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

– George Stephanopolous
Host of ABC's This Week
January 1, 2005
April 2007
Edition Date: 
Sunday, April 1, 2007
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GAO Calls for Security Prioritization Changes

Scarlet Kim

The Department of Energy should better prioritize which foreign sites with radioactive materials should be protected against terrorist theft, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO, which conducts studies for Congress, reviewed the Energy Department's International Radiological Threat Reduction Program at the request of Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii). Established in 2002 following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the program aims to implement security upgrades at foreign sites with radioactive materials and recover lost or abandoned high-risk radioactive sources.

Radioactive sources are devices that use radioactive materials for myriad purposes, including medical and industrial applications. Terrorists potentially could acquire these materials, such as cobalt-60, cesium-137, and strontium-90, to produce a radiological dispersion device, or a “dirty bomb,” which uses conventional explosives to spread radiation. Dirty bombs are not as lethal or destructive as nuclear weapons, but they are commonly referred to as weapons of mass disruption because their detonation could cause mass fear and panic.

The March 15 GAO report recommended that the Energy Department prioritize sites by concentrating efforts on those with the greatest amount of radioactive materials. Despite the Energy Department's success at improving the security of hundreds of sites in more than 40 countries, the report found that “many of the most dangerous sources remain unsecured, particularly in Russia .” Of particular concern are more than 700 Russian operational or abandoned radioisotope generators, which are electrical generators powered by radioactive decay, and 16 out of 20 waste storage sites in Russia and Ukraine.

The GAO asserts the program has focused a disproportionate amount of attention on securing material at medical facilities, which contain much smaller quantities of radioactive sources. One explanation is that upgrading the security at medical facility, compared with securing radioisotope generators, entails less scope and cost. As of September 2006, almost 70 percent of all sites secured were hospitals or oncology clinics.

In visits to Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and Georgia, the GAO also discovered that some sites were not properly maintaining earlier security enhancements. The report noted the absence of a plan to sustain such security upgrades.

As of January 2007, the Energy Department has spent $120 million on the program, but future funding is uncertain. According to a department official interviewed by the GAO, since 2003 the agency has steadily decreased funding on program implementation. It intends to redirect future funds to projects such as securing plutonium and highly enriched uranium, which can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The Department of Energy should better prioritize which foreign sites with radioactive materials should be protected against terrorist theft, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). (Continue)

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April 2007 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

Drell, Sidney D., Nuclear Weapons, Scientists, and the Post-Cold War Challenge: Selected Papers on Arms Control, World Scientific, 2007, 323 pp.

Goldschmidt, Pierre and Perkovich, George, Correcting Iran’s Nuclear Disinformation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 26, 2007, 5 pp.

Gorbachev, Mikhail, “ Gorbachev Attacks Labour’s ‘Rush to Deploy Nuclear Missiles’ Until 2050,” The Times, March 8, 2007.

Joseph, Jofi, “Strategic Mistake: The Neoconservative Approach to Nonproliferation has been a Disaster. Why Bush Can’t Disarm Iran,” Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Spring 2007, p. 21.

Kimball, Daryl, “Replacement Warheads and the Nuclear Test Ban,” Defense News, March 5, 2007, p. 77.

I. Strategic Arms

Adams, Christopher, “Revolt Looms Over Trident Replacement,” Financial Times, March 1, 2007.

Associated Press, “Lawmakers: Blair Nuke Plan Has Risks,” March 7, 2007.

Broad, William, “New Design for Warhead Is Awarded to Livermore,” The New York Times, March 3, 2007, p. A10.

Brown, Colin and Russell, Ben, “Government Left Divided as Trident Rebels Defeated,” The Independent, March 15, 2007.

Costa, Keith J., “ Livermore Lab Wins Reliable Replacement Warhead Design Competition,” Inside Missile Defense, March 14, 2007, p. 2.

Cowell, Alan, “Blair Wins Vote to Renew Atom Arsenal,” The New York Times, March 15, 2007, p. A8.

Croft, Adrian, “ Britain Votes to Stay Nuclear Despite Revolt,” Reuters, March 14, 2007.

Deen, Mark and Donaldson, Kitty, “Blair Wins Nuclear Subs Renewal on Opposition Votes,” Bloomberg News, March 14, 2007.

The Economist, “Newer and Fewer: Reliably Replacing Warheads,” March 10, 2007, p. 31.

Fox, Jon, “Nuclear Attack Now Only Option in Some Cases, U.S. General Says,” Global Security Newswire, March 12, 2007.

Fox, Jon, “New Warhead Faces Uncertain Path Forward in Congress,” Global Security Newswire, March 5, 2007.

Gottemoeller, Rose, “The INF Conundrum,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 5, 2007.

Heintz, Jim, “Envoy: Moscow, U.S. Discuss START Treaty,” Associated Press, March 2, 2007.

Hoffman, Ian, “New H-Bomb Design Prompts Debate,” Inside Bay Area, March 26, 2007.

Hoffman, Ian, “Arms Race Ends in Bitter Lab Fallout,” Inside Bay Area, March 9, 2007.

Hoffman, Ian, “ Livermore Lab Will Build New H-Bomb,” Inside Bay Area, March 3, 2007.

Johnson, Rebecca, “The Trident Dispatches No. 6: Reaction to the Vote,” The Bulletin Online, March 15, 2007.

Johnson, Rebecca, “The Trident Dispatches No. 5: Voting Day,” The Bulletin Online, March 13, 2007.

Johnson, Rebecca, “The Trident Dispatches No. 4: The Run-Up to the Vote,” The Bulletin Online, March 6, 2007.

Kralev, Nicholas, “ Russia, U.S. Will Discuss START,” The Washington Times, March 6, 2007, p. A1.

Kristensen, Hans, “ U.S. Air Force Decides to Retire Advanced Cruise Missile,” Strategic Security Blog, March 7, 2007.

Pincus, Walter, “Nuclear Weapons Rarely Needed, General Says,” The Washington Post, May 10, 2007, p. A8.

Pincus, Walter, “ U.S. to Step Up Disassembly of Older Nuclear Warheads,” The Washington Post, May 4, 2007, p. A11.

Pincus, Walter, “Nuclear Warhead Plan Draws Opposition,” The Washington Post, March 4, 2007, p. A5.

Pincus, Walter, “ U.S. Selects Design for New Nuclear Warhead,” The Washington Post, March 3, 2007, p. A8.

Putrich, Gayle, “USAF to Retire Newest Nuke Missile,” Defense News, March 12, 2007, p. 6.

Quinn, Jennifer, “British Lawmakers Approve New Nuke Subs,” Associated Press, March 14, 2007.

Stephens, Bret, “Who Needs Nukes: Why the U.S. and other Western Powers Need to Modernize Their Arsenals,” The Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2007.

Sterngold, James, “Bomb Gurus Ponder Non-Nuclear Future; New U.S. Weapons Could Make Arsenal a Relic of the Cold War,” San Francisco Chronicle, March 4, 2007.

Weitz, Richard, “Has Moscow Given Up on European Arms Control?” World Politics Watch, March 5, 2007.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Krepon, Michael, “The Nuclear Flock,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2007, p. 15.

Leopold, Evelyn, “UN Intends to Close Arms Inspection Unit for Iraq,” Reuters, March 7, 2007.

Reuters, “Arab Leaders Warn of Nuclear Arms Race,” March 29, 2007.


Brunnstrom, David, “EU’s India Trade Pact Draft Omits WMD, Rights,” Reuters, March 5, 2007.

Giacomo, Carol, “ U.S. Says India Must Honor Nuclear Deal Commitments,” Reuters, March 30, 2007.

Krishnaswami, Sridhar, “ US Says Nuclear Deal with India Not to Fuel Arms Race,” Hindustan Times, March 8, 2007.

Parameswaran, P., “US-India Nuclear Deal Not Moving Rapidly as Expected,” Agence France-Presse, March 8, 2007.

Sokolski, Henry, ed., Gauging U.S.-Indian Strategic Cooperation, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, March 8, 2007, 429 pp.

Walker, Martin, “ India’s Nuke Deal Falters,” United Press International, March 6, 2007.


Adler, Michael, “UN Atomic Agency Opens Meeting on Iran, North Korea,” Agence France-Presse, March 5, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “ Iran Limits Cooperation with UN Atomic Watchdog,” March 28, 2007.

Albright, David and Brannan, Paul, ISIS Imagery Brief: Further Construction at Arak 40 MW Heavy Water Reactor, Institute for Science and International Security, March 20, 2007, 2 pp.

Associated Press, “ Iran Says it Rebuffed U.N. Because it Feared U.S. Attack,” March 31, 2007.

Associated Press, “ China Urges Iran to Return to Disarmament Negotiations,” International Herald Tribune, March 1, 2007.

Beck, Lindsay, “ Iran Sees Talks Ending Russian Atomic Plant Row,” Reuters, March 13, 2007.

Buckley, Neil, “ Russia Hardens Line with Iran,” Financial Times, March 20, 2007.

Cirincione, Joseph and Grotto, Andrew, Contain and Engage: A New Strategy for Resolving the Nuclear Crisis with Iran, Center for American Progress, March 2, 2007, 52 pp.

Cordesman, Anthony, UN Sanctions and Iranian Arms Imports, Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 26, 2007.

Dareini, Ali Akbar, “ Iran Denies Halt to Uranium Enrichment,” Associated Press, March 6, 2007.

Dombey, Daniel, “Still Time for Diplomacy with Tehran, says US,” Financial Times, March 27, 2007.

Feinstein, Lee and Levi, Michael A., “Got the Sticks. Now the Talks,” International Herald Tribune, March 30, 2007.

Fox, Jon, “Lawmakers See Lax Enforcement of Iran Sanctions Act,” Global Security Newswire, March 22, 2007.

Fox, Jon, “ Lawmakers Call for More Financial Pressure on Iran,” Global Security Newswire, March 7, 2007.

Giacomo, Carol, “Progress Made on New Iran Sanctions: U.S. Official,” Reuters, March 2, 2007.

Heinrich, Mark and Strohecker, Karin, “IAEA Governors Approve Nuclear Aid Cut to Iran,” Reuters, March 8, 2007.

Heinrich, Mark and Strohecker, Karen, “ Iran’s Atomic Defiance Sets It Apart: IAEA Chief,” Reuters, March 5, 2007.

Holley, David, “ Russia Losing Patience with Iran over its Nuclear Stance,” Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2007.

Isachenkov, Vladimir, “ Russia Warns U.S. Against Striking Iran,” Associated Press, March 1, 2007.

Karimi, Nasser, “ Iran Says it Still Wants to Negotiate with West amid Nuclear Standoff,” Associated Press, March 26, 2007.

Kelland, Kate, “Air Strikes on Iran Could Backfire-Report,” Reuters, March 5, 2007.

Leopold, Evelyn, “U.N Ambassadors Consider New Sanctions on Iran,” Reuters, March 6, 2007.

Pleming, Sue, “ U.S. Opens Door to Bilateral Talks with Iran,” Reuters, March 7, 2007.

Podvig, Pavel, “Behind Russia and Iran’s Nuclear Reactor Dispute,” The Bulletin Online, March 26, 2007.

Reuters, “ Iran Implements Decision to Limit IAEA Cooperation,” March 28, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “Atomstroyexport to Continue Construction of Bushehr NPP,” March 13, 2007.

RTT News, “ Russia Receives First Payment Toward Delayed Bushehr Atomic Power Plant,” March 27, 2007.

Sciolino, Elaine, “ Russia Tells Iran It Must Suspend Uranium Project,” The New York Times, March 20, 2007, p. A1.

Shanker, Thom and Broad, William, “ Iran to Limit Cooperation with Nuclear Inspectors,” The New York Times, March 26, 2007, p. A6.

Shire, Jacqueline and Albright, David, Iran’s Centrifuges: How Well Are They Working? The Institute for Science and International Security, March 15, 2007, 2 pp.

Webb, Greg, “I AEA Governing Board Debates Iranian Nuclear Aid Cuts,” Global Security Newswire, March 7, 2007.

Weisman, Steven R., “ U.S. Cautions Foreign Companies on Iran Deals,” The New York Times, March 21, 2007, p. C1.

Williams, Dan, “Would Israel Attack Iran? Depends Who You Ask,” Reuters, March 4, 2007.

Wright, Robin, “ Iran Feels Pinch as Major Banks Curtail Business,” The Washington Post, March 26, 2007, p. A10.


Conger, George, “ Israel Urged to End Nuclear Ambiguity,” Jerusalem Post, March 12, 2007.


Agence France-Presse, “ Libya May Ask for U.S. Help on Nuclear Power,” March 12, 2007.

Reuters, “ Libya Unrewarded for Ending Nuclear Program: Gaddifi,” March 3, 2007.

North Korea

Albright, David, Phased International Cooperation with North Korea’s Civil Nuclear Programs, Institute for Science and International Security, March 19, 2007, 12 pp.

Beck, Lindsay, “IAEA Head in N. Korea as Nuclear Diplomacy Heats Up,” Reuters, March 13, 2007.

Beck, Lindsay, “ North Korea Nuclear Disarmament Complex: IAEA,” Reuters, March 12, 2007.

Bernstein, Jeremy, “Where Those Reactors and Centrifuges Came From,” The New York Times, March 10, 2007, p. A13.

Bolton, John, “ North Korea Climbdown,” The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2007, p. A17.

Chang, Jae-Soon, “S. Korea Delays Aid to N. Korea,” Associated Press, March 2, 2007.

The Wall Street Journal, “Uranium Do-Over,” March 2, 2007, p. A10.

Fox, Jon, “House Panel Expresses Concern Over N.K. Nuclear Deal,” Global Security Newswire, March 1, 2007.

Greenlees, Donald, “Bank Blocks Plan to Release Frozen Funds to North Korea,” The New York Times, March 27, 2007, p. A6.

Hall, Kevin and Landay, Jonathan, “ U.S. Claims on North Korea Come Under Scrutiny,” The Mercury News, March 1, 2007.

Harrison, Selig, “How to Preserve the North Korean Nuclear Deal,” Financial Times, March 26, 2007.

Herskovitz, Jon, “ U.S. Calls on North Korea to Account for Uranium,” Reuters, March 6, 2007.

Hoge, Warren, “ U.S. Presses North Korea Over Uranium,” The New York Times, March 7, 2007, p. A9.

Kahn, Joseph and Weisman, Steven R., “ North Korea is Said to Tie Nuclear Accord to Freeing of Funds,” The New York Times, March 15, 2007, p. A8.

Kessler, Glenn, “New Doubts on Nuclear Efforts by North Korea,” The Washington Post, March 1, 2007, p. A1.

Kim, Jack, “ North Korea Fully Ready to End Nuclear Work: Envoy,” Reuters, March 4, 2007.

King Jr., Neil and Ramstad, Evan, “ U.S., North Korea Soften Their Stances,” The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2007, p. A3.

Klug, Foster, “Bush Advisor Sets Aside Tough Nuke Talk,” Associated Press, March 17, 2007.

Kralev, Nicholas, “N. Korea U.S. Talks ‘Just a First Step,’” The Washington Times, March 1, 2007, p. A1.

Le Mon, Christopher, Six-Party Talks Produce Action Plan on North Korea Nuclear Disarmament, The American Society of Law, March 6, 2007.

Lynch, Colum, “U.N. Closes N. Korea Development Office,” The Washington Post, March 6, 2007, p. A13.

Reuters, “Lifting N. Korea Sanctions to Take Time: U.S. Official,” March 2, 2007.

Sands, David, “Nuclear Dialogue Opens on U.S. Soil,” The Washington Times, March 6, 2007, p. A11.

Sanger, David, “ U.S. to Offer North Korea Face-Saving Nuclear Plan,” The New York Times, March 5, 2007, p. A7.

Sanger, David and Broad, William, “ U.S. Concedes Uncertainty on North Korea Uranium Effort,” The New York Times, March 1, 2007, p. A1.

Sevastopulo, Demetri and Yeh, Andrew, “Rice Helped Unfreeze N. Korean Funds,” Financial Times, March 21, 2007.

Sokolski, Henry and Grotto, Andrew, Is the North Korea Deal Worth Celebrating? Council on Foreign Relations, March 12, 2007.

Ueno, Teruaki, “ Japan, N. Korea Talks Stall Again on Historic Issues,” Reuters, March 8, 2007.

Weisman, Steven R., “ U.S. Treasury Official to Help Free Up North Korean Funds,” The New York Times, March 24, 2007, p. A5.

Weisman, Steven R. and Greenlees, Donald, “ U.S. Discusses Releasing North Korean Funds,” The New York Times, March 1, 2007, p. A13.

III. Nonproliferation

Albright, David, “Looking for Nukes: An Ex-Inspector Explains the Art and Science of Nuclear Detective Work, and How it Applies to Iran,” Newsweek International, March 26, 2007.

Associated Press, “Nuke Transport Safeguards Bill Approved,” The Sydney Morning Herald, March 1, 2007.

Coll, Steve, “The Unthinkable: Can the United States be Made Safer from Nuclear Terrorism?” The New Yorker, March 12, 2007, p.48.

Davis, Ann, “New Exotic Focus for Hedge Funds: Uranium Market,” The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2007, p. A1.

Digges, Charles, Putin Moves a Step Closer to Ratifying CTR Umbrella Agreement, Bellona, March 2, 2007, 2 pp.

The Economist, “Just Talk to Yourself: America and the Test-Ban Treaty,” March 10, 2007, p. 12.

Government Accountability Office, Nuclear Nonproliferation: Focusing on the Highest Priority Radiological Sources Could Improve DOE’s Efforts to Secure Sources in Foreign Countries, March 13, 2007, 17 pp.

Isango, Eddy, “ Congo Official Arrested in Uranium Sale,” Associated Press, March 7, 2007.

Khlebnikov, N., Parlse, D., and Whichello, Julian, Novel Technologies for the Detection of Undeclared Nuclear Activities, International Atomic Energy Agency, March 1, 2007, 7 pp.

Panofsky, Wolfgang K. H., “A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Prohibition versus Elimination,” The Bulletin Online, March 5, 2007.

Quinn, Andrew, “S. African Seeks Secrecy Order in Atomic Trade Case,” Reuters, March 1, 2007.

Slaughter, Anne-Marie and Wright, Thomas, “Punishment to Fit the Nuclear Crime,” The Washington Post, March 2, 2007, p. A13.

Sprenger, Sebastian, “DHS Office May Chair ‘Global Initiative’ Meeting on Nuclear Smuggling,” Inside Missile Defense, March 14, 2007, p. 13.

Waddington, Richard, “World Disarmament Body Faces Moment of Truth,” Reuters, March 28, 2007.

Webb, Greg, “ Vietnam Nears Agreement to Remove Uranium,” Global Security Newswire, March 8, 2007.

White, Hugh, “Don’t Forget the Bomb,” The Age, January 3, 2007.

Williams, Isabelle, Analysis of U.S. Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2008 Cooperative Threat Reduction Budget Request, March 19, 2007, 6 pp.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Abbot, Sebastian and Dareini, Ali Akbar, “Some Fear Iran Space Program is Hostile,” Associated Press, March 5, 2007.

Agence France-Presse, “ Poland Awaiting U.S. ‘Signal’ to Start Missile Defense Shield Talks: Defense Minister,” March 8, 2007.

Associated Press, “Czechs Formally Agee to Open Talks on Hosting U.S. Missile Defense Site,” March 28, 2007.

Associated Press, “German EU Presidency Calls for Calm Debate on U.S. Anti-Missile Program,” March 5, 2007.

BBC News, “ Taiwan ‘Tests New Cruise Missile,’” March 6, 2007.

Beres, Louis Rene and Ben-Israel, Isaac, “Ballistic-Missile Defense and WMD,” The Washington Times, March 19, 2007.

Beunderman, Mark, “EU Rifts Deepen over U.S. Missile Shield Plan,” EUOBSERVER, March 3, 2007.

Billingslea, Marshall, “ Moscow’s Missile Defense Bluster,” The Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2007, p. A17.

Cienski, Jan and Sevastopulo, Demetri, “ Russia is ‘Right to Fear Missile Shield’ Set in UK,” Financial Times, March 7, 2007.

Covault, Craig, “Concerns Grow About Iranian, North Korean Missiles and Chinese ASATs,” Aviation Week & Space Technology, March 5, 2007.

Dombey, Daniel, “NATO Chief Warns of Split Over US Missiles,” Financial Times, March 11, 2007.

Golts, Alexander, “Anti-Missile Defense Envy,” Moscow Times, March 21, 2007.

Government Accountability Office, Missile Defense Acquisition Strategy Generates Results But Delivers Less at a Higher Cost, March 2007, 71 pp.

Grossman, Elaine M., “DOD Renews Conventional Trident Request Before a Wary Congress,” Inside Missile Defense, March 14, 2007, p. 14.

John, Mark, “ U.S. Missile Shield Touches Raw Nerve in Europe,” Reuters, March 21, 2007.

Lekic, Slobodan, “ U.S. Wants Missile Radar in Caucasus,” Associated Press, March 1, 2007.

Pemberton, Mary, “Greely Can Expect $38M Bill over Flood,” Associated Press, March 30, 2007.

Project on Government Oversight, The U.S. Missile Defense System-It Can’t Stand the Rain, March 26, 2007, 2 pp.

Reuters, “ Germany’s Schroeder Slams U.S. Missile Shield Plans,” March 11, 2007.

Reuters, “ Pakistan Test Fires Short-range Missile,” March 3, 2007.

RIA Novosti, “ Russia Wants Answers on Expansion of U.S. Missile Shield: FM,” March 6, 2007.

Shalal-Esa, Andrea, “Boeing-Missile Defense Works Better Than Expected,” Reuters, March 12, 2007.

Sikorski, Radek, “Don’t Take Poland for Granted,” The Washington Post, March 21, 2007, p. A15.

Steinmeier, Frank-Walter, “We Don’t Want a New Arms Race,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, March 18, 2007.

Stott, Michael, “ U.S. in Cold War Tactics to Sell Missile Shield: Russia,” Reuters, March 21, 2007.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Associated Press, “Britain Announces It has Finished Destroying its Old Chemical Weapons,” March 27, 2007.

Government Accountability Office, Anthrax Detection: DHS Cannot Ensure that Sampling Activities Will be Validated, March 29, 2007, 18 pp.

Kahn, Laura H., “A Dangerous Biodefense Path,” The Bulletin Online, March 5, 2007.

Schniedmiller , Christopher, “ U.S. Eliminates New Funding for Russian CW Disposal,” Global Security Newswire, March 1, 2007.

Walters, Patrick, “Reticent Chemical Weapons Crusader Who Changed the World,” The Australian, March 13, 2007.

VI. Conventional Arms

Baston, Andrew, Fairclough, Gordon and Leow, Jason, “ China’s Military Buildup Spurs Concern,” The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2007, p. A3.

UK Ban on Cluster Munitions Falls Short of Target, March 21, 2007.

Department of State, Direct Commercial Sales Authorizations for Fiscal Year 2006, March 2007, 180 pp.

Francis, David, “It’s Back: The Global Arms Race,” Christian Science Monitor, March 26, 2007.

Fox, Jon, “ U.S. Tests 15-Ton Bunker Buster,” Global Security Newswire, March 27, 2007.

Gibson, Erika, “South Africa to Take Delivery of New Aircraft, Ships,” Defense News, March 12, 2007, p. 20.

Hartung, William D. and Berrigan, Frida, Top Pentagon Contractors, FY 2006: Major Beneficiaries of the Bush Administration’s Military Buildup, World Policy Institute, March 2007, 8 pp.

Lague, David and Yardley, Jim, “ Beijing Accelerates Its Military Spending,” The New York Times, March 5, 2007, p. A8.

McCool, Grant, “Hidden Bombs Stalk Vietnamese as States Seek Treaty,” Reuters, March 7, 2006.

Opall-Rome, Barbara, “ U.S., Israel Negotiate New Aid Package,” Defense News, March 5, 2007, p. 16.

Raghuvanshi, Vivek, “Leased Akulas Advance India’s Blue-Water Plans,” Defense News, March 5, 2007, p. 1.

Reuters, “ U.S. Urges Transparency in China’s Military Rise,” March 4, 2007.

Vicini, James, “ITT Hit Over Export of Night-Vision Goggle Parts,” Reuters, March 27, 2007.

Williams, Frances, “ UK Spearheads Drive for Global Pact to Stem Sale of Arms to Conflict Zones,” Financial Times, March 20, 2007.

VII. U.S. Policy

Cooper, Helene, “ U.S. and Iran May Steal the Show at Iraq’s Security Meeting,” The New York Times, March 9, 2007, p. A8.

King Jr., Neil and White, Gregory, “ Russia Deals in Middle East Snarl U.S. Strategy on Iran,” The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2007.

Mazzetti, Mark, “Latest Reports on Iran and North Korea Show a Newfound Caution Among Analysts,” The New York Times, March 2, 2007, p. A8.

Pincus, Walter, “Bush Urged to Develop Overall Nuclear Arms Policy,” The Washington Post, March 18, 2007, p. A5.

Sanger, David, “Sensing Shift in Bush Policy, Another Hawk Leaves,” The New York Times, March 21, 2007.

VIII. Space

Berkowitz, Marc J., “Protecting America’s Freedom of Action in Space,” High Frontier, March 2007, p. 13.

Black, Sam, Evolution of the Space Test Bed, Center for Defense Information, March 21, 2007, 2 pp.

Bloomberg News, “Debris Seen as Threat to Military Satellites,” March 9, 2007.

Elfrink, Tim, “StratCom Chief: ‘No Need’ for a Space Arms Race,” Omaha World Herald, March 3, 2007.

Fox, Jon, “NASA Says Nuclear Weapons Best Bet Against Asteroid,” Global Security Newswire, March 14, 2007.

Fox, Jon, “ Reaction to Chinese Antisatellite Technology Test Continues to Swirl on Capitol Hill,” Global Security Newswire, March 9, 2007.

George C. Marshall Institute Policy Outlook, FY 2008 Presidential Budget Request for National Security Space Activities, March 2007, 5 pp.

Gertz, Bill, “ China has Gained and Tested Array of Space Weapons,” The Washington Times, March 30, 2007, p. A8.

Grossman, Elaine M., “Cartwright: U.S. Needs Multifold Response to China’s ASAT Test,” Inside Missile Defense, March 14, 2007, p. 5.

Hitchens, Theresa, “The Perfect Storm: International Reaction to the Bush National Space Policy,” High Frontier, March 2007, p. 19.

Johnson, Tim, “ China Heightens Space Junk Fears,” Houston Chronicle, March 31, 2007.

Krepon, Michael, “Will the Bush Administration Endorse a Space Code of Conduct?” Space News, March 5, 2007.

Lambakis, Steven, “Leveraging Space to Improve Missile Defense,” High Frontier, March 2007, p. 25.

Mannion, Jim, “US Working on Satellite Defenses in the Shadow of a Chinese Test,” Agence France-Presse, March 10, 2007.

NASA, “Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Analysis of Alternatives: Report to Congress,” March 2007, 28 pp.

Reuters, “ China Urges Ban on Space Weapons,” March 29, 2007.

Samson, Victoria, Downplaying Debris Doesn’t Make it Go Away: The Ballistic Missile Defense System’s Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, Center for Defense Information, March 28, 2007, 2 pp.

Sirak, Michael, “Air Force Moves Toward Fielding Two Full Squadrons of Ground-Based Satellite Jammers,” Defense Daily, March 9, 2007.

Sprenger, Sebastian, “ Shelton: Space Warfare is Certain; DOD Must Get Ready,” Inside Missile Defense, March 14, 2007, p. 7.

IX. Other

Giacomo, Carol, “ U.S., Libya Negotiating Nuclear Medicine Project,” Reuters, March 12, 2007.

Gauther-Villiars, David, “Trials of Nuclear Rebuilding: Problems at Finland Reactor Highlight Global Expertise Shortage,” The Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2007, p. A6.

RIA Novosti, “ Russia, Kazakhstan to Sign Deal on Uranium Enrichment Center,” March 21, 2007.

United Press International, “ Iran Goes Nuclear With Currency,” March 12, 2007.

Editor's Note

Miles A. Pomper

It's never easy to negotiate an arms control agreement. But it's often just as difficult, if not more so, to carry one out. In this month's issue, several experts look at the successes and pitfalls of some recent agreements, as well as the prospects for a new one.

In our cover story, Matthew Bunn analyzes how Washington and Moscow can finally move forward and eventually move beyond a 2000 agreement to dispose of excess weapons plutonium. The agreement has been held up for years by bureaucratic delays, diplomatic wrangling, and shifting disposal strategies in Russia and the United States . Bunn suggests ways both countries could more effectively dispose of the dangerous material and urges that far more of it be made unusable for weapons than originally envisioned.

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), outlawing chemical arms, entered into force 10 years ago this month. Rogelio Pfirter, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which implements the CWC, talks to Arms Control Today about the successes and challenges the international community faces in implementing the treaty.

China 's January test of an anti-satellite weapon raised concerns about an arms race in space and the threat that crucial civilian satellites could be damaged by debris from such actions. In a feature article, Geoffrey Forden proposes a treaty that would seek to prohibit future tests of this sort by banning spacecraft from maneuvering at excessive speeds near other orbiting spacecraft.

Our news section this month contains an in-depth look at European reaction to the tug of war between the United States and Russia over basing U.S. missile defense interceptors and a related radar in Poland and the Czech Republic . It also includes the latest news about negotiations to roll back North Korea 's nuclear weapons program and efforts to pressure Iran to restrain its nuclear program.

In our “Looking Back” this month, Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu examines the record of the 20-year-old Missile Technology Control Regime, which aims to impede the spread of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. As with many such agreements, Sidhu finds that the implementation scorecard is a mixed one.

LOOKING BACK: The Missile Technology Control Regime

Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu

On April 16, 1987, the world's seven most industrialized nations (Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany) established the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Constructed in the waning days of the Cold War, the export control regime was aimed primarily at curtailing the spread of missiles cabable of delivering nuclear weapons.

The MTCR soon transformed into a more general attempt to limit ballistic missile technology to nonmember states that could use the capability to deliver biological and chemical weapons as well. Only much later did it evolve to restrict the spread of rockets, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including some cruise missiles and drones.[1]

The MTCR's overriding objective was to limit the perceived value and attributes of missiles so as to diminish their spread. The regime began with two clear strategies for accomplishing this goal. First, it sought to coordinate policies and practices in supplying missiles and missile components to nonmembers. Second, it attempted to limit the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons by curtailing the spread of ballistic missiles that could deliver such weapons. Have these strategies helped the regime meet its ambitious objective over the past 20 years? The answer would have to be a qualified maybe.

The regime has been reasonably successful in streamlining and coordinating the relevant policies of the Group of Seven (G-7) and other Western countries. In particular, it has helped establish common ground for preventing the export of complete missiles or missile components that could provide the recipient country with ballistic missiles capable of delivering a first-generation nuclear weapon. Before the MTCR began, several countries, including Argentina , Iraq , Israel , Libya , and South Korea , had acquired either missiles or missile technology, mostly from the G-7 and other Western nations, which gave them the capability to deliver nuclear weapons.

One of the earliest contributions of the MTCR was to set the parameter of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile as one that could carry a 500-kilogram payload to a range of 300 kilometers. Of course, here the regime erred on the side of caution as a first-generation nuclear weapon was likely to weigh closer to 1,000 kilograms. These parameters and guidelines were readily accepted by the first generation of MTCR members for two reasons. First, these restrictions did not apply to transfers within the MTCR membership, evident in the U.S. supply of Polaris and Trident ballistic missiles to the United Kingdom . Second, in the early 1980s, there was concern that nuclear-capable ballistic missiles or technology supplied by one G-7 country might be used by the recipient against another G-7 country. This worry was highlighted indirectly by Argentina 's use of French Exocet missiles to sink the British destroyer HMS Sheffield and support ship Atlantic Conveyor during the 1982 Falkland Islands War.

Following concerns that several non-MTCR countries were working on chemical and biological weapons as an alternative or in addition to nuclear weapons, the regime was extended in 1993 to cover not only ballistic missiles and technology capable of delivering nuclear weapons but also chemical and biological weapons. The new MTCR guidelines did not alter the established payload or range limits, even though it was evident that a chemical or biological warhead could weigh considerably less than the prescribed 500-kilogram payload. Instead, members were urged to restrict the sale of any missile or unmanned aircraft to countries thought to be developing these so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Although the regime has been fairly successful in establishing policies, it has been less so in putting these policies into practice among its members. Indeed, some of the notable violators of the MTCR guidelines have been entities from within the original MTCR member states. For instance, the weapons-program dossier submitted by Iraq to the UN Security Council in December 2002 reads like a who's who of the MTCR. Among those listed as supplying missile technology to Baghdad are nine U.S. companies, apart from U.S. government agencies and laboratories; seven British companies; and one French company. In addition, U.S. entities have also cooperated with Israel to develop the Arrow Interceptor, whose 500-kilogram payload with a 300-kilometer range exceeds the MTCR's technical threshold. Israel is not a member of the MTCR but claims to adhere to its guidelines and control list.

Indeed, as the MTCR is a voluntary arrangement, it does not have the ability to sanction member states that violate its guidelines. The regime, considered as a cartel by many observers, has fared even worse in its unenviable task of convincing nonmembers to adhere to its guidelines and has struggled to gain legitimacy outside of its membership.[2]

One way it sought to better its standing was by expanding its membership to include key missile suppliers. Ironically, this enlargement from the original seven to the present 34 also created challenges for the regime.[3] The first round of enlargement between 1989 and 1993, coinciding with the end of the Cold War, was relatively smooth and uncontroversial, but the inclusion of Russia in 1995 and Ukraine in 1998 was problematic. Russia agreed to comply with the guidelines subject to three caveats: that all export-related disputes would be resolved multilaterally, that there should be increasing opportunity for supplying MTCR-controlled items to MTCR members, and that Moscow would have a say in regulating MTCR provisions. Predictably, several disputes arose over Russia 's missile exports, some of which were seen as contravening the guidelines. Similarly, when Ukraine joined the MTCR, it reserved the right to produce missiles, which went against the spirit of the MTCR and also flouted the U.S. rule that prospective members had to give up missles exceeding the original range/payload threshold.

Possibly in light of this experience, the MTCR membership has not invited China to join the regime. Although China gave a commitment in 1992 that it would abide by the MTCR guidelines, Beijing has subsequently refused to adhere to the updated 1993 guidelines, making the MTCR reluctant to admit a member likely to be even more recalcitrant than Russia . Thus, MTCR enlargement appears to have not only eroded the entry standards but also made consensus on sensitive issues increasingly difficult.

Limited WMD Success

On the objective of limiting the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons by curtailing the spread of ballistic missiles that could deliver such weapons, the achievements of the MTCR have been minimal at best and dubious at worst. Proponents of the MTCR often cite the abandonment of the joint Condor II program by Argentina , Egypt , and Iraq as well as the decisions of Brazil , Libya , South Africa , South Korea , and Taiwan to give up either their nuclear-capable ballistic missile or space launch vehicle programs as proof of the effectiveness of the regime. More recently, the decisions of Hungary , Poland , and the Czech Republic to destroy their old ballistic missiles, including some Soviet-era Scuds, partly to join the MTCR in 1993, are touted as evidence of the success and attractiveness of the MTCR.

In the strongest examples, the technology embargo was a contributing factor. The cases of Argentina , Brazil , Libya , and South Africa owed at least as much to domestic political changes and an improved regional security scenario. Similarly, Egypt 's decision was partly prompted by the generous annual aid package of around $2 billion from Washington and partly on account of the “cold peace” it established with Israel . These developments led Cairo to opt for a diplomatic approach, rather than a military one, to challenge Israel 's nuclear and missile capability.

Iraq 's decision to pull out of the Condor II project, on the other hand, was on account of Baghdad embarking on an ambitious indigenous missile program, which took one major war and several years of UN inspections to dismantle. Although Taiwan and South Korea ditched their ballistic missile programs, each has embarked on a sophisticated, potent, indigenous cruise missile program.

Some also argue that countries such as Brazil have joined the treaty to procure space launch technology. Finally, the Polish and Czech decisions did succeed in removing some aging missiles. Indirectly and inadvertently, however, it also paved the way for both countries to possibly acquire new and more sophisticated missiles from the United States as part of Washington 's global anti-missile system. If Russia were to carry through on its threat to respond by withdrawing unilaterally from the epoch-making 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which eliminated an entire class of ballistic missiles, the MTCR would suffer a double blow.

It appears that the MTCR did play a role in reducing ballistic missile programs capable of delivering nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in some non-MTCR countries. Yet, it is doubtful that the absence of ballistic missiles alone has limited the proliferation of these so-called weapons of mass destruction even in these few countries. For instance, many of the countries that have ostensibly given up ballistic missile programs capable of delivering chemical and biological weapons, such as Egypt , Iraq , and Syria , have still not joined either the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) or Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and, therefore, might still seek to acquire these weapons.

On the other hand, some countries such as Iran that have signed both the CWC and the BWC as well as the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) are still pursuing active missile programs. Despite its public vows, Iran may or may not be seeking to use its missiles as platforms for the delivery of nuclear or other unconventional weapons. Yet, because Tehran lacks access to reliable supplies of combat aircraft, it considers missiles a viable substitute. Indeed, given Iran 's experience in the eight-year-long war with Iraq , when its cities were attacked by conventionally armed Iraqi Scuds, conventionally armed missiles offer a serious military option.

The MTCR also did not gain universal appeal on account of two key omissions. First, by initially restricting itself to WMD-capable ballistic and then cruise missiles while ignoring conventionally armed cruise missiles, although it was evident as early as the Falkland Islands War that such missile proliferation and use was likely to be of greater concern in the coming years. This preference for ballistic missiles over cruise missiles and other UAVs was based on the erroneous assumption that such sophisticated missiles were more difficult for aspirant countries to acquire. The urge not to control the spread of conventionally armed cruise missile also may have been prompted by the lucrative export potential of such missiles. Second, the MTCR deliberately focused on horizontal proliferation (spread of missiles among newer states) rather than vertical proliferation (qualitative and quantitative improvement of missiles by existing missile-possessing states) and, consequently, was accused of dividing the world into missile haves and have-nots. This similarity with the NPT made the MTCR unpalatable for many countries even when they agreed with its principles.

Inadvertently in some cases, the MTCR also became a rationale for some nascent missile programs that otherwise might have been shelved. The best example is India , where one of the official justifications for its missile program is “to develop critical components [and] technologies…and to reduce the vulnerability of major programs [such as missiles]…from various embargoes/denial regimes [such as the MTCR], instituted by advanced countries.”

Indeed, partly to make this point, the creation of the MTCR in 1987 was greeted by a series of dramatic missile tests by Israel (the Jericho II in 1987, 1988, and 1989), India (the Prithvi in 1988 and the Agni in 1989), Pakistan (the Hatf II in 1989), and North Korea (the Nodong in 1993), and China's shipment of CSS-2 missiles to Saudi Arabia (1988) and M-11 and M-9 missiles to Pakistan (early 1990s). Even the most ardent MTCR supporters acknowledge that not only did the MTCR fail to significantly slow down the missile programs of India , Iran , Israel , North Korea , and Pakistan but may have actually provided a fillip for waning domestic support to their indigenous programs. In the process, they also produced a second tier of missile suppliers.

By the late 1990s, it was evident that the MTCR was in serious danger of becoming ineffective and irrelevant. One indication of this was the decision by Washington to embark on an ambitious, multilayered anti-ballistic missile defense program, seeking a techno-military fix to the perceived threat of missile proliferation from countries such as North Korea and Iran .

While Washington seeks to make a fine distinction between offensive and defensive missiles and argues that the former is benign and therefore legitimate, there are concerns that missile defense could inadvertently undermine the MTCR. First, emphasizing the techno-military fix over the politico-diplomatic approach of the MTCR might further weaken adherence to the flagging regime. Second, technically offensive and defensive missiles are more or less the same; they just have different roles. Thus, providing defensive missiles or missile technology to MTCR members might inadvertently give the recipient offensive missile capability, which contradicts the spirit of the MTCR. Finally, on what grounds could the MTCR persuade non-MTCR members not to transfer or receive similar defensive missile technology from others?

Partly to counter this prospect and partly to buttress the decline of the MTCR, several European members of the MTCR, notably the Netherlands , proposed a code of conduct against ballistic missile proliferation in 1999. This code, which was discussed over the next few years, including (at the initiative of the European Union) with several prominent non-MTCR members such as Pakistan, sought to address both missile possession and behavior and was formally adopted in November 2002 as the Hague code of conduct against ballistic missile proliferation. Although as many as 93 countries signed up to the code immediately, China , India , Iran , North Korea , Pakistan , and Syria did not. Even MTCR member Brazil has still not signed the code. The United States has signed the code, but Washington 's endorsement was tempered by its withdrawal in June 2002 from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, paving the way for an unfettered missile defense program and dashing the hopes of the European MTCR members that at least the pace of the destabilizing missile defense program could be slowed down.

In addition, by calling on members to “exercise maximum possible restraint in the development, testing, and deployment of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, including, where possible, to reduce national holdings of such missiles,” the code also appeared inadvertently to acquiesce to the possession of such missiles by all countries, much to the discomfiture of many of its original MTCR membership. Apart from a lukewarm reception among its core constituents, the code also failed to entice new constituents by focusing only on ballistic missiles and excluding cruise missiles, both conventional and nonconventional, even though the proliferation and use of cruise missiles had risen sharply since the early 1990s.

Despite these drawbacks, the Hague code is essential, given the ongoing frenetic pace of missile activity—more than 100 ballistic and cruise missiles have been tested and used just in the last couple of years. At the very least, the initial process was a useful first step by the MTCR in multilateralizing the issue of missiles. Although its proposed transparency and confidence-building measures, such as an annual declaration of ballistic missile policies and holdings and pre-flight notification of tests, are limited in scope, they are worthwhile if they are effectively and universally implemented. In this context, the efforts of code members to universalize it by having it “welcomed” by the UN General Assembly has to be commended. Much more needs to be done, however, both within and outside the United Nations, before the code is likely to be accepted and implemented universally.

If member states want the MTCR and the Hague code to remain relevant and effective, then they will have to do more to address the concerns of nonmembers in a genuinely democratic and universal setting. Among these concerns are legitimate security issues. Some of these issues can be addressed at the bilateral level or even at the regional level, but other issues can only be addressed with the inclusion of MTCR members with the biggest nuclear and missile arsenals, as with the six-party talks in Northeast Asia. Indeed, in some instances, it is the qualitative and quantitative improvement in the missile arsenals of MTCR members such as the United States that is of direct concern to non-MTCR members such as Iran and North Korea . Therefore, unless vertical missile proliferation by MTCR members is curbed, the regime is unlikely to stem the tide of horizontal missile proliferation by non-MTCR members.

Another concern for non-MTCR members is the increasing proliferation and use of conventionally armed cruise missiles by MTCR members against non-MTCR members. Hence, unless the MTCR and the code of conduct addresses the increasing use of cruise missiles, non-MTCR members are unlikely to consider the regime to be in their interest.

Finally, many non-MTCR members are concerned that the regime aims to prevent their legitimate access to civilian space launch technology under the guise of preventing missile proliferation. Unless the MTCR and the code incorporate some of the proposals related to civilian space launch made in the now-shelved Global Control System, it is unlikely to attract many new members.

Both the MTCR and the Hague code would do well to address concerns related to all missiles, not just some, if their purpose is truly to curb missile proliferation in the coming years. Otherwise, there is a danger that the MTCR will fade into history as a valiant but vain effort by the armed Western world to disarm the rest of the world of ballistic missiles.

Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu is director of the New Issues in Security course at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and was a consultant for the two UN panels of governmental experts on missiles. He is also co-editor of Arms Control After Iraq: Normative and Operational Challenges (UN University Press 2006).


1. For the official Missile Technology Control Regime website, see www.mtcr.info.

2. Mark Smith, “On Thin Ice: First Steps for the Ballistic Missile Code of Conduct,” Arms Control Today , July/August 2002, pp. 12-16.

3. The present members and their year of joining are Argentina (1993), Australia (1990), Austria (1991), Belgium (1990), Brazil (1995), Bulgaria (2004), Canada (1987), Czech Republic (1998), Denmark (1990), Finland (1991), France (1987), Germany (1987), Greece (1992), Hungary (1993), Iceland (1993), Ireland (1992), Italy (1987), Japan (1987), Luxembourg (1990), Netherlands (1990), New Zealand (1991), Norway (1990), Poland (1998), Portugal (1992), Republic of Korea (2001), Russian Federation (1995), South Africa (1995), Spain (1990), Sweden (1991), Switzerland (1992), Turkey (1997), Ukraine (1998), United Kingdom (1987), and the United States (1987). In addition, a few countries, such as China and Israel , declared that they would “adhere” to the MTCR guidelines.

On April 16, 1987, the world's seven most industrialized nations (Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany) established the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). Constructed in the waning days of the Cold War, the export control regime was aimed primarily at curtailing the spread of missiles cabable of delivering nuclear weapons. (Continue)

Budget Woes Haunt Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone

Justin Reed

On Feb. 14, Latin American and Caribbean countries marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region, the first of its kind in the world. Yet, at this historic milestone, the organization charged with keeping the region free of such arms is threatened by persistent budget shortfalls.

“We are surviving month to month,” Ambassador Edmundo Vargas Carreño, secretary-general of The Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL), told Arms Control Today March 15. “Some countries are not paying.”

OPANAL oversees the Treaty of Tlatelolco, ratified by all 33 states-parties in the region, and supports other nonproliferation and disarmament measures. It includes a council of five states that meets every two months (current members are Argentina, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, and Peru ) and holds a general conference of all states-parties every two years. OPANAL's draft budget for 2007 totals $324,000, of which Argentina , Brazil , Mexico , and Venezuela are expected to pay the largest percentages. OPANAL employs five people.

Senior diplomatic sources said that Brazil and Argentina , two of the organization's primary sponsors, have continually neglected their dues to the organization over a period of “many years.”

Mexico meanwhile has been vital in keeping OPANAL afloat. Its recent contributions, along with those from Chile, Cuba, and Ecuador, averted the organization's shuttering in March, according to Vargas, and should keep it open through spring. It was the “first time in history” that the organization faced closure, said Vargas.

Luciano Tanto, second secretary of Argentina's embassy in Washington , confirmed that Argentina has been late with payments but attributed this to the country's 2001-2002 financial crisis that he said has affected Argentina's contributions to many similar organizations. Nevertheless, Tanto stressed Argentina considers the Treaty of Tlatelolco to be “important” and has a “strong commitment to OPANAL.”

Likewise, a Brazilian embassy official attributed the country's lack of payment to “financial constraints” but emphasized that Brazil is working “to make sure the debt is dealt with as soon as possible.”

Vargas remained optimistic. “The important countries that are not paying will have a responsibility to pay if the alternative is that we close. They will finally pay,” he said.

Tanto stated that there is a pledge for OPANAL in Argentina 's present quarterly budget and that “OPANAL will soon receive the money.”

In its efforts to keep the region free of nuclear weapons, OPANAL has been pressing countries to sign and ratify agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based on the 1997 Model Additional Protocol. The protocol is designed to enhance traditional IAEA safeguards by providing the agency with greater authority to verify that states are not carrying out undeclared nuclear activities. Fifteen Tlatelolco states-parties have signed or ratified additional protocols.

Brazil has not signed an additional protocol, which is of particular concern to outsiders. Brazil had a nuclear weapons program in the 1970s and 1980s and has a new uranium-enrichment facility at Resende. (See ACT, October 2005. ) Such facilities can produce low-enriched uranium for use in nuclear power reactors or highly enriched uranium, which can be used as fissile material in nuclear weapons.

Nonetheless, Vargas expressed confidence that Brazil 's program is only for peaceful purposes and will not take on a military dimension.

In late 2005, Venezuela 's president, Hugo Chavez, announced his intention to have his country develop nuclear energy capabilities with the assistance of Brazil and Argentina . On the possibility that Venezuela might at some point divert nuclear energy research into a weapons program, Vargas said that “it would be ridiculous for Venezuela because it would have nothing to win and a lot to lose.” He added that there are not the political conditions for “any country in Latin America to become a new Iran or North Korea .” Venezuela has yet to sign an additional protocol.

Vargas also said that OPANAL is committed to the extension of nuclear-weapon-free zones to other parts of the world. OPANAL organized a conference of nuclear-weapon-free zones in Mexico City in 2005 and is planning another conference for New Zealand in 2010.

Vargas said that his “dream” is that more nuclear-weapon-free zones are established, “especially in the Korean peninsula.” For this to happen, he cautioned, the participation of the nuclear powers is required. The five designated nuclear-weapon states signed a protocol to the Treaty of Tlatelolco pledging not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against treaty states-parties. The largest challenge, he concedes, is the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

Global Strike Still on Pentagon Wish List

Wade Boese

Picture a grim scenario: U.S. intelligence learns that terrorists in a remote location are preparing an attack against the United States . The window of opportunity to react is a few hours at most, and no U.S. air, ground, or sea forces are close enough to act. The only current options, according to Pentagon officials, are to do nothing or fire a nuclear-armed, long-range ballistic missile.

The commander in charge of deployed U.S. nuclear weapons, Strategic Command chief General James Cartwright, says neither option is attractive. He wants another alternative: long-range ballistic missiles carrying conventional warheads.

Lawmakers last year were largely unconvinced of the wisdom of such a step, however, fearing particularly that Russia might mistake the launch of a conventional ballistic missile for a surprise nuclear attack requiring instant retaliation. They trimmed funding for the project from $127 million to $25 million and called for further study of the concept. (See ACT, November 2006. )

The studies are unfinished, but Cartwright and the Pentagon are back this year, asking Congress for $175 million to proceed with the project as part of the fiscal year 2008 budget request. The initial phase calls for substituting conventional warheads for nuclear warheads on two submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) for each of the dozen deployed U.S. ballistic missile submarines. The boats would continue to carry 22 nuclear-armed SLBMs apiece.

Testifying March 8 before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Cartwright said the Pentagon still needed a way to hit targets worldwide with a conventional warhead in under an hour. Surveying both offensive and defensive military assets, Cartwright asserted that “where we have a hole…is in the prompt global strike side of the equation.” This void could be filled in two years with the SLBM conversion, according to Strategic Command.

In his prepared remarks, Cartwright noted that “use of a nuclear weapon system in prompt response may be no choice at all.” Cartwright later testified that something “below the nuclear threshold” was required for “fleeting, high-value, high-regret factor-type threats.”

Legislators remain wary. Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), the subcommittee chair, told Cartwright that prompt global strike is a “powerful concept, but there are a number of important questions that need to be answered before moving forward with any particular program.”

Aside from the worry that Russia and, perhaps someday, China might misinterpret a U.S. conventional missile launch as nuclear, some analysts and congressional aides have expressed other concerns. For example, they note that a launch order would be heavily reliant on intelligence, which can be limited or faulty, as demonstrated by the incorrect allegations about Iraqi unconventional weapons. In particular, the skeptics dread that the possibility of error could be magnified by the abbreviated timeline in which military and political leaders might need to make a decision. They also fear that providing a new use for ballistic missiles might enhance their perceived utility at a time that the United States has been seeking to stop their spread.

Congress has tasked the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the need for a prompt global strike capability and how best to achieve it in varying time frames: one to two years, three to five years, and more than five years. The academy's Naval Studies Board initiated the 15-month, $5 million study earlier this year. Lawmakers had requested a preliminary report by March 15, but one has yet to be submitted.

The Pentagon is exploring other prompt strike capabilities aside from converting SLBMs, but they are longer-term possibilities. Cartwright noted that Air Force Space Command is developing a long-range ballistic missile option for launch from the United States .

Lt. Col. Randi Steffy, chief of operations for U.S. Strategic Command public affairs, told Arms Control Today in a Feb. 21 e-mail that the SLBM conversion is “only the first step in a larger plan for prompt global strike.” Steffy added that the command supports the development of such capabilities “in whatever form is deemed appropriate by Congress.”

New U.S. Warhead Design Selected

Wade Boese

After months of delay, U.S. officials announced recently that a team led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory won the first design competition in roughly two decades for a new nuclear warhead. The news received a tepid greeting from U.S. lawmakers, who will need to fund the design if it is ever to be built.

The competition's origins date back to 2004 when Congress allocated $9 million to explore making existing nuclear warheads last longer without diminishing their explosive power. This Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program soon morphed into a more ambitious effort to produce new warheads that ostensibly would be safer, more reliable, and easier to maintain than the nine types populating the current stockpile of approximately 10,000 nuclear warheads. In early 2006, Livermore in California and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico submitted competing designs for the inaugural RRW warhead.

The Department of Energy's semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which runs the nuclear weapons complex, recently reported to Congress that existing warheads are safe and reliable. The agency, however, also says that small maintenance changes made to the explosive devices might someday corrupt them. Almost all the warheads are more than 20 years old, but recent studies found that the plutonium core of the warheads will last at least 85 years without degrading performance. (See ACT, January/February 2007. )

Thomas D'Agostino, the acting administrator of the NNSA, hailed the rival RRW designs March 2 as “brilliant.” But D'Agostino said agency experts and Pentagon officials had greater confidence that the Livermore design could be assessed to work without resorting to underground nuclear testing, which the United States suspended in 1992.

Washington subsequently signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, outlawing nuclear testing, in 1996, although the Senate three years later rejected the accord's ratification. Still, Congress has stipulated that the RRW program should avoid a return to nuclear testing.

Officials described the Livermore design as more conservative and closely linked to concepts validated by past testing than the more novel Los Alamos alternative. Teams from the Sandia National Laboratories contributed to both designs.

A winning design had been expected to be unveiled last November, but the decision slipped as officials debated the proposals. Earlier this year, media reports said that a hybrid design had emerged as the front-runner.

Although the NNSA ultimately selected the Livermore design, the agency described the Los Alamos warhead as “highly innovative.” This description reportedly pertained to mechanisms to render a warhead useless if it fell into the wrong hands. The NNSA said the Los Alamos features would be developed in parallel with and possibly incorporated into the Livermore project.

Working with the other laboratories and the U.S. Navy, Livermore will now seek to perfect its design as a future replacement for the W76 warhead that arms the Navy's 14-boat ballistic missile submarine fleet. If all proceeds accordingly, the NNSA hopes to field the first replacement warhead by 2012.

Longer-term plans call for possibly swapping all current warhead types for RRW models, a process that could take 30 years or more. The Livermore design currently is slated to replace W76 warheads only, and the NNSA stated in its budget documents earlier this year that it wanted to study “additional RRW options.”

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), whose state is home to Los Alamos , would like that process started sooner than later. “One system is not equivalent to a transformation and we need to move on a second [RRW] design competition,” Domenici said in a March 2 press statement.

Other lawmakers appear less eager to plunge ahead. Indeed, some are questioning the entire RRW approach.

Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), who chairs the House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, which takes the lead on funding for the NNSA, blasted the RRW announcement. Panning the program as having a “make-it-up-as-you-go-along character,” Visclosky said there appeared to be “little thought” on why new nuclear warheads are needed and asserted that the agency should be “reconfiguring the old Cold War complex and dismantling obsolete warheads.”

NNSA officials contend that the RRW program is essential to both of Visclosky's priorities. The agency envisions that the RRW effort will make warhead production, maintenance, and storage easier, enabling the agency by 2030 to significantly streamline the entire cradle-to-grave process as well as the infrastructure that supports it. With shorter bomb-production timelines, the United States , according to the NNSA, would be able to safely scrap thousands of stored warheads knowing that more could be produced quickly on an as-needed basis.

But the whole notion strikes Visclosky and Rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio), the subcommittee's ranking member and former chair, as dubious. Speaking at a March 6 hearing, Hobson said that the agency was “focusing too much on [the RRW program] and not paying enough attention to dismantlement and consolidation of the weapons complex.”

Visclosky warned in his March 2 statement that RRW funding could be eliminated. In its latest annual budget request to Congress submitted Feb. 5, the Bush administration requested nearly $119 million for the program. (See ACT, March 2007.)

In a joint statement March 2, Reps. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) and Terry Everett (R-Ala.) also indicated the RRW program faces scrutiny. “Today's announcement is only an early step in what will be a long evaluation process,” they stated.

Tauscher, chair of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, noted at a March 8 hearing that Congress had yet to authorize actual engineering work on the RRW design. She further implied that phase would not be reached if the design were to have capabilities different from existing warheads, declaring “the last time” the administration proposed a new nuclear weapon, the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, “I helped kill it.” (See ACT, December 2005. )

Although the RRW program is only supposed to replicate existing warhead capabilities, the NNSA also maintains that the related overhaul of the weapons complex has as one objective the ability to produce weapons with new military capabilities. In an October 2006 report, the agency stated that a revamped complex would “improve the capability to design, develop, certify, and complete production of new or adapted warheads in the event of new military requirements.”

Proposal Aims to End CD Gridlock

Wade Boese

At the close of March, the 65-member Conference on Disarmament (CD) was weighing a proposal to end a negotiating dry spell that has stretched for more than eight years. The plan would launch treaty negotiations on halting the production of key nuclear weapons materials and initiate less-formal discussions on averting a space arms race, pursuing nuclear disarmament, and guaranteeing states without nuclear weapons that they will not be attacked by such arms.

Sri Lankan Ambassador Sarala Fernando presented the work package March 23 to the CD, which operates by consensus. The package had won the support of most CD members when the first of three work periods that make up the conference's annual session ended March 30. But China , India , and Pakistan had still not endorsed the package. Members agreed to try and hold a special plenary meeting sometime in April to take a decision on the plan before they officially reconvene May 14 for the second work period, which concludes June 29.

The proposed negotiations would be devoted to a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT), which would forbid production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium for weapons purposes. A rudimentary nuclear bomb requires at least one of these two fissile materials, while more modern weapon designs employ both.

France , Russia , the United Kingdom , and the United States already have voluntarily suspended such production, albeit after accumulating significant stockpiles of weapons and weapons-usable material. Still, the four countries want to codify their separate moratoria into a legal instrument and extend its obligations to all other nuclear weapons possessors: China, India, Israel, North Korea, and Pakistan. Beijing is generally recognized as having ceased fissile material production for arms, although it has made no formal statement to this effect.

Washington and its allies have been pressing the conference to make an FMCT its top priority since the 1996 completion of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty outlawing nuclear explosions. Many countries, however, protested that an FMCT should not be the CD's exclusive focus. China and Russia called for equal treatment of preventing an arms race in outer space, and nonaligned countries pushed nuclear disarmament as their favored negotiating topic.

Until late March, the United States resisted taking up these other issues in any manner. A Department of State official told Arms Control Today March 28 that the United States “was willing to set aside [its] misgivings [on other issues] in order to breathe new life into the CD.” The official pointed out that the mandates for the trio of other subjects are not to “negotiate or search for ways to negotiate.” The mandates merely call for “substantive discussions.”

Washington submitted a draft FMCT to the conference last May. (See ACT, June 2006. ) The U.S. proposal did not contain verification measures. The Bush administration contends negotiating such measures would be difficult, time consuming, and ultimately futile because determined violators will find a way to cheat. The draft also exempted existing HEU and plutonium stockpiles from control.

Most CD members support verification measures of some kind. For instance, Canada submitted a March 20 paper on a future FMCT, noting that “an effective verification mechanism is an important element of any non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament agreement.” Other countries, such as Brazil , Egypt , Pakistan , and South Africa , have argued that an agreement also should address existing material.

The March 23 work proposal states that FMCT negotiations will be conducted “without any preconditions,” suggesting all issues are open for debate. Italian Ambassador Carlo Trezza would serve as the negotiations coordinator.

If agreed to in April, there is no guarantee that the negotiations will result in a treaty or even continue past the third and final work period of the 2007 session, which will run from July 30 to Sept. 14. The last time CD members initiated FMCT negotiations in 1998 (see ACT, August/September 1998), they failed to restart the talks the next year.

Disarmament Forum Stalemate May End

Scarlet Kim

On March 15, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution approving Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's proposed reform of the UN disarmament bureaucracy.

Ban's original plan for restructuring the bodies, which proposed incorporating the Department of Disarmament Affairs (DDA) into the Department of Political Affairs, had been harshly criticized by a significant number of member states and civil society organizations. Many governments were upset with Ban's decision to unveil a reform plan without prior consultation. (See ACT, March 2007. )

Ban's original DDA proposal amounted to a bureaucratic demotion, stripping the department of its political and budgetary autonomy. Critics, particularly representatives of developing and European states, argued the move would lower the profile of disarmament and nonproliferation.

Responding to this criticism, Ban formulated a new plan to replace the DDA with a new office headed by a high representative whose rank would equal that of the current undersecretary-general for disarmament affairs. Though tasked with many of the same responsibilities of the existing undersecretary, Ban said he hoped by granting the high representative direct access to him the move would “revitalize the disarmament and nonproliferation agenda.”

The high representative, according to the new proposal, would focus on four core areas: policy development and coordination functions in support of the secretary-general, advocacy of disarmament and nonproliferation issues with member states and civil society groups, promotion and support of multilateral efforts in disarmament and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and promotion and support of conventional arms disarmament efforts.

The new resolution expresses General Assembly support for the establishment of an office for disarmament affairs and grants permission to the secretary-general to select a high representative. It also requests that the secretary-general submit a report, following his appointment of a high representative, outlining financial, administrative, and budgetary implications, as well as implementation of mandates assigned to the new office.

In recent years, the United States has often clashed with other General Assembly members on international disarmament initiatives. However, in a press release following the adoption of the resolutions, the U.S. mission welcomed the vote.


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