Chairman Specter, Senator Kerrey. It is a privilege to join you to present the views of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research on the current and projected worldwide threats to our national interests. In his "State of the Union" address, President Clinton defined seven threats to the security and national interests of the United States: the threat of terrorism; the spread of weapons of mass destruction; organized crime; drug trafficking; ethnic and religious hatred; the behavior of rogue nations; and environmental degradation.
These seven threats are our highest priority. They are our most immediate dangers, and the ones that Dr. Deutch, General Hughes, and I will focus on today. Threats of this type involve the actions of hostile states or groups or transnational phenomena with global consequences (e.g., narcotrafficking and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction). Such threats are now widely recognized and reasonably well understood. The intelligence community makes an invaluable contribution to our national security by effectively targeting these threats for collection and analysis.
There is a second kind of threat that often goes unrecognized, akin to Sherlock Holmes' dog that didn't bark. Such threats derive from missed or unexploited opportunities to advance our national agenda. If we fail to recognize such opportunities, or pursue them with ill-founded and misguided strategies, we can exacerbate existing dangers or create new ones. Intelligence can play a vital role in identifying opportunities for diplomatic intervention and provide critical support to our nation's policymakers as they seek to resolve problems before they endanger US citizens, soldiers, or interests, and as they negotiate solutions to festering problems. This is the essence of "intelligence in support of diplomacy," an often ignored but vital component of our national security.
Our experiences in Bosnia and North Korea underscore the importance of intelligence in support of diplomacy and the consequences had we failed to exploit diplomatic opportunities when they arise. Similar opportunities for conflict resolution exist elsewhere; it is vital that we seize the moments to resolve problems through negotiations and thereby prevent missed opportunities from turning into threats to our interests. F o r example, early detection of the emerging crisis in the Aegean recently and timely intelligence during the critical hours of possible Greek-Turkish clashes proved invaluable in preventing a major eruption among NATO allies.
Our diplomats, the military, and intelligence professionals play critical, complementary, and mutually supportive roles in the identification, analysis, and response to threats to US security and national interests. Believing strongly that all three are critical to this joint effort, I must issue a warning: the threats outlined in my testimony and in that of Dr. Deutch and General Hughes, are being exacerbated by actions that degrade our worldwide diplomatic presence. Simply stated, budget cuts are forcing the closing of overseas posts, the elimination of literally thousands of foreign service positions, the forced retirement of foreign service professionals, and the reduction or curtailment of several of our programs. This has already impacted our ability to identify, interpret, and ameliorate the threats we will discuss today.
Foreign service reporting is the lowest cost, least-risk source of intelligence on most threats, and diplomatic intervention and well targeted foreign assistance are the first-used, lowest cost way to address every one of them. What we can no longer acquire via our diplomatic presence and foreign service reporting must be collected using more expensive, higher-risk methods. The problem is compounded by the loss or degradation of diplomatic platforms for collection by military attaches, commercial officers, and other US government personnel. Even more dangerous is the erosion of our ability to ameliorate threats through diplomacy and the consequent increase in the likelihood that they will have to be addressed through costly and dangerous military intervention. The shrinking foreign affairs budget has direct and detrimental consequences for our intelligence capabilities. When foreign service operations contract, intelligence suffers. We lose critical types of information and we diminish our capability to provide feedback to analysts and collectors. We also lose the insights of foreign service officers able to assess directly the behavior of officials in other nations as we seek to persuade them to work with us against rogue states and malevolent transnational actors."
I would be happy to discuss the latter types of threats in greater detail, but will turn now to the central focus of this hearing. The threats discussed below are grouped geographically and functionally, but are not necessarily rank ordered; all warrant serious concern and concerted efforts to reduce the risk to US interests.The overall list of threats discussed in this report is very similar to the one contained in my 1995 testimony to this committee, but the nature and intensity of specific threats has changed, often as a result of US diplomacy. For example, although North Korea continues to pose significant collection, analytical, and military challenges, successful implementation of the Framework Agreement has frozen Pyongyang's nuclear program and Americans are now working at the Yongbyon nuclear complex to ensure the safety and security of spent fuel. The US-led diplomatic effort culminating in the Dayton Agreements has brought peace to Bosnia but we now face the threat of attacks against US personnel (including US troops) by stay-behind mujahidin and irreconcilables on all sides. US diplomacy also has transformed, and somewhat diminished, threats to Americans and American interests in the Middle East. Progress toward a comprehensive peace has eroded support for Hamas and other terrorist groups while strengthening the resolve of others to do even more to detail the peace process.
However, some of the threats noted last year have become more worrisome. In South Asia, commentators in India and Pakistan are publicly urging their governments to acknowledge--and intensify-their nuclear programs, and to develop and deploy new missile systems. China's military build-up continues and Beijing has staged a series of threatening military exercises to intimidate Taiwan. Both in South Asia and in the Taiwan Straits situation the role of diplomacy may yet prove critical to a peaceful resolution, but both require careful monitoring by the intelligence community.
The June presidential elections will be a seminal political event in Russia. An open and fair election will mark an important step forward in Russia's evolution toward a rule-of-law state. But Russia's transformation into a more open society is not assured. Indeed Russia's development since 1991 has been fraught with difficulties. These result, in part, from the enormity of the task, but self- inflicted wounds, such as the military intervention in Chechenya and the legacy of the Soviet past also play a role. A great deal has been accomplished in the last five years. Steps have been taken both to marketize and demilitarize the economy. A free press, open debate and political pluralism have been introduced. Russia has said that it accepts the independence of the other former Soviet states--welcome words which we must see reflected in- practice--and established cooperative relationships with Western states and institutions.
Russia has been moving, on schedule, to meet the nuclear arms and missile reductions agreed to in START I. On non-proliferation, though we may not agree with every Russian undertaking--for example, sales of nuclear reactors to Iran--we would generally give Russia high marks for its support for and compliance with international proliferation norms.
The strong showing by Communist and nationalist candidates in the December 1995 Duma elections reflects popular dissatisfaction with the downside of the reforms--the rise in economic and political uncertainty, crime, economic inequality, and corruption. There is a good deal of nostalgia for the old Soviet Union: many now remember the inertia and stagnation of the communist system as stability and security. This is particularly so among social groups who have suffered most in the last five years, and among the many Russians who resent the diminution of Russia's place in the world. A victory by staunch opponents of reform in the June elections would mark a setback for Russia. It could hamper Russian integration into the world economy, limit US opportunities to cooperate with Russia, and narrow the opportunities for Western business to contribute to the rebuilding of Russia's economy. Conversely, if Russia elects a more reform-minded President in June, the chances are greater that we will face a more stable, more democratic, and more outward-looking Russia.
But whatever the outcome, we are in for a period of rising nationalist rhetoric, coupled with assertive calls for strengthening the Russian state and Russia's role abroad, especially in the CIS states. In the short term, we should not anticipate dramatic changes in Russian foreign policy. The new Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, knows the outside world and understands that Russia's global influence is enhanced more by engagement than by isolation. Russia has far less ability to project power beyond its borders and challenge Western interests in third countries than did the Soviet Union. Equally important, the domestic levers of control that harnessed the country's economic wealth for political and military goals have eroded, regional leaders have gained new power, and the Newly Independent States and Central European nations the USSR once controlled are determined to keep their independence.
At the same time, the war in Chechenya has exposed serious problems within the Russian military and unleashed brutal military operations that have violated human rights and galvanized opposition within Russia while failing to break the Chechen opposition. As incidents involving the other parts of the North Caucasus widen the circle of devastation, the risks to Moscow's authority grow.
Despite several territorial disputes, relations among states in the region are more extensive and more mutually beneficial than at any time in modern history. Preserving the peace and stability that have brought unprecedented prosperity to the region--and to the US--is a shared objective. Within this generally positive context, developments on the Korean Peninsula pose the most serious potential threat to US interests.
The Korean Peninsula. The threat to American troops and to South Korea from the large, well-equipped and forward-deployed North Korean army remains high. But on top of long-standing concerns about North Korea's intentions, we must now add uncertainty about the domestic situation in the North and the possibility that domestic economic or political turmoil could change the decision making calculus that has long prevented conflict. Worsening economic conditions, severe food shortages, and somewhat unusual--though for now quite limited-- military training patterns underscore the unprecedented stresses afflicting the regime in Pyongyang. Pyongyang's response to its growing economic and, possibly, political difficulties is extremely difficult to predict but will likely have important spillover impacts on neighboring countries. North Korea's tight security and closed society makes it one of the most difficult intelligence challenges we face.
At the same time, we have begun to engage the North Koreans diplomatically, gaining experience and insights as we go. We are slowly beginning to address critical issues in direct talks aimed at implementing the Agreed Framework. In addition to the nuclear reactor aspects I will address later, North Korea has allowed the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) to begin monitoring with high-technology US equipment the use of heavy fuel oil provided under the Agreed Framework. Issues such as POW/MIAs also can more effectively be brought to the table.
Consequently, intelligence and analysis on North Korea increasingly are being called on to go beyond their traditional Indications and Warning focus to provide a basis for policies aimed at defusing tensions. As I testified last year, the danger of conflict remains unacceptably high. But, with our allies in South Korea and Japan, we are using diplomacy to create new economic and political opportunities for ensuring peace and stability on the peninsula.
China. The importance of a strong, stable, prosperous, and open China working in concert with its Asian neighbors and the US cannot be overemphasized. China is seeking a global stature commensurate with its size, population, and permanent membership in the UN Security Council, participating actively in multilateral organizations like APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
At the same time, China is modernizing its armed forces, acquiring advanced military systems, including fighter aircraft and surface-to- air missiles, to complement indigenous weapons development programs which have achieved only limited success. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) is also allocating resources to support more sophisticated training and the transition from a cumbersome ground army primarily oriented to the Soviet threat to a more mobile, streamlined force capable of dealing with regional conflicts, defending territorial claims in the South China Sea, or enforcing claimed sovereignty over Taiwan. The new Chinese threat buzzwords--"local and limited conflicts"--are thinly veiled reference to the Spratly Islands and Taiwan.
In 1995, Beijing attempted to allay concerns prompted by its military modernization by publishing its first-ever defense "white paper." This modest step towards transparency largely repeated Chinese positions on a range of military, security and arms control issues, but, concurrently, Beijing pushed ahead with confidence building measures and security dialogues with its neighbors that ranged from low-level and modest (e.g., with Japan and India) to top-level and robust (e.g., with Russia and Burma). Running counter to these efforts, however, were China's construction of a new outpost in the disputed Spratly Islands and saber rattling in the Taiwan Strait.
China's emergence as a major regional power affects longtime American allies, who are unsure of China's capabilities and intentions during a period of leadership transition. Fueled by strong economic growth, China's neighbors are also modernizing their forces, primarily in response to new uncertainties about regional stability.
Beijing does many things which we find objectionable or problematic (e.g., its treatment of dissidents, strong-arm tactics in Tibet, failure adequately to protect intellectual property rights, and cooperation with Pakistan's and Iran's nuclear and missile programs), all of which are widely reported. But we also have many shared interests, including preservation of stability on Korean peninsula, narcotics control, crime prevention, and protection of the environment.
THE BALKANS AND EUROPE
Peace and stability in the former Yugoslavia is possible only if US and other participating forces, diplomats, and humanitarian and civil reconstruction organizations build on the achievements of American diplomacy in the Dayton agreements. The threat of hostile action remains high, both among the parties and on the part of foreign-origin terrorist elements. Securing the peace will be difficult and its prospects doubtful unless military separation and confidence-building measures are accompanied by success in the far more difficult tasks of economic reconstruction and societal reconciliation. These tasks will take not one, not two, but many years. The scale of reconstruction required is staggering. The war in Bosnia has caused the greatest refugee flows since World War II; infrastructure and housing stock requires major repair; warring factions must be disarmed, elections held and public security restored. Radical extremists from within and outside of Bosnia will try to detail this peace process. Indicted war criminals may seek to avoid prosecution by the International War Crimes Tribunal by fomenting discord and fanning old animosities. It is essential that American diplomats, as well as US and allied troops, be accorded the full support of the entire intelligence community.
Reconciliation in Croatia has taken a strong step forward with an agreement for peaceful integration of Serb-occupied Eastern Slovonia under the guidance of a United Nations Transitional Authority. But again, there is a real danger that extremists and criminals will seek to block demilitarization, the return of displaced persons, and the protection of local minorities, all of which must be accomplished to ensure tranquility .and social justice. If the peace does not hold in Bosnia and Croatia, there is a serious risk that the conflict will spread by igniting latent disputes within and among the other countries of the former Yugoslavia.
Across East Central Europe, fledgling democracies are struggling to cement reforms, maintain the momentum of democratic evolution, and vest authority over military forces and security services in civilian hands. Stability is not yet assured in this region; the US, working with the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and a host of capable partners continues to press for measures with which to strengthen and anchor these nations into Western institutions and patterns of cooperation.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
The goal of US policy in the Middle East is a stable, peaceful, economically prosperous and politically open region, in which Israel is fully accepted and secure, the flow of oil fully guaranteed, and the impetus to acquire more deadly arms is redirected into constructive endeavors. Completion of the Middle East peace process is key to achieving these objectives.
Despotic regimes, faltering pursuit of economic reform, popular resort to religious extremism, and high birth rates still threaten political and economic stability. More to the point, Iran, Iraq, and Libya continue to threaten their neighbors. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq mounted two catastrophic military invasions and pursued an active program to build nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Baghdad has for several years obstructed the work of the UN Commission charged with dismantling its capacity to build such weapons. U.S. Intelligence support has assisted UNSCOM in carrying out its WMD monitoring and verification activities in Iraq. Iraq and Iran continue to threaten two vital US interests: regional stability and the free flow of energy resources in the Gulf.Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan continue to harbor terrorists. All except the latter engage in or plan programs to acquire weapons of mass destruction and missile technology. These policies are particularly dangerous and worrisome when pursued by authoritarian regimes with proven interest in regional destabilization. Syria, which is also on the terrorist state sponsors list and engaged in acquisition of CW and advanced missile technology, is also actively negotiating with Israel to achieve a peace agreement. Reaching an agreement would obviously have an impact on Syrian behavior in these areas.
The original motive for India to acquire a nuclear weapons capability--the threat it perceived from China, which fought a war with India in 1962--remains salient in Delhi. India's nuclear program drove Pakistan to acquire a matching capability to counter the perceived threat from India. Mutual suspicions on the subcontinent, increasing acceptance in both India and Pakistan of the idea that nuclear weapons are an essential attribute of major power status, and reluctance of either country to rely on an external protector make this one of the most troubling regions on the globe.
The half-century Indo-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir worsened with the surge in discontent against India by Kashmir's Muslim population beginning five years ago. India charges that Pakistan's assistance to secessionist militants in Kashmir impedes political resolution of the problem; Pakistan claims that it offers only moral assistance. The Kashmir dispute is not easily susceptible to resolution and remains a possible flashpoint for regional war, .with the potential to escalate into a nuclear exchange.
Another persistent and troubling regional issue is the fighting in Afghanistan, a country riven by ethnic, tribal, ideological, and personal differences. Despite ongoing UN mediation efforts, there is no end in sight to the civil war. Afghanistan is a focus of meddling by its neighbors, a continuing source of training and weaponry for international terrorists, a center of narcotics trafficking, and a generator of instability in the region.
LATIN AMERICA AND AFRICA
Latin "America and Africa illustrate dramatically the importance of transnational threats to security. Although no nation on either continent militarily threatens the US directly, activities within and across national boundaries impact US society and feed regional instabilities.
Latin America. No American or Caribbean nation threatens US military or economic security, and no regional equivalent of Iraq or North Korea has the military might to threaten regional peace and stability. Moreover, no regional actor is an imminent WMD proliferator or Iranian-style sponsor of international terrorism.
Two developments in the region do threaten US interests: drug trafficking and uncontrolled migrations. The flow of cocaine out of source countries in the Andes (Bolivia, Peru, Colombia) and into the US through a number of transit points--especially Mexico--poses a continuing threat to our social fabric. Potential migration flows from countries like Cuba and Haiti, as well as increasingly sophisticated and persistent alien smuggling operations, tax the response capabilities of US government agencies at all levels and create the potential for humanitarian disasters.
Cuba is in desperate economic straits, no longer a model to any Latin nation or an active conduit for destabilization. Cuba's isolation from the general progress made in the Americas towards democracy increases the likelihood of rapid, destabilizing social and political change with the potential for yet another mass migration.
In Haiti, the demobilization of the armed forces, successful deployment of the new Haitian National Police, and recent democratic transition have reduced the threat of a massive new wave of boat people. However, lack of tangible economic improvement, or failure to interdict and promptly return intending migrants to Haiti, could trigger some increased activity. The threat to US forces in Haiti will diminish as numbers are reduced and the scope of their mission narrows: US forces will stand down to force protection mode by the end of February, and the concluding phase of the UNMIH mission will end in early April. It is expected that the UNMIH-II mission, which does not employ US forces, will ensure adequate security for US military engineers and other specialists that may do brief rotational stints in Haiti over the coming months.
Africa. Africa's recurring human tragedies--genocidal ethnic conflicts, civil wars, massive refugee flows, starvation and malnutrition, AIDs and other deadly diseases--remain in the spotlight. While these do not threaten our nation's security, they frequently require commitment of resources, mostly for humanitarian purposes but also military resources that are then unavailable for deployment elsewhere. Collapsing states and humanitarian crises also threaten attainment of the important US objectives of democratization, protection of the environment, and expansion of the global economy. African peacekeeping initiatives in Liberia, the multinational forces in Angola and US support for the peace process in Mozambique, our commitment to a democratic, multi-racial government in South Africa, and efforts to change the policies of Nigeria's leadership are essential to the attainment of lasting peace and sustainable development everywhere on the continent.
International terrorism poses one of the most alarming threats to the security of US government personnel, civilians, and such other interests as the Middle East peace process. In 1995, terrorists killed two US officials in a shooting in Karachi and five more in a bombing in Riyadh. Effective counterterrorism operations prevented a much higher number of casualties by thwarting attempts by terrorists linked to the World Trade Center conspirators to bomb several US commercial airlines in East Asia. Indeed, our security resources are constantly stretched thin by the plethora of threats to our diplomats and facilities abroad.
Hostage takers throughout the world seek out Americans; terrorists in Colombia and Kashmir hold Americans for ransom and/or political leverage and Americans in several countries are targeted by terrorists. The World Trade Center bombing is a constant reminder that Americans at home remain vulnerable to foreign terrorists seeking bigger headlines and intent on inflicting mass casualties.
Despite a proliferation of new, non-state terrorist groups, state sponsorship of terrorism poses a special challenge.
The most serious offender is Iran, which provides money, training, and weapons to secular and Islamic radicals who use violence to undermine our efforts to facilitate peace between Arabs and Israelis. Sudan harbors many terrorist groups, including the Egyptian Islamic Gama'at, which tried to destabilize Egypt with its plot to kill President Mubarak in Ethiopia last June.
Newer terrorism threats emanate from the chaos of postwar Afghanistan where training camps continue to turn out "graduates" eager to return to fight against conservative regimes. Ethnic conflict in Russia recently spilled over into the international arena as Chechen separatists hijacked a Turkish Black Sea ship. Peacekeeping in Bosnia is endangered by potential terrorist threats from local and foreign elements.
DRUG TRAFFICKING AND INTERNATIONAL CRIME
Major drug producing and smuggling organizations continue to flood the United States with illegal narcotics and overwhelm our demand reduction efforts. They often exploit the vulnerability of the less advantaged segments of our society and exacerbate existing social ills. Our interest in strengthening the trend toward democratization in our own hemisphere, so pronounced in the last decade, is jeopardized by the corrosive impact of traffickers. The impunity enjoyed by many kingpins severely undermines popular confidence in government.
Much public attention has focused on Latin America, but heroin, mainly from Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle of Thailand,Progress in the war on drugs has been difficult; it cannot be achieved at all without the cooperation of producing nations. Winning that cooperation is a task for diplomacy backed by effective programs for countries that are committed to cooperating with us.
International organized crime knows no borders. It threatens the operations of US business, disrupts the transition to democracy and market economies and affects the distribution and effectiveness of US assistance. Our interest in stability and democracy in the former Soviet republics and Central Europe is threatened by criminal groups which take advantage of privatization, corrupting government officials and using illegally acquired wealth and intimidation to gain control of banks and commercial enterprises. As Russian organized crime groups have gained strength, they have reached out to form alliances with well established criminals in Europe, South America, and Asia. PROLIFERATION CONCERNS
The spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) poses a serious and growing threat to US national interests at home and abroad and will likely continue to do so for years to come. The US has made curbing proliferation a top priority and a key factor in our diplomatic consultations and military preparations worldwide. The United States will continue to lead the international effort to negotiate a Comprehensive Test Ban treaty (CTBT), which the President has indicated he wants to sign later this year. The CTBT, in combination with the indefinite extension of the Nonproliferation Treaty and a future treaty for the global cessation of fissile material production, will strengthen significantly the global nonproliferation regime.
In addition to this multilateral approach, the US will continue to focus on key regional hot spots where proliferation is most likely to occur or worsen. These regions include the Persian Gulf, the Korean peninsula, and South Asia. The US will work to ensure that fissile material does not seep out of the former Soviet Union into the hands of determined proliferators or terrorists. I would like to say a few words about each of these concerns.
Fissile Material from the Former USSR. The newest wrinkle in the global struggle to stop the spread of nuclear weapons is the effort to track and safeguard fissile material in Russia and the former Soviet republics. We regard this as a very serious problem, even as the number of reported incidents of fissile material smuggling from the former Soviet Union declined sharply last year compared to cases reported in 1994. We will need continued international vigilance from the diplomatic, intelligence, and law enforcement communities to combat smuggling. A keen understanding of the problem we face will help shape a diplomatic strategy for the April nuclear summit in Moscow.
North Korea. Pursuant to the Agreed Framework, the North Korean nuclear reactor program at Yongbyon remains frozen under IAEA observation. The North and the US-led Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) recently reached agreement in principle on a light-water reactor supply contract for the civilian power reactors that will replace the North's gas-graphite system. Almost inconceivable two years ago, US technicians today are working with North Korean counterparts to prepare the North's spent reactor fuel for long-term storage and eventual shipment out of North Korea. (This fuel contains enough plutonium for a couple of nuclear weapons.) Despite this progress, the Korean peninsula remains the most heavily armed region in the world, and it will take years to complete the Framework and reduce tensions on the peninsula.
Iran/Iraq. The flight of Saddam Hussein's brother-in-law Husayn Kamal to Jordan last year led to a spate of revelations about ongoing WMD- related activities in Iraq. We do not believe Kamal's recent return to Iraq undercuts the value of what he told us last summer. Though we have never been satisfied with Saddam's cooperation with UN weapons inspectors, this defection produced substantial proof of Iraqi concealment efforts. UNSCOM experts are sifting through the documentation that Iraq has since provided, but it will be months before a determination about Iraqi disclosures can be made. In Iran, unfortunately we see no let-up in Tehran's efforts to try and acquire WMD technology. Iran has developed chemical weapons and short-range missiles, and Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons program. Although we cannot relax our vigilance, our diplomatic efforts have served to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities.
South Asia. Nowhere in the world are the stakes for the global nonproliferation regime higher than in South Asia. India and Pakistan stand at a cross-roads in their history. If they are prepared to cap their nuclear and missile programs, they can become a force for progress in the global effort to negotiate a CTBT and a fissile material production ban treaty. On the other hand, if Delhi and Islamabad choose instead to accelerate their weapons efforts, they will find themselves increasingly isolated from the global mainstream. New Delhi's recent efforts to attach a timebound pledge on nuclear disarmament to the CTBT could complicate efforts to get a treaty this year.
NATIONAL INTERESTS IN A "GLOBAL ERA"
We see and understand the immediate national security threats from nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and drug trafficking, but there are threats to our security and well-being that are less obvious and therefore more difficult to target, involving humanitarian and environmental issues. When the US responds to humanitarian tragedies or negotiates multilateral environmental accords we do so for altruistic reasons but also because they affect the long-term safety and prosperity of our citizens. And more often than not, we do so in cooperative undertakings involving the United Nations and its specialized agencies, regional organizations, and coalitions of like- minded states.
Natural and man-made disasters spill across borders, disrupt national economies, and weaken foreign governments. Increasing population and economic pressures and deteriorating environments-from the Horn of Africa to Central America--will erode US foreign policy efforts aimed at promoting regional stability, reducing ethnic tensions, and supporting democratization. The intelligence community's technical and analytical capabilities cannot solve disaster-related problems, but they are being used to better understand disaster-prone areas and to assist US-supported relief efforts.
Forced population displacements that affect tens of millions of people worldwide raise tensions with neighboring countries over immigration policies and border security. The US invests large sums in programs to assist displaced people and refugees fleeing from civil war and other crises in part to ease these tensions. Safe refugee repatriation is a major component of restoring peace, whether in Bosnia or Rwanda. But voluntary repatriation, whether to the West Bank or Haiti, also depends on peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts, underscoring the point that security and humanitarian interests are often intertwined.
This winter's record snowfall in the DC area demonstrated how vulnerable we are to ecosystem fluctuations. Climatic disruptions in other regions are often even more destructive, affecting each year hundreds of millions of people. While global climate change impacts the long-term well-being and security of us all, more localized environmental crises can have immediate health, economic, and even political implications in such countries as Russia and China. Transnational environmental problems, including deforestation, decreasing biodiversity, water and air pollution, and hazardous waste dumping also affect US economic interests. We are just beginning to understand the true, long term costs of ecological degradation on US security. The intelligence community has only recently begun to explore the unique role it might play in helping to assess this type of security threat.
Unfair competition and other economic issues. The success of US firms in international markets is one of the major underpinnings of this country's economic growth during the 1990s. But a byproduct of globalization has been increased efforts by companies and some governments to avoid playing by the rules. US firms do not shrink from dealing with tough but essentially fair practices on the part of their competitors, but, particularly in major aircraft, military, and infrastructure contracts, they face unfaircompetition that can include bribery, political linkage, and other illicit or unfair practices. The impact of these practices on the well-being of our citizens can be direct, when contracts and jobs are lost, or corrosive to democratic institutions, as when governments are corrupted.
The threats to Americans and American interests have changed dramatically in the last decade. The danger of deliberate--or accidental--nuclear incineration has diminished greatly but the threat of harm in an act of terrorism or drug-related crime has increased. With the end of the Cold War, the replacement of authoritarian regimes by fledgling democracies, and wider acceptance of open markets and shared responsibility for threats to the global ecosystem, we should feel more secure than most of us do.
Our heads may tell us we are safer, but our instincts-- and news reports--argue otherwise. Head and instinct are both right. The threat to America's survival has diminished greatly, but threats to our well- being continue to exist and may even be increasing.
The overview of the most prominent and easily identified threats to our security presented here and in the other submissions for this hearing provides a useful guide to the challenges confronting US policymakers, diplomats, military planners, and the intelligence community. But our fellow citizens have other fears and feel threatened by dangers that are less easily defined, let alone quantified. The intelligence community does a good.job ferreting out and interpreting information on the "big" threats discussed above. But in all of these--and particularly on transnational and global issues--we diminish our intelligence capabilities, put our soldiers at risk, and weaken our national security by emasculating diplomatic, foreign aid, and development assistance levers.