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Seeking Strategic Stability: The US Approach to Mobile ICBMs at the End of the Cold War

SHIDA Junjiro

This paper reviews the debates within the US government at the end of the Cold War over mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and examines the positions of two distinct groups within US policymaking circles, which both sought strategic stability but whose positions were founded on different logics. The paper addresses the following three questions:

(1) Within the Reagan administration, how were the two opposing groups formed?

(2) Within the George H.W. Bush administration, to what extent did the two groups from the former administration persist, and how did they affect the debates over mobile ICBMs?

(3) How did President Bush respond to the debates between the two groups over mobile ICBMs?

This study of the debates over mobile ICBMs sheds light on different perceptions of the Soviet Union, approaches to arms control negotiations with the Soviets, and propos- als for means to achieve strategic stability within the US policy circle at the end of the Cold War. It offers useful insights for further study on how the Bush administration perceived and managed the end of the Cold War.

Key Words: George H.W. Bush administration, the end of the Cold War, mobile ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles), START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks), MX, Midgetman

Introduction

For a quarter of a century, study of the end of the Cold War has fl ourished. Using historical materials and theoretical frameworks, many have investigated why the Cold War ended quietly without a direct armed confl ict between the United States and the Soviet Union. Generally, the end of the Cold War has been studied from the perspective of bilateral US-Soviet relations. Here, the crucial factors are two fi gures: Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

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Interestingly, George H.W. Bush,

* 中央大学政策文化総合研究所準研究員

Associate Fellow, The Institute of Policy and Cultural Studies, Chuo University 中央大学政策文化総合研究所年報 第 20 号( 2016 )pp. 53‑69

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the President of the United States who followed Reagan and was in offi ce when the Soviet bloc collapsed, has traditionally received little attention in this discourse, and his presidency is widely regarded as the “third term of the Reagan administration.”

A former US ambassador to the Soviet Union memorably said that “the tree that bore fruit on Bush’s watch had been planted and nurtured by Reagan and Gorbachev” (Matlock 2004: 316).

Newly declassifi ed documents, however, enable us to reexamine this discourse.

Using new sources, some have described President Bush and his policy circle as more proactive players than they were previously acknowledged as being (Newmann 2003; Maynard 2008; Wilson 2014; Shida 2015, 2016). Moreover, various new sources show potential for creating new understandings of the complex situa- tion unfolding at the end of the Cold War. The United States pursued a strategic nuclear forces modernization program while also seeking arms control with the Soviets through the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START), which was intended to limit the stockpiles of strategic nuclear weapons. It appeared that the Bush administration pursued a complicated nuclear policy even at a time of deep coop- eration between the United States and the Soviet Union. How can we evaluate the Bush presidency and its strategic nuclear policy in the context of the end of the Cold War? In their memoirs, certain prominent fi gures, including President Bush himself, omitted any mention of the modernization of strategic nuclear forces with reference to arms control policy (Baker 1995; Gates 1996; Hutchings 1997; Bush &

Scowcroft 1998).

This paper examines as a case study of the end of the Cold War the debates over mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) within the Bush administration.

As discussed below, during the Reagan-Bush years, two separate, identifi able groups within the US policy circle sought strategic stability based on different log- ics. This paper situates the Bush presidency in the broader timeframe of the last decade of the Cold War (1981‑1991), referring to primary sources and previous work. In revisiting the Bush presidency, this paper considers the following three points, which provide us with an answer to the question concerning why the United States pursued the confl icting nuclear policies at that time:

(1) Within the Reagan administration, how were the two opposing groups formed?

(2) Within the Bush administration, to what extent did the two groups from

the former administration persist and how did they affect the debates over

mobile ICBMs?

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(3) How did President Bush respond to the debates between the two groups over mobile ICBMs?

First, I will review some important concepts and aspects of the historical back- ground relevant to ICBMs-related issues. Then, I will discuss the debates over mobile ICBMs during the Reagan and then the Bush administrations. As is com- monly acknowledged, the arms control policy of the US government in the 1980s was a result of the easing of tensions between the superpowers at the level of the international system. Of course, the termination of the ICBM modernization and the conclusion of an arms control treaty were achieved when the Cold War fi nally ended. Focusing on the international system as well as the United States on a domestic level, however, we observe the different perceptions of the Soviet Union, approaches to arms control with the Soviets, and proposals of means to achieve strategic stability within US policy circles. This story offers useful insights on how the Bush administration perceived and managed the end of the Cold War.

I. Concepts

It is necessary to begin by reviewing some key concepts. First, US strategic nuclear forces consist of ICBMs, submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and strategic bombers, which make up the so-called “nuclear triad.” Second, nuclear forces were composed of nuclear warheads, delivery systems, and launch- ers. The distinguishing feature of mobile ICBMs is their launchers: they are launched from rail or track systems that are mobile, not from fi xed ground silos.

Third, “survivability” is one of the most signifi cant elements of US strategic nuclear policy. Theoretically, nuclear deterrence can be maintained as long as one party maintains second-strike capability against another. It is considered irrational for a country to launch a preemptive nuclear strike against an enemy that has already established second-strike capability, because doing so would initiate a nuclear exchange with catastrophic consequences.

The emergence of the multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV)

and MIRVed heavy ICBMs, however, changed the nature of the survivability prob-

lem. ICBMs in fi xed ground silos were more vulnerable to preemptive nuclear

strikes accompanied by MIRVed heavy ICBMs than were submarines and bomb-

ers. This infl uenced the US approach to ICBM modernization, that is, the develop-

ment and deployment of mobile ICBMs (Table 1). The Bush administration

launched development of two new types of mobile ICBMs: the MX and the

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Midgetman (Table 2).

Table 1: Survivability of Strategic Nuclear Forces

Nuclear Triad Bombers SLBMs ICBMs

Typical Weapons B‑2 Trident Minuteman MX Midgetman

Forms of Deployment (Targets by the Soviet)

Bombers (air)

Submarines (water)

Fixed‑Silos (ground)

Rail (ground)

Track (ground) Survivability

(Mobility)

High (yes)

High (yes)

Low (no)

High (yes)

High (yes)

Source: Author’s compilation.

Table 2: the MX and the Midgetman

The MX missile Name The Midgetman missile

1986‑2005 (deployment period) Date 1986‑1992 (R&D period)

10 (MIRVed) warheads Warhead Single-warhead

50 (completed in 1988) Number (in 1989) 0 (in R&D at that time) R&D of additional 50 missiles

R&D of rail-garrison systems

Issues in the modernization program

R&D of new 500 missiles R&D of track-mobile systems

Note: The offi cial name of the MX (Missile-eXperimental) was Peacekeeper. The Midgetman was also referred to

as small intercontinental ballistic missile(SICBM).

Source: Author’s compilation.

II. Historical Background

During the Cold War, as a result of the improvement of ICBMs and the emer- gence of MIRVs, the United States confronted new strategic challenges. MIRVed ICBMs enabled one party to deliver multiple warheads with a single missile and to attack a broader area at one time. This enhanced the possibility of preemptive nuclear strikes and undermined the premise of nuclear deterrence. It became theoretically possible for one type of preemptive nuclear strike to enjoy strategic superiority over another. The United States made its fi rst successful fl ight test of MIRVed missiles in August 1968, and it completed the deployment of a military unit with the MIRVed (triple-warhead) Minuteman III at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The Soviets completed their fi rst successful fl ight test of MIRVed missiles in August 1973 (Takagi 1982: 33‑35).

In April 1972, the US Air Force (USAF) began research and development (R&D) for a new type of MIRVed heavy ICBM, the MX as successor to the Minuteman III.

Since the early 1970s, the Soviets had been conducting experiments with their

MIRVed heavy ICBM (SS‑18) to increase its accuracy and power. In response to

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the improvement of the Soviet strategic nuclear forces, the United States placed emphasis on the MX missiles (Takagi 1982: 27). Initially, the MX was to be based in the fi xed ground silos previously used for the Minuteman III. However, the US Congress was not pleased with the idea of using Minuteman silos, which had been regarded as too vulnerable, and it halted the MX development for one year to give the USAF time to select a mobile basing system.

By 1979, the USAF had decided to employ the Mobile Protective Shelters (MPS) plan, in which 200 MX missiles would be shuttled among 4,600 soft shelters. With the placement of dummy missiles in the unused shelters, the Soviets would be unaware of where the real missiles would be at any given time, with the result that they would have to attack every shelter to be sure of destroying every missile. The MPS plan was approved in September 1979, and development of the MX began.

Because of the very high estimated costs, however, the MPS was canceled in 1980, and by 1982, the MX was again close to cancelation because of the lack of a mobile basing system.

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The collapse of détente in the late 1970s and the new Cold War confrontations happened in the early 1980s caused the MX to receive a renewal of considerable attention in the United States.

III. During the Reagan Administration

1. Reagan’s Militar y Buildup

The arms control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union, known as the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), were a key symbol of the 1970s détente. However, the United States had already experienced a collapse of the 1970s détente in the form of the Angola civil war. The Soviet military buildup, including the deployment of the SS‑18 (heavy ICBMs) and SS‑20 (intermediate nuclear forces), and its global military expansionism accelerated the deterioration of détente.

In January 1981, the United States welcomed a new President, Ronald Reagan, well known for viewing the Soviets with hostility. The Reagan administration stimu- lated military buildup to defeat the “evil empire.” In spite of the “twin defi cits,”

Reagan pursued a number of new strategic nuclear systems with the intention of

winning the Cold War, especially during his fi rst term. Not surprisingly, the Reagan

administration stressed the development of the MX. Before long, mistrust between

Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger, the main supporter of Reagan’s military

buildup, and the more pragmatic Congress, stemming from a disagreement over

arms control as a means of establishing strategic stability, became a serious prob-

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lem.

2. The Townes Committee

After assuming offi ce, Reagan had diffi culty fi nding a permanent basing mode for the MX missile. Congress exerted strong pressure over how to deploy the MX—in silos, on railroads, on trucks, underground, on small submarines, or on constant airborne alert. As with the MPS plan in the 1970s, Congress wanted to ensure high survivability in the selection of the MX’s basing mode. To tackle this issue, two panels, both chaired by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles Townes, were established in 1981 and 1982. The panels, both confusingly called

“the Townes Committee,” were the creation of the Department of Defense, which required each panel to come up with a technical solution, not just a politically acceptable solution, that would simultaneously appease the Democratic House, the Republican Senate, and the White House (Sparrow 2015: 220).

After receiving the reports from the Townes Committee, Reagan decided to place 100 MX missiles in super-hardened silos. However, this plan did not please Congress. The entire purpose of developing the MX, in the minds of many in Congress, was to provide a retaliatory force with high survivability. Congress began to turn the screws on the administration, using the authorization and appro- priation deadlines of the congressional budget cycle to threaten MX funding unless the administration came up with an acceptable basing mode (Newmann 2003: 117).

The Reagan White House endured extensive confl ict with Congress over the basing mode for the MX. The hostility between the Democrats in Congress and the White House was mutual, as was that between Congress and the Pentagon, due to Weinberger’s poor reputation among many in Congress (Sparrow 2015: 221 ‑ 222).

Seeking a compromise with Congress, Robert McFarlane, Deputy Assistant to

the President for National Security Affairs, spoke with the Senators who were

known to be the leading congressional voices on defense issues. Senator Sam

Nunn, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and

Senator William Cohen, who also served on the committee, both indicated that

Congress had lost confi dence in Secretary of Defense Weinberger. Cohen and

Senator John Tower, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pro-

posed a bipartisan commission to solve the problems of the MX. McFarlane

brought the idea to his boss, William Clark, who quickly approved it. To this end,

the Blue Ribbon Commission, also known as “the Scowcroft Commission” after its

chairman, General Brent Scowcroft, was offi cially instituted in January 1983

(Newmann 2003: 119).

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3. The Scowcroft Commission

Scowcroft believed that arms control and stabilizing the Cold War were vital to national security, whereas Reagan intended to win the Cold War. For Scowcroft, the Reagan military buildup had lost sight of the central problem that faced the nation and the world, namely the possibility of a nuclear war that could destroy humanity.

Scowcroft believed that ICBM modernization was necessary, but as part of a broader effort to achieve strategic stability (Schmitz 2011: 73 ‑ 74).

Under Scowcroft’s direction, the commission met for three months, holding twenty-nine full commission meetings with members of Congress, the US military, and over two hundred other arms experts, as well as numerous smaller confer- ences, as part of its review of US strategic policy and forces (Schmitz 2011: 74).

The commission eventually reached an agreement on a three-point compromise recommendation: (1) silo deployment was recommended for the MX, (2) develop- ment of a small, mobile, single-warhead missile was the solution to the survivability problem, and (3) the administration’s arms control stance should be based on warheads, not launchers (Newmann 2003: 119‑120).

This compromise was signifi cant for the following reasons. Not only did it resolve the issues of MX deployment and survivability, it recognized that previous arms control efforts, including the SALT agreements and the current START proposals, had focused on limiting only launchers and missiles. This approach provided incen- tives for putting MIRVs on missiles and building the launchers and missiles as large as possible, thus maximizing the number of warheads that could be placed on those missiles (Schmitz 2011: 76).

The White House and Congress eventually accepted the commission’s recom-

mendations, and Congress approved funds for MX testing and engineering. The

compromise was broadly acceptable for three main reasons. First, because it did

not abandon the MX plan, it pleased Reagan’s conservative supporters in Congress

and the Pentagon. Second, it appealed to those who didn’t like the MX by introduc-

ing a small ICBM, the Midgetman. This new system was to be housed in large,

armored tractor-trailers equipped with heavy protective skirts to protect them from

a nuclear blast. Because the huge trucks pulling the missiles could operate in the

desert around Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas, Nevada, and in other desert

areas near existing Air Force bases, the mobile Midgetman would have high sur-

vivability, satisfying those who placed a premium on this concern. Third, Scowcroft,

James Woolsey, and Les Aspin, who had been members of the Scowcroft

Commission, expected that MIRVed warheads would be restricted under the

START regime to ensure strategic stability. For them, even if MIRVed heavy

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ICBMs were restricted under the START regime, strategic stability would not deteriorate as long as the United States maintained a stockpile of single-warhead missiles. This Midgetman plan thus pleased those who wanted US strategic forces policy to move in a new direction (Sparrow 2015: 228‑229).

Despite this broad consensus, the Commission’s policy recommendations would never be fully put into effect. In early 1986, Congress had approved only 50 of the proposed 100 MX missiles and had not yet funded the Midgetman (Sparrow 2015:

242). Why did this happen? Each faction was initially satisfi ed with the suggestions.

As times went by, however, under the pressure of the “twin defi cits” pressure, the ardor of the administration and Congress for the Midgetman cooled considerably, because of its high estimated costs (GAO Report to Congress, 1986). Furthermore, each gradually formed separate, fi rm positions that never merged into a single monolithic stance. Embracing the motto “Peace through Strength,” hardliners in the USAF, the Pentagon, and Congress supported the MIRVed MX, whereas prag- matic bipartisan groups, who paid attention to the problem of survivability and strategic stability, focused on the idea of developing the Midgetman and utilizing an arms control regime as a tool that would limit the stockpile of MIRVed ICBMs.

Discord between the two opposing groups prevented the commission’s suggestions from fully materializing. In December 1986, Reagan, who sought compromise and still favored the military buildup, announced his decision to proceed with a two- track approach to ICBM modernization. He proposed a rail-garrison concept for the MX

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and full-scale development of the Midgetman (Fridling & Harvey 1988: 113).

Due to this decision, despite the fi scal pressure, the United States was to seek a new system of the two types of mobile ICBMs and the two opposing factions would persist. This two-track approach to ICBM modernization would be continued by the Bush administration.

IV. During the Bush Administration

1. Reagan’s Policy Legacy

In February 1988, Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci, in his annual report

to Congress, described the intensifying Soviet public relations campaign designed

ostensibly to portray a new Soviet commitment to peace. “Moscow, however, is

continuing its military buildup and expanding its political and military infl uence

wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself,” the report said. In con-

crete terms, (1) the Soviets were deploying their road-mobile SS‑25 ICBM and

rail-based MIRVed SS ‑ 24 ICBM, which increased the survivability of their forces;

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(2) they had begun fl ight testing of the successor to the SS‑ 18 ICBM; and (3) they were continuing construction of their Typhoon and Delta IV submarines, armed with longer range SS ‑ N ‑ 20 and SS ‑ N ‑ 23 SLBMs, respectively, which would increase their forces’ survivability by permitting ballistic nuclear missile submarine operations in waters protected by Soviet naval and air forces. The United States had to fi nd some way to counter the rejuvenated Soviet strategic forces despite its “twin defi cit.” The report offered several options, including (1) the long-term goal of deploying 100 MX in the rail-garrison mode to enhance their survivability, and (2) terminating the Midgetman program, an action recommended by the Pentagon (Report of the Secretary of Defense 1988). For the Pentagon, the Midgetman pro- gram would not be cost-effective. For this reason, with support from President Reagan and conservatives in Congress as well as the Pentagon, the MX rail-garri- son program was retained, while the Midgetman program was targeted for aban- donment because of its lack of cost-effectiveness.

In February 1989, a bipartisan group of experts—former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, McFarlane, Scowcroft, Nunn, and Aspin—expressed direct opposi- tion to the Pentagon’s view by sending their own report to President Bush. This report, the early drafts of which were written by Scowcroft, stated that “two of the three legs of the US nuclear triad, the bomber and submarine forces will survive any plausible Soviet attack. …We cannot, however, extend this confi dence to our land-based missiles in silos.” Nunn and Aspin also urged that the new administra- tion to drop Reagan’s proposed ban on mobile missiles, arguing that such weapons reduced the danger of nuclear war since it would be almost impossible for an adversary to destroy a signifi cant percentage of them in a surprise attack. This group clearly leaned toward the small road-mobile Midgetman as the best option, the same conclusion reached by the Scowcroft Commission in 1983 (Associated Press, February 3, 1989).

2. The MX-Midgetman Battle

Within the Bush administration, it was proposed that the United States would

start to develop 500 mobile track-based Midgetman, consistent with National

Security Advisor Scowcroft’s view. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney opposed this

idea. He instead proposed dropping the Midgetman program, arguing that it would

cost more than $20 billion to develop 500 Midgetman. Scowcroft, in contrast,

thought that it would take several hours for the MX missiles to be dispersed via

railroad nationwide in case of a Soviet preemptive nuclear attack and that therefore

this rail-garrison MX lacked comparable survivability to the Midgetman (Sekai-

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shuho, May 30, 1989).

Several days later, Les Aspin, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, sent Scowcroft a memorandum detailing how to fund ICBM moderniza- tion for the remainder of fi scal year 1989. In this memo, Aspin described to Scowcroft the legislation being negotiated in Congress, highlighting the following clauses:

(b) Allocation. (2) $250 million shall be available for the small ICBM program (3) $600 million shall be available for the MX Rail-Garrison

program

(c) Limitation and Obligation. Of the amount specifi ed in subsection (b)(3), the amount obligated before February 15, 1989, may not exceed $250 million.

In addition, Aspin implied that he could make a good case that this legislation would allow reprogramming of some of the residual $350 million available for rail MX to the Midgetman. “That was clearly the intent of the conferees,” Aspin said.

He concluded the memo by saying “I hope this advice proves useful.”

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The Pentagon was reacting as well. Deputy Secretary of Defense William H. Taft consulted Senator Tower, and they agreed that both the rail-garrison MX and the Midgetman program could be continued. This idea was immediately passed along to President Bush.

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At the same time, Cheney had forwarded a memorandum to the President, recommending that he inform the appropriate congressional com- mittees of the need to obligate ICBM modernization funds at the rate of $60 million per month starting in April 1989. The National Security Council (NSC), led by Scowcroft, responded quickly. This Cheney plan, according to NSC staffer, William J. Grant, appeared open-ended and could lead to the perception that the President was tilting in favor of the rail-garrison MX over the Midgetman. Grant recom- mended Scowcroft that Scowcroft discuss the issue with Cheney.

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Congress also reviewed Cheney’s plan closely. Nunn and Aspin, supporters of the Midgetman, criticized it, repeating Scowcroft’s argument that it would take a long time for the rail-garrison MX to be dispersed nationwide, leaving this missile system vulnerable to a preemptive Soviet nuclear strike. “We would lose 10 warheads at once if a Soviet nuclear attack hit one MX missile,” they said (Yomiuri-shimbun, April 23, 1989).

On April 21, 1989, Bush, Cheney, and Scowcroft held a meeting on the ICBM

modernization program and reached a tentative compromise. The United States

would have both missile systems: the MX and the Midgetman (Yomiuri-shimbun,

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April 23, 1989). On April 23, Cheney explained on NBC’s Meet the Press that when the rail-garrison MX was deployed, more attention would be given to the Midgetman. “Eventually, we will have both systems,” he declared (The Times, April 24, 1989). This compromise partially appeased Congress. In its FY1990 plan, the administration called for about $1 billion for rebasing the MX from fi xed ground silos to railroads by 1992 and $100 million to develop the Midgetman for deploy- ment by 1997 (The Washington Post, June 14, 1989).

3. Mobile ICBMs and START

During the Reagan administration, the United States and the Soviets were nego- tiating an arms control agreement known as START. The Bush administration did not rush to conclude this agreement. First, it was skeptical of Gorbachev and felt that the Reagan team had been overly enthusiastic about the reforms taking place in the Soviet Union in general and about arms control in particular. Second, as discussed above, ICBM modernization was not a settled question within US policy circles, and therefore the administration did not have a unifi ed stance regarding arms control negotiations. Third, the Bush team was limited with regard to arms control talks with the Soviets, because they had to reassure hardliners in the Republican Party that Bush was not soft on the Soviets and to fi nd a way to distin- guish his policy from Reagan’s (Matlock 2004: 314). For these reasons, the Bush team had political reasons to delay the signing of the START agreement and to demonstrate new, bold initiatives in an effort to make START a Bush treaty (Newmann 2003: 141‑ 146).

Things evolved more rapidly than the Bush team had expected, however. In September 1989, Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze met in Wyoming. The Soviet side made signifi cant conces- sions on concluding START without resolving the two countries’ disagreement over the US Strategic Defense Initiative, which had long been the largest roadblock in the way of arms control talks (Baker 1995: 133). This meeting gave START a much- needed push. Bush and Gorbachev’s Malta summit had already been scheduled, though originally as just a meeting where they could get to know each other better (Newmann 2003: 148‑149).

Still, within US policy circles, there was no consensus on the future course of

ICBM modernization. For the Bush team, the central issue for the Malta summit

was whether the United States should propose START-related points or not. For

one thing, at the State Department, arms control expert Edward Rowny sent a

memorandum to Baker, Scowcroft, and Bush, saying that “there are potential risks

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and few gains in discussing START… In sum, Malta discussions should not focus on arms control.”

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At an inter-agency level, the senior offi cials of Baker’s inner circle at the State who collaborated with NSC staffers also expressed the same line.

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For another, the principals-only “little fi ve” discussed a possible initiative on arms control in Malta, showing that the United States could propose to:

(a) lower START limits from the current 6000 warheads by an additional 20 percent to 4800 warhead, coupled with

(b) a ban on all MIRVed ICBMs, both silo-based and mobile.

In essence, they thought that the United States could offer to reduce START limits by trading the US MIRVed Minuteman III and the MX missiles for the Soviet SS‑18 and SS ‑ 24 ICBMs. This idea was sent to Scowcroft.

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Scowcroft, a Midgetman pro- ponent, favored the idea. Still, at several levels within State, there were differing views on whether the United States should propose arms control initiatives or not at the summit. The ultimate decision on whether to bring the MIRVed ICBM ban to Malta was made at a “Breakfast Group meeting” of Cheney, Scowcroft, and Baker. Cheney who favored the MIRVed MX was skeptical of this idea. To him, in the fi rst place, a ban on MIRVed ICBMs reversed the Pentagon’s preferred mod- ernization plans. He also feared that even if the MIRVed ICBM ban was success- fully negotiated, without clear signals from Congress that R&D of the Midgetman should be implemented, US strategic stability would be undercut (Beschloss &

Talbott 1994: 144 ‑ 145). This argument won the day, and the group decided to rec- ommend to Bush that the MIRVed ICBM ban be held back (Newmann 2003:150).

On November 30, at an NSC meeting, Bush and his team confi rmed that “this is not an arms control meeting and we are not going to Malta to negotiate.”

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Neither the MIRVed ICBM ban nor any other arms control proposals were introduced at the Malta summit held in the early December, 1989.

Still, Scowcroft and Nunn embraced the idea of the MIRVed ICBM ban. They

favored eliminating the mobile ICBMs, the MX and the SS‑24, as the fi rst step in

this direction (The Washington Post, January 15, 1990). Bush, who wanted bold

initiatives, sometimes leaned toward a ban on MIRVed ICBMs. After the Malta

summit, in a letter to Gorbachev, Bush wrote that the United States was consider-

ing such a ban. This was still a matter of personal diplomacy, however, and the

United States did not formally propose banning either stationary or mobile MIRVed

ICBMs (Newmann 2003: 153).

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4. At the End of the Cold War

During 1988‑1990, the massive withdrawal of the Soviets troops from Eastern Europe, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Unifi cation of Germany accelerated dismantling of the Cold War structure. This drastic change happened at the inter- national system level led to the failed August coup against Gorbachev, followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union itself in 1991. This development urged the United States to rethink its posture regarding strategic nuclear forces in the time when its Cold War adversary was fading rapidly. At the senior level of the Bush team, bold initiatives were discussed. It was critical for them to manage the turbulence stem- ming from the process of the ending of the Cold War, gaining some basic under- standing of strategic nuclear forces while Gorbachev still had power. Bush, Scowcroft, and Cheney worked together on a draft of a formal presentation, and on September 17, they shared a proposal to eliminate short-range nuclear forces, eliminate nuclear weapons on surface ships, and ban MIRVed ICBMs. Finally, on the evening of September 27, Bush gave an Oval Offi ce address containing new arms control proposals. In this speech, he called for the cancelation of both the rail-garrison MX program and the Midgetman program, as well as proposing nego- tiations on eliminating MIRVs from both sides’ ICBM forces (Newmann 2003:

159 ‑ 162). The speech was seen as a signal that the end of the Cold War had fi nally seeped into the US-Soviet strategic relationship. With the end of the Cold War, debates over ICBM modernization between conservative supporters of the MX and pragmatists who favored the Midgetman, which was expected to deter the Soviet threat, was shut down.

Conclusion

This paper has described the debates over US mobile ICBMs around the end of the Cold War, revealing the existence of two groups within policy circles that sought strategic stability based on two different logics. I will conclude by summa- rizing my answers to the three research questions posed at the beginning.

First, the emergence of MIRVed heavy ICBMs in the 1970s presented the United States with a major strategic challenge: a survivability problem. Embracing the concept of “Peace through Strength,” Reagan himself and conservatives in the USAF, the Pentagon, and Congress supported the new MIRVed MX missile.

Pragmatists in Congress did not reject this missile plan, but they paid much greater

attention to the survivability problem. The confl icts between conservatives and

pragmatists on this theme became severe. To reduce dissonance, the bipartisan

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Scowcroft Commission was established. Scowcroft and his colleagues cherished the idea of developing the small, single-warhead, mobile Midgetman and instituting an arms control regime that would limit the stockpiling of MIRVed ICBMs.

Second, during the Bush administration, discord was still observed between the two positions. Secretary of Defense Cheney favored the MX, whereas many senior aides and principals in the Bush White House and Congress leaned toward the Midgetman program. The Midgetman camp included former members of the bipar- tisan Scowcroft Commission. To pursue strategic stability, in addition to R&D of the Midgetman, they favored eliminating the MX and SS ‑ 24 under the START regime as the fi rst step to banning the MIRVed ICBM that was posing a major threat to the US security. This MX-Midgetman battle continued until September 27, 1991, when the Cold War fi nally ended at the level of the international system.

Third, at the US domestic level, President Bush, who put emphasis on seeking consensus among top aides, never discarded the opinions of either group. Bush also sought a window of opportunity to launch his bold initiatives concerning stra- tegic nuclear forces, and he fi nally succeeded in unveiling his nuclear initiatives, supporting the idea of eliminating MIRVs from both sides’ ICBM forces, on September 27, 1991. These are the answers to the question why the United States pursued this complicated nuclear policy even at a time of deep cooperation between the superpowers.

This case study shows that regardless of the disagreements among members of the Bush team, all of them, including the President himself, took a cautious approach toward the Soviet Union and kept new types of ICBMs in play as they sought strategic stability. The pragmatists, led by Scowcroft, regarded MIRVed ICBMs as a pathway to catastrophe and viewed an arms control regime banning these missiles as a means to ensure strategic stability. Cheney and other MX pro- ponents saw the situation quite differently. From a macro perspective on the Bush team, however, policy makers, maintaining the US military capabilities, attempted to reduce the threat that might have arisen in the time when Cold War structure and adversary were fading away. This insight may also be relevant to other case studies involving the Bush team as it attempted to adjust to the Cold War’s unfore- seen end.

Notes

1) Joseph Nye briefl y explains the individual factors that contributed to the peaceful end of the

Cold War (Nye 2008). Michael Cox introduces previous studies which mainly focus on President

Reagan as a crucial factor and analyzes why this American narrative became one of the main

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schools in the historiography of the end of the Cold War (Cox 2007). Concerning the “Gorbachev factor,” see the works by historians and international relations scholars (Brown 1996; Lebow &

Risse-Kappen 1995).

2) “Martin Marietta LGM

118 Peacekeeper,” Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, <http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-118.html>

3) F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, was the designated main operating base and the fi rst garrison deployment installation for the rail-garrison MX system. This system was to be deployed at up to 10 other candidate Air Force installations (listed below). The Air Force believed that the survivability associated with the dispersal of trains over a large geographic area would strongly discourage Soviet action by causing the Soviets to doubt that they could achieve their war aims without suffering unacceptable damage in return.

Table: Potential MX Garrison Installations Installation

Barksdale Air Force Base (Louisiana) Little Rock Air Force Base (Arkansas) Eaker Air Force Base (Arkansas) Malmstrom Air Force Base (Montana) Dyess Air Force Base (Texas) Minot Air Force Base (North Dakota) Fairchild Air Force Base (Washington) Whiteman Air Force Base (Missouri) Grand Forks Air Force Base (North Dakota) Wurtsmith Air Force Base (Michigan)

Source: GAO Report, ICBM Modernization, January 12, 1989, pp.19‑21.

4) “Memorandum to Brent Scowcroft from Les Aspin, Subject: ICBM Modernization, (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, February 7, 1989)”, OA/ID CF01337‑012, Susan Koch Files, GBPL.

5) “Memorandum for the President, Subject: Report to the Congress on ICBM Modernization, (The Secretary of Defense, February 14, 1989)”, OA/ID CF01337‑012, Susan Koch Files, GBPL.

6)“Memorandum for Brent Scowcroft from William J. Grant, Subject: ICBM Modernization Report to Congress, (National Security Council, March 31, 1989)”, OA/ID, CF01337‑012, Susan Koch Files, GBPL.

7) “Memorandum to the Secretary from ART-E. Rowny, Subject: Malta Meeting, (United States Department of State, November 17, 1989)”, NSA-EBB, No. 298, Document 3.;“Memorandum to the President from E. Rowny, Subject: Malta Meeting, (United States Department of State, November 17, 1989)”, OA/ID CF01337‑031, Susan Koch Files, GBPL.

8) A small group was formed for Malta from NSC staffers and members of Baker’s inner circle.

Senior Director for Europe and Soviet Affairs Robert D. Blackwill, Director for Soviet and East European Affairs Condoleezza Rice from the NSC, and the State Department’s Counselor Robert Zoellick and Director of the Policy Planning Council Dennis Ross teamed up (Newmann 2003:

149).

9) “The little fi ve” consisted of NSC Senior Director for Defense and Arms Control Arnold Kanter, Blackwill, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Reg Bartholomew, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, and former Lieutenant General Howard Graves. “Memorandum for Brent Scowcroft from Arnold Kanter and Robert D.

Blackwill, Subject: Possible Initiatives in the Context of Malta, (National Security Council, November 24, 1989)”, OA/ID 91122

003, START Files, GBPL.

10) “National Security Council Meeting, Date: November 30, 1989, Location: Cabinet Offi ce, Time:

9:30 am‑10:30 am, (The White House)”, NSA-EBB, No. 298, Document 7.

The Annual Bulletin of the Institute of Policy and Cultural Studies (Chuo University), Vol. 20

Bibliography 1. Primar y Sources

(1) Declassifi ed

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, College Station, Texas GBPL】

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START Files Susan Koch Files

The National Security Archive, Electric Briefi ng Book

【NSA-EBB】

Bush and Gorbachev at Malta (EBB No. 298) (2) Published

CRS Report for Congress, The Bush Administration’s Proposal for ICBM Modernization, SDI, and the B‑2 Bomber, May 4, 1989.

Report of the Secretary of Defense Frank C. Carlucci to the Congress on the Amended FY1988/FY1989 Biennial Budget, February 11, 1989.

United States General Accounting Offi ce Report to Congress, ICBM Modernization: Status, Survivable Basing Issues, and Need to Reestablish a National Consensus, September 19, 1986.

United States General Accounting Offi ce Report to Congressional Requesters, ICBM Modernization:

Status of the Peacekeeper Rail Garrison Missile System, January 12, 1989.

(3) Memoirs

Baker, James (1995) The Politics of Diplomacy, New York: Putnam’s Sons.

Bush, George & Scowcroft, Brent (1998) A World Transformed, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Gates, Robert (1996) From the Shadows: the Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War, New York: Simon & Schuster.

Hutchings, Robert (1997) American Diplomacy and the End of the Cold War: An Insider’s Account of US Diplomacy in Europe, 1989‑1992, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

2. Secondar y Sources

Beschloss, Michael & Talbott, Strobe (1994) At the Highest Levels: the Inside Story of the End of the Cold War, Boston: Little Brown & Co.

Brown, Archie (1996) The Gorbachev Factor, New York: Oxford University Press.

Cox, Michael (2007) Another Transatlantic Split?: American and European Narratives and the End of the Cold War, Cold War History, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 121‑146.

Fridling, Barry & Harvey, John (1988) On the Wrong Track?: An Assessment of MX Rail Garrison Basing, International Security, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp. 113

141.

Gray, Robert C. (1989) The Bush Administration and mobile ICBM: A framework for evaluation, Survival, Vol. 31, No. 5, pp. 415‑431.

Lebow, Richard & Risse-Kappen, Thomas (eds.) (1995) International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War, New York: Columbia University Press.

Matlock, Jack F. (2004) Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended, New York: Random House Trade Paperback Edition.

Maynard, Christopher (2008) Out of the Shadow: George H.W. Bush and the End of the Cold War, College Station: Texas A & M University Press.

Newmann, William M. (2003) Managing National Security Policy: the President and the Process, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Nye, Joseph S. (2008) Understanding International Confl icts: An Introduction to Theory and History (seventh edition), New York: Pearson Longman.

Schmitz, David (2011) Brent Scowcroft: Internationalism and Post-Vietnam War American Foreign Policy, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefi eld.

Shida, Junjiro (2015) George H.W. Bush’s Administration and His Policy toward the Western Alliance:

The Dispute over SNF Modernization and the NATO Summit in 1989, the Annual Bulletin of the Institute of Policy and Cultural Studies (Chuo University), Vol. 18, pp. 59

75.

― (2016) George H.W. Bush’s Administration and the Western Alliance in 1990: In the Context of

the SNF Modernization Issue, the Annual Bulletin of the Institute of Policy and Cultural Studies (Chuo University), Vol. 19, pp. 89‑107.

Sparrow, Bartholomew (2015) The Strategist: Brent Scowcroft and the Call of National Security, New York: Public Affairs.

Takagi, Takashi (1982) Gendai no Kakuheiki, Tokyo: Iwanami Shinsyo.

Wilson, James G. (2014) The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement,

and the End of the Cold War, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.

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3. Other Publications

Associated Press Sekai-shuho The Times

The Washington Post

Yomiuri-shimbun

Table 1: Survivability of Strategic Nuclear Forces

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