Though the AFPC said China's goal of parity with the U.S. navy should be achieved by about 2050, the CIA has said that China and other potentially hostile nations are developing increased military capabilities "at an alarming rate," noting they have been caught off guard by recent advanced nuclear tests.
Not only that but analysts here in the United States have said the greatest threat to future U.S. security may not necessarily be newer weapons fielded by hostile countries but rather apathy in Congress and the White House.
"The most serious challenge in preventing China from Pacific dominance is the lack of urgency to address the problem by Washington officials and the Congress," wrote Greg Claires in the publication Defense News.
Chinese leaders have stated in numerous journals and doctrinal statements that they desire to equal the United States as a naval power by the mid-21st Century. For example, the PLA demonstrated its undersea warfare capability during the 1996 Taiwan Strait crisis, when it deployed eight submarines to intimidate the Taiwanese during their national election.
The U.S. Navy has earmarked $1 billion during its 2000-2005 spending plan to address the threat posed by Chinese submarines, such as the Kilo-class subs the PLA recently purchased from Russia.
Besides beefing up efforts to transform the Chinese navy from a 'brown water ' coastal defense force into a power projection 'blue water' force capable of meeting and defeating U.S. and western navies, the Chinese People's Liberation Army [PLA] has been pouring money into the research and development of a variety of newer land-based and airborne weapons systems.
Defense News also reported that organizers of the China International Aerospace Exposition in Zuhai planned live launches of ballistic cruise and tactical missiles. PLA personnel planned to demonstrate the Flying Mongoose-80 surface-to-air guided missile, M-9 tactical ballistic missiles, a shoulder-launched Vanguard Number 1 Ultralow Altitude Guided Missile, and C801 and C301 cruise missiles.
In an October visit to Beijing, Russian Defense Secretary Igor Sergeyev, committed Russia to helping China develop high-precision weapons systems and transfer production licenses to Beijing.
"Moscow is ready to assist China's transformation into a first-class military power," wrote the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "Especially considering the fact that Beijing is ready to pay for that in freely convertible currency."
Russian officials have been quoted as saying that China is interested in adding Sukhoi Su-30 fighter-bombers to their arsenal of Russian weapons, which includes jet-fighters, submarines, anti-aircraft batteries and deadly anti-ship cruise missiles. China is Russia's second-largest arms customer, after India. Western defense experts say that China's main objective in weapons purchases from Russia is to gain access to advanced technology. China's "shopping spree" in Russia is especially troubling, the Post adds, because most of Asia is "reeling from an economic crisis that has gutted arms acquisition programs."
These revelations come on the heels of repeated pleas from congressional and Pentagon sources for more funding for upgrading U.S. nuclear arsenals, troop equipment, and aging weapons systems.
One such request - that the U.S. quickly develop and deploy a national missile defense system - has repeatedly been met with malaise by Congress and the Clinton administration. The current policy for a national missile defense system is the "3-plus-3 plan," which calls for three years of development and study then three more years to deploy the best system available.
One expert noted that preceding every major war in which the U.S. became embroiled in the Twentieth Century was a distinctive period of "drawing down" of American military forces and capabilities for "a number of years."
Meanwhile, China is preparing a flight test of a new DF-31 mobile intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit Hawaii, Alaska and the western continental United States, according to published reports.
U.S. intelligence expressed concern that the test, which is scheduled for early December, is part of an intimidation campaign against Taiwan and to warn the U.S. against intervention in the Taiwan Strait. Satellite photographs taken over the past several weeks of the Wuzhai Missile and Space Center, north of Beijing, reveal increased test preparations for an "ejection test" of the DF-31.
The DF-31, with a 5,000-mile range, is the first Chinese missile capable of being launched on roads. Mobile long-range missiles, such as the Russian SS-25, are extremely effective because they can be moved easily and fired quickly. The new missile uses solid fuel, which enables it to be launched in minutes, and is equipped with a "second-generation" thermonuclear warhead with a yield of 500 kilotons or 500,000 tons of TNT.
Military strategists add that the difficulty of finding, and then neutralizing, mobile missile launchers was typified during the Gulf War, when U.S. and allied forces had a difficult time finding and destroying Iraqi mobile SCUD launchers.
A 1996 U.S. National Air Intelligence Center report said the DF-31 "will narrow the gap between Chinese, U.S. and Russian ballistic missile designs." The Center also said in a "secret" report, the DF-31 "will give China a major strike capability that will be difficult to counterattack at any stage of its operation, from pre-flight mobile operations through terminal light phases."
In the attic of the U.S. Capitol is a room that you can only reach by entering an elevator labeled "Authorized Personnel Only." The elevator opens into a hallway with a door guarded by a Capitol Police officer.
Behind this door, the "Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China" has been meeting in closed sessions for the past month reviewing classified intelligence gathered by the FBI, CIA, NSA and Pentagon on the transfer of sensitive technology to China and the funneling of illegal campaign contributions from the Chinese military to the Democratic Party.
Some of the classified evidence is so sensitive that it could not be trusted to Democrats on the Burton Committee, already looking into public aspects of the Chinagate scandal. That was the reason the Select Cox Committee was formed. In fact, the specific information that prompted the formation of the Committee is not yet known to the public.
Selected largely for their high security clearances, the nine members include three that have the highest security clearance available: Chairman Chris Cox (R-CA), Ranking Minority Member Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Vice Chairman and former CIA analyst Porter Goss (R-FL).
Most Committee staffers are on loan from the security agencies. Six come from the FBI, three from the CIA and four from the Pentagon.
In the windowless room that is routinely swept for electronic surveillance, code word material is perused and intelligence officials testify behind closed doors.
Although limited information has been revealed from the Committee, we do know that the subjects of its investigation include the following: The 1996 explosion of a Chinese Long March Rocket carrying a Loral satellite and subsequent transfer of technology to improve Chinese rockets and missiles as well as any White House role in this transfer.
That transferred missile guidance technology may have ended up in the hands of dangerous nations such as Iran and North Korea.
That Chinese military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Liu Chao-Ying, funneled nearly $300,000 to Democratic bag man Johnny Chung. Lieutenant Colonel Liu is an officer of China Aerospace, a state-owned company directly involved in China's satellite launching program.
The close personal relationship between Loral CEO Bernard Schwartz and President Bill Clinton, and that Schwartz was the largest single donor to the Democratic Party in 1996.
The sale of 47 supercomputers to the People's Republic of China.
That the People's Liberation Army illegally diverted enormous McDonnell Douglas aeronautics machine tools for use in People's Liberation Army military aircraft and cruise missile production.
The results of the Committee's investigations have been kept under wraps by members sworn to secrecy. There have been no leaks. But Chairman Cox has informed Speaker Gingrich that he has uncovered evidence that may be relevant to an impeachment inquiry. Several members of the Republican leadership, including Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX), have made allusions to "explosive evidence" uncovered by the Cox Committee.
The question is whether that evidence can be made public without compromising intelligence gathering and whether the gravity of an impeachment warrants sacrificing such intelligence gathering. That decision will be up to the House of Representatives.
Published in the Sep. 28, 1998 issue of The Washington Weekly. Copyright 1998 The Washington Weekly (http://www.federal.com). Reposting permitted with this message intact
The world has seen both slow expansion and meteoric decline. Now in its fifth year, political scientist have begun to report the advance of Socialism over Capitalism in an annual survey called annual survey called the Index of Economic Freedom. The Report, edited by Bryan T. Johnson and Kim R. Holmes is published by the Heritage Foundation is jointly released with the Wall Street Journal.
This year, a trend shows more countries cutting back on personal liberties, the Report concludes. The trend appears in spite of the fact that more countries are talking up free markets, lower taxes and improvements in human welfare. But the Report has uncovered facts which establish that such talk rarely translates into action.
Third world economies are not changing the amount of wealth and poverty prevalent in their countries. This finding was interpreted by the Heritage Foundation as the consequence of too little economic freedom.
The Report includes studies citing high correlations between economic freedom and economic growth, "... the freer an economy, the better off the people, at all income levels." According to this hypothesis, countries with the freest economies had average annual growth rates of 2.9% from 1980 to 1993. By contrast, countries with repressive policies had economies that retracted by an average of 1.4% annually.
The 5th Edition of the handbook 1999 Index of Economic freedom covers detailed economic data on 161 countries, including, taxes, foreign investment,banking, monetary policy, black markets and many analyses by Heritage economists and Wall Street Journal editors.
"Society must believe that judicial independence is attainable," Kennedy told a gathering of federal and state judges. "If you believe in judicial independence, you believe in freedom."
He warned that people will not value judicial independence if they suspect it amounts to nothing more than "a power-grab in a black robe" but said even judges who make unpopular decisions can be respected. But for that to happen, he said, their decisions must be perceived as fair.
"The law makes a promise -- neutrality," Kennedy said. "If the promise gets broken, the law as we know it ceases to exist... All that's left is the dictate of a tyrant, or perhaps a mob."
At a seminar on judicial independence, arranged by the American Bar Association, the judges agreed that Americans must know that bare-knuckled politics endanger the courts' independence and impartiality. But the two-day session ended Saturday with no consensus on how to convey the message.
Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and dozens of other judges said the nation's lawyers are crucial to explaining the stake ordinary citizens have in deflecting what Arkansas appellate judge Wendell Griffen called "politically motivated criticism" by "zealots who manipulate the media."
Moderating a later panel discussion, Breyer sounded a similar theme. "Judicial independence is a means to a strong judicial institution, which is a means to personal liberty and prosperity," Breyer said."Ultimately, our institutions rest on what hundreds of millions of people in this country think."
American Bar Association President Philip Anderson, a Little Rock lawyer, has made such education a top priority of his one-year tenure. "Public perception is vital. We need to inform the debate, provide a vocabulary for it," he said Saturday. The symposium is among several the ABA is sponsoring.
On the federal level, tensions between the courts and the other two branches of government are high -- in part a carry-over from the 1996 presidential election campaign.
After U.S. District Judge Harold Baer refused to let drugs seized by New York City police be used as evidence in a criminal trial, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole called for his impeachment. White House officials suggested President Clinton would seek Baer's resignation if he did not reverse the ruling.
The judge later reversed and allowed use of the evidence.
Congressional leaders such as Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, have since suggested that impeachment might be one method of dealing with "activist" judges whose opinions are out of the social and political mainstream.
Federal judges have life tenure, but 87 percent of all state judges periodically face popular elections and are considered far more vulnerable to having their decisional independence threatened by political pressures.
Penny White was voted off the Tennessee Supreme Court after a concerted campaign that focused on the one death penalty case she participated in during her 19-month tenure.
James Robertson was voted off the Mississippi Supreme Court after his opponent's campaign attacked him for an opinion in which he said the Constitution does not allow the death penalty for rape if no loss of life resulted. The U.S. Supreme Court had said that a decade earlier.
Harold See taught law for 20 years at the University of Alabama and won election to his state's Supreme Court. But to do it he had to spend $2.4 million against an incumbent who accused him of being a "slick Chicago lawyer" who once abandoned his wife and family and had been "bought and paid for" by insurance companies. "I think it detracts from the judiciary," See said.
"The greatest threat is the increasing politicization of judicial elections," Georgetown University law professor Roy Schotland said. "They're becoming nastier, noisier and costlier." Abner Mikva, a former congressman, federal judge and White House counsel, said judges "need a new way to communicate to the people, (to show) why judicial independence is good for them."
But the latest twist in the case comes more from Annals of International Trade: Canada's Loewen Group has filed a suit under a little known provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement, charging that the justice meted out by the Mississippi jury discriminated against a foreign company. It is claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation from U.S. taxpayers.
The unprecedented lawsuit, coming on the five-year anniversary of Congress' approval of NAFTA, has sparked outcries from critics of the agreement as well as the Mississippi citizens involved in the trial.
But the lawsuit has raised greater implications, because some trade specialists fear the Loewen case could open the floodgates for Mexican and Canadian companies to sue the United States for setbacks in their business dealings.
John Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, an advocacy group started by Ralph Nader, called the Loewen suit "a serious assault on our legal system and democratic process" that could be used by other companies to try "to escape liability for their wrongful acts."
The Loewen Group is a funeral home conglomerate, headquartered in British Columbia, that owns more than 1,100 funeral homes in the United States and Canada.
In 1995, Jeremiah O'Keefe, a funeral home owner in Biloxi, Miss., sued Loewen for having breached an agreement to buy several of O'Keefe's funeral homes. He accused Loewen of making an under-the-table agreement with another firm to renege on the deal. The suit also alleged that Loewen was trying to set up a monopoly, said Mike Allred, attorney for O'Keefe.
A jury found the company liable for the fraudulent practices and awarded O'Keefe $160 million, an amount later raised to $500 million. Loewen settled with O'Keefe for $150 million.
"We decided that they were a bunch of crooks," said Glenn Millan, jury foreman.
On Oct. 30, Loewen fought back, filing a complaint with the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, a unit of the World Bank. A panel of three international trade lawyers will be chosen to settle the dispute in proceedings that are not open to the public for review.
A NAFTA provision that was little discussed in the 1993 debate on the agreement, allows a corporation to sue one of the three NAFTA governments for cash damages to compensate for a government's failure to deliver to private investors all the benefits promised to foreign investors under the accord.
The Loewen lawsuit, which was outlined in the company's quarterly financial statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and first reported by the Wall Street Journal, alleges that the company was "subjected to discrimination, denial of the minimum standard of treatment guaranteed by NAFTA, and uncompensated expropriation, all in violation of NAFTA."
A company spokesman declined to elaborate on the suit.
Lori Wallach, director of the Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, said the Loewen case underscored the critics' insistence "that NAFTA was not so much about trade as about creating powerful new rights for corporations and investors at the expense of the public interest and democratic governance."
Allred said he could not understand how Loewen could complain the case "somehow has something to do with international trade."
"What we're talking about is burying people," said the attorney.
The Defense Special Weapons Agency (DSWA) claimed that three of five so-called "mission critical" computer systems, essential to conducting its most primary duties, were fully prepared to face the computer crisis despite never conducting necessary testing, according to a recent Defense Department Inspector General's Report.
The agency also neglected to develop required "contingency plans" that would take effect if any "mission critical" systems fail. "We recognize and agree with the findings of the Inspector Generals report," says Capt. Allan Toole, who was recently assigned to correct the Year 2000 (Y2K) problems at the DSWA, which was absorbed into the newly created Defense Threat Reduction Agency on Oct. 1.
He would not discuss the agency's previous false reporting on Y2K.
The Oct. 30 Inspector General report predicts that without corrective action "The Defense Special Weapons Agency, as a part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, may be unable to execute its mission without undue disruption."
Toole predicts the agency's systems will be "100% in compliance by April" 1999, despite not having established a complete inventory of the work that remains to be done.
"I have a good feeling about Y2K in this agency," he says.
Y2K is a complex computing problem, causing computers to make false calculations or fail entirely because the code or instructions written into those systems are unable to comprehend dates beyond 1999.
Facing increasing pressure from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House and Capitol Hill to correct the Y2K problem, "people may get a little hasty or mistakenly" report something as ready, says Marvin Langston, the Defense Department official in charge of the computer problem.
"But I think there's very little real mischief going on here," he says.
Langston says he is confident that "a high level of end-to-end re-testing" of all systems beginning early next year will root out remaining problems.
But the Pentagon received a D-minus grade this week from the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, which has been issuing Y2K progress grades to federal agencies for the past year.
"I am deeply concerned by this report," says Rep. Steve Horn, R-Calif., the committee chairman. "There is zero tolerance for error when you're dealing with the defense and safety of our nation."
"Does it come as any surprise to you that the Pentagon on occasion fudges on the truth?" says Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, co-chair of a Senate Special Committee on Year 2000. "Look, the Pentagon has the biggest problem simply because they are the biggest agency. I know they are working very hard."
The federal government identifies 6,696 "mission critical" systems, of which 2,581 are in the Defense Department.
As recently as a few weeks ago, Sen. Bennett was fond of noting that officials of government and industry "all lie to us about Y2K" when asked to testify about their level of readiness.
But heading into the Thanksgiving weekend he says one of the things he is thankful for is that "there aren't as many people lying to us as there used to be."
The newly created Defense Threat Reduction Agency, oversees the full spectrum of weapons of mass destruction, including testing and modeling, stockpiling as well as the export or transfer of high technology. It also works with the FBI, CIA and State Department to monitor weapons of mass destruction held by U.S. adversaries.
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