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The Arms Control Association is an "exceptional organization that effectively addresses pressing national and international challenges with an impact that is disproportionate to its small size." 

– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011
Press Releases

U.S., Russian Officials Voice Confidence In Russian Control of Nuclear Forces

 

Craig Cerniello

IN RECENT MONTHS, there has been renewed controversy about the state of Russia's nuclear command and control system. Uncertainty about the safety and security of the Russian nuclear arsenal emerged in early February when then-Defense Minister Igor Rodionov made the startling announcement that Russia could no longer guarantee that its nuclear command and control system was reliable. Although Rodionov subsequently backed away from this statement, concern flared again in mid-May when excerpts from a leaked CIA report questioning Russia's nuclear control appeared in The Washington Times—the same day Rodionov arrived in Washington for high-level talks.

These concerns were promptly refuted by several high-level U.S. and Russian government officials, including U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Rodionov. In late May, Russian President Boris Yeltsin replaced Rodionov with General Igor Sergeyev, then-commander-in-chief of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, as the new defense minister. This appointment takes on added significance not only because Sergeyev has consistently stated that the command and control of the Russian nuclear arsenal is safe and reliable but also because he has been a strong supporter of START II, which continues to languish in the Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament).

 

The Controversy Emerges

In a February 6 news conference, Rodionov painted a dire picture as to the state of Russia's nuclear and armed forces. In what many observers believe may have been an attempt to generate support for increased funding, Rodionov warned that "Russia might soon reach the threshold beyond which its missiles and nuclear systems cannot be controlled." Even though Rodionov scaled down his comments the following day, renewed interest in the safety and security of the Russian nuclear arsenal quickly developed.

In order to put these concerns to rest, Yeltsin ordered Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to visit the command and control center of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces located outside Moscow. After visiting the center on February 21, Chernomyrdin, who was accompanied by Rodionov and Sergeyev, said the Strategic Rocket Forces are in "reliable hands" and "are capable of effectively carrying out all tasks entrusted to them." Then, in a March 17 briefing to Yeltsin, Rodionov reported that Russia's nuclear command and control system "answers all demands" and is "reliable and stable"—a clear shift in his earlier position.

 

The CIA Report

Despite these assurances, concerns about Russia's nuclear command and control system did not disappear. On May 12, the day Rodionov arrived in Washington for meetings with Cohen and other U.S. officials, The Washington Times published excerpts from a classified CIA report that calls into question the safety and security of the Russian nuclear arsenal. Citing a former officer of the Strategic Rocket Forces, the report said, "[c]ommand and control equipment often malfunctions and on more than one occasion has switched spontaneously to combat mode."

Nevertheless, according to the article, the CIA continues to believe that the risk of an unauthorized Russian nuclear launch is low under "normal circumstances," especially because "many safeguards" exist to prevent such an occurrence. The CIA report contends that the switching of nuclear missiles to combat mode "would not necessarily result in an unauthorized missile launch" because other steps are also required, such as supplying missiles with the necessary targeting information. However, the report cautioned that if the command and control system continues to deteriorate due to funding shortfalls and lack of proper maintenance, then concerns about an unauthorized Russian missile launch will increase.

U.S. and Russian government officials immediately addressed these concerns. In a May 12 background briefing, a senior Defense Department official argued that there is no credible evidence suggesting that the risk of an unauthorized or accidental Russian launch "has been raised." That same day, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said, "We believe that nuclear weapons in Russia remain under the secure and centralized control of the Russian government." Burns also pointed to the success of the Defense Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, which assists Russia in the dismantlement and secure storage of nuclear weapons, as well as to the START agreements, which make the control of nuclear weapons more feasible by reducing their numbers.

Cohen and Rodionov concurred with this sentiment during their joint news conference on May 13. Cohen said that based on his conversations with Rodionov and General Eugene Habiger, the commander-in-chief of U.S. Strategic Command, Russia's strategic nuclear forces "are under secure control" and that the sides should focus on achieving Russian ratification of START II followed by negotiations of START III. In addition, Rodionov dismissed the Times story and said Russia "will do everything possible to ensure that the safety and protection of [its] nuclear arsenals would never decrease."

 

Yeltsin Sacks Rodionov

Clearly dissatisfied with the state of the Russian armed forces and the pace of military reforms, Yeltsin fired Rodionov on May 22 and appointed Sergeyev as the acting defense minister. This appointment is especially significant because Sergeyev has been a consistent advocate of the START process. Furthermore, Sergeyev will have substantial credibility with the Duma because, as the former head of the Strategic Rocket Forces, he can convincingly argue that START II is in Russia's national security interests. There also was speculation by some U.S. and Russian observers that Rodionov's support for START II was only lukewarm at best.

Sergeyev has repeatedly maintained that Russia's nuclear command and control system is safe and reliable. In a recent interview with Moskovskaya Pravda conducted before his appointment as defense minister, Sergeyev refuted the comments made by Rodionov earlier this year. Sergeyev said the command and control system of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces is "under strict control" and that the present system "guarantees a very high level of nuclear security, which excludes not only unsanctioned launches, but all unsanctioned activity as well." Sergeyev also argued that the Strategic Rocket Forces today are "in the same state of combat readiness as they were 10 years ago."

CWC Parties Hold First Conference, OPCW Declared Fully Operational

 

Erik J. Leklem

THE CONFERENCE of States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) met for its first session May 624 in The Hague to begin formal implementation of the treaty, which entered into force April 29. Eighty original states-parties (countries that ratified the treaty before its entry into force) attended the conference along with three late-ratifying states and 34 signatory states—including Russia—which attended as observers. (At the end of May, 165 countries had signed the CWC.) In addition to filling the top positions in the newly established Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body that administers the treaty, the conference approved more than 70 decisions on implementation, verification and administrative issues (most of which had already been taken by the Preparatory Commission (PrepCom) before the treaty's entry into force) and began debating a long list of outstanding issues. It also approved an operating budget for 1997 of nearly $45 million, two-thirds of which will go toward verification costs.

 

OPCW Takes Shape

The conference appointed Ambassador Jose Mauricio Bustani of Brazil to head the OPCW. In turn, after some discussion, conference delegates confirmed Bustani's appointments for the top management of the Technical Secretariat, which he heads. The secretariat prepares the OPCW budget, collects data declarations and other verification-related communiques, negotiates agreements with states-parties on the implementation of the CWC and provides administrative support. The secretariat also houses the Inspector Corps, to be headed by Acari Akiyama of Japan (responsible for routine and challenge inspections). American representatives hold 15 top management posts, and France and China also have representatives in management.

Ambassador Prabhakar Menon of India was appointed chairman of the Executive Council, which oversees the day-to-day operations of the treaty. The Council's 41 members were selected based on three criteria: "equitable geographical distribution, ...the importance of chemical industry" and "political and security interests" (Article VIII, Section C, Para. 23). CWC states-parties are divided into regional blocks which select their own representatives to serve for two-year terms, though during this originating term, 20 states-parties will serve for one year. The first Executive Council includes: nine from Africa, nine from Asia, five from Eastern Europe (which includes Russia), seven from Latin America/Caribbean, ten from Western Europe/"Other states" and one appointment from the combined regions of Asia and the Latin America/Caribbean regions. In a previous negotiation, regional partners ensured the United States a seat.

When Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and a U.S. congressional delegation visited the OPCW in the last days of the conference, Chairman Pieter Feith of the Netherlands thanked President Bill Clinton, Albright and the Congress for the "positive outcome" of U.S. ratification of the CWC. He informed the U.S. delegation that an"internal" auditing office had been established for the OPCW, as required by the Senate in its resolution of advice and consent to ratification.

The United States will pay approximately 27 percent of OPCW funds, or $12 million in 1997 and $21 million in 1998. The conference confirmed PrepCom proposals for 480 staff members and inspectors to be hired by the end of 1998. Currently, the OPCW staff numbers 165, of which 17 are American. Additionally, 138 inspectors are on the rolls of the Technical Secretariat, of which nine are American.

The conference approved several other proposals made during the PrepCom, including conduct guidelines for routine, challenge and investigative inspections. Procedures for the transmission of assistance to a state in the event of use or threat of use of chemical weapons against it were also adopted.

Outstanding issues, to be resolved by inter-session facilitators, include Russia's difficulty bearing the costs associated with inspections for old and abandoned chemical weapons. Cuba raised questions about specifications for inspection equipment and the details of Article XI economic and technological development assistance. Iran echoed Cuban concerns, while stating that inspection equipment should be made commercially available to all states-parties. Facilitators will make proposals on these issues when the conference reconvenes in the first week of December.

 

U.S. Implementation Measures

The United States transmitted an extensive report to the OPCW on May 29, within 30 days of entry into force, as specified by the CWC. The report included the size and content of the current U.S. chemical weapons stockpile (previously estimated at approximately 30,000 agent tons) and the planned destruction schedule (now projected for completion as early as 2005 and as late as 2007). It also included the required data declarations on the status of chemical weapons stockpiles, on old and abandoned weapons, on riot control agents in use and on chemical weapons production and other facilities. None of these documents are planned for public release, nor are details available about other countries' submissions.

The House of Representatives' version of the CWC implementing legislation, which outlines the authority and enforcement mechanisms for applying the CWC domestically, was introduced and referred to the Judiciary and International Relations Committees on May 14. A Senate version was referred to the House on May 30, and spokesmen for the committees said final versions will be worked out in conference in the coming months.

According to the legislation, the president shall designate the location of the National Authority (the U.S. liaison to the OPCW). Depending on committee markup of the legislation, the office may ultimately reside in the National Security Council or the Department of State, with participation by several U.S. agencies.

By the end of May, the OPCW was fully operational and ready to conduct inspections, according to organization spokesmen. While there have been no requests for challenge inspections, some routine inspections will be conducted in June, with the aim of extending these to all parties as soon as possible. The OPCW and the United States are currently negotiating the "transitional verification agreements," or protocols for civilian and military facilities inspections, which they plan to complete in July or August.

EURATOM Set to Join KEDO Board; Work at Sinpo Site to Begin

 

Howard Diamond

THE KOREAN Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the European Union (EU) agreed on May 15 to the terms and conditions of the accession to KEDO of EURATOM, the EU's nuclear regulatory body. Following a formal signing of the agreement later this summer, EURATOM will become the first new member of the international consortium's Executive Board since KEDO's founding by the United States, Japan and South Korea in 1995.

KEDO is implementing the 1994 U.S.North Korean Agreed Framework, under which Pyongyang has agreed to freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear weapons program. In return, KEDO is overseeing the construction in Sinpo of two 1,000-megawatt (electric) light-water reactors (LWRs) and annual shipments of 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil until the first reactor is completed.

The EU's contribution to KEDO of 75 million European Currency Units (about $85 million) over five years will cover roughly one-third of the annual heavy fuel oil cost. In 1996, KEDO was forced to borrow to cover the $66.8 million cost of the year's heavy fuel oil deliveries. The United States has been providing about one-third of the funds for the annual shipments ($22 million in 1996), with the balance coming from other contributing states and from credit facilitated by a collateral fund created by Japan. KEDO has had limited success in soliciting new countries to join or in getting current members to make greater contributions. The expected increase in the EU's contribution from $6.3 million in 1996 to about $18 million after EURATOM's accession, will be key to stabilizing KEDO's finances.

EURATOM's entry into KEDO, which has been under negotiation for over a year, will need to be formally approved by KEDO's Executive Board and the EU Council of Ministers. After the agreement is signed, EURATOM will begin participating on the Executive Board as well as increasing its level of financial support.

Work on the much-delayed LWR project is expected to get under way by mid-July following a May 13 decision by KEDO's Executive Board to start work on the infrastructure necessary for construction, such as roads and temporary offices and housing. The 1995 supply agreement between KEDO and Pyongyang calls for the first LWR to be completed by 2003 on a "best-efforts" basis, however, delays in negotiations with North Korea and disruptive events like the submarine incident of 1996, have put the $5 billion project several months behind schedule.

Most of the necessary arrangements for initiating construction were settled in negotiated protocols or discussions in April (see ACT, April 1997), but some remaining issues will be addressed in a week of talks between KEDO and North Korea beginning May 31. KEDO will send a delegation of 44 representatives from the United States, Japan and South Korea to North Korea to discuss technical issues relating to the start of construction.

In addition to progress on the LWR project, the safe storage of North Korea's plutonium-laden spent fuel is continuing. At the end of May, about 80 percent of the 8,000 fuel elements from the 5-megawatt (electric) gas-graphite reactor in Yongbyon had been "canned" in steel containers in preparation for their eventual shipment out of the country.

QDR Supports Nuclear Status Quo, Adds Billions More to NMD Program

 

Craig Cerniello

ON MAY 19, Secretary of Defense William Cohen submitted to Congress the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), a six-month study that examined all aspects of U.S. defense strategy and requirements through 2015. The review, which was conducted in consultation with Congress and approved by President Bill Clinton, will "serve as the overall strategic planning document" of the Defense Department. While the QDR made no substantial changes to U.S. strategic nuclear forces and posture, it added $2.3 billion to the Clinton administration's national missile defense (NMD) efforts in order to preserve the current schedule, and delayed deployment of the Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system by two years.

In a reaffirmation of current policy, the QDR noted that "We are committed to reducing our nuclear forces to START II levels once the treaty is ratified by the Russian Duma and then immediately negotiating further reductions consistent with the START III framework." In addition, the QDR concluded that the United States would maintain its strategic nuclear forces at START I levels until Russia has ratified START II, a measure that is consistent with the START II resolution of ratification approved by the Senate in January 1996. (See ACT, February 1996.) Challenging this conclusion, the independent National Defense Panel—which was created by Congress to review the findings of the QDR—argued that "the move to START II force levels should proceed even if the Duma fails to act on START II this year."

Under START I, the United States is expected to deploy a total of 6,000 "treaty-accountable" warheads on the following systems: 50 MX ICBMs, 500 Minuteman III ICBMs, 18 Trident ballistic missile submarines, 71 B-52H bombers and 21 B-2 bombers. (Due to START I counting rules, this force will comprise approximately 8,000 actual deployed warheads). Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 20, Cohen estimated that it will cost the United States approximately $64 million to maintain START I force levels in fiscal year (FY) 1998 and $1 billion per year thereafter. The majority of the increase reflects the costs associated with refueling the four additional Trident submarines that will be maintained under START I.

General John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee that, in light of this significant potential cost, he would support adjustments to the current congressional prohibition on U.S. strategic nuclear force reductions below START I levels. Shalikashvili said the Joint Chiefs believe "it would be good if we could have the freedom to discuss with [Congress] alternatives that would, on the one hand, meet our security needs, [and] on the other hand not undermine the process of putting the requisite pressure on the Duma to ratify START II. We believe there is a middle way that we can find that will accomplish that."

 

Missile Defense Issues

As part of its comprehensive analysis, the QDR also evaluated U.S. ballistic missile defense policy and programs. In particular, the review reaffirmed the Clinton administration's "three-plus-three" program, which calls for the development of the initial elements of an NMD system by 2000, at which time the United States will assess the long-range ballistic missile threat to its territory and be in a position to deploy such a system by 2003 if necessary. If no decision is taken to deploy, the United States will continue development efforts while maintaining a three-year deployment capability.

Nevertheless, the QDR determined that the program as currently funded would not enable the United States to meet the 2000 deadline for making a possible NMD deployment decision. Therefore, the review added $2.3 billion to the program over the next five years, but cautioned that even with this additional funding it will "remain a program with very high schedule and technical risk."

With respect to the administration's theater missile defense (TMD) program, the QDR pushed back the deployment date for THAAD from 2004 (which had just been announced in December 1996) again to 2006. This delay was necessary because THAAD has failed in all four of its intercept attempts over the past year and a half. In addition, the QDR provided funding through 1999 for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which is being developed by the United States, Germany and Italy for NATO deployment (previously MEADS was funded through FY 1998).

The QDR also reaffirmed the administration's commitment to other TMD programs: the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability3 (PAC3) system, an improvement over the system deployed during the Gulf War; the Navy's Area Defense ("lower-tier") system; the Navy's Theater-Wide Defense ("upper-tier") system; and the Air Force's Airborne Laser program, which is in the early stages of development.

IAEA Approves '93+2' Protocol; Awaits Adoption by Member-States

 

Howard Diamond

THE INTERNATIONAL Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors approved a program of enhanced nuclear safeguards during a special session in Vienna May 1516, the first major expansion of the agency's monitoring and inspection powers in 25 years. The new measures are embodied in a model protocol that will need to be adopted by each of the 131 states (along with Taiwan) that has a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The protocol will substantially expand IAEA access to information and facilities, thereby improving the agency's ability to verify that non-nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) are not conducting clandestine nuclear weapons programs.

The new protocol represents the second part of the IAEA's "Program 93+2," initiated in 1993 as a result of the confirmation in 1991 that Iraq—an NPT signatory—had been clandestinely pursuing a nuclear weapons program by utilizing undeclared facilities not covered by existing safeguards. The name "93+2" refers to the initial goal of completing a plan of action in two years, in time for the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.

The IAEA began implementing Part 1 of Program 93+2 in January 1996, by adopting new monitoring techniques (such as environmental sampling and use of no-notice inspections at key measurement points within declared nuclear facilities) that did not require any new legal authority for their implementation. Some methods for analysis and monitoring, field tested during Part 1, have subsequently been incorporated into Part 2, which aims to close the undeclared facilities loophole. The agency determined that Part 2 would require the addition of a protocol to current safeguards agreements. The IAEA has said it anticipates the program will lead to "more cost-effective use of its safeguards resources."

 

The Model Protocol

Incorporating lessons learned in Iraq and North Korea, the new protocol represents a significant expansion of the scope of IAEA safeguards from a narrow focus on detecting the misuse of declared facilities or diversion of declared material, to broad oversight of the totality of a nation's nuclear activities. Specifically, the protocol makes four major changes that will significantly reduce the likelihood of a nation with a comprehensive safeguards agreement successfully concealing a nuclear weapons program:

First, in addition to the current requirement to provide nuclear fuel and fuel cycle activity data, states will now have to furnish an "expanded declaration" on a broad array of nuclear-related activities such as "nuclear fuel cycle-related research and development activities—not involving nuclear materials" and "the location, operational status and the estimated annual production" of uranium and thorium mines. All trade in items on the Nuclear Suppliers Group trigger list will also have to be reported to the IAEA.

Second, the number and types of facilities the IAEA will be able to inspect and monitor will substantially increase beyond the present level. To resolve questions or inconsistencies in the information a state has provided about its nuclear activities, the new inspections regime provides the IAEA with "complementary," or pre-approved, access to "[a]ny location specified by the Agency," as well as all of the facilities specified in the "expanded declaration." States accepting the model protocol, in effect, guarantee the IAEA access on short-notice to all of their declared, and if necessary, undeclared facilities "to assure the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities."

Third, the agency's ability to conduct short notice inspections is augmented by streamlining the visa process for inspectors and guaranteeing them, with one month's notice, "appropriate multiple entry/exit" visas that are valid for at least a year.

Fourth, the model protocol confirms the agency's right to use environmental sampling techniques—not previously specified as a valid and objective method in the "scope of inspections,"—throughout its monitoring and inspections activities.

According to Gary Samore, National Security Council senior director for nonproliferation, "The protocol substantially strengthens the ability of the IAEA to detect clandestine nuclear programs by giving it access to additional information and locations." The shift in the IAEA's focus from strict material accountancy to a more comprehensive approach to a state's nuclear activities should considerably deter "rogue" states' secret pursuit of nuclear weapons programs. A senior administration official said, "Nations attempting to conceal their nuclear weapons programs will be in a Catch22' position, that is, with heavy pressure to sign [the protocol] but serious concern they'll get caught."

Unlike the non-nuclear-weapon states, which are required by the NPT to accept IAEA safeguards on their nuclear activities, the five nuclear-weapon states (the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia), because they are entitled to manufacture nuclear weapons, are free from this requirement. However, to augment the acceptability of the new protocol and to show they are not seeking a commercial advantage, all five countries have announced their intention to apply some of the new safeguards to their commercial nuclear facilities. On May 16, the White House announced that it would accept the new measures "in their entirety except where they involve information or locations of direct national security significance," and promised to seek legislation to make the protocol legally binding. Britain and France have said they will accept almost all of the new measures, while Russia and China are expected to adopt fewer parts of the model protocol on the grounds of national security concerns.

CFE 'Flank' Accord Enters into Force; Senate Warns Russia on Deployments

 

Sarah Walkling

THE CONVENTIONAL Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty "Flank Document" entered into force on May 15, one day after the Senate unanimously approved a resolution of advice and consent to ratification of the document. The flank accord brings into effect new, higher limits on Russian battle tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs) and heavy artillery deployed or stored in the now-reconfigured flank zone.

Finalized at the May 1996 CFE Treaty Review Conference, the flank document adjusts the original CFE Treaty flank limits to alleviate Moscow's difficulties absorbing Russian forces formerly stationed in Central and Eastern Europe and responding to internal security threats, especially the Chechnyan uprising. (Russia had met its aggregate but not its flank limits by the November 1995 deadline).

The new document reduces the size of the flank zone, without changing the numerical limits on ground equipment within the zone. Moscow, which agreed in May 1996 to freeze its treaty-limited equipment (TLE) deployments in the original flank zone, must now reduce these levels by May 31, 1999, to meet its new limits. (See box p. 31) Russia is permitted to use "to the maximum extent possible" treaty provisions for temporary deployment outside its territory and TLE reallocation among parties to achieve the reductions. (See ACT, May/June 1996.)

The flank agreement requires Russia and the other flank states on its troubled southern border to work out ways to accommodate Moscow's reductions. The concerns of four former Soviet republics (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) about Russian deployments prompted the Senate to add conditions to its resolution, which make clear that the United States opposes any attempt by Moscow to deploy forces in other former Soviet republics without the consent of those states-parties to the CFE Treaty.

In a "finding" included in the resolution, the Senate said, "armed forces and military equipment under control of the Russian Federation are currently deployed on the territories of States Parties without the full and complete agreement of those States Parties." One condition, therefore, requires presidential certification of NATO affirmation that without the "freely expressed consent," of the parties involved, the flank agreement does not allow any party to station or temporarily deploy TLE on another's territory, or to reallocate weapons quotas between parties. The condition also requires affirmation of all parties' rights, under the document, to their maximum weapons allotments. On May 15, President Clinton notified Congress that NATO had made these affirmations, quelling the fears of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine that Russia could abuse the flank agreement to increase its own weapons entitlements or legitimize deployment of its equipment on their territories.

Another Senate condition requires the secretary of state to open new discussions to secure the immediate withdrawal of all Russian-controlled forces and equipment deployed on the territories of other CFE states-parties without their consent. In the ongoing negotiations between Russia and Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, which began last year, the Senate insists that the United States participate as an intermediary to protect the rights of these states to "reject or accept conditionally" any Russian requests to temporarily deploy weapons on their territories or to reallocate their weapons allotments with other states.

To discourage future Russian attempts to strong-arm its neighbors and exploit the flank agreement, the resolution states that the Senate "expects" the executive branch to brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the speaker of the House at least four times a year on CFE Treaty compliance issues. Also, every January 1, the president must submit three unclassified reports addressing compliance issues, the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territories of its neighbors and "uncontrolled" TLE transferred to secessionist or paramilitary groups. Finally, by August 1, 1997, the president must submit an unclassified report on whether Armenia violated the treaty by allowing the transfer of Russian arms through its territory to the separatist movement in Ngorno-Karabakh.

At the April 29 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the flank agreement, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked for assurance that the agreement would not legitimize Russia's military presence outside of its borders. Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) said, "one of the unspoken concerns up here is that [the Clinton administration] made a deal to keep Russia in line as it relates to NATO expansion.... We want to know, did you sell out the Caucasus in order to get Poland in?" Clinton administration officials responded that Russia would go totally unchecked without any flank limits and that ratification of the new flank agreement was necessary to sustain the momentum for conventional force reduction in Europe. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Lynn Davis emphasized that the agreement highlighted Russia's right "to take advantage of flexibilities built into the treaty that all parties can take advantage of," but did not give Moscow the right to station armed forces in other CFE parties.

Also attached to the resolution of ratification was a condition requiring the president to submit to the Senate any agreement that would add parties to the 1972 ABM Treaty. (See p.32.)

Russian CFE Flank Limits

The numbers listed below represent aggregates of active and stored equipment, as per 1990 CFE Treaty definitions. The flank agreement also places individual limits on ACVs deployed in the four oblasts (military districts) removed from the original flank zone, effective May 31, 1999.

  Tanks ACVs Artillery
Original Limits 1 (now apply to the redrawn flank zone) 1,300 1,380 1,680
May 1996 Limits (apply to the original flank zone) 1,897 4,397 2,422
May 1999 Limits (apply to the original flank zone) 1,800 3,700 2,400
1 As negotiated by the former Soviet republics at Tashkent, May 1992.

Duma Criticizes Helsinki Outcome; Postpones START II Discussions

 

Craig Cerniello

IN THE DAYS following the March 2021 Helsinki summit meeting between President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, influential members of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, criticized the Yeltsin administration for making too many concessions on key national security issues, especially with respect to the planned enlargement of the NATO alliance. Acknowledging that Russia was unable to prevent NATO enlargement, Yeltsin nonetheless defended the results of the summit in a March 26 radio address to the nation. Meanwhile, the Duma announced on April 9 that it would postpone discussion of START II.

 

Duma Reacts to Helsinki

The Helsinki agreements drew a hostile reaction from several members of the Duma. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyugonov, the most outspoken of these critics, claimed that the summit had been a "crushing defeat" for Moscow and characterized the joint statements as "Russia's Versailles"—a reference to the 1919 Versailles Treaty, which ended World War I and imposed severe conditions on the defeated German state.

Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the Duma's International Affairs Committee (a key committee involved in the START II ratification process), also had a strong initial reaction to the agreements reached in Helsinki. In a clear reference to NATO enlargement, Lukin said, "We can speak of ratifying START II only if there will be greater trust between the sides. And this trust has significantly diminished."

Lukin provided a more thorough analysis of the joint statements in a March 27 article in the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. In terms of the "Joint Statement on Parameters on Future Reductions in Nuclear Forces," he praised the fiveyear extension of the START II reduction schedule as well as the basic principles for a START III agreement. (See ACT, March 1997.) However, Lukin argued that it was not "realistic" for the Duma to ratify START II before negotiations on START III commence, as called for in the joint statement. "The Duma is in no hurry to ratify [START II], among other reasons, because it sees no promise of a dependable and mutually acceptable strategic balance. For after START II is ratified, the U.S. can well procrastinate or freeze negotiations on START III, and Russia would be in a highly losing position," Lukin said.

Lukin also pointed out some potential difficulties with the "Joint Statement Concerning the AntiBallistic Missile Treaty." Despite the U.S. and Russian commitments to the ABM Treaty, Lukin cautioned that there is "no clear definition" between permitted theater missile defense systems and restricted ABM systems—a situation which he said should be resolved before the sides can move forward with START II and START III. "Lack of clarity about the future of ABM systems is unacceptable for Russia," he argued.

Some other members of the Duma reinforced the negative reaction to NATO enlargement. According to a March 22 Associated Press report, Agrarian Party leader Mikhail Lapshin predicted that NATO enlargement would eventually nullify the agreements reached in Helsinki. Mikhail Yuryev of the Yabloko Party also reportedly stated that NATO enlargement "will be directed against Russia."

Yeltsin responded to these critics during his March 26 radio address. While admitting that he was unable to stop NATO enlargement, Yeltsin maintained that Russia had succeeded in minimizing its consequences. In particular, Yeltsin explained that the sides had agreed that NATO will not move its nuclear weapons or armed forces eastward, and that Russia and NATO will sign at the highest levels a "comprehensive document" defining their relationship. He also noted that the United States and Russia reached "very serious agreements" in Helsinki concerning the ABM Treaty and the reduction of strategic offensive nuclear forces.

 

START II and the Duma

As a clear indication of the resistance Yeltsin is likely to face in pushing for START II ratification, Aleksei Mitrofanov, chairman of the Duma's Geopolitics Committee, announced on April 9 that the Duma has "put off" discussion of the treaty—a decision supported by Lev Rokhlin, chairman of the Duma's Defense Committee (another key committee involved in the START II ratification process). In an April 9 interview with Moscow NTV, Rokhlin argued that the Duma is not ready to take up the treaty because it still has not received from the Yeltsin administration an implementing program, apparently similar to the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, committing resources and outlining the costs and benefits of modernizing and maintaining Russian strategic forces at START II levels. He also said the Yeltsin government has not responded to the Duma's request for an evaluation as to how NATO enlargement would affect START II.

Although the treaty remains stalled in the Duma, the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces continue to support the strategic arms reduction process. According to an April 23 ItarTass report, CommanderinChief Igor Sergeyev said he was in favor of START III, which, if successfully negotiated, would limit the United States and Russia to 2,0002,500 strategic nuclear warheads each by the end of 2007. He argued that START III would provide for "strategic stability which Russia is able to maintain without substantial additional financial spending."

Senate Gives Advice and Consent; U.S. Becomes Original CWC Party

 

Erik J. Leklem

PRESIDENT BILL Clinton deposited the U.S. instrument of ratification for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) with the United Nations on April 25, four days before the treaty's entry into force. This lastminute action, made possible by Senate approval of the resolution of advice and consent to ratification, allowed the United States to become an original party to the convention. (See Factfile, p. 41.) The multilateral treaty, signed in 1993, bans the use, production, stockpiling and development of chemical weapons and includes extensive verification measures to enforce compliance with its provisions. Parties are also required to destroy their chemical weapon stockpiles and production facilities.

The Senate resolution, approved April 24 by a vote of 7426, set forth 28 conditions to its advice and consent. (See p. 29.) None of these conditions, however, impeded presidential ratification and deposit of the instrument of ratification with the UN secretarygeneral. Approval of the convention ended 41 months of consideration by the Senate, during which more than 14 hearings were held.

On the day before the Senate vote, retired Senator Bob Dole (RKS) reversed his past opposition to the convention at a White House event. "If I were present in the Senate," he said, "I would vote for ratification of the CWC because of the many improvements that have been agreed to." In the closing hours of Senate debate, Majority Leader Trent Lott (RMS) added his support for the convention, saying there would be "real and lasting consequences" if the United States failed to ratify the treaty, and that "the credibility of commitments made by two presidents of our country—one Republican and one Democrat—is at stake."

In early April the fate of the CWC remained uncertain, due to the campaign by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (RNC) to discredit the convention in a series of hearings. (See ACT, March 1997.) Nevertheless, by midApril, Lott and Minority Leader Tom Daschle (DSD), in coordination with the White House, reached a unanimous consent agreement that defined the procedure for Senate consideration of the treaty. The compromise released the CWC from the Foreign Relations Committee and set April 24 as the date for a full Senate vote.

The agreement established Senate Executive Resolution 75, authored by Helms, as the resolution of ratification for the CWC. The Helms' resolution set forth 33 conditions for Senate approval of the convention; the first 28 conditions were, by agreement, not subject to further action, while the five remaining "killer" conditions (that would have prevented Clinton from depositing the U.S. instruments of ratification) were subject to limited debate and to removal from the resolution by separate majority votes.

As part of the agreement, a separate vote was scheduled on S.495 before CWC consideration. Drafted by CWC opponents, this unilateral, domestic legislation was proposed as an "alternative" to the CWC, which CWC opponents could support in order to avoid being labeled "propoison gas." The bill, which passed by a slight majority, is expected to encounter a presidential veto.

The agreement to discharge the convention from Helms' committee and to bring it to a vote followed months of work by the administration and treaty supporters. In the final weeks of April, the administration made some foreign policy concessions to bring the CWC to a vote, including agreeing to incorporate the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency into the State Department as part of a major restructuring of U.S. foreign affairs agencies. (See p. 33.)

Clinton's campaign for the treaty culminated in an April 23 White House event with Vice President Al Gore, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili, retired General Colin Powell, former National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft and Dole. Supporting Dole's comments, Powell said the treaty was "in the best interests of America" and praised treaty provisions that would isolate rogue states.

During the days before the vote, Clinton consulted with Lott regarding convention Articles X and XI, which Lott argued would foster chemical weapons proliferation by facilitating cooperation in chemical technologies. In an April 24 letter to Lott, Clinton wrote that he would "be prepared to withdraw from the treaty" after consultation with Congress if Article X or Article XI were abused by statesparties in a way that "jeopardized the supreme interests of the United States." Lott called this commitment "unprecedented" and "ironclad," and mentioned the letter's importance when he announced his intent to vote for the CWC.

 

The Senate Debate

In opening the scheduled 11 hours of Senate floor debate on the convention, Helms derided the treaty as "worse than nothing" and said it would put "the American people at greater risk." Biden used his opening remarks to respond, reviewing the history of chemical warfare and the decade of CWC negotiations, and linking ratification of the treaty to "America's leadership in the postCold War era."

Before the final vote, Biden submitted five motions to strike each of the five "killer" conditions, after which all five were removed by majority votes.

The first condition which the Senate struck required ratification by China, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria and by all state sponsors of terrorism before the United States could join the convention.

The second condition prohibited the deposit of the U.S. instruments of ratification until the president could certify that Russia had ratified the treaty, which was highly unlikely prior to the April 29 deadline. Further, the condition required Russia to forgo all activity on its chemical weapons program and required certification of Russian compliance with the 1990 U.S.Russian Bilateral Destruction Agreement.

A third condition required presidential certification that the Central Intelligence Agency had a high degree of confidence in detecting "militarily significant" violations, which were defined as one ton of agent. The administration had previously pointed out the CWC's benefits to intelligence efforts, and said it would not be able to deposit the U.S. instruments of ratification under such an exacting condition.

The fourth condition—eliminated by the margin of 5644—required the president to bar inspectors from states deemed sponsors of international terrorism and from states in violation of U.S. nonproliferation and exportimport law. While technically not a "killer" condition, since parties to the CWC have the right to exclude specific inspectors on a casebycase basis, such a blanket exclusion could have caused diplomatic confrontations.

The last condition stricken by the Senate called for amending the convention by eliminating Article X and changing Article XI to permit trade restrictions on chemical technology exchange and cooperation.

After the first condition was removed, Lott made a statement of support signaling victory for the convention's proponents. He said he had "struggled" with the treaty, and discounted claims that the vote would "determine the fate" of certain senators. Lott said his vote for the convention was based on the advice of "the most senior former and current military commanders" and on the "marginal" benefits of information access granted by the convention.

Lott's position, according to one Republican staffer, provided the needed leadership for some freshman Republicans to vote for treaty ratification. Some Senate staffers, however, emphasized that his most critical role had been in agreeing to bring the convention to the Senate floor.

Twelve states (including China and South Korea) followed the United States in depositing their instruments of ratification before entry into force of the treaty, bringing the number of original statesparties to 87 (of 165 signatory states). The Russian Duma failed to ratify the treaty before its entry into force, citing financial concerns, but indicated that it would take up the issue in fall 1997. Pakistan also stated its intent to complete the ratification process, though no official timetable has been specified.

Attention will now turn to CWC implementing legislation, scheduled for consideration during May in the House of Representatives. The U.S. National Authority for the convention, housed in the Department of Commerce, will finalize preparations for inspections and reporting requirements.

With CWC entry into force, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) begins formal operations in The Hague to monitor compliance under the CWC. The first session of the Conference of States Parties (CSP), the principal organ of the OPCW, will open in The Hague on May 6. The CSP will appoint the Executive Council members and the director general of the Technical Secretariat, additional bodies of the OPCW responsible for treaty implementation and verification.

Russian Proposal for CFE Adaptation Seeks New Limits on NATO Arms

 

Sarah Walkling

IN RESPONSE to NATO's initial proposal for adapting the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, Russia released its own working paper on April 22. While both proposals advocate placing national limits on parties' heavy conventional weapons, the Russian "basic elements" of adaptation goes further than the NATO proposal toward strengthening constraints on NATO, and also gives Moscow more flexibility in stationing conventional weapons.

The 1990 CFE Treaty places equal limits on the number of battle tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters deployed between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains by NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries. (The accord now comprises 30 statesparties.) The treaty also draws geographical zones for sublimits on ground equipment, to move concentrations of weapons away from the former Central European front.

The treaty parties have acknowledged a need to alter the basic CFE structure to adjust for the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, tensions in the Caucasus and the impending expansion of NATO. At the December 1996 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit in Lisbon, Portugal, they adopted a document defining the "scope and parameters" of the process. Adaptation talks have been ongoing since January 1997 in the Joint Consultative Group (JCG) in Vienna, where NATO presented its February 20 proposal for basic elements of an adaptation agreement. (See ACT, March 1997.)

In a measure intended to constrain the NATO alliance as it expands, Moscow's proposal calls for barring the permanent stationing of foreign treatylimited equipment (TLE) "in areas where they do not exist at present," and insists that "we must not increase holdings in areas where they do exist." Moscow is not satisfied with the concept introduced by NATO of "territorial ceilings," which would limit the sum of national and stationed foreign ground equipment on the territory of a stateparty. It also opposes the creation of additional zonal limits, such as NATO's proposed new Central European zone, where territorial ceilings would not exceed the weapons entitlements of each country.

NATO, in its February proposal, offers significant reductions in its ground equipment. Its call for all statesparties to cut their TLE entitlements has led to a counterproposal from Russia to lower the current equipment ceilings only for a group or alliance (currently, only NATO would be subject to this proposed category) without requiring similar reductions for states that do not belong to an alliance. Russian officials argue that, through such asymmetrical reductions, the current 3:1 disparity between NATO and Russian forces could be reduced. Russia dropped this provision when its Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright discussed CFE adaptation at their May 2 meeting in Moscow, but still plans to push for measures that would help correct the NATORussian imbalance in heavy weapons.

While the Russian proposal states that with the combination of national and alliance limits "zonal limitations in the classical sense would be superfluous," Russian officials emphasize that they do not advocate eliminating the current zonal limits on Central Europe and the treaty's "flank" regions.

The Russian proposal also calls for abolishing the permanent storage site limits and for transferring all equipment located in these sites to active units. This measure would allow Russia to transfer approximately 3,700 heavy weapons from stored to active status. The NATO plan, in contrast, proposes transferring 20 percent of stored equipment to active units and destroying the remainder as a means of reducing overall conventional forces in Europe.

The ongoing JCG negotiations in Vienna are attempting to reconcile the positions of the two sides and to conclude an adaptation framework by summer. Intensive negotiations on basic elements of CFE adaptation are expected to begin after the May 27 NATORussian summit in Paris.

Clinton Moves Closer to Easing Limits On Arms Sales to Latin America

 

Wade Boese

THE CLINTON administration appears poised to end a two-decade-old policy of restricting sales of U.S. high-tech weapons, such as fighter aircraft and advanced missiles, to Latin America. During the first week of April, the administration announced that it granted Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas, manufacturers of the F-16 and F/A-18, respectively, authorization to provide technical specifications and marketing information on these aircraft to Chile.

Administration officials insist that although a two-year policy review of the informal ban is not yet complete, the administration did not want to "disadvantage" any U.S. firms in competition for future sales if the policy is eventually altered.

Chile is seeking to modernize its air force with a purchase of at least 20 advanced fighters. To be considered for the sale, Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas were permitted to submit the information to meet a Chilean deadline of March 31, 1997. Chilean interest and expectations concerning the potential availability of the F-16s and F/A-18s increased following the appearance of the fighters at a March 1996 airshow in Chile after their having been excluded from a previous Latin American airshow in 1994. Other aircraft vying for the sale include the Swedish JAS39 Gripen (which is also subject to the restrictions because the aircraft contain a large percentage estimated at 30 percent of U.S.-made components), the French Mirage 20005, and the Russian MiG-29. Brazil is also considering a modernization of its air force in the near future.

 

The Latin American Market

Although the Latin American arms market is relatively small, competition in the estimated $500 million annual market is intensifying. The region accounted for 3.3 percent of all international arms deliveries in 1995, but this represented a second consecutive year of growth after five years of steady decline. Recent military modernization programs by Latin American nations are responsible for the market's upswing. Despite the unilateral restrictions on high-tech equipment, the United States is still the leading arms supplier to Latin America, accounting for 26 percent of the value of arms deliveries between 1992 and 1995.

Since 1978, the United States has adhered to a policy of "severe restraint" on hightech weapons exports to Latin America. President Jimmy Carter imposed the restrictions in response to widespread human rights abuses by the region's dictatorships and military regimes. One of those dictators, General Augusto Pinochet, still serves as the commander-in-chief of Chile's army. Venezuela's purchase of 24 F-16s in 1981 stands as the only previous exception to the policy.

Support for modifying the restrictions has steadily accumulated during the Clinton administration's policy review. Military contractors, with the support of the Pentagon, have been urging the administration to allow new sales to the region. Their efforts received a boost in December 1996 when then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher, an earlier advocate of retaining the ban, signed a memorandum with then-Secretary of Defense William Perry urging President Clinton to change the policy. Perry's successor, William Cohen, firmly supports replacing the current restrictions with the standard U.S. policy of a case-by-case approach.

Advocates of a policy change contend that the current restrictions are outdated since all Latin American nations, except Cuba, have democratically elected governments and growing economies. A favored justification is that foreign firms will supply the weapons if U.S. firms do not, and that results in the loss of U.S. jobs. This argument prompted 38 Senators and 79 House members to sign a mid-1996 letter to Christopher requesting a removal of the restrictions.

Critics of the proposed policy change say the region's democracies are fragile and remain susceptible to a disproportionate amount of influence from their militaries. Many argue that in a region where one-half of the population lives in poverty, spending approximately $25 million per aircraft is unnecessary.

Another concern is that new U.S. sales could initiate an arms race and destabilize the present security environment. Argentina, a vocal opponent of Chile's impending acquisition, has repeatedly raised the specter of a new arms race. Only last November State Department deputy spokesman Glyn Davies expressed "concern" and "disappointment" over Peru's purchase of 12 Belarussian MiG-29s because it could provoke an arms race. Administration officials have not said whether new U.S. transfers of similar high-tech weaponry could have the same effect.

Most observers agree that the recent developments indicate an impending change in policy. Only very rarely will the U.S. government allow American firms to compete for a sale and then disapprove of it if the firm succeeds in winning the bid. Defense Secretary Cohen said April 15 that he expected a decision to be made within the next "month or two."

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