Presentation at the International Law Enforcement Academy

February 1, 2000

Publication Type: 

  • Speeches and Testimony


Gary Milhollin

Author's Title: 

Executive Director

Budapest, Hungary

I. Introduction

I am pleased to be able to speak to you this morning. I am a lawyer and a university professor who has been doing research and publishing articles on the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction for about 15 years. My organization publishes a database on this subject that lists the names of approximately 2,200 companies around the world that are linked to the spread of these weapons. The database is used by the U.S. Customs service and the U.S. Commerce Department to help enforce export control laws. A number of foreign countries also use the database. These include England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway Sweden, Switzerland, and others.

The Pentagon and the FBI have asked me to describe, in one hour, the proliferation threat today. The threat has been building for half a century, so trying to describe it in one hour may be a little presumptuous. I hope you will give me the benefit of the doubt if I leave something out that you think is important.

First, I will discuss the threats I find most serious; then I will discuss the rest.

II. Iraq

A. I have distributed an article from the New York Times that my organization prepared about one year ago. You can see the weapon capability that the United Nations inspectors believe Iraq is still hiding. It includes:

  1. Nerve gas, nerve gas ingredients, and nerve gas munitions.
  2. Biological agents, growth media for producing these agents, and munitions to deliver them.
  3. Nuclear weapons components, designs, technical reports and production equipment.
  4. Ballistic missiles, missile components, missile warheads, missile fuel and missile drawings.

B. U.N. inspectors have discovered that Iraq can now produce:

  1. The most potent form of nerve gas.
  2. Potent biological agents (anthrax, botulinum, aflatoxin).
  3. Scud-type missiles capable of reaching Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
  4. A functional nuclear warhead that lacks only the fissile material fuel to produce a chain reaction.

C. International support for the embargo is disappearing

  1. The new U.N. resolution creates big loopholes, through which Iraq will import prohibited items. They will be disguised as humanitarian goods or oil- producing equipment. This is already happening.
  2. I discovered recently that Iraq imported special electronic switches capable of detonating nuclear weapons by labeling them as medical equipment. The switches were in machines to treat kidney stones.
  3. U.S. officials at the State Department overlooked the case and did not object when they were consulted by the United Nations.
  4. A large amount of goods will no longer be reported to the U.N. under the new resolution.

D. Iraq has continued its procurement activities

  1. Since the Gulf War, Iraq has repeatedly attempted to import prohibited items.
  2. Most of the attempts have been in the countries of the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe. I know of attempts through Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria. I don't know of any from Lithuania. Some of the attempts appear to have succeeded.
  3. In the future, Iraq's efforts will increase as it gets more money from oil sales. This will be a major new challenge for export control.
  4. Jordan is the main re-transfer point, so you should watch exports to Jordan.
  5. Saddam Hussein will not allow Mr. Blix to find anything important.

III. Iran

A. Iran and Iraq are now in an undeclared nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile arms race.

B. What does Iran face in its neighborhood?

  1. A nuclear armed Israel.
  2. A nuclear armed Pakistan.
  3. An Iraq which is trying to get nuclear arms.

C. Is Iran going for the bomb?

U.S. intelligence thinks so. According to a senior U.S. official who has tracked Iran for a decade, "there are Iranians who have been given the task to get or make fissile material for a weapon."

D. What does Iran have?

  1. No apparent ability to manufacture fissile material.
  2. But buying it on the black market is possible.

E. Iran's procurement efforts?

  1. Tried to buy a centrifuge plant from Russia.
  2. Tried to buy a fluorine plant from France.
  3. Tried to buy uranium from Russia.
  4. Got help in uranium mining from China.
  5. Tried to buy 25-30MW research reactors from Russia and China.
  6. Tried to buy a plant to make uranium hexaflouride from China.
  7. Tried to buy heavy water and graphite production technology from Russia.
  8. Iran is also building long-range missiles, which are used primarily to deliver nuclear warheads.
  9. Iran is also building the Bushehr reactors.
  10. Iran procures through the U.A.E., Dubai in particular.
  11. Dubai does not have effective export controls. (The Risk Report lists Iranian companies in Dubai.)

F. Iran's missiles

  1. Iran has tested a 1200 km missile (Shahab-3) that can reach Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It is an improved version of the North Korean Nodong missile, which North Korea developed from the Russian Scud missile based, in turn, on the German V-2 rocket used in WWII. The Shahab-3 is now operational.
  2. Iran is developing a 2000 km missile (Shahab-4) based on the Russian SS-4, and an even more powerful Shahab-5 with a range of 5000km.
  3. All these missiles have benefitted from Russian assistance, which is continuing today. Russia is providing training, testing and components.
  4. If the assistance continues, Iran will be able to build an ICBM. Perhaps within five years.
  5. U.S. diplomacy has failed-some in Congress are calling for an end to U.S. space cooperation with Russia.
  6. China has also helped Iran, principally with solid-fuel technology.

G. Iran's chemical and biological programs

  1. Iran has an active chemical weapon program.
  2. China has been its principal outside supplier. China has provided precursors and specialized equipment for many years. The United States has sanctioned a few Chinese front companies for this activity, but the sanctions have come too little and too late.
  3. Iran also has a biological weapons program, which according to the CIA, has received help from Russia.
  4. Iran has also recruited Russian germ warfare specialists to work in Iran- some may have agreed to go.

H. Prediction

  1. Iran's missile program will continue to progress unless Russia and China end their aid. Iran will be able to deliver any nuclear warheads that it produces.
  2. Iran's nuclear effort will progress also and its success will depend on how much help Iran gets from Russia and China. I see an Iranian bomb within ten years, possibly less, assuming local production of fissile material. If the material is imported, then much faster than that.
  3. The United States has no successful diplomatic mechanism for preventing Iran's success.

IV. North Korea

A. Exports

North Korea is supplying missile technology to Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Pakistan.

1. Egypt

a. Egypt's SCUD program (B's and C's) owes almost all of its progress to North Korea, which has equipped Egypt with production technology as well as missiles.

b. Egypt's SCUD-C's will be able to hit targets throughout Israel.

2. Pakistan

Has received North Korea's Nodong missile (called the Ghauri in Pakistan) and has steadily improved it. Pakistan has also received production capability. So Pakistan is a producer of long-range liquid fueled missiles, thanks to North Korea.

3. Syria

a. Has received from North Korea both SCUD-B and SCUD-C missiles. Imports began in the early 1990's.

b. Syria has hundreds of SCUD missiles that can deliver conventional or chemical payloads to targets throughout Israel. By now, it could have nearly 1,000 such missiles. Israeli intelligence says that Syria has produced VX nerve gas and loaded it into missile warheads.

c. Syria is also on the verge of-or may be producing-the SCUD-B missile on its own.

4. U.S. diplomacy has failed

a. Despite the U.S. agreement to supply North Korea with oil and nuclear reactors, North Korea's missile exports have not stopped. We must assume that they will continue.

b. North Korea offered to stop its missile exports in April of 1999, if the United States would provide $1 billion per year for three years.

B. North Korea's own missiles

1. North Korea has an aggressive missile program, based on liquid-fuel technology. It can reach Japan today and may be able to reach the United States within the next five years. North Korea knows how to produce multi- stage missiles. The accuracy of these missiles becomes questionable at longer ranges. North Korea might hit North America but not a city.

a. In August 1998, the Taepodong I, a two-stage liquid-fuel missile, flew about 1,600 km (the Nodong is a single-stage missile with a range of 1,000-1,200 km). There was also a third stage, which failed to go into orbit.

b. The Taepodong-II missile is ready to fly 5,000 km.

2. North Korea has received help from outside.

a. There are reports of assistance from China in guidance equipment, special steel, and precision equipment.

b. From 30 to 40% of the semiconductors in North Korean missiles came from Japan, according to Japanese legislators.

3. North Korea will export whatever it makes.

a. Its missile industry is an export industry.

b. Its tests are advertisements for sales.

c. It functions as an off-shore production site for countries that want missiles.

C. North Korea's nuclear program

  1. North Korea has enough plutonium for one or two warheads, possibly more.
  2. A great weakness of the U.S.- North Korea framework accord is that we don't know exactly how many nuclear warheads North Korea has.
  3. The purpose of North Korean nuclear weapons are assumed to be to hold Japan, Seoul or U.S. troops hostage in the event of a war. That is, North Korea could threaten to attack Japan with nuclear weapons if the United States reinforced South Korea.
  4. There is a report that North Korea is also working on uranium enrichment technology to make nuclear weapons, with assistance from Pakistan.
  5. Prediction:

    a. North Korea will continue to use its nuclear weapon potential to blackmail the United States.

    b. North Korea may already have one, two or even more nuclear weapons that it could use for blackmail in a war.

    c. North Korea may attempt to secretly make more nuclear weapons material, or it may decide to break the agreement with the United States and make more nuclear weapon material openly.

D. North Korea's chemical weapons

  1. North Korea has an aggressive chemical weapon effort. Thousands of tons of chemical agents are believed to be stockpiled.
  2. North Korea can deliver chemical warheads by SCUD to any point in South Korea. If war began, and North Korea used chemical warheads against U.S. troops, who were dying on U.S. television, there would be pressure to use U.S. nuclear weapons to cut U.S. losses.

V. India

A. India tested a series of nuclear weapons in 1998

  1. Plutonium came from Canadian-designed reactors using heavy water supplied by Russia, China and Norway through a German broker. China was the largest supplier.
  2. India's next step is to make its warheads smaller and lighter to fit on ICBMs. To do so, India will need advanced machine tools and supercomputers, which it is trying to import. The U.S. has supplied supercomputers already.
  3. India has announced that it will build a triad of nuclear forces: aircraft, missiles and sea-based systems.
  4. India's tests may not have been as successful as India has said they were. Many analysts in the U.S. think India exaggerated the yields. India could probably benefit from more tests.
  5. Warhead material: India now has sufficient nuclear weapon material to hit every major urban area in Pakistan and probably in China. A reasonable estimate is that India has enough material for 100 or so warheads.
  6. India has announced that it has "weaponized" the material- that it is ready to be delivered in the form of warheads. India can deliver bombs by nuclear- capable aircraft and probably by surface-to-surface missiles.

B. Indian missiles

  1. India has a short-range liquid-fuel missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads to cities in Pakistan-called the Prithvi. It is based on a Russian surface-to-air missile. The missile is in serial production and is mobile (250 km reaches Pakistani cities).
  2. India has an intermediate range, two-stage missile, called the Agni-II, capable of delivering nuclear warheads to Pakistan and China. It will fly from 2,000 to 2,500 km, not quite far enough to reach Beijing. The first stage of the missile was copied from a U.S. space launcher and the guidance system was developed with help from the German Space Agency. About 20 missiles are planned by the end 2001.
  3. India announced in 1999 that it will develop an ICBM within two years. It could do so by using the large rockets developed for its space launch vehicles, which have been launched successfully. In May 1999 India put a 1.2 ton satellite into orbit. If a country can do that, it can send a nuclear payload anywhere in the world. Accuracy, however, is another matter. India will have to shoot missiles half-way around the world in plain view to perfect a guidance system. Everyone will be watching.

C. Submarines and bombers

  1. India is developing the capability to deliver nuclear weapons by surface ships, submarines and long-range bombers. India is negotiating with Russia on the supply of these. If these efforts are successful, India can be expected to develop the ability to hit any coastal city in the world with nuclear weapons based at sea.
  2. India will be following the lead of other small nuclear powers such as England and France, which have taken their nuclear arsenals to sea.

D. Outside help

India's entire nuclear and missile infrastructure has either been imported, or based on imported designs. This includes India's reactors, its heavy water plants, its liquid- and solid-fuel missile technology, and its missile guidance systems.

E. The future

India will continue to need precision machine tools and high-speed computers to refine and modernize its arsenal. I expect these to be provided by Western countries, including the United States.

VI. Pakistan

A. Pakistan has been making nuclear weapons since the mid-1980's and tested some in 1998. We should assume that Pakistan has enough warheads (up to 50) to hit every major city in India. The warheads use a Chinese design and are made using high-enriched uranium using European equipment.

  1. Pakistan has a new Chinese-designed reactor that will make plutonium and also tritium for more efficient warheads.
  2. If you subtracted Chinese assistance from Pakistan's nuclear program, there would not be a nuclear program.
  3. Pakistan has a small efficient fission bomb design that is probably superior to India's.
  4. One must assume that Pakistan can now deliver nuclear warheads to India's major cities with the F-16 aircraft that were supplied to Pakistan by the United States. Pakistan may also be able to deliver warheads with ballistic missiles.
  5. Pakistan will continue to produce uranium, plutonium and probably tritium to fuel a growing nuclear arsenal. Like India, Pakistan will need precision machine tools and high-performance computers to make its warheads more efficient.

B. Pakistan has solid-fuel missile technology imported form China. The M-11 (Hatf III) missile has a range of about 300 km with a nuclear warhead. China sold Pakistan at least 30 missiles, probably in 1992.

  1. In addition, Pakistan has a longer-range version called the Shaheen, which has been tested to a range of about 700 km.
  2. China also supplied the design of a production plant for making solid-fuel missiles, so Pakistan can make its own solid-fuel missiles now.

C. Pakistan has also acquired a longer-range liquid-fuel missile from North Korea. In 1998 Pakistan tested a version similar to the Nodong (called the Ghauri, a.k.a. Hatf V), which flies about 1,200 km.

  1. In 1999 Pakistan tested a longer-range version called the Ghauri II, which flies about 2000 km.
  2. Both are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
  3. Pakistan has also conducted static engine tests of the Ghauri III, which will fly 2,700 to 3,000 km and bring all of India within range.

D. In July 1999, the CIA reported that North Korea and China continued to supply Pakistan's missile programs. We must assume that the supply is continuing today.

E. The future

  1. In the near future, we must expect Pakistan to be able to cover all of India with missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
  2. Pakistan's warhead is small enough to fit on the Ghauri and probably on the Shaheen as well. One must assume that Pakistan will succeed soon in mounting its warheads on these missiles, if it has not done so already.

VII. Conclusion

This brings me to the end of my presentation

A. You can see that Egypt, Syria and Iran can all target Israel with chemical warheads on missiles and can also target Israel with conventional warheads. Probably one thousand missiles can be targeted on Israel.

B. Israel can target each of these countries with the same, and in addition, with nuclear warheads.

C. India and Pakistan can target each other with nuclear warheads on aircraft and probably soon on missiles- if not already.

D. India's expanding nuclear capability will cover China soon and may cover the entire world with the next decade.

E. Iran and Iraq will continue their mass destruction arms race and Iraq's progress will increase as the embargo diminishes. Iran's missiles will soon fly far enough to reach Europe.

F. Virtually all of this capability has been imported, and will continue to rely on imports for its improvement.

G. Export control will continue to be an important way to slow this development down by making these programs more difficult, more expensive, and more time-consuming.

H. If there is a war between countries armed with mass destruction weapons, the principal challenge will be to conduct the war in such a way that these weapons will not be used. Whether that will be possible, no one knows.

I. What we do know is that the consequences of warfare are becoming more severe, and that the lives of more and more civilians are being placed in jeopardy by the spread of mass destruction weapons.