MR. GRANUM. After prolonged study and analysis, the President has decided that we will pursue a full-scale MX. Some of the key points on this are, of course, that the decision will continue the longstanding U.S. policy of maintaining a triad of three survivable strategic force components: intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers.
In order to do this, we will deploy a new ICBM in a mobile basing mode that is both survivable and verifiable. The new ICBM, as I said, will be a full-scale MX, which is permitted under SALT II and is as capable as any missile the Soviets can deploy.
The final characteristics of the basing system will be worked out during the summer months. This decision will take into account costs, security, and environmental concerns, and the requirement that the system be adequately verifiable.
REPORTER. The President doesn't consider this a destabilizing weapon in the sense that you're now building a firststrike counterforce of your own?
MR. GRANUM. He does not. He believes very strongly that this decision will strengthen the possibilities of significant reductions and controls in SALT III. It stabilizes the strategic balance. And without that, of course, serious negotiations are not possible.
It also means that there can be no Soviet advantage in an arms race. Third, by stressing survivability through mobility and shelters, we can consider a significant reduction in strategic forces with no loss in security. And finally, the ultimate scale of this deployment can be adjusted to the progress that is made in the SALT III process.