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"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."
– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
November 2005
Edition Date: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
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IAEA Unlikely to Refer Iran to Security Council

Paul Kerr

On Nov. 24, following an anticipated report from Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors is set to evaluate Iran’s cooperation with a Sept. 24 resolution that found Tehran in “non-compliance” with its agency safeguards agreement. Although Iran seems unlikely to comply with all of the resolution’s demands, there seems to be little chance that the board will refer the matter to the UN Security Council.

Under the IAEA statute, the board is required to notify the Security Council if a state-party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is found in noncompliance with its agency safeguards agreement. Such agreements allow the agency to monitor NPT states-parties’ declared civilian nuclear activities to ensure that they are not diverted to military purposes.

However, the September resolution does not specify when or under what circumstances such a referral will take place. Iran violated its safeguards agreement by conducting clandestine work on several nuclear programs and has yet to resolve a number of questions, especially with regard to its gas centrifuge-based uranium-enrichment program. (See ACT, October 2005.) Uranium enrichment can produce both fuel for civilian nuclear reactors or fissile material for nuclear weapons.

IAEA board decisions are usually made by consensus, but a Department of State official told Arms Control Today Oct. 17 that Washington anticipates that the board would have to vote on any future referral decision because of the contentious nature of the Iran dispute.

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph told an academic audience Oct. 21 that, after receiving such a referral, the council could seek to “reinforce” the IAEA’s efforts, perhaps by calling on Iran to cooperate with the agency and giving the IAEA “new, needed authority to investigate all Iranian weaponization efforts.”

Still, a State Department source told Arms Control Today Oct. 28 that Iran will likely avoid Security Council referral at this month’s board meeting by providing the IAEA with “at least superficial cooperation.” The official would not describe the extent of Iran’s cooperation, but Reuters and the Associated Press reported Oct. 20 that Iran gave the IAEA some documents and allowed agency inspectors to interview a government official.

The September resolution calls on Iran to “implement transparency measures,” such as providing IAEA inspectors with procurement documents and access to certain Iranian officials. These steps are not required by Iran’s safeguards agreement, but the agency believes them necessary for developing a complete history of Iran’s nuclear efforts.

Stalled Diplomacy, Possible Compromises

The September resolution also urges Iran to suspend operating its uranium-conversion facility near Isfahan and resume talks with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The two sides had been engaged in negotiations since November 2004 to resolve concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran agreed at that time to suspend operations at the Isfahan facility for the duration of the negotiations, but the talks broke down when Iran restarted the facility in August.

Tehran has said that it is willing to return to the bargaining table but will not suspend the facility’s operation. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Oct. 23 that Iran would continue its nuclear efforts until its “fuel cycle becomes operational.”

Uranium-conversion facilities convert lightly processed uranium ore into several uranium compounds, including uranium hexafluoride, which is the feedstock for gas centrifuges. Iran is permitted to operate uranium-enrichment facilities under IAEA safeguards, but both the United States and the Europeans are concerned that Iranian expertise gained from operating enrichment facilities will support a nuclear weapons program.

The Europeans still want Iran to suspend conversion operations and respond to their August proposal, which laid out incentives aimed at persuading Iran to cease its enrichment program permanently. (See ACT, September 2005.)

But the State Department official told Arms Control Today that the Europeans are now exploring solutions that would allow Tehran to keep a limited uranium-conversion capability, perhaps by permitting Iran to produce some uranium compounds but not uranium hexafluoride.

A Western diplomat asked about this possible compromise said that the Europeans’ formal position is that Iran should give up its nuclear fuel programs. But a “credible” proposal allowing Iran to retain a residual conversion capability would not be “ruled out automatically,” the diplomat admitted.

In an effort to strengthen ongoing multilateral diplomacy, the United States and Europeans have increasingly focused on efforts to persuade Russia, who currently opposes a Security Council referral, to change its position. As a permanent member of that body, Russia can veto any Security Council action. Moscow is also widely believed to have considerable influence on Tehran.

Russia and China—another veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council—abstained from voting for the September resolution. Asked about Chinese opposition to a council referral, the State Department official indicated that U.S. officials believe Beijing would moderate its position if Russia does so.

At a press conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters Oct. 15 that the IAEA should “do everything possible” to resolve concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program before referring the matter to the Security Council. But he also emphasized “the necessity” for Tehran to cooperate with the IAEA.

The United States is encouraging Russia to propose creative solutions to facilitate the Europeans’ diplomacy, although there is no indication that Russia will join the talks.

For example, Moscow has proposed that Iran share ownership of a uranium-enrichment plant located in Russia, the State Department official said. Designed to address Iran’s claim that it cannot rely on outside nuclear fuel suppliers, this proposal could be combined with Moscow’s months-old proposal to enrich Iranian uranium in Russia. It would also satisfy Washington’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, the official added. Lavrov mentioned the joint-ownership proposal to his Iranian counterpart during a recent meeting, and Moscow is awaiting Iran’s reaction.

Washington anticipates that Iran will reject the offer, the State Department official said, but argued that such a decision would demonstrate Iran’s lack of interest in compromise and make Russia more likely to support the U.S. position.

South Africa has also reportedly offered its own compromise that would allow Iran to convert South African uranium to uranium hexafluoride. The gas would then be sent back to the country. South African embassy and foreign ministry officials did not respond to requests for further details.

The Western diplomat, however, said that no country has approached the Europeans with a proposal. In fact, no government is performing an intermediary role between the two sides, the diplomat said.

Iran Adrift?

Tehran’s more aggressive diplomatic stance since Ahmadinejad’s June election has drawn criticism from some prominent Iranian figures, such as former presidential candidate and current head of Iran’s Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who have called for a more moderate approach.

But, whether Iran’s policies will change remains unclear. Iran had shown signs of moderation by its apparent cooperation with the IAEA and its failure to carry out recent threats to resume work on its other enrichment-related facilities. However, Ahmadinejad’s Oct. 26 call for the destruction of Israel provoked widespread international condemnation and cast further doubt on Tehran’s ability and desire to conduct cooperative diplomacy.

Courting the NAM

To try to win greater support for its preferred hard-line position on Iran at the IAEA, Washington has also lately made an effort to reach out to developing countries, such as those belonging to the Nonaligned Movement (NAM).

These efforts, such as a September statement from U.S. Ambassador Gregory Schulte that emphasized U.S. support for peaceful nuclear energy, are meant to counter Iran’s efforts to gain support among developing countries. Iran has portrayed U.S. and European nuclear diplomacy as an attempt to deny such countries access to peaceful nuclear technology.

NAM countries have generally shown some sympathy to Iran at past board meetings and frequently display an ambivalence regarding nonproliferation efforts in general. Although these governments express concern about the spread of nuclear weapons, they also fault the NPT nuclear-weapon states, such as the United States, for lagging in their disarmament commitments under the treaty.

The State Department official and the Western diplomat differed as to the extent to which Iran’s argument has been effective. Indeed, the September vote tally reflects a degree of disunity within the NAM countries. All told, 22 board members voted for the September resolution, with 12 abstentions and Venezuela casting the only negative vote. Aside from Venezuela, all NAM board members either supported the resolution or abstained from voting. But the board has subsequently added some new members less favorable to the United States: Belarus, Cuba and Syria.

Demonstrating the situation’s complexity, U.S. officials are still lobbying India to support a future Security Council referral. New Delhi voted for the September resolution, but issued a statement later that day which disputed the resolution’s key noncompliance finding.

A source from NAM chair Malaysia told Arms Control Today Oct. 19 that the NAM wants Iran to resolve its outstanding issues with the IAEA but is concerned that removing the issue from the agency at this time would be “counterproductive” and could damage the IAEA’s integrity. However, the source indicated that the NAM could eventually support a Security Council referral if Iran persists in its failure to cooperate fully with the agency.

Apparently referring to Washington’s disregard for UN weapons inspectors’ findings prior to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the source emphasized that the NAM would base its Iran assessments on reports from the IAEA rather than an “individual country.”

 

IAEA Iran Vote Tally

Paul Kerr

Below is how the then-members of the IAEA Board of Governors voted on a Sept. 24 resolution that said Iran was in “non-compliance” with its safeguards agreement. The resolution was adopted with 22 board members voting for it, 1 against, and 12 abstaining. Some of the board members have subsequently changed.

For Resolution
Argentina
Australia
Belgium
Canada
Ecuador
France
Germany
Ghana
Hungary
India
Italy
Japan
Republic of Korea
Netherlands
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Singapore
Slovakia
Sweden
United Kingdom and
Northern Ireland
United States

Against Resolution
Venezuela

Abstaining
Algeria
Brazil
China
Mexico
Nigeria
Pakistan
Russian Federation
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Tunisia
Vietnam
Yemen

 

Defending Missile Defense: An Interview with Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering

Wade Boese and Miles A. Pomper

President George W. Bush has made fielding missile defenses a priority. In pursuit of this objective, he withdrew the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, has requested nearly $38 billion in missile defense funding since taking office, and last year ordered the deployment of the initial elements of a defense against long-range ballistic missiles. On Sept. 29, Arms Control Today interviewed Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, who oversees the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), about the current status of and future plans for U.S. anti-missile systems.

ACT: We appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. Could you provide our readers with a snapshot of the current status of ballistic missile defense efforts, particularly the ground-based midcourse system?

Obering: First of all, I want to make a couple of points. The ground-based system is of course the most visible and one of the more complex components of our missile defense system. But it is part of a larger capability that we are building, and that is an integrated ballistic missile defense system. It will consist of space-based sensors, sea-based defenses, land-based defenses—along with sea- and land-based sensors—tied to command and control centers. So, we are building an integrated and layered system.

Now, specifically to the ground-based midcourse system, it is the part of the system that is capable at this point of protecting against long-range missile threats. We attack them in the midcourse phase.[1] Since the summer of 2004, we have been emplacing interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska, and at Vandenberg, California. We currently have seven interceptors placed at Fort Greely and two in California. They are supported by the Defense Support Program satellites, which we have had for years for early-warning purposes, and the Cobra Dane radar in the Aleutian Islands, which we just had a very successful test of. In that test on [Sept. 26], we launched an actual long-range target out of the back of a C-17. It comes down in parachutes and then ignites and comes on a threat trajectory into the defended area across the radar. We proved in that test that we were able to detect, track, classify, and generate a fire-control solution against that missile with the interceptors and the actual hardware and software that we have in an operational configuration today.

ACT: Let me ask you a question on the interceptors placed at Fort Greely. Last October, the appropriate military commands began putting the system through a “shakedown.” Initially, this was described as a process that would last several weeks, but it has now been underway for nearly a year, and the system is yet to be declared operational. Why is that?

Obering: Well, I do not know who classified that as only being for several weeks.[2] I am unaware of that. What we decided to do was what you would do with any system of this complexity, much like taking a ship on a shakedown cruise. That is what we have been doing since last October.

Let me get to a broader point here for just a second and then come back. We live in a different world then when we signed the ABM Treaty during the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The way that we acquired, produced, developed, and tested [weapons] systems grew up in that Cold War environment. And, to be very frank, there was not a sense of urgency then that we have developed in this day and age. So, we felt we were totally defenseless against a country that would develop a long-range or even, for that matter, a medium-range threat against the United States. We had no defense against that. In [missile defense] testing we did from 2000 to 2002,[3] we successfully intercepted targets. We did that with a prototype of the [exoatmospheric] kill vehicle (EKV)[4] that we have in the ground today. That gave us enough confidence that we had a capability that we ought to start getting out the door, again, because we had no defense at all. Had we been attacked, I would have been hard-pressed to say why I did not try to start getting that capability into the field. So, that was the rationale behind starting to put out a defensive line of capabilities. Is it perfect? No. Is it what we are going to have for the future in terms of this idea? No. We are going to continue to improve this.

In fact, we have already had at least two major configuration changes to the system with respect to updated software in the fire control system of the command-and-control and battle management system. We continue to develop and wring those out. We have demonstrated that we can take the system from what we would call a developmental state, where we are upgrading this software or upgrading a configuration, into an operational alert state and then back. We will continue to do this as we improve and upgrade the system. But the point is that, when we are in this development mode, we can come out of that into an operational mode, should we have to, for real world purposes. That is something that is important. You can continue to build a system and improve it while having that inherent capability.

ACT: Is there going to be a point when you are going to declare the system operational?

Obering: Well, first of all, I do not make that call. I am responsible for developing the system and getting it out there. There are a lot of factors that go into what you declare in terms of the capability, not the least of which, obviously, is the technical readiness or the maturity of the system. From a technical and performance perspective, we have a capability that we can use. Had we followed that classic [development] model that I talked about in the Cold War era, we would just now begin to probably start some of our testing to support a fielding decision, meaning that we would be three or four years away from having any operational defensive capability. We would be launching targets and interceptors in our test bed in the South Pacific, but in terms of a real live operational capability against a real world threat, we would not have anything.

This idea of concurrent development and test, development and test, development and test, with inherent capability, is a model that we need to pursue for today’s environment. We have used it on other programs. We used it on Global Hawk and on Predator.[5] In this particular instance where you do not have anything, I think it is very appropriate.

ACT: Two years ago, then-Undersecretary of Defense Edward Aldridge predicted the [ground-based] system would have a 90 percent chance of successfully taking out a North Korean ballistic missile. A few months ago, you noted that the system has a “better-than-zero” chance of hitting an incoming missile. What accounts for this seemingly large discrepancy, and how do you rate the current system’s ability to intercept a ballistic missile warhead?

Obering: What I meant by “better-than-zero” is that, if you do not have anything in the field, you have zero. The specific percentage of the system’s effectiveness is classified. That is why I do not articulate what that is. Now, Undersecretary Aldridge made a comment in testimony, and I do not know the context of that in terms of how he made or why he made that remark. But I can tell you that not only is it better than zero, which is what we had a year ago, it is much, much better than zero. I just cannot get into what those details are. Nor, I think, would the American public expect that because we do not typically go into those kinds of details for our systems.

ACT: What is that assessment of “much, much better than zero” based on?

Obering: The testing that we have done to date. It is based on the confidence that we have continued to build in the system. I want to go back and iterate a little bit about that. A lot of times, critics say, “it is untested, it is unproven, etc.” The fact of the matter is the basic functionality of the system—the ability to intercept a target traveling at the speeds that we are talking about,[6] the ability to engage in a terminal engagement and destroy the target—we have seen that in intercepts that we have done in the 2000-2002 time frame. We took the kill vehicle that accomplished those intercepts, and we improved it by making it more producible and making it a more robust design. The booster that we have in the ground today, we have actually flown successfully in the current configuration twice before and in a similar configuration another time. Is the system designed for a very, very complex threat suite? The answer is no. But what it can handle is what we anticipate the threat to be in the near term. We will evolve and improve the system over time to handle what we think the threat is going to evolve to.

ACT: You mentioned testing. There has not been a successful intercept test since October 2002. The interceptors that are deployed now in Alaska and California are comprised of boosters and kill vehicles that have never been flight-tested together. What gives you confidence that these interceptors will work?

Obering: Good question. I want to be a little specific about why we have not had a successful test since 2002. A large measure of that time was to stand down because we thought we had learned as much as we could learn from those tests. We had basically wrung out those configurations as much as we could. A large measure of that stand-down was to take the money that we would have had in further testing of that design and put it into the development of the [interceptor] configuration that we have in the holes today.

When we came back up online last year to begin our flight testing again, we ran into a problem in December and a problem in February.[7] Those problems had nothing to do with the basic functionality of the system. They were basically technical glitches.

In December, we had a software timing issue in the booster; we actually flew with that twice before. It was easily fixed. It was one parameter in one software line of code.

In terms of the February test, we had a ground support arm in a silo that did not clear out of the way. That turned out to be workmanship and a quality control issue. Let me explain. We have two silos down in the South Pacific that we test out of. The particular configuration of the silo that we were testing out of in February happened to be for a booster configuration that is no longer in the program, and there had to be some modifications done to that silo to accommodate the booster that we now have in Alaska and California. It was the workmanship surrounding the modifications to that test silo that led to this failure. This was not the rocket science part. We determined that, based on workmanship, there was some salt air fog that got into the silo. It corroded a hinge and that is what [led to the failure]. We do not have that problem in Alaska or in California with respect to the silos.

Since we had the failures in December and in February, I wanted to make sure that we had wrung everything out. Because when you have two failures in a row like that, even when they are peripheral to the basic functionality of the system, you want to make sure that you do not have any other problems lurking, especially when you talk about quality-control, workmanship, and that type of thing. I established the Independent Review Team to take a look at the program and review every aspect of it, basically soup-to-nuts, and to tell me where we needed to pay attention. They made some great recommendations. Since May, we have been going through the items that they have recommended, and we have laid out a systematic test program that we plan to get back into here in a couple of months. In the meantime, we have been taking components of the booster and the kill vehicle and putting them through qualification testing. We have been doing full qualification testing on the booster’s software. So, those have been the pacing items to get us back into flight testing.

ACT: You mentioned the Independent Review Team. Their conclusion was that there was not enough flight data to validate [testing] models and simulations. Once again, how do you have confidence that the interceptors will work?

Obering: Well, the major conclusion that they had is that there were no design flaws that they could tell in the system. That was one of the primary [findings] they made. You almost never have enough flight-test data to validate all the simulations and models that you need. However, I can tell you, for the booster configuration that is sitting in the silos in Alaska and California, we have flown that. And those models for the flight test have very accurately predicted the performance of those boosters, including the launch environments and everything else. We have to have more flight-test data. There is no doubt about that. But we can now get that data as part of our flight-test program and, at the same time, have at least some type of capability, should we need it, to counter an operational, real world threat. This is not a game. It tends to be a game sometimes, I think, inside the beltway.

ACT: If I may, what’s the reasoning behind conducting the next two flight tests without a target and then waiting to go back to intercept testing next year?

Obering: First of all, any time that you go through that type of systematic exhaustive review of your program, you want to go back and make sure that you minimize the variability when you resume testing. We want to take this a step at a time now. We are being very conservative to make sure that we have thought through everything.

The rationale for not flying against a target in the next flight test is we want to make sure we can take the kill vehicle through its paces. We are going to be able to do some things with that kill vehicle now that we would not be able to do if we were flying against a target. For example, if there is no target when the kill vehicle opens its eyes, it is going to do some maneuvers that we have not had to do in the recent test program.

The reason we are going to fly the second flight test without a target is because we are going to start launching the interceptor out of an operational site, which is Vandenberg. You do not do that overnight. You have got to make sure that you have tested the crews, that they are ready. Moving to a new site means you have new aspects of range safety and everything else. Therefore, you want to make sure that you have got that right before you go against a target.

Then we introduce targets for the third test and the fourth test.

ACT: Our readers, as I am sure you are not surprised, have closely followed the debate over missile defenses and the ABM Treaty. As you know, in December 2001, the president announced that the United States would withdraw from the treaty. How has that withdrawal benefited U.S. missile defense programs?

Obering: Tremendously. Absolutely tremendously. It also benefited arms control because, let’s face it, we are the ultimate in arms control. When all else fails, we have to have something between us and a weapon. When attempts to diplomatically disarm other countries fail, we have to perform.

At the time the ABM Treaty was signed in 1972, it was appropriate for the environment that we were in. It was a very good thing because our primary threat at that time was the Soviet Union, which had missiles capable of reaching the United States. The concept of mutually assured destruction was evident; it was stabilizing between the two countries. The lesson learned from the ABM Treaty is make sure that you have the right treaty with the right nation. In 1972, there were about eight nations around the world that had ballistic missiles or ballistic missile technologies, and most of those were friendly to the United States. Today, there are more than 20 countries around the world that have ballistic missiles and ballistic missile technologies, and many of those countries are not friendly to the United States or, at least, could be considered hostile to some of our intents and interests. For us to have abided by the ABM Treaty with a country that no longer existed, while the rest of the world were arming themselves with these weapons, flies in the face of responsible defense for the American people. I could not honestly look an American in the face and say that we are providing for the common defense if we are not addressing a threat that was growing around the world.

ACT: Were there specific actions that you would not have been permitted to do under the treaty that you have done since the withdrawal?

Obering: You bet. We could not have built an integrated capability, which you are going to have to do against these types of threats. The ability for us right now to take an Aegis radar[8] and tie information [that it gathers] into a fire control system for a ground-based weapon located in Alaska or California would have been a violation of the treaty. We could not mix strategic and tactical or theater weapons systems together to achieve the capability that we now have and that we will continue to improve.[9] This idea of mixing and matching sensors and interceptors and command-and-control elements to expand your detection and engagement capability over a single, autonomous system would have been prohibited by that treaty. So, the ability to even develop and field a capability, other than the one site that was allowed in the treaty, would have been prohibited.

Again, the treaty was a recognition of the environment in which it was written. It is not the environment that we have today. We had to take very realistic steps to address today’s environment and today’s threats. I do not view this as a zero-sum game like some people do. We have to continue diplomatic efforts to try to encourage countries not to invest in weapons of mass destruction. One of the ways you can do that—and I think historically speaking it has always been the case—is through strength. You show them that it is not worth the investment. The ultimate missile defense is if we can dissuade a country from ever investing in ballistic missiles to start with. That is one of the primary objectives. If we cannot do that, we have to find ways to deter them from ever using them and, if they do use them, to destroy them before they harm the American people, our interests, or allies.

ACT: Recently, you have endorsed exploring the possibility of space-based interceptors. MDA has plans to possibly begin testing and exploring these systems as early as 2012. When will the United States start having to deploy hardware to create this space-based test bed, and why do you think this is necessary?

Obering: That is a great question. Let me preface it this way: Twelve years ago, if you had asked me if we were going to be fighting in Afghanistan, I would not have predicted that. If you can tell me where we are going to be fighting 12 years from now or what threat countries we have to deal with or what those threats will look like and where they are coming from, then I could lay out very precisely a terrestrial-based system that could handle that. But we do not know. We know what we know today, and we will continue to evolve that.

There are a lot of things about a space-based interceptor that we do not know that we need to explore from a technical perspective. I think it is also a proper debate to have with the American public and in Congress as to whether we want to do this. But speaking from a military perspective and from somebody who is charged with protecting the American people, deployed U.S. forces, allies, and friends against all ranges of missiles in all phases of their flights, it makes sense to explore a space-based interceptor layer. And, it would be nothing more than that. It would be a layer to the system that we have evolved and will continue to evolve terrestrially. There is a lot that needs to be answered, and there needs to be an active debate about whether we want to do this. One of the things that I want to make sure is that it is an informed debate and that is why we think it is prudent to do some experimentation with respect to whether you can even achieve [a space-based layer]. Can you build the responsiveness to command-and-control? Is it affordable? If you have interceptors that are unaffordable in terms of their mass, size, weight, or whatever, there is no use in starting down the path. So, what we have proposed is not that we are going to actively build a space-based layer. What we have proposed is a very modest and moderate test-bed approach to launch some experiments. We have a very modest amount of money beginning in the 2008 time frame to begin to do this experimentation. The debate can take place in parallel to that, and hopefully it will be a much more informed debate than we have today.

ACT: What about those who would point out that initially the Fort Greely site started out as a test bed site and then it was turned into an operational site, so why couldn’t a space-based test bed become a deployment site just by changing its name?

Obering: Well, when we took the Fort Greely site as a test bed and it became basically a site with an operational capability, it was done for a good reason. There was a recognition that we had an emerging threat. We had a threat from North Korea, and we had to do something about that.[10] I would anticipate that we would not have an operational space-based interceptor layer unless we needed it. But these defenses take time, so being able to go from a test bed into an operational status in a very short amount of time is something that is an advantage, not a disadvantage.

ACT: What about the concerns of Russia, China, and others that this could set off an arms race in space?

Obering: The Russians and the Chinese understand, or at least should understand, that the scale of what we are doing nowhere near matches what they can amass in terms of attack profiles and quantities. We are not talking about a massive Brilliant Pebbles[11] or a massive space-based interceptor constellation that would come anywhere near close to countering a Russian or Chinese threat. We are not talking about that. We are talking about a modest layer to help us engage emerging threats that could occur around the world over the next decade. Now, some people also describe this as the weaponization of space. That is a term that we do not do enough examination of. What we are talking about doing, if this pans out, is putting very small-scale interceptors into space that would be defensive weapons. They would have no offensive capability. They would have no ability to attack anything on the ground. They would not have the survivability to come back through the atmosphere.

ACT: They could attack satellites in space.

Obering: It depends on how we design them. It depends on what their intent and their use are. A warhead traveling through space and a satellite traveling through space are very different. These have to be considered defensive weapons because, again, just by design and by the nature of what we are talking about. But I am not the one to decide that. All I am charged to do is to try to make sure that we have thought through the technical aspects and that we have got an informed debate. This is a decision that needs to be made by the American people and, obviously, debated in Congress.

ACT: How many interceptors, in general, are we talking about for a test bed in space?

Obering: Not even a handful to start with. We are talking about onesies, twosies in terms of experimentation. That is all we are talking about.

ACT: Back on Earth, could you update us on U.S. plans to deploy long-range interceptors in Europe?

Obering: We have money that has been budgeted beginning in the 2006 time frame for this, and we think it is important for a variety of reasons. Part of our strategy is not only to protect the U.S. homeland, but also to protect our deployed forces, our allies, and friends. We are concerned about threats that may emerge from the Middle East. Having another interceptor site in Europe would greatly [complicate] not only an attacker’s problem with respect to the United States in terms of how many interceptor sites they have to deal with, but it also primarily provides coverage to our allies and friends. There are several nations in Europe that are very interested in hosting a third interceptor site, and we will continue to pursue that over the next year.[12]

ACT: Is there a general time frame? You said the money begins in 2006, but when might interceptors be deployed to Europe?

Obering: Well, we are going to have to have a fairly sound, solid foundation of agreement in the next several months so that we can begin to move out with the program.

ACT: You have already addressed it somewhat, but for decades, missile defense and efforts to limit offensive missiles were viewed as competing against one another. How do you see the two as being complementary, or how do you achieve that?

Obering: First of all, you have to recognize that arms control assumes rational actors. Arms control assumes adversaries that can be deterred. It assumes that there are people who have something to lose and that you can actually deal with in terms of negotiation and in terms of being able to come to an accommodation over a mutual disarmament, or even unilateral for that matter. What we are finding out today in this world is we have folks that are not like that. We have folks that are willing to sacrifice not only themselves but hundreds of people for a particular cause. If those people get their hands on these types of weapons—and there are hundreds and hundreds of missiles out there; many, many, many that are unaccounted for—they are almost undeterrable. Certainly, they are non-negotiable when it comes to something like arms control. That is why I see us as being very much a collaborative effort. There are countries that can be deterred. There are countries that we can enter into arms control agreements with. I think that is very wise, and that is something that we need to do. On the other hand, we have seen in the last several years that there are organizations and countries that just are not deterred in that manner.

ACT: Is there anything we have not asked about that you would like to add?

Obering: Just one of intent and one of what I will call trust. Many times, you can get the feeling, if you read a lot of the critics of missile defense, that we are trying to pull the wool over somebody’s eyes or that we are trying to fool people or we are trying to build something that is unreliable or that is foolhardy. I wish that more people would give us the benefit of the doubt. We have thousands and thousands of dedicated Americans that are working very, very hard to build a defensive capability where there was none before. They are doing it for a very good reason. When you walk though some of the factories that we have that are producing these components and these systems, what you see on the walls are pictures of American cities. In many cases, they are aerial photographs of the hometowns of the workers that are crafting the system. They understand what they are doing is very important. I wish more people would give us the benefit of the doubt. We are on the side of trying to prevent weapons of mass destruction from being used against the American people and our interests. I think that is something that I would like to see emphasized much, much more.

ACT: Thank you very much for your time.

Click here for a complete transcript of this interview.


ENDNOTES

1. Ballistic missiles have three stages of flight: the boost phase, the midcourse phase, and the terminal phase. The boost phase begins at the missile’s launch and lasts until its rocket engines stop firing. Depending on the missile, this phase lasts between three to five minutes. The midcourse phase starts after the rockets finish firing and the missile is on a ballistic course toward its target. For ICBMs, this phase occurs in space and can last up to 20 minutes. It is during this stage that the missile’s warhead or warheads separate from the delivery vehicle. The terminal phase begins when the missile’s payload re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere and it continues until impact or detonation.

2. General John W. Holly, who oversees development of the ground-based midcourse defense, told a Washington audience Oct. 14, 2004, that the shakedown would take place over six to 12 weeks. Wade Boese, “Missile Defense Still on Hold,” Arms Control Today, December 2004, pp. 33-34.

3. From October 1999 to December 2002, the Pentagon conducted eight missile intercept tests using the ground-based system. The system tallied five hits and three misses in these developmental tests.

4. The ground-based interceptors deployed at Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base are comprised of two main components: a high-speed booster and the EKV. The booster lifts the EKV into space, where the two then separate. Using radar updates and its own onboard sensors, the 70-kilogram EKV is supposed to maneuver into the path of an oncoming warhead and destroy it through a collision.

5. Global Hawk and Predator are unmanned aerial vehicles.

6. The ground-based midcourse system is currently focused on intercepting targets traveling five to seven kilometers per second.

7. In these two tests, the interceptor failed to launch. Wade Boese, “Ground-Based Interceptor Fails Again,” Arms Control Today, March 2005, p. 29.

8. The Aegis radar is part of a broader, ship-based system originally intended to track and counter short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. In recent years, MDA has claimed the system can also help track a long-range ballistic missile. The concept is to use the ship-based radar to relay tracking data to a ground-based interceptor to help locate and engage a target.

9. Strategic systems are those designed to engage long-range ballistic missiles. Tactical or theater systems are those designed to counter short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. Different capabilities are needed to intercept missiles with different ranges because they all fly at varying speeds, trajectories, and altitudes.

10. North Korea ’s last ballistic missile flight test was an August 1998 test of its medium-range, 2,000-kilometer-range Taepo Dong-1. Although the U.S. intelligence community has assessed that North Korea is developing a longer-range Taepo Dong-2 capable of reaching the United States, Pyongyang has not flight-tested such a missile.

11. Brilliant Pebbles was an initiative of President George H. W. Bush that envisioned up to 1,000 space-based interceptors.

12. At least the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland have all held discussions with the United States about hosting missile interceptors. Wade Boese, “ U.S. Eyes Missile Defense Site in Europe,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2004, p. 39.

 

Lawmakers Want to Retain ICBM Force

Wade Boese

Western lawmakers are seeking to prevent changes or cuts to the U.S. force of deployed nuclear-armed ICBMs. Currently, 500 Minuteman III missiles are dispersed across Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

Spurring the legislators’ campaign is a concern that the Pentagon’s forthcoming Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) might recommend cutting some ICBMs or converting some of them to carry conventional warheads. The QDR is a study the Pentagon conducts every four years to assess whether it has the proper mix of forces and weapons to meet current and future threats to U.S. security.

Key senators have endorsed legislation reaffirming support for the existing ICBM force, and a trio of House Republicans has offered a bill with a similar purpose.

In the Senate, Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) and ranking member Carl Levin (D-Mich.) have agreed to include as part of the pending defense authorization bill a statement that it is U.S. policy to continue deploying 500 ICBMs unless international developments warrant a change. This language, if adopted, would not be legally binding.

Representatives Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.), Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.), and Rob Bishop (R-Utah) introduced a bill Oct. 7 simply declaring, “It is the policy of the United States to maintain a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile force of 500 Minuteman III missiles.” It has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee, and it is uncertain when the committee might consider the proposal.

In a Sept. 21 letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the 10 senators from Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming urged against trimming the ICBM force because it “represents a nearly insurmountable hedge against strategic surprise.” The bipartisan group further argued, “We must maintain force levels more than sufficient to dissuade any potential adversary from pursuing parity with our forces.”

By Dec. 31, 2012, the United States is committed to fielding no more than 2,200 strategic nuclear warheads primed for delivery by its ICBMs, submarines, and bombers. This level was agreed to with Russia in the May 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT). (See ACT, June 2002.)

However, the agreement’s limit expires at the end of 2012, freeing the United States to increase its deployed forces. SORT also did not cap how many warheads the two sides could store, and existing U.S. plans envision keeping as many as another 4,000 nuclear warheads in lower states of readiness. In sum, the total strategic U.S. nuclear stockpile is expected to number around 5,000 to 6,000 warheads early next decade.

The only country with comparable nuclear and missile forces to the United States is Russia, which the Bush administration claims is no longer an enemy but an emerging partner. Still, the senators noted that Moscow controls more ICBMs than Washington and asserted, “For this reason, we do not believe our ICBM force should be a strong candidate for paring back.” As of July 1, the Kremlin claimed to have 585 ICBMs under the terms of the 1991 START agreement limiting U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear delivery vehicles.

In comparison, China currently maintains roughly 20 nuclear-armed ICBMs capable of striking the United States and has a modernization plan underway that the U.S. intelligence community assesses might lead to a fivefold increase of this force. Iran and North Korea have yet to flight-test a long-range ballistic missile. Although North Korea is suspected of having enough bomb-making material for several nuclear weapons, it is unknown whether Pyongyang has actually manufactured such arms, and Iran is generally judged to be years away from producing the requisite material. Either plutonium or highly enriched uranium is needed to make a nuclear weapon.

At least one senator has admitted that part of his motivation to preserve the existing ICBM force stems from domestic concerns and not foreign threats. “Keeping the ICBMs at Malmstrom is about keeping good-paying jobs in our state,” Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Sept. 21.

Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana hosts 200 Minuteman IIIs. The remaining 300 missiles are split between Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.

First deployed in 1970, the Minuteman III is expected to begin nearing the end of its service life around 2018. Air Force Space Command, which operates and maintains the ICBM force, recently completed a study on possible Minuteman III successors, but the study’s recommendations are classified while undergoing further review. (See ACT, October 2005.)

In October, the command also launched a one-year study to evaluate options for a “prompt global strike” capability. One concept floated frequently is replacing some nuclear warheads on ICBMs with conventional warheads so the missiles can be used to attack targets anywhere in the world on short notice. Approximately 30 minutes would be the maximum flight time required.

The senators warned Rumsfeld against this approach. “Basing conventional ICBMs within the current nuclear missile fields raises extremely troubling issues for strategic stability, while transferring missiles from those fields to support the conventional mission would unduly weaken nuclear deterrence,” they wrote. An oft-discussed concern is that Russia or China might mistake the launch of a conventionally armed ICBM as a nuclear attack against them and retaliate in kind.

 

Hard Cases Stymie Test Ban Treaty

Oliver Meier

Nearly a decade ago, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature. Since then, all but 17 UN members have signed the accord, and major progress has been made in building a complex technological system to verify its implementation. However, the treaty has yet to enter into force because of opposition from the United States and several other countries.

In recent interviews with Arms Control Today, two senior diplomats responsible for taking the CTBT forward described both the progress and the impediments to entry into force. Tibor Tóth, a Hungarian diplomat who recently became the second-ever executive-secretary of the body charged with carrying out the treaty, focused on the efforts to develop the technical infrastructure to carry out the accord. Jaap Ramaker, a Dutch diplomat whom the countries that have already ratified the treaty have tasked to serve as a liaison with those that have not done so, discussed the diplomatic obstacles to the accord’s entry into force.

Progress Toward Entry Into Force

Speaking to Arms Control Today less than a month after states gathered Sept. 21-23 to measure progress toward the treaty’s entry into force, Ramaker pointed out that 176 states have already signed the test ban, while 125 states have ratified the treaty. In terms of signatures, Ramaker said in the Oct. 18 interview that “we are running up against a number of hard cases from a number of points of view.”

One obstacle comes in troubled regions such as the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East, and South Asia, where Ramaker said the hurdles to signature or ratification should “be seen as part of a wider regional context.”

States in these regions are among 44 specific countries with nuclear facilities that must ratify the CTBT for it to enter into force. Eleven of those 44 have failed to do so. They include India, North Korea, and Pakistan, which have not signed the treaty, and China, which joins the United States in signing but not ratifying the accord.

Ramaker has pinned some of his hopes for thinning the remaining holdouts on some other states. In particular, he cited Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam as being “on the right track” toward ratification. After a November 2004 visit to Vietnam, Ramaker said he left with the impression that the government “is really working” on ratification and he hopes to visit Indonesia soon to discuss ratification hurdles in Jakarta.

He was able to offer fewer reassurances when it came to possible ratification by states possessing nuclear weapons. During a visit to Beijing in April, the Chinese government assured Ramaker that it is “now working very hard on the internal legal proceedings needed for ratification.” Ramaker takes “their word for it,” but China, which signed the treaty in 1996, first submitted the treaty to the National People’s Congress for ratification in 1999.

Likewise, Ramaker could shed no new light on the situation with regard to a possible U.S. ratification. But during the September conference of treaty ratifiers seeking its entry into force, he expressed the hope that Washington “in due course would wish to revisit the question of the [CTBT] and analyze whether or not, on balance, one would indeed not be better off with the Treaty than without it.” The United States did not send a representative to the conference.

The United States signed the CTBT in 1996, but the Senate rejected the treaty in a 51-48 vote in 1999. The Bush administration made clear when it took office in 2001 that it would not resubmit the treaty for Senate approval, although the United States has continued to support building the International Monitoring System (IMS) that would be used to verify the accord.

Progress has been slow in South Asia as well. The Indian government has even refused to receive Ramaker. By contrast, the Dutch diplomat said he had “a good exchange of views” during a visit to Pakistan in November 2004. Pakistan, which has not signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, tested nuclear weapons in 1998. Ramaker acknowledged that he did not see any movement in Islamabad toward signing the treaty but said he did encourage his Pakistani interlocutors to “continue down the path” of nuclear confidence-building vis-à-vis India and to consider formalizing “their confidence-building measures on nuclear testing into some sort of a bilateral arrangement.”

In 1999, India and Pakistan strengthened their unilateral moratoria on nuclear testing by stating in the Lahore Declaration that these commitments would be binding “unless either side…decides that extraordinary events have jeopardized its supreme interests.” The agreement was renewed following bilateral talks in June 2004. A proposed nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and India includes an Indian pledge to the United States to continue its moratorium. (See ACT, September 2005.)

The International Monitoring System

Ramaker argued that relations between nuclear-weapon states in particular will be positively affected once the IMS is fully functional because, for them, “it will be essential that they can have the full confidence that no cheating takes place and that no breakout can take place.” The IMS will use 321 monitoring stations and four different technologies to detect nuclear tests.

Those sentiments were echoed by Tóth, who took over Aug. 1 as the head of the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). In a Sept. 30 interview with Arms Control Today, Tóth noted that, nine years after the CTBT was opened for signature, the IMS is approaching completion: 209 monitoring stations are up and running, with more than half of those put in place over the last two years alone. In the same period, the output of monitoring data, which is sent to 700 end users in 89 countries, has almost tripled from 5 gigabytes to 14 gigabytes per day.

Tóth said, however, that the previous rapid pace of construction may soon decrease. “The bad news is that we have to build the remaining one-third [of IMS stations], and the low-lying fruit in terms of stations to be built have been built, so those stations that remain are in difficult geographic places; climate-wise in difficult places; or, because of administrative and other arrangements, in difficult conditions,” Tóth cautioned.

Still, the PTS plans to have 90-95 percent of IMS stations ready by the end of 2007. The organization is already beginning to shift from the build-up phase to normal operations. For almost a year now, the PTS has been running a system-wide performance test to assess the reliability and security of the IMS. The test also is used to evaluate the Global Communications Infrastructure that connects IMS stations with the International Data Centre in Vienna. The PTS hopes that the test will demonstrate how the different IMS elements “would work together in as seamlessly a way as it is possible,” Tóth said.

Funding

Even in the absence of the treaty’s entry into force, construction of the IMS has required consistent financial support from signatories, including from nonratifiers such as the United States. (See ACT, October 2004).

Tóth described the level of financial support for the CTBTO as “very healthy,” with the organization receiving 90-95 percent of the contributions it seeks. He said he was hopeful that in 2005 the CTBTO will again receive above 90 percent of the funds that it would need to pay its full proposed $105 million annual budget. Tóth cautioned, however, that “we will have to see whether this payment pattern will continue or not.”

In the case of the United States, Tóth believes there might be “a continued discussion” about financial contributions. In August 2001, Washington decided it would no longer pay its share of the dues for on-site inspections and estimated the cost at somewhere between $1 million to $3 million annually. But the Bush administration went further this year, requesting that Congress make an additional $5 million cut, or provide a total contribution of $7.5 million less than the CTBTO estimated should be Washington’s appropriate share. The House has supported the administration’s requested cut while the Senate has not. The two bodies are in the process of working out their differences in a House-Senate conference committee. (See ACT, September 2005.)

Tóth expressed his hope that the House-Senate conference committee would restore much of the funds to continue construction of the IMS. “For the continued build-up of the system, we need the money,” Tóth urged. Should Congress decide not to restore the full U.S. contribution, Tóth anticipates that such cuts “might be in 2006 a one-time shortfall,” referring to comments by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February that the lower funding requested this year “does not signal a change in U.S. policy toward” the CTBT.

Tóth also hinted at problems with some smaller contributions from other member states of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO. As other diplomats told Arms Control Today privately, several states, including Argentina and Brazil, have been in arrears for many years now. He claimed that any debts to the organization do not necessarily reflect “an absence of political dedication” by states concerned and may be explained by domestic politics. But he noted that “even small contributions are essential for CTBTO’s work.”

Preparing the On-site Inspection Regime

The CTBTO continues to plan how it would investigate a suspicious event on the territory of any treaty member once the CTBT goes into effect. But the Bush administration’s lack of support for discussions of on-site inspection activities has hampered this work. In particular, efforts to negotiate an on-site inspection operational manual that will specify inspection procedures as well as equipment to be used during such inspections have been painstakingly slow. Still, member states have now reviewed an initial draft of the lengthy manual.

Tóth said that, over the next two to three years, the PTS will “test whatever we have created in the last couple of years, based on the level of readiness that we have achieved.” In November, the Preparatory Commission is expected to approve an integrated field exercise to be conducted in 2008. Tóth described the purpose of the exercise to see “how, in an integrated context, the [on-site inspection] elements can be brought together.” Tóth does not see any effort to accelerate on-site inspection preparations before then: “There’s no speeding up, no slowing down, we are moving forward as it is prescribed.”

Additional Missions?

Tóth also reported on progress in making IMS data available for humanitarian and scientific purposes. Until recently, a few states had objected to the use of real-time IMS data for such purposes because of concerns about confidentiality. But the humanitarian catastrophe following the December 2004 tsunami that killed tens of thousands in Asia sparked discussions on how test ban monitoring data could have been used for early-warning purposes.

In March, the Preparatory Commission allowed the PTS on a trial basis to share data from seismic and hydroacoustic stations immediately with any tsunami warning organization recognized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Seismic stations monitor the vibrations of the earth and seek to distinguish nuclear tests from other earth-shaking events, such as earthquakes. Hydroacoustic stations use underwater microphones anchored to cables to pick out underwater explosions vast distances away. (See ACT, April 2005.)Since then, Tóth said, “we did our homework,” noting that the PTS had been able to cut the lead time for certain raw data transmitted to tsunami warning organizations from two hours to 20 minutes, thus greatly increasing its early-warning potential. “This is life-saving data” for states potentially affected by disasters like the tsunami, Tóth said.

Looking ahead, Tóth said that recent diplomatic discussions have encouraged the PTS “to remain helpful and relevant for humanitarian, disaster-alert, and other purposes” without straying far from its main purpose of test ban monitoring. Tóth mentioned specific examples, such as the potential use of IMS data to study global warming phenomena or IMS infrasound [sonar-based] technology to detect volcanic eruptions and provide safe security overflight information. Tóth said that activities related to using IMS data for humanitarian and scientific purposes have not resulted in significant additional costs.

Both Ramaker and Tóth emphasized the importance of continued and concerted high-level support for the CTBT as it approaches its 10th anniversary next year. Tóth described universalization of the treaty as “a job shared with the members of our constituency, the signatories and ratifiers.” Ramaker stated that he is receiving high-level support from a range of countries but stated that “it is important that the question of the test ban and entry into force is being raised at times at a sufficiently high political level.” He warned, “[T]hat does not always happen.... That has to change.”

 

Global Arms Exports Climbed in 2004

Wade Boese

With the United States and Russia leading the way, arms suppliers shipped roughly 1,200 more major conventional weapons around the globe in 2004 than in 2003, according to reports they volunteered this year to the United Nations.

Since 1992, arms exporters and importers have been called on annually to submit arms trade data to the UN Register of Conventional Arms. The reports cover transactions from the previous year involving battle tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, and missiles and missile launchers. The register is supposed to help identify countries that could pose a risk to international or regional stability.

Of the 110 countries to file reports so far this year, 28 claimed to have delivered arms. Although last year’s cumulative total of 5,387 exported arms marks an increase from the previous year, it falls below the register’s 13-year average of approximately 6,700 weapons. Along with 20 other states, 18 of the exporters also reported arms imports. The collective tally for imports was 4,065 weapons.

Exporter and importer data rarely match because countries keep their records differently. A supplier might count a weapon as exported when an ownership title is transferred, but the recipient might not classify the same weapon as imported until it is in actual military service.

Some key arms buyers, such as China and many states in the Middle East, do not regularly participate in the register. But all major arms exporters generally do, providing a window to the legal, worldwide conventional weapons trade. China has boycotted the register since 1998 to protest Washington’s practice of reporting on U.S. arms shipments to Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be a renegade province. Still, exporter reports reveal China as importing 775 arms. Meanwhile, Bangladesh, Gabon, and Pakistan claimed to have received a total of 134 Chinese arms.

Most Arab governments shun the register on the grounds that it provides a distorted picture of the military balance in their region because Israel has no similar reporting obligations on its suspected nuclear weapons arsenal. Aside from Israel, only Jordan and Lebanon have disclosed their arms trade to the register this year.

Despite a decrease of some 300 arms exports from 2003, the United States still delivered more major weapons abroad than any other country in 2004. Nearly three-quarters of its 1,564 exports to 25 countries and Taiwan were missiles and missile launchers. The register counts a single missile the same as one tank, fighter jet, or warship, inflating to some degree the U.S. export total, as well as those of other countries with significant missile exports.

Nevertheless, the United States is indisputably the world’s leading arms dealer even when using a different accounting method. An August report by the Congressional Research Service found that the monetary value of U.S. arms exports in 2004 exceeded $18 billion, far surpassing runner-up Russia’s delivery total of $4.6 billion. (See ACT, October 2005.)

Similarly, Moscow trailed behind Washington in individual weapons shipped. In its register submission, the Kremlin reported exporting 1,090 weapons to 10 countries. China topped Russia’s recipient list with 774 imports, including 749 missiles. Indeed, all but one of China’s imports came from Russia.

The Kremlin’s export data further revealed India and Yemen as prime customers. India took delivery of 10 combat aircraft, one attack helicopter, one warship, and 122 missiles, while Yemen acquired 128 ACVs and two combat aircraft. Neither India nor Yemen has filed register reports this year.

Russia’s clientele included Sudan. Moscow provided nine combat aircraft and four attack helicopters to Khartoum, which the United States accused last year of committing genocide against its population in the Western region of Darfur. Belarus also admitted sending Sudan 39 ACVs.

Nearly doubling its 2003 export total to 735 weapons, Germany ranked third among arms suppliers. Except for eight ACVs to Kuwait and two warships to South Africa, all of Germany’s weapons exports went to fellow European states.

The largest portion of arms deliveries ended up in Europe. Suppliers reported making 1,755 arms exports to more than two dozen European countries, including states of the former Soviet Union. Poland’s 340 imports topped all other totals on the continent.

Asia, stretching from Pakistan to Australia, received 1,576 arms by exporters’ accounts, with China accounting for about half of the imports. Beijing’s rival, India, followed with 372 weapons from a variety of sources, including France, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

The United States is vying to supply India with military hardware in the future, particularly combat aircraft and anti-missile systems. In 2004, Washington made due with its longtime Asian clients: Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Seoul received 117 U.S. exports, and Tokyo and Taipei each imported 66 American-made weapons.

Washington also counts among its most loyal arms buyers many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, which totaled some 1,485 arms imports. Saudi Arabia led the region’s 11 importers with 423 arms, including 212 from the United States. Exporters attributed 313 deliveries to Jordan, but in its register report, Amman volunteered that it received 4,679 arms, including nearly 4,100 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers from Russia. The register does not require reporting on RPGs.

Slovakia also went beyond its reporting obligations, noting that it exported 4,000 122-millimeter rockets to Egypt and 1,000 122-millimeter rockets to Uganda. Countries are called on to report their exports of launchers of this type but not the rockets themselves.

Neither Jordan’s imported RPGs nor Slovakia’s exported 122-millimeter rockets were included in the cumulative weapons export and import totals because they are weapons that fall outside the register’s reporting categories.

Arms suppliers exported 237 weapons to Africa and 27 arms to Latin America. Countries in these regions typically do not account for much of the arms exports reported to the register because they typically cannot afford to buy or are not in the market for such advanced or expensive weaponry. Instead, the majority of their arms dealings involve small arms and light weapons, such as pistols, rifles, and machine guns, which are not covered by the register.

A group of governmental experts tasked with assessing the register’s operation recommended in August 2003 that countries share more information on their small arms and light weapons transfers. Although the UN General Assembly endorsed this proposal, only Finland, France, and Poland volunteered such data in 2004. A Department of State official told Arms Control Today Oct. 17 that the United States is weighing the future inclusion of its small arms and light weapons trade in its register reports.

 

Editor's Note

Miles A. Pomper

All too often, political and public attention focus on who is winning or losing arms control and national security debates, rather than the mundane but crucial task of following through whatever decision is ultimately reached.

Take missile defense, for example. President George W. Bush’s December 2001 decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty marked the culmination of a decades-long debate between those who saw the treaty as a cornerstone of national and international security and those who believed that it impeded the development of strategic missile defenses necessary to protect the United States and its allies.

But as ACT’s interview with Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency—our cover story this month—makes clear, the technological challenges of building such a defense persist even though the ABM Treaty is gone. Indeed, new technological and diplomatic hurdles loom as the Pentagon seeks to deploy additional interceptors in Europe and test the possibility of space-based interceptors.

Similarly, Ed Ifft notes that public attention tends to focus on negotiating arms control agreements, but the real test of whether they are effective lies in their implementation. In one of our feature articles this month, he examines the day-to-day challenges that international organizations face in interpreting, implementing, and verifying compliance with the accords, providing useful recommendations on how to make such monitoring and inspection efforts more successful.

In another feature, Anupam Srivastava notes that China has made great strides in its legal regime for preventing exports of dangerous weapons or weapons-related materials. But, as he points out, Beijing’s willingness and ability to enforce these rules is still open to question.

James Lewis notes in a “Looking Back” piece that today’s transatlantic split over whether the European Union should liberalize arms sales policy toward China has deep roots. It reflects differences that surfaced a decade ago during the negotiation of the voluntary Wassenaar Arrangement, which established guidelines for conventional weapons transfers.

The selection of the International Atomic Energy Agency and its director-general as the winner of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize tops our news section this month. It also features exclusive interviews with leading figures in charge of implementing national nuclear policies and international arms agreements, including the head of Brazil’s nuclear regulatory commission, the chief of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the executive secretary of the organization set up to prepare for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

 

November 2005 Bibliography

OF SPECIAL INTEREST

Bunn, Matthew, “The Nuclear Campus,” The Boston Globe, October 20, 2005.

Der Spiegel, “Over Time, We’ll Get it Right in Iraq: An Interview with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld,” October 31, 2005.

Interfax, “ Belarus Could Not Use Strategic Nuclear Weapons in the 90s- Expert,” October 9, 2005.

Langewiesche, William, “The Wrath of Khan,” The Atlantic Monthly, November 2005, pages 62-85.

Schelling, Thomas C., “The Nuclear Taboo,” The Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2005, A14.

Sokolski, Henry, “The Nobel Goes Nuclear,” The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2005, A12.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, “SIPRI Yearbook 2005: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security,” Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005.

I. PROLIFERATION

Agence-France Presse, “British Intelligence Report Shows Scale of ‘Nuclear Supermarket,’ ” October 8, 2005.

CHINA

Burns, Robert, “Commander of China’s Nuclear Forces Affirms ‘No First-Strike’ Policy,” The Associated Press, October 19, 2005.

INDIA

Albright, David, Testimony before the House Committee on International Relations, October 26, 2005.

Brinkley, Joel, “U.S. Nuclear Deal With India Criticized by GOP in Congress,” The New York Times, October 31, 2005, page 10.

Einhorn, Robert J., “The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal,” Testimony before the House Committee on International Relations, October 26, 2005.

Joeck, Neil, “The U.S.-India ‘Global Partnership:’ The Impact on Nonproliferation,” Testimony before House Committee on International Relations, October 26, 2005.

Rajesh, Y. P., “ India Urges World to Focus on Pakistan Nuclear Role,” Reuters, October 24, 2005.

Saran, Shyam, “Our Record Contrasts Favourably with NPT Members,” Outlook India Web, October 24, 2005.

Sokolski, Henry, “Backing the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal and Nonproliferation,” Testimony before the House Committee on International Relations, October 26, 2005.

Spector, Leonard S., “ U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India,” Testimony before the House Committee on International Relations, October 26, 2005.

IRAN

Agence-France Presse, “ Tehran’s Tough Nuclear Stance Causes Domestic Jitters,” October 5, 2005.

Agence-France Presse, “West Wants Russia On Board Before UN Action over Iran,” October 25, 2005.

Agence-France Presse, “ Iran Shares IAEA Optimism Over Resumed Talks With EU,” October 19, 2005.

Charbonneau, Louis, “Explosive Stories on the Nuclear Weapons Beat,” Reuters, October 6, 2005.

Fathi, Nazila, “ Iran’s Stocks Plunge After Vote for U.N. Review of Nuclear Program,” The New York Times, October 9, 2005, page 9.

Peterson, Scott, “Why EU, Iran Still Far Apart over Nukes,” The Christian Science Monitor, October 12, 2005.

Reutov, Alexander, “ United States and Iran Exchange Visits to Moscow,” Kommersant, October 24, 2005, page 10.

Robbins, Carla Anne, “U.S. Policy Makers Weigh Options for Handling Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2005, page A3.

Schweid, Barry, “ U.S. Seeks Ways to Pressure Iran on Nukes,” The Associated Press, October 6, 2005.

Slavin, Barbara, “Rice Cool to Idea of One-on-One Talks With Iran,” USA Today, October 17, 2005, page 9.

Smyth, Gareth, “Call for Openness Over Iran Nuclear Program,” The Financial Times, October 14, 2005.

Smyth, Gareth, “ Iran Less Than Anxious at Restive Nuclear Watchdogs,” The Financial Times, October 5, 2005.

Vick, Karl, “ Iran Moves to Curb Hard-Liners; Power Given to Relatively Moderate Body Led by Rafsanjani,” The Washington Post, October 8, 2005, A13.

Walt, Vivienne, “Impervious Iran: Why America is Powerless to Stop Tehran’s Nuclear Ambitions,” Slate, September 30, 2005.

Wright, Robin, “ U.S., France Warn Iran on Nuclear Program,” The Washington Post, October 15, 2005, page A11.

IRAQ

Contreras, Russell, “Blix Says U.S. Misled Itself, the World on Iraq,” The Boston Globe, October 22, 2005.

NORTH KOREA

Asashi Shimbun, “KEDO Light-Water Reactor Program for North Korea in Doubt,” October 11, 2005.

Associated Press, “ North Korea Insists on Reactor From U.S.,” October 6, 2005.

Baker, Peter, and Kessler, Glenn, “ U.S. To Push Koreans on Nuclear Program,” The Washington Post, October 5, 2005, A20.

Coleman, Joseph, “N.M. Gov. Sees N. Korea As More Flexible,” Associated Press, October 20, 2005.

Gertz, Bill, “ U.S. Accuses North Korea of $100 Bill Counterfeiting,” The Washington Times, October 12, 2005, Page 3.

Hirsh, Michael, and Liu, Melinda, “North Korea Hold ‘em,” Newsweek, October 3, 2005.

Joongang Ilbo, “Roh-Bush Summit Seen Paving the Road to 6-Party Talks,” October 1, 2005.

Joongang Ilbo, “Even the Document’s Line Count Was an Issue at the 6-Way Talks,” October 8, 2005.

Joongang Ilbo, “Chung Broke Deadlock in North’s Nuclear Crisis,” October 4, 2005.

Karasaki, Taro, “ N. Korea Now Ready to Discuss Abduction Issue,” October 22, 2005.

Nesirky, Martin, “New Start Needed for N. Korea Reactors, South Says,” Reuters, October 2, 2005.

Ruppe, David, “ U.S. Lawmakers Question North Korea Talks Statement,” Global Security Newswire, October 7, 2005.

Weisman, Steven, “A U.S. Democrat to go to North Korea for Nuclear Talks,” The New York Times, October 14, 2005, page 8.

VENEZUELA

Webb-Vidal, Andy, “ U.S. to Lobby Argentina on Chavez Nuclear Move,” The Financial Times, October 12, 2005, page 12.

UK

Agence-France Presse, “Blair Determined to Keep Britain’s Nuclear Weapons,” October 19, 2005.

Kirkup, James, “UK Nuclear Defence up in the Air,” The Scotsman, October 29, 2005.

II. MISSILE DEFENSE

Barrie, Douglas, and Wall, Robert, “Extending the Shield,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, October 3, 2005, pages 48-53.

Pierce, Charles, “Going Postol,” The Boston Globe, October 23, 2005, Magazine, page 32.

Ruppe, David, “White House May Reconsider Missile Defense Approach,” Global Security Newswire, October 7, 2005.

Ruppe, David, “Missile Defense Capability Could Improve Next Year,” Global Security Newswire, October 4, 2005.

Sieff, Martin, “Bulava Tests Boost Russia’s Confidence Against BMD,” United Press International, October 4, 2005.

Sieff, Martin, “Ballistic Missile Defense: Old Russian ICBMs Still Work,” United Press International, October 13, 2005.

Sieff, Martin, “BMD Focus: Doubts About Interceptors,” United Press International, October 27, 2005.

Tigner, Brooks, “NATO Still Wrangling with Missile Defense Issues,” Defense News, October 3, 2005.

III. NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION

Bain, Ben, “Cleaning House,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 13, 2005.

Ferguson, Charles D., and Takeyh, Ray, “Ban (Your) Nukes,” International Herald Tribune, October 7, 2005.

Harnisch, Sebastian, Overhaus, Marco, and Maull, Hanns W., “Foreign Policy in Dialogue,” Deutsche-Aussenpolitik.De, Volume 6, Number 17, October 25, 2005.

Isenberg, David, “See, Speak, and Hear No Incompetence,” The British-American Security Information Council, October 2005, 33 pages.

Jehl, Douglas, “Bush Cited 2 Allies Over Arms, Book Says,” The New York Times, October 14, 2005, page 14.

Niebieskikwiat, Natasha, “Una Negociacion Delicada,” Clarín.com, September 10, 2005 (in Spanish).

Wilensky,-Lanford, Ethan, “ Kazakhstan Says End of Bomb-Grade Uranium is in Sight,” The New York Times, October 9, 2005, page 20.

IV. CONVENTIONAL ARMS CONTROL AND ARMS TREATIES

Bernard, Kimberly, et al, DU: Health and Public Health Issues Arising from the use of Depleted Uranium, Physicians for Social Responsibility, October 2005, 24 pages.

Chakravarty, Pratap, “ India, France Sign 2.4 Billion Euro Submarine Deal,” Agence France Presse, October 6, 2005.

Chivers, C.J., “Europeans Set Arms Embargo to Protest Uzbecks’ Crackdown,” The New York Times, October 3, 2005, page 6.

Giacomo, Carol, “ Pakistan Said Re-thinking U.S. F-16 Deal,” Reuters, October 25, 2005.

Kifner, John, “UN Reports Rising Flow of Arms from Syria into Lebanon,” October 27, 2005.

Minnick, Wendell, “Taiwan Boosts Submarine Force with Harpoons,” Jane’s Defense Weekly, September 28, 2005, page 18.

Reel, Monte, “Brazilians Reject Measure to Ban Sale of Firearms,” The Washington Post, October 24, 2005, page A13.

Schmitt, Eric, “ Nicaragua Assured U.S. on Missiles, Rumsfeld Says,” The New York Times, October 13, 2005, page 12.

Schroeder, Matt, Transparency and Accountability in Arms Export Systems: The United States as a Case Study, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research Disarmament Forum, Fall 2005, 9 pages.

Tigner, Brooks, “EU Builds Strategy Against Small Arms,” Defense News, October 24, 2005, page 22.

V. CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS ISSUES

Bull, John, “Vast Chemical Dumping Found at Sea,” The Newport News Daily Press, October 30, 2005.

VI. U.S. POLICY

Brzezinski, Zbigniew, “George W. Bush’s Suicidal Statecraft,” The International Herald Tribune, October 13, 2005.

Correll, John T. “The Ups and Downs of Counterforce,” Air Force Magazine, October 2005, pages 59-64.

Goldberg, Jeffrey, “Breaking Ranks: What Turned Brent Scowcroft Against the Bush Administration?” The New Yorker, October 31, 2005, pages 54-65.

Gottlieb, Sanford, “ U.S. Continues to Love the Bomb,” National Catholic Reporter, October 14, 2005, page 9.

Herbert, Adam J., “The ICBM Makeover,” Air Force Magazine, October 2005, pages 34-39.

Kimball, Daryl, “Nuclear Bunker-Buster (As We Know It) Is Dead,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 26, 2005.

Klare, Michael T., “Revving up the China Threat,” The Asia Times, October 15, 2005.

Rankin, Adam, “Review Takes Aim at LANL; Audit Targets Lab’s Tardy Nuke Testing,” The Albuquerque Journal, September 22, 2005, page 6.

Richter, Paul, “Under Rice, Powell’s Policies are Reborn,” The Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2005, A1.

Ruppe, David, “ U.S. Nuclear Doctrine Will Probably Omit Controversial Text,” Global Security Newswire, October 21, 2005.

Ruppe, David, “CIA Report Offers Fresh Critique of Iraq Intelligence,” Global Security Newswire, October 14, 2005.

Spring, Baker, Congress Should Back Bush Administration Plans to Update Nuclear Weapons Policy and Forces, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, October 28, 2005, 9 pages.

Wilkerson, Lawrence B., “The White House Cabal,” The Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2005, page 11.

VII. SPACE

Sirak, Michael, “Battle for Space,” Jane’s Defense Weekly, October 5, 2005, pages 24-29.

VIII. REGIONAL SECURITY ALLIANCES AND ISSUES

Spiegel, Peter, “Retired NATO Generals Blast European Military,” The Financial Times, October 11, 2005.

 

 

Corrections

The October issue of Arms Control Today on page 45 incorrectly identified President H. W. Bush’s Presidential Nuclear Initiative as being signed in 1990. The correct year is 1991.

 

Of Madmen and Nukes

Daryl G. Kimball

Chinese Major General Zhu Chenghu told journalists last July that China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the United States if it targets Chinese ships, aircraft, or territory in a confrontation over Taiwan. “We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds…of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese,” he warned.

With Zhu’s suicidal nuclear threats as backdrop, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told his military counterparts in Beijing last month that “advances in China’s strategic strike capacity raise questions” about its intentions. Rumsfeld suggested that “greater clarity would generate more certainty in the region.”

Excellent points, Mr. Secretary. But China, of course, is not the only state to amass nuclear weapons to defend and advance its interests. Although other Chinese officials disavowed Zhu’s remarks, he is not the first to suggest, officially or unofficially, that his government is “mad” enough to use massive nuclear force against conventional attacks.

Since the beginning of the nuclear age, U.S. presidents have developed policies and issued statements intended to make nuclear threats appear credible and create uncertainty about when and where they might be used. As unnerving as China’s estimated arsenal of 100-400 nuclear weapons and Zhu’s remarks may be, Beijing’s official no-first-use policy arguably makes its posture more restrained than that of the United States today.

To deter other nuclear-armed states, particularly Russia, from attacking with their nuclear arms, current U.S. strategy calls for the maintenance of a massive arsenal of approximately 2,200 deployed strategic nuclear warheads on high alert through 2012 and beyond. In addition, the United States will still possess some 3,000 additional strategic warheads in storage and several hundred substrategic weapons.

The Pentagon’s March 2005 draft “Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations” also outlines a wide range of options to deal with non-nuclear scenarios. It would allow for the possible first use of nuclear weapons to help support U.S. forces or allies against conventional attacks, such as a conflict with China over Taiwan, as well as other scenarios, including pre-emptive nuclear strikes on suspected chemical or biological weapons targets in non-nuclear-weapon states.

Given the absence of a hostile, well-armed nuclear adversary, U.S. conventional military dominance, and the possibility that additional states might acquire nuclear weapons, is such a large U.S. arsenal and expansive view of the role of nuclear weapons necessary, justifiable, and sustainable? No.

There is no conceivable circumstance in which the United States would need to use or could justify the use of nuclear weapons to fight or terminate a conventional conflict with a non-nuclear adversary. On several occasions, U.S. presidents from Truman and Eisenhower to Kennedy, Nixon, and George H. W. Bush have considered the limited use of nuclear weapons in tactical situations, but they have always rejected doing so. The calculus should be no different today.

Policies that assert a war-fighting role for nuclear weapons only deepen the risk of proliferation. They undermine existing pledges by nuclear-weapon states that they will not use nuclear arms against countries without them. They give states such as North Korea and Iran a cynical excuse to maintain their nuclear weapons options and send a green light to nuclear rivals India and Pakistan to contemplate their battlefield use.

The lessons of the Cuban missile crisis and other U.S.-Soviet confrontations during the Cold War make clear that even limited nuclear engagement risks escalation and unacceptable annihilation. Nuclear weapons are, therefore, not a realistic war-fighting option in a conventional conflict against a nuclear-armed adversary.

Some nuclear acolytes believe new types of weapons are needed to provide “credible” options against future adversaries and targets, including underground bunkers and chemical or biological threats. Such thinking ignores the reality that employing any nuclear weapon would produce disproportionate and unacceptable collateral destruction and severe political fallout.

A saner nuclear weapons policy is feasible and overdue. As long as the United States and others possess nuclear weapons, their role should be limited to deterring other states from using them. Further, if that is their only function, there is no reason why the United States cannot observe a policy of no-first-use. Nor would there be any need to develop and test new nuclear-weapon capabilities or maintain Cold War-sized arsenals on high alert, a condition that risks accidental or unauthorized launch.

It has been 60 years since the last nuclear bomb was used in war. Perhaps more than any other state, the United States has the most to lose if others not only seek to acquire nuclear weapons but come to view them as legitimate and useful instruments of coercion and war. But if U.S. policymakers expect nuclear restraint from China and other states, they must reconsider and readjust the role of U.S. nuclear forces.

 

ElBaradei, IAEA Win Nobel Peace Prize

Miles A. Pomper

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its sometimes controversial director-general, Mohamed ElBaradei, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Oct. 7. The agency is charged with promoting the uses of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes and verifying that such technologies are not used to build nuclear arms.

Hailing ElBaradei as “an unafraid advocate” of new nonproliferation efforts, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said that, “at a time when disarmament efforts appear to be deadlocked, when there is a danger that nuclear arms will spread both to states and to terrorist groups, and when nuclear power again appears to be playing an increasingly significant role, [the] IAEA’s work is of incalculable importance.”

The decision reflects, in part, the new roles that the IAEA and ElBaradei have played in recent years. ElBaradei has raised the profile of the agency by taking a more proactive and public role and tackling political issues as well as technical concerns.

The IAEA now finds itself at the crossroads of international security concerns. Preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons to new countries, such as Iran and North Korea, has taken on added importance with the end of the U.S.-Soviet nuclear rivalry. But succeeding in the quest to control weapons or materials has become more difficult because of technological advances and a more open global economy. The September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington further ratcheted up these concerns as policymakers and the public pondered the damage the attackers could have done with a nuclear weapon.

Both the IAEA and individual states have struggled with these challenges. There have been some points of global agreement. Spending on IAEA weapons inspections has risen. The agency and leading member states have supported tightening IAEA safeguards that ensure that nuclear materials are used for peaceful purposes, in particular by encouraging universal adoption of the 1997 Model Additional Protocol. In a bid to thwart potential terrorist attacks, states have agreed to tighten global standards for protecting material. And, although they have differed on tactics, both ElBaradei and leaders such as President George W. Bush have offered plans to stop the development of new facilities that can produce the fissile material—highly enriched uranium and plutonium—for nuclear weapons.

Yet, how to deal with other nonproliferation challenges has been the subject of an intense, high-stakes international debate.

ElBaradei has supported more universal approaches that treat countries on a fairly even basis, with similar restrictions and obligations. These include such efforts as achieving a treaty cutting off new supplies of fissile material for weapons purposes, proposing new multilateral methods for supplying such material for peaceful uses, and enacting a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. He has also preferred that changes be made and implemented in international fora such as the IAEA and once-every-five-year nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conferences. After winning the peace prize, he told reporters that the award “recognizes the role of multilateralism in resolving all of the challenges we are facing today.”

Yet, ElBaradei has had a difficult time moving forward on multilateral efforts because of a bitter divide between nuclear-weapon states such as the United States and those countries without these arms. Most notably, May’s NPT review conference failed to reach agreement on ways to move forward in confronting proliferation. (See ACT, July/August 2005.)

Non-nuclear-weapon states have questioned whether the nuclear-weapon states, have fulfilled their NPT commitments to make good faith efforts toward nuclear disarmament.

By contrast, the United States, the most powerful nuclear-weapon state, has focused on ensuring that terrorists or countries that might support them are denied such weapons. In this effort, Bush has placed his emphasis on “coalitions of the willing” rather than international institutions, whether it is to stop arms proliferation or the development of uranium-enrichment and plutonium reprocessing facilities. In arguing that both sides have to meet their commitments, ElBaradei has sometimes come under fire from Washington.

The biggest points of contention between ElBaradei and Washington, however, occurred when he challenged Bush administration claims about Iraq’s and Iran’s nuclear programs.

The most intense clash occurred over Bush administration charges that Iraq was reviving its nuclear weapons program. On March 7, 2003, ElBaradei rebutted many of the U.S. claims. He did so only a month after then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told the UN Security Council that he had evidence of such a revival, and only weeks before a U.S.-led invasion citing the program as a justification.

“After three months of intrusive inspections, we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq,” ElBaradei said. Since the invasion, several U.S. investigations have backed up ElBaradei’s assertions.

Some U.S. and other Western officials had grumbled that ElBaradei had not been tough enough on Iran, which the United States contends is pursuing nuclear weapons. In particular, they had urged him to recommend to the IAEA Board of Governors that it find Iran in noncompliance for its many violations of its safeguards agreement. Such a finding automatically triggers a referral to the Security Council, leaving open the possibility of sanctions or even military force.

ElBaradei has disappointed these officials by declaring that he has not found indisputable evidence that Tehran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. During a February interview with Arms Control Today, ElBaradei had said that much of the criticism was misplaced, noting that he had said that Iran had “cheated” and was in breach of its safeguards obligations. More recently, he rebuked Tehran before the board for its intermittent and limited cooperation with the agency.

But he said he had not made a judgment about compliance because the question of what to do about Iran’s actions was “clearly a political assessment, which has to be made by member states,” not the agency’s staff. Indeed, the agency’s board made such a judgment in September when it decided that Tehran’s noncompliance should eventually be reported to the Security Council. (See ACT, October 2005.)

On North Korea, ElBaradei and the United States have both supported Security Council action but have been stymied by other countries, especially China, a veto-wielding permanent member of that body. The agency referred the case to the Security Council after Pyongyang ejected IAEA inspectors in December 2002 and subsequently announced its withdrawal from the NPT. China has insisted that the Security Council not act on the case as China, the United States, North Korea, and three other countries seek a negotiated solution.

The tensions between ElBaradei and Washington peaked last year when the Bush administration indicated that it would not support ElBaradei for a third four-year term at the agency. ElBaradei first took office in 1997.

The United States said that it wanted ElBaradei replaced on the basis of a policy supported by some UN members that no director-general of any UN body should be elected to more than two terms.

But a former top aide to Powell said that John Bolton, then undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, had mounted an underhanded campaign to unseat ElBaradei. (See ACT, July/August 2005.)

Moreover, The Washington Post reported in December 2004 that the Bush administration had intercepted dozens of ElBaradei’s phone calls with Iranian diplomats and was scrutinizing them for evidence they could use to force him out.

In the end, however, U.S. efforts to recruit an alternative candidate fell short, and ElBaradei retained considerable support from European countries such as France and Germany as well as from developing states. (See ACT, March 2005.)

ElBaradei can be expected to continue to play a pivotal role during his next four years at the IAEA’s helm, engaging in such issues as determining how to safeguard additional Indian nuclear facilities after a July nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and India, further probing the black-market nuclear network of Pakistan’s Abdul Qadeer Khan, and attempting to manage the expected growth of civilian nuclear power without sparking additional proliferation.

Schelling Awarded Nobel Economics Prize

Miles A. Pomper

Thomas Schelling, one of the leading intellectual pioneers in arms control, co-won the Nobel economics prize for his work in applying game theory to the social sciences.

Schelling’s 1960 book, The Strategy of Conflict, was one of the seminal books in the academic field of strategic studies and helped shape U.S. nuclear deterrent practices, including the development of a second-strike nuclear capability. His 1961 book, Strategy and Arms Control, co-authored with Morton Halperin, established the classic definition of arms control as reducing the chances, consequences, and costs of war.

 

 

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