Colonel Daniel Smith, USA (Ret.) Chief of Research
In 1997-98 Mr. Rumsfeld chaired the congressionally mandated Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. The Commission concluded that rogue states (now called "states of concern") such as North Korea and Iran might be able to develop ICBMs in five years, which was sooner than the U.S. intelligence community thought at the time. Contrary to partisan spin, the Commission neither examined the question of nor concluded that the U.S. needed to have a national missile defense (NMD) system in place by 2003 to counter any such emerging threat. Since the Commission issued its report in July 1998, Mr. Rumsfeld has been a leading advocate of NMD, and there is little evidence that he will alter his position. Indeed, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on January 11th, he said little to dampen this expectation.