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Press Releases

UN Security Council Says 'No' to Ekeus, Agrees on Blix to Head UNMOVIC

A quarreling United Nations Security Council finally came to a consensus on an executive chairman to lead the newly created UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC), unanimously supporting the nomination of Hans Blix, former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. representative to the UN and the council's acting president, made the announcement January 26, ending an impasse over the previous nominee, Rolf Ekeus.

The selection of an executive chairman was the first step toward implementation of the most recent Security Council resolution on Iraq. Resolution 1284, adopted unanimously but with key abstentions by Russia, China and France, authorized the creation of UNMOVIC to replace the embattled UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) while promising relaxation of economic sanctions for demonstrated Iraqi cooperation. (See ACT, December 1999.)

The January 17 nomination of Rolf Ekeus, former head of UNSCOM, concluded a grueling month of consultation between UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the Security Council over the selection of an agreeable candidate. A UN source said that "lacking consensus on any of the 25 names submitted to the Security Council, the secretary-general nominated the man that he felt was the best for the job." As its executive chairman from 1991-1997, Ekeus directed the lion's share of UNSCOM's identification and destruction of prohibited weapons activities in Iraq.

The Ekeus nomination was short-lived, however. Representatives from Russia, China and France each registered their disapproval of Annan's choice. Noted Qin Huasun, China's permanent representative to the UN, "Candidates from developing countries, who may be better positioned to convince Iraq to cooperate with the council, should be given more attention and consideration." Other members offered less explanation for their opposition. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian representative, stated simply, "The Russian Federation cannot agree with the proposal." Overriding concerns appeared to be a desire to make a clean break from UNSCOM and the likelihood of an Iraqi refusal to cooperate with an UNMOVIC headed by Ekeus.

U.S. officials derided the notion of an "Iraqi veto" over the process, expressing strong support for the confirmation of Ekeus as late as January 24. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, criticizing council resistance, said, "We consider Ambassador Ekeus as so qualified, as somebody who knows the issues very well...and has the respect of the international community."

The Security Council never officially rejected Ekeus, but in subsequent discussions Blix emerged as a compromise acceptable to all sides. With his announcement of the nomination, Holbrooke made clear that the U.S. supported the Blix nod: "As the American representative, let me make clear that we are pleased with his nomination. We think he is an excellent choice." Holbrooke also emphasized that council unanimity should push Iraq closer to cooperation instead of the "very dangerous and ultimately self-damaging role" that it has played in the past.

Hans Blix, longtime Swedish diplomat, headed the IAEA from 1981 to 1997 and has extensive first-hand experience with the Iraq problem, having overseen the first six years of IAEA investigations into Iraq's nuclear program at the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War. During his tenure, the IAEA came under fire after the discovery of an extensive Iraqi crash program to build nuclear weapons that had gone undetected by annual IAEA inspections before the war. The IAEA safeguards system has since been strengthened.

Blix's first task is to develop an organizational plan for UNMOVIC and prepare to begin work in Iraq within 45 days after officially assuming his role as executive chairman. Important decisions will need to be made about the composition of the UNMOVIC team and the degree to which it will rely on the expertise of former UNSCOM staff. Perhaps the most challenging hurdle will be to outline the commission's work plan and the key disarmament tasks for Iraq to address before UN sanctions can be lifted. Because each step requires the approval of the Security Council, the battle over UNMOVIC's executive chairman may foreshadow additional struggles as the fledgling organization attempts to define itself.

In addition, though Iraq is legally obligated to comply with Resolution 1284, UNMOVIC's work ultimately depends on Iraqi accession to additional inspections. While Iraq did not condemn Blix with the same ferocity that it rejected the nomination of Ekeus, Iraqi UN Representative Saeed Hassan immediately dismissed the possibility of change in the Iraqi position. "Devil or angel, the new chairman will not change much.... This resolution is not implementable, is not working and will not work," he said. Iraq has long demanded a lifting of sanctions as a prerequisite to future cooperation with disarmament teams.

Iraq Accepts IAEA Inspection Team

However, Iraq did allow the first inspections of any kind since the U.S. and British airstrikes in December 1998, granting an IAEA inspection team access to Iraqi nuclear facilities from January 22-25. As a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iraq has agreed to allow annual inspections of its declared nuclear facilities to ensure compliance with the treaty's prohibitions on nuclear weapons programs. A source close to the UN emphasized that there was no connection between Iraqi acceptance of limited IAEA nuclear inspections and the broader question of accepting UNMOVIC's more intrusive mandate.

The inspection team visited the Iraqi nuclear site at Tuwaitha, a facility containing low-grade nuclear material that housed uranium enrichment and reprocessing facilities prior to the Gulf War. The IAEA reported that Iraq "provided the necessary cooperation for the inspection team to perform its activities effectively and efficiently," but noted that the limited nature of its mandate under the NPT Safeguards Agreement "cannot serve as a substitute for the IAEA's activities under the relevant Security Council resolutions."

A 1997 IAEA report to the Security Council stated, "There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance."

Russia Adopts New Security Concept

IN A SWEEPING 21-page document that addresses a range of internal problems and highlights perceived international threats, Russia appeared to lower its threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. The new national security concept, which Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin signed January 10, is intended to "more distinctly outline the definition of a multipolar world and the way Russia will work on safeguarding national interests," according to Sergei Ivanov, secretary of Russia's Security Council. (See excerpts of the concept.)

The document, which replaces the security concept adopted in December 1997, will be complemented by a soon-to-be-finalized military doctrine currently circulating within the Russian government. The new military doctrine will supercede the present one, which was adopted in 1993, and will reportedly elaborate on and clarify Russian defense guidelines, including those concerning the use of nuclear weapons.

Updated Nuclear Posture

While the 1997 national security concept allowed the first use of nuclear arms only "in case of a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation," the new concept states that nuclear weapons may be used to "repulse armed aggression, if all other means of resolving the crisis have been exhausted." This more relaxed condition for the use of nuclear weapons appears to be a response to the decline of Russian conventional forces, which has accelerated in recent years because of Russia's economic troubles.

NATO's effective use of high-precision weapons in Yugoslavia last spring and Russia's recent difficulties in Chechnya have emphasized the weakness of Russia's conventional forces. "Russia, for objective reasons, is forced to lower the threshold for using nuclear weapons, extend the nuclear deterrent to smaller-scale conflicts and openly warn potential opponents about this," Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, head of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces, stated recently in an interview with the Russian newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda.

Last summer, in what appears to have been a dress rehearsal for the new nuclear posture, Russia announced that it had conducted strategic "war games" that simulated a conventional NATO attack on an isolated part of Russian territory. In the exercise, termed "Zapad-99," Russian conventional troops were unable to repel the NATO attack, prompting Russia to use several nuclear weapons.

Russia's threatened use of nuclear weapons to deter conventional attacks is reminiscent of NATO's use of nuclear threats during the Cold War to deter superior Russian conventional forces from invading Western Europe. NATO's most recent strategic concept, approved last April at its 50th anniversary summit in Washington, acknowledged the alliance's vastly improved conventional position and stated that "the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated...are therefore extremely remote." At the same time, the alliance explicitly rejected a call for a no-first-use policy and placed no specific limits on the use of nuclear weapons.

In 1982, Leonid Brezhnev, then general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, established a nuclear no-first-use policy, but Russia abandoned the posture in 1993. China has a long-standing commitment to not using nuclear weapons first; the United States, Britain and France have all consistently resisted adopting a no-first-use policy.

Russia's Relationship With the West

The new concept is striking in its repeated admission of national weakness and focuses primarily on internal issues-the economy, terrorism, separatist movements and environmental degradation-as the primary dangers to Russian society. It also identifies the United States and its allies as serious threats to Russian security. The document criticizes "attempts to create an international relations structure based on domination by developed Western countries in the international community, under U.S. leadership and designed for unilateral solutions...in circumvention of the fundamental rules of international law."

Such attitudes are symptomatic of a gradual reassessment of Russia's relationship with the West that has been spurred by a series of threatening events in the last few years, beginning with NATO expansion and followed by the U.S.-led airstrikes against Yugoslavia and recent Western criticism of Russia's military campaign in Chechnya. "Whereas in the past in the Russian security concept...it was stated that Russia has no opponents or enemies in the world, now it is clearly stated that one of the primary possible threats to Russian security and foreign policy interests is the policy of the United States," Alexei Arbatov, a member of the Russian Duma, said in a February 2 telephone briefing from Moscow.

Some analysts have attributed the new concept's confrontational posture to Putin's more hard-line stance towards the West. But the concept's early drafts were crafted and approved by the Russian Security Council under President Yeltsin (albeit in collaboration with then-Prime Minister Putin), and published in draft form last November. After review by the Russian legislature and bureaucracy, the concept was signed by Putin, reportedly with only a few minor changes. Thus, while the concept's release just prior to a presidential election is probably not coincidental, its timing is largely a function of bureaucratic process.

Russia's increased criticism of the West has not gone unnoticed in the United States, but the Clinton administration is downplaying the importance of the new national security concept. "We...do not believe that it represents a significant major departure from Russia's concept issued in 1997 or that it makes the use of nuclear weapons more likely," State Department spokesman James Rubin said in a January 19 briefing.

After Stumble, 'HEU Deal' Back on Track

ON DECEMBER 1, the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) dropped its threat to resign as the government's executive agent for the U.S.-Russian Highly-Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement. USEC had threatened to back out of the so-called "HEU deal" in recent months unless the federal government provided the company with additional financial support.

USEC unsuccessfully sought as much as $200 million in federal financial aid, arguing that the deal with the Russians was imposing undue financial burdens on the recently privatized company. Administration officials responded skeptically to USEC's claims of financial hardship. The company is spending $100 million this year on dividends to its shareholders and another $100 million to buy back its own stock.

Faced with USEC's possible resignation, the administration threatened to negotiate with other companies for the management rights to the deal, potentially creating a competitor to USEC. After much protest, USEC's board voted on December 1 to continue its involvement with the program until the end of 2001, when the current phase of the deal expires. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said he was "pleased that USEC is standing by their role as our executive agent for the HEU Agreement...that is so critical to our nonproliferation goals."

Under the terms of the agreement, formalized in 1993, the U.S. government is committed to purchasing 500 metric tons of weapons-usable highly-enriched uranium (HEU) over a 20-year period from Russia, thereby securing the material and providing Russia with a ready source of capital (estimated at $12 billion) to safeguard its fissile material stockpiles and dismantled weapons systems. Russia blends the HEU down to low-enriched uranium (LEU) before shipping it to the United States, where USEC brokers its sale to utility companies for use in civilian nuclear reactors. USEC then reimburses the Russian government for both the raw uranium and for the enrichment of that material.

Under the HEU deal, USEC must pay above-market rates for Russian enrichment services. It is therefore in USEC's interest (as a profit-seeking private enterprise) to try to undermine the HEU deal in order to avoid having to fulfill its full contractual obligations. USEC has undermined the deal repeatedly. Most recently, in October 1999, the company failed to provide adequate shipping containers to Russia, slowing down Russian shipments of LEU to the United States.

NATO Ministers Skeptical of U.S. NMD Plans

THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION formally briefed NATO defense and foreign affairs ministers for the first time on the proposed architecture for a limited U.S. national missile defense (NMD) system at the alliance's annual December ministerial meetings. Led by France and Germany, many European allies expressed concerns that the proposed NMD would damage relations with Russia, endanger arms control and decouple U.S. and European security. U.S. officials reassured the allies that no deployment decision has yet been made and that allied views, among other factors, would be taken into account prior to such a decision.

With President Clinton scheduled to decide on the proposed system's location and the awarding of an initial site construction contract in July 2000, many European allies were upset to be officially consulted so late in the process. U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, however, assured his colleagues at the NATO defense ministers meeting, held December 2-3 in Brussels, that intra-alliance discussions on U.S. missile defenses would continue. President Clinton, for his part, has repeatedly said his July decision will be based on four criteria: technological readiness, the maturity of the "rogue nation" ICBM threat, cost factors and arms control considerations.

Washington delayed formal allied consultations because of incomplete U.S. plans and a desire to first hold strategic discussions with Russia, which has strongly opposed U.S. NMD efforts. Moscow emphasizes that the proposed system would violate the 1972 ABM Treaty, which prohibits a nationwide defense or the base for such a defense and which places specific restrictions on the architecture of any missile defense, including the location of intercept launchers and radars. U.S. officials have acknowledged that the planned system would require treaty modifications. Though the United States and Russia have been holding discussions exploring possible amendment of the treaty since mid-August at the Clinton administration's insistence, Moscow has repeatedly said it will not agree to treaty changes necessary to permit the proposed NMD.

Much of the opposition to the U.S. plans stems from the fact that Russia and many of the NATO allies do not share the U.S. assessment of the need to defend against the so-called rogue nation threat, which Cohen described as "real" and likely to "intensify in the coming years as countries continue to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities." To sway allied opinion, the U.S. provided a threat briefing at the start of the defense ministers meeting based on the latest U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that warned the United States—and implicitly Europe—would likely face ICBM threats from "North Korea, probably Iran and possibly from Iraq" in the next 15 years. (See ACT, September/October 1999.)

North Korea is cited most frequently by U.S. officials as a growing threat despite a September 1999 pledge by Pyongyang to suspend ballistic missile flight tests while holding negotiations with the United States to improve relations. Though currently abiding by the pledge, North Korea is "continuing other aspects of the [ballistic missile] program," a senior American defense official said at a December 2 press conference.

Secretary Cohen, who reportedly was very frank about the role of U.S. domestic politics in pushing NMD, also sought to dispel impressions that the system is targeted at Russia. He stressed that the system, which would initially field 100 interceptor missiles, would be limited and said that "it would not undercut the Russian strategic deterrent." When questioned on whether Russia would possibly halt the strategic reduction process in response to a deployed U.S. NMD, the senior American defense official claimed that "there is nothing incompatible between our concern with the growing rogue state ballistic missile threat and continued strategic stability and the arms control process."

Some European allies, however, remained unconvinced and raised the same concerns again with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott at the NATO foreign ministers meeting December 15-16. (Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stayed in Washington to work on the Middle East peace process.) Fears that the planned NMD would possibly spark new arms races with Russia, China or others while leaving Europe unprotected continued to top European worries.

While French President Jacques Chirac has been outspoken in his criticism of U.S. NMD plans, NATO would prefer to keep alliance differences to a public minimum. When asked to assess allied views about the proposed system after the December meetings, however, one U.S. government official admitted that "no one is enthusiastic, but no one is absolutely critical, with the exception of France."

Following the foreign ministers meeting, NATO Secretary General George Robertson noted the United States "assured the allies that it will only take decisions on a national missile defense after full consultations within NATO." Cohen stressed at the defense ministers meeting that "only one person can make the recommendation" to go forward with NMD deployment and that it would be "very much premature to speculate what will happen next year."

KEDO Signs Contract to Begin Work on North Korean Reactors

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 1994 Agreed Framework progressed this month with the completion of a turn-key contract between the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) for the construction of two light-water reactors in North Korea. U.S. State Department spokesman James Foley called the contract, which was signed in Seoul on December 15, a "milestone in the international cooperative effort of all the parties in implementing the Agreed Framework."

Preparations for the reactor construction have been on the drawing board since the completion of the Agreed Framework, which promises the two reactors to North Korea in exchange for the abandonment of its nuclear weapons program, the abandonment of its graphite-moderated reactors at Yongbyon, and the canning and disposal of its remaining spent fuel. KEPCO began preliminary site preparation in August of 1997 in Kumho, North Korea, and with the signing of the turn-key contract, actual construction activities may begin shortly.

The contract was completed later than originally expected, in part due to complicated legal and financial provisions that needed to be negotiated with the governments of Japan and South Korea, which are responsible for funding almost all of the $4.6 billion project. Perhaps more importantly, international reaction to several political crises on the Korean Peninsula—notably North Korea's 1998 test of a three-stage Taepo Dong-1 missile, which passed over Japan—slowed progress considerably when both primary contributors froze their contributions to the project in protest.

Some funding details remain to be resolved. Seventy percent of the project is to be funded by South Korea, with an additional $1 billion provided by Japan. The balance, several hundred million dollars, will have to be raised before the project can be completed. The United States is not currently contributing directly to the reactor project, but is responsible for coordinating annual shipments of heavy fuel oil as an interim energy source until the reactors are finished. KEDO's executive board will revisit the issue of the funding shortfall, but financing agreements completed earlier this year with the governments of South Korea and Japan will allow construction to continue in the interim.

KEDO's next step will be to negotiate an implementation accord with the North Korean government, hammering out the precise details and timeline of the construction project. The target date for completion of the first reactor officially remains sometime in 2003—an ambitious goal that would require a greatly accelerated construction schedule.

Wassenaar Members Remain Divided on Arrangement's Scope

THE WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT held its fifth plenary meeting December 1-3 in Vienna with its 33 members still divided over whether the weapons and dual-use export transparency body should become more than simply a data collection center. While adding new reporting items to the munitions control list after a year-long review of the 1996 arrangement's functioning, most members, including the United States, saw efforts to strengthen the regime frustrated by a few countries. Russia has been the most resistant to changes.

Designed to promote transparency and "greater responsibility" in the world arms market, Wassenaar calls on its members—most major arms exporters, with the key exceptions of Brazil, China, Israel and South Africa—to voluntarily exchange information on exports of conventional weapons and dual-use goods to help prevent "destabilizing accumulations." The arrangement is also intended to enhance member cooperation in preventing the acquisition of weapons and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies by countries that are of concern to Wassenaar members. But the final decision to approve or deny an export remains solely at the exporter's discretion.

Every six months, Wassenaar members are requested to provide information on deliveries of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships and missiles and missile systems to non-participating countries. Members may also voluntarily report on arms export denials.

The dual-use goods and technologies control list is broken down into two tiers of "basic" and "sensitive," with a sub-set of "very sensitive." For basic dual-use goods, members are asked only to report denials on an aggregate basis twice per year. Licenses granted or transfers made in the sensitive tier are to be reported every six months. If an export considered sensitive or very sensitive is denied, members are to notify other members of the denial within 60 days. Though other members are not obligated to forgo transfers denied by others, an exporter is expected to inform all other members within 60 days if it makes an export similar to one denied by another member during a three-year period.

As part of the year-long review of the arrangement's operation, individual members put forward more than 150 proposals for changes, including suggestions to increase arms trade transparency by adding small arms and power-projection equipment reporting categories, as well as provisions to increase exporter accountability. For its part, Washington pressed its 1998 initiative to bar the illicit possession of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), such as Stinger ground-to-air missiles. The list was eventually narrowed to some 50 items for consideration. Because Wassenaar operates by consensus, all members must agree or not object to a proposal for it to be approved.

In the end, members expanded the ACV reporting requirements to include those designed or equipped for reconnaissance, target indication, troop command and electronic warfare. Helicopters used in communications, troop command, target acquisition and mine-laying missions were incorporated into the attack helicopter category. While many countries wanted to make unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) a new category, a few countries objected. UAVs with military capabilities were therefore added to the combat aircraft category. Refueling aircraft and those with troop command and airdrop missions were also added. To reflect the broadening of the combat aircraft and attack helicopter categories, the category names were changed to "military aircraft/unmanned aerial vehicles" and "military and attack helicopters," respectively. The dual-use goods and technologies control list was also updated and amended.

Efforts to include a small arms category and to add ground-to-air missiles with ranges of less than 25 kilometers, which would include MANPADS, to the missiles category failed—the missile category currently excludes ground-to-air missiles. Members, however, pledged to study small arms and light weapons as a "matter of urgency" and to continue discussions for the "possible development of guidelines" for exporting MANPADS. A U.S. government official noted that "if Wassenaar was a majority vote institution, things would have been a lot different."

As in past years, Wassenaar observed in its plenary public statement that weapons continued to flow to regions of conflict, including to countries and parties subject to UN Security Council arms embargoes, though the statement did not name either the exporters or importers. Members, however, again reaffirmed they would act with "maximum restraint" when considering future arms and sensitive dual-use exports.

Frustrated that some states voluntarily report arms transfer denials and transfers previously denied by others, while some do not, members agreed to study the value of continuing the practice. U.S. unhappiness with Wassenaar became publicly evident when John Holum, senior advisor to the president for arms control and international security, listed Wassenaar as one of the disappointments of 1999 in a December 9 briefing at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C.

U.S. and South Korea Hold Ballistic Missile Talks

Wade Boese

THE LATEST ROUND of U.S.-South Korean negotiations, held November 18-20, on South Korea's ballistic missile program yielded no final agreement, though the United States reported the two sides moved "closer together." The talks, which have been carried out intermittently for the past four years, aim to permit Seoul to develop longer-range missiles while keeping their maximum range below a threshold that the United States finds acceptable, allowing it to endorse South Korean admission to the 32-member Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

In a 1979 memorandum of understanding with the United States, which was reiterated in 1990, South Korea voluntarily pledged not to develop ballistic missiles with ranges exceeding 180 kilometers. Since late 1995, however, Seoul has sought to abrogate that limit.

South Korea argues that longer-range missiles will be a more credible deterrent against North Korea, which has a much more developed, and visible, ballistic missile program. Specifically, Seoul wants to develop 300-500 kilometer-range missiles so that it can target all of North Korea. These plans, however, are jeopardizing the prospects for South Korea's membership in the MTCR.

The MTCR, a voluntary regime founded in 1987, seeks to limit the proliferation of missiles and missile technology for systems capable of delivering a 500-kilogram payload 300 kilometers or more-referred to as Category I systems. Members are also asked to exercise restraint in the export of other missile-related materials and technologies that could be used for delivering weapons of mass destruction.

Admission to the MTCR does not automatically give a state access to other members' missile technology, but it can open the door for participation and cooperation in space-launch activities, providing a strong incentive for joining the regime.

Though the MTCR only restricts exports of missile systems and technologies and has no prohibitions against indigenous missile programs, the United States adopted a policy in 1993 that calls on all prospective MTCR members-except nuclear-weapon states-to forgo all offensive Category I systems before acceding to the regime. Because the MTCR operates by consensus, the United States can wield this policy as a veto over potential members.

However, the United States did consent to Ukrainian MTCR membership in 1998 while permitting Kiev to retain Scud missiles that fall under Category I (See ACT, March 1998). Nevertheless, a U.S. government official said Washington is "not changing" its 1993 policy for any future member.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation Robert Einhorn, who headed the U.S. delegation at the latest U.S.-South Korean talks, told reporters the United States was "sympathetic" to the South Korean position of increasing its missile capabilities. Washington, according to the U.S. embassy in South Korea, is trying to meet Seoul's concerns in ways "consistent with" MTCR and "U.S. global non-proliferation policies." Presumably, this entails allowing South Korea to exceed the current 180-kilometer limit, but forbidding development of missiles with ranges equal to or greater than 300 kilometers.

Washington is also seeking to negotiate greater U.S. access to Seoul's ballistic missile program. Recent press reports charged South Korea with covertly developing missiles that violate the 1979 bilateral agreement. South Korean Defense Minister Cho Song-Tae, during a November 23 press conference with U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, dismissed these accusations and replied that "transparency is the one most important factor that we take into consideration in developing our missile program."

No date has been set for the next round of U.S.-South Korean missile talks, though the United States declared that it hopes remaining differences "will be resolved as soon as possible."

Departments of Defense, Energy Open Centers in Russia

Y2K Facility Testing Completed

J. Peter Scoblic

U.S. EFFORTS TO strengthen Russia's safeguards against proliferation moved forward in November with the opening of two centers, one designed to improve security at nuclear facilities and the other to provide economic support to former weapons scientists. Addressing a more immediate security concern, a joint U.S.-Russian Y2K facility developed to monitor missile launches in the weeks surrounding the turn of the new year was completed.

On November 1 the U.S. Department of Defense and the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) opened the Security Assessment and Training Center (SATC) in Segiev Possad, 30 miles northeast of Moscow. Established as part of the U.S.-funded Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, the center will test technologies and procedures intended to enhance security at Russia's nuclear weapons facilities. In addition, the $27-million center will bolster the MOD's Personnel Reliability Program, which screens and monitors personnel that safeguard nuclear materials, by providing drug and alcohol testing kits, polygraph systems and other equipment.

Efforts by the Department of Energy (DOE) to stem proliferation from the former Soviet republics also advanced with the November 2 opening of the International Development Center in the formerly closed Russian city of Zheleznogorsk (also known as Krasnoyarsk-26). The center, which is intended to "provide business resources to displaced Russian nuclear scientists, engineers, and technicians" is part of DOE's Nuclear Cities Initiative, a program begun in September 1998 to help the Russian nuclear weapons establishment downsize by finding commercial employment for former weapons scientists and by improving the general economic climate of Russia's once-secret "nuclear cities." The program aims to reduce the risk that financially desperate Russian scientists will peddle their nuclear know-how to terrorists or "rogue" nations for profit.

The success of the opening was marred, however, when U.S. ambassador James F. Collins cancelled his scheduled attendance after Russian officials said they would not allow his science adviser into the city, according to press reports. The incident is one of several in which Russian officials have refused site access to U.S. officials. The Nuclear Cities Initiative has come under financial pressure after Congress decided in October to cut its funding from $15 million in fiscal year (FY) 1999 to $7.5 million in FY 2000. Energy Department officials had initially hoped to expand the program from three cities to 10 and had requested $30 million to do so.

Y2K Center Ready

With just weeks to go before the start of the new year, the Center for Year 2000 Strategic Stability (CY2KSS) completed testing in late November. The center is now awaiting general-officer certification and is scheduled to open December 10, according to a U.S. Air Force official. Located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, the center will allow U.S. and Russian military officials to observe and share real-time data on international missile launches to ensure that any Y2K problems that occur in either nation's early-warning computers will not be misinterpreted as an attack, possibly causing the actual launch of nuclear warheads.

Eighteen Russian officers are expected to arrive at CY2KSS on December 21. Round-the-clock operations with U.S. and Russian officials sitting side-by-side monitoring data from satellites and ground-based tracking radar will begin December 30 and will continue through at least the second week of January. According to a report in Aviation Week & Space Technology, in the event a launch is detected, CY2KSS personnel will be able to communicate with U.S. and Russian command authorities via satellite link and dedicated landlines to determine whether the alert indicates an actual attack or a false alarm generated by a computer malfunction.

In 1998 President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin first called for the establishment of a permanent joint early-warning facility to monitor and share information on international launch activity, but delays in opening that facility, which was to be located in Moscow, forced the development of another center that would be ready in time to deal with any Y2K problems.

Earlier this year it was agreed to establish the provisional center in Colorado, but its completion was threatened this spring when Russia withdrew its cooperation following the U.S.-led NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia. However, on September 13 Defense Secretary William Cohen and Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev signed an agreement officially establishing the CY2KSS, and final details were worked out in October.

Russian Officials Continue to Oppose Changes to ABM Treaty

J. Peter Scoblic

U.S. ATTEMPTS TO renegotiate the ABM Treaty to allow for deployment of a limited national missile defense (NMD) system continued to meet with strong public and private opposition from top-level Russian political and military officials, whose concerns were echoed by Chinese and European leaders and formalized in a UN draft resolution urging the preservation of the treaty. The United States answered Russia's protests, which were punctuated with missile tests and suggestions of improved nuclear forces, by insisting that U.S. NMD efforts were not intended to threaten Russia's nuclear deterrent.

Despite Moscow's vehement public opposition to changing the treaty, the United States and Russia have been holding high-level talks on the ABM Treaty since mid-August. Most recently, Undersecretary of State John Holum met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Berdennikov in Moscow on October 21-22. According to reports published just before the meeting by The New York Times, the United States had offered to help Russia complete its missile-tracking radar site at Mishelevka, near the Siberian city of Irkutsk, in exchange for treaty amendments that would permit the U.S. to deploy a limited NMD system. But on October 21, State Department spokesman James Rubin said that the United States had made no formal offers to the Russians and that discussions on the treaty were still at "an early stage."

In proposing changes to the treaty, U.S. officials have repeatedly emphasized that the planned NMD system is not designed to counter a Russian attack and would be easily overwhelmed by the sheer number of missiles in the Russian arsenal. "Nothing we have in mind to construct...would in any way jeopardize their strategic systems," Secretary of Defense William Cohen said November 4. U.S. officials have also tried to point out that the danger of "rogue nations" armed with ICBMs is one that affects both Russia and the United States. "We believe the Russians face a similar threat...and we have proposed a number of ways to cooperate with them in helping them meet that threat," Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said in an October 26 press briefing.

But Russia continued to reject the notion that it could cooperate with the United States in amending the treaty. "We are not engaged in haggling with the Americans on the ABM Treaty," said Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on October 28, and in the days that followed, Russian military officials repeatedly stated that Russia would easily be able to penetrate any missile defense erected by the United States. Nikolai Mihailov, Russia's first deputy defense minister, indicated that Russia was already considering ways to increase its strategic capabilities to compensate for a U.S. NMD system, including modifying its single-warhead Topol-M (also known as the SS-27) to carry multiple re-entry vehicles, a measure prohibited by START II, which Russia has signed but not yet ratified.

Russia then took its public opposition to treaty amendment a step further with a series of "combat readiness" exercises. On November 2, it launched a missile interceptor from the Sary-Shagan test site in Kazakhstan. The missile was part of Russia's A-135 system, which is deployed around Moscow as Russia's one missile defense permitted under the ABM Treaty. (The United States deployed its ABM system around an ICBM field in North Dakota but dismantled it in 1975.) Then, on November 18, a Russian nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea test-fired two ballistic missiles.

Russia's forceful posture was matched by increasingly firm U.S. rhetoric. In a November 5 speech to a Washington think tank, Undersecretary of Defense Walter Slocombe said that if the Russians were not willing to negotiate, "the president would have to decide whether to withdraw from the ABM Treaty under the supreme national interest clause." "We will not permit any other country to have a veto on actions that may be needed for the defense of our nation," Slocombe said. The Clinton administration has said that it will make an NMD deployment decision in July 2000 based on four criteria: technological readiness, the maturity of the "rogue nation" ICBM threat, cost factors and arms control considerations.

Arms control experts continued to express concern that U.S. efforts to alter the ABM Treaty would have a devastating effect on the arms control regime, recently weakened by the Senate's October 13 rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Indeed, Russian officials have indicated that if the United States withdraws from the ABM Treaty, Russia will consider its obligations under the START agreements null and void. "If the ABM Treaty collapses, all achievements in the field of the limitation and reduction of nuclear weapons will be suspended," said Anatoly Anatov, a Russian envoy to the United Nations.

The international community also expressed its concern with U.S. plans to amend the ABM Treaty, formalizing its opposition on November 5 in a UN resolution co-sponsored by Russia, China and Belarus. The draft resolution, which called for the preservation and strengthening of the ABM Treaty as the "cornerstone for maintaining international peace and security and strategic stability," was adopted by the First Committee of the General Assembly by a vote of 54-4, with 73 abstentions. The United States, Israel, Latvia and Micronesia were the only states to vote against the resolution.

However, despite its public rhetoric, in late November Russia indicated a willingness to continue discussions. In an interview with Russian Public Television on November 19, Colonel-General Vladimir Yakovlev, commander of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces, suggested that the United States and Russia set up a joint commission to assess the "rogue state" missile threat, according to Reuters. Then, in a press conference held in New York on November 22, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian ambassador to the UN, suggested that a U.S. missile defense against rogue states could be addressed within the "demarcation" agreements to the ABM Treaty that Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin signed in 1997, defining the limits on theater missile defense permitted under the treaty.

Executive Summary of the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty

Wade Boese

News Analysis

Aiming to preserve the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty as the "cornerstone of European security," President Bill Clinton and 29 other national leaders signed an agreement adapting the Cold War-era treaty to the present European security environment on November 19-nine years to the day after signature of the original treaty. Despite a sweeping restructuring, the treaty objective of promoting European security and stability through lower arms levels, limits on the massing of forces and military transparency remains the same.

More than merely eliminating references to the former Soviet Union and the now-defunct Warsaw Pact, the adapted treaty jettisons the Cold War rationale of balancing two hostile military alliances and instead emphasizes individual country rights, limits and obligations. In a package of associated political commitments referred to as the Final Act, several states also pledged additional weapons reductions and to forgo increases in future weapons levels.

The original treaty remains in effect until the adapted agreement is ratified by all 30 states-parties, at which point the adapted treaty will enter into force.

From Bloc to National Limits

Under the original treaty, NATO and the Warsaw Pact were each allotted limits of 20,000 tanks, 30,000 armored combat vehicles (ACVs), 20,000 artillery pieces, 6,800 combat aircraft and 2,000 attack helicopters-materiel collectively referred to as treaty-limited equipment (TLE). With the 1991 break-up of the Warsaw Pact and the 1997 offer of NATO membership to the former Eastern bloc members of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, these bloc-limits lost all relevance. The original treaty's outdated nature is underscored by the fact that it requires the new NATO members to coordinate weapons-level changes with Russia and other former Warsaw Pact members in order to stay within the Eastern bloc limit.

The adapted treaty discards these obsolete, alliance-wide limits and replaces them with national ceilings for the same five weapons categories. For the adapted treaty, countries proposed their own limits, with the understanding that they would take a "restrained approach" and work toward the overriding objective of "achieving a significant lowering in the total amount of TLE in Europe."

Together, the 19 members of NATO lowered their cumulative national limits from 89,026 TLE to 79,967. Current NATO weapons holdings only add up to 64,091 TLE, so no actual reductions will be required. While amounting to a paper cut, this reduction does decrease the weapons build-up potential of alliance members, thereby reassuring Russia. Individually, only two NATO states, Aegean rivals Greece and Turkey, increased their weapons limits, though only in the category of attack helicopters. The United States reduced its limits by more than 40 percent, from 13,088 TLE to 7,582. But, like the alliance in general, U.S. actual holdings of 3,465 TLE (as of January 1, 1999) are far below its new limits. For its part, Russia reduced its TLE limits by transferring the entitlement for 385 weapons to Kazakhstan, which did not previously have any weapons entitlements under CFE.

Out With Zones, In With Territorial Ceilings

To guard against weapons accumulations for launching surprise, large-scale offensives, the original treaty restricts the deployment of tanks, ACVs and artillery through a concentric-zone-structure, whereby the smallest zone, located in the center of Europe, has the lowest limits, and successive zones emanating outward have increasingly large limits. Though the possibility of such an attack is much more remote today, the rationale of preventing the build-up of military forces in a specific geographic area remains sound.

In keeping with the shift from a bloc structure to a national one, the adapted treaty eliminates the zones and sets territorial ceilings for each state. These territorial ceilings cap the total amount of ground TLE, both national and foreign-stationed, that a country can have within its borders-a much more restrictive system than the concentric zones, which permitted much larger force levels greater freedom in significantly bigger areas. Explicit advance consent of the host state is required for the stationing of any foreign TLE on another's territory to guard against unwanted deployments.

Twenty countries, including Russia and NATO's three newest members, set their territorial ceilings equal to their national ceilings. In effect, this requires a country's own TLE holdings on its territory to be lower than its national ceilings if the country wants foreign forces stationed within its borders. For Russia, long-opposed to NATO expansion, this constitutes an important check on NATO ground weaponry deployed in the newest alliance members and assures Moscow that NATO expansion will not cause a cumulative rise in weapons stationed in those countries.

At the same time, however, NATO sought to ensure that it could conduct military exercises, as well as deploy forces in times of crisis, on the new NATO members' territory. As a result, the adapted treaty allows countries to host temporary deployments that exceed their territorial limits by up to 153 tanks, 241 ACVs and 140 artillery pieces.

In exceptional circumstances, some states-those outside the original treaty's flank zone-may exceed their limits by as many as 459 tanks, 723 ACVs and 420 artillery pieces. Though Russia strongly opposed these exceptional temporary deployments, which are equivalent to two NATO divisions, alliance members viewed them as necessary to guard against "second-class membership" for new NATO members and to preserve alliance flexibility.

NATO rejected Russian efforts to impose territorial limits on combat aircraft and attack helicopters because it viewed such limitations as unverifiable given the mobility of those weapons.

The Evolution of the Flank Zone

While making no reference to a flank zone, the adapted treaty retains the flank zone's function of limiting weapons accumulations in northern and southern Europe. The former flank countries all agreed to set their territorial ceilings equal to their national ceilings, and all are limited to hosting only basic temporary deployments.

Specific limits, though relaxed, are also retained on the ground TLE Russia deploys in its northern and southern flanks, as well as on the ground TLE Ukraine deploys in its Odessa oblast. Since inception of the original treaty, Moscow has pressed for the abolition of the flank zone, claiming it is discriminatory because Russia and Ukraine are the only two states with limits on where they can deploy their own weapons on their own territory. Trying to address Russian complaints, the states-parties agreed in May 1996 to allow Russia's original flank limits of 1,300 tanks, 1,380 ACVs and 1,680 artillery apply to a smaller area, while the original zone itself would have higher limits of 1,800 tanks, 3,700 ACVs and 2,400 artillery. In the adapted treaty, parties further placated Russia by eliminating the original zone and its limits entirely, and increasing Russia's ACV allowance in the reduced flank zone from 1,380 to 2,140.

Improved Transparency

The adapted treaty also bolsters two key, but often overlooked, elements of the original CFE Treaty: extensive requirements for both inspections and information exchange.

Under the original treaty, each state-party is obligated to accept a number of inspections equal to 15 percent of its number of "objects of verification," essentially defined as sites and units with TLE. The adapted treaty increases that quota to 20 percent. The number of inspections countries are required to permit has been declining because the destruction of more than 70,000 pieces of TLE during the treaty's operation has led to a reduction in objects of verification.

Whereas the existing treaty only requires annual reports on the designated peacetime location of tanks, ACVs and artillery, the adapted treaty adds annual reporting requirements on the actual location of this TLE. Each state is also now required to submit quarterly reports detailing the numbers and actual territorial deployments of its ground TLE.

To the satisfaction of Russia, which had sought greater restrictions and transparency on NATO's air power following the alliance's air war over Yugoslavia, quarterly reports are also required on combat aircraft and attack helicopters. However, states-parties only need to supply information on total numbers for the entire treaty area and detail the countries to which the equipment is assigned for deployment, not those where it is actually located.

As a further confidence-building measure, whenever weapons levels on a state's territory change by 30 tanks, 30 ACVs, or 10 artillery pieces or more, all other states-parties must be informed within five working days. Any increase of 18 or more combat aircraft or attack helicopters in a country's holdings within the treaty's area of application must be reported within five working days.

The Final Act

The political commitments issued in the associated Final Act generally reinforce the adapted treaty's aim of keeping armament levels low in regions of historical conflict, and many specifically attempt to alleviate Russia's unease with NATO expansion.

Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Ukraine each pledged not to increase their territorial ceilings under the "current and foreseeable security circumstances."

New NATO members Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic went a step further, pledging additional future reductions in territorial ceilings (which they had already set equal to their national ceilings) totaling more than 1,500 ground TLE. Unlike the U.S. drop in limits, these reductions will require actual destruction of equipment. The Slovak Republic, a prospective NATO member, also offered a future territorial ceiling reduction of 195 ground TLE.

Moscow reciprocated by pledging that it would show "due restraint" in tank, ACV and artillery deployments in the region encompassing the Kaliningrad oblast, which is situated between Poland and the Baltic states, and in the Pskov oblast, which borders the Baltic states. Echoing a NATO commitment made in the May 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act concerning NATO deployments in new alliance members, Russia pledged that in the "present politico-military situation it has no reasons, plans or intentions to station substantial additional combat forces, whether air or ground forces, in that region [the Kaliningrad and Pskov oblasts] on a permanent basis."

In its southern flank, Russia pledged to reduce its TLE holdings in Georgia to a level equaling a basic temporary deployment by the end of next year-a proposal to which Georgia consented. Currently, Russia has 141 tanks, 481 ACVs and 166 artillery pieces deployed at four bases on Georgian territory.

To strip away the legality of any Russian forces stationed on its territory, Moldova used the Final Act to renounce its right to host any temporary deployment. In the Act, all states-parties also "welcomed" Russia's commitment, made in the declaration following the Istanbul summit (at which the adapted agreement was signed), to withdraw or destroy all of its TLE currently stationed in Moldova by the end of 2001.

Finally, the Act states that all treaty members have "undertaken to move forward expeditiously to facilitate completion of national ratification procedures, so that the Agreement on Adaptation can enter into force as soon as possible." At the same time, the Act emphasizes the "central importance of, full and continued implementation" of the existing treaty until the adapted treaty enters into force.

The parties pledged to review the status of all the pledges made and decisions taken at the treaty's next review conference scheduled for May 2001.


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