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Congressional Record, Volume 131, Number 70, May 24, 1985

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Congressional Uccord th PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 99 CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION United States uf America Vol. B1 WASHINGTON, FRIDAY, MAY 24, 1985 No. 70 Senate Mr. HECHT. Mr. President, in March of 1983, President Reagan announced the initiation of a comprehensive, long-term research and development program that will lead to the eventual basing of a nuclear ballistic missile-defense system in outer space. The importance of the President's proposal, now known as the strategic defense initiative, is that it represents a clear solution to the long held desire of the American people for a dramatic decrease in superpower reliance on offensive nuclear arms. Most significant Mr. President, and really the ultimate goal of us all, will be the enhancement of global security by permanently eliminating the threat of strategic nuclear missiles. Mr. President, I think it is extremely important to point out that since its inception, no single act by this, or any other administration has done more to bring the Soviets to the bargaining table, as they now are in Geneva, than the Reagan strategic defense initiative. Indeed, without obvious Soviet recognition that the United States is the only country capable enough to develop the SDI system, they would not presently be so willing to talk. Clearly, we must not now send the wrong signal to the Soviets by gutting the entire SDI Program as this amendment would do. For as long as the debate has raged over the pros and cons of SDI, I continue to be amazed that those who are opposed overlook the fact that the Soviet Union has been pursuing advanced space defensive technologies of their own. Such Soviet developments include directed energy research for high-energy lasers and the deployment of their own anti-satellite capability which at this very moment orbits the Earth. Clearly Mr. President, arguments that the President alone seeks to destabilize the nuclear balance or is moving toward the first militarization of space are hollow. Mr. President, opponents of SDI and amendments such as we are discussing today would severely limit our capability to continue the ongoing research in this very valuable and important program for America. We cannot allow this to happen' and I strongly oppose any further reductions in the already reduced Department of Defense authorization request for the SDI. From the very beginning of SDI, my biggest concern has been that opponents of the high frontier concept will keep this program at the research stage forever, Now I am concerned we may never see it at all. Mr. President, I remain convinced that it is vitally important we aggressively pursue this new technology to permanently move us from the archaic concept of mutually assured destruction to that of mutually assured survival. I strongly urge defeat of this amendment. Thank you Mr. President.