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"[Arms Control Today] has become indispensable! I think it is the combination of the critical period we are in and the quality of the product. I found myself reading the May issue from cover to cover."

– Frank von Hippel
Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
June 1, 2018
Press Releases

Senate Rejects Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; Clinton Vows to Continue Moratorium

IN A MAJOR setback to the nuclear non-proliferation regime and U.S. credibility, the Senate decisively rejected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on October 13 by a vote of 51-48, marking the first time that it has defeated a security-related treaty since the Treaty of Versailles nearly 80 years ago. Immediately following the largely party-line vote, President Bill Clinton pledged that he would keep fighting for the CTBT and that the United States would continue its moratorium on nuclear testing, which has been in effect since 1992. Despite his assurances, the vote sent shock waves throughout the world, drawing strong condemnation from Russia and China as well as American allies in Europe and Asia. (See story.)

Just 12 Days

In September 1996, President Clinton became the first world leader to sign the CTBT, which prohibits "any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion." One year later he submitted the treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent. However, Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), whose Foreign Relations Committee has jurisdiction over treaties, repeatedly stated that the CTBT was a low-priority item and that it would only receive consideration after the committee had voted on two unrelated sets of agreements not yet submitted by the administration: the 1997 amendments to the ABM Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

This logjam persisted for almost two years until July 1999, when all 45 Democratic senators signed a letter urging Helms to conduct hearings on the CTBT and report it to the full Senate for debate. (See ACT, July/August 1999.) When Helms snubbed the request, Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) threatened to hold up Senate business unless the treaty received floor consideration. "This is going to be a tough place to run if you do not decide to bring this issue to the floor of the Senate and give us the opportunity to debate [the CTBT]," he warned on September 8.

Confident that the Republicans already had the votes to defeat the treaty, Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) called for a quick vote—a move that surprised the Democrats and most observers. Forced to choose between a vote after limited debate or no vote at all until the next Congress, the Democratic leadership, in consultation with the White House, reluctantly agreed to Lott's proposal. On October 1, a unanimous consent agreement was reached under which the Senate would bypass the Foreign Relations Committee and vote on the CTBT on October 12 after just 18 hours of floor debate. Under the terms of the agreement, the Republican and Democratic leaderships were each permitted to introduce only one amendment to the resolution of ratification, thereby curtailing the administration's ability to craft a resolution that could have addressed the stated concerns of some senators.

The White House was highly critical of the truncated process. "This is not what the Founding Fathers meant by advise and consent. This is hit and run," National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said October 2. Two days later, White House press spokesman Joe Lockhart argued that the lack of attention given to the CTBT was unprecedented. By way of comparison, he noted that the ABM Treaty had received eight days of hearings in the Foreign Relations Committee and 18 days of consideration on the Senate floor; the INF Treaty had received 23 days of committee hearings and nine days of floor consideration; and START I had received 19 days of committee hearings and five days of floor consideration.

White House Launches Full-Court Press

Faced with the unanimous consent agreement, the White House immediately launched a highly visible campaign to achieve ratification. In an October 4 photo opportunity with his national security team, Clinton made the case for the treaty and responded to charges that the Central Intelligence Agency is unable to determine whether Russia is secretly conducting low-yield nuclear tests at its Novaya Zemlya facility. He argued that while such tests are difficult to detect, the treaty gives the United States "new tools" to ensure compliance, such as the creation of an International Monitoring System (IMS) consisting of 321 monitoring stations located throughout the world and the ability to request an on-site inspection if suspicious activity cannot be adequately clarified.

Clinton repeated his call for ratification during an October 5 signing ceremony for the defense authorization bill and a pep rally the next day at the White House, which included participation from the present and past chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as a number of the 32 Nobel laureates in physics who had publicly endorsed the CTBT. "The best way to constrain the danger of nuclear proliferation and, God forbid, the use of a nuclear weapon, is to stop other countries from testing nuclear weapons. That's what this test ban treaty will do. A vote, therefore, to ratify is a vote to increase the protections of our people and the world from nuclear war. By contrast, a vote against it risks a much more dangerous future," Clinton said.

Congressional Hearings Begin

Other key Clinton administration officials argued for ratification during three days of congressional hearings held October 5-7, only one of which took place in the Foreign Relations Committee. The hearings focused on two issues: whether the United States could effectively verify if countries were adhering to the CTBT and whether the United States could maintain a safe and reliable nuclear arsenal solely through its stockpile stewardship program.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on October 6, Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry Shelton, as well as former chairman General John Shalikashvili, argued that the United States should ratify the CTBT with the six safeguards that President Clinton established in August 1995 as conditions for U.S. entry into the test ban. (See sidebar.) In particular, they pointed out that Safeguard F would allow the United States to withdraw from the CTBT under the standard "supreme national interests" clause in the event that the secretaries of defense and energy (as advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council, the commander-in-chief of U.S. Strategic Command and the heads of the three nuclear weapons laboratories) could no longer certify that a weapon critical to the U.S. nuclear deterrent was safe and reliable. With respect to verification, the witnesses argued that even though some low-yield nuclear tests might go undetected, such tests are not militarily significant.

Challenging these views, former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger testified that in the absence of underground nuclear testing, confidence in the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal would inevitably decline. Schlesinger was particularly critical of the fact that the treaty bans all tests in perpetuity. In addition, he said that the stockpile stewardship program will not be fully operational for another 10 years.

Sparring over these issues continued October 7, when the Armed Services Committee received testimony from Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and the directors of the three nuclear weapons laboratories (John Browne of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Bruce Tarter of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Paul Robinson of Sandia National Laboratories). Although Richardson was confident about the abilities of the $4.5 billion-per-year stockpile stewardship program, the three lab directors were much more cautious, stating that the United States was heading into "uncharted waters" and that there were no guarantees that the program would be successful. However, when pressed on this point by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), the lab directors said they supported the CTBT provided that there is full funding for the stewardship program and that the six safeguards are adopted by the Senate. Clarifying their views in a joint statement issued the next day, the lab directors wrote, "While there can never be a guarantee that the stockpile will remain safe and reliable indefinitely without nuclear testing, we have stated that we are confident that a fully supported and sustained stockpile stewardship program will enable us to continue to maintain America's nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing."

Let's Make a Deal

Meanwhile, recognizing that the 67 votes needed for ratification were not there, Senators Daschle and Lott began a behind-the-scenes dialogue as early as October 5 on ways to postpone the vote and prevent a humiliating blow to U.S. credibility abroad. Lott said he was willing to put off the vote as long as Clinton requested the delay and agreed not to bring up the CTBT during the remainder of his presidency.

In the days that followed, as it became even clearer that the treaty would be soundly defeated, Clinton met Lott's first demand and requested that the vote be postponed, but he was not willing to rule out the option of resubmitting the treaty before leaving office. Efforts to reach a deal were further complicated by the fact that Senate rules required all 100 senators to agree to change the original unanimous consent agreement in order to postpone the vote. A small but powerful group of conservative senators—including Helms, James Inhofe (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Robert Smith (I-NH)—indicated that they would block any attempt to delay the vote because they believed the treaty should be defeated.

As the floor debate opened on October 8, the Clinton administration and Senate Democrats increased their efforts to postpone the vote. That same day, in an unprecedented appeal, French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder published an op-ed piece in The New York Times imploring the Senate to ratify the treaty. Also on October 8, the states participating in the Vienna conference on bringing the CTBT into force issued a declaration calling upon those states that had not yet ratified the treaty to do so. (See document.)

The Endgame

Efforts to delay the vote went down to the wire. On October 11, Clinton put his request for a postponement in writing, but still would not agree to put off the vote until 2001. In his letter to Lott and Daschle, Clinton said, "I firmly believe the Treaty is in the national interest. However, I recognize that there are a number of Senators who have honest disagreements. I believe that proceeding to a vote under these circumstances would severely harm the national security of the United States, damage our relationship with our allies, and undermine our historic leadership over forty years, through administrations Republican and Democratic, in reducing the nuclear threat."

On October 12, the day before the vote, the sides came close to reaching a deal. In return for a delay, Daschle pledged that he would not bring up the CTBT for a vote before 2001 barring "extraordinary circumstances," an implicit reference to the resumption of nuclear testing in South Asia. Although Daschle and Lott tentatively agreed on this language, the deal fell through when the same small group of conservative senators objected.

The Democrats also tried to remove the CTBT from the so-called "executive calendar," an unusual parliamentary maneuver that would have required only a simple majority (51 votes). Although 62 senators, including influential Republicans such as Pete Domenici (R-NM), Richard Lugar (R-IN) and John Warner (R-VA), indicated in an October 12 letter to Lott and Daschle that their preference was to delay the vote, the majority leader did not give Republicans his blessing to support the procedural move, thereby making the vote a test of party loyalty that was later defeated by a 55-45 vote.

When the roll was finally called on October 13, the resolution to ratify the CTBT (including the six safeguards that Daschle had submitted as an amendment) was defeated by a 51-48 vote with one abstention. (See the voting record.) Forty-four Democrats voted for ratification as did four Republicans: John Chafee (R-RI), James Jeffords (R-VT), Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Arlen Specter (R-PA). Fifty Republican senators and one independent (Robert Smith of New Hampshire) voted against ratification, and Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) voted "present." The treaty fell 19 votes short of achieving the necessary two-thirds majority necessary for ratification.

Clinton Goes on the Offensive

Just hours after the vote, Clinton reassured the world that the fight for the CTBT was "far from over" and announced that the United States would continue its moratorium on nuclear testing, which has been in effect for the past seven years. He also called upon Russia and China (which have signed the treaty but not ratified) as well as Britain and France (which have signed and ratified) to continue their moratoria on nuclear testing.

In his October 13 statement outside the Oval Office, Clinton strongly condemned the Senate's action. "For two years, the opponents of this treaty in the Senate refused to hold a single hearing. Then they offered a take-or-leave-it deal: to decide this crucial security issue in a week.… They rejected my request to delay the vote and permit a serious process so that all questions could be evaluated. Even worse, many Republican senators apparently committed to oppose this treaty before there was an agreement to bring it up, before they ever heard a single witness or understood the issues. Never before has a serious treaty involving nuclear weapons been handled in such a reckless and ultimately partisan way," he said.

Clinton continued his assault on the Republican Party in a press conference the next day. He characterized the Senate vote as "partisan politics of the worst kind" and charged treaty opponents with showing "signs of a new isolationism." Clinton argued that the Senate majority "has turned its back on 50 years of American leadership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction" and that they "are betting our children's future on the reckless proposition that we can go it alone; that at the height of our power and prosperity, we should bury our heads in the sand, behind a wall."

Lott quickly denied that partisan politics played any role in the CTBT's defeat. "We have some of the most thoughtful senators that have ever served in this body that said that this treaty was not verifiable, that it was fundamentally flawed, and it should not be ratified," he said in an October 14 press conference. Furthermore, Lott accused the administration of not effectively lobbying for the treaty. "I was demanded and forced into having a debate and a vote. And so when we agreed, then they said, 'Well, wait a minute; there may not be the votes to ratify this treaty.' Well, I wonder why. Because we had been doing our work. We'd been checking into it," Lott said.

Given the Senate's action along party lines, there is the real possibility that the CTBT will become an issue in the 2000 presidential and congressional elections. Following the vote, Vice President Al Gore condemned the "partisan" way in which the Senate handled the CTBT and pledged to resubmit the treaty for ratification if he is elected president next year. Earlier, on October 5, leading Republican contender George W. Bush announced that he is opposed to the CTBT as are other Republican candidates, such as Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who voted against the treaty. Bush did say, however, that he supports the current moratorium on nuclear testing.


Nuclear Safeguards Necessary for U.S. Ratification of the CTBT

A: The conduct of a Science Based Stockpile Stewardship program to ensure a high level of confidence in the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons in the active stockpile, including the conduct of a broad range of effective and continuing experimental programs.

B: The maintenance of modern nuclear laboratory facilities and programs in theoretical and exploratory nuclear technology which will attract, retain, and ensure the continued application of our human scientific resources to those programs on which continued progress in nuclear technology depends.

C: The maintenance of the basic capability to resume nuclear test activities prohibited by the CTBT should the United States cease to be bound to adhere to this treaty.

D: Continuation of a comprehensive research and development program to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations.

E: The continuing development of a broad range of intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities and operations to ensure accurate and comprehensive information on worldwide nuclear arsenals, nuclear weapons development programs, and related nuclear programs.

F: The understanding that if the President of the United States is informed by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy (DOE)—advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council, the Directors of DOE's nuclear weapons laboratories and the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command—that a high level of confidence in the safety or reliability of a nuclear weapon type which the two Secretaries consider to be critical to our nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified, the President, in consultation with Congress, would be prepared to withdraw from the CTBT under the standard "supreme national interests" clause in order to conduct whatever testing might be required.

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The Voting Record Voted Against Ratifying the CTBT

Spencer Abraham (R-MI), Wayne Allard (R-CO), John Ashcroft (R-MO), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Christopher Bond (R-MO), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), Thad Cochran (R-MS) Susan Collins (R-ME), Paul Coverdell (R-GA), Larry Craig (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL), William Frist (R-TN), Slade Gorton (R-WA), Phil Gramm (R-TX), Rod Grams (R-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Charles Hagel (R-NE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jesse Helms (R-NC), Tim Hutchinson (R-AR), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Trent Lott (R-MS), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Connie Mack (R-FL), John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Frank Murkowski (R-AK), Don Nickles (R-OK), Pat Roberts (R-KS), William Roth Jr. (R-DE), Rick Santorum (R-PA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Bob Smith (I-NH), Olympia1 Snowe (R-ME), Ted Stevens (R-AK), Craig Thomas (R-WY), Fred Thompson (R-TN), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), George Voinovich (R-OH), John Warner (R-VA)

Voted for Ratifying the CTBT

Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Max Baucus (D-MT), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Joseph Biden Jr. (D-DE), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), John Breaux (D-LA), Richard Bryan (D-NV), John Chafee (R-RI), Max Cleland (D-GA), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Thomas Daschle (D-SD), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Edwards (D-NC), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Graham (D-FL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ernest Hollings (D-SC), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), James Jeffords (R-VT), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Robert Kerrey (D-NE), John Kerry (D-MA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Daniel Moynihan (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Robb (D-VA), John Rockefeller IV (D-WV), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Arlen Specter (R-PA), Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), Paul Wellstone (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Voted Present

Robert Byrd (D-WV)

Source: U.S. Congressional Record

Fewer Countries Submit Arms Trade Data to UN Register

FEWER COUNTRIES VOLUNTEERED reports on their exports and imports of major conventional weapons to the 1998 UN Register of Conventional Arms than in any previous year of the register's operation. Yet, the register, dated August 13 with an addendum of October 7, covered much of the 1998 arms market, as most major arms exporters, with the key exception of China, submitted weapons trade data. (Russian data, submitted October 15, was not yet available.) The United States accounted for nearly half of all reported 1998 arms exports worldwide.

Aimed at revealing build-ups of conventional arms, the voluntary register calls on countries to annually report their imports and exports of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships and missiles and missile launchers. Countries may also provide information on their military holdings and domestic weapons procurement, as well as relevant arms trade policies. Iraq's acquisition of large stocks of conventional weapons prior to its invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent 1990-91 Persian Gulf War served as the impetus for establishing the register in January 1992.

Annual register participation has generally exceeded 90 countries, but this year only 74 have reported to date. Many of the countries not participating in the 1998 register that have in previous years are those that submit "nil" reports for both imports and exports. Some are suspected of merely being late with their replies, which is common. Bangladesh and the Dominican Republic participated for the first time.

Only two countries, Israel and Iran, reported from the Middle East, while Lesotho, Madagascar and South Africa were the only African countries to take part. Arab states typically boycott the register, charging that it is inadequate because it fails to account for weapons of mass destruction. African states, on the other hand, largely abstain from the register for its lack of small arms categories. In addition, less than a third of Latin American and Caribbean states reported on their arms deals or lack thereof.

China suspended its register participation indefinitely last year to protest U.S. inclusion of arms shipments to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province. For 1998, Washington reported 355 weapons exports to Taipei.

Exporters

A total of 22 countries, including 18 European states, reported 5,622 exports, the lowest export total during the register's seven years of operation. The lack of Russian and Chinese data and the completion of most of the arms deliveries for agreements signed during the post-Gulf War weapons-buying boom account for much of the reduced export total from past registers, which generally totaled more than 7,500 weapons.

The United States ranked first with 2,713 exports, equaling the combined export totals for the next 10 highest weapon suppliers. (The United States revised its data upward from the original submission of 2,700 exports made in May.) Poland moved into second place with a total of 1,018 exports, which was a shipment—initially imported from Bulgaria—comprising 18 120mm mortars and 1,000 mortar rounds to the Congo. The United Kingdom held the third spot with 594 exports, 416 of which were cruise missiles to the United Arab Emirates.

Exporter data revealed Europe as the top destination of arms shipments with a total of 1,625, while the Middle East, including Egypt, received a total of 1,423 weapons. Five exporters—the United States, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Canada—accounted for all the reported exports to the Middle East. Iran claimed 11 weapon imports from Russia.

Missiles and missile launchers (2,465) accounted for 43 percent of the reported weapons exports. In the Middle East, missile deliveries to eight countries accounted for two-thirds of reported arms shipments. Missile systems, according to exporter data, also constituted approximately 55 percent of all Asian and European imports.

Imports

Thirty-nine countries reported more than 4,866 total arms imports. (Australia and Singapore listed "several" for their missile imports.) Discounting Poland, which exported its import of 1,018 artillery items, Bangladesh ranked as the top importer with 825 weapons. Bangladesh cited Italy, Yugoslavia, China and France with supplying a total of 465 artillery pieces and China with 232 tanks. Other leading importers included South Korea, which totaled 530 missile systems from the United States, Thailand (359 imports) and Chile (330 imports).

As in past years, little of the exporting and importing data corresponded. For example, the United States claimed exporting only 27 missiles to South Korea. Many of the discrepancies stem from a lack of importing data or differing national accounting procedures for imports and exports. Whereas some countries count an export as physical departure from its territory, others may base it on title transfer.

The 1998 UN Register of Conventional Arms: Top 10 Reporting Exporters and Totals

Region/Country Battle Tanks ACVs Heavy Artillery Combat Aircraft Attack Helicopters Warships Missiles & Launchers Total
United States 120 441 128 232 24 6 1,762 2,713
Poland     1,018         1,018
United Kingdom 65   45 12   4 472 594
Ukraine 137 36     25   29 227
France 95 16 1 28 4   70 214
Netherlands 123 34       1   158
Germany 35 107       5   147
Bulgaria 140             140
Slovak Republic   11         122 133
South Africa   21 24         45
Total for All Countries Reporting Exports 792 737 1,277 282 53 16 2,465 5,622

Conference on Disarmament Completes Another Barren Year

ON SEPTEMBER 8, the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) ended its annual 24 weeks of talks without launching any arms control negotiations for the second time in three years. China and members of the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned movement, led by Pakistan, would not allow fissile material cutoff treaty negotiations, which no countries publicly opposed, to begin without a work program agreement. At the same time, sole U.S. refusal to negotiate on the agenda item of prevention of an arms race in outer space and the continued unwillingness of the nuclear-weapon states, minus China, to hold formal talks on nuclear disarmament prevented the now 66-member conference from passing a work program.

The long-standing dispute between the nuclear-weapon states, except China, and the G-21 over how to address nuclear disarmament was superseded this year by a growing clash over the outer space issue. NATO's 11-week bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, particularly the May 7 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, further soured the CD atmosphere.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen's January 20 announcement on funding for deployment of a national missile defense (NMD) system and President Clinton's subsequent July 22 signing of legislation that made it U.S. policy to deploy an NMD system as soon as "technologically possible" provoked a wave of calls, led by China, for the CD to hold negotiations on arms and outer space. Chinese CD Ambassador Li Changhe set the terms of the CD debate on May 27 by noting that Beijing, among others, believed that the "importance" of outer space, as well as nuclear disarmament, was "no less than" that of a fissile cutoff.

While CD members neared, but did not reach, a compromise on nuclear disarmament that would have established a working group for exchanging views on the issue, the United States, which claimed that there is no arms race in outer space, remained steadfast in its opposition to outer space talks.

In closing remarks on September 7, U.S. Ambassador Robert Grey decried the 1999 session as "especially impoverished." He did, however, note that "at least the parameters of the debate have been clarified," which provides the "possibility of preparing the CD to begin work rapidly in the next session." Grey also pledged that he would "take advantage of any flexibility that may exist on the part of my government" so that a work program could be achieved next year.

Not everyone shared Ambassador Grey's cautious optimism. French Representative Hubert de la Fortelle, in his closing statement, described the conference as "gravely ill" and termed the prospects for the 2000 session as "very bleak." He further charged that the "practice of links, all or nothing, was in the process of killing an irreplaceable organization."

Finland, speaking for the European Union, called for an early decision on cutoff talks next year. Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram, however, circulated a statement by Islamabad's Foreign Secretary warning that if India intended to manufacture 400 or more nuclear warheads—as hinted at by one of the designers of India's August 17 draft nuclear doctrine (See ACT, July/August 1999)—then "neither India nor Pakistan could accept the conclusion" of a fissile material cutoff treaty.

The CD's 2000 session will be divided into three parts: January 17-March 24, May 22-July 7 and August 7-September 22.

Little Progress Made at START/ABM Talks

Craig Cerniello

THE FIRST ROUND of U.S.-Russian "discussions" on START III and the ABM Treaty ended August 19 without any apparent progress, casting a shadow on the Clinton administration's plans to resolve treaty issues before June 2000, when it will decide whether to deploy a limited national missile defense (NMD) system. During the talks, which began August 17 in Moscow, Russia continued to argue that NMD deployment would upset strategic stability and spark a new arms race. The Russians did propose, however, that the sides deploy a maximum of 1,500 strategic warheads each under START III instead of the 2,000–2,500 limit agreed to by Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin at the Helsinki summit in March 1997. Further consultations on these issues are planned for September in Moscow.

In an attempt to get their bruised relationship back on track after the Kosovo conflict, the United States and Russia had agreed at the June 18–20 Group of Eight summit in Cologne, Germany, to hold discussions on START III and the ABM Treaty this summer. (See ACT, June 1999.) Building on this progress, Vice President Al Gore and then-Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin announced at the conclusion of their July 27 meeting in Washington that discussions on these issues would begin in Moscow the following month. The consultations, which were conducted by John Holum, Clinton's nominee for undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, and his Russian counterpart, Grigory Berdennikov, took place despite the August 9 shake-up in the Russian government in which Yeltsin fired Stepashin, later replacing him with Vladimir Putin.

Although the United States did not propose specific amendments to the ABM Treaty during the talks, senior Russian officials made their position quite clear. "We do not see any variant which would allow the U.S. to deploy a [NMD] system and at the same time maintain the ABM Treaty. If this takes place, talks on a START III treaty will be ruined, as well as the existing START I and START II agreements," said Berdennikov on August 19. Furthermore, he warned that NMD deployment would compel Russia "to raise the effectiveness of its strategic nuclear armed forces and carry out several other military and political steps to guarantee its national security under new strategic conditions."

These views were echoed by Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's department for international military cooperation. "The ABM Treaty is the basis on which all subsequent arms control agreements have been built. To destroy this basis would be to destroy the entire process of nuclear arms control," he said August 20. Despite this rhetoric, the United States and Russia once again characterized the ABM Treaty as a "cornerstone of strategic stability" in an August 19 press release.

Concerning nuclear reductions, the United States and Russia "reaffirmed" their readiness to begin official negotiations on START III as soon as the Russian Duma ratifies START II. The sides also noted their strong commitment to the START II ratification process and the treaty's entry into force. Russia's proposal to lower START III levels stems from the concern that it will have to downsize its strategic forces over the next decade because of obsolescence and mounting economic problems. However, there is no indication that the United States is considering reductions below the 2,000–2,500 warhead level agreed to at Helsinki.

THE FIRST ROUND of U.S.-Russian "discussions" on START III and the ABM Treaty ended August 19 without any apparent progress, casting a shadow on the Clinton administration's plans to resolve treaty issues before June 2000, when it will decide whether to deploy a limited national missile defense (NMD) system. During the talks, which began August 17 in Moscow, Russia continued to argue that NMD deployment would upset strategic stability and spark a new arms race. The Russians did propose, however, that the sides deploy a maximum of 1,500 strategic warheads each under START III instead of the 2,000–2,500 limit agreed to by Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin at the Helsinki summit in March 1997. Further consultations on these issues are planned for September in Moscow. (Continue)

U.S. Relaxes Export Controls on Supercomputers

Howard Diamond

RESPONDING TO ADVANCES in computer technology, President Clinton revised export control thresholds for high-performance computers (HPCs) on July 1, claiming that without the changes both the U.S. computer industry and national security would suffer. The Clinton administration relaxed HPC export controls in 1995 and again in 1996, but reports of U.S. supercomputers finding their way to Russian and Chinese military research facilities prompted Congress to reverse some of the administration's changes in November 1998. Most of the July 1 revisions took effect immediately, but changes in the controls on HPC sales to military-related users in countries of security or proliferation concern will not be implemented until a 180-day review period established by Congress in 1998 expires.

The United States controls HPC exports through a four-tier system based on the perceived threat posed by the recipient state. Restrictions range from simple record-keeping requirements for HPC sales to states in Tier 1, which includes Canada, Mexico and most U.S. allies, to a virtual embargo on sales to the so-called rogue states in Tier 4, including Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Tier 2 states, including most of South America, much of Asia, Slovenia, South Africa and South Korea, can purchase most HPCs with only record-keeping requirements but need licenses from the Commerce Department for higher-end systems.

The changes announced on July 1 moved Brazil and new NATO members Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into Tier 1 and raised the threshold for HPCs exported to Tier 2 countries, which require an individual license, from 10,000 million theoretical operations per second (MTOPS) to 20,000 MTOPS. White House Chief of Staff John Podesta said the Tier 2 upper limit would be reviewed in six months and probably raised to 32,000-36,000 MTOPS, with additional reviews to follow every six months. No changes were announced for Tier 4 controls.

The third tier, which has been the center of conflict between Congress and the administration, includes a wide variety of states considered to be of proliferation or national security concern. Tier 3 states include Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Vietnam and most Middle East, Maghreb, former-Soviet Union and non-NATO Central European states, with different export controls for civilian and military users.

The new Tier 3 controls, unless rejected by Congress, will take effect in February 2000 and will raise the individual licensing level for military end-users from 2,000 to 6,500 MTOPS. The increase from 7,000 to 12,300 MTOPS for civilian end-users in Tier 3 was implemented immediately by the Commerce Department.

The current generation of desktop computers using Intel's Pentium III microprocessor are capable of about 1,300 MTOPS, and the California-based company expects to release computer chips next year capable of over 5,000 MTOPS. Hundreds of thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses are expected to buy computers that use multiple Pentium III-class processors, yielding capabilities above previous export thresholds.

The administration's revision of HPC export controls had been anticipated since the beginning of the year, but had been postponed to deflect partisan attacks. Coming little more than a month after the release of the Cox Report, which alleged that China had taken advantage of the 1996 liberalization of controls on HPCs to advance its nuclear weapons program, the new HPC export rules followed months of lobbying by the computer industry. Arguing that foreign manufacturers can produce computers beyond U.S. export thresholds by using multiple processors, U.S. computer makers prompted Republican members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (MS), to write the president and demand that the administration revise HPC controls. Also chiming in on the need to help the U.S. computer industry were Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush and Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA).

At the press briefing announcing the HPC rule changes, Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre said that during the interagency review the Defense Department had insisted on maintaining the dual standard for civilian and military end-users for Tier 3 countries, and had refused to accept an automatic indexing of controls. "I know we irritated people a good deal," Hamre said, "but every one of our concerns was accommodated, and we're satisfied that we can continue to protect the country with these relaxations."

Podesta said the administration hopes to work with Congress on reducing the six-month notification period for some HPC controls and would like to move to a new type of review process for HPC exports. The administration's goal, Podesta said, would be "to adopt an approach that does not rely on ad hoc judgments about appropriate levels of control, but rather keys our export controls to recognize the practical impossibility of controlling items...like microprocessors which are sold in the hundreds of thousands of units per month."

U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan Further Upset China

Wade Boese

WITH TENSIONS ACROSS the Taiwan Straits already heightened by the president of Taiwan's provocative statements, the United States announced $550 million in new arms sales to Taipei at the end of July. China, long-opposed to U.S. arms sales to the island, vehemently protested the proposed deals, and, on the same day, announced the testing of its latest ICBM, the Dong Feng-31. (See story.) Washington downplayed the Chinese reaction as unsurprising.

Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui touched off the latest round of cross-Straits warnings, threats, and military posturing July 9 when he said that China and Taiwan should conduct relations on a "state-to-state" basis, thereby challenging the decades-old "one China" policy, which holds that China and Taiwan are two parts of the same country and will eventually reunify. The ambiguous policy has allowed Washington to maintain distinct relations with Taipei while recognizing Beijing as the official government of China. China, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province and has long threatened to use force if it declares independence, immediately denounced Lee's remarks.

Washington, still working to repair Sino-U.S. relations following NATO's May 7 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia, sought to quell the growing crisis by repeatedly stating that Taiwan's status could only be resolved by Beijing and Taipei and that U.S. policy remained unchanged. U.S. government spokespersons have repeatedly said that any use of force would be of "grave concern."

Despite efforts to stay above the fray, the United States found itself further embroiled in the dispute after the Pentagon announced proposed sales of combat aircraft spare parts and two E-2T Hawkeye early-warning aircraft to Taiwan on July 30 and 31. The 1976 Arms Export Control Act requires that Congress be notified of all "major defense equipment" sales valued at $14 million or more.

Two days later, China's Vice-Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi warned a senior U.S. diplomat against the "seriousness and danger" of continued arms sales to Taiwan. Yang charged the United States with yet again violating the August 1982 Sino-U.S. communiqué, under which President Ronald Reagan pledged that the United States would not "carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan," and would "not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those [arms] supplied in recent years." During the 1990s alone, the Pentagon has delivered more than $12.7 billion in weapons to Taiwan in comparison with $3.6 billion supplied between 1950 and 1988.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin also reportedly sent a letter to President Clinton calling for a cessation of all U.S.-Taiwan arms sales.

On August 2 State Department spokesman James Rubin defended the latest sales as being in line with commitments under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which requires the United States to supply Taiwan with weapons necessary for maintaining "a sufficient self-defense capability." Rubin dismissed the Chinese reaction as "common and expected."

While it condemned Taiwanese arms buys, unconfirmed reports surfaced throughout July and August that Beijing had reached a $2 billion agreement to purchase 50 to 60 Russian Su-30MKK fighter-bombers. These fighters would give China an enhanced ground-attack capability and compliment the 48 Su-27CK air superiority fighters already acquired from Moscow. Beijing also has a license to co-produce another 200 Su-27s.

A February 1999 Pentagon report estimated that by 2005 China will possess 2,200 tactical fighter aircraft, 500 ground attack aircraft and 400 bombers, though most will be older second- and third-generation planes. Taiwan, on the other hand, will have more than 300 fourth-generation fighters, including 150 U.S. F-16A/B fighters, 60 French Mirage 2000-5s and 130 Indigenous Defense Fighters. The Pentagon concluded that in 2005 Taipei will still have a "qualitative edge over Beijing in terms of significant weapons and equipment."

Congress Gets Into the Act

Amid the growing discord, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—chaired by stalwart Taiwan supporter Jesse Helms (R-NC)—held an August 4 hearing on the Taiwan Security Enhancement Act, which would authorize the United States to supply Taiwan with theater missile defense (TMD) equipment, advanced air-to-air missiles, diesel submarines and anti-submarine weapons. All have been on Taiwan's annual shopping list for years, but the administration has refused to export these weapons because they are not strictly "defensive."

Helms, a co-sponsor of the act, said Washington's need to enhance its defense relationship with Taiwan "is obvious." However, his committee counterpart, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), said passage of the act would "be the equivalent of waving a red cape in front of Beijing." Rubin, speaking prior to the hearing, stated the administration's opposition to the legislation.

On August 18, Taiwanese officials expressed interest in U.S.-led regional TMD plans, though they have yet to formally notify Washington of any desire to participate in the proposed program. China, which fired missiles into the waters off Taiwan in 1996 and is suspected of currently deploying some 100 missiles across from the island, has repeatedly warned that Taiwan's inclusion in a TMD program would infringe on China's sovereignty and possibly spark a new arms race. For its part, Washington has not ruled out future sales of TMD systems to Taiwan.

Tensions appeared to be waning by the end of August, and one State Department official said there have not been any "extraordinary activities." President Clinton and President Jiang will likely meet September 12-13 at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand.

North Korea, U.S. to Meet on Missile Issues

Howard Diamond

AFTER WEEKS OF North Korean preparations for the first flight test of the new Taepo Dong-2 long-range ballistic missile and repeated warnings of severe consequences by the United States, Japan and South Korea, the State Department announced a new round of U.S.-North Korean talks on August 25. The missile talks are to be held in Berlin, September 7-11 and will reportedly seek a moratorium on North Korean missile testing in exchange for relief from U.S. economic sanctions. Since April 1996, the United States and North Korea have held four rounds of missile talks, the last round occurring in March.

In mid-June, only days after South and North Korean naval forces clashed in the Yellow Sea, Japanese news organizations began been reporting North Korean preparations for a new missile test, citing unnamed U.S. and Japanese sources. Japan's Kyodo news service reported on June 16 that U.S. satellite imagery showed North Korea was moving propellant and increasing the size of a launching pad at a missile test site, identified by The New York Times June 22 as being in Musadan-ri, North Hamkyong Province. Quoting unnamed U.S. military sources, NHK, Japan's public television network, also reported June 16 that North Korea had conducted static propulsion tests of its Taepo Dong-2 missile in April. The Taepo Dong-2 is estimated to have a range of 4,000 to 6,000 kilometers.

Already in the midst of a congressionally mandated review of U.S. policy toward North Korea, the Clinton administration began a weeks-long diplomatic campaign combining bilateral meetings with North Korea in late June and the second week of August, together with intensive policy coordination with Japan and South Korea. The coordination resulted in the release July 27 of a trilateral statement by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Japanese Foreign Minister Komura Masahiko and South Korean Foreign Minister Hong Soon-Young, who were attending the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore.

Urging the government to "seize the opportunity" presented in May by former Defense Secretary William Perry's visit to Pyongyang, the joint statement called on North Korea "to build a new and positive relationship with its neighbors and potential partners, and to accept the comprehensive and integrated approach which builds on the engagement policy." (See ACT, April/May 1999.) The foreign ministers' statement also warned Pyongyang that "a missile or satellite launch...would adversely affect peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond, and would have severe negative consequences" for North Korea. While the joint statement confirmed all three nations' support for the 1994 Agreed Framework, Komura told reporters that a North Korean missile test would make it "extremely difficult for Japan to continue its cooperation" with the international consortium implementing the nuclear agreement.

Pyongyang claims that its missiles are needed for self-defense against the United States and that satellite development is a sovereign right.

Russia Not in Compliance With CFE Flank Limits

Wade Boese

RUSSIAN DATA SUBMITTED on July 1 under the 1992 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty revealed that Moscow's holdings of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs) and heavy artillery are in excess of the CFE "flank" limits that entered into force on May 31. The United States responded on July 6 by stating that it "expected all states-parties to comply with the treaty and its associated documents." Russia is in compliance with its overall weapons limits.

Trying to address Russian complaints that the treaty's flank limits, which cap the number of tanks, ACVs and artillery in the northern and southern flanks of Europe, unfairly restricted Russian weapons deployments on its own territory, the 30 CFE states-parties agreed in May 1996 to increase Russia's flank ceilings. Under the agreement, Russia's original flank limits of 1,300 tanks, 1,380 ACVs and 1,680 artillery would apply to a smaller area, while the limits for the original zone would be set at 1,800 tanks, 3,700 ACVs and 2,400 artillery.

According to the July 1 data, Russia is in excess of its smaller, revised zone limits by approximately 260 tanks, 1,500 ACVs and 200 artillery pieces. In the original zone, Russian ACV holdings are more than 240 above its legal limit. Moscow, however, pledged to eliminate some 285 ACVs, deemed not economically repairable, in the original zone. Such a move, if carried out, would resolve the compliance issue for the original zone.

The United States and other NATO countries are unlikely to push Moscow on its non-compliance out of concern for jeopardizing ongoing negotiations to replace the treaty's current bloc and zone limits with national and territorial ceilings. (Flank limits, however, will be retained under an adapted treaty.) As part of the negotiations, which are targeted for completion by this November, the parties reached a preliminary agreement on March 30 to increase Russia's ACV limit in the smaller, revised zone to 2,140. Because this limit would not apply to Russian ACVs in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, Russia's current ACV holdings in the smaller, revised zone would be in compliance with this future limit.

Meanwhile, at the adaptation talks being held in Vienna to modernize the CFE Treaty, Russia stepped up its efforts to increase transparency measures on NATO airpower in the wake of the air war against Yugoslavia. Since the start of the negotiations in January 1997, Moscow has sought to limit where NATO aircraft could be deployed, but the alliance has refused to put the issue on the table. NATO is expected to take a similarly hard line on Russia's latest airpower proposals.

On July 22, Russia and Moldova endorsed a plan for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to work out a timetable for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Moldova. Chisinau had rejected on June 3 the latest Russian proposal, which aimed to complete the withdrawal by December 2005. The withdrawal of Russian forces from Moldova, long pledged by Moscow, was also part of the March 30 agreement.

Negotiators at the adaptation talks broke for a summer recess on July 23 and are scheduled to resume work at an August 31 plenary meeting.

New U.S.-Israeli Strategic Dialogue Announced; Israel Acquires New Submarine

Howard Diamond

HINTS OF ISRAEL'S normally hidden nuclear deterrent surfaced twice in July, first with the announcement of a new mechanism for U.S.-Israeli strategic dialogue, and then with the arrival in Israel of a new German-built submarine capable of providing a secure second-strike capability. Though neither of the two events was explicitly nuclear-related, their high profile was clearly intended to warn potential Israeli adversaries, such as Iran and Iraq. Long believed to be the only Middle Eastern country with nuclear weapons, Israel faces a security environment changed by Tehran's July 1998 test of its 1,300-kilometer-range Shahab-3 missile and Baghdad's continued success in preserving parts of its weapons of mass destruction programs in defiance of the UN Security Council.

On July 19, after meeting with new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, President Clinton announced the creation of a new U.S.-Israeli Strategic Policy Planning Group to consider ways to "bolster Israel's indigenous defense and deterrent capabilities, as well as the bilateral cooperation to meet the strategic threats Israel faces." Clinton said the new group would report directly to himself and Barak every four months. According to the Israeli paper Ha'aretz, the agenda for the group will include "Israel's security requirements...ways and means of assuring and increasing Israel's deterrent power by supplies of modern technologies and weapons systems…[and] a broad mandate to discuss joint strategic planning, over and above any other similar bilateral forums currently in existence."

The new strategic dialogue mechanism supersedes a joint planning committee created in October 1998 to secure Israeli acceptance of the Wye River Memorandum, a key step in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. A memorandum of agreement signed October 31, 1998 by President Clinton and then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed the United States to "enhancing Israel's defensive and deterrent capabilities and upgrading the strategic and military relationships, as well as technological cooperation between them." The October agreement also said that the United States "would view with particular gravity direct threats to Israel's security arising from the regional deployment of ballistic missiles of intermediate range or greater. In the event of such a threat, the United States government would consult promptly with the government of Israel with respect to what support, diplomatic or otherwise, or assistance it can lend to Israel."

The joint consultative group established in October 1998 met twice but failed to make much progress, allegedly due to the sensitivity of the topics being discussed and the size of the two delegations. The new group will include only three or four "senior representatives" from each side, half as many as the previous effort. The strategic dialogue will be paralleled by a new Defense Policy Advisory Group meant to coordinate Israeli military planning with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Together with the new modes of consultation, President Clinton announced his intention to restructure U.S. aid to Israel by phasing out economic aid while increasing U.S. military assistance by one-third to $2.4 billion per year. The president said he would seek an additional $1.2 billion from Congress to subsidize Israeli military redeployments called for under the Wye River agreement and would request funding for a third battery of Israel's Arrow theater missile defense system.

Submarines and Deterrence

The July 27 arrival in Israel of the first of three Dolphin-class diesel-electric submarines may indicate further maturation of Israel's suspected nuclear arsenal. While refusing to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) since the 1960s, Israeli officials have maintained that they would not be the first to "introduce" nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Although a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Israel has refused to accept international safeguards on its Dimona reactor facility, which is believed to house a plutonium reprocessing plant. At the submarine's acceptance ceremony in Haifa, Barak said the Dolphin (the first of class) and its two sister ships would "change the entire face of the [Israeli] navy and the long-arm capabilities of Israel."

Germany agreed to pay for two-and-a-half of the three $300 million Dolphin-class submarines in 1991, after the role of German companies in supporting Iraq's chemical weapons program became public. Israel's initial contract for the subs was canceled in 1989 for budgetary reasons. The Dolphin has 10 torpedo tubes (six 533-millimeter and four 650-millimeter) and can carry surface-to-surface missiles or torpedoes. Israel, which already produces several types of unmanned aerial vehicles and air-launched cruise missiles, is widely believed to be technically capable of building a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). The larger-diameter torpedo tubes would also provide additional flexibility to Israeli designers seeking to develop a long-range nuclear-capable SLCM.

In the past, senior Israeli officials have made statements suggesting the new submarines will have a nuclear role. In a 1995 interview with Ha'aretz, David Ivry, the director-general of the Ministry of Defense, suggested Israel needed a strategic deterrent force with a "second-strike" capability. Major General Avraham Botzer, former chief of the Israeli navy, said in a 1990 interview with Israeli television, "Submarines all over the world serve as part of the deterrent system against non-conventional warfare. They are a way of guaranteeing that the enemy will not be tempted to strike pre-emptively with non-conventional weapons and get away scot-free."

Based on plutonium production estimates, Israel's nuclear arsenal is thought to range from 75-130 weapons, including warheads for its 50 mobile 660-kilometer-range Jericho-1 missiles and an estimated 50 1,500-kilometer-range Jericho-2 missiles. The Israeli air force is also believed to be nuclear capable, and Israel's recent acquisition of 25 F-15Is and announced purchase of 50 F-16Is have emphasized extended range as a key performance criterion.

Israel, Syria Seek Arms

Wade Boese

WHILE PROSPECTS OF reviving the stalled Middle East peace process appeared to have received a boost with the May 17 election of Ehud Barak as Israel's new prime minister, both Israel and Syria looked to strengthen their militaries in July. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad reportedly explored resuming arms buys from Russia, its long-time supplier, during a July 5-6 trip to Moscow. Less than two weeks later, Barak told U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, in a long-awaited decision, that Israel would use U.S. military aid funds to purchase 50 F-16I fighter jets, with an option for 60 more.

In his first visit to Russia since 1991, Assad met with President Boris Yeltsin and other top defense and arms officials. Damascus, which owes Moscow at least $11 billion for past Soviet arms purchases, wants to upgrade its largely outdated weaponry by purchasing advanced aircraft, tanks and anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. However, no discussions or deals were publicly confirmed.

The U.S. State Department said on July 6 that it was "very concerned" about possible Russian arms deals with Syria, a country Washington classifies as a state-sponsor of terrorism. U.S. law proscribes appropriation of Foreign Assistance Act funds for governments that export "lethal military equipment" to countries designated as state-sponsors of terrorism. However, in March, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright waived that provision for $90 million in financial assistance to Moscow, despite Russia's sale of anti-tank missiles to Syria. Instead, Washington imposed sanctions on three Russian companies involved in the deal. (See ACT, March 1999.)

On his first U.S. visit as Israeli prime minister, Barak informed Cohen on July 16 that Israel would purchase 50 F-16I fighters for $2.5 billion. As part of the deal, Israel can opt to buy 60 more for $2 billion within two years of signing the contract. Delivery of the fighters would start approximately 42 months after contract signature, expected later this year.

Israel has received 260 F-16s of various models and already has the largest fleet of F-16s in the world after the United States. This will be the first sale to Israel of the F-16I model, which will be equipped with additional fuel tanks to allow for extended range, as well as updated avionics and cockpit displays.

Lockheed's F-16I prevailed over Boeing's F-15I in the Israeli fighter competition, partly because approximately 25 percent of the F-16I package will be supplied by Israeli companies. Moreover, the F-15 costs roughly twice as much as the F-16, and the F-15's advantage of being a long-range fighter, its most attractive feature, was overcome by the addition of the extra fuel tanks on the F-16I.

The F-16I fighters will be bought with funds from Israel's annual U.S. military aid package of more than $1.86 billion. In a July 19 joint statement by President Clinton and Barak, the two leaders said that, subject to congressional approval, the annual military aid package will grow to $2.4 billion over the next decade as U.S. economic assistance is phased out.

Clinton further agreed to fund Israel's acquisition of a third Arrow battery to counter tactical ballistic missiles and to expand U.S.-Israeli cooperation on developing new anti-ballistic missile technologies and systems. Clinton repeated past pledges that Washington was committed to maintaining Israel's qualitative security edge.

Details of a separate $1.2 billion military aid package for Israeli implementation of the Wye River Memorandum, which calls for a partial Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, were also worked out. Both houses of Congress, however, opted in August not to include any funds for implementing the Wye accord in their foreign aid bills.

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