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“I also want to thank Daryl Kimball and the Arms Control Association for allowing me to address all of you today and for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferatio nof weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war.”

– Joseph Biden, Jr.
Senator
January 28, 2004
Press Releases

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.

 

Mixed Results in U.S. TMD Tests

Wade Boese

In July tests of two U.S. theater missile defense (TMD) systems, the Pentagon tallied two successes and suffered one failure. The Army's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile struck low-altitude drone targets in two separate intercept tests, while the Navy Theater Wide (NTW) system experienced a booster failure during a flight test.

The United States, in addition to developing a national missile defense (NMD) to defend against strategic ballistic missiles, is pursuing several programs to counter non-strategic ballistic and cruise missiles. These TMD systems are aimed at protecting U.S. military forces in the field and at sea, as well as U.S. allies, from regional missile attacks.

On July 22 and 28, the PAC-3 system tracked and destroyed low-altitude drone targets acting as surrogates for cruise missiles. The tests marked the fourth and fifth consecutive intercepts by the Patriot system, which is a "hit-to-kill" system requiring a collision with the target to destroy it. The first successful intercept, which was not a test objective, occurred March 15, 1999, with two successful tests following on September 16, 1999, and February 5, 2000.

Originally designed as an air defense missile, the Patriot system evolved into a missile defense system after being pressed into service during the 1991 Persian Gulf War to help defend against Iraqi Scud missiles. The Patriot's record against the Scud is disputed but is now recognized as being significantly less successful than initially touted. The latest version of the Patriot is intended to intercept short- to medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft within the atmosphere.

Eleven more PAC-3 missiles will be tested against "various classes of targets," according to the Pentagon, with the next test tentatively scheduled for September 21. Pentagon plans call for completing the flight tests by next fall.

 

Navy Theater Wide

In its second flight test, which was conducted July 14, the NTW system's SM-3 missile failed to achieve separation between its second- and third-stage boosters. The test was the first involving the third-stage booster, which will carry a kinetic warhead designed for exoatmospheric collisions with missile warheads. The failed test did not involve a target.

NTW's first flight test was designed to test the first two stages of the system's booster. That test took place September 24, 1999, and was successful, according to the Pentagon.

NTW is a ship-launched system building upon the Aegis combat system, which employs a high-powered radar capable of conducting simultaneous multiple missile tracking and guidance operations. Intended to counter medium- and long-range theater ballistic missiles, the NTW system, when completed, will also provide a capability to "effect ascent phase intercepts" if deployed near a missile launch site, according to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. A Navy spokesman said ascent phase describes the time from rocket motor burnout to apogee, but does not include the boost phase.

Many congressional critics of the Clinton administration's proposed limited NMD view a sea-based option for boost-phase intercepts as integral to a more robust national missile defense. Secretary of Defense William Cohen and other Pentagon officials contend that a boost-phase capability will not be ready for at least 10 years. The Navy Theater Wide system falls within the guidelines for permitted missile defenses set forth in a 1997 protocol to the ABM Treaty that differentiates permitted theater missile defenses from prohibited strategic missile defenses.

Navy officials are still trying to determine what went wrong in the July 14 test and hope to complete their investigation by early September. The Navy spokesman said it is unclear whether the next test, not yet scheduled, will try to repeat the last test's objective or proceed as planned to the next testing objective. Pentagon plans originally scheduled the first intercept attempt to occur after the next test.

U.S. Remains World's Top Arms Supplier

Wade Boese

In the post-Persian Gulf War arms market, the United States, according to data in an authoritative arms trade report, stands unrivaled as the top arms supplier to the world, including to developing nations. Dated August 18, the annual Congressional Research Service (CRS) report revealed that the 1999 total of $30.2 billion in global arms deals marked the second year of growth for weapons sales after a 1997 low. The United States announced more than $3.5 billion in new arms deals over the course of roughly two weeks in July.

Over an eight-year period starting in 1992, the world's nations signed more than $265 billion (all figures in constant U.S. dollars) in arms deals, according to the CRS report, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1992-1999. The United States accounted for $114 billion of the agreements, far exceeding the $41.1 billion sold by France, the second leading arms seller. Russia, which no longer grants deep discounts on arms sales as it did during the Soviet period, ranked third with $33.6 billion in agreements for the entire period.

Richard Grimmett, author of the report, described the 1999 market as one of continuing "intense competition" among suppliers. Yet the United States accounted for more than one-third of new deals with $11.7 billion in sales, while the runner-up, Russia, totaled less than half of that amount with $4.8 billion in agreements. Moscow's total, bolstered by a sale of 40-60 advanced Su-30 multi-role fighter aircraft to China, marked the first rise in Russia's arms sales since a steady decline from an $8.2 billion high in 1995.

While worldwide arms agreements rose between 1998 and 1999, weapons deliveries declined by $2.4 billion to roughly $34 billion. However, U.S. arms deliveries, which include Pentagon and commercial deliveries, increased by more than $1 billion to total $18.3 billion, equaling more than half of all arms shipments in 1999. The high U.S. total reflected the continued implementation of arms deals concluded in the wake of the Persian Gulf War, which not only awakened Near Eastern countries to potential threats but also served as a showcase for U.S. weaponry.

Buyers in the developing world—identified by Grimmett as all countries except the United States, Russia, European countries, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand—signed deals for $20.5 billion in 1999, accounting for more than two-thirds of the global total. For the second consecutive year, Washington concluded the largest share of these deals with a $8 billion total. Though major sales to key U.S. arms clients in the Near East helped push up the U.S. sum, Grimmett noted that sales of spare parts, upgrades to existing weapons, munitions, and support services made up a "very significant part."

Russia ranked second in deals with developing nations, totaling $4.1 billion in agreements. With Iran experiencing economic difficulties and Iraq under a UN arms embargo, Russia is actively marketing its weapons in search of hard currency, though some potential arms buyers, according to Grimmett, question whether Russia can serve as a reliable supplier of spare parts and support services. China and India remain Russia's "principal clients."

Weapons deliveries to the developing world in 1999 amounted to $22.6 billion. For the eighth straight year, the United States led all suppliers, accounting for half of the transfer total. U.S. allies Britain and France tallied $3.9 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively, to rank second and third.

Among developing nation recipients, South Africa, which recently launched a military modernization program, signed the most deals in 1999, totaling $3.3 billion. Egypt, a major buyer of U.S. arms since its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, ranked second in new deals with a sum of $2.6 billion, while Israel followed closely behind with agreements worth $2.3 billion. Leading the entire eight-year period, Saudi Arabia, which has imported some $66 billion in weapons since the Persian Gulf War, signed contracts valued at $28.9 billion.

Looking to the future, Grimmett projected that major arms purchases will likely be made by "more affluent developing countries," such as the United Arab Emirates, while remaining sales will be based on supporting or upgrading previously sold weapons. Limited resources on the part of developing nations and the need for cash by many weapons sellers "places constraints on significant expansion of the arms trade," Grimmett wrote.

 

Over $3.5 Billion in About Two Weeks

Between July 12 and 24, the Pentagon reported to Congress $2.8 billion in potential new U.S. arms sales with 14 countries, raising the total for Pentagon-negotiated arms deals in 2000 to at least $5 billion. Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-16 fighter aircraft, also announced in July the sale of 20 F-16 fighter aircraft apiece to both Singapore and South Korea, while Thailand, which dropped a buy of F/A-18 fighters in 1998 for economic reasons, agreed in July to purchase 16 F-16 aircraft. The company did not release a value for the Singapore deal, but the South Korea sale totaled $700 million and Thailand's purchase will cost $133 million.

U.S. arms customers can purchase weapons either through direct commercial sales with U.S. companies or through the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The U.S. government, in recent years, has typically authorized some $20 billion every year in commercial contracts, which are good for four years, though not all result in completed deals.

Under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, Congress must be notified of all arms deals, both commercial and FMS, that equal or exceed $14 million. If it passes a joint resolution of disapproval within 30 days (15 in the case of NATO members, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand), Congress can block the sale. Congress has never voided a sale after being formally notified.

Agreements with three countries in the Near East—Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia—accounted for more than half of the July deals recently reported by the Pentagon. Egypt led with $882 million in possible deals, while Saudi Arabia ranked second with a proposed buy of 500 AIM-120C advanced medium range air-to-air missiles valued at $475 million. Both buyers' potential purchases are geared toward upgrading or arming weapons previously supplied by the United States.

U.S. Revises Computer Export Control Regulations

Seth Brugger

The White House announced plans August 3 that revise U.S. high-performance computer (HPC) export controls. The changes more than double the processing speed of computers available for export to military end users in so-called Tier 3 countries and eliminate the distinction between civilian and military end users in that tier. Commenting on the new regulations, Vice President Al Gore said they will improve the effectiveness of U.S. export controls and increase the ability of U.S. high-tech firms to compete globally.

U.S. HPC export control regulations divide recipient states into four tiers. Tier 1 countries include Western European nations and other U.S. allies that are subject to very little control. Tier 2 is comprised of Slovenia, South Korea, South and Central American nations, and most states in Africa and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. U.S. companies only need licenses to export very high-level computer systems to these countries. Tier 3 is subject to stricter controls, encompassing countries of proliferation concern, such as India, Pakistan, China, former Soviet states, and Middle Eastern nations. The United States maintains a virtual embargo on HPC exports to Tier 4 countries, which include Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

The latest modifications mark the Clinton administration's fifth change to HPC export controls since it began reviewing them in 1993. Since 1998, the reviews have been conducted about every six months, reflecting the fast-changing pace of computer technology.

The newest revisions modify computer performance levels, measured in millions of theoretical operations per second (MTOPS), that determine licensing requirements for HPC exports to Tier 2, 3, and 4 countries. Exports above certain levels require licenses subject to a national security review process managed by the Commerce Department. The administration's latest modifications increase the licensing threshold for Tier 2 countries from 33,000 MTOPS to 45,000 MTOPS. According to the Intel Corporation, a Pentium III processor, which is commonly found in personal computers, has processing speeds ranging from about 930 MTOPS to about 2,630 MTOPS.

The changes also move Argentina from Tier 2 to Tier 1 and Estonia from Tier 3 to Tier 2.

In February, the administration announced revisions that changed the threshold level for Tier 3 countries to 20,000 MTOPS for civilian end users and 12,500 MTOPS for military end users. (See ACT, March 2000.) This decision took effect in August. With its most recent announcement, the administration revised these levels again—to 28,000 MTOPS for all end users. This revision more than doubles the processing speed of computers allowed for export to Tier 3 military end users. It also eliminates the difference between civilian and military end users, a practice formally in place since 1995. The distinction was dropped because advances in computer technology have made gaining access to computer processors with this MTOPS level relatively easy.

Some of the latest changes require congressional approval and will therefore not take effect immediately. According to the White House, the administration will complete another review of HPC export controls in November. Maureen Tucker, a director for non-proliferation and export controls at the National Security Council, explained that the "national security agencies are reviewing various approaches for a new control methodology and that will be one of the items we will examine in the next review cycle."

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.

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