"No one can solve this problem alone, but together we can change things for the better." 

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016
Missile Proliferation

Iran Lauds Development of Solid-Fuel Missile

Peter Crail

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar announced Nov. 27 that Iran has developed a new, 2,000-kilometer-range ballistic missile. At that range, the new missile, named Ashura after the Shiite holy mourning ceremony, could strike targets throughout the Middle East, Turkey, and southern Europe. Although this range is comparable to other Iranian ballistic missiles, the Ashura makes use of two technologies, solid-fuel propellant and staging, which are critical to more advanced systems.

Najjar did not make any reference to a test of the Ashura but there are indications that an unsuccessful test occured in November. During a Dec. 6 press conference in Washington, Chief of Russian General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky said that he was told in meetings with the Department of State and National Security Council that Iran tested the Ashura on Nov. 20. A Russian diplomat told Arms Control Today that the test was not successful.

The claimed range for the Ashura matches that of two systems that Iran has previously developed, the Shahab-3 and the Ghadr. Tehran declared in 2005 that a variant of its liquid-fueled, single-staged Shahab-3 has a range of about 2,000 kilometers. In an apparent prelude to the development of the Ashura, Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani announced in 2005 that Iran had successfully tested solid-fuel motors for its Shahab missiles.

Solid-fuel propellants offer a number of advantages over those relying on liquid fuel, and most advanced ballistic missile systems rely on solid-fuel technology. Among the advantages are a shorter launch time, easier handling and storage, and the possibility of deploying smaller missiles.

Iran has conducted substantial work on solid-fuel technology over the last two decades. Although this work has focused on shorter-range unguided rocket systems, more recent experience in developing larger rocket systems might have provided a base for the Ashura system. Uzi Rubin, a former Israeli Ministry of Defense official told Arms Control Today Dec. 14 that the Ashura is likely homegrown due to “the experience gained on large-diameter solid propulsion in nonguided heavy rockets of the Zelzal lineage.” Iran developed the Zelzal-2, its largest- and longest-ranged rocket, in the late 1990s.

In the past, Iran’s development of a solid-fuel motor industry is believed to have largely benefited from Chinese assistance. The 1998 Commission to Assess Ballistic Missile Threats to the United States stated that China “has carried out extensive transfers to Iran’s solid-fueled ballistic missile program.” It is unclear whether Beijing continues to provide solid-fuel assistance to Tehran and whether the Ashura directly benefitted from Chinese know-how.

Najjar’s claims of missile staging, which entails multiple engine systems that fire at different times during the missile’s flight, would also mark an advance. Staging allows missiles to cover much longer ranges. Iran has previously conducted work on staging the Shahab line of missiles, including a failed test of a two-stage liquid- and solid-fueled Shahab-3 in 2000.

Still, Iran has yet to test a multiple-staged missile successfully. Naijar indicated in the Nov. 27 announcement that the Ghadr, which has not been flight-tested, could also fly 2,000 kilometers. That corresponds with analysts’ estimates of the maximum distance that a solid-fueled single-stage variant of that system could fly. (See ACT, October 2007. )

Reacting to the Iranian claims, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, said Nov. 29 that the missile “shows continuing progression,” claiming that the Pentagon was “surprised” because the missile was “different.”

Similar concern was expressed by French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Pascale Andréani, who told reporters Nov. 27 that the new missile “illustrates the need to be extremely vigilant with regard to Iran’s actions and intentions.”

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Diplomacy Delayed Is Not Diplomacy Denied

Failed Diplomacy: The Tragic Story of How North Korea Got the Bomb. By Charles L. Pritchard, Brookings Institution Press, May 2007, 228 pp.

Leon V. Sigal

A funny thing happened to Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard on the way to writing Failed Diplomacy. President George W. Bush decided to try making deals directly with North Korea for a change—and succeeded.

When Bush took office, Pyongyang had stopped testing longer-range missiles, had one or two bombs worth of plutonium, and was verifiably not making more. Six years later, it had eight to ten bombs worth of plutonium, had resumed testing missiles, and had little reason to restrain itself from nuclear testing or, worse, generating more plutonium. U.S. pressure had failed to put the brakes on a North Korean nuclear program, sowing doubts among those in Japan and South Korea who question whether they can rely on Washington for their security, and potentially triggering a regional nuclear arms race.

Now, with Bush on board, the policy of reconciling with North Korea as it gets rid of its nuclear weapons programs, step by reciprocal step, is back on course. Bush’s imprimatur also makes it easier for his successor to stay on the road to reconciliation.

What Pritchard documents in detail is not failed diplomacy, but untried diplomacy. By miscasting Bush as a prisoner of his gut instincts, in thrall to hard-liners who impeded diplomatic give-and-take at every turn, the book gives readers few clues to how his turnabout could have happened.

The reason in part is that Pritchard’s book is a memoir, not a history, and like the best of the genre it puts the author at the center of the action. Pritchard was there for just a brief interval, however, as director for Asia on the National Security Council (NSC) staff until the end of March 2001, when he moved over to the Department of State to be special envoy for North Korea until August 2003. As a result, the book has few revealing moments.

While on the NSC staff, Pritchard saw Bush up close and personal, and his first impression was a lasting one. Just after his inauguration, Bush was making obligatory telephone calls to world leaders and rang up South Korea’s president, Kim Dae-jung, who seized the moment to instruct Bush about the need to sustain diplomatic engagement with North Korea.

Bush, who reportedly does not abide much formality or tutoring, bristled. Pritchard writes, “The president put his hand over the mouthpiece of the telephone and said, ‘Who is this guy? I can’t believe how naive he is.’” His language may have been coarser, but the exchange was a foretaste of worse to come in U.S. relations with Seoul.

For most of the time, however, Pritchard’s vantage point is below the commanding heights, in the trenches where bureaucratic battles on North Korea were fought to a standstill for six long years. The result, as summed up succinctly by a senior official at the end of 2004, was “no carrots, no sticks and no talks” —in short, no policy.[1] Pritchard captures that self-defeating struggle well.

The hard-liners Pritchard confronts are Robert Joseph, NSC senior director for nonproliferation; John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, a public nuisance but bureaucratic lightweight; Eric Edelman of the vice president’s office; and J. D. Crouch, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy.

Yet for Pritchard, along with the rest of the world, the Oval Office is Plato’s cave. He sees shadows on the wall, hears faint echoes of murmurs and whispers; but he can only guess what Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, even Secretary of State Colin Powell, are saying and doing. That is often the fate of midlevel officials, but it was especially difficult to penetrate Bush’s tight-lipped inner circle. What little that did leak has come from Powell’s assiduous backgrounding of Bob Woodward or the notes of intimate White House meetings that George Tenet shared with Ron Suskind.[2]

No one was more tight-lipped than Cheney, who seldom revealed himself, even in meetings with other officials. A rare exception came in a December 12, 2003, interagency meeting to consider the draft of what would eventually become the September 2005 six-party joint statement. The draft called for rewarding North Korea at each step with political measures as well as energy and other forms of economic assistance. Cheney intervened to reject it. A senior administration official quoted him as saying, “We don’t negotiate with evil; we defeat it.” [3] Pritchard retells the incident, but his account of it is secondhand, based on reporting by Knight Ridder’s Warren Strobel, one of the few journalists to get much of the North Korea story right.

Pritchard’s initial impression of Bush led him to conclude, along with most of Washington, that the president would remain unyielding. He is convinced that a “cabal”—a well-chosen word he picks up from Powell aide Larry Wilkerson—in the offices of the vice president and the defense secretary would continue to block direct talks with North Korea, dooming diplomacy.

Pritchard reveals, however, that there was not one cabal in the Bush administration, but two. The second had Powell at the center.

Pritchard relates Powell’s efforts to restart talks after the administration concluded its policy review in June 2001. His account makes clear Powell was acting without clearance from the White House. Having publicly committed the United States to talks “anytime, anyplace, and without preconditions,” Powell instructed Pritchard in March 2002 to meet with Pak Gil-yon, North Korea’s permanent representative to the United Nations, to set up direct talks. Pritchard wanted someone from the White House to accompany him “as an indication of presidential approval of the message.” When Michael Green, NSC director for Asian affairs, was authorized to go along, Pritchard writes that “it was more to keep an eye on” him, with good reason it turned out. Pritchard prepared no “specific talking points or a script,” presumably to avoid clearing them with other agencies.

Powell’s gambit failed. Pak responded early the next month that Pyongyang was ready for talks, recalls Pritchard. “When I reported Pak’s response, I was told not to reply—that the White House was reconsidering its options.”

Bush, Pritchard was told, had had a “gut feeling” about not getting bogged down in prolonged talks. He ordered a second policy review. In a matter of weeks that yielded the so-called “bold approach,” which was a lot more specific about how North Korea had to disarm than about what benefits it would get after it did.

Several months later, Powell once more seized the initiative. He arranged a supposed “chance meeting” on July 31 with North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum in Brunei. “In reality, nothing was left to chance,” Pritchard says, prompting “howls of indignation from the hard-line group within the administration” when press reports of the meeting came out.

Again, the hard-liners struck back. By the time direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang finally took place in October 2002, more than 20 months into the administration, the hard-liners had seized on a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) first briefed in June. U.S. intelligence, it said, “recently learned that the North is constructing a plant that could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two or more nuclear weapons per year when fully operational, which could be as soon as mid-decade.”[4]

The NIE’s conclusion that North Korea had been seeking the means to make enough gas centrifuges for a large-scale enrichment program was incontestable, but no cascade of thousands of centrifuges or uranium hexafluoride plant has ever been found. Moreover, how much equipment Pyongyang had already acquired and hence how long the program would take to become operational was a matter of doubt. Never mind all that: “The subject of the talks had changed radically,” writes Pritchard. “Instead of delivering the bold-approach message, the United States was preparing to confront North Korea over its highly enriched uranium (HEU) program,” with predictably disastrous results.

Pritchard’s account of that fateful October 2002 encounter perpetuates the fiction that First Vice Minister Kang Sok-ju “admitted” that North Korea had an enrichment program:

While there was no precise, irrefutable statement—a smoking gun—many factors led all eight members of the U.S. delegation to reach the conclusion that Kang had effectively and defiantly admitted to having an HEU program. Kang acknowledged that we said that his country had begun a uranium-enrichment program for the production of nuclear weapons.

None of the officials in the delegation, however, spoke Korean. “We isolated our Korean linguists,” Pritchard writes, “with instructions to recreate Kang’s remarks from what they remembered him saying or from notes that they took from his presentation in Korean.” Other Korean-speaking officials who have reviewed the record contest that interpretation.

In fact, the North Koreans did something more interesting than admit to working on enrichment: they put the program on the negotiating table. Kelly acknowledged as much on October 19, 2002, while in Seoul to work out an allied response. Asked by Doug Struck of The Washington Post whether Kang had suggested that Pyongyang might be willing to give up the program in return for a guarantee that Washington would not attack, would sign a peace accord, and would accept his government, Kelly replied, “They did suggest after this harsh and—personally, to me—surprising admission, suggest that there were measures that might be taken that were generally along these lines.” Under strict instructions not to negotiate, Kelly rejected the offer.

Pritchard, too, provides evidence for the offer. Kang, he writes:

stated his understanding [of the U.S. position] that if Pyongyang halted uranium enrichment, then the United States would give it “everything.” Kang countered that understanding with a [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)] proposal: that the United States should recognize North Korea’s system of government, conclude a peace agreement with a nonaggression commitment, and not interfere with North Korea’s economic development. Once that was accomplished, the United States and the DPRK could discuss U.S. concerns about uranium enrichment on an equal footing.

Pyongyang’s counter to the administration’s bold proposal was that Washington, not Pyongyang, go first. Hard-liners, however, were quick to leak the story of North Korea’s “admission.” They had obtained a copy of the closely held reporting cable from the British, Pritchard reveals, and disclosed it even before Powell was able to brief the president. As official suppression of the North Korean offer shows, truth is sometimes the first casualty in talks, not just war.

Under President Bill Clinton, the United States had secured a freeze of North Korea’s plutonium program, but it had been slow to carry out its obligations under the accord to “move toward full normalization of political and economic relations” by ending enmity and lifting sanctions and to provide two nuclear power plants “by a target date of 2003.” North Korea responded tit-for-tat in 1998 by beginning to acquire the means to enrich uranium from Pakistan and conducting its first and only test launch of the Taepo Dong-1 missile. Now, the United States prevailed on its allies, South Korea and Japan, to halt future shipments of heavy fuel oil, the only commitment under the Agreed Framework that it had been faithfully carrying out. North Korea promptly retaliated by throwing out International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and reigniting its plutonium program.

Undaunted, Powell kept testing the negotiating waters. Knowing that Tokyo, building on the Pyongyang Declaration signed by Kim Jong-il and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at their September 2002 summit meeting, was trying to convene multilateral talks, he broached the idea in February 2003 that Beijing host the talks instead. The Chinese, anxious to head off a threatened U.S. attack, consented. They eventually did persuade the North Koreans to participate in three-party talks that April by promising it would be an opportunity for bilateral talks with the United States. Kelly, however, allowed himself to be tightly bound by his instructions prohibiting bilateral contact, assuring that the talks went nowhere.

It took two more years before Kelly’s successor, Christopher Hill, was allowed to engage in sustained direct diplomatic give-and-take with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Gae-gwan, during the fourth round of six-party talks in September 2005. Under pressure from allies South Korea and Japan, the administration grudgingly accepted a joint statement that incorporated the main goal it was seeking, a pledge by Pyongyang to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.” The deal was no sooner done, however, than Washington began backing away from it. Hard-liners capitalized on a Department of the Treasury investigation of money laundering at the Banco Delta Asia in Macau to try to put pressure on North Korea. The action convinced skittish bankers to freeze North Korean hard currency accounts around the globe, some of it ill-gotten gains from illicit activities, but mostly proceeds from legitimate foreign trade. How much that crimped trade is unclear, but to Pyongyang, it looked a lot like regime change.

Far from giving Washington leverage, the financial measures provoked Pyongyang to retaliate. For more than a year, it refused to return to six-party talks while seeking to resolve the Banco Delta Asia issue bilaterally. When Hill tried to pick up North Korea’s invitation for direct talks in November 2005, he was kept from going to Pyongyang unless North Korea shut down its reactor first, assuring that no talks took place. After Hill was kept from direct talks with Kim Gae-gwan in Tokyo on April 11-12, Kim was blunt in briefing the press. “Now we know what the U.S. position is,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with delaying the resumption of six-party talks. In the meantime, we can make more deterrents.”

Within weeks, Pyongyang began preparations for missile tests. After Beijing sent a high-level mission to Pyongyang to press North Korea to call them off or else face sanctions, North Korea made the Chinese cool their heels for three days before seeing them, then went ahead and tested anyhow, knowing it would affront its ally. Its July 4 tests of seven missiles, including a failed inaugural flight of its longest-range missile, the Taepo Dong-2, did just that, prompting China to vote in favor of a U.S.-backed resolution in the UN Security Council condemning the tests and threatening sanctions.

North Korea, undaunted, immediately began preparations for its first nuclear test, which it conducted on October 9, 2006. It was demonstrating in no uncertain terms that it would never bow to pressure, from the United States or China. The obvious conclusion was that only U.S. willingness to end enmity could get North Korea to change course.

How did the hard-liners keep undoing the engagers’ efforts? The problem, as Pritchard correctly diagnoses it, was “structural imbalance.” On January 22, 2001, Pritchard discloses, deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley “told senior NSC staff that they and the vice president’s staff would be treated as one staff. He directed us to share information and papers with those in the vice president’s office who worked on national security affairs.” For the first time in history, the vice president’s office had a staff member equivalent to each senior director on the NSC staff. The parallel processing gave Cheney an unprecedented ability to frame options and oversee implementation.

Cheney also took advantage of Bush’s dislike of open disagreement over policy. Bush may call himself “the decider,” but he preferred to ratify agreement reached by his top advisers. With Rice unwilling to take sides, policy drifted as the president wavered, first backing Powell, then his opponents. With his easy access to the Oval Office, Cheney was better positioned than Powell to get to the president last. Parallel processing rigged the system in favor of the hard-liners.

Another problem Pritchard cites was “the general lack of knowledge about Korea or Asia within the administration.” A few top officials, most notably Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, had connections in Japan, but “when it came to Korea and specifically to North Korea, there were no experts in government.” That was not quite the case deeper down in the bureaucracy, where the most knowledgeable were exiled to New York or purged, victims of what Vietnam hand James Thomson once called “the banishment of expertise.”

The opposition to diplomacy was ideological, but Pritchard rightly eschews the term “neocon” to characterize that ideology. Cheney is no neocon. Nor is Rumsfeld. Both are right-wing Republicans who conspired to undo nuclear negotiations with the Soviet Union in the past, most notably in the Ford administration.

Why did the president reverse course? Few people know for sure, and they are not talking. No doubt, the pivotal player was Rice. Unlike Powell, or Cheney and Rumsfeld, whose relationships with the president were purely professional, Rice’s is personal. Bush treats her like a member of the family. Persuaded by Hill that a deal was possible, she got the president to sign on to direct and sustained diplomatic give-and-take in the summer of 2006. Once that happened, Cheney could no longer resist. By then too, the departure of some notable hard-liners helped correct the structural imbalance.

China was also a factor, but not because of its supposed influence over North Korea. Unrestrained nuclear arming by North Korea could intensify pressure from right-wing Republicans, who wanted to confront China for not bringing North Korea to its knees. With Democrats challenging China on trade and human rights, that could jeopardize the president’s most significant foreign policy achievement, continued accommodation with China.

Last fall, with a North Korean nuclear test impending, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger went to Beijing for talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. They met, by unhappy coincidence, on October 10, the day after the test. Kissinger had a message for Pyongyang that underscored Bush’s willingness to include North Korea at a regional security forum and to sign a peace treaty once North Korea was nuclear-free.

That was the first inkling of Bush’s commendable about-face. He soon accepted North Korea’s long-standing offer to suspend its production of plutonium by shutting down and sealing its reactor, reprocessing plant, and a factory to fabricate fuel rods; halt construction of a larger reactor; and allow inspectors from the IAEA to verify these moves.

To do so, Bush rejected the hard-liners’ counsel and took his first steps toward ending enmity with Pyongyang: authorizing Hill to meet directly with his DPRK counterpart in Beijing and Berlin; pledging to free up suspect North Korean hard currency accounts in the Macau bank; supporting the resumption of shipments of heavy fuel oil suspended in 2002; promising a meeting between Rice and North Korea’s foreign minister; and pledging to relax sanctions under the Trading with the Enemy Act and take North Korea off the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The next steps are laid out in the February 13 joint agreement.[5] (see ACT, March 2007). Inasmuch as dismantlement of nuclear facilities can take years, the accord speaks of “disablement” of all existing nuclear facilities in the next phase. Disabling the reactor and reprocessing plant would make it more time consuming and difficult for North Korea to resume their operation. As a result of Hill’s meeting with Kim Gae-gwan in Geneva on September 1-2, disablement will begin before the end of the year.

A critical first step to regaining control of North Korea’s plutonium and addressing enrichment will be what the IAEA calls an initial declaration from Pyongyang, a list of all its nuclear facilities, fissile material, equipment, and components. The February 13 accord provides for the list to be “discussed” starting in the initial phase, with a complete declaration due in the next phase. The Geneva meeting yielded agreement that, by year’s end, North Korea would declare its plutonium program, including the amount of fissile material, and began bilateral discussion of its enrichment activities.

The main lesson Pritchard draws from his experience is that direct diplomatic give-and-take is essential to stop and reverse proliferation. Yet, a reader could draw three other lessons from Pritchard’s experience. First, no official or so-called expert should assume how far either Bush or Kim Jong-il is willing to go. As Robert Carlin, the United States’ most perspicacious North Korea analyst, once put it, “Finding the truth about the North’s nuclear program is an example of what we ‘know’ sometimes leads us away from what we need to learn.” That is an impulse to which Washington cannot afford to yield in dealing with proliferators. Second, patience, forbearance, and a firm set of priorities are essential in trying to resolve U.S. differences with North Korea. As an old bit of bureaucratic wisdom goes, “If you want it real bad, you may get it real bad.” Third, political relationships, not nuclear weapons, are the key to security. Only a demonstrable end to U.S. and Japanese enmity could make an understandably suspicious Kim feel secure enough to yield his weapons.

Pritchard’s thesis is that, in the words of his title, diplomacy failed, but it was not tried until late last year. When it was, it succeeded. Will Pyongyang live up to its pledge, made in the September 2005 round of six-party talks, to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs”? Pritchard thinks not, but the fact is, nobody knows, with the possible exception of Kim Jong-il, and the only way for Washington to find out is sustained, direct diplomatic give-and-take to reconcile with Pyongyang in return for its disarming, reciprocal step by reciprocal step.

Leon V. Sigal is director of the Northeast Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council in New York and author of Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea.

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1. Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer, “Unprecedented Peril Forces Tough Calls,” The Washington Post, October 26, 2004, p. A1.

2. Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004); Ron Suskind, The One Per Cent Doctrine (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006).

3. Warren Strobel, “U.S. Acting Tough with N. Korea,” Philadelphia Inquirer, December 21, 2003.

4. See Leon V. Sigal, “North Korea Is No Iraq: Pyongyang’s Negotiating Strategy,” Arms Control Today, December 2002.

5. See Paul Kerr, “Initial Pact Reached to End North Korean Nuclear Weapons Program,” Arms Control Today, March 2007.

A Review of Failed Diplomacy: The Tragic Story of How North Korea Got the Bomb by Charles L. Pritchard

LOOKING BACK: The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

Rose Gottemoeller

On January 26, 1988, Ambassador Maynard Glitman, the chief U.S. negotiator at the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty talks, wound up his testimony in support of the treaty with the following:

It remains fundamentally true that improved East-West relations cannot be based solely on arms control…. To be of lasting benefit, movement in arms control must be paralleled by the resolution of problems in other areas, such as human rights and regional issues. Nevertheless…the knowledge that agreement can be achieved in a sensitive area despite major obstacles should be among the most important legacies of the INF negotiations and Treaty.[1]

Twenty years after its signing, it is worthwhile to reflect on the INF Treaty’s legacies. The treaty was unique when negotiated and remains so. It was designed as a global ban on all U.S. and Soviet missiles having a range of 500-5500 kilometers and, for the first time in U.S. treaty history, contained verification measures that permitted the presence of U.S. inspectors on Soviet soil, and vice versa.[2] The fact that inspectors could for the first time enter sensitive U.S. and Soviet missile facilities was a breakthrough and harbinger of the end of the Cold War.

Glitman’s words have a special resonance now, when the mood in Moscow and Washington is sour and at times seems to be turning back toward the Cold War. Major disputes have sprung up over several issues, including U.S. plans to deploy missile defenses in Europe, the independence of Kosovo, and Russian accession to the World Trade Organization. In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced during his State of the Nation address in April 2007 that Russia would cease to implement the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, pending resolution of a dispute with NATO over ratification of an adapted version of the treaty, which is linked in turn to disagreements about the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia and Moldova.

The INF Treaty has received some knocks as well, with Russian military leaders calling for Russia to withdraw from the treaty in order to free up the possibility of deploying intermediate-range missiles against certain neighbors, such as China. They also argue that this step would be an appropriate response to U.S. deployments of missile defenses in Europe.[3] Thus, the INF Treaty could become a source of tension between the United States and Russia, despite its reputation as a major stepping stone on the road to ending the Cold War.

Looking back at the history and legacies of the INF Treaty thus provides an opportunity to reflect on how far the United States and Russia have come since the end of the Cold War. It also allows us to measure how much farther we must go to address the key security issues that remain between the United States and Russia. Many of these issues are still linked to the detritus of the Cold War, whether nuclear weapons, fissile material, chemical and biological weapons, or vast stocks of unneeded missiles and conventional weapons. Finding enough mutual confidence to come to grips with these security issues despite worsening relations between Russia and the West is a critical and urgent matter.

The legacies of the INF Treaty are remarkable. The treaty not only eliminated an entire class of nuclear missiles but also “brought about a new standard of openness by creating a 13-year on-site verification regime of unparalleled intrusiveness.”[4] Furthermore, the treaty came about during a period when publics were incensed by their governments’ nuclear-weapon decisions. The INF Treaty negotiators displayed a responsiveness to those concerns that is today difficult to imagine, mostly because the public has lost interest in nuclear issues. Most importantly, the INF Treaty proved the main principle of what is required in international negotiations: the outcome might not be symmetrical, but each side must see that it has gained a result that is right for its own national security.

The Ghosts of Old Issues

When one considers the period during which the INF Treaty took shape and was negotiated, 1979 to 1987, it is enlightening to see how few of the ghosts of old issues remain. The demise of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact had a profound effect, rendering some issues immediately obsolete but in some cases having a follow-on effect that has taken a longer time to unfold. Changing attitudes toward NATO’s role and missions and the whole U.S.-European relationship is a good example of this phenomenon. It would be ironic if Russia’s temper tantrum over the CFE Treaty drove the United States and Europe back into each others’ arms.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the security elites on each side of the Atlantic were gripped by the notion of “strategic coupling,” ensuring that the United States would be linked to its NATO allies not only through a standard conventional alliance, but also through the presence of nuclear weapons on the territory of Europe. Under the theory of flexible response, if the Soviet Union attacked NATO, it would receive an appropriate response from nuclear systems in Europe, but it also risked an attack from U.S.-based systems. The link would extend from the nuclear systems in Europe directly back to U.S. strategic nuclear systems. The Europeans feared that if any link in this chain were broken, then the United States might not respond to an attack on Europe. Some feared the United States would not be willing to risk a nuclear attack on its territory to defend Europe from Soviet aggression.

In fact, that fear underlay one of the original reasons why the INF issue arose: when the Soviets began deploying the highly accurate, intermediate-range SS-20 missiles in the 1970s, they disturbed the logic chain, for NATO had no missiles of the same range or accuracy. In theory, the Soviets could have attacked NATO with the SS-20 and, having a choice between a short-range response that would not touch Soviet territory and a response involving U.S. central strategic systems, NATO would be left with no choice at all. Again, the Europeans feared that the United States might not be willing to respond to an attack. As Lynn Davis wrote in 1988, “NATO governments argued that the capability to strike the Soviet Union with systems based on land in Western Europe was necessary in order to convey to the Soviet Union a real sense of risk from any aggression on the continent.”[5]

Today, strategic coupling involving nuclear weapons has receded as an issue in Europe, partially as a result of the INF Treaty, which allowed the Soviets to achieve a part of one of their key strategic goals: a significant denuclearization of NATO Europe. Their accomplishment was tempered by what the United States and NATO were able to achieve through the treaty: the dismantlement of a class of highly accurate Soviet missiles that had threatened Europe. Just as in any good treaty, the INF Treaty allowed both sides in the negotiation to succeed.

All that is left in NATO Europe is a small number of nonstrategic nuclear weapons that can be delivered by aircraft; estimates place the number of warheads at about 480.[6] To be sure, the United States and its NATO allies have shied away from removing this final nuclear link between them, seeing it as a sign of continuing political ties and a hedge against Russian revanchism. Meanwhile, the Russians continue to deploy a large number of strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons that could be delivered against NATO Europe in a conflict.[7] In fact, Russian military doctrine has in latter years put a greater emphasis on a possible range of nuclear responses to aggression against Russian territory. This resurgence of flexible response, however, this time in Russian hands, has not generated a desire to mirror-image the policy in NATO Europe.

Instead, NATO is today obsessed about its future as an alliance. Members argue about the ways in which it should operate outside of Europe, how far it should enlarge, what to do about terrorist threats, and what the relationship should be with the United States. NATO’s future has little to do with nuclear weapons. They have faded from the policy calculus.[8]

Public Interest, Public Protest

Another legacy of the INF Treaty is the limited debate on NATO nuclear policy that is now the norm. Nowadays, rather than stumping the strategic value of such arms, European governments prefer to keep quiet about them, concerned that public opinion could be aroused against the continuing deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons “close to home.” This tendency appears to reflect the loud and politically painful protests that took place around the deployment of new intermediate-range missiles in NATO countries during the buildup to the treaty.

The role of the public in the INF debate was quite pronounced from the mid-1970s, when the United States and its European allies first broached the idea of deploying offensive systems to balance the new Soviet SS-20s.[9] In part to respond to public concerns, President Jimmy Carter in 1979 suggested a policy that was unique at the time, the so-called dual-track decision. Strobe Talbott described it succinctly: “The U.S. would offset the Soviet missiles by deploying a new generation of its own ‘Euromissiles’—the Tomahawk cruise missiles and Pershing II ballistic missiles—while at the same time making a good-faith effort to negotiate with the U.S.S.R. a compromise that would scale back the missiles on both sides.”[10] Thus, the United States and its NATO allies would be deploying weapon systems only to hope to bargain them away in an arms control negotiation.

This “bargaining chip” approach was one facet of U.S. and NATO strategy throughout the INF Treaty negotiations, although the dual track was tempered in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan’s offer of a “zero option.” Always the great communicator, Reagan apparently told his negotiators that he wanted a proposal “that can be expressed in a single sentence and that sounds like real disarmament.”[11] Reagan did not like the notion of deploying some missiles in Europe in exchange for Russian restraint in deploying the SS-20, the proposal that was being touted by the Department of State as “negotiable” with the Soviets. Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle posed a one-sentence idea: the United States would cancel its Tomahawk ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) and Pershing II deployments if the Soviet Union would dismantle its SS-20, SS-4 and SS-5 intermediate-range missiles.

Perle’s rationale was that this zero option would not be negotiable with the Soviets, but it perfectly fit Reagan’s demand for a simple, succinct disarmament proposal. In the next few years, the Soviets did respond angrily to the proposal because it would have required them to give up already deployed missiles for systems that had not yet been built. Thereafter, Undersecretary of State Richard Burt engineered a marriage between the dual-track strategy and the zero option that became known as the “interim solution”: the United States would deploy some missiles in Europe, with the goal of negotiating them all away in the future.

In retrospect, Reagan had the right idea in making a proposal that was comprehensible and appealing to the public. His instincts were important because publics in the United States and Europe had been angered over U.S. plans to deploy a new neutron bomb in Europe, and their protests extended quickly and seamlessly to new NATO INF deployments. In the 1980s, this led to well-orchestrated, long-lasting protests. The best known of these took place at Greenham Common, the British air base that was to be the site of the deployments of GLCMs under the interim solution. Colin Powell, who at the time of the protests was national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, recalled them in a 2002 interview when he was secretary of state for George W. Bush:

Greenham Common...It’s where we put the GLCM, the ground launch cruise missile. And nobody knows what a GLCM is anymore. But in those days...every capital in Europe was in arms over this problem. Remember the ladies at Greenham Common? Surrounding the place and marching—don’t you dare bring these missiles here. We brought the missiles there, and we survived that, and the alliance was strengthened. And what did we do about it four years later? We took the missiles out when the INF Treaty was signed. I was proud to sign that one, to be one of the negotiators in that one.[12]

As Powell so clearly expressed it, “nobody knows what a GLCM is anymore,” and that is the crux of the difference today. The INF interim solution did produce results, in part because of strong public engagement.

It is interesting to consider how greater indifference to nuclear weapons might also influence legislative decision-making. In the 1970s and 1980s, the interplay between Congress and parliaments in European countries made for some interesting outcomes in the INF debate. In 1979 the German Social Democrats took an explicit decision to tolerate the NATO dual-track approach as long as the West would forgo deployment in exchange for substantial reductions of Soviet INF. The Soviets in their turn attempted to influence this dynamic, proposing a moratorium on INF deployments while negotiations were ongoing. NATO rejected this proposal.[13]

Reagan’s zero-option decision also produced a powerful dynamic. As Michael Gordon reported, few experts thought that the proposal could actually be implemented, but they welcomed it as an opening gambit in the play for Western European public opinion. Congress, moreover, backed up the effort. “Congress hastened to support a popular president in his first arms control initiative by passing a supportive, nonbinding resolution.”[14]

Today, such involved interplay among governments, parliaments, and publics is difficult to imagine. Nuclear decisions, such as they are, are played out in national environments with relatively few interested parties. Examples of this phenomenon were the recent British parliamentary decision on Trident submarine modernization and the congressional decision not to proceed with the new nuclear warhead known as the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, or RNEP. Although they attracted a great deal of attention in expert communities, these decisions generated relatively little public or legislative attention and certainly not much in the way either of protest or celebration. They also did not draw attention among other parliaments, even those who should have been interested, such as the Russian Duma.

Effective Verification: Necessity or Mania?

Verification is a third critical legacy of the INF Treaty that has since faded from view. In his 1988 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State George Schultz took care to portray how unique the INF verification regime was at the time:

We are breaking new ground with this treaty. On-site inspection is a major forward step in the U.S./Soviet nuclear arms control agreements. We shouldn’t be surprised if the process is not always smooth…. When differences surfaced we worked them out. Some of these problems were resolved at the working level, others required attention from more senior people…. [D]uring my meetings with Foreign Minister [Eduard] Sheverdnadze last week, we ironed out the nine key technical details related to the onsite inspection regime.[15]

The INF Treaty was helped by the fact that it was a total global ban on short- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles, which made the treaty easier to verify. The Soviet SS-4, SS-5, and SS-20 missiles and the NATO Pershing-2 and GLCMs were to be totally destroyed. Although other long-range, land-attack cruise missiles would remain in deployment in both countries, they could be air- or sea-launched but not ground-launched.

Thus began a rapid move to more intrusive verification, which culminated in the 1991 START and its 500-page Verification Protocol. START came into force in 1994 and played a vital role in the stable downsizing of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals during what could have been a chaotic period after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Without the existence of START and its verification regime, the denuclearization of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine would have been difficult, perhaps even impossible. The INF Treaty paved the way for this accomplishment, establishing many important precedents, especially in the realm of on-site inspections.

With the advent of the administration of President George W. Bush, however, intrusive verification fell out of favor. Since coming to office in 2001, Bush has essentially embraced two principles in his arms control policy: emphasize unilateral action and be willing to discard arms control mechanisms perceived as outdated.

Verification fell victim to both principles very early, with the president and his top officials stating repeatedly that, unlike during the Cold War, the Russians are currently friends of the United States. The administration argued that legally binding treaties are not needed among friends, nor are strict verification measures. The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), signed in 2002, was a partial expression of this model. It was a legally binding treaty without any verification measures attached. In 2006 this argument further evolved into a U.S. unwillingness to extend START beyond its expiration at the end of 2009.

Bush was no doubt correct to challenge the arms control assumptions of the Cold War and to consider how to simplify and expedite the U.S.-Russian relationship in this sphere. There is danger, however, in too much revolutionary activity of this sort. As I have argued in other writings, “[W]ithout broad consensus in both capitals that U.S.-Russian cooperation is vital, the two countries might be tempted to walk away from interaction in sensitive arenas such as nuclear arms reduction once the binding regimes are lost.”[16] Today, with the United States willing to let the START regime lapse and Russia taking aim at the INF Treaty and with relations between the two countries at a new post-Cold War low, the two countries seem perilously on the brink of this outcome.

Thus, the concern for effective verification that was a hallmark of the INF Treaty has been forced out in recent years by a strong policy drive that has had some logic to it, needing to balance the stringent verification mechanisms of the Cold War with some recognition that our relationship has changed. Even if the mood between Moscow and Washington has turned sour, we still have far greater mutual access and transparency than we had during the Cold War. That logic, although imperfect and unevenly implemented, in part guided Bush administration policies in the area of verification.

As a result, the policy community needs to look forward, beyond the arms control assumptions of the Cold War—this was the partial accomplishment of the Bush administration—and back, to the major arms reduction agreements achieved during the 1980s and 1990s. The search should be twofold. The first goal should be to look for constants to provide a firm foundation for mutual confidence and cooperation; the second should be to look for innovations that will help the agenda to move forward quickly and efficiently, without the burden on operating flexibility that Cold War-era measures sometimes carried with them. These goals should apply to cooperative efforts regarding arms reduction and control as well as nonproliferation. Here, once again, the legacies of the INF Treaty are important to consider.

Stocktaking on INF Legacies

For most of the years since he uttered the phrase, Reagan’s admonishment to “trust but verify” has been a watchword in U.S. and Soviet/Russian arms negotiations. Both sides recognized the value of the simple concept, but both also recognized its limitations. As Schultz said during his Senate testimony in support of the INF Treaty, “There is no such thing as absolute, 100 percent verification. But it is our judgment that this treaty, through its successive layers of procedures, contains the measures needed for effective verification…. The bottom line is that the verification provisions of this treaty get the job done.”[17]

Today, with many years of mutual experience in implementing new programs that have taken shape since the Cold War, it makes sense to consider whether we now have the correct layers in place. Some no doubt can be discarded, while others adjusted and still others strengthened. The programs that should be considered for the roles that they already play in enhancing mutual confidence are cooperative threat reduction, military-to-military contacts, and the science and technology programs carried out under the aegis of the Warhead Safety and Security Exchange Agreement and other laboratory-to-laboratory contacts.

Taking stock of the relationship that the United States and Russia have established under these programs would provide some perspective on the greater mutual knowledge accumulated during the 15 years since the breakup of the Soviet Union and would also enable an assessment of continuing problem areas. Military-to-military contacts, for example, have often fallen prey to political differences between the two capitals and therefore might have only a limited value for modernizing verification concepts. Others, however, particularly the science exchanges, might provide some new ideas for verification technologies that could simplify and benefit not only U.S.-Russian verification efforts, but also broader multilateral efforts to enhance safeguards in any number of arms control and nonproliferation regimes. These would be “new layers” in the model that Schultz described for effective verification.

These new layers, however, should be designed to take account of the new realities, in particular the more open and extensive interactions between Russia and the United States. Again, even if we are not great friends, our relationship is far more mutually transparent than it was during the Cold War. New layers of effective verification should therefore have one basic characteristic: to ease the burden that Cold War intrusiveness placed on operations in the U.S. and Russian armed forces. For example, a number of notifications of missile and aircraft movements required by START could be streamlined or eliminated at this time.

Yet, the base layers—data exchanges, on-site inspections—will continue to play a role and so should not be discarded. In this sense, the INF Treaty was in itself a vital innovation, and its legacy continues intact.

Another important legacy of the INF Treaty is the basic rule that drove the negotiations: asymmetric reductions may result in equal security. Glitman stated it succinctly when he said, “[R]ecognition of the principle of equal rights and limits and of asymmetrical reductions to reach equality can be useful precedents in other arms control negotiations.”[18]

Today, this rule will be important if the United States and Russia are to consider further reductions in nuclear systems that would begin to touch nuclear warhead stocks. Up to this point, the elimination of central strategic weapons as well as intermediate-range nuclear weapons has focused on launch systems rather than on warheads. The two countries have been free to stockpile warheads or eliminate them per national policy, with no impact or influence from arms control negotiations.

This was a judicious approach while the numbers of deployed systems still remained high. As deployed numbers of warheads have come down under successive treaties—the INF Treaty, START, and SORT—imbalances have emerged that have given rise to tension between the two countries. For example, Russia has complained that the United States is converting launchers removed from strategic nuclear missions to conventional missions but stockpiling all of the warheads. According to the Russian argument, the conventional launchers could therefore be returned to nuclear missions at any time.

The U.S. side counters that technical and operational changes to the launchers would preclude this from happening. Furthermore, the United States argues that its policy and budgetary processes are quite transparent and the Russians would have considerable warning if such a reversal were to be contemplated. Both of these arguments have truth to them.

Russian concerns have been exacerbated by decisions they took with regard to their own nuclear warhead elimination program. When negotiating the withdrawal of nuclear weapons systems from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine in 1993-1994, the Russians committed to eliminate all the strategic nuclear warheads that were returned from Kazakhstan and Ukraine, a number that amounted to more than 3,000 warheads.[19] As a result, the Russian warhead elimination program has focused on strategic warheads, resulting in the elimination of warheads from some of the most powerful and effective Soviet-era nuclear systems, the SS-18, the SS-19, and air-launched cruise missiles.

Now, when the Russians observe that the United States is not destroying but stockpiling warheads from the U.S. counterpart systems, Trident and Minuteman, they are concerned, even though there were no mutual commitments to eliminate particular warheads. The United States, for its part, argues that it has been destroying a large number of nonstrategic nuclear warheads while the Russian Federation has not or at least has not provided information about its destruction program for nonstrategic warheads, as was agreed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev and later confirmed by President Boris Yeltsin under the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNI) of the early 1990s.[20]

Thus, with regard to warhead elimination, the United States and Russia have arrived at a complicated juncture in which discussion, never mind negotiation, is difficult. This is a good example of a situation where the INF legacy rule that asymmetric reductions may result in equal security is important. If the United States and Russia could begin a consultation aimed at a better mutual understanding of their warhead elimination programs, they might be able to proceed in the future to agree that reductions will continue in a way that is asymmetric but will produce equal security results.

Such agreement may or may not result in a legally binding arms control treaty. The two sides might come to an understanding that because of continuing sensitivity to access at warhead-elimination facilities, they would proceed on unilateral tracks to eliminate warheads while providing for a greater exchange of information on the activities. They might decide that they are ready to negotiate a transparency arrangement that would accompany such unilateral elimination activities. They might decide that they are ready to negotiate a legally binding treaty with a full verification regime.

The final legacy of the INF Treaty that has powerful resonance today is the understanding that INF systems were never central to deterrent capabilities for the United States or Russia. After all, theater targets can be covered by strategic missiles. This is a notion that was quite well understood when the INF Treaty was completed. Gordon commented at the time that “eliminating American missiles from Western Europe is such a desirable foreign-policy objective (for the Soviet Union) that it is worth accepting a disproportionate cut in deployed weapons that are not central to its deterrent capability.”[21] Gordon also commented that “it would be easy for the Soviet Union to circumvent an INF pact by deploying more strategic missiles.”[22]

Some Russian experts who have been insisting that the country should withdraw from the INF Treaty have ignored this reality, focusing on the fact that other countries around the Russian periphery—China, North Korea, Iran—are acquiring intermediate-range missiles while Russia, constrained by the treaty, has none. More recently, however, the Russian debate on the INF Treaty has begun to recognize the argument and, further, to acknowledge that a Russian withdrawal from the treaty could negate the security gains that the Soviet Union realized in Europe after its entry into force.[23] Whether this realization will prevent the Russians from taking action to withdraw from the treaty is another matter. Much will depend on political dynamics between Moscow and Washington and Moscow and European capitals.

The INF Treaty’s Contribution

Looking back on the INF Treaty, its story mirrors the history of U.S.-Russian relations and European security policy during the transition from the Cold War. Many of the legacy issues of the INF Treaty have faded in importance because of the radical changes in geopolitical circumstances, particularly the breakup of the Soviet Union and demise of the Warsaw Pact. Issues such as the need for strategic coupling, which so drove INF deployments in the 1970s and 1980s, have largely disappeared.

It is possible that they could return to importance if, for example, Russia insists on withdrawing from the INF Treaty and redeploying intermediate-range missiles facing Europe. With that step, however, the Russian government would undo one of its great negotiating coups of the Soviet era, which was to put NATO Europe well on the road to denuclearization. The Kremlin should see its interests served in continuing down that road rather than reversing course. A focus on gaining the exit of the remaining nonstrategic nuclear weapons from Europe would much better serve Russia’s strategic interests, especially if it is truly concerned, as the Russian General Staff insists, about nuclear weapons being deployed in the new NATO countries of Eastern Europe. This remains an open question.

Some INF issues deserve new attention. The future of verification and transparency is especially fertile ground and demands attention, given the Bush administration’s preference to see START and its verification protocol go out of force at the end of 2009. Although some in the administration seem to prefer that nothing replace it, others have embraced the notion that some new transparency approaches should be developed.

Jolting the process with the Russians seems to be one goal of the meetings that have been urged at the ministerial level in September 2007.[24] This date is late in coming, given the looming demise of START, and it behooves the expert community to think urgently and creatively about how to address this problem.

Of course, START’s very complexity underlies a number of frustrations in the bilateral relationship and has led to calls for a simpler approach more in line with post-Cold War realities. Even given current tensions between Moscow and Washington, this is a goal worth pursuing. We should be paring verification requirements to the essence and at the same time considering what additional transparency and mutual confidence can be gained through other mechanisms, such as joint technology cooperation and cooperative threat reduction. How to broker this link-up between some essential verification measures and new, more flexible transparency mechanisms is the critical challenge. Certainly, the INF Treaty is a good place to start, for its verification regime is a proven foundation that led straight to the more developed regime in START. It is a legacy worth preserving.

Rose Gottemoeller is director of the Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She was formerly deputy undersecretary for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of Energy. She also served as the department’s assistant secretary for nonproliferation and national security, with responsibility for all nonproliferation cooperation with Russia and the Newly Independent States. In 1993-94, she served as director on the National Security Council staff responsible for denuclearization of Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

1. Max M. Kampelman and Maynard W. Glitman, “The [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty]: Negotiation and Ratification,” Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, January 26, 1988 (hereinafter Kampelman and Glitman testimony).

2. Previously, arms control treaties had depended on so-called national technical means of verification (NTM), satellites and high-flying aircraft that could see what was going on in a country without setting foot in it. NTM have important limitations, however, that can only be overcome by on-site inspections.

3. This issue surfaced first in 2005, when Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld how the United States would respond if Russia withdrew from the INF Treaty. Reportedly, “Mr. Rumsfeld told Mr. Ivanov that he did not care…but the Pentagon denied this.” See Hubert Wetsel et al., “Russia Confronted Rumsfeld With Threat to Quit Key Nuclear Treaty,” Financial Times, March 9, 2005.

4. Ambassador Stephen Steiner, “U.S. Envoy Welcomes Conclusion of INF Treaty Inspections,” Talk given at INF Treaty Commemoration, Moscow, May 21, 2001.

5. Lynn E. Davis, “Lessons of the INF Treaty,” Foreign Affairs (Spring 1988), p. 721.

6. Hans M. Kristensen, “U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe: A Review of Post-Cold War Policy, Force Levels, and War Planning,” Natural Resources Defense Council, February 2005.

7. Amy F. Woolf, “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons,” CRS Report for Congress, January 9, 2007, p. 20. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the total number of Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons is 3,000-8,000, the lower number being deployed weapons, the higher including those in central storage facilities.

8. For an excellent review of current NATO policy debates, see Martin Butcher, “NATO, Riga and Beyond,” Disarmament Diplomacy, No. 84 (Spring 2007).

9. For a useful chronology of the INF Treaty process, see Thomas Risse-Kappen, “Did ‘Peace Through Strength’ End the Cold War? Lessons of INF,” International Security, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Summer 1991), pp. 162-188.

10. Strobe Talbott, “The Road to Zero,” Time, December 14, 1987. Talbott’s account of the negotiation of the INF Treaty is detailed and entertaining.

11. Ibid.

12. Office of the Spokesman, U.S. Department of State, “Does Greenham Common Ring a Bell?” Washington, DC, May 20, 2002 (interview of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell by European journalists).

13. See Risse-Kappen, “Did ‘Peace Through Strength’ End the Cold War?”

14. Michael Gordon, “Dateline Washington: INF: A Hollow Victory?” Foreign Policy (Fall 1987), p. 164.

15. George Schulz, “Achievements of the INF Treaty,” Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 16, 1988.

16. Rose Gottemoeller, “Arms Control in a New Era,” The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Spring 2002), p. 46. I would add that this problem could seriously affect cooperation on important nonproliferation issues, such as nuclear material protection, control, and accounting.

17. Schultz, “Achievements of the INF Treaty.”

18. Kampelman and Glitman testimony.

19. According to Susan Koch, “A total of 3,300 strategic nuclear warheads have been removed from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.” Susan Koch, Statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, March 6, 2000.

20. For more information on the PNI, see Woolf, “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons,” p. 1.

21. Gordon, “Dateline Washington,” p. 178.

22. Ibid., pp. 168-169. See Davis, “Lessons of the INF Treaty,” p. 730.

23. For more on this debate, see Rose Gottemoeller, “Reading Russia Right,” The New York Times, May 4, 2007; Nikolay Khorunziy, “Will Russia Withdraw From the INF Treaty?” OLO.Ru, April 9-19, 2007 (in Russian).

24. See “U.S. OKs ‘2+2’ Missile Talks With Russia,” Reuters, May 4, 2007, found here. The meetings would involve the secretaries of state and defense of the United States and the ministers of foreign affairs and defense of Russia.

Tests, Arrests Draw Attention to Indian Missiles

Alex Bollfrass

Indian missile engineers are wasting little time celebrating their first successful intermediate-range ballistic missile test. With their confidence boosted, missile program managers have offered to develop an ICBM and announced upcoming missile defense tests.

This push for ballistic missile advances coincides with federal government charges that a U.S. company has been violating U.S. export control laws. Cirrus Electronics stands accused of transferring dual-use technology to Indian government laboratories.

Parthasarathy Sudarshan, founder of Cirrus Electronics, was arrested March 23 together with his sole U.S. employee for supplying Indian weapons laboratories with electronic equipment suited for ballistic missiles and fighter aircraft. The indictment cites an Indian government official in the United States and charges two Cirrus employees abroad.

The defendants are charged with violating several laws that regulate what can be exported from the United States and who may receive sensitive technology. Most military exports require a government license.

The Department of Justice says Cirrus, knowing its Indian clients were unlikely to be approved, circumvented the licensing process by first shipping the items to Singapore. The company also provided forged end-user certificates to its suppliers.

The indictment’s first nine counts allege Cirrus illicitly aided India’s missile program. The U.S. Department of Commerce maintains a list of companies and individuals ineligible to receive military and dual-use technology without a permit.

Two Cirrus customers, Vikram Sarabhai Space Center and Bharat Dynamics Ltd., are on the list because of ballistic missile development work. They are owned and operated by the Indian government. Both received static random access memory chips and other electronic equipment for use in missile guidance and firing systems.

The second series of charges involve combat aircraft technology. Military-use technology exports must be approved by the Department of State. Cirrus did not seek such approval for 500 microprocessors. They were shipped via Singapore to the Aeronautical Development Establishment, a government outfit, for use in the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.

Circumstances surrounding this charge are diplomatically awkward. Indian government officials are directly implicated in the trafficking charges, despite past assurances to respect U.S. export law.

An unnamed Indian government official is believed to have accompanied Sudarshan on a visit to the microchips’ producer in February 2004. Seven months after the trip, India’s foreign secretary assured the State Department that facilities affiliated with the Indian government would never “obtain or use U.S.-origin licensable items in contravention of U.S. export control laws and regulations.”

Moreover, Sudarshan and his employees “were in frequent consultation with Indian government representatives and were constantly acting at their direction and behest,” according to the Justice Department. The indictment calls Sudarshan an illegal agent of the Indian government.

Previous circumventions of U.S. export laws have benefited Indian government weapons laboratories. Between February 2003 and April 2006, the Commerce Department investigated more than 60 possible violations involving Indian consignees. This violation appears to be the first facilitated by an Indian official in the United States.

India reportedly relies on gray-market procurement for some of its weapons programs, particularly uranium-enrichment technology. Its position outside of international regimes regulating weapons technology trade, such as the Missile Technology Control Regime, restricts its ability to obtain technology and materials from the international market.

The revelations also came at an inopportune moment as the United States and India attempt to move forward with a nuclear cooperation agreement (see page 30 ).

Separately, India successfully tested the nuclear-capable Agni III missile. This marked the first successful test after a failed attempt last year. The intermediate-range ballistic missile flew for about 15 minutes on April 12. The missile’s makers say it has a maximum payload of 1.5 metric tons and can travel more than 3,000 kilometers.

The international response to the test was muted. China, whose main eastern cities would be in range of the missile once it is inducted into the Indian arsenal, did not protest. Chinese officials have downplayed the risk of a missile race with India, possibly because China’s arsenal size and reach far outrivals India’s.

Pakistan, already in India’s nuclear reach, received prior notification as required under bilateral agreements. Its government refrained from comment.

Prior to last year’s test, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace signaled U.S. approval of such tests. Speaking June 5 in India, he said, “India will decide what India wants to do about testing missiles” and described such tests as “not destabilizing.”

The test’s domestic impact was more pronounced. It appears to have invigorated India’s interest in missile and anti-missile technology.

The head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which developed the Agni series, advertised DRDO’s ability to develop an ICBM within two to three years. He added that the decision to do so would be a political one.

The DRDO also announced an upcoming missile defense test this summer. The anticipated interception will occur within the atmosphere, following last November’s successful test at an altitude of 50 kilometers.

Ballistic missiles can be intercepted in different phases of flight. November’s test targeted the latter portion of the mid-course phase, while the planned endoatmospheric interception aims at the terminal phase at 30 kilometers altitude.

The Agni III’s development was not aided by Cirrus’s transfers. Instead, the transfers went to laboratories working on the Prithvi series of ballistic missiles, which have a shorter range.

Three other systems were recently tested, beginning March 30 with a naval version of the Prithvi, the Dhanush. The supersonic cruise missile BrahMos underwent a 14th trial flight April 22 as part of its ongoing induction in the Indian army. Between these two tests, the Indian government conducted one of an unnamed system, possibly the Sagarika cruise missile.

In the meantime, Sudarshan is being held by authorities pending a May 1 status hearing. His sole U.S. employee is pleading not guilty and has posted bail. The trial is expected to take place in the summer or fall.

Arms Experts Urge Russia and U.S. to Preserve Missile Treaty, Pursue More Arms Talks



Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 16, 2007
Press Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association, (202) 463-8270 x107 or Wade Boese, (202) 463-8270 x104

(Washington, D.C.): Arms Control Association (ACA) experts today urged Russian and U.S. leaders to maintain an historic 1987 nuclear arms and missile accord that helped ease Cold War tensions and slow the superpower nuclear arms race. The accord continues to ensure that Europe does not emerge once again as an arena for a revived U.S.-Russian arms competition, the experts said.

Russian leaders have hinted recently that they are contemplating withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which prohibits U.S. and Russian possession of nuclear and conventional ground-launched missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. General Yuri Baluyevsky, Russia’s chief of general staff, spoke most recently, saying yesterday that Russia would be justified in pulling out of the agreement. Russian officials have cited U.S. plans to deploy strategic missile interceptors in Europe and the growing missile capabilities of other countries as triggering Moscow’s INF deliberations.

“Russian withdrawal from the INF Treaty could revive a dormant Cold War nuclear rivalry and complicate stalled U.S. and Russian talks to secure deeper verifiable and permanent reductions in their excessive strategic and tactical nuclear stockpiles,” said Daryl G. Kimball, ACA executive director.

The INF Treaty marked the first time that the United States and then-Soviet Union agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weaponry, and utilize extensive on-site inspections for verifying compliance. All told, the two sides destroyed a total of 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s June 1, 1991 implementation deadline. Neither Russia nor the United States now deploys such systems.

“The White House and congressional leaders should urge Russia not to abandon the INF Treaty,” Kimball recommended. He also encouraged the U.S. and Russian governments to “engage in talks to accelerate the drawdown of their strategic nuclear weapons and to account for and eliminate their tactical nuclear weapons arsenals.” The size and security of Russia’s tactical nuclear arms holdings are unknown, while the United States deploys roughly 480 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

In addition, the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is set to expire in December 2009. If START lapses and Russia scuttles the INF Treaty, the sole agreement left to restrict U.S. and Russian nuclear force levels would be the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty. This agreement lacks verification provisions and its ceiling of 2,200 operationally deployed strategic warheads expires in December 2012. The United States currently claims to operationally deploy approximately 3,900 strategic warheads, and it keeps thousands of additional warheads in reserve. Russia fields some 4,300 strategic warheads, according to its latest accounting under START.

“Without the transparency and limits of the START and INF accords, the United States and Russia risk returning to the distrust, worst-case assumptions, and arms competition of the past,” warned Wade Boese, ACA research director.

“Russia’s overreaction to the possible fielding of up to 10 unproven U.S. missile interceptors already underscores the fragile state of U.S.-Russian security relations,” Boese stated.

He recommended that in addition to talks on extending START or its verification regime, “the former rivals should explore measures to address Russian concerns about any future stationing of U.S. anti-missile systems in Europe.” Boese concluded, “Such a process would be a much more constructive approach than carelessly scrapping the INF Treaty.”

Additional information on U.S. and Russian nuclear agreements and the status of their nuclear arsenals is available at ACA’s strategic reductions internet resource page at http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/sr/.

Country Resources:

Iran, North Korea Deepen Missile Cooperation

Paul Kerr

North Korea has long been known to be a key supplier of missile technology to Iran. Concern about this cooperation, however, has increased in recent months as both countries have expanded their nuclear and missile programs.

Pyongyang launched a series of ballistic missiles in July 2006 and tested a nuclear device about three months later. (See ACT, November 2006.) For its part, Tehran has continued to develop both ballistic missiles and its uranium-enrichment program. It is not clear whether Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. (See ACT, December 2006.)

Perhaps the most important recent development is Iran’s apparent purchase from North Korea of missiles with a range possibly exceeding that of Tehran’s longest-range deployed ballistic missile, the Shahab-3. The Israeli newspaper Ha`aretz quoted Major General Amos Yadlin, the head of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Branch, as saying that Tehran had purchased the missiles, some of which had already arrived in Iran. A knowledgeable former Department of State official told Arms Control Today Dec. 19 that the reports are “certainly credible.”

The United States believes that North Korea has been deploying the same missile, which is reportedly based on the Soviet SS-N-6. Washington believes Pyongyang is deploying the missile in a road-mobile mode, although the SS-N-6 was a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The United States and South Korea estimate that the missile, which North Korea has never tested, could potentially have a range of 2,500-4,000 kilometers, according to press reports. The most advanced version of the SS-N-6 had an estimated range of 3,000 kilometers. Any new missile’s range would vary considerably depending on the size of its payload. (See ACT, September 2004.)

During a Nov. 12 television interview, Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps indicated that Iran tested a Shahab-3 capable of traveling 2,000 kilometers. Tehran has previously claimed to possess a missile with such a range.

The United States has repeatedly claimed that Pyongyang has provided assistance to Tehran’s ballistic missile programs. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph told reporters in September 2006 that “ North Korea has been…the principal supplier to Iran of ballistic missile technologies.” The Shahab-3, which has an estimated range of 1,300 kilometers, is based on the North Korean Nodong missile, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center reported in 2006. The report added that Iran has deployed fewer than 20 such missiles.

Safavi acknowledged during a Nov. 6 television interview that Tehran had obtained Scud B and Scud C missiles from “foreign countries like North Korea” during the 1980s.

A CIA report covering 2004 indicates that Iran continued to receive “ballistic missile-related cooperation” from entities in North Korea as well as Russia and China. However, foreign assistance enabled Tehran to “move toward its goal of becoming self-sufficient in the production of ballistic missiles,” the report adds. Safavi claimed that Iran no longer requires foreign assistance for its missile programs.

In addition to material assistance, Pyongyang also has provided Tehran with technical advice for its ballistic missile programs, according to current and former U.S. officials. For example, the former State Department official said that the Shahab-3 was developed with North Korean expertise.

Moreover, at least one Iranian official may have been in North Korea to witness the July missile tests. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill testified during a July 20 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that it is Washington’s “understanding” that such officials were present. However, he told reporters the next day that he had not meant to “confirm” reports about the matter.

Similarly, North Korean officials may have visited Iran to assist with Tehran’s missile programs, a knowledgeable former congressional staff member said in a Dec. 19 e-mail.

U.S. officials suspect that Pyongyang may also have provided missile flight-test data to Tehran, according to both the former State Department official and Michael Green, President George W. Bush’s National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs until December 2005. However, there is no “specific evidence” of such cooperation, the official acknowledged.

Whether North Korea’s assistance to Iran is “the byproduct of individual, short-term, and isolated decisions” or “an element of a more formal agreement between the two nations” is an “open question,” the former congressional staffer said.

Missile Control Regime Focuses on Iran, NK

Wade Boese

A group of countries devoted to stemming the spread of missiles vowed recently to intensify efforts to deny Iran and North Korea exports that could aid their missile programs. China’s alleged failure to curtail such exports to Iran is a key factor frustrating Beijing’s campaign to join the group.

The 34 members of the voluntary Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) met Oct. 4-6 in Copenhagen, Denmark, for an annual plenary to exchange information on global missile proliferation, update the group’s export control list, and set action priorities. Regime members are supposed to restrict their exports of missiles and related items. In a post-meeting statement, the group cited recent UN Security Council measures on Iran and North Korea and “expressed their determination to implement the calls in these resolutions.”

Security Council Resolution 1695, passed July 15 in the wake of a salvo of North Korean missile tests, requires all countries to prevent Pyongyang from procuring “missiles or missile related-items, materials, goods and technology.” Two weeks later, the Security Council approved Resolution 1696 after Iran failed to suspend uranium-enrichment activities that could yield fissile material for nuclear weapons. Among other steps, that resolution calls on countries to prevent exports that might benefit Iran’s ballistic missile program. (See ACT, September 2006.)

Per Fischer, the current MTCR chair and special adviser on nonproliferation to the Danish minister for foreign affairs, told Arms Control Today Oct. 17 that the group’s commitment to follow through on these “extremely important” resolutions was the recent conclave’s top achievement. A senior Department of State official agreed in an Oct. 18 Arms Control Today interview, applauding the regime’s “very strong and unanimous agreement to take substantive action” on the resolutions.

Regime members have disagreed about what constitutes acceptable transfers to Iran. An August 2005 State Department report charged Russian entities with supplying “missile-applicable technologies to missile programs of proliferation concern in China, India, Iran, and other countries.” The report added that the “continuing pattern” of such exports “calls into serious question Russia’s ability to control missile proliferation.”

More recently, Washington announced sanctions in August on two Russian entities—the state-owned arms export agency Rosoboronexport and aviation company Sukhoi—for shipments to Iran that allegedly appear on multilateral export control lists or could aid Tehran’s development of unconventional weapons or missiles. (See ACT, September 2006.) Rosoboronexport protested the sanctions, saying they were unwarranted.

The U.S. government also has penalized Chinese entities repeatedly, most recently in June, for alleged unconventional weapons- and missile-related exports to Iran. All told, since 2001 the State and Treasury Departments have imposed a total of 50 sanctions on 25 Chinese entities involved in deals with Iran since 2001. In addition, the State Department has also levied four other sanctions against Chinese entities for missile proliferation to unspecified destinations.

In Sept. 14 testimony to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Paula DeSutter, assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance, and implementation, strongly criticized China’s missile export control record. “The Chinese government’s irregular enforcement of the regulations meant to stop such proliferation continues to give the United States deep reservations” about China’s intentions, she said.

As a result, the United States maintains its opposition to China’s MTCR membership bid. Applicant countries must win the consensus of the group to join. Eleven other countries— Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia—also want regime membership but did not receive an invitation at the October plenary.

Until his term as chair ends at the next plenary, one of Fischer’s main responsibilities is continuing consultations with regime applicants and other nonmembers about their missile export controls. Fischer asserted he wants to be more “systematic” in tailoring the regime’s cooperation with outside states, particularly those in the Middle East and Asia.

A key outreach activity, the senior State Department official said, is pressing countries to establish or improve their export controls so proliferators cannot use these states’ territories as transshipment hubs. Two years ago, Security Council Resolution 1540 obligated all governments to institute border, domestic, and export controls to prevent nonstate actors from acquiring unconventional arms and their potential delivery vehicles. (See ACT, May 2004.)

Fischer and the senior State Department official both said the primary challenge facing the regime is ensuring controls keep pace with the rapid development and diffusion of technology. Although members agreed in Copenhagen to some yet undisclosed control list changes, the U.S. official said Washington wanted more. The United States unsuccessfully sought to add some cruise missile technologies to the control list and remove some unmanned aerial vehicle technologies.

A group of countries devoted to stemming the spread of missiles vowed recently to intensify efforts to deny Iran and North Korea exports that could aid their missile programs. China’s alleged failure to curtail such exports to Iran is a key factor frustrating Beijing’s campaign to join the group. (Continue)

U.S. Space Aid to India: On a "Glide Path" to ICBM Trouble?

Richard Speier

CHRONOLOGY: U.S. Missile Nonproliferation Policy and India’s Path to an ICBM Capability

In the weeks leading up to this month’s presidential visit to India, the U.S. nonproliferation community has been preoccupied with one facet of President George W. Bush’s push to bolster ties with New Delhi: his proposal for enhanced U.S.-Indian nuclear cooperation. Another element, however, also deserves close scrutiny: proposals, largely unexamined, for greater space ties. Given India’s reported ICBM development, these plans could destabilize international relations and potentially even threaten the United States. The Bush administration risks repeating in India the same errors that previously allowed damaging U.S. space technology transfers to China.

The Glide Path

U.S. officials have described both the nu clear and space cooperation agreements as part of a “glide path” that it has charted to improve relations with India. A glide path is the gentle course that an airplane follows as it descends to a safe landing. If the plane encounters an unexpected development, it can divert, regain altitude, and change its course. Because India has been developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, U.S.-Indian technology relations have for many years remained up in the air, not heading for a safe landing.

As then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told The Washington Post in October 2003, the “glide path” was seen as “a way of bring ing closure” to a debate over three issues that had plagued U.S.-Indian relations.

“There was a basket of issues that they were always asking us about called, well, we called it—we nicknamed it, ‘The Trinity,’” Powell said. “How can we expand our trade in high tech areas, in areas having to do with space launch activities, and with our nuclear industry?”

Powell also said that U.S. officials wanted to “protect certain ‘red lines’ that we have with respect to proliferation, because it’s sometimes hard to separate within space launch activi ties and industries and nuclear programs, that which could go to weapons, and that which could be solely for peaceful purposes.”[1]

Nearly two years later, in July 2005, Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached an agreement on space that was said to have accomplished these goals. New Delhi got what it wanted when the two leaders resolved to “build closer ties in space exploration, satellite navigation and launch, and in the commercial space arena .”[2] Washington won India’s agreement to adhere to Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines.

Yet, the agreement falls short on several grounds. First, it does nothing about India’s long-range missile development. As the 2005 deal was being negotiated, reports per sisted that India was preparing to produce an ICBM based on its massive Polar Space Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Second, depending on its precise form, the MTCR agreement could provide a shield against sanctions for some Indian exports to countries such as Iran —as U.S. law largely exempts certain types of MTCR adherents from U.S. missile proliferation sanctions. Third, India has expressed an interest in exporting missile technology (said to be below the MTCR threshold) to many countries.

The White House and Congress urgently need to reconsider this deal.

The Surya

President John F. Kennedy was once asked the difference between the Atlas space launch vehicle that put John Glenn into orbit and an Atlas missile aimed at the Soviet Union. He answered with a one-word pun: “Attitude.” The established path to a space launch capability for China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States was to adapt a ballistic missile as a space launch vehicle.

India turned the process around, adapt ing a space launch vehicle as a ballistic missile. In the 1980s, India adapted a space launch vehicle, the SLV-3, to become the Agni medium-range ballistic missile. In keeping with India’s practice of describing nuclear and missile programs as civilian until their military character cannot be denied, India originally claimed that the Agni was a “technology demonstrator.” The Agni program now consists of three missiles with ranges, respectively, of approximately 700, 2,000, and 3,000 kilometers.

For nearly two decades, reports have indicated that India sought to use a simi lar tactic to develop an ICBM.[3] It appears, though, that India may have officially begun the ICBM project (commonly known as the Surya, although sometimes also known as Agni IV) in 1994.[4] Reports cite various dates, perhaps because the project has had several decision points.

Reports generally agree that the Surya program will result in several different missiles with ranges from 5,000 to 20,000 kilo meters.[5] It is widely claimed that the Surya will have the option of a nuclear payload, and sometimes the claim is made that the payload will consist of multiple nuclear warheads.

Reports also generally agree that the Surya will be a three-stage missile with the first two stages derived from the PSLV’s solid-fuel rockets. India obtained the solid-fuel tech nology for the SLV-3 and the PSLV from the United States in the 1960s.[6] India is said to be planning for the third Surya stage to use liquid fuel and to be derived either from the Viking rocket technology supplied by France in the 1980s (called Vikas when India manu factured PSLV stages with the technology) or from a more powerful, Russian-supplied cryogenic upper stage for the Geosynchro nous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which is an adaptation of the PSLV.

If the Surya uses PSLV rocket motors, as is most frequently reported, it will be an enor mous rocket with solid-fuel stages 2.8 me ters (about nine feet) in diameter and a total weight of up to 275 metric tons. This would make it by far the largest ICBM in the world, with a launch weight about three times that of the largest U.S. or Russian ICBMs.

There appears to be no literature on Indian plans to harden or conceal the Surya launch site, which would be difficult to do because of the missile’s size and weight. If a cryogenic third stage is used, the launch process will be lengthy. This means that the Surya is likely to be vulnerable to at tack before launch, making it a first-strike weapon that could not survive in a conflict. Indeed, the Surya’s threatening nature and its pre-launch vulnerability would make it a classic candidate for pre-emptive attack in a crisis. In strategic theory, this leads to “crisis instability,” the increased incentive for a crisis to lead to strategic attacks because of each side’s premium on striking first.

The one report of a mobile ICBM based on a combination of PSLV and Agni technology makes more military sense.[7] Yet, as described below, it entails other serious concerns.

Why would India want the Surya? Its reported ranges suggest the answer.

  • A 5,000-kilometer Surya-1 might overlap the range of a reported 5,000-kilometer upgrade of the Agni missile.[8] Surya-1 would have only one advantage over such an upgraded Agni: a far larger payload with the ability to carry a large, perhaps thermonuclear warhead or multiple nuclear warheads. India has no reason to need a missile of this range for use against Pakistan. The missile’s range is arguably appropriate for military operations against distant targets in China: the range from New Delhi to Beijing is 3,900 kilometers; the range from New Delhi to Shanghai is 4,400 kilometers; and the range from Mumbai to Shanghai is 5,100 kilometers.


  • An 8,000-to-12,000-kilometer Surya-2 would be excessive for use against China, although the distance from New Delhi to London is 6,800 kilometers; to Madrid, 7,400 kilometers; to Seattle, 11,500 kilometers; and to Washington, D.C., 12,000 kilometers. In 1997, an article based on information from officials in India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) or higher levels of India’s defense establishment stated flatly, “Surya’s targets will be Europe and the U.S.”[9]


  • A 20,000-kilometer-range Surya-3 could strike any point on the surface of the Earth.

Indian commentators generally cite two reasons for acquiring an ICBM: to estab lish India as a global power and to enable India to deal with “high-tech aggression” of the type demonstrated in the wars with Iraq.[10] Because there is no obvious reason for India to want a military capability against Europe, there is one target that stands out as a bull’s-eye for an Indian ICBM: the United States. The reported 12,000-kilometer Surya-2 range is tailor- made to target the United States.

India ’s Export History and the MTCR

The United States now might have dimin ished leverage if India decided to export missile technology to countries such as Iran , given that certain types of MTCR agreements tend to provide a shield from U.S. sanctions.[11]

India historically has had a close relation ship with Tehran.[12] Indian entities have supplied sensitive military technology and weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-re lated items to Iran. In diplomatic talks, the United States and Israel have urged India to cool this relationship, specifically in areas of military and energy cooperation and with respect to deliberations on Iran’s nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Agency.[13] Additionally, the United States has imposed sanctions on several Indian firms and individuals for providing the militarily sensitive and WMD-related items.[14]

Nonetheless the Indian-Iranian relationship is strong. In January 2003, then-Iranian President Mohammad Khatami joined Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to watch Agni missiles roll by in the Indian Republic Day parade; and the two presidents signed a strategic accord providing India with access to Iranian bases in an emergency in return for Indian transfers of defense products, training, maintenance, and military mod ernization support.[15] This relationship is strongly supported by India’s left wing, and India cannot seem to extricate itself.[16] Even if the current ruling party could disentangle itself from Iran, the underlying political support for Iranian ties might lead a future Indian government to resume the relationship.

Aside from Iran, Indian entities have engaged in WMD-related transfers to Libya and Iraq,[17] India appears to be seeking new customers. India’s DRDO has aspirations to export missiles—said to be below the MTCR threshold at present—to “many African, Gulf and South-East Asian coun tries,” subject to government approval.[18]


The possibility of an Indian ICBM illustrates short-sightedness on the part of India and the United States. In seeking to become a global power by acquiring a first-strike weapon of mass destruction, the Indian government may be succumbing to its most immature and irresponsible instincts. The U.S. government, by offering India the “Trinity” of cooperation, is flirting with counterproductive activities that could lead to more proliferation.

If India completes the development of an ICBM, several consequences can be antici pated. Other countries will acquire an incentive to launch pre-emptive attacks against India in times of crisis, especially if the ICBM is of PSLV dimensions and, consequently, is easily targeted. India’s military funds will be diverted away from applica tions that would more readily complement “strategic partnership” with the United States. Tensions and dangers in Asia will rise.

Indian and U.S. foreign relations are also likely to suffer. An Indian ICBM would breed confusion and anger on the part of India ’s friends in Europe and the United States . That would likely spark a backlash against India that will hinder further co operation in a number of areas. India’s acts will serve as a goad to other potential missile proliferators and their potential suppliers to become more unrestrained.

To be sure, arguments can be—and have been—made in favor of such cooperation. Robert Blackwill,[19] Bush’s first ambassador to India, has contended that the value of a strategic alliance with India exceeds what some have dubbed “theological” concerns about proliferation. One can point out that India has already developed nuclear weapons and medium-range missiles, so continued resistance to such proliferation is futile. Some claim that India has not necessarily made the final decision to develop and ICBM. And Blackwill and others will say that in any case, India is our friend so we need not worry about its strategic programs. India has already developed nuclear weapons and medium-range missiles, but supplier restraint can slow down India’s missile progress and make such missiles more expensive and unreliable, perhaps delaying programs until a new government takes a fresh look at them and considers de-emphasizing them. Apart from the technical assistance that the United States is considering supplying, the relaxation of U.S. objections to foreign use of Indian launch services will augment the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) budget for rocket development.[20] Moreover, India has a long way to go to improve the performance of its missiles, and it has a history of using nuclear and space launch assistance to do just that. Some areas in which India can still improve its missiles are:

1) Accuracy. For a ballistic missile, accuracy deteriorates with range. India’s ICBM could make use of better guidance technology, and it might obtain such technology through high-technology cooperation with the United States .

2) Weight. Unnecessary weight in a missile reduces payload and range or forces the development of massive missiles, such as India’s PSLV-derived ICBM. India is striving to obtain better materials and master their use to reduce unnecessary missile weight. [21]

3) Reliability. India ’s space launch vehicles and medium-range missiles have suffered their share of flight failures. Engineering assistance in space launches could unintentionally improve India’s missile reliability, as was dem onstrated with the incident of unapproved technology transfers to China through launches of U.S. satellites.[22]

4) Multiple warheads. India ’s reported interest in missile payloads with multiple nuclear warheads means that certain elements of satellite technology could be diverted to military use. Deliberate or inadvertent transfers of technology associated with dispensing and orienting satellites could, as in the Chinese case, make it easier to develop multiple re-entry vehicles.

5) Countermeasures against missile defenses. Assistance to India in certain types of satellite technology, such as the automated deployment of structures in space, could aid the development of penetration aids for India’s long-range missiles. Given that the United States is an obvious target for an Indian ICBM, such countermeasures could help counter U.S. missile defenses.

Even if India’s missile programs were not materially aided by U.S. space launch cooperation, other countries might fill the gap. France and Russia, India’s traditional and less-restrained rocket technology suppliers, are certain to want a piece of any space action.

It is true that India has not necessarily made the final commitment to develop an ICBM, but many steps have been taken to this end. Even if India has no current intention to develop the Surya, intentions (and ruling parties) can change. Unwise U.S. space cooperation would facilitate India’s final steps toward an ICBM.

It is true that India is our friend and “strategic partner,” at least at the present time. History raises questions whether such friendship would continue through an adverse change in India’s ruling party or through a conflict with Pakistan. India’s interest in an ICBM, which in many ways only makes sense as a weapon against the United States, raises questions about whether the friendship is mutual. More over, nonproliferation policy is often directed against programs in friendly nations. Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa , South Korea, Taiwan, and Ukraine are all friendly states for which the United States has attempted to hinder WMD and missile programs without un dermining broader relations. An exception for India is certain to be followed by more strident demands for exceptions elsewhere. Is the space launch component of “friendship” worth a world filled with states with nuclear-armed missiles?

India ’s missile program has evolved over more than four decades. The history of proliferation demonstrates the difficulty of holding to a strong nonproliferation policy over years, let alone decades. There will always be temptations to trade non proliferation for some bilateral or strategic advantage of the moment. In the current situation, India may have outnegotiated the United States . After India’s 1998 nuclear-weapon tests, the United States imposed sanctions and then gradually lifted them. In nuclear and rocket matters, this was not enough for India. Once the United States began easing up on India, the United States kept easing up.

The United States professes to be hold ing to its “red lines”—Powell’s words—in whatever kind of cooperation it is considering. Yet, the world needs to know where these lines are when it comes to space launch cooperation. It is one thing for the United States to provide launch services for Indian satellites. It is another for the United States to use or help improve India’s ICBM-capable rockets. Are the red lines firm or flexible? Is the glide path a slippery slope? These questions lead to a number of recommendations.


Under the July 2005 joint statement, the United States and India committed themselves to closer space ties. This does not require, nor should it encourage, U.S. cooperation on India’s ICBM pro gram directly or indirectly. In fact, the United States has already taken a step in the right direction by offering to launch Indian astronauts in upcoming space shuttle missions and to involve them to the fullest extent in the International Space Station.

The United States should do more to encourage India to launch its satellites and science packages on U.S. and foreign launchers by making these launches more affordable. The United States also should be forthcoming in offering India access, as appropriate, to the benefits of U.S. satellite programs, including communications, earth resource observation, and exploration of the cosmos.

India , in fact, has some of the world’s best astrophysicists and cosmologists. It is in our interest, as well as the world’s, that we welcome these Indian experts into the search for basic answers about the universe. We should make the data from the Hubble telescope and similar systems available to Indian scientists and encourage them to become full partners in its analysis.

On the other hand, there are some critical cautions to be observed.

1) Do not be naive about the nature of India’s program.

After more than two decades of reports about India’s interest in an ICBM, includ ing reports from Russia, statements on India ’s ICBM capability by the U.S. intelligence community, and the firing of an Indian official after he publicly described the Surya program, there should be no illusions. The reports consistently state that India’s ICBM will be derived from its space-launch vehicle technology.

The United States should not believe that it is possible to separate India’s “civil ian” space-launch program—the incubator of its ballistic missiles—from India’s military program.

The United States would be the primary target of an Indian ICBM, which would be used to protect India from the theoretical possibility of “high-tech aggression.”

The U.S. intelligence community should resume its semi-annual unclassified report ing to Congress on India’s nuclear and missile programs, which was discontinued after April 2003.

2) Do not assist India’s space launch programs.

The United States should not cooperate either with India’s space launches or with satellites that India will launch. India hopes that satellite launches will earn revenues that will accelerate its space program, including rocket development. U.S. payloads for Indian launches, such as the envisioned cooperative lunar project, risk technology transfer and invite other states to be less restrained in their use of Indian launches.

The United States should resume dis couraging other states from using Indian launches, while encouraging India to re sume the practice of launching satellites on other states’ space launch vehicles.

Given the frequent reports of Russian cryogenic rockets being used in the Surya, the United States should work with Russia to ensure that Russian space cooperation with India does not undercut U.S. restraint.

Because there is no meaningful distinc tion between India’s civilian and military rocket programs, the United States should explicitly or de facto place ISRO back on the “entities” list of destinations that require export licenses.[23]

In addition, Congress should insist that the administration explain its red lines regarding space cooperation with India. If these lines are not drawn tightly enough, Congress should intervene.

3) Review carefully any cooperation with India’s satellite programs.

India is reportedly developing multiple nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles. If India develops an ICBM, the next step will be to develop countermeasures to penetrate U.S. missile defenses. Certain satellite technologies can help India with both of these developments.

The United States should review its satellite cooperation to ensure that it does not aid India inappropriately in the technologies of dispensing or orienting spacecraft, of automated deployment of structures in space, or of other operations that would materially contribute to mul tiple warheads or countermeasures against missile defenses.

4) Stop using cooperation in dangerous technologies as diplomatic baubles.

India is the current example of a broader, dysfunctional tendency in bilateral relations to display trust and friendship by opening up the most dangerous forms of cooperation. The United States should not fall further into this trap with India or with any other state.

India needs many other forms of eco nomic and military cooperation more than it needs nuclear and space technology. If India insists on focusing technology co operation in these areas, the United States should interpret that it as a red flag.

The U.S. removal of technology sanctions imposed after India’s 1998 nuclear tests was an adequate and perhaps exces sive display of friendship. Further tech nology cooperation should be limited to areas that do not contribute to nuclear weapons or their means of delivery.


A primary target of an Indian ICBM would be the United States. The technology of an Indian ICBM would be that of a space launch vehicle, either directly via the PSLV or indirectly via the Agni, which is based on India’s SLV-3. The United States should not facilitate the acquisition or improve ment of that technology directly or indirectly. In this matter, U.S. clarity and restraint are what the world and India need.

The United States needs to divert from the present glide path and reorient itself and India onto a more produc tive course of cooperation. It would be a cruel irony if, in the hope of becoming strategic partners, we became each other’s strategic targets.


U.S. Missile Nonproliferation Policy and India’s Path to an ICBM Capability

Richard Speier

The path to India’s ICBM capability has spanned more than four decades and is largely based on space-launch vehicle technology obtained from foreign sources. The United States has taken measures over the last several decades to restrict missile proliferation, but the policies took effect only after India’s missile program had begun. Moreover, U.S. nonproliferation policy has also not been consistently applied, particularly in India’s case. Indeed, the relationship between space launch vehicles and missile proliferation seems to have been obscured.


NASA trains Indian scientists at Wallops Island, Virginia, in sounding rockets and provides Nike-Apache sounding rockets to India.[1] France, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union also supply sounding rockets.[2]


A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, an Indian engineer, works at Wallops Island, where the Scout space-launch vehicle (an adaptation of Minuteman ICBM solid-fuel rocket technology) is flown.[3]


Following Kalam’s return to India, the Indian Atomic Energy Commission requests U.S. assistance with the Scout, and NASA provides unclassified reports.[4]


U.S. firms supply equipment for the Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant at Sriharikota.[5]


Kalam becomes head of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in charge of developing space launch vehicles. During the same time period, the United States begins to consider a broad policy against missile proliferation.

May 1974

India conducts a “peaceful nuclear explosion.”


The United States and its six economic sum mit partners secretly negotiate the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). After one and a half years of difficult negotiations on the question of space launch vehicles, all partners agree that they must be treated as restrictively as ballistic missiles because their hardware, technology, and production facilities are interchangeable. The MTCR is informally implemented in 1985 and is publicly announced in 1987.

July 1980

India launches its first satellite with the SLV-3 rocket, a close copy of the NASA Scout.[6]

February 1982

Kalam becomes head of the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in charge of adapting space-launch vehicle technology to ballistic missiles.

May 1989

India launches its first Agni “technology dem onstrator” surface-to-surface missile. The Agni’s first stage is essentially the first stage of the SLV-3. Later, the Agni becomes a family of three short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.[7]



The United States enacts a sanctions law against missile proliferation. Two weeks later, the Soviet Union agrees to supply India with cryogenic upper-stage rockets and technology, and the two parties become the first countries sanctioned under the new U.S. law.[8]


The United States lifts sanctions on Russia after Moscow agrees to limit the transfer to a small number of rocket engines and not production technology.[9]


India launches the Polar Space Launch Ve hicle (PSLV). Stages 1 and 3 are 2.8-meter-diameter solid-fuel rockets. Stages 2 and 4 are liquid-fuel Vikas engines derived from 1980s French technology transfers.

The earliest reported date for when the Surya ICBM program, using PSLV technology, is said to have been officially authorized. However, India’s space and missile en gineers, if not the “official” Indian government, had opened the option much earlier.

May 1998

India tests nuclear weapons after decades of protesting that its nuclear program was exclu sively peaceful. The United States imposes broad sanctions on nuclear- and missile/space-related transfers.

April 1999

India launches the Agni II, an extended range missile that tests re-entry vehicle “technology [that] can be integrated with the PSLV programme to create an ICBM” according to a defense ministry official.[10]

Kalam quoted in Jane’s Defence Weekly that he wants to “neutralise” the “stranglehold” some nations have through the MTCR, which had tried but failed to “throttle” India’s missile program. “I would like to devalue missiles by selling the technology to many nations and break their stranglehold.”[11]

May 1999

Defense News cites DRDO officials as stating that the Surya is under development.[12]

November 1999

India ’s minister of state for defense (and former head of DRDO), Bachi Singh Rawat, says India is developing an ICBM known as Surya that would “have a range of up to” 5,000 kilometers. A little more than two weeks later, Rawat is reportedly stripped of his portfolio because of his disclosure.[13]


April 2001

Khrunichev State Space Science and Pro duction Center announces that it will supply five more cryogenic upper stages to India within the next three years.[14]

September 2001

The United States lifts many of the technology sanctions it imposed in 1998. Subsequently, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visits the United States amid agreement to broaden the technology dialogue.

December 2001

A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate states, “ India could convert its polar space launch vehicle into an ICBM within a year or two of a decision to do so.”[15]

July 2002

Kalam becomes president of India.

September 2002

The United States tells India it will not object to India launching foreign satellites as long as they do not contain U.S.-origin components.[16]

April 2003

The last mention of India as a proliferator or a supplier to proliferators is made in the director of central intelligence’s unclassified semi-annual report to Congress on the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.[17]

January 2004

President George W. Bush agrees to expand cooperation with India in “civilian space programs” but not explicitly to cooperate with space launches. This measure is part of a bilateral initiative dubbed “Next Steps in Strategic Partnership.”[18]

October 2004

A Russian Academy of Sciences deputy direc tor reportedly states that India is planning to increase the range of the Agni missile to 5,000 kilometers and to design the Surya ICBM with a range of 8,000-12,000 kilometers.[19]

July 2005

Bush agrees to cooperate with India on “satellite navigation and launch,” and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agrees to “adherence to Missile Technology Control Regime...guidelines.”[20]

August 2005

According to Indian Ministry of Defense sources, there are plans to use the nonc ryogenic Vikas stage for the Surya and to have the missile deliver a 2.5-3.5-metric-ton payload with two or three warheads with explosive yields of 15-20 kilotons.[21]



1. Sundara Vadlamudi, “Indo-U.S. Space Cooperation: Poised for Take-Off?” The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 12, No. 1, March 2005, p. 203.

2. Gary Milhollin, “ India’s Missiles: With a Little Help From Our Friends,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November 1989.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Vadlamudi, “Indo-U.S. Space Cooperation.”

6. Alexander Pikayev et al., “ Russia, the U.S., and the Missile Technology Control Regime,” Adelphi Paper No. 317, International Institute for Strategic Studies, March 1998.

7. Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, “ India’s Nuclear Forces, 2005,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Sep tember/October 2005.

8. Pikayev et al., “ Russia, the U.S., and the Missile Technology Control Regime.”

9. Ibid.

10. V. G. Jaideep, “ India Building ICBM With 8,000-Plus Km Range,” Asian Age, February 8, 1999, pp. 1-2; Barbara Opall-Rome, “Agni Test Undercuts U.S., Angers China,” Defense News, April 26, 1999, p. 17.

11. Agni IRBM Built to Carry Nuclear Warhead,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, April 28, 1999.

12. Vivek Raghuvanshi, “ India to Develop Extensive Nuclear Missile Arsenal,” Defense News, May 24, 1999, p. 14.

13. Canadian Security Intelligence Service, “Ballistic Missile Proliferation,” Report No. 2000/09, March 23, 2001; Iftikhar Gilani, “Premature Disclosure of ICBM Project, Rawat Stripped of Defence Portfolio,” Daily Times, November 23, 1999.

14. “Khrunichev Space Center to Supply Rocket Boosters to India,” Interfax, April 16, 2001.

15. “Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat Through 2015,” December 2001.

16. . Raja Mohan, “ U.S. Gives Space to ISRO,” Hindu , September 30, 2002, p. 11.

17. Director of Central Intelligence, “Unclassified Re port to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relat ing to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 January Through 30 June 2002,” April 2003.

18. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “Next Steps in Strategic Partnership With India,” Janu ary 12, 2004.

19. Moscow Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostey, November 1, 2004 (internet news service in English).

20. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “Joint Statement Between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” July 18, 2005.

21. N. Madhuprasad, “Boost to Indian Armed Forces’ Deterrence Arsenal; India to Develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missile,” Bangalore Deccan Herald, August 25, 2005.


Richard Speier is a private consultant on nonproliferation and counterproliferation issues. Speier spent more than 25 years in government at the Office of Management and Budget, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While in government, he helped negotiate the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). This article is based on a paper published by the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.


1. Glenn Kessler and Peter Slevin, “ Washington Post Reporters Interview Powell,” The Washington Post, October 3, 2003.

2. Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, “Joint Statement Between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” July 18, 2005.

3. For early reports, see Maurice Eisenstein, “Third World Missiles and Nuclear Proliferation,” The Washington Quarterly, Summer 1982; “Liquid Fuel Engine Tested for PSLV,” Hindustan Times, December 13, 1985, p. 1; “Growing Local Opposition to India’s Proposed National Test Range at Baliapal, Orissa,” English Language Press, October 1986; “India Faces Rising Pressure for Arms Race With Pakistan,” Christian Science Monitor, March 9, 1987, p. 1. The latest detailed report, appearing less than six-weeks after the presidents’ joint statement is N. Madhuprasad, “Boost to Indian Armed Forces’ Deterrence Arsenal; India to Develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missile,” Bangalore Deccan Herald, August 25, 2005.

4. Vivek Raghuvanshi, “Indian Scientists Poised to Test-Launch Country’s First ICBM,” Defense News, April 30, 2001, p. 26.

5. International missile nomenclature defines an ICBM as a ballistic missile with a range of 5,500 or greater. However, Indian officials have sometimes exaggerated missiles’ capabilities by bumping missiles into the next range-class.

6. Gary Milhollin, “ India’s Missiles—With a Little Help From Our Friends,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November 1989; Sundara Vadlamudi, “Indo-U.S. Space Cooperation: Poised for Take-Off?” The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 12, No. 1, March 2005, p. 203.

7. See Arun Vishwakarma, “Agni-Strategic Ballistic Missile,” April 15, 2005. The report states that India is taking a different ICBM approach: developing a 1.8-meter-diameter, solid-fuel rocket that will extend the Agni to intercontinental range and that could be the basis for a longer-range ICBM. The 1.8-meter-diameter rocket represents a combination of PSLV and Agni technology. Such a lighter ICBM makes far more military sense than a PSLV-sized missile. The lighter ICBM might be mobile and able to survive a first strike. However, Vishwakarma consistently reports far higher ranges for the existing Agni missiles than have been reported elsewhere. Given this reporting bias, Vishwakarma may be describing the wish lists of Indian engineers or programs that have not yet been funded. The PSLV exists, and the existence of a 1.8-meter-diameter missile has not yet been reported except by Vishwakarma. The impending test of the Agni-3 may reveal whether a 1.8-meter-diameter rocket stage, which could make possible a mobile ICBM, has been developed. See “Missile Plan,” Bangalore Deccan Herald, November 26, 2005; Rajiv Nayan, “Agni Three Missile: Sino-Centric?” Bangalore Deccan Herald, December 12, 2005; Sayan Majumdar, “Defense Developments for 2006,” New Delhi India Defence Consultants, January 13, 2006.

8. Moscow Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostey, November 1, 2004 (internet news service); Vishwarkarma, “Agni-Strategic Ballistic Missile.” It is possible that either or both of these references have conflated the Surya-1 with the Agni program.

9. John Wilson, “ India’s Missile Might,” The Pioneer, July 13, 1997, p. 1.

10. Brahma Chellaney, “Value of Power,” The Hindustan Times, May 19, 1999.

11. See Richard Speier et al., Nonproliferation Sanctions (Rand Corporation, 2001).

12. For an official Indian history of relations as of 2002, see http://www.indianembassy-tehran.com/india-iran.html.

13. Barbara Opall-Rome and Vivek Raghuvanshi, “India’s Balancing Act,” Defense News, September 15, 2003, p. 1; Sultan Shahin, “India Sticks With Iran, for Now,” Asia Times, September 20, 2003; Patricia Nunan, “U.S. Signals Concern About India-Iran Pipeline Project,” VOA News.com, March 17, 2005; Vivek Raghuvanshi, “India, U.S. to Boost Tech Flow,” Defense News, December 12, 2005.

14. Those sanctioned, according to the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, include Bharat Electronics Ltd., Dr. C. Surendar, Dr. Y.S.R. Prasad, NEC Engineers, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Projects and Development India Ltd., Rallis India, and Transpek Industry Ltd.

15. “ Iran’s Ballistic Missiles: Upgrades Underway,” IISS Strategic Comments, November 2003; Opall-Rome and Raghuvanshi, “ India’s Balancing Act.”

16. John Larkin, “India Bets on Nuclear Future: Backing Probe of Iran Draws Closer Look at New Delhi’s Ambitions,” The Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2005; Somini Sengupta, “Nuclear Deal and Iran Complicate Efforts by U.S. and India to Improve Ties,” The New York Times, January 23, 2006; Jo Johnson and Caroline Daniel, “New Delhi Faces a Diplomatic Balancing Act Ahead of Bush’s State Visit,” Financial Times, January 26, 2006; “India’s Left Parties Demand Recall of U.S. Envoy,” Agence France Press, January 30, 2006.

17. Nicholas Kralev, “Firm Helping Arms Program Sanctioned,” Washington Times, February 20, 2003; “Indian Police Arrest Man for Alleged Export of Chemicals to Iraq,” Agence France Presse, October 18, 2003.

18. “DRDO Plan to Export Missiles,” The Hindu, November 21, 2005.

19. Robert D. Blackwill, “The India Imperative,” The National Interest, Summer 2005, pp. 9-15.

20. Israel has already stepped into the breach to contract for an October 2006 Indian launch of an Israeli radar imaging satellite. See Barbara Opall-Rome and K. S. Jayaraman, “India to Launch Israeli Spy Sat,” Defense News, November 14, 2005, p. 1; “India to Launch Israeli Military Imaging Radar Satellite,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, November 21, 2005, p. 17.

21. Mir Ayoob Ali Khan, “Agni-III to Get Light Motor for Bigger Bombs,” The Asian Age, Oc tober 14, 2005.

22. “Report of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China,” 105th Cong., 1st sess., 1999, H. Rep. 851.

23. Bureau of Export Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, “Control Policy: End-User and End-Use Based,” Regulation Part 744. ISRO was removed from the “entities” list under a U.S.-Indian agreement signed on September 17, 2004.

Going Ballistic? Reversing Missile Proliferation

Aaron Karp

India celebrated the anniversary of its constitution Jan. 26 with the annual Republic Day parade along New Delhi’s imperial Rajpath. All the armed services were there, including horse and camel companies, but the culmination was the passing Prithvi and Agni ballistic missiles. Two months later, it was Pakistan’s turn, rolling out four ballistic missiles, including the 2,000-kilometer-range Shaheen-2, for the Pakistan Day military parade and cultural pageant.[1]

As symbols, missiles remain unsurpassed. They are the ultimate visible manifestation of many countries’ military power (nuclear bombs are best kept out of sight). Although it has been decades since missiles were on the technological cutting edge and more than 60 years since Germany launched the first V-2, they have lost little psychological resonance. Celebrated in parades and praised by national leaders, they are valued as a reaffirmation of national identity, strategic power, and importance. Their value as a symbol of high-tech destruction transcends military logic. After all, in purely military terms, it is what the warheads carry that matters, and the most significant concerns arise in their coupling with nuclear weapons. Ballistic missiles have come to symbolize both the erratic threats of paranoid dictators and the final defense of insecure nations.

The public display of ballistic missiles testifies to their widespread acceptance. It also illustrates the difficulties that have been encountered by countries seeking to control their spread. Unlike weapons of mass destruction, there is no taboo inhibiting their acquisition or forbidding their use.

Some observers maintain that we are approaching a tipping point in world history, as the nonproliferation and arms control accomplishments of the last two generations become vulnerable to reversal.[2] Ballistic missiles illustrate this risk. None of the existing barriers to ballistic missile proliferation are sufficient to prevent a setback.

One of the most important legal elements of the current framework, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), is in serious danger of being rendered ineffective as missile technology spreads. Other arms control approaches remain underdeveloped. Military responses such as pre-emption and missile defense do not work well enough to become full substitutes. Instead of a strong single mechanism, we are gradually shifting to an era in which security against ballistic missile threats depends on a collection of instruments, none fully effective, several working at cross purposes.

Rather than accepting this patchwork, it is time to re-evaluate our fundamental attitude toward the ballistic missile itself. Although the moment for visionary schemes such as banning ballistic missiles has not arrived, this is the right time to take steps in that direction. In particular, leading countries should reconsider the role of ballistic missiles in their force structures and begin to reduce their salience and visibility.

Three Multilateral Dialogues
Diplomatic responses to missile proliferation range across a broad spectrum, from the bilateral to the universal. The risks of the unrestrained spread of missile capabilities have inspired considerable imagination. Among the prominent proposals of the last few years are concepts such as globalization of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russia’s more recent Global Control System for universal rocket launch notification, and proposals for unification of export control systems or a UN verification agency. None have acquired much momentum.

Instead, it is the more familiar MTCR, the Hague Code of Conduct, and to a lesser extent the UN Panel of Government Experts that dominate multilateral activity. Although the three are often described as different approaches to a common goal, they actually aim toward distinct objectives. They are based on very different and largely incompatible assumptions. That their divergences have been overlooked is possible only because their progress has been so uneven.

The MTCR, based on export controls among a select group of countries, is the oldest and most institutionalized. The Hague Code of Conduct is much younger, based on the need for a normative principle to guide nonproliferation diplomacy. The UN experts process is the least developed, responding to pressure to find a universal agenda for missile policy.

None of the three ever claimed to be a comprehensive solution to the global spread of ballistic missiles. Indeed, they are increasingly overburdened by specific missile challenges. Even so, collectively they constitute one of the most sophisticated international dialogues on arms control and disarmament in the world today.

The MTCR appears to be doing better than ever. Since it was unveiled in 1987, it has become about as institutionalized as a voluntary, informal organization possibly can be. It has become ever more adaptable, sophisticated, and engaged as it deals with countries other than its 34 formal members and contends with additional technologies. The interest of China, Libya, and nine other countries in joining the regime illustrates the global shift in attitudes toward a mechanism previously dismissed as a poorly disguised cartel. The formerly controversial group is acquiring global acceptance, maybe even legitimacy.

At a more fundamental level, however, the MTCR is not doing so well. It has three basic problems. First, it still lacks the right members. Like many international disarmament mechanisms, it tends to preach to the choir; others try to ignore it. Some of these problems are easing. Chinese membership, for example, would be an extraordinary step toward comprehensiveness.[3] Nevertheless, there will always be countries outside of it—the North Koreas of the world.

Second, there are problems of technology. The MTCR was built on the assumption that it was sufficient to block a few key technologies. This was true when it was first conceived in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. Then the biggest export challenges came from France, Germany, and Italy.[4] After considerable protest and denial, they changed their export policies dramatically. Facilitating the task was the complexity of projects such as the Condor-2. This collaborative German-Argentine-Egyptian-Iraqi effort to create a 900-kilometer-range missile relied on relatively sophisticated technologies. Such dependence, however, made them highly vulnerable to export controls. The MTCR was not trying to restrict the simple stuff; it targeted advanced technologies. By 1989, that job was completed for the most part.[5]

The technologies available today, however, are much more difficult to restrain. At the low end, ubiquitous Scud technology is well known and readily modified. As it is available from North Korea and other secondary suppliers, it is very difficult to halt the spread of single-stage, liquid-fueled systems capable of delivering a nuclear-sized payload a distance of 280-1,200 kilometers.

No less troubling are problems at the high end of the spectrum. The revolution in global manufacturing and the shift from mechanics to electronics has created missile technologies that are much simpler, cheaper, and better. In other words, the technological bottlenecks on which export controls relied gradually are disappearing as old technologies become easier to manage and easier substitutes appear.

A prime example is solid fuel technology. With recipes from textbooks and chemicals from uncontroversial sources, amateurs are building ever-larger rockets. Last summer, a small group of American hobbyists launched a rocket weighing more than 600 kilograms that ascended several thousand feet. Another launched a smaller rocket to an altitude of almost 80 kilometers.[6] These folks literally work in their backyards and garages, building sophisticated, large rocket engines with minimal funding and no outside assistance. If this is what hobbyists do for fun, we need to reassess what governments and nonstate actors might be able to achieve in pursuit of mayhem.

A similar revolution has transformed guidance systems. The MTCR was based on the assumption that the best way to guide a long-range rocket was to install an inertial navigation system (INS). Inertial navigation was perhaps the pinnacle of mechanical engineering and among the most complicated objects ever manufactured. In the mid-1990s, it became obsolete, replaced with much simpler microelectronic mechanical systems (MEMS). Some of the key accelerometer technologies are in every car; they deploy the emergency airbag. MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers are not especially precise, but they are cheap, reliable, and easy to use. Their weaknesses are readily compensated through positional inputs from the Global Positioning System (GPS) network. MEMS technology can now be used to guide ballistic missiles, and when combined with GPS guidance,[7] its accuracy can surpass even the very best INS.

The greatest technological questions today surround acquisition of ICBMs, the issue that has preoccupied U.S. analysts since the 1998 Rumsfeld Commission report.[8] There still are important barriers to acquiring ICBMs, but they are not largely technological bottlenecks. Instead, policy considerations pose the greatest obstacles. In other words, if countries fail to acquire ICBMs in the next decade or two, it will not be because they cannot get the essential hardware. Rather, it will be because they choose not to do so.

The third major problem confronting the MTCR is the ambivalence of key members as they struggle to protect their own preferred export activities, be it cruise missiles or missile defense technology. The dedication to export prohibitions is eroding under pressure from changing strategic priorities and commercial needs.

The desire to export cruise missiles has been extremely controversial, especially French- and British-led efforts to sell the Apache/Shaheen. The United States is struggling to reconcile export control with transferring ballistic missile defense capabilities to Israel, India, and East Asian allies.[9] A literal reading of the MTCR’s core “Technology Control Annex” reveals that much of this is prohibited, including technologies shared by offensive and defensive systems such as propulsion, guidance and control.[10] In the end, a formula undoubtedly will be found permitting exporters to have it both ways, but there is a cost to be paid for weakening the credibility of the regime.

The Hague Code of Conduct
Where the MTCR relies on technological criteria to guide policy among a select group of states, the Hague Code of Conduct tries to elevate a single, consistent set of principles to guide all countries in efforts to halt ballistic missile proliferation. The undertaking is all about building moral norms, rules of the road that everyone will accept.

Completed in 2002, the Hague Code of Conduct is not a treaty for signature but a text to which states subscribe, pledging cooperation to:

• Prevent and curb the proliferation of ballistic missile systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction;

• To exercise the “maximum possible restraint” over their own ballistic missile procurement;

• Not to “contribute to, support or assist” any ballistic missile program in countries violating international obligations; and

• To implement transparency “to increase confidence and to promote non-proliferation.”[11]

With 119 subscribing states to date, this is the most important effort to correct the greatest shortcoming of the MTCR: its lack of a unifying normative principle to guide all action against the spread of ballistic missiles.[12] With its focus on collective ideals, this European initiative represents perhaps the last surviving initiative of universalist arms control and disarmament from the 1990s.

First appearing in 1999, almost exactly as the U.S. Senate rejected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the prospects for such an approach never were bright. Despite the burdens of swimming against the tide, however, the Hague Code of Conduct is integrated into the fabric of international arms control and disarmament.[13]

Although it appeals to international sensibilities, the Hague Code of Conduct was the creation of a small, self-appointed group. The founders labored to distinguish their creation from the MTCR but could not avoid the stigma and weaknesses of a concept conceived by a few and presented to the many. As it struggled to gain support— the clearest measure of success and legitimacy—the document came under strong pressure to adapt to the demands of later signatories. The result is that a relatively weak document is coming under progressively greater pressure to become even more diluted.

In this regard, the Hague Code of Conduct runs into the multilateral arms control tendency to degenerate into political logrolling. The only way to broaden voluntary participation is through appeals to specific national interests, but in doing so, universal principles and norms are diluted. The compromises inherent in negotiating a consensus tend to undermine any set of norms.

The most immediate problem is pressure to include cruise missiles. Although the original authors worried most about ballistic missiles, many subsequent and potential signatories worry more about attacks with cruise missiles, whether from the United States and its allies or from emerging powers such as India and its new Brahmos system. If it is to prosper, expanding the Hague Code of Conduct to include cruise missiles probably is inevitable, if only because so many governments want it. There are good strategic reasons to control cruise missiles,[14] but the issues are very different from ballistic missile control, involving technologies much easier to acquire, more difficult to regulate, and more widely accepted.

Nor is there any reason to believe the process will end there. If we include cruise missiles tomorrow, what about stealth attack aircraft such as the Joint Strike Fighter, designed to perform virtually identical military missions as a cruise missile? Do we include other tactical aircraft? What about precision munitions such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition?

Strong regimes depend on strong norms. Rather than watering down these restrictions, they should be made more explicit. The Hague Code of Conduct establishes a useful norm when it declares its “[r]ecognition of the need to comprehensively prevent and curb the proliferation of ballistic missile systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.” A much stronger principle would declare the possession or use of ballistic missiles unacceptable. Until we have a norm establishing that ballistic missiles are a taboo, just as landmines and biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons are for most countries already, we will not have a strong missile technology control regime.

A missile taboo remains far away. A modest step is missile test notification, an acknowledgement that with ownership comes responsibilities. As a stronger step, the Hague Code of Conduct should consider formally advocating ballistic missile dealerting. Although removing warheads or essential components for storage elsewhere does not affect the missiles themselves, it slows crisis escalation and strengthens stability. It reduces risks of unauthorized or accidental launch. To be meaningful, however, de-alerting requires someone to take the first step. De-alerting is one area where the established missile powers can take the lead, pioneering a path for others to follow.

The UN Panel of Government Experts
In theory, norms do not have to be enunciated fully mature like visions from above. It should be possible to create them through deliberation and consensus building. That was the goal of the process undertaken in 2001-2002 and 2004 by the UN Panel of Governmental Experts on Missiles, a process scheduled to resume in 2007 and representing the mirror image of the Hague Code of Conduct. Instead of allowing a like-minded faction to create a principle to be sold to the rest of the world, this process started with a diverse group representing the world in pursuit of some kind of consensus. Where the Hague Code of Conduct was essentially an effort of deductive persuasion, the UN process was a project of inductive exploration.

No one thought this was going to be easy. Many assumed it was impossible. Indeed, the greatest accomplishment of the first Panel of Governmental Experts was avoiding disaster.[15] It completed the task of producing a report in July 2002, albeit only by cutting so many corners there was precious little left on which to agree. Most blatantly, the troublesome word “missiles” was left undefined. Instead, much of the report was devoted to a seemingly anodyne list of international arms control and disarmament instruments. Included over the initial opposition of some delegations, this made the implicit point that the international community does indeed have the right to address the issue.[16]

When the second panel met in July 2004, the guarded tolerance of the first round had dissipated. The exercise collapsed with recognition of the impossibility of drafting a consensus report, with criticism of the exercise coming from several quarters, including Iran (the original sponsor of the exercise); Pakistan, who feared becoming a target of missile controls; and Egypt and other Islamic states preoccupied with Israeli nuclear weapons.[17] Unable to establish a consensus, there was nothing left to do. Near-term hopes for a global missile norm all but died then and there, but the process refuses to die. A new study and a third experts panel was authorized by the UN General Assembly later that year. In an oblique acknowledgement of the frustrations, however, the new panel will not begin until 2007.[18]

Although it has not dropped the ballistic missile issue, the United Nations’ attention has shifted. Rather than getting stuck on the hard realities of ballistic missiles, a recent report of the UN Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters recommends focusing on man-portable air-defense missiles. These have emerged as the common denominator, the technology where agreement is broadest.[19]

The UN process has not been helped by a sense that it must make an original contribution to be worthwhile. This asks too much of its delicate formula. As it tries to recover momentum, the UN process will move faster if it primarily reinforces progress elsewhere, focusing on areas where consensus is most mature already. Above all, this means reinforcing the Hague Code of Conduct. Missile test notification is a modest but concrete measure well suited to consensus machinery. More ambitiously, missile de-alerting belongs on the UN agenda as well.

No Diplomatic or Military Panaceas
One thing that none of these three arms control and disarmament avenues has created is confidence. This is of particular concern to the United States, whose global engagement makes sensitivities to nonproliferation failures especially acute. It is a measure of U.S. weariness and insecurity that its most recent innovations rely not on cooperation but coercion. Although these offer important contributions to the emerging future security architecture, they cannot solve our proliferation problems.

• Proliferation interdiction, most spectacularly through the Proliferation Security Initiative, offers a valuable tool of last resort against destabilizing exports. Whether it would prevent the recurrence of incidents such as the interception in December 2002 of the North Korean ship So San, with a cargo of 15 Scud missiles bound for Yemen, is not clear. As Libya’s renunciation of its weapons of mass destruction programs showed, interdiction can help enormously, but it is too narrow and reactive to halt basic proliferation trends.

• Missile defense remains technically rudimentary and has not been adequately tested. Intended to respond to deterrence failures, it is not reliable enough to inspire confidence. It joins the global security equation as a source of additional doubt rather than transcendent certainty.[20]

• When interdiction fails and missile defense is inadequate, pre-emptive nonproliferation warfare may become more difficult to resist. It has been tried roughly a dozen times since the Allies tried to destroy Norway’s Vemark heavy-water plant and the German V-2 program at Peenemünde in 1943.[21] Operation Iraqi Freedom did not enhance preemption’s image, but we have not seen the last of it.

As dramatic as these three military departures appear, in at least one vital aspect they are identical to the three diplomatic avenues. None offer a comprehensive solution and none are sufficient responses to the challenges of missile proliferation. Missile defense is not a solution to the problem. Pre-emptive war amounts to a very costly way of slowing down a determined proliferator, not halting them. We have searched through the diplomatic and military vernaculars, only to prove there are no panaceas for missile worries.

Indeed, military alternatives might best be appreciated as vehicles enabling us to pursue an arms control agenda more aggressively. Like all other active approaches to the problem, they ultimately can only buy time. Although this is not glorious, it is not bad either. Time is useful if used well.

First Steps to Reverse Proliferation
Multilateral approaches lack the tools, but they undoubtedly have the right idea. The only enduring solution to ballistic missile proliferation is to degrade the missile itself. In lieu of a taboo making procurement inconceivable and use unacceptable, proliferation will continue. As long as ballistic missiles are maintained as a source of pride, they will continue to arouse jealousy and imitation. As long as major powers invest in ballistic missiles for their security, it is only with luck that others can be convinced not to do the same.

The most straightforward alternative is banning ballistic missiles outright. In its current form, the idea originated with President Ronald Reagan at the surreal 1986 Reykjavik summit where he and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev may have come near to a deal to ban all “offensive ballistic missiles.” Since then, it has acquired a gentle stream of support. Advocates of an outright ballistic missile ban have everything in their favor: logic, stability, and security[22]—everything except any prospect of near-term success.

The 1990s showed that most major powers were willing to trim their ballistic missile forces substantially. Rather than building momentum toward eliminating such systems, however, these efforts appear to have run their course. Ballistic missiles remain fundamental elements of their deterrent forces, and have often only increased in importance. For some countries, they serve as totems of national identity as well. The trends in development and deployment favor modernization, if not expansion.

Such trends do not portend a global arms race—far from it. The stability of ballistic missile forces, however, reaffirms the importance of such weapons, forming an additional barrier to global progress against proliferation. Even if a country’s missiles endanger no one, the mere fact that someone is clinging to them sends out a message that others are bound to hear.

If we are serious about dealing with ballistic missile proliferation, we have to stop making distinctions between missiles— theirs are destabilizing, mine are just fine. To be sure, some owners are infinitely more alarming than others. In the short run, such distinctions are essential for effective security policy. A long-term solution, however, requires that we begin to see all ballistic missiles as undesirable. Recognizing the connection between the ballistic missiles of established powers and those of relative newcomers is an essential step for ending proliferation.

Agreement on the elimination of chemical and biological weapons and anti-personnel mines became feasible only after leading powers declared they lacked any intrinsic interest in having them. This is not yet true of ballistic missiles, a weapon that remains much more legitimate. Yet, once we express a desire to be free of these weapons, however distant the ambition, we will achieve a crucial step toward global prohibition.

The first concrete steps toward a ballistic missile taboo need not be revolutionary, nor need the final goal even be part of the process. Test notifications will help build stability. De-alerting would achieve even more. Above all, what is needed is a ban on new weapons. A process could be initiated with one country’s unilateral statement of intent not to procure additional ballistic missiles or to modernize current inventories. A more ambitious declaration would announce phased reductions.

To be effective, policies to end reliance on missile forces would require widespread international support, but the first steps could come from any of the major powers. Even the modest acts of one of the secondary ballistic missile powers would be enough to start the creation of a taboo. Although others might continue to modernize or expand their forces, they would be compelled for the first time to justify such steps before a global audience. In the business of norm creation, the simple act of justification is tantamount to accepting the principle’s existence. By creating a cloud of doubt around the probity of ballistic missiles generally, reversal of proliferation will become truly feasible.

The Status of the Major Nuclear-Weapon States' Ballistic Missile Forces

China continues gradual introduction of a new generation of solid-fuel ballistic missiles, including the DF-31, China’s first fully modern ICBM. Initially deployed in 1999, approximately eight were in service as of mid-2004.[1] Early versions reportedly have a range of 8,000 kilometers with a single warhead, but extended range versions with multiple independently targeted re-entry vehicles have been reported as well. Another ICBM, the DF-41, has been reported in development since the mid-1980s. This weapon is said to be much larger, but details remain obscure. Whether these systems will complement or replace the country’s inventory of roughly 20-24 deployed DF-5 liquid-fueled ICBMs remains unclear. Production of short-range systems continues at a much faster pace, with about 50-70 additional missiles reportedly deployed opposite Taiwan annually, about 700 in all so far.[2]

France abandoned its land-based ballistic missiles in the 1990s but has just ordered final development and production of the M51, a new generation of sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). With a range of more than 6,000 kilometers, these reportedly will be able to reach China from normal patrols.[3] Deployment is scheduled to begin in 2010 and production is expected to total 50 missiles.[4] Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin justified the project as “a basic component of France’s independence.”[5]

Russia is simultaneously cutting and modernizing its ICBM and SLBM forces. A recent report notes that the land-based ICBM force is expected to decline from 496 missiles today to about 313 by 2010.[6] Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin has publicly praised strategic modernization efforts.[7] The service lives of older, liquid-fueled SS-18 and SS-19 ICBMs are being extended for an additional 10-20 years of operation.[8] Simultaneously, development is being completed on a new generation of solid-fuel systems: a road-mobile version of the Topol-M solid-fueled ICBM, scheduled for deployment in 2006, and the Bulava-30 solid-fuel SLBM.[9] Development of a new short-range ballistic missile, the 280-kilometer-range Iskander, also has been completed.

The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom stands out for its apparent contentment with a force of 58 Trident-2 SLBMs, acquired in the 1980s and 1990s to arm its four Vanguard-class submarines.[10] A decision on whether to replace the Trident missiles and Vanguard submarines is likely in 2007.[11]

The United States
The United States began a 15-year service-life extension program for the 500 Minuteman-3 ICBMs in 1997. No new Minuteman ICBMs have been built since 1979, but modernization includes new motors, guidance, and ground-support systems.[12] There are further plans to improve the range and accuracy of the existing fleet under the “Minuteman-3 Elite” program.[13] The Navy’s D5 Trident-2 SLBM remains in lowrate production, with orders for six to 12 annually. There has been official discussion about fielding a new land-based ICBM, possibly beginning in 2018, but there are no firm plans.[14] Current debates focus more on the possibility of adapting long-range ballistic missiles to conventional missions.[15] The last of the 50 MX Peacekeepers will be deactivated this September.[16]


1. The Military Balance 2004-2005 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 170.

2. “Taipei: China Missile Threat Grows,” CNN.com, January 31, 2005.

3. Laurent Zecchini, “In Brest, Michele Alliot-Marie Defends the New Generation M51 Nuclear Missile,” Le Monde, January 13, 2005 (FBIS translation).

4. Isabelle Lasserre, “France Modernizes Its Nuclear Deterrent,” Le Figaro, January 15, 2005 (FBIS translation).

5. “France Arms Procurement Body Places 3-BN Euro Order for Submarine Missiles,” Agence France Presse, December 23, 2004.

6. Ivan Safronov, “Russian Missiles Will Die of Age, Nuclear Disarmament,” Kommersant, April 1, 2005 (FBIS translation).

7. Steven Lee Myers, “Putin Says New Missile Systems Will Give Russia A Nuclear Edge,” The New York Times, November 18, 2004, p. A3.

8. “Russian Strategic Missile Forces Working to Extend Missile’s Service Lives,” Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostey, May 6, 2004 (FBIS translation).

9. Nikolay Khorunzhiy, “Missile Arms Expert Vladimir Dvorkin: Maneuverable Warheads Could Also Be Used,” Izvestiya, November 30, 2004, p. 7; Igor Korotchenko, “The Topic: Underwater Strike, Successful Tests of Buluva-30 Missile Complex Held,” Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, September 29, 2004, p. 1 (FBIS translation).

10. Military Balance 2004-2005, p. 73.

11. Andrew Chuter, “Old Problems Await New U.K. Government,” Defense News, April 11, 2005, p. 4.

12. “Minuteman Motor Production Resumes After a Nine-Month Gap,” Jane’s Missiles and Rockets, September 2004.

13. Scott R. Gourley, “Minuteman III Elite Concept Emerging,” International Defense Review, July 2004.

14. Amy Butler, “Hatch Pushes for ICBM Enhancement Funds,” Defense Daily, January 29, 2004, p. 7.

15. Jeremy Singer, “AF Space Command to Study Arming ICBMs With Conventional Warheads,” Defense News, October 25, 2004, p. 44.

16. Walter Pincus, “Commander Seeks Alternate Uses for ICBMs,” The Washington Post, April 21, 2005, p. A24.

Notification of Missile Tests: The Easiest Step in Confidence Building?

Pre-notification of missile test flights is a familiar part of the confidence-building canon, but implementation has been tough. This was illustrated by the fate of the proposed U.S.-Russian Joint Data Exchange Center, conceived to minimize confusion over ballistic missile launches that could be mistaken for a first strike. Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin agreed to set up a Moscow-based center in September 1998. Details were finalized in June 2000, requiring pre-notification of all ballistic missile tests greater than 500 kilometers.[1] As of this writing, however, the center still has not opened, ostensibly because of lack of interest on both sides.

The idea is extremely relevant anywhere missile flights are a strategic concern. It is endorsed by the Hague Code of Conduct and has support in South Asia, where tests are highly publicized and provocative political signals. India and Pakistan agreed to notify each other of such tests in the 1999 Lahore Memorandum of Understanding: “The two sides undertake to provide each other with advance notification in respect of ballistic missile flight tests, and shall conclude a bilateral agreement in this regard.”[2] Subsequently, both countries have usually warned each other, and often the United States, a few days before major flight tests.

After India’s Congress Party formed a new government in May 2004, the two countries have attempted to construct a more formal regime. Talks in July 2004 in Islamabad between Indian Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf authorized formal negotiations. At a meeting last December, the two “discussed and narrowed further their differences on the draft agreement on pre-notification of flight testing of ballistic missiles, and agreed to work towards its early finalization.”[3]

Although the participants hope to complete an agreement this summer, several serious issues remain unresolved:

• The types of missiles to be included. Pakistan wants to include all missiles, including the Russian- Indian Brahmos cruise missile, while India wants an agreement limited to “long-range” ballistic missiles, possibly to exclude their short-range Prithvi missiles.

• The location of tests. India wants to restrict launches to sites at least 100 kilometers from any national border. Pakistan, citing geographic constraints, seeks to test from sites closer to its boundaries.

• The number of days before a test that notification would be required.

• The directions in which test launches would be permitted.

• How much information to provide about the size of areas that could be impacted by missiles. Negotiators are attempting to reconcile the requirements of maritime and aviation safety with preservation of secrecy of missile accuracy.

• The rules governing notification of third parties, such as the United States.

• What mode the two countries should employ in notifying each other.

As the talks continue, the negotiating agenda has grown and bogged down. It increasingly appears that the process can be rescued only by high-level intervention. Meanwhile, both sides continue with informal notification of major ballistic missile tests.[4]


1. Memorandum of Agreement Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on the Establishment of a Joint Center for the Exchange of Data from Early Warning Systems and Notifications of Missile Launches, signed June 4, 2000.

2. The text of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Indian Foreign Secretary K. Raghunath and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad in Lahore on February 21, 1999, is available at http://www. usip.org.

3. Joint statement of the meeting between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, Islamabad, December 28, 2004.

4. Shaiq Hussain, “Informal Talks for Missile Test Agreement,” The Nation (Islamabad), February 23, 2005.

Aaron Karp is an adjunct professor of political science at Old Dominion University in Virginia and author of Ballistic Missile Proliferation: The Politics and Techniques (Oxford University Press: 1996).


1. “Ghauri, Shaheen Missiles, Tanks Displayed at Pakistan Day Parade,” PTV World, March 23, 2005 (FBIS translation).

2. Kurt M. Campbell, Robert J. Einhorn and Mitchell B. Reiss, eds., The Nuclear Tipping Point: Why States Reconsider Their Nuclear Choices (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2004).

3. Victor Zaborsky, “Does China Belong in the Missile Technology Regime?” Arms Control Today, October 2004, pp. 20-26.

4. The best introduction to the birth of the MTCR is Richard Speier, “The Missile Technology Control Regime: Case Study of a Multilateral Negotiation” (manuscript, U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington, D.C., November 1995).

5. The early years of MTCR implementation are the subject of Wyn Bowen, The Politics of Ballistic Missile Nonproliferation (London: Macmillan, 2000).

6. Neil McGilvray, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me a Crane and Some Scaffolding,” High Power Rocketry, vol. 35, no. 6 (September 2004): 6-47.

7. The unclassified literature on MEMS and GPS/ INS is surprising large, a direct result of its commercial importance. A useful summary of the export control issues is Vago Muradian, “Little Chip, Big Problems: How a Solid-State Gyro Is Reshaping U.S. Export Policy,” Defense News, November 24, 2003, p. 1.

8. Greg Thielmann, “Rumsfeld Reprise? The Missile Report That Foretold the Iraq Intelligence Controversy,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2003, pp. 3-8.

9. Bradley Graham, “U.S. Controls Hamper Foreign Role in Missile Defense,” The Washington Post, October 19, 2003, p. A27; Amy Svitak and Gopal Ratnam; “Missile Defense vs. Non-Proliferation: White House Policy Tests International Limits,” Defense News, July 14, 2003.

10. Richard Speier, “Complementary or Competitive? Missile Controls vs. Missile Defense,” Arms Control Today, June 2004.

11. The text is available on the website of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, available at http://www.bmaa.gv.at/up-media/114_HCOC.pdf.

12. Subscribing states are available at http://www.bmaa.gv.at.

13. Mark Smith, “On Thin Ice: First Steps for the Ballistic Missile Code of Conduct,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2002, pp. 9-13.

14. Dennis M. Gormley, “New Developments in Unmanned Air Vehicles and Land-Attack Cruise Missiles,” SIPRI Yearbook 2003: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), chap. 12.

15. For the analysis by the primary consultants to the panel, see W. Pal S. Sidhu and Christophe Carle, “Managing Missiles: Blind Spot or Blind Alley?” Disarmament Diplomacy, no. 72 (August/September 2003) pp. 25-29.

16. The Issue of Missiles in All Its Aspects: Report of the Secretary-General, A/57/229, July 23, 2002.

17. UN Panel of Governmental Experts participant, conversation with author, March 30, 2005.

18. First Committee, UN General Assembly, “Missiles,” A/C.1/59/L.6/Rev.1, October 26, 2004.

19. “Multilateral Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Regimes and the Role of the United Nations: An Evaluation,” DDA Occasional Paper no. 8 (New York: UN Department for Disarmament Affairs, October 2004), pp. 29-34.

20. For further development of this perspective, see Aaron Karp, “The New Indeterminacy of Deterrence and Missile Defense,” Contemporary Security Policy, April 2004.

21. Robert S. Litwak, “The New Calculus of Preemption,” Survival, Winter 2002-03, pp. 53-80.

22. Alton Frye, “Zero Ballistic Missiles,” Foreign Policy, no. 88 (Fall 1992), pp. 3-20; Steve Andreasen, “Reagan Was Right: Let’s Ban Ballistic Missiles,” Survival, Spring 2004, pp. 117-129.




Germany, NATO Advance Missile Defenses

Wade Boese

German lawmakers in late April cleared the way for Berlin to continue work with the United States and Italy on a battlefield air and missile defense system. All three countries belong to NATO, which recently agreed to establish a battle management system to help coordinate and integrate missile defense operations among its 26 members.

After months of debate, the Bundestag’s budget committee April 20 approved more than $1 billion in funding for the design and development phase of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS). Initiated in 1996, MEADS is intended to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and combat aircraft. The main elements of the system will be a mobile launcher and, initially, the U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor, which destroys incoming targets by colliding with them.

Italy and the United States had already signed on to the design and development phase last year. (See ACT, November 2004.) This phase of the program, orignally slated to begin in 1999, is to last nine years and involve up to 10 intercept tests in total.

The Bundestag had been expected to approve German participation in the program in February, but a surprise debate erupted. The Green Party, which forms the German government’s ruling coalition with the Social Democrats, led the opposition to MEADS and won several concessions before dropping its objections. Among other steps, the budget committee postponed a planned purchase of anti-tank missiles for attack helicopters and approved an accelerated withdrawal of anti-vehicle mines from Germany’s weapons stockpiles.

Participation in the design and development phase does not bind Germany to buying systems. Green Party defense spokesperson Winfried Nachtwei told Arms Control Today May 19 that a final German decision on MEADS would occur in September 2008.

Current program plans envision the United States as acquiring 48 MEADS firing units, Germany half that number, and Italy another nine. Six launchers with up to a dozen missiles each make up a firing unit.

With more of its members pursuing missile defenses, NATO approved a plan March 11 to develop an umbrella system to help members operate their individual systems collectively. The goal is to have the battle management command and control center, which is expected to cost nearly $900 million, set up by 2010 in The Hague.

The nascent battle management system only applies to systems designed to defend deployed forces against shortand medium-range ballistic missiles. The alliance has another study underway on how to protect their territories and populations against long-range ballistic missiles. That study is scheduled to be completed in June.

Notwithstanding the NATO study, Washington is consulting with several European capitals about deploying long-range missile interceptors on their territories within the next several years. The Pentagon has discussed this option with the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and possibly others. (See ACT, May 2005.)




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