PACOM Boss Says INF Treaty is Outdated

Adm. Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific forces, believes the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is outdated and the US is “being taken to the cleaners by countries that are not signatories,” he told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday. “I do think we should look at renegotiating the treaty,” he said before the Senate Armed Services Committee the next day. The INF treaty, which bans US and Russian ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, was signed in 1987 for “a bi-polar world” defined by the competition between the US and the Soviet Union, he told SASC. “Now we’re in a multi-polar world, where we have a lot of countries developing these weapons.” Of immediate concern are China and Iran, who are not signatories to the treaty. Harris said that 90 percent of China’s missiles fall into the category banned by the treaty, and Iran test launched such a missile in January. The US has no such weapons, Harris said, because “we adhere to the INF treaty religiously, as we should.” However, Russia deployed a new cruise missile in February in violation of the treaty. Harris also said he is “concerned about Chinese and Russian hypersonic weapons development” because the ability of the US to build similar systems would “run up against treaty restrictions.”