"I learned so much about arms control and disarmament at ACA! I learned more about arms control here in four months than I had in all three years at my college."

– Alicia Sanders-Zakre
Intern, Fall 2016
December 16, 2016
Press Releases

CD Deadlock Continues as U.S. and China Square Off

Wade Boese

IN A MOVE THE UNITED STATES and China reiterated competing negotiation priorities and sharply criticized each other at the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) during February, lowering the likelihood that the 66 conference members will soon reach the required consensus on a work program to start negotiations. Beijing is seeking formal negotiations on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, while Washington, the sole country blocking outer space negotiations, wants to commence work on a fissile material cutoff treaty.

Chinese Ambassador Hu Xiaodi declared on February 10 that the conference should negotiate a legal instrument to prevent the weaponization of outer space by prohibiting the "testing, deployment and use of any weapon system and their components in outer space" and limiting the "use of satellites for military purposes."

U.S. Ambassador Robert Grey responded on February 17 that a fissile material cutoff treaty remained Washington's first priority and that the time was "not ripe" for outer space or nuclear disarmament negotiations—another priority of China, as well as the Group of 21 non-aligned movement. The United States, according to Grey, is prepared to discuss these topics in a "suitable context," which is understood to mean in ad hoc working groups.

A proposal, circulated in late January by the conference president, that all three issues be addressed in ad hoc working groups would be a "step backward," Grey said, pointing out that the CD agreed on an ad hoc committee for cutoff negotiations in 1995 and 1998. Conference subsidiary bodies and negotiations do not carry over to the following year; rather, they must be renewed by a new work program each year.

Grey characterized recent conference statements lamenting the lack of progress on nuclear disarmament as "too negative an appraisal." He noted the United States had dismantled 13,000 nuclear warheads over the past decade and that Russia and the United States were exploring lower weapons levels in START III. Washington is seeking a range of 2,000 to 2,500 deployed strategic warheads, while Moscow wants to reduce to some 1,500.

Responding to a January 27 Chinese statement that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) had been "trampled on," Grey acknowledged that the U.S. Senate's October 13 rejection of the treaty was a "setback." Grey stressed, however, that President Clinton has made it "abundantly clear that the fight is not over" and that, in the end, Clinton is convinced the United States will ratify the CTBT.

Grey defended U.S. efforts to amend the 1972 ABM Treaty to permit deployment of a limited national missile defense (NMD). He argued that weapons of mass destruction and advanced delivery means had regrettably spread and concluded that "those who allowed it to happen should have known what the consequences would be."

Deflecting a Chinese charge that the United States exercises a "double standard towards arms control and disarmament agreements," Grey said four of the five nuclear-weapon states had reduced nuclear weapons holdings and increased transparency, while one state was modernizing its forces and not increasing transparency.

Hu gave a rebuttal the next week, arguing that for a country "always taking the lead" in developing nuclear weapons it was "hypocritical" to criticize others for modernizing arsenals. Hu challenged the United States to commit to a no-first-use policy, while warning that a U.S. NMD would "open the door to the weaponization of outer space."

The CD will break for a recess on March 24 and resume on May 22, following the April 24-May 19 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty five-year review conference.

Missile Defense Program Under Excessive Pressure, Pentagon Report Says

Wade Boese

IN AN ANNUAL report covering the operational and live-fire testing of 161 military systems, the Defense Department called the current national missile defense (NMD) program high-risk and described the planned deployment readiness review as an "artificial decision point." In the report, released February 14, Philip Coyle, director of the Defense Department's office of operational test and evaluation, assessed the NMD program as being under undue pressure, as well as being driven by "schedule" rather than "event." While evaluating program officials as doing an "excellent job," Coyle warned that schedule-driven pressure has historically resulted in "a negative effect on virtually every troubled DoD [Department of Defense] development program."

Despite the program's January 18 test failure, which the Pentagon now believes resulted from a coolant leak, other high-level officials had contended the program remained on track. President Clinton, weighing such factors as the missile threat and arms control considerations, is scheduled to decide this summer whether or not to approve NMD deployment.

An intercept test—the third of a total 19—is scheduled for mid-May. Noting that the last intercept test failed and that the successful October 2 test was aided by a large decoy balloon deployed with the target, Coyle recommended the readiness review allow for a thorough analysis of the upcoming test.

A complete test analysis consists of three stages and takes 90 days, according to Lieutenant Colonel Richard Lehner, spokesman for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), which oversees U.S. missile defense programs. However, Lehner said BMDO is "confident that there should be more than enough information" from the May test and previous tests to conduct the review as scheduled.

However, according to Coyle, review "information based on a few flight tests with immature elements will be limited." The report noted that the next test will be the first to integrate all NMD prototype or surrogate elements together except for the "objective booster," which will be integrated in an intercept test in 2001.

Current testing relies, in part, on data from a Global Positioning System (GPS) beacon on the target ICBM to help plan the intercept, as well as assist in mid-range tracking. Though deeming use of GPS data suitable for early developmental testing, Coyle asserted that such methods do not "stress the NMD system in a realistic enough manner to support acquisition decisions."

Coyle assessed the flight tests as being limited in "operational realism and engagement conditions." Intercept velocities safely permitted during tests, Coyle observed, are "on the low end of what might occur in a real ICBM attack." Coyle also suggested testing targets "may not be representative of threat penetration aids, booster, or post-boost vehicles" that the real system would face, but he attributed that shortcoming to insufficient information about the real threat. Coyle also recommended re-evaluating use of a large decoy balloon during testing and noted that no flight tests against multiple targets are planned.

The NMD program will rely heavily on computer simulations and ground testing to measure the system's capability against more demanding threats. Yet the model for conducting the simulations is unlikely to be completed "in time to allow for a rigorous system analysis" before the review, and the current ground testing methods to measure the EKV's lethality cannot replicate the high closing velocities expected in real NMD intercepts, the report noted.

BMDO Still Confident

BMDO Director Lieutenant General Ronald Kadish testified before a congressional joint subcommittee February 16 that the NMD program has been "executed along a high-risk schedule," though he disputed it was under any "undue pressure."

In his prepared statement, Kadish defended the system and the recent failed test, saying, "We learn a lot from our testing successes and failures." In fact, he argued the most recent test demonstrated the X-band and upgraded early-warning radar systems' and the battle management command/control and communication system's capability under "very stressful conditions."

Kadish attributed the January 18 test failure to a "plumbing problem." A leak or constriction in a plumbing line carrying coolant to the EKV's two infrared sensors is believed to have prevented the sensors, which guide the EKV to the target during the final seconds, from functioning properly. Kadish said fixing the problem should not have a "major impact" on the upcoming test.

When questioned as to how an intercept failure in May would impact the June review, Kadish first observed that "our criteria says we have to have two intercepts to proceed because that's prudent to do." He then noted that should "the leadership" still want to hold the review, BMDO would "present what we knew at the time."

Assessing the Threat

Clinton has stated that his deployment decision will rest on four criteria: the system's technological readiness, the status of the threat, financial costs and arms control considerations. Secretary of Defense William Cohen asserted his view in February that the technology is close, the costs affordable and the threat threshold crossed.

Speaking at an annual security conference in Munich, Germany, on February 5, Cohen touted the U.S. NMD to European defense officials, many of whose governments are not supportive of the proposed system, as a way to guard against being "blackmailed." Cohen explained that the United States never wanted to be in a position of not "responding to any threat to our national security interests" simply because a state has a limited ballistic missile capability. He hypothetically asked how many states would have joined the 1990-91 coalition against Iraq if Baghdad could have struck their homelands using ICBMs with nuclear warheads.

Robert Walpole, national intelligence officer for strategic and nuclear programs, testified before a Senate subcommittee on February 9 that in the coming years the United States is "more likely to be attacked with weapons of mass destruction from non-missile delivery means" than by missiles. Walpole further stated that countries working on ballistic missiles would develop "various responses" to missile defenses and could develop countermeasures by the time they flight-test their missiles.

U.S. officials most frequently identify North Korea as the greatest emerging missile threat, but J. Stapleton Roy, assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, described the Pyongyang threat as being at a "tertiary level" to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 2. Roy warned that if Russia or China concluded that Washington "was pursuing interests in fundamental conflict with their own," they could respond, respectively, by halting the strategic reduction process or by adding warheads to existing ICBMs. (See news story.)

Russia and China Still Opposed

Despite administration efforts to convince Russia that the proposed NMD system will not undercut the Russian deterrent, Moscow has refused U.S. proposals to amend the 1972 ABM Treaty, which bans both countries from deploying national missile defenses. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told reporters in Moscow after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on January 31 that it would be a "grave mistake" to amend the ABM Treaty.

Though Albright claimed to be "encouraged" by her first meeting with Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding arms control issues, including the ABM Treaty, she subsequently told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 8 that "to date, Russian leaders have opposed any modification in the ABM Treaty." Most recently, Russia told the 66-member UN Conference on Disarmament on February 24 that Moscow wanted to "unambiguously state" that ABM Treaty adaptation negotiations with the United States were not being held and that this position would not change.

During a February 17-18 trip to Beijing, U.S. officials, led by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, made no headway in convincing China, which has only some 20 ICBMs, that the missile defense is directed at so-called "rogue" states. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told reporters after the talks that China viewed the NMD system as harmful to global stability, as well as U.S. interests.

NATO allies have also withheld endorsement of the system. French Minister of Defense Alain Richard told a Washington think-tank in a February 22 speech that France fears a U.S. NMD system could "fuel a new arms race" and that the United States should not commit to deployment without first reaching a "satisfactory outcome" with Russia.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon both stated in recent trips to Washington that the British share the U.S. threat assessment. While Hoon said on January 27 that Britain "will want to be helpful," he cautioned that "there are issues that have to be addressed." The United Kingdom and Greenland, a territory of Denmark, are viewed as sites for two of the NMD's five planned upgraded early-warning radar systems.

U.S.-Chinese Relations Strained Over Taiwan

Wade Boese

IN A MOVE that prompted U.S. warnings that any military action would cause "grave concern," Beijing issued a white paper February 21 expanding the circumstances under which it would use force to reunify Taiwan with China. Couched amid statements promoting peaceful reunification, Beijing's new threat caught U.S. officials off-guard because U.S.-Chinese relations had appeared to be on the mend after military ties between the two countries resumed in January. The timing of the paper precedes Taiwan's upcoming presidential election and follows the passage of pro-Taiwan legislation in the U.S. Congress.

Released by China's State Council just days after the visit of a high-level U.S. delegation, the white paper warned that China would use force if Taiwan indefinitely postponed reunification negotiations. In the past, China had threatened force only if Taiwan, which Beijing considers a part of China, declared independence or if a foreign power occupied the island. China did not attach a time frame to its new threat. According to a State Department official, China had previously stated in private that it would not wait indefinitely for reunification, but this was the first time China had explicitly linked that sentiment to the use of force.

However, Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen denied on February 29 that the white paper signaled a change in China's Taiwan policy and claimed the paper was aimed at "urging the Taiwan authorities to sit down to hold talks and negotiations." The white paper said China would do "its best" to achieve peaceful reunification and that force would be the "last choice made under compelled circumstances." China pledged that Taiwan would "enjoy a high degree of autonomy" after reunification and that troops and administrative personnel would not be "stationed" in Taiwan.

The white paper described Taiwan as the "most crucial and most sensitive" issue between the United States and China. While U.S. officials reiterated long-standing U.S. policy that the content of the cross-strait dialogue is a matter for the two parties involved, State Department spokesman James Rubin described the new formulation as "unhelpful" and "counterproductive." Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979 and acknowledges Beijing's position that Taiwan is part of China.

U.S.-Chinese relations further deteriorated last May following NATO's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia, leading China to suspend relations with the U.S. military. With a January 25-26 visit by Chinese Lieutenant General Xiong Guangkai to Washington, those ties were resumed. The two sides agreed on a tentative program for renewing high-level visits and confidence-building measures, such as talks to prevent incidents at sea.

Military Balance in the Strait

According to the white paper, no country that has diplomatic relations with China should provide arms to Taiwan. Specifically, China attacked the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, which the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed on February 1, as "gross interference" in China's internal affairs. The legislation mandates closer ties between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries, including certification of direct secure communications, and administration reports to Congress on Taiwanese arms requests, the Chinese threat and U.S. contingency planning for the Asia-Pacific region.

President Clinton's advisors would recommend vetoing the legislation if necessary, though it is less provocative than a Senate version of the act that authorizes the president to make specific weapons, including theater missile defense (TMD) equipment, available to Taiwan. Administration officials contend the act would raise tensions and, ultimately, undermine Taiwan's security. The Senate, in which support for the act is tempered by senators who back granting China permanent normal trade relations in line with Beijing's pending World Trade Organization membership, has yet to act on either version of the bill.

According to a Defense Department official, the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries currently "conduct informal dialogue" and Taiwan receives U.S. training for "defense articles and services" supplied by the United States. U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are governed by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act and the 1982 Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqué. The former calls on Washington to help Taiwan "maintain a sufficient self-defense capability," while the latter includes a U.S. pledge not to "carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan" and not to sell weapons qualitatively or quantitatively exceeding those supplied in years prior to 1982.

Taiwan's pending request for four advanced U.S. destroyers with Aegis combat systems, designed to counter missiles and aircraft, has angered Beijing, though China is gradually modernizing its own navy. During the second week of February, China received the first of two Russian-built Sovremennyy-class destroyers, which will be equipped with the supersonic, sea-skimming, anti-ship Sunburn missile.

A Defense Department spokesman commented on February 10 that "this is a good ship" but noted that the destroyer would "not significantly change the balance of power" in the strait. Last year, the Pentagon reported to Congress that in 2005 Taipei would still possess a "qualitative edge over Beijing in terms of significant weapons and equipment." A follow-up report is under review.

The possible future sale or sharing of U.S. TMD systems to Taiwan is China's primary concern. Washington has not decided whether to sell such systems, but Walter Slocombe, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, said he made clear in the recent talks with Xiong that TMD is an issue, in part, because of Chinese missile deployments across from Taiwan.

China fired missiles into the waters off the coast of Taiwan prior to the island's first popular presidential election in 1996. Release of the white paper may reflect a more measured attempt by China to weigh in on this year's March 18 presidential election, in which the three major candidates, one of which causes particular concern in Beijing, are running very close.

No Breakthroughs at BWC Ad Hoc Group Meeting

Seth Brugger

THE AD HOC Group of states-parties to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) held its 18th session in Geneva from January 17 to February 4 without making any breakthroughs on the two central areas of contention—technical cooperation and compliance issues. However, the group, which is responsible for developing a legally binding protocol to the BWC, did make progress on text clarification and issued a new version of the rolling text.

The BWC outlaws biological agents and their means of delivery and requires states-parties to destroy or divert to peaceful purposes biological weapons-related material. However, the convention has no formal verification mechanisms. The Ad Hoc Group, led by Tibor Tóth of Hungary, has been meeting since January 1995 to develop a protocol that will provide the means for a verifiable and more effective convention, although only those BWC states-parties that ratify the protocol will be bound by its terms.

Since the summer of 1997, the Ad Hoc Group has based its negotiations on a rolling text, which, after over two years of debate, is approaching its final form. A number of articles have been largely agreed upon, including those dealing with confidentiality provisions, measures to redress a situation and ensure compliance, assistance and protection against biological weapons, national implementation measures, and legal issues.

Disagreement remains in the key areas of technical cooperation and compliance measures, however. The principal dispute on technical cooperation involves how the protocol should deal with the transfer of biological agents and dual-use equipment. At issue is a call by some Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members for the protocol to establish a multilaterally negotiated export framework. Such a framework might not leave room for export control regimes such as the Australia Group, an informal body that coordinates export regulations related to biological and chemical weapons, an idea that is unacceptable to most Western states.

Concerning compliance measures, delegates agree that states-parties should submit declarations on facilities and activities related to the convention. They have agreed in general to initially declare past offensive and defensive biological weapons programs and to annually declare current biological defense programs, vaccine production facilities, maximum biological containment facilities, and facilities dealing with listed agents and toxins. But the group has yet to agree on what other kinds of facilities require declarations and what items facilities should declare.

The issue of how to follow-up declarations is also unresolved. Three types of "visits" are under consideration. The first, "randomly-selected visits" or "transparency visits," would be mandatory, infrequent and selected on a random basis to increase understanding of declared activities. Whether the visit should also verify the accuracy of a declaration is debated. The second type, "clarification visits," could be conducted if outstanding questions remain after consultations with a country possessing a disputed declaration. A state could also initiate a third type, "voluntary assistance visits," which would allow it to obtain technical advice or information on the protocol's implementation. The visit may also include provisions for technical assistance.

Some delegations have promoted compliance measures that would reduce the impact of the protocol on their countries. For instance, the U.S. delegation, deviating from the position of most Western countries, favors placing some limits on bio-defense facility declarations and does not approve of having randomly selected visits confirm the accuracy of a declaration because the United States houses a large bio-tech industry and bio-defense program. In a similar light, some members of the NAM oppose mandatory clarification visits since they believe they are more likely to be subjected to these visits than Western countries.

This strategy of trying to protect domestic facilities from visits is also reflected in the dispute over the scope of clarification visits. Some Western states want the visit to include undeclared facilities, while some non-aligned countries favor limiting the visit to declared facilities.

In addition to declarations and visits, the protocol includes a third compliance measure—investigations. This measure is subdivided into field and facility investigations, with a field investigation covering a suspect use or release of biological agents, and a facility investigation examining a suspect facility. While the types of investigations are agreed upon, the Ad Hoc Group has yet to concur on how the implementing body's executive council will initiate an investigation. Procedures for allowing a field investigation to explore a suspect facility are also not decided upon.

The Ad Hoc Group, which is supposed to try to complete the protocol before the BWC's fifth review conference in 2001, also has work remaining in other areas of the protocol, including the preamble, definitions, confidence-building measures, and general provisions. The next session is planned for March 13-31.

Iraq Again Rejects 1284 While Pressures Build on Sanctions

Matthew Rice

AMID GROWING INTERNATIONAL concern about the humanitarian situation in Iraq, Baghdad reiterated its rejection of the UN Security Council's new weapons inspection organization, the United Nations Monitoring, Inspection and Verification Commission (UNMOVIC), which was created last December under Resolution 1284. On February 10, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan declared, "The so-called inspection teams would not be allowed to return to Iraq because we rejected spies entering under such cover," according to the official Iraqi News Agency.

The statement was made during the visit of Russian envoy Nikolai Kartuzov, former ambassador to Iraq, who reportedly attempted to persuade Iraq to accept the Security Council mandate. Russia, Iraq's strongest ally on the Security Council, had previously stated that its abstention from voting on Resolution 1284 relieved it of the obligation to ensure its full implementation.

In a flurry of interviews over the next few days, Nizar Hamdoon, undersecretary of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, was slightly more conciliatory than Ramadan. "Compromise will only be done when the council itself gets engaged with Iraq in a discussion," Hamdoon told the CNN on February 11.

UN officials did not appear concerned by the Iraqi statements, noting that Hans Blix, the newly appointed executive chairman of UNMOVIC, has yet to begin work. "There isn't an inspection mechanism up and functioning at the moment, knocking on the door, asking to go into Iraq," said John Mills, associate spokesman for the office of the UN secretary-general. Once Blix assumes his post on March 1, he will have 45 days to submit an organizational plan for UNMOVIC to the secretary-general and the Security Council.

Sanctions Regime Targeted

The profile of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq was raised this month when two high-level UN officials in charge of administering the humanitarian program in Iraq resigned. Hans von Sponeck, UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, and Jutta Burghardt, Iraq representative for the World Food Program, both announced their resignations in mid-February, complaining that improving the lives of Iraqis was impossible under the continuing sanctions regime. Von Sponeck also announced his intention to submit a report detailing the impact of the continuing U.S.-British bombing operations on the Iraqi people. A February 1999 report on the same subject brought harsh criticism from the United States, which accused von Sponeck of blindly accepting Iraqi statistics.

In the United States, 70 congressmen sent a letter to President Clinton on February 1 urging him to "de-link" military and economic sanctions on Iraq, noting that they have "failed to remove Saddam Hussein from power or even ensured his compliance with his international obligations, while the economy and people of Iraq continue to suffer." State Department spokesman James Rubin dismissed the suggestion that the sanctions were to blame. "They should direct their concern and their blame-casting at the Iraqi regime, which refuses day after day, time after time, to spend its hard currency helping its own people," he said.

The United States also dismissed suggestions, reported in The Washington Post on February 25, that the growing international attention and domestic pressure was pushing the administration to reconsider its hard line on dual-use imports. In its role on the UN sanctions committee, which reviews and may refuse Iraqi import requests, the United States has often denied Iraq's applications for dual-use items. "We are working constantly on using the oil-for-food program to provide humanitarian relief…. We will not clear what we view as dangerous dual-use products to Iraq. That policy has not changed; that policy is not under review, as is our sanctions policy not under review," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

Proliferation Threats Continue, Administration Officials Says

Matthew Rice

OFFERING THE GRIM assessment that proliferation threats will continue to grow, several senior administration officials visited Capitol Hill in early February to discuss a wide range of security issues facing the United States. While addressing many potential dangers, their reports gave special attention to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), with an emphasis on the spread of ballistic missile technology. Vice Admiral Thomas R. Wilson, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified February 2 before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that "the prospects for limiting proliferation are slim, and the global WMD threat to U.S. allied territory, interests, forces and facilities will increase significantly."

In addition to Wilson, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and J. Stapleton Roy, assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, also appeared before the committee February 2 to present their annual reports. Robert Walpole, national intelligence officer for strategic and nuclear programs, testified before the Senate Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services on February 9.

According to their testimony, U.S. conventional military dominance is likely to remain unmatched in the foreseeable future, even with declining defense budgets. But the U.S. advantage may only intensify proliferation trends as "many potential adversaries believe they can preclude U.S. force options and offset U.S. conventional military superiority by developing WMD and missiles," Wilson explained.

The Intelligence Community's Nonproliferation Center further outlined the threat in its biannual report to Congress, also released in early February. According to the report, Iran has continued to develop an infrastructure for chemical and biological weapons production, the latter aided by contacts within the former Soviet Union. While there is no direct evidence that Iraq has begun rebuilding its WMD programs, the report noted recent construction activity at sites destroyed during Operation Desert Fox indicates that Iraq is "likely" doing so. The report also said that Libya and Syria have continued chemical-weapons-related procurement activities, though UN sanctions have limited those efforts.

Missile Proliferation Emphasized

The combined threat assessments agreed that the prospect for long-range ballistic missile use against the United States, while growing, remains low. Strong relationships with the United States and the U.S. deterrent make a Russian or Chinese ICBM attack "unlikely," Roy explained. The U.S. deterrent may also constrain programs in the so-called "rogue" states. "Given the credibility of U.S. retaliatory capabilities in the face of any nuclear attack on the American homeland, we would assign the North Korean threat to a tertiary level," Roy said. However, in his testimony, Walpole noted that over the next 15 years North Korea, Iran and potentially Iraq could emerge as long-range missile threats.

More likely in the short to medium term would be an attack by an alternative delivery mechanism, which, until long-range programs became more robust, would have the advantage of lower cost, greater accuracy and an increased ability to effectively disseminate chemical or biological agents, Walpole said. But alternative delivery means are not likely to prevent continuing efforts to develop long-range missiles given their unique ability to "provide a level of prestige, coercive diplomacy and deterrence that non-missile means do not." Walpole argued that missiles designed for such reasons would not need to be deployed in large numbers and would have reduced requirements for accuracy and reliability, potentially cutting the time needed for development and deployment.

The North Korean and Iranian programs were given special attention. With continued aid from Russian and Chinese entities, Iran's missile program in particular could approach self-sufficiency in the coming years, according to the Nonproliferation Center report. In addition, its Shahab-3 program, a medium-range ballistic missile with a reach of 1,300 kilometers, has achieved what the report termed "emergency operational capability"—the ability to deploy a limited number of delivery vehicles in a crisis situation.

North Korea continued work on its Taepo Dong-2 intermediate-range ballistic missile, though a testing freeze negotiated with the United States remained intact. Chinese entities continued to provide raw materials and missile components in aid of this program. According to Roy, while the North Koreans have agreed to a freeze, they have yet to clarify the terms by which they would be willing to give up missile export activities, which have continued, particularly to countries in the Middle East.

While Iraq was designated the least likely of the three to deploy an ICBM within the next 15 years, the Nonproliferation Center report noted that its Al-Samoud ballistic missile, legally pursued under a UN-imposed range limit of 150 kilometers, could be reconfigured for a range of 180 kilometers. The report further explained that "once economic sanctions against Iraq are lifted, Baghdad probably will begin converting these efforts into longer range missile systems, unless restricted by future UN monitoring."

In addition to progress in these programs, Tenet warned of the emergence of "secondary suppliers"—countries that have long relied on imports of technology and expertise for the development of their own missile programs may begin to export their own knowledge and indigenously produced missiles or missile components. In the near term, this would likely be confined to the provision of shorter-range missiles and related materials. But as domestic infrastructures mature, longer-range delivery vehicles could be exported as well. Iran, for example, might be able to supply not only domestically produced Scuds, but the more advanced Shahab-3 as well, Tenet said.

Strategic Threats and NMD

For the foreseeable future, Russia and China will remain the only powers with the ability to accurately and reliably target U.S. cities with weapons of mass destruction, but the size and sophistication of their arsenals may vary depending on developments in their economies and their relationship with the United States, the officials concurred.

While the efficacy of missile defenses was not discussed, potential reactions to their deployment were mentioned. Roy noted that while "the aggregate nuclear-armed ICBM threat against the United States is declining dramatically" due to arms control obligations and Russian economic woes, "this situation could change for the worse if Moscow (and secondarily, Beijing) concluded that the United States was pursuing interests in fundamental conflict with their own." Altered threat perceptions could prompt Russia to halt nuclear reductions at or above 2,000 deployed warheads instead of the 1,500 it has suggested as a START III level.

Roy said that China could use multiple re-entry vehicles to triple its existing ICBM arsenal, which currently consists of about 20 Dong Feng-5 ICBMs, but Walpole added that China was not expected to do so in the near future. Roy also warned of a harsh reaction to U.S. missile defense plans. "The most serious potential threat to the United States would be Chinese military action, possibly in response to a perceived U.S. challenge to vital PRC interests…includ[ing] implementation of a robust theater missile defense system that nullified Chinese deterrence or included Taiwan," he said.

In addition, the deployment of missile defenses could spur trade in missile decoys and penetration aids. Russia and China would probably be willing to sell such technology, Walpole noted, and currently existing technologies could allow new proliferants to deploy countermeasures by the time that they flight test their missiles.

Clinton Again Relaxes Export Controls on Supercomputers

Matthew Rice

AMID GROWING INTERNATIONAL CITING TREMENDOUS ADVANCES in the computing industry and potential economic and security benefits to the United States, President Clinton announced a relaxation of licensing requirements for the export of high-performance computers (HPCs) on February 1. The changes make it possible for exporters to ship computers that have greater processing power without first obtaining a license from the Department of Commerce. The last change in HPC export control policy, which entered into force January 23, was announced last July. (See ACT, July/August 1999.)

The restrictiveness of HPC export controls is determined by a four-tier system based on the perceived threat posed by the country of the target end-user. Tier 1 countries, which include Canada, Mexico and Western European countries, are subject to very little control, while the United States retains a virtual embargo on HPC exports to Tier 4 countries, which include Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Tier 2 includes South Korea and most states in South and Central America, Africa and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and require licenses for only very high-level systems. Tier 3 encompasses countries of proliferation concern-such as India, Pakistan, China, the former Soviet states and Middle Eastern nations including Israel-and is subject to stricter constraints for both civilian and military end-users.

The newly updated regulations move Romania from Tier 3 to Tier 2 and change the HPC performance levels, measured in millions of theoretical operations per second (MTOPS), that determine licensing requirements for exports to civilian and military end-users in Tier 2 and Tier 3 countries. Exports of HPCs exceeding these defined performance levels require licenses subject to a national security review process coordinated by the Department of Commerce. For Tier 2 countries, the licensing threshold will rise from 20,000 MTOPS to 33,000 MTOPS. The licensing threshold for Tier 3 countries will rise from 12,300 MTOPS to 20,000 MTOPS for civilian end-users and from 6,500 MTOPS to 12,500 MTOPS for military end-users. Export restrictions to Tier 4 countries were not changed.

Changes in export controls regarding Tier 3 countries are subject to a six-month waiting period for congressional review. In the February 1 announcement, the administration asked that period be shortened to one month. Jake Siewert, White House deputy press secretary, explained that what the United States "would like to see is legislation that shortens that waiting period.... We want to make sure that when we make decisions, they move as quickly as the market." President Clinton made a similar request, which Congress ignored, in July 1999.

Another review of current controls, which will investigate the utility of distinguishing between civilian and military end-users, is set to begin in April.

CD Starts 2000 Session Stalemated

Despite a blunt January 18 opening plenary address from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan exhorting the 66-member Conference on Disarmament (CD) to "search for compromises in a spirit of flexibility," the first weeks of the conference's 2000 session proved a continuation of last year's deadlock. Persisting member differences over negotiating priorities, most significantly between China and the United States, blocked a work program agreement, which is required for actual negotiations to begin.

Annan, whose statement was delivered by CD Secretary-General Vladimir Petrovsky, said 1999 marked a "deplorable lack of progress" for disarmament. Though acknowledging the CD deadlock reflected "a wider and disturbing stagnation in the overall disarmament and non-proliferation agenda," Annan urged the conference to show a "real sense of urgency." He emphasized that the upcoming nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in April, currently "shrouded in uncertainty," would stand a better chance of succeeding if the conference could make tangible progress, such as starting negotiations.

However, the current CD president, Austrian Ambassador Harald Kreid, said consultations with delegations revealed that conditions for starting work had not improved in recent months. He also observed that the conference, which operates by consensus, had "mastered the art of dithering, delaying, side-stepping and circumvention" during the past three years.

For much of that period, nuclear disarmament has been the primary hurdle. The Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned states, led by India and Pakistan, linked negotiations on a fissile material cutoff treaty, which is the priority of the United States and the so-called "Western group," with the start of talks on a timebound framework for nuclear disarmament, which is opposed by all nuclear-weapon states except China. But in 1999, the G-21 relaxed its linkage, and the Western and Eastern groups, including Russia, accepted the idea of informal discussions for exchanging views on nuclear disarmament within an ad hoc working group. However, the precise language of a working-group mandate satisfactory to all has yet to be agreed upon.

In response to increased U.S. national missile defense activities, the prevention of an arms race in outer space emerged last year as the key conference issue. The United States singularly objected to negotiations on the subject, while China was the leading supporter.

At the close of the 1999 session and during the past few months, Washington has declared its willingness to show flexibility on the outer space issue. Yet U.S. officials have made clear that flexibility does not include formal outer space negotiations, but rather informal discussions, such as an ad hoc working group.

In its first statement to the 2000 conference on January 27, China stressed that the outer space issue, including the prohibition of anti-ballistic missile systems, remained its top priority, and that the CD should establish an ad hoc committee on outer space. Hu Xiaodi, China's permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, also called for "serious multilateral negotiations" on nuclear disarmament.

The conference did manage to approve its standard agenda on January 18-a perfunctory step required before a work program can be decided upon-opening seven broad topics for negotiation (though the conference president noted that any issue with consensus could be addressed during the session). The CD will break for its first recess on March 24 and then resume on May 22.

U.S. Issues Chemical Industry Regulation

On December 30, the Commerce Department issued regulations specifying procedures for submitting U.S. chemical industry declarations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), effectively ending over two years of technical U.S. non-compliance with the 1997 treaty. Full U.S. cooperation with the convention's industry provisions, however, is likely to be complicated by several stipulations made by the department that may delay inspections by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the treaty's implementing body.

The new regulations require civilian U.S. facilities that produce, process, consume, import or export toxic chemicals or precursors covered by the CWC to submit initial declarations of their activities to the Commerce Department by March 30. They must also allow the OPCW to conduct verification activities on their grounds. The declarations will be transferred to the OPCW via the State Department, the "national authority" responsible for coordinating U.S. implementation of the CWC, which issued its own set of regulations dealing with issues such as sample-taking during inspections and enforcement provisions.

The CWC requires states-parties to destroy all their chemical weapons within 10 years and to declare civilian chemical facilities to the OPCW. Chemicals covered by the treaty are divided into three "schedules," based on the relative possibility of their being used in weapons. The United States expects to submit its industry declarations to the OPCW for Schedule 1 (the highest "risk" category) and Schedule 2 facilities by April 28, three years after the convention's entry into force, and inspections are expected to begin in May. It will submit declarations for Schedule 3 facilities and unscheduled-chemicals facilities at a later date.

The regulations' publication was the culmination of years of delay and bureaucratic wrangling between U.S. agencies. Even though initial industry declarations were due by July 1997 (three months after the CWC's entry into force), the Clinton administration failed even to sign national implementing legislation until October 1998. That action was eventually followed up with a June 1999 executive order requiring U.S. agencies to draft implementing regulations. (See ACT, June 1999.) Draft regulations were published in July and issued after comments were received in August.

The long delay in U.S compliance has taken its toll on the OPCW's operations. Expecting U.S. declarations at an earlier date, the OPCW had scheduled industry inspections in the United States for 1999. When it became apparent that these inspections would not occur, the OPCW rescheduled some of them to take place in other countries, generating resentment among other states-parties, who objected to the fact that their chemical industries were subject to more inspections than U.S. facilities.

Problems Persist

The fact that the regulations have cleared the way for industry inspections does not mean OPCW dealings with the United States will now proceed smoothly. Washington plans to send a host team-consisting of officials from the Commerce Department, the FBI and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency-to accompany each OPCW inspection team. The Commerce Department, claiming budget shortfalls and insufficient staffing, is not planning to host nearly as many industry inspections as the OPCW wants to conduct. Furthermore, citing concerns over the protection of commercial proprietary information, the department is not planning to support sequential industry inspections or industry inspections that occur within one week of each other. Also, the department does not intend to host more than one OPCW team at a time.

The Commerce Department has contacted the OPCW on its plans, which threaten to seriously slow the pace of already-delayed U.S. industry inspections and will most likely cause concern by other states-parties that have become frustrated with U.S. implementation practices. The OPCW has made no public comment on U.S. plans.

U.S. Wants Strengthened CCW Landmines Protocol

At the first annual conference of states-parties to the amended landmines protocol (Protocol II) to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), the United States proposed strengthening protocol restrictions on the use of landmines, particularly anti-vehicle mines, and developing measures to resolve charges of non-compliance. The initiatives generated little reaction at the conference, held December 15-17 in Geneva, but Washington hopes to build support for the proposals before a 2001 CCW review conference.

The amended protocol, which was adopted in May 1996 and entered into force in December 1998, differs from the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines (APLs), in that the protocol considers mines to be legal weapons. For that reason, some countries, including the United States, China and Pakistan, subscribe only to the protocol. U.S. policy is that it will sign the Ottawa Convention in 2006 if it can successfully identify and field suitable alternatives to its APLs and mixed anti-tank systems (a combination of anti-vehicle and APL devices).

Specifically, the amended protocol outlaws non-detectable APLs and prohibits non-self-destructing and non-self-deactivating APLs unless planted in monitored, perimeter-marked areas. Exporting mines to non-states-parties is proscribed, as is the use of mines that detonate in response to mine detectors and those that have anti-handling devices that remain active after the mine itself deactivates. Restrictions also apply to remotely delivered mines, such as those delivered by aircraft and artillery.

Current protocol requirements that mines be detectable and that remotely delivered mines have self-destructing or self-deactivating mechanisms apply only to APLs. At the conference, the United States proposed expanding these same criteria to anti-vehicle mines.

In addition, the United States called for increasing the "reliability" of the self-destruction and self-deactivation mechanisms on remotely delivered mines. Current technical specifications set a standard that only one in 1,000 mines can remain active after 120 days. Washington wants to raise this failure standard to one in 10,000.

Lastly, the United States proposed adopting a "regular procedure," including the possibility of on-site inspections, for handling non-compliance allegations. Rather than create a formal secretariat, the United States suggested a process similar to that in the Ottawa Convention. Under Ottawa, countries may raise compliance questions with the UN secretary-general, who can call for a meeting of states-parties, which can then authorize a fact-finding mission.

Charges of non-compliance were made at the conference. Canada accused Russia, a signatory, of indiscriminately using landmines in Chechnya-to such an extent that Russian mines were reportedly scattered in Georgia. Canada also sought clarification on reports that Pakistan, a state-party, attempted to sell mines to a private citizen in Britain. Pakistan, in a December 17 statement, reaffirmed its commitment to the protocol's export moratorium.

While voicing hope that having two APL instruments, the amended protocol and Ottawa, is a "temporary situation," Canada, which wants all countries to join Ottawa, endorsed improving the protocol's anti-vehicle mines and compliance provisions. Of the current 47 states-parties to the amended protocol, 42 are Ottawa states-parties or signatories.

Ottawa states-parties-now totaling 90 out of 137 signatories-are required to destroy stockpiled APLs in four years and all APLs in 10 years, though a renewable 10-year extension can be sought. On December 20, France joined a growing list of countries, including Canada, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany and the United Kingdom, that have completed destroying their stockpiles more than three years ahead of schedule.


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