August 27, 2006

Pentagon eyes non-nuclear ICBMs against terrorists

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (Reuters) - The Pentagon is considering a
plan to replace the nuclear warheads on some intercontinental
ballistic missiles with conventional weapons for preemptive
strikes against terrorists, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld said on Sunday.

"The United States is looking into the possibility of
taking a relatively small number of our ballistic missiles and
taking a nuclear weapon off and putting a conventional weapon
on," Rumsfeld told reporters after a meeting with Russian
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

"If either of our countries or friends and allies were
threatened at some number of years into the future with a
weapon of mass destruction or a capability that was that
lethal, I think any president, whether of Russia or the United
States, would like to have available a conventional weapon that
could attack that target swiftly and accurately and precisely
and not feel that the only thing they had might be a nuclear
weapon, which they would not want to use."

Rumsfeld said he hoped Russia would consider the idea too,
but Ivanov said Russia had concerns.

The Russian defense minister said there may be different
solutions for preemptive strike.