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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly


page 2


C. Despite repeated PRC thefts of the most sophisticated U.S. nuclear weapons technology, security at our national nuclear weapons laboratories does not meet even minimal standards.

The PRC stole design information on the United States╠ most advanced thermonuclear weapons as a result of a sustained espionage effort targeted at the United States╠ nuclear weapons facilities, including our national weapons laboratories. The successful penetration by the PRC of our nuclear weapons laboratories has taken place over the last several decades, and almost certainly continues to the present.

More specifically, the Select Committee has concluded that the successful penetration of our National Laboratories by the PRC began as early as the late 1970s; the PRC had penetrated the Laboratories throughout the 1980s and 1990s; and our Laboratories almost certainly remain penetrated by the PRC today.

Our national weapons laboratories are responsible for, among other things, the design of thermonuclear warheads for our ballistic missiles. The information at our national weapons laboratories about our thermonuclear warheads is supposed to be among our nation╠s most closely guarded secrets.

Counterintelligence programs at the national weapons laboratories today fail to meet even minimal standards. Repeated efforts since the early 1980s have failed to solve the counterintelligence deficiencies at the National Laboratories. While one of the Laboratories has adopted better counterintelligence practices than the others, all remain inadequate.

Even though the United States discovered in 1995 that the PRC had stolen design information on the W-88 Trident D-5 warhead and technical information on a number of other U.S. thermonuclear warheads, the White House has informed the Select Committee, in response to specific interrogatories propounded by the Committee, that the President was not briefed about the counterintelligence failures until early 1998.

Moreover, given the great significance of the PRC thefts, the Select Committee is concerned that the appropriate committees of the Congress were not adequately briefed on the extent of the PRC╠s espionage efforts.

A counterintelligence and security plan adopted by the Department of Energy in late 1998 in response to Presidential Decision Directive 61 is a step toward establishing sound counterintelligence practices. However, according to the head of these efforts, significant time will be required to implement improved security procedures pursuant to the directive. Security at the national weapons laboratories will not be satisfactory until at least sometime in the year 2000.

See the chapters PRC Acquisition of U.S. Technology, PRC Theft of U.S. Thermonuclear Warhead Design Information, and PRC Missile and Space Forces for more detailed discussions of the Select Committee╠s investigation of these matters.


2. The PRC has stolen or otherwise illegally obtained U.S. missile and space technology that improves the PRC╠s military and intelligence capabilities.

A. The PRC has stolen U.S. missile technology and exploited it for the PRC╠s own ballistic missile applications.

The PRC has proliferated such military technology to a number of other countries, including regimes hostile to the United States.

The Select Committee has found that the PRC has stolen a specific U.S. guidance technology used on current and past generations of U.S. weapons systems. The stolen guidance technology is currently used on a variety of U.S. missiles and military aircraft, including:

  • The U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS)
  • The U.S. Navy Stand-off Land Attack Missile-Extended Range (SLAM-ER)
  • The U.S. Navy F-14
  • The U.S. Air Force F-15, F-16, and F-117 fighter jets

The stolen guidance technology has direct applicability to the PRC╠s intercontinental, medium- and short-range ballistic missiles, and its spacelift rockets.

The theft of U.S. ballistic missile-related technology is of great value to the PRC. In addition to ICBMs and military spacelift rockets, such technology is directly applicable to the medium- and short-range PLA missiles, such as the CSS-6 (also known as the M-9), the CSS-X-7 (also known as the M-11), and the CSS-8 that have been developed for, among other purposes, striking Taiwan.

CSS-6 missiles were, for example, fired in the Taiwan Strait and over Taiwan╠s main ports in the 1996 crisis and confrontation with the United States.

The Select Committee has uncovered instances of the PRC╠s use of this specific stolen U.S. technology that:

  • Enhance the PRC╠s military capabilities
  • Jeopardize U.S. national security interests
  • Pose a direct threat to the United States, our friends and allies, or our forces

The Clinton administration has determined that particular uses by the PRC of this stolen U.S. technology cannot be disclosed publicly without affecting national security.

The PRC has proliferated weapons systems and components to other countries including Iran, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, and North Korea.


B. In the late 1990s, the PRC stole or illegally obtained U.S. developmental and research technology that, if taken to successful conclusion, could be used to attack U.S. satellites and submarines.

During the late l990s, U.S. research and development work on electromagnetic weapons technology has been illegally obtained by the PRC as a result of successful espionage directed against the United States. Such technology, once developed, can be used for space-based weapons to attack satellites and missiles.

In 1997, the PRC stole classified U.S. developmental research concerning very sensitive detection techniques that, if successfully concluded, could be used to threaten U.S. submarines.


C. Currently-deployed PRC ICBMs targeted on the United States are based in significant part on U.S. technologies illegally obtained by the PRC in the 1950s.

This illustrates the potential long-term effects of technology loss.

Even in today╠s rapidly changing technological environment, technology losses can have long-term adverse effects. Currently-deployed PRC ICBMs targeted on the United States are based on U.S. and Russian technologies from the 1950s and 1960s.

In the 1950s, a U.S. military officer and associated members of the design team for a U.S. ICBM program (the "Titan" missile program) emigrated to the PRC and illegally gave U.S. missile and missile-related technology to the PRC.

This information formed the basis for the up to two dozen PRC CSS-4 ICBMs that are currently targeted on the United States.

All but two of these missiles have been deployed by the PRC for the first time in this decade.


D. In the aftermath of three failed satellite launches since 1992, U.S. satellite manufacturers transferred missile design information and know-how to the PRC without obtaining the legally required licenses.

This information has improved the reliability of PRC rockets useful for civilian and military purposes.

The illegally transmitted information is useful for the design and improved reliability of future PRC ballistic missiles, as well.

U.S. satellite manufacturers analyzed the causes of three PRC launch failures and recommended improvements to the reliability of the PRC rockets. These launch failure reviews were conducted without required Department of State export licenses, and communicated technical information to the PRC in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

The Select Committee has concluded that the PRC implemented a number of the recommended improvements to rocket guidance and to the fairing (or nose cone), which protects a satellite during launch. These improvements increased the reliability of the PRC Long March rockets. It is almost certain that the U.S. satellite manufacturers╠ recommendations led to improvements in the PRC╠s rockets and that the improvements would not have been considered or implemented so soon without the U.S. assistance.

It is possible or even likely that, absent the U.S. satellite manufacturers╠ interventions on the problems associated with the defective fairing on the PRC╠s Long March 2E rocket and the defective guidance system on the PRC╠s Long March 3B rocket, one or more other PRC launches would have failed.

The PRC Long March rockets improved by the U.S. technology assistance are useful for both commercial and military purposes. The military uses include launching:

  • Military communications and reconnaissance satellites
  • Space-based sensors
  • Space-based weapons, if successfully developed
  • Satellites for modern command and control and sophisticated intelligence collection

The Select Committee judges that the PRC military has important needs in these areas, including notably space-based communications and reconnaissance capabilities.

In addition, design and testing know-how and procedures communicated during the launch failure reviews could be applied to the reliability of missiles or rockets generally. U.S. participants╠ comments during the failure investigations related to such matters as:

  • Missile design
  • Design analysis
  • Testing procedures
  • The application of technical know-how to particular failure analyses

To the extent any valuable information was transferred to the PRC╠s space program, such information would likely find its way into the PRC╠s ballistic missile program. The ballistic missile and space launch programs have long been intertwined and subordinate to the same ministry and state-owned corporation in the PRC.

For example, the PRC╠s Long March 2 rockets and their derivatives (including the Long March 2E, on which Hughes advised the PRC) were derived directly from the PRC╠s silo-based CSS-4 intercontinental ballistic missiles that are currently targeted on the United States.

The various institutes and academies in the PRC involved in ballistic missile and rocket design also share design and production responsibilities. Many of the PRC personnel in these organizations have responsibilities for both commercial rocket and military missile programs. Attendees at important failure review meetings included PRC personnel from such organizations.

In fact, information passed during each of the failure analyses has the potential to benefit the PRC╠s ballistic missile program. The independent experts retained by the Select Committee judge that information valuable to the PRC╠s ballistic missile and space programs was transferred to the PRC in the failure investigations.

The rocket guidance system on which Loral and Hughes provided advice in 1996 is judged by the Select Committee to be among the systems capable of being adapted for use as the guidance system for future PRC road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles, although if a better system is available, it is more likely to be chosen for that mission.

The Select Committee judges that information on rocket fairings (that is, nose cones) provided to the PRC by Hughes may assist the design and improved reliability of future PRC MIRVed missiles, if the PRC decides to develop them, and of future submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

When Loral and Hughes assisted the PRC, they could not know whether the PRC would in fact use such information in their military programs.

i. In 1993 and 1995, Hughes showed the PRC how to improve the design and reliability of PRC rockets.

Hughes╠ advice may also be useful for design and improved reliability of future PRC ballistic missiles.

Hughes deliberately acted without seeking to obtain the legally required licenses.

In 1993 and 1995, Hughes showed the PRC how to improve the design and reliability of PRC Long March rockets with important military applications. The information provided by Hughes also may be useful for improving the reliability of future PRC ballistic missiles. Hughes deliberately acted without the legally required licenses.

In 1993 and 1995 Hughes analyzed the causes of PRC launch failures and, for both failures, illegally recommended to the PRC improvements to the fairing, a part of the rocket that protects the payload. The PRC changed the fairing of its Long March rocket to incorporate the Hughes recommendations.

Hughes also corrected deficiencies in the PRC╠s coupled loads analysis, a critical rocket design technology.

Hughes also identified changes needed in PRC launch operations.

The State Department╠s Office of Defense Trade Controls has concluded that Hughes significantly improved the PRC space launch program and contributed to the PRC goal of assured access to space. The State Department further concluded that the lessons learned by the PRC are inherently applicable to their missile program.

The State Department administers arms export licensing, and would have been the proper authority to license the Hughes failure investigations.

The State Department found that the PRC and Hughes personnel engaged in an extensive exchange of data and analyses, which, among other things, identified and corrected for the PRC deficiencies in a number of technical areas, including:

  • Anomaly analysis
  • Accident investigation techniques
  • Telemetry analysis
  • Coupled loads analysis
  • Hardware design and manufacture
  • Testing
  • Modeling
  • Simulation
  • Weather analysis

The illegally transmitted information improved the PRC╠s military rockets and operations. The illegally transmitted information may assist the PRC in the design and improved reliability of future silo-based or mobile PRC ballistic missiles, including particularly missiles that require fairings (or nose cones). These would include missiles with advanced payloads (that is, multiple warheads, or certain penetration aids designed to defeat missile defenses), and submarine launched ballistic missiles.

The PRC has the capability to develop and deploy silo-based missiles with multiple reentry vehicles (MIRVs or MRVs). Within a reasonable period of years that is consistent with the PRC╠s possible deployment of new mobile missiles, the PRC could deploy multiple warheads on those mobile missiles, as well. The PRC also appears to have gained practical insight into U.S. coupled loads analysis, and insight into diagnostic and failure analysis techniques for identifying the causes of a launch failure. Such lessons could be applied to both rockets and missiles.

In both 1993 and 1995, Hughes failed to apply for or obtain the required Department of State licenses for its activities, because Hughes knew that the Department of State would be unlikely to grant the license and that the licensing process would in any case be lengthy.

Hughes also engaged in deliberate efforts to circumvent the Department of State licensing requirement. To this end, Hughes sought the approval of a Department of Commerce official for its 1995 activities and claims to have sought the approval of a Department of Defense monitor for some of its 1993 activities, although Hughes knew that neither official was legally authorized to issue the required license.

Back  |  Forward


pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

PRC Acquisition of U.S. Technology
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

PRC Theft of U.S. Nuclear Warhead Design Information
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

High Performance Computers
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

PRC Missile and Space Forces
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Satellite Launches in the PRC: Hughes
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Satellite Launches in the PRC: Loral
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Launch Site Security in the PRC
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 5 | 6

Commercial Space Insurance
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

U.S. Export Policy Toward the PRC
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Manufacturing Processes
pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

pages 1 | 2 | 3

pages introduction | A | B | C | D | E | F

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