Right after I graduated, I interned with the Arms Control Association. It was terrific.

– George Stephanopolous
Host of ABC's This Week
January 1, 2005
Press Releases

Washington Again Ranks as World's Top Arms Supplier

Wade Boese

IN AN ARMS MARKET characterized by growing supplier competition for fewer major weapon sales, the United States again topped all countries in both world arms sales agreements and deliveries for 1998. Washington, according to an annual Congressional Research Service (CRS) report dated August 4, also led in conventional weapons deals and exports to developing world countries.

Despite low oil prices and regional economic crises, 1998 global arms sales agreements rose to nearly $23 billion from the 1997 mark of $21.4 billion—the lowest total during the eight years covered in the CRS report, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 1991-1998 by Richard F. Grimmett. (All figures in constant 1998 dollars.) In the post-Cold War arms market, the highest value of new deals was $37 billion in 1993 when many countries launched modernization programs after the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War.

For the sixth time in the past eight years, Washington ranked first in value of deals signed, with agreements worth $7 billion (roughly 31 percent of total). Germany, on the strength of large co-production contracts with Spain for tanks and Malaysia for offshore patrol vessels, was next with $5.5 billion in new deals.

Russia saw its 1998 agreements drop by almost half from 1997 to $1.7 billion, the lowest Russian total in the post-Cold War arms market. With the key exceptions of China and India, many of Moscow's traditional clients lack the necessary cash for purchases or are turning to other suppliers because of realignment with the West or a loss of faith in Russia's ability to reliably supply spare parts and support services.

With implementation of post-Gulf War arms deals winding down, worldwide weapons deliveries dropped from the post-Cold War high of $37.7 billion in 1997 to $29.8 billion in 1998. As in the previous seven years, the United States shipped the most weapons, $10.5 billion worth, around the globe. This figure excludes U.S. commercial arms deliveries, which Grimmett leaves out because the data are incomplete. He does note, however, that the State Department has reported commercial arms deliveries for fiscal years 1991 through 1998 as falling from $1.6 billion to $151 million. The United States is the only country with two separate arms export systems.

France ($6.5 billion) and the United Kingdom ($5.3 billion) rounded out the top three suppliers. China registered its lowest delivery total ($600 million) in eight years, though Grimmett notes that Beijing could pose an "important problem" with sales of advanced missile systems to volatile areas.

Developing world countries—all states except the United States, Russia, European nations, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand—accounted for $13 billion (57 percent) of the agreements and $23 billion (77 percent) of the deliveries. Saudi Arabia, described by Grimmett as being in "significant financial straits," ranked first in agreements ($2.7 billion) and imports ($8.7 billion). Since 1991, Saudi Arabia has become the largest developing world arms importer, with nearly $68 billion in weapons receipts, easily outdistancing Taiwan at $20 billion.

Ranking first in 1998 agreements ($4.5 billion) and deliveries (nearly $8 billion) to the developing world was the United States. France, which ranked first in 1997 agreements, followed with $2.4 billion in agreements and over $6 billion in deliveries.

As in the last few reports, Grimmett predicts that the overall arms trade will remain static in the foreseeable future and that most future weapons deals will cover upgrade and maintenance of previously sold equipment and systems.

U.S., Ukraine Extend CTR Program

Craig Cerniello

THE UNITED STATES and Ukraine agreed in late July to extend their participation in the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program for another six years. This development came as Moscow and Kiev appeared to have finally reached a compromise on the disposition of a number of heavy bombers left on Ukrainian soil following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Created in November 1991 by former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the CTR program assists the former Soviet Union with the destruction and dismantlement of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and supports efforts to prevent their proliferation. In October 1993, Washington and Kiev signed an "umbrella agreement" that established a legal framework upon which such activities could be carried out in Ukraine. Recognizing that this arrangement was set to expire next year, the United States and Ukraine agreed on July 31 to extend the CTR umbrella agreement until December 31, 2006. The United States renewed a similar agreement with Russia, the largest recipient of CTR aid, in mid-June. (See ACT, June 1999.)

During fiscal years (FY) 1992-1999, the United States provided a total of $2.7 billion in CTR assistance to the former Soviet Union, $569 million of which went exclusively for projects in Ukraine. The conference report to the FY 2000 defense authorization bill—completed on August 5 but not yet approved by President Clinton—contains $475.5 million in new funds for the program, including $41.8 million for the continued elimination of strategic nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

According to the January 1999 START I Memorandum of Understanding (the latest official data available), Ukraine possesses 44 SS-24 ICBMs, 25 Bear bombers and 18 Blackjack bombers. To comply with START I, which entered into force in 1994, Kiev must either destroy these weapons systems or remove them from accountability (e.g., by transferring the bombers to Russia or converting them so that they may no longer perform nuclear missions) by December 2001.

The CTR program has had impressive successes in Ukraine. It was instrumental in helping Ukraine become a nuclear-weapon-free state in June 1996, when the last of an estimated 1,900 strategic warheads inherited from the Soviet Union was safely returned to Russia. More recently, in February, CTR assistance enabled Kiev to complete the elimination of 130 Soviet-era SS-19 ICBMs, as required by START I. Specifically, Ukraine destroyed 111 missiles, 130 missile silos and 13 launch control centers; 19 missiles were returned to Russia.

Bombers for Gas

In a related development, Colonel General Anatoly Kornukov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, said on August 19 that an agreement had been reached in principle under which Ukraine will transfer eight Blackjack bombers and two Bear bombers to Russia in September as a partial payment on its natural gas debt. Moscow believes that, with repairs and upgrades, these aircraft will be operational until 2015-2020.

Previous attempts by the sides to conclude a bomber deal fell apart, largely because of a disagreement over the price. Russia claims that Ukraine owes approximately $1.8 billion for past natural gas deliveries, while Kiev maintains that the debt is closer to $1 billion. The value assigned to each bomber under the deal remains unclear.

Clinton Signs Controversial NMD Legislation

Craig Cerniello

ON JULY 22, President Bill Clinton signed into law the highly contentious "National Missile Defense [NMD] Act of 1999," sponsored by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). Despite claims by some congressional Republicans that the United States is now obligated to field an NMD system, Clinton stated on July 23 that his signing of the legislation should not be interpreted as a final decision on deployment. Rather, he reiterated that the decision will be made next year based on four criteria: technological readiness, the maturity of the "rogue nation" ICBM threat, cost factors and arms control considerations.

The bill (H.R. 4) states, "It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective [NMD] system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate) with funding subject to the annual authorization of appropriations and the annual appropriation of funds for [NMD]." The legislation also says that "it is the policy of the United States to seek continued negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear forces."

Cochran, along with Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), initially introduced the NMD legislation in March 1998, but it twice failed to reach the Senate floor by one vote, first in May and again in September of that year. However, the July 1998 release of the Rumsfeld Commission report on the long-range missile threat to the United States, North Korea's subsequent test of the Taepo Dong-1 missile and Secretary of Defense William Cohen's January 1999 announcements on the restructuring of the U.S. NMD program gave congressional enthusiasts all the ammunition they needed to force a floor vote on the bill.

The Clinton administration opposed the original version of the legislation because it made NMD deployment contingent on just one factor: the effectiveness of the technology. After the adoption of two amendments on arms control and funding procedures, however, the White House dropped its veto threat and the legislation sailed through the Senate on March 17 by an overwhelming 97-3 margin. The House approved the amended bill on May 20 and it became law with Clinton's signature on July 22.

In his statement on H.R. 4, Clinton made clear that the United States is not obligated to deploy an NMD system today. "By specifying that any NMD deployment must be subject to the authorization and appropriations process, the legislation makes clear that no decision on deployment has been made. This interpretation, which is confirmed by the legislative record taken as a whole, is also required to avoid any possible impairment of my constitutional authorities," he wrote.

In deciding whether to deploy a limited NMD system in June 2000, Clinton stated that the United States will "review the results of flight tests and other developmental efforts, consider cost estimates, and evaluate the threat" and will also "review progress in achieving our arms control objectives, including negotiating any amendments to the ABM Treaty that may be required to accommodate a possible NMD deployment." The United States and Russia held "discussions" on the ABM Treaty and START III in Moscow August 17-19.

U.S., Russia to Begin 'Discussions' on START III, ABM Treaty

Craig Cerniello

HOPING TO RESTART their interrupted strategic dialogue, the United States and Russia held face-to-face meetings in June at the Group of Eight summit in Cologne, Germany. During talks, both sides agreed to press for ratification of START II and to hold dual-track "discussions" later this summer on both START III and possible amendments to the ABM Treaty that would allow deployment of a limited national missile defense (NMD) system. The Clinton administration is expected to make an NMD architecture decision in the coming months so that it can determine what specific treaty amendments deployment would require. However, a decision on whether to deploy an NMD system will not be made until June 2000.

Although no major breakthroughs on arms control were achieved at the June 18-20 summit, the "Joint Statement Between the United States and the Russian Federation Concerning Strategic Offensive and Defensive Arms and Further Strengthening of Stability" (see document) is significant because it indicates that both nations are now prepared to resume an agenda that had been essentially frozen during the 78 days of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia.

In their June 20 statement, the United States and Russia reiterated their strong commitment to the START II ratification process. Although the Senate gave its advice and consent in January 1996, the Russian Duma has not yet approved the treaty. A long-awaited vote on START II had been scheduled for April 2, but it was quickly shelved after NATO began its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia on March 24.

By late June, however, START II was showing new signs of life. On June 21, Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov said the treaty would be on the agenda for the fall session, which begins in September. Two days later, the Duma approved legislation guaranteeing funding for Russian strategic nuclear forces through 2010. Previously, Roman Popkovich, chairman of the Duma's defense committee, had argued that this bill was a prerequisite to START II ratification.

The Cologne statement also reaffirms U.S. and Russian readiness to negotiate START III. At the March 1997 Helsinki summit, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin reached an agreed framework for such a treaty, under which the United States and Russia would deploy no more than 2,000-2,500 strategic warheads each by the end of 2007 and would adopt measures promoting the irreversibility of deep reductions. The United States has reiterated its willingness to begin formal negotiations on START III, which has already been the subject of expert-level discussions, as soon as the Duma ratifies START II.

ABM Discussions

With respect to strategic defenses, the United States and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to the ABM Treaty and noted their obligation under Article XIII "to consider possible changes in the strategic situation that have a bearing on the [treaty] and, as appropriate, possible proposals for further increasing [its] viability." In a June 20 White House briefing, National Security Adviser Samuel Berger said that the Cologne statement "is very significant because for the first time the Russians have agreed to discuss changes in the ABM Treaty that may be necessitated by a [NMD] system were we to decide to deploy one." However, agreement to hold discussions on the ABM Treaty does not mean that Russia has endorsed amendments allowing for NMD deployment. Consistent with earlier statements, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said June 23 that U.S. NMD plans are "dangerous" and have the potential to upset strategic stability.

The Cologne statement also emphasizes the importance of the September 1997 package of strategic agreements signed in New York. These agreements extend the START II implementation period by five years, clarify the demarcation line between strategic and theater missile defenses and identify the successor states to the former Soviet Union under the ABM Treaty. (See ACT, September 1997.) The Cologne statement notes that the United States and Russia "will facilitate the earliest possible ratification and entry into force of those agreements." In his briefing, Berger restated the administration's position that it would not submit the strategic package to the Senate until the Duma has ratified START II.

Other Developments

The joint statement also recognizes the importance of the September 1998 U.S.-Russian agreement to share early-warning information on the worldwide launches of ballistic missiles and space-launch vehicles. (See ACT, August/September 1998.) Efforts to implement this long-term sharing arrangement, as well as efforts to establish a temporary joint early-warning center in Colorado Springs to deal with the Year 2000 computer problem, have been on hold as a result of the NATO air strikes. Edward Warner, assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction, said June 28 that the United States hopes to "re-engage" Russia on these issues in the near future.

At Cologne, the sides also agreed to continue the dialogue under the Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, co-chaired by Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin. The Gore-Stepashin Commission, which conducts business on a broad range of issues, including arms control, will meet July 27 in Washington. Gore and then-Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov were scheduled to meet in late March, but the meeting was postponed because of the Kosovo conflict.

HOPING TO RESTART their interrupted strategic dialogue, the United States and Russia held face-to-face meetings in June at the Group of Eight summit in Cologne, Germany. During talks, both sides agreed to press for ratification of START II and to hold dual-track "discussions" later this summer on both START III and possible amendments to the ABM Treaty that would allow deployment of a limited national missile defense (NMD) system. The Clinton administration is expected to make an NMD architecture decision in the coming months so that it can determine what specific treaty amendments deployment would require. However, a decision on whether to deploy an NMD system will not be made until June 2000. (Continue)

Security Council Struggles on Iraq; France Offers New Compromise

Howard Diamond

THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL remained deadlocked in June over competing strategies for restoring UN weapons inspections and monitoring activities in Iraq. In closed-door debates, Security Council members considered three resolutions, including a new French proposal, that seek to balance incentives for Iraq, in the form of sanctions relief, with continued insistence that Baghdad eliminate all of its proscribed weapons capabilities. Much of the Security Council has indicated its support for a proposal offered by Britain and the Netherlands that, despite several revisions, remains unacceptable to France, Russia and China.

The five permanent members of the council have long been divided about how to deal with Iraq, but have made little progress since the United States and Britain conducted a 70-hour bombing campaign against Iraq in mid-December 1998. Since the air and missile strikes, there have been no chemical, biological or missile inspections by the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and no nuclear inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inside Iraq. Iraqi officials reiterated in June that Baghdad will not consider allowing international inspectors back into Iraq without prior relief from sanctions.

The differences between the current competing drafts focus on four aspects of sanctions relief: the timing for suspending sanctions; the degree to which sanctions would be lifted; the mechanism for restoring sanctions in the event of Iraqi non-compliance; and the control of the money from renewed Iraqi exports.

The latest British-Dutch plan would replace UNSCOM with a nearly identical successor called the UN Commission on Inspection and Monitoring (UNCIM), and would lift the ban on Iraqi exports—but not imports—120 days after UNCIM and IAEA reported they were receiving full cooperation from Iraq. Under this proposal, money from Iraqi exports would continue to be placed in a UN escrow account to be used for humanitarian purposes. Restrictions on exports by Iraq would be lifted for four months at a time and would require the Security Council to approve continued suspension. The British-Dutch draft would also specifically authorize Iraqi oil sales to Turkey, which have been a major source of illicit revenue for Iraq.

The United States has said it would support the British-Dutch resolution, which has been co-sponsored by Argentina and Slovenia and has also gathered support from other non-permanent members of the Security Council. Winning France's support appears to be the key challenge facing the British-Dutch plan because its vote would give the proposal a majority in the Security Council, allowing it to pass provided that Russia and China withheld their vetoes.

A competing Russian-Chinese-French draft proceeds on the basis that Iraq's disarmament obligations have been substantially fulfilled and would suspend the ban on both imports and exports to Iraq once UN inspectors returned to Iraq and established a reinforced ongoing monitoring and verification (OMV) system. Under the Russian-Chinese-French plan, Baghdad would control the revenues produced by trade. The draft would restore sanctions if the UN secretary-general reported a breakdown in the OMV system, but would otherwise require affirmative action by the Security Council to restore sanctions.

Introduced in late June, the French draft takes pieces from both the British-Dutch and the Russian-Chinese-French proposals in an attempt to bridge the strongly held differences among the five permanent members of the Security Council. Like the British-Dutch plan, the French plan calls for replacing UNSCOM with a virtually identical "Control Commission" that would have the same rights, assets and responsibilities that UNSCOM had. Like the trilateral plan, the French draft would suspend sanctions on Iraq following the establishment of an OMV system, restore them if the OMV system broke down, and require a vote by the Security Council to reimpose the sanctions otherwise. Absent a shift by one of the permanent five members, the Security Council is likely to remain deadlocked.

Senators Call on Helms to Allow Vote on CTB Treaty

Craig Cerniello

WITH TIME RUNNING out for the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before a special conference is convened to examine ways to bring the accord into force, a bipartisan group of senators in late June urged Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) to finally act on the treaty. Only states that have ratified the treaty can serve as full participants at the conference, likely to be held October 6-8 in Vienna.

In a June 28 letter to Helms, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), James Jeffords (R-VT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) pressed the committee chairman to promptly hold hearings and allow the treaty to come up for a floor vote. "Many nations are waiting for the United States to lead on this important issue before completing ratification in their countries. Failure to act on the [CTB] Treaty will deny the U.S. an active voice at the conference and could severely weaken U.S. non-proliferation efforts, including the effort to bring India and Pakistan into this treaty," the letter said.

Under Article XIV, the CTBT cannot enter into force until it has been signed and ratified by the five major nuclear-weapon states, India, Pakistan, Israel and 36 other states that have nuclear power and/or research reactors. If the CTBT has not come into effect three years after it opened for signature, Article XIV allows a majority of states that have already ratified the treaty to call a special conference to "decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law may be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process in order to facilitate the early entry into force of this Treaty."

This spring, a majority of the ratifying states wrote UN Secretary General Kofi Annan requesting that such a conference be held shortly after the treaty's third anniversary on September 24, 1999. Unless the United States ratifies the CTBT before then, it will only be able to attend the conference as a non-voting "observer."

Although President Clinton signed the CTBT in September 1996 and submitted it for ratification a year later, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not conducted a single hearing on the treaty. Senator Helms has repeatedly stated that his committee will not consider the test ban until it has first voted on the 1997 amendments to the ABM Treaty as well as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, neither of which have yet been submitted by the Clinton administration.

Thus far, the CTBT has been signed by 152 states and ratified by 38 states, and of the 44 states whose ratification is required for the treaty's entry into force, only 19 have ratified. Britain and France are the only two nuclear-weapon-states that have ratified, but Chinese President Jiang Zemin promised June 16 that his government "will soon submit the treaty to the National People's Congress for ratification."

Serbs Withdraw; KLA to Disarm

Wade Boese

SOME 47,000 SERBIAN military and paramilitary forces completed their withdrawal from the Yugoslav province of Kosovo on June 20, leading NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana to officially end the alliance's 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Hours later, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), an estimated 17,000 ethnic Albanians fighting for Kosovo independence, agreed to turn in its weapons and disband.

On June 21, Secretary of Defense William Cohen said Serb forces left Kosovo with nearly 800 tanks, armored personnel carriers (APCs) and artillery batteries in tow. Under the terms of a June 9 military agreement, no Serb forces can be within a 5-kilometer "ground safety zone" extending from the Kosovo border into Yugoslavia.

With scant evidence of destroyed equipment, the Defense Department is backing away from earlier calculations that 120 tanks, 220 APCs and 450 artillery and mortar positions were struck by the more than 23,000 bombs and missiles used in NATO air strikes. Any Serb weapon losses, however, are unlikely to be replaced soon as the March 31, 1998 UN arms embargo on Yugoslavia remains in force.

Moreover, future Yugoslav force levels for tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters are capped by the 1996 Agreement on Sub-Regional Arms Control. Though Belgrade suspended implementation of the agreement March 31, and has yet to resume, the other parties (Croatia and both entities of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Muslim-Croat federation and Bosnian-Serb-controlled Republica Srpska) have said that Yugoslavia has assured them it will abide by the agreement.

For their part, KLA members are prohibited from possessing proscribed weapons (everything but pistols and non-automatic rifles) after midnight July 21. By that date, all KLA heavy weapons and 30 percent of all small arms are to be turned over to registered weapons storage sites. Sixty days later, all KLA weapons, including small arms, are to be in the storage sites under the control of KFOR, the international security force in Kosovo. While skepticism about KLA compliance runs high, initial reports show some weapons are being handed over.

'Rudman Report' Adds Fuel to DOE Reorganization Fire

Howard Diamond

SPURRED BY THE COX Report's allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons labs and a blistering report by a high-level investigative panel that concluded the Department of Energy (DOE) is incapable of reforming itself, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering legislation that would create a semi-autonomous agency within DOE to manage the nation's nuclear weapons complex. As of late June, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson continued to express strong opposition to any restructuring plan that called for the creation of a separate entity either within or outside his department.

The two similar bills—one sponsored by Representative Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and the other by Republican Senators Pete Domenici (NM), Jon Kyl (AZ) and Frank Murkowski (AK)—would establish a new agency to take control of DOE's nuclear weapons production facilities, laboratories and related operations offices. The administrator of the new agency would be "dual-hatted" as an undersecretary of energy, reporting directly to the secretary of energy.

Secretary Richardson's objections to the reorganization plan have focused on whether the new agency would be bound by policies established by other DOE offices. Both the House and the Senate proposals would give the agency administrator autonomy from the department in establishing counterintelligence, security and safety policies.

In response to espionage at the weapons labs, Richardson gave new authority to DOE's Office of Counterintelligence, and in May announced the establishment of two new high-level offices for Security and Emergency Operations and for Independent Oversight and Performance Assurance. He has objected that those reforms, meant to increase the department's control over the weapons complex, would be undermined if the new agency were allowed to set its own policies.

Rudman Panel Reports

The move to reform DOE was bolstered by the report of a special investigative panel of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, led by former Senator Warren Rudman. (See feature.) The Rudman Report, requested in March by President Clinton to examine security at the weapons laboratories and released on June 15, describes DOE as a "dysfunctional bureaucracy that has proven it is incapable of reforming itself" and calls for the creation of an autonomous or semi-autonomous Agency for Nuclear Stewardship. Similar to proposals now being considered by Congress, the Rudman panel urges the new agency head be made an undersecretary of energy and report directly to the secretary of energy.

The presidential panel strongly advised against giving control of the nuclear weapons complex to the Defense Department and affirmed the validity of the "government-owned, contractor-operated" system used by the nuclear labs. The panel also recommended that the laboratories' Foreign Visitors' and Assignments Program continue, though with a greater emphasis on security.

The Rudman Report praised the national laboratories for their "brilliant scientific breakthroughs," but concluded that their lackadaisical approach to security and their ongoing resistance to reform could only be addressed by legislative reorganization of DOE. Referring to the administration's February 1998 order to improve security in the Energy Department, the panel reported that it had never encountered "an agency with the bureaucratic insolence to dispute, delay, and resist implementation of a Presidential directive on security, as DOE's bureaucracy tried to do to the Presidential Decision Directive No. 61...."

The Rudman panel also took issue with the Cox Report and with Secretary Richardson's response to it. (See ACT, April/May 1999.) Agreeing with damage assessments made by the Intelligence Community and a review panel led by retired Admiral David Jeremiah, the Rudman Report criticized the Cox panel's work, observing "many attempts to take the valuable coin of damaging new information and decrease its value by manufacturing its counterfeit, innuendo; possible damage has been minted as probable disaster; workaday delay and bureaucratic confusion have been cast as diabolical conspiracies." Richardson, while receiving praise for his energetic approach to reform of DOE, was criticized for overstating his success in improving security when he asserted after the Cox Report's release in May that "our nation's nuclear secrets are, today, safe and secure."

SPURRED BY THE COX Report's allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons labs and a blistering report by a high-level investigative panel that concluded the Department of Energy (DOE) is incapable of reforming itself, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering legislation that would create a semi-autonomous agency within DOE to manage the nation's nuclear weapons complex. As of late June, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson continued to express strong opposition to any restructuring plan that called for the creation of a separate entity either within or outside his department. (Continue)

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Approves Holum

Craig Cerniello

THE SENATE FOREIGN Relations Committee on June 30 approved John Holum, former director of the now-defunct Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), as President Clinton's nominee for the position of undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs. The full Senate must now vote on his nomination.

During his June 28 confirmation hearing, in which only Senators Charles Hagel (R-NE) and Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) participated, Holum addressed the effectiveness of the State Department's reorganization plan as well as the administration's efforts to reduce the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Although once opposed to the merger of ACDA into the State Department, Holum said, "Our reorganization plan, diligently implemented, will make us more effective than we otherwise would have been in combating proliferation, reducing arms, and advancing key political-military missions."

After explaining the various tools available to the United States in reducing the weapons proliferation threat, such as intelligence assets, global treaty regimes and sanctions, Holum said that ballistic missile defenses must be part of the equation. In his prepared testimony he said, "Arms controllers must also recognize our discipline's limits, and be prepared to integrate arms control with defense planning. In light of new estimates on the ballistic missile threat, in particular from North Korea and Iran, National Missile Defense, or NMD, is now closer to becoming another integral part of our strategy against proliferation." During the hearing, however, Holum explained that no decision has yet been made on NMD deployment and that such a decision would be based on four key criteria: the effectiveness of the technology, maturity of the "rogue nation" ICBM threat, cost factors and arms control considerations.

CD Ends Second Session With Little Progress

Wade Boese

THE 61-MEMBER UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) remained deadlocked at the June 25 conclusion of its second working period of the year, having failed to begin any negotiations or to resolve any outstanding issues. Sole U.S. resistance to initiating work on prevention of an arms race in outer space may forestall any talks—including those on a fissile material cutoff treaty—in the conference's third and final working part, scheduled to take place July 26–September 8. No delegation opposes fissile cutoff talks, but the CD has yet to adopt a consensus work program for 1999, a prerequisite to negotiations.

The conference did, however, move closer to a compromise on the long-divisive issue of nuclear disarmament. Speaking on June 17, CD President Ambassador Mohamed-Salah Dembri of Algeria indicated unanimous acceptance for a nuclear disarmament ad hoc working group, though he added that its mandate still needed to be resolved. If finalized, the mandate would likely resemble the February 2 proposal by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway calling on the CD to "study ways and means of establishing an exchange of information and views" on nuclear disarmament.

Despite the apparent readiness of the nuclear-weapon states to agree to a working group, their staunch opposition—with the exception of China—to formal CD negotiations remains unchanged. A working group on nuclear disarmament, however, would mark a step up from last year's "troika" process where the past, present and future presidents of the conference simply held consultations with delegations on the issue.

In past years, the Group of 21 (G-21) non-aligned countries, led by India and Pakistan, has sought time-bound negotiations on nuclear disarmament as its highest priority, while the nuclear-weapon states, minus China, have opposed any formal negotiations on that subject. Because the conference operates by consensus, this central disagreement has impeded any substantive work since completion in 1996 of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Outer Space

While most member-states, including Russia, China and France, favor an ad hoc committee on outer space, the CD is weighing a working group because the United States will support nothing more formal. Washington, which has repeatedly claimed that there is no arms race in outer space, may oppose even a working group, partly out of concern for the implications such a move could hold for U.S. national missile defense (NMD) plans.

Uncertainty over an outer space mandate has further reinforced U.S. reluctance to work on the issue. Beijing and Moscow, worried about U.S. NMD plans, have called for preventing the "weaponization" of outer space, while some non-aligned states use the much broader term of "militarization," which is aimed at checking the military use of space for command, control, communication and intelligence purposes.

Also in the second working part, India termed a U.S., British and French proposal to exempt fissile cutoff talks from the annual, standard practice of agreeing on a work program "unacceptable." (See ACT, April/May 1999.) Indian Ambassador Savitri Kunadi said June 24 that such a move "divorces the work of the CD from the overall reality in which that work is undertaken."

The CD is facing a repeat of the 1997 conference, in which no negotiations took place. Even if a work program is adopted in this year's final six working weeks, a new work program will have to be agreed upon next year for any negotiations in 2000.


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