact: Clinton reaffirmed commitment to ABM Treaty, saying any defense must be ``treaty-compliant.''


Fact: Clinton State Department official called the ABM treaty ``sacred text,'' saying ``arms control has more to offer our national security than do more weapons systems. We look first to arms control and second ..... to defenses;'' declared Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) non-treaty compliant.

Fact: Clinton placed self-imposed limits on THAAD testing to keep it ``treaty-compliant.''


Fact: Clinton placed self-imposed limits on Navy Upper Tier system to keep it ``treaty compliant;'' politicized National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to downplay growing missile threat.

Fact: Clinton vetoed Defense Authorization bill requiring missile defense deployment by 2003.


Fact: Clinton cut funding and slowed development of THAAD and Navy Theater-Wide systems, in defiance of the law--the Defense Authorization bill--requiring accelerated development; announced fraudulent ``3-plus-3'' program for national missile defense: three years to develop, plus three years to deploy. (Later changed to ``5 plus 3,'' then ``7 plus 3,'' then dropped the ``plus 3'').

Fact: Clinton reaffirmed ABM Treaty as the ``cornerstone of strategic stability".

Fact: Clinton opposed and helped kill legislation calling for NMD deployment by 2003.


Fact: Clinton signed ABM Treaty agreements with Russia which, if ratified by the Senate, would: (1) reaffirm the validity of the ABM Treaty banning effective national missile defense; (2) sharply limit the effectiveness of theater defense systems; and (3) ban space-based missile defenses. Clinton never submitted these for ratification, knowing they would fail to get the needed 67 votes for ratification.


Fact: Clinton opposed and helped kill legislation calling for NMD deployment ``as soon as technologically possible".

Fact: Clinton disputed the Rumsfield Commission's assessment of the growing missile threat, arguing that there was no need to accelerate missile defense deployment.


Fact: Clinton delayed by at least two years the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellites designed to detect and track missile launches necessary to coordinate with any effective national missile defense system.

Fact: Clinton emasculated the Missile Defense Act of 1999--passed by veto-proof majorities in both houses--calling for deployment ``as soon as technologically possible.'' In signing the bill into law, Clinton outrageously interpreted it to mean that no deployment decision had been made and that therefore he would make no change in his go-slow missile defense policy.


Fact: Clinton cut funding for the Airborne Laser (ABL) program by 52 percent over 5-year period, but the cuts were later reversed by Congress.

Fact: Clinton allowed Russia to veto U.S. missile defense plans by making NMD dependent on Russia's agreement to modify the ABM Treaty, but Russia would never agree.

Fact: Clinton postponed the administration's long-awaited NMD deployment decision from June to September and then decided to defer any decision indefinitely to the next administration, insuring that the entire eight years of the Clinton presidency would pass without a commitment to deploy national missile defense.

The net result of this abysmal record is that America continues to remain completely vulnerable to missile attack, despite growing threats. In the 8 years of the Clinton administration, there was never a commitment to deploy national missile defense. Instead, there was a misguided ideological dedication to preserving the ABM Treaty, whose very purpose was to prohibit effective missile defense. In essence, the Clinton vision was exactly opposite of the Reagan vision.