Strategic Weapons: March 2, 2000


A study by the Carnegie Endowment disputes the report in last year's National Intelligence Estimate that foreign countries could quickly deploy ballistic missiles. The NIE report had "speeded up" the arrival of such missiles by assuming that nations building them would reduce the number of flight tests and keep their programs moving along despite political or economic factors. The Carnegie report notes that India has taken 15 years and several flight tests to bring Agni to deployment, but military officials say that the Indians have always had serious problems with high tech programs and should not be considered a definitive example. The Carnegie report disputes the Pentagon theory that North Korea, Iran, or Iraq would continue missile development "no matter what", but the military insists that all three could consider the missile program so important (because it could make them a major regional power despite any political or economic problems) that they would indeed keep going despite any hardships. --Stephen V Cole


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