Friday, 27 November 1987 Washington, DC
THE FIRST SPACE TEST OF A LASER WEAPON IS PLANNED FOR 1990.
The "Zenith Star" test of a hydrogen fluoride chemical laser
would be a violation of the ABM Treaty under either the "narrow"
or the "broad" interpretation according to some experts.
However, this schedule does not violate the compromise agreed to
last week by Secretary of Defense Carlucci during the
House-Senate Conference on the FY 88 Defense Authorization
Bill (WN 20 Nov 87). It does face two
serious obstacles: the SDI
budget may not cover the several hundred million dollars needed
for the test, and the next President may feel differently about
Star Wars. On Tuesday, Reagan visited the Martin Marietta plant
in Colorado where the space craft for the test is being
developed, still declaring that Star Wars is not a bargaining
chip. A group of scientists and engineers supporting Star Wars
was there to brief the President on progress in the past four
years. They were led by the ubiquitous Dr. Frederick Seitz who
warned that, "testing restrictions are the death knell of SDI."
. CHARGES OF BACK-DOOR NEGOTIATIONS BY SCIENTISTS TO LIMIT SDI
are being investigated by the FBI. In what appears to be an
effort to discredit opponents of Star Wars prior to the December
summit, a group of Congressmen asked the FBI to determine whether
U.S. arms control advisor Paul Nitze had improperly aided the
Committee on International Security and Arms Control. CISAC was
established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1980 to draw
on the expertise of the scientific and engineering communities to
study issues of international security and arms control. CISAC
has since been engaged in twice-yearly discussions with a
counterpart group of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. The
last of these meetings took place in the USSR in October. The
State Department has denied any involvement by Nitze in the CISAC
meetings. A statement issued by the NAS asserts that the
committees of the two Academies do not discuss arms control
issues that are directly the subject of current negotiations.
The NAS denies that CISAC "ever negotiated or acted on behalf of,
nor received guidance from, any agency of the U.S. government."
3. SOVIET SCIENTISTS ACCOMPANYING GORBACHEV TO THE SUMMIT
include experts on Star Wars. The scientific advisors will be
led by Roald Sagdeev and include Evgeny Velikov and Georgi
Arbatov. The Soviets are expected to press for restrictions on
SDI development and testing that go beyond the ABM Treaty.
4. FEDERAL EXPENDITURES FOR PHYSICS AT UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES
more than doubled from 1979 to 1986, according to a summary of
statistics on academic science and engineering resources just
issued by the NSF. Total science funding increased at about the
same rate. The figures are not corrected for inflation. During
the same period support for academic science from industry
tripled, but it is still only 10 percent of the federal figure.