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June 4, 2009
Notes from the Pentagon

Missile threats
A new report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) provides fresh data showing the threat from missiles is growing, at the same time the Obama administration is setting caps on the U.S. missile defense program.

The report, "Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat," reveals new details about the growing threat to the United States posed by the missile programs of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other nations.

Since the last NASIC report in 2006, North Korea has deployed two new short-range missiles, a solid-fueled Toksa, with a range of 75 miles; and an extended range Scud missile with a range of up to 625 miles.

North Korea has also deployed close to 50 new intermediate-range missiles with a range of more than 2,000 miles, in addition to just under 50 Nodong missiles, with a range of 800 miles, the report states. The Taepodong-2, with a range of 3,400 miles, is listed as "not-yet-deployed."

The report said two launches of the Taepodong-2 missile, in 2006 and 2009, both ended in failure, although "the April 2009 flight demonstrated a more complete performance."

The report said testing the Taepodong-2 shows Pyongyang's "determination to achieve long-range ballistic missile and space launch capabilities."

Disclosure of the report comes amid reports that North Korea is planning another Taepodong-2 test.

"The Taepodong-2 could be exported to other countries in the future," the report said.

Iran also is making progress on long-range missile development, with a new intermediate-range missile in the works. The report cited Iran's April satellite launch of a missile identified as a Safir that the NASIC stated "can serve as a testbed for long-range ballistic missile technologies."

The report said China has "the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world," with seven types of short-range missiles, five types of medium-range missiles; four ICBMs, two submarine-launched missiles and two land-attack cruise missiles.

The report identifies for the first time the range of China's aircraft carrier-killing missile: The modified CSS-5 medium-range missile can travel 900 miles. Three other modifications of the CSS-5 - two nuclear tipped and one with a conventional warhead - also were disclosed for the first time, all with ranges of more than 1,100 miles.

The report stated that China's nuclear warhead arsenal is expanding significantly, with the number of ICBM warheads capable of threatening the United States expected to grow to "well over 100 in the next 15 years."

ICBM levels have increased sharply since the Pentagon's latest annual report to Congress on the Chinese military was published in March. The Pentagon report listed the deployment of less than 10 each for the new hard-to-locate road mobile DF-31 and DF-31A ICBMs.

The NASIC report, released last week, stated that China has now deployed less than 15 each of the DF-31 and DF-31A.

"In just over two months U.S. intelligence community estimates have China's ICBMs increasing by 25 percent. That's a formidable rate of growth," said Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Overall, the Pentagon report lists China as having 40 land-based missiles capable of reaching the United States, while the NASIC report lists about 50 missiles with that range.

Russia continued to expand its strategic nuclear missile forces, with the report disclosing that the number of 10-warhead SS-18 ICBMs increased from 79 to 104, with a jump of 250 warheads on the SS-18 alone. Other Russian missile developments include development of a new SS-27 variant with multiple warheads and a new hypersonic missile stage "to allow Russian strategic missiles to penetrate missile defense systems."

The Pentagon recently announced that its next budget includes a cut of $1.5 billion in missile defense funding. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has said the number of ground-based interceptors would be capped at 30. In the past, the Pentagon has said that there was a need for 44 interceptors.

Shooting silence
Several current and former members of the U.S. military contacted Inside the Ring this week to express concerns about the Pentagon and White House response to the killing of an Army recruiter in Little Rock and the wounding of a second private by a Muslim convert, who was reportedly under FBI surveillance.

The attack has been met with relative silence at the Pentagon and White House.

The callers noted, by contrast, that the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who performed late-term abortions, was condemned by President Obama in a White House statement issued on Sunday.

Secretary Gates has not said anything about the shooting, which terrorism experts say appears to be a domestic terrorist attack by a "leaderless jihadist."

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman referred questions about the shooting to the Army, but stated that the murder and wounding of the soldiers was tragic and that appropriate law enforcement agencies are aggressively investigating.

Army Spokesman Wayne Hall confirmed that no senior Army leaders had commented on the attack and referred questions to the Army Recruiting Command. A command spokesman said it was not the job of the Army to "editorialize" about the shooting.

Pvt. William Long, 23, was killed in the shooting attack, and Pvt. 2nd Class Quinton Ezeagwula was also shot during the attack Monday outside a recruiting center.

Investigators in Little Rock stated that Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad shot the two "because of what they had done to Muslims in the past," the Associated Press reported. Mr. Muhammad also told authorities that he would have shot more soldiers if they had been in the parking lot at the time. Both soldiers were taking a smoking break at the time.

An FBI spokesman would not say whether the shooting was a domestic terrorist attack. An FBI statement posted Wednesday on the FBI Web site stated that in addition to facing state murder charges, "the FBI is also investigating the incident, which may result in additional federal charges."

A White House spokesman had no immediate comment.

Cyber warfare plans
Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said recently that the military is recruiting 2,000 to 4,000 cyberwarriors for a special force involved in both cyber defense and the more secret mission of conducting offensive network attacks against foreign computer and electronic systems.

The current acronym-heavy structure is part of the Strategic Command's Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations (JTF-GNO), which defends the Pentagon's critical Global Information Grid domestically and around the world from the tens of thousands of attempted electronic penetrations every day.

The second element is the Joint Functional Component Command Network Warfare (JFCC-NW), which will wage cyber war against foreign enemies, for example, breaking into a foreign military's network and electronically sabotaging weapons systems so they won't operate.

"In the future, we're looking at how we can combine those two into a single organization," Gen. Chilton told defense reporters May 7.

The Pentagon is planning a subunified command for cyber warfare and defenses that is expect to be part of Strategic Command, which also is in charge of nuclear warfare planning and execution.

Gen. Chilton said the main threat to defense computer systems to date has been mainly "espionage type of work" involving the theft of information.

"That's what's happening today. Now the semantics of attack versus espionage and intrusion, we can argue about that," he said.

The four-star general noted that a foreign high-altitude spy plane overflying the country would not be considered an attack on the United States, although as a sovereign state the U.S. government reserves the right to shoot it down.

Violations of sovereignty in cyberspace are difficult questions for the military to address, such as when are cyber and kinetic counterattacks permitted, and Strategic Command is studying how to respond to espionage and computer intrusions "in time of conflict," Gen. Chilton said.

Cyber celebrities
The Obama administration is turning to Hollywood for help with a major publicity campaign that was unveiled last week as part of efforts to protect cyberspace from attack.

The much anticipated Cyberspace Policy Review report warns that greater efforts are need to deal with "the growing threat of cybercrime and state-sponsored intrusions and operations," but contains no details on the two main sources of most cyber attacks: Russia and China.

The only examples listed of cyber attacks are CIA reports about attacks that have caused disruptions of electric power grids in multiple regions overseas; a cyber attack allowing fraudulent ATM withdrawals; and a data breach compromising 45 million credit cards.

The report calls for employing an effective communications strategy to increase public awareness of cyber risks.

"The federal government, in partnership with educators and industry, should conduct a national hypervelocity public awareness and education [campaign]," the report said.

The campaign will seek to educate the public to threats and promote "digital safety, ethics and security."

"Celebrities, the generation that has grown up with the technology, and new types of media can play critical roles in delivering the message effectively," the report said, noting that the campaign will be modeled on the past Smokey the Bear fire safety and Click It or Ticket seat-belt safety campaigns.

A White House spokesman had no immediate comment on the plans to use celebrities.

  • Bill Gertz covers national security affairs. He can be reached at 202/636-3274, or at

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