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"No one can solve this problem alone, but together we can change things for the better." 

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016
Press Releases

Independent Panel Urges Increased Threat Reduction Efforts in Russia

Philipp C. Bleek

An independent panel commissioned by the Energy Department has called for a massive expansion of U.S. threat reduction efforts in Russia, identifying the proliferation danger posed by that country's poorly secured weapons of mass destruction and fissile material as "the most urgent unmet national security threat to the United States." The group urged the new administration to implement a series of targeted recommendations to remedy what it termed "inadequate" current efforts.

On January 10, the bipartisan "Russia Task Force," co-chaired by former Republican Senator Howard Baker and former Democratic White House Counsel Lloyd Cutler, delivered its "Report Card on the Department of Energy's Nonproliferation Programs with Russia."

In its report, the task force praises ongoing Department of Energy (DOE) threat reduction efforts, including the Material Protection, Control, and Accounting program, which upgrades security and accounting at a broad range of vulnerable Russian facilities, and the Nuclear Cities Initiative, an attempt to help Russia reduce the size of its nuclear weapons complex and redirect former weapons scientists to non-military activities.

But while emphasizing that current DOE programs have achieved "impressive results," the task force notes that management has been "too diffuse" and budget levels are "inadequate." The report warns that these shortfalls leave an "unacceptable risk of failure" and the potential for "catastrophic consequences," such as the leakage of weapons, weapons-usable fissile material, or weapons expertise to "terrorists or national regimes inimical to the U.S."

The panel recommends that President George W. Bush immediately draft a strategic plan to enhance threat reduction activities in Russia. The task force argues that a plan incorporating "clearly defined goals," "measured use of resources," and "appropriate exit strategies" would considerably improve the government's response to the threat. The panel suggests that the plan be formulated in collaboration with Congress and the Russian government.

Threat reduction activities in the former Soviet Union are managed by the departments of State, Defense, and Energy, and they are coordinated by the departments and by the National Security Council. But in recent years, programs have received only sporadic attention from senior White House officials. Suggesting that threat reduction efforts would benefit from sustained oversight, the panel recommends the establishment of a high-level position in the White House with responsibility for policy and budget coordination for all threat reduction and non-proliferation efforts.

The report also states that current funding for "controlling and securing nuclear weapons material in Russia," efforts conducted mainly through Energy Department programs, is insufficient to "meet the challenge." The panel recommends that funding be increased from the current level of about $300 million to $3 billion per year, which the panel notes is less than 1 percent of the U.S. defense budget. The panel indicates that Russia would be expected to contribute financially and that further funding could be sought from "major powers" such as the European Union and Japan, which to date have provided little assistance to threat reduction efforts.

According to the panel, the increased resources would allow "all nuclear weapons-usable material" to be "secured and/or neutralized" within eight to 10 years, after which Russia could assume any "remaining work." U.S. threat reduction efforts, which were conceived in 1991, were intended to be wrapped up within about a decade, but the programs were extended by the Clinton administration in 1999.

During the presidential campaign, Bush praised ongoing efforts and pledged to ask Congress to "increase substantially" U.S. assistance under the Pentagon's Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. (See ACT, September 2000.) And in a January 12 interview with The New York Times, Bush said cooperating with Russia on proliferation is a "top priority" for his administration.

During Senate confirmation hearings, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said that DOE threat reduction activities were a "high priority" and stated that he planned to meet with panel co-chairs Baker and Cutler to discuss their report, while Secretary of State Colin Powell said that he agreed with the report's conclusions "entirely."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appears less enthusiastic about threat reduction programs, however. Responding to written questions posed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rumsfeld noted that, while Russia "claims to lack the financial resources to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, [it] continues to invest scarce resources in the development of newer, more sophisticated ICBMs and other weapons." The defense secretary called for "a review of ongoing CTR projects and their respective national security benefits."

NMD Gaining Ground in Europe; Russia Pushes Alternative

Wade Boese

European opposition to U.S. national missile defense (NMD) plans appears to have been somewhat blunted by the Bush administration's repeated pronouncements that it will deploy an NMD system and will fully consult U.S. allies, Russia, and China along the way. Moscow and Beijing, however, remain adamantly opposed to the system.

In an interview in the February 6 International Herald Tribune, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said that the question of "whether [a defense is] going to happen has been settled" and that it is time for intra-alliance discussions on how and when. Robertson's predecessor, Javier Solana, who is currently the secretary-general of the Council of the European Union, told reporters in Washington on February 5 it was in Europe's interest for Washington and Moscow to work out the issue together. But he also said that the United States has the right to deploy a defense and that the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which proscribes national defenses against strategic ballistic missiles, is not "the Bible."

Nevertheless, considerable wariness about U.S. NMD plans persists. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer warned February 3 that a missile defense would have "far-reaching" international consequences and that it could have a "political impact long before it is implemented." He further cautioned that an increase in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or a new arms race in Asia, where China fears the U.S. defense is geared toward it, would "create less rather than more security worldwide." French President Jacques Chirac declared January 29 that he feared a missile defense could spark a renewed arms race. Britain maintains that it is not opposed to Washington's NMD plans, but that it is reserving comment until there is an actual proposal from the Bush administration.

The Clinton administration engendered ill will by not officially briefing NATO on U.S. missile defense plans until December 1999—two months after the system's first intercept test. Apparently determined to avoid the same mistake, the Bush administration, at almost every opportunity, has stressed it will consult early and often with U.S. allies about its evolving missile defense plans, while underscoring that the final decision is Washington's. Speaking on February 9, Secretary of State Colin Powell invited allies to share their views but said that the United States is "not going to get knocked off the track" of deploying a defense if the technology exists.

Unlike the Clinton system, designed solely to protect U.S. territory, Bush declared during the campaign and since taking office that his system will protect not only the United States and its deployed forces but also U.S. allies. Echoing his boss, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told an international conference of high-level defense officials on February 3 that the United States was "prepared to assist friends and allies threatened by missile attack to deploy [missile] defenses."

Bush, Powell, and Rumsfeld have all expressed faith that they will be able to convince the NATO allies and others to accept a U.S. defense. When asked on February 23 whether Washington would be prepared to deploy a missile defense alone, Bush responded, "I don't think I'm going to fail to persuade people."

Visiting Moscow in mid-February, press reports quoted Fischer as saying that, despite Moscow's continued tough stance against a U.S. NMD, Russia would eventually accept the system. In Washington a week later, Fisher, according to a German official, clarified that he had found an increased readiness in Russia to discuss missile defense and that he believed it possible for Washington and Moscow to work out a solution on the issue in a cooperative climate.

Russia Responds

Since Bush assumed office, Russian officials at the highest levels, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly said that Russia looks forward to "dialogue" with the new administration, while maintaining that they oppose U.S. deployment of an NMD. As an alternative to NMD, Russia has resurrected its proposal for joint cooperation on theater missile defense (TMD).

On February 20, Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev presented NATO Secretary-General Robertson with a confidential proposal for a European missile defense. The newly proposed defense, according to comments by both Russian and NATO officials, would be against non-strategic ballistic missiles, keeping the system within and, therefore, preserving the ABM Treaty. The New York Times reported the proposal numbered nine pages and outlined a general, mobile land-based system.

Russia floated proposals last June that, instead of unilateral deployment of a U.S. missile defense, Russia, Europe, and the United States could work together on a TMD or boost-phase system to protect Europe if real threats existed. For the remainder of the Clinton presidency, Moscow never offered a detailed plan of what such systems would look like.

Briefing reporters February 22, a NATO official described the recent proposal as "very broad brush," and Powell, speaking on February 23, commented that "there isn't a lot there yet that we can get our teeth into." Despite the lack of details, Washington welcomed Russia's action, saying it would study the proposal. Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley noted the system would do nothing to protect the United States and was therefore "lacking in that regard." But he described the United States as "heartened" by the proposal because it indicated that Moscow has recognized the existence of a threat.

But Sergeyev and Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, who heads the Russian Defense Ministry's office on international cooperation, continue to speak of the need for evaluating the threat. Ivashov, quoted at length by the Russian news agency Interfax on February 20, said the proposal consisted of three stages: first, determining "whether there is any threat;" second, forming a plan on how best to deal with the threat; and, finally, "if the need for it arises," building the system.

While pledging consultations with Moscow and Beijing, top Bush officials—more than the Clinton administration—have pointed the finger at Russia and China, the two staunchest opponents of missile defense, as bearing some responsibility for the U.S. pursuit of a missile shield. Interviewed on CBS on February 11, Powell said that one way to eliminate the threat would be if "nations that would be friends of ours" not sell dangerous technologies to countries unfriendly to the United States. Three days later on PBS, Rumsfeld called Russia an "active proliferator" and "part of the problem." Moscow forcefully responded that it abides by all of its international commitments.

D.P.R.K. Threatens to End Missile Moratorium, Nuclear Cooperation

Alex Wagner

Pyongyang threatened on February 22 to abandon its missile testing moratorium and its participation in the Agreed Framework if the Bush administration followed a "different" North Korea policy from that of the Clinton administration. North Korea also criticized the Bush team for what it termed an "aggressive and brigandish" approach to future relations that would obstruct movement in the "direction of reconciliation, cooperation and improved ties."

The remarks were made in a Foreign Ministry statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, the official government press organ. The statement claimed that the Bush administration "is not posed to seriously study" progress made by the Clinton administration toward ending Pyongyang's indigenous missile program and missile exports.

The statement reaffirmed that, while North Korea would not test long-range missiles during negotiations, a pledge originally made in September 1999, if dialogue were discontinued, the moratorium could not be maintained "indefinitely." Pyongyang also accused Washington of "not sincerely" implementing the Agreed Framework and emphasized that, should Washington continue to delay implementation, there would be "no need" to be "bound to it any longer."

The framework, signed in 1994, froze North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for two light-water commercial nuclear power reactors and for heavy fuel oil shipments during the reactors' construction. Since the framework's signing, the reactors' construction has suffered from setbacks, prompting North Korean protests.

The statement also denounced past U.S. characterizations of North Korea as a "rogue state" and U.S. national missile defense efforts.

At a February 22 press conference, White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice characterized Pyongyang's threat to resume missile tests as "counterproductive." Rice told reporters, "It's not helpful for the North Koreans to threaten to have missile tests in order to get [the United States] to do something to give up missile defense." Rice also said that the new administration is still reviewing its North Korea policy, which it is closely coordinating with South Korea and Japan.

However, earlier that same day, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher expressed the administration's willingness to continue the progress made to date on security issues, saying, "We will continue to use that as we form an overall policy." Boucher added that the United States expects Pyongyang to respect its pledge on ballistic missile testing and that the Bush administration would honor its commitments under the Agreed Framework "as long as North Korea does the same."

North Korea appears to have issued its statement in response to what it perceives as a more "hardline stance" by the new Bush administration. At his January 17 confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Colin Powell indicated that he plans to move carefully when engaging North Korea on missile issues. Powell told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "The Bush administration will come in and work with North Korea and with our allies in the region…in a very, very cautious way."

While Powell stated that the United States should "encourage" the opening up of North Korea, he stressed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il should be viewed with "clear-eyed realism." Powell emphasized that, even if Pyongyang agreed to end its indigenous missile program and missile exports, "we'd still be left with a situation of a dictatorial regime that has a very large army poised on the border between North and South Korea."

Powell also said that the new administration would only continue to engage North Korea through reciprocity and that it would measure progress by Pyongyang meeting tangible benchmarks. Any North Korea policy would have to be implemented "in a very, very realistic way" that does not "give them anything unless we get something in return, something that is really valuable to us, something that moves them in an entirely different direction."

Richard Armitage, a key foreign policy adviser to the Bush campaign who has advocated taking a tougher negotiating posture with Pyongyang, has been nominated to become Powell's deputy. In a 1999 paper for the National Defense University, Armitage called for regaining the "diplomatic initiative" with North Korea and moving toward "full normalization of relations" if Pyongyang satisfies U.S. concerns. However, should diplomacy fail, Armitage suggested that the United States would be faced with either living with and deterring a "nuclear North Korea armed with delivery systems" or "preemption, with the attendant uncertainties."

Work on Clinton Missile Defense System Scheduled to Continue

Wade Boese

While the new Bush administration mulls its missile defense options, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has approved continued work on the Clinton administration's limited national missile defense (NMD) system. The Pentagon is tentatively planning to conduct two NMD flight tests within the next four months. Rumsfeld has made no statement on the Clinton system, but Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral Craig Quigley said February 6 that Rumsfeld's guidance to the director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) was to "press on." BMDO is charged with overseeing U.S. missile defense programs.

Last September, then-President Bill Clinton decided not to begin deployment of his proposed missile defense, deferring the decision to his successor. Clinton, who cited doubts about the technology and spoke at length about international opposition and concerns, did ask the Pentagon to continue researching and testing the system, which, if approved, would be initially comprised of 20 ground-based missile interceptors deployed in Alaska. Eventually, this first-phase deployment would total 100 missile interceptors.

BMDO is gearing up for the first flight test of the booster that is being developed to carry the NMD system's exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) into space. Once it separates from the booster, the EKV is designed to seek out and collide with an incoming warhead. All NMD flight tests thus far have used a surrogate booster.

Previously scheduled for early last year, the booster test, which will not include an intercept attempt, has been delayed by several issues related to integrating all of the booster elements. For example, a new "vibration dampening system" is being added to reduce the physical stresses that will be put on the EKV by the new booster's acceleration, which is greater than that of the surrogate booster. In a November 1999 report, an independent review panel questioned whether the EKV would be able to withstand the more severe vibrations and accelerations of the system's actual booster.

The system's next intercept attempt, which will still use a surrogate booster, could occur this coming May or June, according to BMDO. Of the three intercept attempts to date, the system has had one successful hit, which a top Pentagon program reviewer last year attributed, in part, to a large decoy balloon near the target that helped the EKV locate the mock warhead.

Despite the system's mixed test results and program delays, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), a leading ballistic missile defense proponent, prodded President George W. Bush on February 14 to "move forward as fast as we can with the technology we have today." To demonstrate U.S. determination, Cochran said construction should begin on the system's X-band radar, which would track and discriminate incoming warheads.

The X-band radar is to be built on Shemya, a remote Aleutian island that is largely inaccessible for most of the year and has a short construction period due to severe weather conditions. Because of these conditions, building the radar will take more time than assembling the rest of the system's components, which is why Clinton had to decide last fall whether to authorize the beginning of construction in order to meet a 2005 deployment date. Clinton's deferral pushed the earliest possible deployment date back to 2006.

Even if Bush opts quickly to deploy the Clinton defense, which he described as inadequate during the campaign, starting actual construction this year would be "highly, highly unlikely," according to a BMDO spokesperson. The same official said that "maybe some site preparation" could be done for the X-band radar. To enable construction of the proposed Clinton defense to get fully underway next year, Bush would need to approve work before this December.

Bush Administration Stresses Commitment to Missile Defense

Wade Boese

During their first weeks in office, President George W. Bush and his top national security officials emphasized repeatedly their commitment to building ballistic missile defenses, though they offered no schedule or details on what type of defense they would pursue, admitting those decisions have yet to be made.

In his campaign, Bush declared the United States "must build effective missile defenses…at the earliest possible date." Such defenses, according to Bush, should be designed to protect all 50 states, deployed U.S. forces, and U.S. allies and would not necessarily be limited to land-based interceptors, like the proposed Clinton system, but could employ other technologies as well, such as lasers. Speaking at the January 26 swearing-in ceremony of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Bush listed defending the United States from missile threats, among other growing threats, as one of his top three defense policy goals.

Both Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was also sworn in January 26, have portrayed missile defenses as nothing short of an obligation to the American people. Making his first official trip abroad, Rumsfeld on February 3 told other high-level defense officials attending the 37th Munich Conference on Security Policy that building a missile defense was "not so much a technical question as a matter of the president's constitutional responsibility" and that it was "in many respects…a moral issue."

Likewise, Powell remarked to reporters on February 9 that "it would be irresponsible of us not to move forward with technologies" for stopping ballistic missiles. Powell repeated this assertion two days later in an interview on CBS, saying the United States should not shelve the defense because of criticism that it is too difficult or controversial.

Yet both secretaries have acknowledged that no plans are yet on the drawing board. Deflecting questions about a timetable, Powell stated February 9 that an assessment must still be made of the "various technologies that are out there," and then the administration needs to "come up with a concept." Powell added, "I can't tell you how long that will take," saying it was in Rumsfeld's hands.

On his flight to Germany, Rumsfeld told reporters that the administration was "not in a position to talk specifics." Three weeks earlier, at his January 11 confirmation hearing, Rumsfeld said, "I know a lot about the threat…but I've spent much less time on the ways of dealing with it, and that is something I've simply got to wrap my head around."

A White House-ordered review of strategic defensive and offensive programs, which was signed by Bush in the third week of February, will help guide the Pentagon in developing its missile defense options, according to an administration official interviewed February 23. The official said the review could be completed by mid-summer.

Powell implied that the administration was not going to rush finalizing its missile defense plans, explaining that it would act in a "deliberate way, examining technology to make sure it works, understanding the cost implications of what we are doing, and understanding the arms control and diplomatic considerations." There would be "more than adequate time" to consult with other countries about U.S. missile defense plans, Powell declared, though he added that "we are not going to get knocked off the track of moving in this direction as long as the technology points us in that direction."

Interviewed on Fox News on February 11, Rumsfeld, who has said a missile defense "need not be perfect," similarly suggested there would be no hurried push for deployment, saying the technologies behind a defense would need to "evolve in a way that we can be reasonably confident [that it will work]." He also stated that deployment should happen when it "makes the most sense for us and for our friends and allies."

Deployment of a national missile defense would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which proscribed national defenses against strategic ballistic missiles and outlaws the development and testing of sea-, air-, space-, or mobile land-based components for such a defense. Negotiated by President Richard Nixon, the treaty sought to prevent an arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union by barring defenses that could spur an offensive build up by either side.

As a presidential candidate, Bush said he would try to amend the treaty to accommodate a future U.S. defense through negotiations with Russia, but Moscow staunchly rejected similar entreaties from the Clinton administration. If Russia refuses to amend the treaty, Bush has declared he would withdraw the United States from the accord.

Rumsfeld, who described the treaty as "ancient history" in his confirmation hearing, has said the United States should not continue to remain "vulnerable" by not deploying a defense. On February 2, Rumsfeld said he had "little doubt" that the most cost-effective and technologically advanced defense was not one that could be designed within the limitations of the ABM Treaty.

In a February 4 interview aired on ABC, Powell acknowledged that at some point in developing a defense "we will bump up against the [treaty] limits." When that happens, Powell said the United States will try to negotiate with Russia, but he cautioned that the United States would need to "hold out the possibility that it may be necessary to leave that treaty if it is no longer serving our purposes, or if it is not something that we can accommodate our programs within." But Powell conceded that this scenario is "not something that's going to happen tomorrow" and that there would first be "full consultation" with U.S. European allies, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and China.

Clinton Revises Computer Export Control Regulations

Alex Wagner

On January 10, the outgoing Clinton administration loosened U.S. export controls on high-performance computers (HPCs) for the sixth time since 1993, emphasizing that the restrictions have become obsolete given rapid advancements in computer processing speed.

The United States regulates the export of HPCs because they can be used in the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction. HPC exports are controlled by a four-tier country group structure created in 1995. The tier system restricts exports based on the perceived proliferation threat posed by the recipient state or end-users within a state. Tier 1 countries, such as European allies, are subject to no restrictions, while virtually all HPC exports are banned to end-users in Tier 4 countries, which include North Korea and Iran. Exports to countries in Tiers 2 and 3 require licenses for HPCs above certain speeds.

The White House's recent move combines the first and second tiers, creating a new three-tier structure and effectively abolishing licensing requirements for Tier 2 states, which include Slovenia, South Korea, and most countries in Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The revised regulations also raised the speed threshold for exports (above which a license is required) to Tier 3 countries, including Russia and China, from 28,000 million theoretical operations per second (MTOPS) to 85,000 MTOPS for all end-users. (According to the Intel Corporation, the Pentium III processor, which is commonly found in personal computers, has processing speeds ranging from about 930 MTOPS to about 2,630 MTOPS.)

The tier combination will take place in 120 days and the new speed threshold will go into effect February 26.

In a press release announcing the changes, the Clinton administration indicated that it "would prefer to remove most controls on computer hardware exports" but recognized that the Bush administration would need time to evaluate such a proposal. While acknowledging that there is "merit in continuing to control national security and proliferation-related software," the Clinton administration noted that restricting hardware exports is increasingly ineffective.

A General Accounting Office report released in December 2000 agreed, saying that current HPC controls based on MTOPS were "outdated and no longer a valid means for controlling computing technology." However, the report criticized the Clinton administration for not adequately explaining previous changes to the MTOPS thresholds in February 2000 and August 2000, specifically noting that the administration "did not factor computer clustering into its control threshold changes." Clustering, the process of physically connecting lower-speed computers to run applications faster, would allow a collection of such computers to exceed even the revised HPC thresholds.

Saying that an alternative was needed in order to address national security and proliferation concerns, the report called for a panel of experts to "comprehensively assess and report to Congress" ways to address the shortcomings of the current HPC export control process.

The Bush administration is reviewing the Clinton administration's HPC export control policies, but has yet to determine what changes, if any, it plans to make. In his confirmation hearing January 17, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that as "opposed to 10 or 12 years ago…we have now discovered that [HPCs] are fungible items; they're all over the world, and if we don't sell them, somebody else will." While recognizing the significance of "guarding the nation's interests" and "protecting [its] secrets," Powell concluded that computer export controls should not place the United States at a "competitive disadvantage."

Conference on Disarmament Starts 2001 Session in Stalemate

Wade Boese

Alittle more than three weeks into its 2001 negotiating session, the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) appeared destined to repeat its last two years of deadlock, as China, backed by Russia, and the United States reaffirmed conflicting positions on negotiations on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

Neither side has indicated a willingness to resolve differences in negotiating priorities. The 66-member body requires consensus to start negotiations on any topic or to pass a work program for negotiations, which it has failed to do three out of the past four years.

At the conference's opening plenary on January 23, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a statement read by CD Secretary-General Vladimir Petrovsky, expressed concern that the conference had not recently lived up to its potential as a negotiating forum. Annan said that "harmony" among key countries must be restored if the conference is to avoid another year without negotiations.

Six days later, however, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement charging U.S. CD Ambassador Robert Grey with "wittingly distorting" Russia's record at the conference in an interview with Arms Control Today. During the interview, published in December 2000, Grey fingered Moscow as being partially responsible for the CD's lack of negotiations during the past year by linking the start of fissile material cutoff treaty negotiations with those on outer space. The ministry said Moscow condemns linkage, but then declared that Russia supported negotiating these two issues on "parallel tracks," describing such an arrangement as being of "fundamental importance."

Speaking on February 15, Chinese Ambassador Hu Xiaodi argued the case for conference negotiations on nuclear disarmament, a fissile material cutoff treaty, negative security assurances, and outer space, which he alleged the United States had "single-handedly obstructed" in recent years. Starting negotiations on all these issues was the "only possible way to break the current stalemate," the ambassador concluded.

Staunch opposition to possible U.S. ballistic missile defense programs underlie the Chinese and Russian demands for outer space negotiations. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, addressing the conference February 1, alluded to such defenses, warning that "some medicines are more dangerous than diseases themselves." Also targeting U.S. missile defense plans, Hu said, "The most outstanding menace comes from attempts to overthrow the 1972 ABM Treaty and weaponize outer space." The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty bars national defenses against strategic ballistic missiles and testing or deploying space-based ABM systems or their components.

Grey defended U.S. missile defense plans on February 15, asserting that missile defenses can "enhance strategic stability and further reduce the danger that nuclear weapons will ever be used." He further described the outer space issue as "not ripe for negotiations" and said the United States, which wants immediate negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty, would hold only discussions, not negotiations, on outer space and nuclear disarmament. Grey ruled out further compromise, saying that the United States had already "agreed with great reluctance" to discussions on outer space and that "we have gone as far as we can go."

The first third of this year's negotiating session concludes March 30. CD members will meet again from May 14 to June 29 and from July 30 to September 14.

Russian Statement on ACT Interview With Ambassador Grey

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken note of the interview of Robert T. Grey, the United States Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament (CD), published in the December issue of the American journal Arms Control Today.

The U.S. diplomat, wittingly distorting the real state of affairs at the Conference, calls Russia one of the main culprits of the standstill in its activity. Grey's assertions that Russia has been hindering the adoption of a Conference work program by "linking" the launching of talks for a ban on the production of weapons grade fissile materials to commencement of talks on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, can only be seen as an attempt to put everything from its feet on its head. It will be recalled that in the speech of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov at the 2000 Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and in the repeated statements of the Russian delegation at the CD it has been pointed out that we condemn the path of interlinkages at the CD, of converting one issue into the hostage of another. We advocate the earliest possible achievement of progress in Conference activity, including—on parallel tracks—the start of the work within its framework of the Ad Hoc Committees on weapons grade fissile materials and on talks to prevent an arms race in space. We consider it of fundamental importance that both committees have a mandate to negotiate.

Yet it is the delegation of the United States, actually the only one to do so at the CD, that has with invariable persistence been blocking the talks on the extremely urgent question of averting an arms race in space. As Grey admits in the interview, "[W]e are not ready for talks on a treaty to ban space weapons." This looks especially paradoxical given that the U.S. delegation too approved recently the UN General Assembly resolution calling for the commencement of such talks.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms the principled stand of our country in support of the effective functioning of the CD as a unique multilateral negotiation forum for the elaboration of universal multilateral agreements in the field of disarmament. Russia's priorities in the activity of the Conference on Disarmament, and generally the ways of promoting global strategic stability, and intensifying the disarmament process will be the focus of the forthcoming speech at the CD of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov.

Editor's Note: On January 29, the Russian Foreign Ministry released the above statement, criticizing comments Ambassador Robert T. Grey, the U.S. representative to the UN Conference on Disarmament, made in an interview with Arms Control Today. The full text of the interview, which was published in the December 2000 issue, can be found online at www.armscontrol.org/act/dec00.

Wassenaar Arrangement Agrees On MANPADS Export Criteria

Wade Boese

After more than two years of negotiations, the 33 members of the Wassenaar Arrangement agreed at their annual plenary meeting to non-binding criteria to guide exports of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. At the meeting, held November 30 and December 1 in Bratislava, Slovakia, the members also detailed "best practices" for disposing of surplus weaponry, controlling exports of "very sensitive" dual-use goods, and enforcing national export controls. Like the missile export criteria, the "best practices" are not legally binding, reflecting the voluntary nature of the arrangement.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright first called for tighter controls on shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, formally referred to as Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), in a June 1998 speech, saying that the missiles pose a threat to civil aviation. A U.S. government official interviewed December 12 noted that since 1978 there have been approximately 20 incidents of MANPADS being used to shoot down non-military aircraft. Seventeen countries, including the United States, produce such missile systems, though not all are Wassenaar members, the official said.

The Wassenaar criteria call for members to export MANPADS only to foreign governments or their authorized agents and to weigh the possibility of whether the missiles will be diverted or misused by the recipient government. Exporters are called upon to assure themselves that importing governments will not re-export the MANPADS without prior consent.

Wassenaar missile exporters are also to assess whether the importing government can safely store and handle the missiles to prevent unauthorized access and use. For example, the criteria call for the missiles and firing mechanisms to be stored and transported separately as a "minimum" safety measure. At least once a month, the recipient countries should also take a physical inventory of all their MANPADS.

At the plenary, Wassenaar members also set out lists of "best practices" for exporting arms and dual-use goods. Wassenaar members agreed to five practices emphasizing that surplus weaponry should be subjected to the same controls as new weaponry. To assure "extreme vigilance" in sales of "very sensitive" dual-use items, such as stealth technology, Wassenaar members listed five practices stressing the necessity of preventing diversions or unauthorized use of such exports. The members further agreed to 18 practices for "effective enforcement," ranging from maintaining a list of problem end-users to cooperating in investigating and prosecuting violations of national export controls.

Underscoring their non-binding character, the agreements indicate that, for the export of very sensitive dual-use items, "'best practices' does not necessarily imply 'common practices,'" and that, for exporting surplus weapons, the practices are those "actually followed or aspired to by" Wassenaar members. Nevertheless, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Amanda DeBusk stated in a December 7 press release that "the adoption of the 'best practices' demonstrates that other countries share the U.S. view that an effective export control system requires first-rate export enforcement capabilities."

As in past years, Wassenaar members also amended the control lists to relax controls on dual-use goods that are increasingly available and therefore no longer merit stringent control, such as microprocessors.

The Wassenaar Arrangement was established in July 1996 to promote transparency and greater responsibility in the arms trade with the aim of preventing destabilizing weapons accumulations. Though not targeted at specific states, Wassenaar is intended to "enhance cooperation" in preventing sales of conventional arms and dual-use goods to countries or regions of concern to members.

Wassenaar calls on its members, which include most major arms exporters, to exchange information on deliveries, and in some cases denials of exports, of conventional weaponry and dual-use goods to non-Wassenaar members. Members are not obligated to forgo transfers denied previously by other members. Some arms exporters, such as China, Israel, and South Africa, are not members and have not sought to join the arrangement.

In addition to the dual-use goods category, which is divided into three tiers (basic, sensitive, and very sensitive), the arrangement covers seven broad types of major conventional weaponry: battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery, military aircraft/unmanned aerial vehicles, military and attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile systems.

U.S. efforts at the plenary meeting to add further conventional weapons reporting categories for power projection and logistics equipment, such as bridging vehicles, did not succeed. Members also could not agree on specific measures for addressing small arms, though they pledged to "share information and explore practical measures" for preventing destabilizing small arms stockpiles.

The U.S. government official confirmed that a Clinton administration initiative during the past year to raise negotiation of an international agreement proscribing arms sales to countries with human rights abuses, among other criteria, will not be acted upon within Wassenaar. However, the United States and the European Union on December 18 issued a declaration stating that they would jointly encourage other arms exporters to "submit their export decisions to rigorous criteria and to greater transparency." (See p. 37.)

U.S. Explores North Korean Offer to Terminate Missile Program In Exchange for Satellite-Launch Aid

Alex Wagner

Washington and Moscow are taking seriously an offer North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il made to Russian President Vladimir Putin in July to terminate Pyongyang's testing, development, and production of long-range ballistic missiles in exchange for international assistance with satellite launches. There has been confusion as to whether Kim made the offer in good faith since August 14, when South Korean media reported that Kim said he had been joking when he made the suggestion to Putin.

The United States sent Ambassador Wendy Sherman to Moscow August 28 to discuss North Korea's missile program and Kim's apparent offer. Sherman met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov and Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov. A State Department official said that the two sides had "good discussions." The United States and Russia agree that it is "important to explore" North Korea's offer, and for now, Washington is "taking it seriously," according to the official.

Putin had made the first-ever visit of a Soviet or Russian leader to Pyongyang on July 19, stopping en route to Okinawa, Japan, for a meeting of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized nations. After a two-hour meeting, Putin told the Russian news agency Interfax that "North Korea on the whole is ready to use exclusively other nations' rocket technologies if it receives rocket boosters for peaceful space exploration."

Initially, the precise conditions of the proposal were unclear, and U.S. officials were concerned that North Korea wanted to import a booster-rocket capability, which could be used to launch weapons as well as satellites. The potential threat of North Korean ICBMs is one of Washington's primary justifications for pursuing deployment of a limited national missile defense system. Russia has vehemently opposed the deployment of such a system, which would require amending the 1972 ABM Treaty, and has rejected the idea that North Korea presents a threat.

State Department spokesmen Adam Ereli told reporters July 20 that the United States was "very interested" in North Korea's reported proposal, as long as it was done by "other countries, using launch services from existing launch providers under strict technology safeguards."

On July 22, Putin presented an extensive account of his discussions with Kim Jong-Il to the heads of state at the G-8 summit. In a press conference later that day, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov specified that the missile deal was "not a matter of launching from North Korean territory, but from the territory of other countries."

The following week, at the July 28 Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attempted to clarify the details of the Putin announcement with North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun—the highest level U.S.-North Korean meeting to date. In describing her talks with Paek as "a substantively modest but symbolically historic step away from the sterility and hostility of the past," Albright admitted that she was "not able to glean" any further details about the missile offer from her North Korean counterpart.

The Washington Post reported in an August 3 article that in an exchange of "confidential letters" following the Putin-Kim meeting, North Korea had reaffirmed its offer to end its missile program and suggested that "concerned countries" pay for two or three satellite launches per year.

However, at an August 13 luncheon in Pyongyang, Kim reportedly informed an audience of 46 South Korean publishers and broadcasters that his missile proposal to Putin was merely meant "in humor, while talking about science and state-of-the-art technologies," according to the Korea Times. English excerpts from the lunch published in the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo quoted Kim as saying, "I told Russian President Putin that we will stop developing rockets when the United States comes forward and launches our satellites."

Sherman will discuss the issue further with South Korea and Japan when she represents the United States in Seoul at a September 1 meeting of the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group, which was set up for the three countries to coordinate policy on North Korea.

Russia Ready to Reduce to 1,500 Warheads, Addressing Dispute Over Strategic Forces' Fate

Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal will be reduced to 1,500 warheads, Russian news sources reported after an August 11 meeting of the Security Council. The meeting was convened by President Vladimir Putin to resolve a dispute between Russia's most senior military officials, Minister of Defense Igor Sergeyev and Chief of the General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin, over the reorganization of Russia's nuclear forces. The council also reportedly decided to shift funds from the Strategic Rocket Forces to conventional weapons procurement as part of a major military budget reorganization and to reconsider the rocket forces' independent status after 2006.

The council's decision appears to be the first time that Russia has indicated a willingness to unilaterally reduce its arsenal, although the planned "gradual" reduction allows Russia time to negotiate additional strategic reduction agreements with the United States to minimize anticipated disparities between the countries' arsenals.

For several years, Moscow has advocated reducing the Russian and U.S. strategic arsenals to 1,500 deployed warheads in the context of a START III agreement. Russia currently deploys about 6,000 warheads on strategic delivery vehicles, while the United States deploys just over 7,000. START II, which has not yet entered into force, requires the countries to reduce their arsenals to 3,000-3,500 deployed warheads each by the end of 2007.

The Russian press reported that the reduction depends in part on progress in strategic arms control agreements. If START III negotiations fail to be initiated or are unsuccessful, or if the United States proceeds with deployment of a national missile defense, the role of the rocket forces is likely to be revisited.

The Security Council's decision appears to be motivated largely by financial factors, as various segments of the armed forces compete for a share of Russia's inadequate military budget. In the absence of official government figures, the size of that budget remains controversial, with reputable analysts positing figures between $5 billion and $55 billion per year, depending on the degree to which purchasing power parity is taken into consideration.

By comparison, the United States is spending about $300 billion on its military this year.

In the weeks leading up to the meeting, Sergeyev had been clashing publicly with Kvashnin, who has advocated shifting funds from the nuclear forces to conventional force procurement. The current round of the controversy, which dates back to at least 1998, began when Kvashnin, long rumored to be a potential successor to Sergeyev, went public July 12 with a plan to reform Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces, responsible for Russia's ICBMs.

According to a July 15 report published in the Russian newspaper Izvestia, Kvashnin argued for reducing the number of land-based launchers from the current 756 to 150, consolidating existing rocket forces divisions, dramatically downsizing missile complex personnel, cutting back production of the Topol-M long-range missile, and reducing the rocket forces' share of the military budget from 18 to 15 percent. Kvashnin also called for the Strategic Rocket Forces to be subsumed into the current air force command structure.

Kvashnin, one of the primary architects of the war in Chechnya, has long argued that Russia's nuclear arsenal siphons much-needed resources away from its conventional forces. Many Russian defense officials blame Russia's difficulty in defeating Chechen rebels on the fact that the army is ill-funded and hence ill-equipped.

Sergeyev, who previously served as head of the Strategic Rocket Forces, countered by labeling Kvashnin's plan "criminal stupidity and an attack on Russia's national interests" in a July 14 interview with the Russian news agency Interfax. In a July 15 article, Interfax also cited Sergeyev as arguing that the Strategic Rocket Forces are the centerpiece of Russia's newly adopted military doctrine, which appeared to broaden the range of scenarios under which nuclear weapons could be used in order to compensate for the decline of Russia's conventional forces. (See ACT, May 2000.)

Sergeyev argued that Russia's nuclear forces represent the country's only hope for maintaining a global leadership role and must therefore receive funding priority. Under Sergeyev's leadership at the Ministry of Defense, the Strategic Rocket Forces have claimed almost one-fifth of the military budget and the majority of military procurement funds (reportedly between 50 and 80 percent), as the force struggles to deploy the new Topol-M land-based missile to replace a missile force that is reaching the end of its intended service life. (See ACT, June 2000.)

Both officials argued their positions in the media, resulting in a remarkably public debate about one of the most sensitive Russian policy issues. Putin, speaking during a July 15 visit to a major conventional arms show in the Ural mountains, ordered his generals to silence their debate and come up with realistic policy proposals. The president also fired six senior generals reportedly loyal to Sergeyev on August 1, apparently foreshadowing the result of the August 11 Security Council meeting.

While Russian media reporting on the closed meeting indicated that Putin had sided with proponents of a reduction in both the size and independence of Russia's nuclear forces, Sergeyev emphasized at a subsequent press briefing that "not a single missile…will be removed before the complete expiration" of its functional service life.

The majority of Russia's nuclear weapon delivery systems will have exceeded their service lives by the end of the decade. Budget allocations for Russia's strategic nuclear forces, including the Strategic Rocket Forces as well as the air force and navy arsenals, are already insufficient to perform the upkeep and modernization necessary to maintain the current arsenal.

Regardless of whether the decision to withdraw significant funding from Russia's nuclear forces is implemented, those forces are likely to shrink significantly in the coming decade. The reduction will only be hastened if START II, which prohibits multiple-warhead missiles like the SS-18 that form the backbone of the current Russian arsenal, enters into force.

 

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