- Research associate for the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies
- Opposes U.S. development of National Missile Defense System
Ronald Siegel was a research associate for the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies’ (IDDS) Northeast Asia Security Project, which examined issues of nuclear weapons, conventional forces, and global warming. He wrote the IDDS’s September 2001 report on rogue-state missiles, titled “The Missile Programs of North Korea, Iraq, and Iran.” In that document, Siegel concluded that “the forecasts of an imminent ICBM threat from North Korea, Iraq, or Iran directed at the continental United States are unfounded.” He elaborated:
“At the earliest, North Korea could pose a minimal threat to Alaska and Hawaii by 2005 and a more substantial threat to the United States by 2010. Iraq and Iran could pose substantial threats by 2015. These timetables assume that nothing happens along the way to stop or delay ICBM development. In order to pose even a minimal threat, a government must be willing to risk national annihilation in order to deliver a few low yield nuclear warheads to U.S. cities, killing perhaps a few tens of thousands of civilians. In order to pose a more substantial threat, a state would have to undertake and complete a great deal more development than any has done so far. The lack of an impending threat undermines [America’s] justification both for early withdrawal from the ABM Treaty and for committing to the acquisition of a troubled [missile defense] system before there has been thorough and realistic testing. If the more substantial threats eventually materialize, the currently proposed NMD systems will be less than completely relevant to the problem.”
Siegel’s report also derided the Bush administration’s desire to deploy a National Missile Defense system in Alaska, characterizing the plan as “manifestly unworkable.”
Further Reading: “DPRK Briefing Book : The Missile Programs of North Korea, Iraq, and Iran” (by Ronald Siegel, Nautilus.org).