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"Though we have acheived progress, our work is not over. That is why I support the mission of the Arms Control Association. It is, quite simply, the most effective and important organization working in the field today." 

– Larry Weiler
Former U.S.-Russian arms control negotiator
August 7, 2018
Press Releases

Clinton Announces Reorganization Plan, ACDA To Lose Independent Status

Jack Mendelsohn

ON APRIL 18 the White House, through the vice president's office, announced that President Bill Clinton had approved a two-year reorganization plan for the nation's foreign affairs agencies. In the words of a White House fact sheet, the plan is designed to bring "an end to bureaucracies originally designed for the Cold War."

Specifically, the plan calls for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) to be fully integrated into the State Department within one year, for the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) to be integrated over a two-year period, and for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to remain a distinct agency but under the "direct authority and foreign policy guidance" of the secretary of state. The overall reorganization of the foreign affairs agencies, of which ACDA's integration is only a small part, is to be undertaken by a group of eight task forces which will have approximately 60 days to complete their work.

The State Department had sought, since the beginning of the Clinton administration, to absorb ACDA, which was created in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy. Earlier efforts (in 199394) to eliminate the agency were rebuffed by a Democratic Congress. But a Republican-dominated Congress and the hostage-taking tactics of Senator Jesse Helms (RNC), who refused to take up the Chemical Weapons Convention until the adminstration had committed itself to reorganize the foreign affairs bureaucracy, resulted in the administration's April decision to disestablish ACDA and USIA.

The framework for ACDA's integration into the State Department was worked out in early 1997 between Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and ACDA Director John Holum and ultimately approved by the president. Holum, who admitted that "the thought of being ACDA's last director is painful," claims that he was "totally convinced that the president's decision will materially strengthen the arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament missions and the entire foreign affairs structure."

According to U.S. officials, the consolidation plan calls for ACDA and the current Political-Military Bureau in the Department of State to be combined and reorganized into two or three bureaus with responsibility for regional security (including arms transfers) and arms control and nonproliferation. All arms control responsibilities currently residing in other State Department bureaus (such as funding for some international agreements, which is handled in the International Organizations Bureau, and responsibility for the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty negotiations, which is currently lodged in the European Bureau) are to be transferred to these new bureaus.

The new bureaus resulting from this merger will report to an undersecretary of state for international security, arms control and nonproliferation. The exact title for this undersecretary slot is yet to be determined, but the position is currently held by Lynn Davis, who is leaving the government in the near future. Holum is slated to assume the post on an acting basis pending confirmation.

According to the interagency agreement, the undersecretary of state in charge of the arms control function will have the right, unique in the executive branch, to communicate directly with the president through the secretary of state, to attend all National Security Council (NSC) and principals meetings on arms control and nonproliferation issues, and to voice his opinion on these issues separately from the secretary of state. The intent of this arrangement is to preserve an independent voice for arms control, but critics of the consolidation argue that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain for very long such a role for an undersecretary.

To support the arms control function within the State Department, a verification and compliance unit separate from the State Departments's Bureau of Intelligence and Research will be attached to the undersecretary's office. Other ACDA offices which are duplicative of existing bureaus in the State Department, such as public affairs, administration and congressional liaison, will be eliminated.

To protect the rights, responsibilities and authority of the new undersecretary for arms control, this reorganization will ultimately have to be spelled out either in legislation or in an executive order. But Congress has begun to discuss its own ideas for reorganization in the House International Relations Committee, with the introduction of "The Foreign Policy Reform Act," which is to be taken up by the full House in early June. It is unclear at this writing whether the administration's plan for ACDA integration will be preempted by a congressional reorganization bill.

Of major concern to supporters of arms control is the loss of an independent voice on this issue within the executive branch, as well as the fear that the potentially enhanced arms control function to be created within the State Department will inevitably fall victim to bureaucratic predation or indifference. Lurking in the background is the equally disturbing realization that any congressionally mandated consolidation is likely to downplay even further the role of arms control in the executive branch.

Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission Expands Cooperative Measures

March 1997

By Craig Cerniello

In a prelude to the U.S. Russian summit in Helsinki, Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin met in Washington on February 6 and 7 for the eighth session of the U.S. Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, commonly known as the Gore Chernomyrdin Commission. During this session, the United States and Russia signed a joint statement on nuclear materials security and continued to make progress on other arms control related matters, such as implementation of the 1993 highly enriched uranium (HEU) purchase agreement.

Joint Statement on MPC&A

In an effort to improve the security of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union, then Acting Secretary of Energy Charles Curtis and Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Viktor Mikhailov co chairmen of the Energy Policy Committee, one of the commission's eight committees signed a joint statement on February 7 that reaffirms each side's commitment to the bilateral nuclear materials protection, control and accounting (MPC&A) program and includes the Instrument Research Institute (Lytkarino) in the program beginning this year. As a clear indication of the progress that has been made thus far, the sides noted that 15 Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MIN ATOM) facilities were incorporated into the MPC&A program during the previous three sessions of the Gore Chernomyrdin Commission. Six additional MINATOM facilities also engage in MPC&A related activities through a cooperative program between each side's nuclear laboratories, known as the "lab to lab" program. A total of 44 sites in the former Soviet Union participate in the MPC&A program.

HEU Purchase Agreement

According to the Energy Policy Committee report, signed by Curtis and Mi khailov on February 7, the sides continue to make progress in implementing their HEU agreement, which requires the United States to purchase over a period of 20 years 500 metric tons of HEU that has been removed from dismantled former Soviet nuclear warheads and blended down to low enriched uranium (LEU) suitable for use in commercial nuclear reactors. In 1995 and 1996, the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), the executive agent of the agreement for the U.S. government, purchased the LEU equivalent of 18 metric tons of HEU from Russia.

The committee report referred to an amendment to the HEU agreement, reached in November 1996, that establishes set prices and quantities for the LEU shipments through the year 2001, thereby allowing the USEC to purchase the LEU equivalent of an additional 132 metric tons of HEU over the next five years. (See ACT, November/December 1996.) As part of this amendment, Russia has been awarded an advance payment of $100 million against future deliveries and enhanced transparency measures have been successfully concluded to help assure that the LEU blended down in Russia is actually derived from dismantled nuclear weapons instead of existing HEU stockpiles.

Enhanced Transparency

These enhanced transparency measures, which were signed during the fifth session of the Transparency Review Committee in December 1996, will ensure that U.S. equipment is installed to continuously monitor the enrichment and flow of uranium at the blendpoint at both the Ural Electrochemical Integrated Enterprise in Novouralsk, Russia, and the new Krasnoyarsk Electrochemical Plant blending facility. This new enrichment and flow measurement equipment will be installed at the Russian blending facilities beginning in March 1997 and will be completed this summer.

Furthermore, these enhanced transparency measures will provide the United States with significantly greater access to the facility in Seversk. As of January 1997, U.S. monitors now have access to the receipt and storage area for HEU weapons components arriving from Russian dismantlement facilities and have the right to perform radiation measurements on HEU weapon components, HEU metal chips produced from weapons components and HEU oxide. U.S. monitors will also have access to new documents at Seversk to track HEU at each step of the conversion process. The U.S. government maintains that implementation of these enhanced transparency measures "will provide greatly increased confidence that U.S. non proliferation objectives are being met, in other words, that HEU from weapons is being blended to LEU."

In 1997, the USEC is scheduled to receive 10 shipments consisting of approximately 482 metric tons of LEU derived from 18 metric tons of HEU. As of early April, the first two shipments of the year were in transit.

Other Issues

In addition, the Energy Policy Committee reported on the on going construction of a fissile material storage facility at Mayak, which is being funded under the Defense Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) or "Nunn Lugar" security assistance program. The Mayak facility, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 1998, will be capable of storing the fissile material from approximately 12,500 dismantled former Soviet nuclear warheads. (The facility will store 50,000 containers of fissile materials, with each warhead occupying up to four separate containers). Although construction of the Mayak facility is proceeding on schedule, the committee report cautioned that "funding and taxation issues" could inhibit its completion. The Clinton administration has requested $64.7 million in fiscal year 1998 CTR funds for the facility.

The committee also noted that a new agreement has been reached in principle to allow the core conversion of the three plutonium producing reactors in Russia. Under the original 1994 agreement, Russia was obligated to shut down the three reactors by the year 2000. Negotiations on a new agreement, which would allow Moscow to operate the reactors as long as their cores were converted, became necessary because Russia claimed that it needed to operate the reactors to provide heat for neighboring cities. Details of the new agreement are still being worked out by the sides.

The Energy Policy Committee also reported on U.S. Russian scientific cooperation related to maintaining the safety and security of nuclear weapons stockpiles under the recently concluded Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, as well as bilateral cooperation on the disposition of weapons plutonium.

Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission Expands Cooperative Measures

U.S. Favors CD Negotiations To Achieve Ban on Landmines


Sarah Walkling

AFTER MONTHS of indecision, the Clinton administration announced January 17 that it will initially pursue negotiations for a comprehensive global ban on anti personnel landmines at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, instead of through the Canadian led effort to negotiate and sign an international treaty by December 1997. (See ACT, October 1996.) The administration also declared that the current U.S. export moratorium on anti personnel mines, which was to continue until 1999, would become permanent.

By opting for the CD, the administration has chosen the slower path for implementing a ban. The CD, which opened its first session of 1997 on January 21, may not decide whether a landmine ban will be on its agenda until the summer of 1997 or later. Meanwhile, the Canadian led effort, also known as the "Ottawa Process," will begin reviewing an Austrian draft treaty text during a February 12 14 conference in Vienna. The United States is expected to attend the Vienna meeting.

The administration favors the 61 member CD because Russia and China—top producers of anti personnel landmines and opponents of a landmine ban—have said they will not participate in the Ottawa Process. Both countries are members of the CD. Without their participation, administration officials say, a treaty would not halt the use, production, export or stockpiling of anti personnel mines. However, White House spokesman Mike McCurry said January 17 the CD negotiations would be "mutually reinforcing" of the Canadian initiative. If China and Russia join the Canadian effort, the United States has said it will also participate. Regardless of the forum, the United States will seek an exception for its mines deployed on the Korean Peninsula.

Other states that favor negotiating a ban at the CD include Australia, Britain, France, Germany and Italy. On January 23, the French representative to the CD, Ambassador Joelle Bourgois, said, "France prefers an efficient treaty, even if the result took time, to a hastily concluded but useless agreement." Some members of the non aligned movement (NAM) that oppose conducting the negotiations at the CD say the landmine talks might overshadow the comprehensive nuclear disarmament negotiations which several NAM states hope to initiate. If the CD agenda does include a landmine ban, the ad hoc committee that would be established for negotiating a ban will likely focus on reaching agreement on an export ban first.

According to Bob Bell, National Security Council senior director for defense policy and arms control, "[O]ur best shot at this in terms of achieving the president's goal of a global ban—not just a ban among some countries but a ban that really touches the countries that are causing the problem on different continents around the world—is to take it to the CD where we have a proven track record." Acknowledging that achieving a ban "is going to be tough," Bell said, "we think we can get a landmines agreement out of the CD ..."

However, Senator Patrick Leahy (D VT), the leading congressional advocate for a global ban, expressed disappointment in the administration's decision. In a January 17 press release, Leahy said the Canadian initiative offers "the best opportunity" for rapid progress because it establishes "a moral and tactical imperative" for bringing holdout countries aboard. "It is doubtful that the CD will produce an agreement to achieve a ban," Leahy said. "The CD process requires step by step consensus that rewards holdout states, who effectively have a veto that retards or prevents strong agreements." Last year, India alone was able to block consensus on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the CD. The otherwise agreed treaty was taken directly to the UN General Assembly by Australia and was opened for signature in September 1996 despite Indian opposition.

 

Finding Alternatives

The day after the White House announced its decision to push for negotiation of a ban in the CD, the Department of Defense (DOD) reported on its efforts to end its military reliance on anti personnel landmines. Clinton ordered the assessment as part of a landmine initiative announced in May 1996. (See ACT, May/June 1996.) The Pentagon has since reviewed its war plans and has begun to revise its doctrine and training manuals to eliminate requirements for anti personnel landmine use. According to a DOD official, the changes represent "a fundamental shift in the way we go to war."

While the Defense Department has not found a single alternative to landmines, the official said, "[T]here appear to be a number of systems, when used in combination, which offer some very promising prospects for us." Specifically, a combination of "new killing mechanisms and mix of new intelligence sensors" would allow the U.S. military to decrease its reliance on statically emplaced non self destruct mines.

As part of his 1996 initiative, Clinton ordered the U.S. military to immediately discontinue use of so called "dumb" mines, which remain active until detonated or cleared, except for training purposes or on the Korean Peninsula and to destroy all non essential stockpiles by 1999. According to the Pentagon, the United States will still possess approximately one million such mines.

Nuclear Deal With North Korea Back on Track After Sub Incident


Howard Diamond

IMPLEMENTATION of the 1994 U.S. North Korean agreed framework resumed in January following Pyongyang's December 29 expression of regret over the grounding of one of its reconnaissance submarines on the South Korean coast. On January 8, the "canning" of spent fuel at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility resumed after having stopped in November. That same day, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and North Korea signed two protocols in New York that will allow KEDO to begin site preparation work on the $5 billion light water reactor (LWR) project, the central component of the agreed framework.

KEDO is the international consortium founded by the United States, Japan and South Korea to implement the 1994 denuclearization accord. The agreement requires North Korea to freeze and eventually eliminate its nuclear weapons program in exchange for the construction of two proliferation resistant 1,000 megawatt (electric) LWRs and the delivery of heavy fuel oil while the reactors are being built.

 

Canning' Resumes

The canning operation, which entails transferring the spent fuel rods from a cooling pond where they are currently stored into steel containers suitable for transhipment, was suspended in early November after North Korean workers failed to return from a scheduled work stoppage. At that point, more than half of the Yongbyon reactor's 8,000 spent fuel elements had been placed in "dry storage" by the U.S. Department of Energy and its private contractor.

North Korea removed the spent fuel from its 5 megawatt (electric) experimental reactor at Yongbyon in 1994. The fuel remains a serious proliferation hazard because it contains enough plutonium to build several nuclear bombs. As part of the 1994 deal, North Korea shut down the Yongbyon reactor, with the promise to dismantle it and send its spent fuel out of the country without being reprocessed. U.S. officials hope to complete the canning operation by the end of 1997.

With the submarine incident resolved, KEDO has resumed activity on a number of fronts, according to KEDO spokesman Jason Shaplen. The two protocols signed January 8 by KEDO and Pyongyang represent an important milestone in the LWR project's development, clearing the way for KEDO to begin site preparation near Sinpo in North Korea. Arrangements for KEDO to contract for services in North Korea and KEDO's access to the proposed construction site are covered in the agreements.

KEDO's seventh site survey team is preparing to visit North Korea to conduct a detailed geological investigation and some additional preliminary site preparation work. South Korea indefinitely postponed a planned October trip by the mostly South Korean team of engineers due to concerns over their safety while working in North Korea. The submarine incident delayed the site preparation, but the effect on the overall LWR project schedule is uncertain. The 1995 KEDO North Korean supply agreement calls for completion of the first reactor by 2003 on a "best efforts" basis, and KEDO hopes to be able to make up some of the lost time.

In addition to sending the first shipment of heavy fuel oil for the current year supply schedule, which began on October 31, 1996, KEDO has reached an agreement in principle on accession to KEDO by EURATOM, the nuclear regulatory body of the European Union (EU). The EU is expected to make "an immediate contribution of $13 million and an annual contribution of $20 million in the future" according to Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord. The EU contribution would nearly equal the annual level of U.S. financial support ($22 million for 1996), and would pay for approximately one third of the annual $60 million cost of fuel deliveries to North Korea.

KEDO and Pyongyang have not yet begun to negotiate a protocol on penalties if either party fails to meet its obligations as called for in the supply agreement. Shaplen said talks on the non payment protocol will begin as soon as is practicable.

 

The Submarine Incident

The resumption of activity implementing the framework accord as of January 31, 1997, came after three and a half months of escalating tension, carefully phrased threats, and intensive U.S. diplomatic efforts. On September 18, the North Korean sub was discovered grounded 100 yards off the South Korean coast.

South Korean President Kim Young Sam called the incident a provocation and demanded a sincere apology from the North. On October 9, South Korea suspended the signing of two KEDO North Korean protocols and a trip by KEDO's site survey team to the North.

Lord flew to Seoul the next day to mend U.S. South Korean relations damaged by Secretary of State Warren Christopher's initial call for restraint from "all parties." After meeting with South Korean leaders, Lord confirmed Washington's and Seoul's support for the agreed framework, but added that there would be "a pause in the pace of our activities."

In response, North Korea warned on October 15 that another delay in work on the reactors might prompt the North to reconsider its nuclear freeze. North Korean preparations to test an intermediate range ballistic missile were reported by the Japanese press the next day. The cancellation of the missile test was announced by the State Department on November 8, after several meetings in New York between U.S. and North Korean diplomats.

 

U.S. South Korean Disagreement

On November 9, South Korean President Kim reiterated his demand for a "sincere apology" in an interview with The Washington Post. At the time, U.S. officials asked the North to make "an acceptable gesture." Subsequently, the United States and South Korea settled their differnces at the November 24 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila. In the reportedly heated exchange, President Clinton prevailed on President Kim to support American diplomatic efforts to negotiate a resolution of the crisis. The final negotiations went on through December between U.S. and North Korean diplomats in New York.

The result was a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement read over the radio on December 29 that recognized Pyongyang's responsibility for the incident, offered "deep regret," and promised to prevent a recurrence of similar events. South Korean Foreign Minister Yoo Chong Ha termed the North's statement an acceptable apology, thus clearing the way for continued South Korean participation on the agreed framework.

Wassenaar Members End Plenary; First Data Exchange Falls Short


Sarah Walkling

DESPITE THEIR December 1996 deadline for enacting new export control guidelines for conventional arms and dual use goods and technologies, members of the so called Wassenaar Arrangement concluded their December 12 13 plenary meeting in Vienna with the regime far from fully operational. While the 33 participating countries agreed on a budget and program of work for the coming year, the impasse continued as to who would head the new Secretariat in Vienna. More important, however, the results of the regime's first data exchange suggest its emphasis on promoting transparency is not yet shared by all members.

Formally titled the Wassenaar Arrangement for Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual Use Goods and Technologies, the group seeks to avoid destabilizing transfers of weapons and sensitive technologies through the coordination of national export control policies. As the successor regime to the Cold War era Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), the arrangement includes many of the countries once targeted by the former NATO member based organization. Unlike COCOM, however, Wassenaar members have no veto power over other members' weapons deliveries or technology transfers and the regime is not directed against a particular group of states. Rather, it targets regions or states whose behavior is a cause of concern to participants. The United States has identified Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea as "rogue" states that should be included in that category.

 

Cloudy Transparency

The regime's first voluntary exchange of data, which was initiated in September 1996, covered four categories of arms and dual use technology transfers to non members: actual weapons deliveries; license denials for "basic" dual use items; license approvals for "sensitive" dual use equipment; and license denials for "very sensitive" dual use items such as encryption and supercomputer technology.

Thirty Wassenaar members submitted data on their transfers of seven categories of conventional weapons (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, attack helicopters, combat aircraft, warships, heavy artillery, and missiles and missile launchers) that correspond to the categories in the UN Conventional Arms Register. State Department officials, emphasizing the confidentiality of the new regime, declined to identify the non participating states. In the most recent reporting period for the UN register (covering calendar year 1995), all Wassenaar members submitted data on their weapons transfers. (See ACT, November/December 1996.) However, in the Wassenaar exchange, only half of all members submitted data on their dual use transfers to non members. Several countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Slovakia and Bulgaria, reportedly failed to pass the necessary national implementing legislation in time to participate in the exchange. (Russia and Ukraine passed the necessary legislation in October and December 1996, respectively.) Other countries are expected to have passed the necessary legislation before the next exchange, scheduled to begin March 31.

For 1997, the budget for Wassenaar Secretariat operations will total $1 million to $2 million, with contributions assessed on a scale similar to that used by the United Nations. Under this formula, the U.S. assessment is expected to cover nearly 25 percent of the total budget. In addition, members agreed to hold at least one plenary meeting in 1997, an expert group meeting February 24 25 and a working group meeting June 2. These groups will monitor implementation progress and discuss information exchange procedures and deadlines.

Without ongoing consultations or veto power for its members, however, it is unclear whether the Wassenaar Arrangement can effectively serve as a forum for resolving disputes over transfers of conventional weapons and dual use technology. During the December plenary, participants reportedly did not discuss several of the most controversial arms sales involving regime members, such as Russia's proposed sale of S 300 anti aircraft missiles to the Greek Cypriot government, a transfer which the United States and Turkey have described as "destabilizing." In their only public statement issued following the plenary, a 10 sentence press statement, Wassenaar members addressed only one conflict: Afghanistan. The statement declared that "as a matter of national policy," no Wassenaar member transfers arms or ammunition to the parties involved in the conflict.

UNSCOM Head Says Iraq Has 'Operational' Missile Force


Howard Diamond

IRAQ HAS MANAGED to retain an operational force of ballistic missiles in violation of UN prohibitions against possessing such weapons with ranges above 150 kilometers, according to Rolf Ekeus, head of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM). UNSCOM has long suspected Iraq of possessing missile capabilities beyond those permitted under UN Security Council Resolution 687. Ekeus' assessment, offered during a January 29 luncheon speech sponsored by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, indicates that Baghdad may have an operational force of between 18 and 25 Scud or Scud variant missiles.

"Every piece of what is necessary to constitute an operation[sic] force is available in Iraq," Ekeus said, including transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles, rocket fuel and "an organization to operate these missiles." The missiles, whose range of up to 650 kilometers would allow Iraq to reach targets in Israel and Iran, are of particular concern because of Iraq's past use of ballistic missiles against neighboring countries and the missiles' potential to deliver weapons of mass destruction. According to Ekeus, Iraq has used a variety of deceptive methods used to hide the missiles and related equipment.

During the past several months, Ekeus said Baghdad has become increasingly uncooperative in response to UNSCOM's ongoing effort to establish a "material balance" of Iraq's past ballistic missile programs. In November 1996, Iraq refused to permit UNSCOM to take 150 destroyed rocket engines, which Baghdad claims it destroyed and buried in the summer of 1991, to the United States for metallurgical analysis by a Department of Defense laboratory. UNSCOM inspectors want to confirm whether the engine metal matches that of the old Soviet produced rocket motors, because it believes Iraq destroyed inferior, indigenously produced engines instead of operational Soviet produced motors.

Under Resolution 687, Iraq is permitted to possess ballistic missiles with ranges under 150 kilometers, but the Gulf War cease fire resolution mandates destruction of Iraq's longer range Scud and Scud variant missiles. In April 1991, Iraq gave 48 missiles to UNSCOM for destruction and claimed to have destoyed and buried 85 others without UNSCOM supervision. While the sites identified by Iraq did appear to hold the declared number of destroyed missiles, further investigation by UNSCOM showed that Iraq had, in some cases, simply transferred "buried" missiles from one site to another so they would be double counted. UNSCOM also found that some of the sites did not actually contain operational missiles systems, but training missiles. Iraq is also believed to have removed and stored critical missile components, such as turbo pumps, which they are unable to produce domestically.

Iraq's refusal to comply with the UN resolutions persists even in the face of economic sanctions, which have cost Iraq more than $100 billion in lost oil revenue. Ekeus claims that Iraqi obstruction of UNSCOM's mission has gotten worse as Baghdad perceives Security Council support for UNSCOM to be waning. As a case in point, Ekeus cited Security Council inaction after the Iraqi refusal to allow analysis of the destroyed rocket motors. Instead of approving a resolution demanding Iraqi compliance, the Security Council issued a statement that "deplores" Iraq's non cooperation, and notes "that such action complicates the implementation by the Special Commission of its mandate." The result, according to Ekeus, is that UNSCOM is now facing "serious obstructions" by Iraq for simple document requests and for the removal from the country of chemical munitions for analysis.

Panel Upholds NIE Assessment of Ballistic Missile Threat to U.S.


Craig Cerniello

ON JANUARY 23, the CIA released the unclassified version of the independent panel review of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 95 19—the controversial assessment that concluded that no countries, other than the declared nuclear weapon states, will develop a ballistic missile capable of threatening the contiguous 48 states or Canada in the next 15 years. The panel, headed by former CIA Director Robert Gates, rejected the claim made by congressional conservatives that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced by the Clinton administration in order to downplay the longer range missile threat to U.S. territory. Although acknowledging several deficiencies in the intelligence estimate, the panel reaffirmed the estimate's conclusion that the United States is unlikely to face a limited missile threat from any "rogue" country before 2010. Congressional critics of the NIE have now taken aim at the panel's findings.

 

Gates Panel Review

One of the most hotly contested issues in the current national missile defense (NMD) debate is the nature of the threat to the United States posed by longer range ballistic missiles. When the NIE was released in November 1995, it posed a significant challenge to congressional Republicans who advocated the early deployment of an NMD system to defend against what they claim is an emerging missile threat to U.S. territory. In subsequent months, several congressional members challenged the NIE's findings and argued that the estimate was politically influenced by the administration in order to justify its decision not to commit to the early deployment of an NMD system.

As a result of the controversy generated by NIE 95 19, Congress, in its fiscal year 1997 defense authorization bill, required the director of the CIA to convene a panel of "independent, nongovernmental individuals with appropriate expertise and experience" to review the underlying assumptions and conclusions of the estimate. Then CIA Director John Deutch appointed Gates to chair the independent panel, which included Ambassador Richard Armitage, Sidney Drell, Arnold Kanter, Janne E. Nolan, Henry S. Rowen and retired Air Force General Jasper Welch. The conclusions reached by the seven panel members were unanimous.

The Gates panel dismissed the charge that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced. "The Panel found no evidence of politicization and is completely satisfied that the analysts' views were based on the evidence before them and their substantive analysis," the report stated. Moreover, it concluded that, "unsubstantiated allegations challenging the integrity of Intelligence Community analysts by those who simply disagree with their conclusions, including Members of Congress, are irresponsible."

The Gates panel noted that there were several deficiencies with respect to the process in preparing the NIE and the manner in which it was presented. The panel said those in senior management positions were not sufficiently involved in the preparation of the estimate, especially given the controversial nature of the issue being addressed. "The result was not a politicized Estimate but one that was politically naive," the report said. The panel also claimed that the estimate lacked a clear scope and was "rushed to completion."

The Gates panel pointed out that one of the most serious problems in NIE 95 19 was that its main conclusion on the missile threat to the United States was based on "a stronger evidentiary and technical case than was presented in the Estimate." The panel's report illustrates several examples of how the NIE's key judgment could have been strengthened. For instance, the panel stated that the estimate could have analyzed the length of time it took countries with successful missile programs, such as China, to develop an ICBM capability. Such an analysis, they claimed, would have revealed that it took China more than 20 years to develop its 4,750 kilometer range CSS 3 ICBM—a clear indication that states with much less resources (e.g. North Korea) have a long way to go before successfully developing an ICBM capable of reaching U.S. territory.

The panel also identified several analytical shortcomings in NIE 95 19. Most important, the panel claimed that the intelligence estimate failed to thoroughly address the motives and objectives of those states seeking an ICBM capability. The panel's report said insufficient attention was devoted to the potential threat to the United States posed by land attack cruise missiles and shorter range, sea based ballistic missiles. Other deficiencies included the failure to ask whether potential adversaries could acquire an ICBM capability through channels not considered by the intelligence community, and an overemphasis on the Missile Technology Control Regime as a means of slowing ballistic missile proliferation.

In the final analysis, however, the Gates panel concluded that "the Intelligence Community has a strong case that, for sound technical reasons, the United States is unlikely to face an indigenously developed and tested intercontinental ballistic missile threat from the Third World before 2010, even taking into account the acquisition of foreign hardware and technical assistance. That case is even stronger than presented in the NIE."

Clearly dissatisfied with the panel's findings, Representative Curt Weldon (R PA) argued in a January 17 letter to Gates that the independent review failed to adequately refute the charge that NIE 95 19 was politically influenced by the administration. "Not once did your panel provide an opportunity for Members who charged politicization to be heard. Given your harsh condemnation, I believe you had a responsibility to explore those allegations and to offer a detailed rebuttal of them," Weldon wrote. The letter also rejected the notion that Congress was responsible for rushing the estimate to completion.

NMD Debate in Congress Heats Up As Lott, Lugar Introduce New Bills


Craig Cerniello

AS THE 105th session of Congress began in January, the debate about whether the United States should deploy a national missile defense (NMD) system intensified. On January 21, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R MS) and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Don Nickles (R OK) announced that the Republican agenda in the Senate this legislative session would consist of national missile defense along with 10 domestic policy initiatives. The "National Missile Defense Act of 1997," introduced that day by Lott and 25 co sponsors, requires the United States to deploy an NMD system by the end of 2003—a similar, though scaled down, version of last year's highly contentious "Defend America Act."

The Clinton administration's so called "3 plus 3" program, on the other hand, requires the United States to develop the elements of an NMD system by 2000, at which time it will evaluate the ballistic missile threat to its territory and be in a position to deploy a system by 2003 if necessary (see ACT, March 1996). If the missile threat has not materialized by 2000, then the United States will continue developing and refining its NMD system, maintaining a rolling three year deployment capability, until a rogue nation threat justifying such a decision has been identified.

In an attempt to bridge the gap between Lott's NMD proposal and the administration's program, Senator Richard Lugar (R IN) introduced the "Defend the United States of America Act of 1997" on January 21. The bill requires the United States to develop an NMD system which is capable of being deployed by the end of 2003. It also calls for a congressional vote in 2000 on whether to deploy the system.

 

The Lott Bill

The National Missile Defense Act states that it is U.S. policy to deploy an NMD system by the end of 2003 that "is capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate)," and that "could be augmented over time to provide a layered defense against larger and more sophisticated ballistic missile threats if they emerge." This language is similar to that contained in the "Defend America Act of 1996," sponsored by former Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R KS) and House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R GA). The Dole Gingrich bill was withdrawn from House consideration in May 1996 when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the NMD system would incur acquisition costs between $31 billion to $60 billion through 2010 (see ACT, May/June 1996).

Aware of the influence the CBO estimate had in shaping last year's debate, the National Missile Defense Act deliberately tones down some of the key language contained in the Defend America Act in an attempt to reduce costs. Whereas the Dole Gingrich bill called for the deployment of a NMD system that could provide a "highly effective" defense against "limited, unauthorized, or accidental ballistic missile attacks," the Lott bill only requires that the system be capable of defending against limited missile attack. Furthermore, the Lott bill only states that the NMD system "could" rather than "will" be augmented over time to provide a layered defense against more sophisticated missile threats.

The National Missile Defense Act also scales down the elements of the NMD system. Under the Lott bill, the NMD system will consist of an interceptor system; fixed, ground based radars; space based sensors; and battle management, command, control and communications. The Dole Gingrich bill, however, envisioned a much more elaborate interceptor system that included one or a combination of ground based and sea based interceptors; space based, kinetic energy interceptors; and space based, directed energy systems.

Nevertheless, the National Missile Defense Act retains some important provisions that were included in the 1996 Defend America Act. For instance, Lott's legislation "urges" the president to pursue negotiations with the Russians to amend the ABM Treaty to permit deployment of the NMD system, and requires the United States to consider withdrawing from the treaty if these negotiations have not succeeded within one year of the bill's enactment. Moreover, the Lott bill states that it is U.S. policy "to seek a cooperative transition to a regime that does not feature an offense only form of deterrence as the basis for strategic stability."

 

The Lugar Bill

Lugar's legislation attempts to find a middle ground between the administration's NMD approach and the more ambitious Republican proposals. During his January 21 remarks to the Senate in which he introduced the bill, Lugar said, "I hold the view that the ABM Treaty does have, or can be made to have, sufficient flexibility or elasticity to accommodate certain kinds of national missile or theater missile defense systems. By the same token, I reject the notion that we can only achieve the types of theater missile defense or national missile defense we need by outright abrogation of the ABM Treaty."

The Lugar bill directs the secretary of defense to conduct a "research and development program" to develop a single site NMD system that can be deployed by the end of 2003. The system will be "designed to protect the United States against limited ballistic missile threats, including accidental or unauthorized launches or attacks by Third World countries."

In addition, the bill requires Congress to make a decision concerning deployment of the NMD system during 2000. The deployment decision will be based on five factors: the projected ballistic missile threat to the United States in 2000 and beyond; the projected cost and effectiveness of the system based on available technology and testing results; the projected cost and effectiveness of the system if deployment were deferred for one to three years while additional development continued; arms control factors; and an assessment of U.S. preparedness in defending against an attack involving nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

The Lugar legislation also mandates that the NMD system be compliant with the ABM Treaty. In this connection, the system will consist of fixed, ground based battle management radars; up to 100 ground based interceptor missiles; as necessary, space based adjuncts permitted under the treaty; and, as necessary, large phased array radars that are located on the periphery of the United States and oriented outward. The bill also urges the president to pursue discussions with Russia on possible amendments to the ABM Treaty that would allow for more effective defenses, such as a return to the original treaty provision permitting ABM deployment at two sites. However, it does not require the United States to consider withdrawing from the ABM Treaty if these negotiations do not succeed within one year.

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