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

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016
September 2007
Edition Date: 
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Cover Image: 

LOOKING BACK: Kananaskis at Five: Assessing the Global Partnership

Paul F. Walker

The Group of Eight (G-8) industrial countries—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—convened in Kananaskis, Canada, in 2002 for an annual summer summit and created a new and expanded entity, the G-8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, otherwise known as the Global Partnership.

Five years, five G-8 summits, and several billion dollars later, this partnership continues its efforts to secure and eliminate nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in Russia and former Soviet states. The Global Partnership has accomplished much in its first five years: eliminated nuclear warheads and delivery systems, provided secure transport and storage for fissile materials, secured and neutralized chemical weapons stockpiles, and retrained and re-employed former weapons scientists. Yet, most 10-year goals for elimination of former Soviet weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are less than half accomplished, and many Global Partnership members have not yet fulfilled their sizeable financial pledges. Regardless of growing perceptions of Russia as a newly wealthy country rich in oil and gas, the threat of theft, diversion, and proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons remains very real and a key component of international security for all nations. It is more important than ever that the Global Partnership continue its work to keep these potential tools of terrorists out of the hands of subnational, violent groups bent on obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

 Kananaskis is located in Alberta, Canada, just northwest of Calgary. When the G-8 countries met there in June 2002, under the chairmanship of Canada, they were fortunate to have nearby the beautiful vistas of Banff National Park but were also faced with the stark realities of the September 11 terrorist attacks, which had occurred just nine months prior. They were well aware of the ongoing, menacing, and public threat of al Qaeda’s desire to acquire nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons for future terrorist attacks and the fact that Russia was having difficulty securing its dangerous weapons and materials of mass destruction.

The Global Partnership set out four major priorities in helping Russia to prevent proliferation, theft, diversion, and accidents of weapons of mass destruction and related materials.

Among our priority concerns are the destruction of chemical weapons, the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines, the disposition of fissile materials and the employment of former weapons scientists.[1]

The eight nations committed “to raise up to $20 billion to support such projects over the next ten years,” with $10 billion pledged by the United States and a matching $10 billion pledged by the other seven, including Russia. The formula was dubbed “10 plus 10 over 10.” The U.S. funding was simply a continuation of annual funding under the decade-old Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program and additional nonproliferation efforts that spun out of the CTR program in the mid-1990s in the U.S. Departments of Energy and State. A few other nations had also been helping the former Soviet Union prior to the establishment of the Global Partnership, but the 2002 G-8 statement was generally viewed as a major step forward by involving additional countries and resources in addressing WMD proliferation, the growing terrorist threat, and in helping the United States “share the burden” of threat reduction activities in Russia.

Expanding Global Partnership Participation

The G-8 countries encouraged other states to join the Global Partnership by citing the common interest of all countries in preventing the spread and use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. This effort was quite successful during the partnership’s first two years, with 13 additional countries and the European Union joining the partnership. Beginning then, Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, and Switzerland have all contributed to arms control and disarmament efforts in Russia and elsewhere. Contributions have ranged from $75,000 to several hundred million dollars annually. To date, the non-G-8 participants have contributed roughly $900 million (or $210 million without the EU) to the Global Partnership, certainly a significant amount.

Unfortunately, the Global Partnership’s expansion appears to have stalled. With 195 recognized states in the world, there would seem to be much more room for expansion, especially amongst the developed world. All 27 EU members contribute to the EU’s substantial common Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States and Joint Action programs. Although most of the 160 other states are small and developing, they still remain outside of the partnership.

Also important to note is the fact that Ukraine joined the Global Partnership in 2006 as a recipient state along with Russia. Although the great majority of aid still goes to high-priority projects in Russia, it is likely that more recipient states may join in the future. The United States, through its CTR and nonproliferation programs over the last 15 years, has partnered with Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine to help establish them as non-nuclear-weapon states after the breakup of the Soviet Union and has also been actively working with Georgia and other former Soviet states along the southern rim of Russia to secure fissile materials and biological pathogens.

Global Partnership Pledges

The initial pledges of the G-8 countries in 2002 to the Global Partnership were about $16 billion, or 80 percent, of the full $20 billion goal. With EU pledges of $1.4 billion, the additional commitments of 13 other countries, and the current weakness of the U.S. dollar, the Global Partnership would appear to be approaching its target amount.[2]

One of the major challenges in the Global Partnership has been to turn these initial national pledges into funding for actual projects and to appropriate and spend the funds in a timely way. One of Russia’s vocal complaints over the past five years is that very few pledges have been received in a timely manner, making project planning extremely difficult and at times impossible. Valery Biryukov, head of the Global Partnership for Security and Disarmament Issues in the Russian Foreign Ministry, recently stated, “The large [Global Partnership] donors have not fulfilled their duties in full. Countries offering smaller contributions do not provide them on a regular basis. As a result, foreign aid flows in unpredictable ways…. There is a significant gap between the foreign aid amounts declared by government donors and the amounts being provided in reality.”[3]

Similarly, Natalia Kalinina, deputy director of the Inspection Audit Chamber of the Russian Federation, recently spoke about partnership pledges for submarine dismantlement and chemical weapons destruction in Russia. She stated that “foreign partners” had pledged $1.415 billion for Russian submarine destruction but had only financed $313.4 million, or 22 percent, through mid-2006. In the chemical weapons demilitarization field, another major priority for the Global Partnership, Kalinina alleged that $1.65 billion had been pledged, but only $298 million, or 18 percent, was disbursed for projects.[4]

One must be careful when drawing broad conclusions from these Russian spending estimates because they usually account only for Global Partnership funds that flow through Russian ministries and agencies. Global Partnership spending is typically higher due to funds expended through non-Russian integrating contractors most often closely affiliated with the donor country. However, a review of Global Partnership spending to date indicates that approximately $7.9 billion has been expended, representing about 41 percent of total partnership pledges. Two countries, Denmark and Russia, have slightly surpassed their total pledges of $24 million and $2 billion, respectively. Another five countries—Finland, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, and Switzerland—and the EU have surpassed the 50 percent mark. The remaining 14 partnership members are below the 50 percent spending mark. Italy and France are by far the slowest in fulfilling their 2002 pledges of $1.4 billion and $1 billion, respectively, with spending to date estimated at only three percent and 14 percent of these amounts.[5] These delays have been due to several issues, including tight domestic budgets and challenges in negotiating bilateral agreements with Russia. If the Global Partnership is to be successful in meeting its 2002 goals, spending must be accelerated over the next five years.

Chemical Weapons Destruction

Russia signed the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1993 and ratified it in 1997. It is one of six declared chemical-weapon-possessor states with 40,000 tons of chemical agents stockpiled at seven sites in Russia. The CWC mandates that all chemical weapons stockpiles must be safely eliminated within 10 years of the convention’s entry into force, that is, a decade from April 29, 1997. Russia has missed that date, even though Russia and the United States began bilateral discussions about stockpile destruction almost 20 years ago. Although the United States inspected its first Russian chemical weapons stockpile at Shchuch’ye in July 1994,[6] Russia did not make major progress in its destruction program until shortly after the Kananaskis summit in 2002.

Russia’s progress in destroying its chemical weapons stockpile stemmed from a lack of funds. Russian officials made clear to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the multilateral agency tasked with CWC implementation and verification, and its states-parties in The Hague in 1997 that, were Russia to ratify the convention, it would need foreign partners to help with the expensive and complex demilitarization program, especially during a unique period of historic socioeconomic transition and political upheaval for Russia.

The Kananaskis Global Partnership statement placed top priority on chemical weapons destruction in Russia for several interrelated reasons: the portable nature of more than four million nerve-agent artillery shells in the Russian stockpile, the lax and antiquated security at the stockpile sites, and the strong interest voiced by terrorist groups in obtaining chemical weapons, sometimes known as the “poor man’s weapon of mass destruction.”

Russia began operating its first neutralization facility for lewisite and mustard agents at Gorny in the Saratov Oblast in December 2002. Since then, Russia opened two additional facilities: one in Kambarka in the Udmurt Republic for neutralizing lewisite and another in Maradykovsky in the Kirov Oblast for neutralizing nerve agents. To date, Russia has declared about 8,800 tons, or 22 percent, of its chemical weapons stockpile destroyed. Although this advance in its destruction program is important, Russia has been several years behind in meeting interim destruction deadlines mandated by the CWC and has received an extension until April 2012 for destroying its entire stockpile.

The Global Partnership has been an important contributor to helping Russia advance this far in eliminating its enormous chemical weapons arsenal. Germany has provided crucial support, more than $200 million, to Gorny and Kambarka and is currently planning on providing another $207 million for a facility at Pochep that will destroy 7,500 tons of nerve agents. The United States has appropriated more than $1 billion for chemical weapons destruction in Russia, primarily for construction of the nerve agent destruction facility at Shchuch’ye. In addition, it has funded construction of a Central Analytical Laboratory in Moscow, several mobile chemical testing labs, and the dismantlement of former Russian chemical weapons production sites.

Other partnership contributors to chemical weapons elimination, with rough estimates of spending to date, include Canada ($93 million), the EU ($22 million), France ($20 million), Italy ($11 million), the Netherlands ($11 million), Switzerland ($11 million), and the United Kingdom ($29 million). All told, 17 partnership countries, along with the EU, have contributed some $2.1 billion to date to Russian chemical weapons destruction, although Russia estimates receiving only $300 million (in Kalinina’s estimate noted above) to $400 million (estimated by Gen. Valeri Kapashin, deputy director of Russia’s chemical weapons destruction program).[7] This large gap in funding is primarily due to the fact that most Global Partnership financial support goes to integrating contractors from the donor country, providing foreign oversight and accountability but not running directly through Russian ministries and agencies. Russia predicts that its total chemical weapons destruction program will cost $7-8 billion. Moscow is still optimistically aiming to meet the 2012 CWC deadline but will only be able to do so if donor countries fulfill existing pledges and increase their support.

Submarine Dismantlement

The Soviet Union was always known for its large and powerful undersea navy, including both strategic ballistic missile and attack submarines. In 1989 at the end of the Cold War, it listed 63 nuclear-powered submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBNs) and another 280 tactical submarines, of which 141 were nuclear powered (SSNs). The U.S. CTR program identified Russian strategic submarine dismantlement as one of its major goals in the early 1990s and has helped Russia eliminate 30 SSBNs to date, with a commitment to help dismantle another nine by 2012.[8]

Russia has decommissioned 198 nuclear-powered submarines to date and as of the end of 2006 had scrapped 148, or 75 percent, with the help of several donor countries. Russia’s Northern Fleet included 120 decommissioned subs and the Pacific Fleet included 78. Of these, 97 have been dismantled in northwest Russia and 51 in the Far East. According to Russian figures, 23 subs are currently undergoing dismantlement, leaving at least another 26 waiting in line. These figures would apparently account for the whole Russian nuclear-powered underwater fleet 18 years ago, although additional submarine production has taken place in the meantime.[9] Russia’s current, active nuclear-powered submarine fleet reportedly includes 15 SSBNs and 26 SSNs, about one-fifth the size of its Cold War subsurface fleet.[10]

The Global Partnership has been anxious to secure and eliminate these submarines for two primary reasons: the nuclear threat from their long-range, nuclear-tipped strategic missiles and the environmental and proliferation risks posed by nuclear reactors and spent fuel assemblies. Many of these old Cold War boats have been floating and leaking at their moorings and dockside in the White or Barents Seas or the Sea of Japan for years.[11]

At present, Russia dismantles about 18 submarines annually at an estimated cost of $7 million each. According to Russian sources, the Global Partnership has financed the dismantlement of 39 submarines to date, a total of about $275 million. Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the EU have all been involved in submarine dismantlement, spent fuel storage and processing, and environmental cleanup projects at the Russian nuclear shipyards, some of it through the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership. Russia estimates that it has spent some $350 million through 2006 and has received an additional $313 million from the partnership through mid-2006 for submarine dismantlement and related shipyard activities.[12]

Russia also underlines the need to deal in the near future with at least three decommissioned submarines that are radioactively contaminated, two nuclear-powered surface ships, and 41 decommissioned nuclear support ships. None of these have yet been addressed by the Global Partnership, but ongoing bilateral and multilateral discussions with Russia indicate that they likely will be over the next five years.[13]

Nuclear Weapons and Fissile Material

One of the major goals of the CTR program and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been the security and elimination of nuclear weapons; related strategic launch systems (submarines, bombers, missiles, and silos); and fissile materials (highly enriched uranium [HEU] and plutonium) in the former Soviet Union. In more than 15 years of CTR efforts, much has been accomplished: 6,954 nuclear warheads deactivated; 644 ICBMs and 606 SLBMs eliminated; 155 strategic bombers destroyed; 12 security upgrades implemented at nuclear-weapon storage sites; and 328 train shipments of nuclear weapons to more secure, centralized storage sites.[14]

Because of these major U.S. program accomplishments related to implementation of the U.S.-Russian 1991 START and 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, the Global Partnership has focused its efforts on fissile material security in Russia.

The careful handling and secure storage of fissile materials, whether from submarine spent fuel, nuclear warheads, commercial power and research reactors, or even lighthouse nuclear generators in Russia and many other countries, is a key priority in keeping the potential tools of terrorists away from them.[15] Although exact figures are not known, it is estimated that some 1,250 tons of weapons-useable nuclear materials remain in Russia, including more than 600 tons of HEU and plutonium outside of nuclear warheads. The Global Partnership, including CTR and NNSA programs, has therefore been active in upgrading security at 75 percent of nuclear weapons material sites “of concern,” including all 50 Russian navy nuclear sites, 11 Russian Strategic Rocket Forces sites, and 175 individual buildings containing weapons-grade materials. These efforts were partly aided by the Bratislava Initiative, signed by Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin in February 2005, to improve the security of nuclear materials and facilities in each country to stem any proliferation risks. Current plans are to complete all such security upgrades in Russia by 2008.[16] Although many of these programs began long before the 2002 Kananaskis summit, security upgrades and safe storage facilities need to be completed and programs for sustainability—ongoing training and equipment maintenance—put in place as soon as possible.

One major fissile-material program is the U.S.-Russian Megatons to Megawatts program. It involves the purchase by the United States of 500 tons of HEU from Russian warheads for down-blending into low enriched uranium for commercial reactor fuel, thereby eliminating the equivalent of 20,000 bombs’ worth of weapons-grade nuclear material. This program has already met more than 50 percent of its goal in 12 years and expects to finish by 2013.

The United States, with limited participation from other members of the Global Partnership, is continuing with a $1 billion effort to shut down Russia’s remaining plutonium-breeder reactors and replace them with fossil fuel power plants at Seversk and Zheleznogorsk. The United States has committed more than $200 million to date and the Global Partnership some $30 million. The United States has pledged another $700 million, and U.S. officials would like the partnership to contribute at least another $70 million.

Other related and important efforts include the U.S.-led Multilateral Plutonium Disposition Group, focused on disposing of 34 tons of Russian plutonium; training and physical-protection upgrade projects led by the International Atomic Energy Agency to prevent illicit cross-border trafficking in nuclear materials; Norwegian- and Canadian-led removal of highly radioactive power sources at lighthouses and replacement with solar power; a German-led effort to build a long-term nuclear reactor storage facility on land at Saida Bay in northwestern Russia; and the Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan in Ukraine to upgrade protection at the disaster site.

Nearly all of the members of the Global Partnership are participating in the nuclear weapons and fissile material security projects. Commitments to date total approximately $4.3 billion.

Preventing Brain Drain

A fourth major goal of the Global Partnership has been to support the retraining and re-employment of former Soviet weapons scientists and engineers, thus preventing any brain drain to wannabe nuclear countries and terrorist groups. Support has been directed to the International Science and Technology Centers in Moscow (ISTC) and Kiev (STCU), established by the CTR program before the 2002 Kananaskis summit. Canada, the EU, and South Korea have contributed to hundreds of projects managed through the Moscow and Kiev centers and report that several thousand former weapons scientists and engineers have been redirected into commercial fields.

The United States and the United Kingdom have also been the major supporters of the Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI), which has engaged in important retraining and re-employment programs in five closed nuclear cities in Russia—Sarov, Seversk, Snezhinsk, Zheleznogorsk, and Ozersk.

Partnership members have also supported programs to prevent the spread of Russian biological pathogens and bioweapons knowledge. Much of this effort has taken place through the ISTC in Moscow and, most recently, outside of Russia. Projects include bilateral and multilateral efforts to improve security of pathogen collections, to improve diagnosis and treatment of diseases from dangerous pathogens, and to identify disease outbreaks more readily. Russia remains very sensitive about this field, as do other major powers as well, and has not allowed any foreign access to its military bio-related sites.

The Next Five Years and Beyond

The Global Partnership has clearly been quite successful in its first five years, 2002-2007, in helping Russia and Ukraine secure and eliminate their weapons of mass destruction. When combined with additional nonproliferation and threat reduction work taking place under the CTR program and related programs in the Energy and State Departments, one can conclude that considerable progress in nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament has indeed been accomplished. Three former Soviet states—Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine—have been denuclearized; thousands of nuclear warheads have been deactivated; several hundred nuclear launch systems have been dismantled; almost 9,000 tons of chemical weapons have been destroyed; and dozens of potentially vulnerable nuclear weapons and fissile material sites have been secured.

The Global Partnership itself has expanded in membership from an initial eight countries to 21 today. If one includes all of the members of the EU, the membership would stand now at 35. Yet, no country has joined since 2004, and more than 80 percent of the world still remains outside. Financial pledges are approaching the goal of $20 billion over 10 years, although expenditures to date, an estimated $7.9 billion, fall far short of 50 percent at the halfway point of the Global Partnership.

As the Global Partnership begins its second five years of nonproliferation and disarmament work, it is important that its efforts not wane and its commitment not weaken.

Unfinished Business

The Global Partnership must still keep its eyes on the prize and work to complete its 2002 stated nonproliferation and disarmament missions. More than 30,000 tons of chemical weapons, 75 percent of the declared chemical weapons arsenal, remain to be destroyed in Russia today. At least 50 more decommissioned nuclear submarines and 50 nuclear-powered surface ships remain to be dismantled. Much work remains in short- and long-term storage and management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management, both solid and liquid. At least 25 percent of identified nuclear warhead and material storage sites of concern need additional security upgrades and worker training.

Better International Cooperation

There has been tremendous difficulty in getting major projects started in Russia, due to central questions of liability, predictable post-Cold War national politics, and preventable bureaucratic snafus regarding visas, taxation, customs, transparency, and access. Some of this has been overcome by new donors piggybacking onto existing bilateral agreements as Canada and other states have done with the United Kingdom. Russia has also helped to resolve bureaucratic roadblocks to efficient and timely work. All parties concerned, including Russia and the United States, must make concerted efforts to expand cooperative behavior and trust. Overcoming disagreements and bureaucratic obstacles and fostering true partnerships must become more the rule than the exception as the Global Partnership begins its second five years of nonproliferation work.

Now is not the time to reduce commitments or to turn over projects totally to Russia. Although some observers may perceive threat reduction efforts as foreign aid to a now wealthy Russia, the fact remains that these weapons and materials of mass destruction are still a global threat and can be best, most safely, and most quickly secured and eliminated with multinational cooperative projects. As part of the CTR program, however, the United States has just signed a bilateral agreement with Russia to have Russia take over major responsibility for the second half of construction of a chemical weapons destruction facility in Shchuch’ye. The Bush administration has also refused to ask Congress for any additional funds for the project, arguing that the U.S. commitment has now been fulfilled. The project is only half constructed, and the United States had promised Russia a turnkey facility for nerve agent destruction years ago. Fortunately, the House of Representatives sees this commitment differently and has appropriated an additional $42.7 million in fiscal year 2008 for the project. The Senate, on the other hand, has authorized only $1 million for chemical weapons destruction in its pending military spending bill, while including an additional $99 million for nuclear and biological weapons destruction. Ideally, the upcoming House-Senate conference committee should include both House and Senate funding and language, thus continuing the U.S. commitment to threat reduction of all weapons of mass destruction in Russia.

Some partnership members have not even begun to approach their financial commitments to Russia. Italy, for example, pledged some $400 million for construction of a chemical weapons destruction facility at Pochep and an additional $430 million for submarine dismantlement but has not yet followed through on these important commitments. The two main reasons for Italy’s tardiness are prior disagreements in the Russian-Italian bilateral agreement around liability, which has recently been resolved, and Italy’s ongoing budget deficit, which has not yet been resolved. This lack of follow-through by Italy has frustrated Russia and led to ongoing risks of proliferation in Russia of weapons of mass destruction and related materials. This cannot be allowed to continue.

Russia’s Requirements

Suspicions still abound in Russia about the motives behind the Global Partnership and its representatives in Russia. The anecdotes of visa complexities, expulsion of foreign workers, customs delays, misleading public statements, and lack of access to Russian sites have been all too common over the past five years to overlook. These challenges have introduced a certain weariness into threat reduction and nonproliferation efforts, but the goals of the Global Partnership are too important to abandon.

The many ongoing nonproliferation and demilitarization projects in Russia today will last long beyond 2012. Yet, the Kananaskis commitments will end that year. The complexity and cost of many, if not all, of these programs to secure and eliminate nuclear and chemical weapons, fissile materials, and related launch systems will clearly cause costs and schedule to surpass these targets. Projects may indeed proceed more quickly now that bilateral agreements have been negotiated and working relationships developed, but the tasks outlined above remain enormous and challenging.

The very serious threat of proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction still remains. This point alone well justifies continued Global Partnership projects with Russia, providing more finances and energy to secure and destroy these materials. Should Russia be left alone to deal with these challenges, it is likely to require much more time with greater risk of theft, accident, and pollution. Those who argue that Russia should now be left alone to bear these burdens do not adequately understand the threat nor the positive aspects of multilateral cooperation in this area.

Little has been said about these efforts in the past two G-8 summits in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Heiligendamm, Germany. One has to scroll down to the bottom of page five of the German chairman’s statement to see any mention of the Global Partnership. Nevertheless, the G-8 leaders emphasized that “[w]e acknowledge the progress made since the launch of the partnership in 2002. We will do more to increase the effectiveness of our cooperation. On the occasion of the midterm-review we reaffirm our commitments made in Kananaskis and will discuss in the years to come the geographical scope of the Global Partnership and whether it should be extended beyond 2012.”[17]

As the 2009 G-8 summit in Hokkaido Toyako, Japan, approaches, Global Partnership states should seriously evaluate progress toward the 2002 Kananaskis goals, work to fulfill their pledges in a timely way, and be prepared to extend these commitments to meet global security needs.[18]

The Cold War legacy of the former Soviet Union, especially Russia, continues to be fraught with tremendous challenges in nonproliferation, public health protection, and environmental cleanup. Until these challenges are resolved, not just in Russia but globally, no one will be safe from the accidental or intentional use of nuclear and chemical weapons, biological pathogens, and radioactive materials.

 


Paul F. Walker is Legacy Program director at Global Green USA, the U.S. affiliate of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Green Cross International, in Washington, D.C. Maria Amodio, a graduate student intern with Global Green USA, helped with research on this article.


ENDNOTES

1. Final statement by G-8 leaders at Kananaskis, Canada, announcing the Global Partnership, June 2002.

2. Many pledges were initially made in foreign currencies, including euros. All figures throughout this article are estimates and may vary depending on currency conversion and time frame assumptions.

3. Valery Biryukov, “The G-8 Global Partnership and Chemical Weapons Destruction in Russia,” in Green Cross Russia, National Dialogue Forum, 2007, pp. 30-33 (English edition).

4. Natalia Kalinina, “Existing Challenges for the Global Partnership on Nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction,” in Green Cross Russia, National Dialogue Forum, 2007, pp. 14-18.

5. For the underlying figures, see “GPWG Annual Report 2007 Consolidated Report Data,” Annex A, found at www.g-8.de.

6. The author participated in this 1994 on-site inspection of the 5,400 tons of nerve agents in Shchuch’ye in the Kurgan Oblast as a professional staff member of the House Armed Services Committee. He most recently visited Shchuch’ye in June 2007. See Paul Walker and Cristian Ion, “Report on June 2007 Visit to Shchuch’ye,” found at www.globalgreen.org.

7. “Russia Confirms Pledge to Destroy All Chemical Weapons by 2012,” RIA Novosti, August 9, 2007.

8. For Cold War figures, see the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), The Military Balance 1989-1990 (London: Brassey’s, 1989), pp. 32-35. The latest CTR report indicates that the long-standing target goal of 39 SSBNs to be dismantled with U.S. assistance has been reduced to 36. “Cooperative Threat Reduction Annual Report to Congress, Fiscal Year 2008,” p. 3 (table) (hereinafter CTR 2008 annual report).

9. For the dismantlement figures, see Andrei Gavrilenko, “Scrapping of Nuclear Submarines Is on Agenda,” Krasnaya Zvezda, February 19, 2007. Gavrilenko uses a total of 197 submarines, including 77 in the Pacific Fleet.

10. IISS, The Military Balance 2005-2006 (London: Routledge, 2005), pp. 158-160.

11. The author witnessed this firsthand in a June 2007 visit to the Zvezhdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk in northwestern Russia. Several nuclear-powered submarines were rusting dockside, awaiting dismantlement, along with the Admiral Ushakov nuclear cruiser.

12. Robert Einhorn and Michele Flournoy, “Assessing the G-8 Global Partnership: From Kananaskis to St. Petersburg,” Strengthening the Global Partnership Project, July 2006.

13. See Anna Kireeva, “Nuclear Service Ships Problem Hard to Tackle, Murmansk Seminar Agrees,” Strengthening the Global Partnership Project, February 7, 2007. See also Cristina Hansell Chuen, “Russian Nuclear-Powered Submarine Dismantlement and Related Activities: A Critique,” Center for Nonproliferation Studies, May 24, 2007.

14. CTR 2008 annual report, p. 3.

15. See Sonia Ben Ouaghram-Gormley, “An Unrealized Nexus: WMD-related Trafficking, Terrorism, and Organized Crime in the Former Soviet Union,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2007, pp. 6-13.

16. See National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, “NNSA: Working to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism,” March 2007 (fact sheet).

17. “Chair’s Summary, Heilingendamm,” June 8, 2007, found at www.g-8.de.

18. Reportedly, the United States sought to get commitments at the July 2007 G-8 summit for another “10 plus 10 over 10”commitment, but Germany resisted, with its focus on economic growth and the developing world. See Jon Fox, “G-8 Summit to Give Low Profile to WMD Proliferation Issues,” Global Security Newswire, June 1, 2007.

Arms Issues Divide U.S. and Russia

Wade Boese

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s midsummer visit to President George W. Bush’s seaside family retreat in Maine netted one fish and little else.

To be sure, the two governments took some bilateral nuclear cooperation steps but failed to settle sharp disagreements on U.S. anti-missile plans and a European conventional arms pact. Indeed, Putin subsequently charged Washington with ignoring Russian proposals on missile defenses and announced a possible suspension starting in December of Russia’s participation in the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Putin also authorized the resumption of long-range Russian strategic bomber patrols.

Bush acknowledged that the July 1-2 visit did not leave the two leaders seeing exactly eye to eye. “Do I like everything he says? No. And I suspect he doesn’t like everything I say,” Bush told reporters July 2. Still, Bush claimed that he and Putin “made great strides in setting a foundation” for future nuclear security relations.

The Nuclear Agenda

The White House July 3 issued a U.S.-Russian declaration reaffirming the two governments’ commitments to promote nuclear energy expansion worldwide while limiting the spread of nuclear technologies that could be exploited to build nuclear weapons. Underlying this effort are evolving U.S. and Russian projects to provide nuclear fuel and other services to countries to entice them to forgo development of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities, which can be used to produce reactor fuel or bombs. The two countries also declared their willingness to provide or facilitate financial assistance, infrastructure support, and regulatory and technical training for those countries looking to benefit from nuclear power programs.

Washington’s aim is to prevent additional countries from acquiring capabilities to pursue nuclear weapons illicitly under the guise of nuclear energy programs, something it asserts Iran is doing. Tehran denies the allegation.

Briefing reporters July 3, Robert Joseph, U.S. special envoy for nuclear nonproliferation, noted that Iran and North Korea would not be able to participate in the projects, saying, “cooperation, of course, would be with countries with good nonproliferation credentials.” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak, however, quickly added that if those two countries cleared up suspicions about their nuclear programs, “they will be as eligible as anybody else.”

Meanwhile, the Bush administration two weeks later blessed the idea of nuclear-armed India’s construction of a new reprocessing facility. Washington is courting New Delhi as an ally, and part of that effort has included negotiation of a bilateral nuclear cooperation accord, known as a 123 agreement after the section of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that requires codifying the terms of U.S. nuclear trade with foreign governments (see page 22 ).

In the U.S.-Russian July 3 declaration, the two governments noted that they also had initialed their own 123 agreement. Bush and Putin endorsed negotiating the pact a year earlier to diminish bureaucratic obstacles to nuclear cooperation and perhaps pave the way for Russia to import U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing, which is controversial in the United States. (See ACT, September 2006. )

Also on July 3, the United States and Russia pledged to continue to reduce their strategic nuclear forces “to the lowest possible level consistent with their national security requirements and alliance commitments.” The two sides are legally bound by the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) to deploy no more than 2,200 operational strategic warheads each by Dec. 31, 2012. That cap expires that same day, freeing both countries to deploy more warheads.

The Kremlin wants a new lower ceiling of reportedly 1,500 warheads or fewer, as well as delivery vehicle limits. It has made these proposals as part of talks with Washington on a successor arrangement to the START accord, which is scheduled to expire Dec. 5, 2009. Concluded in 1991, START obligated Moscow and Washington to cut their deployed strategic nuclear forces exceeding 10,000 warheads each to fewer than 6,000 apiece.

Both sides fulfilled their START reductions several years ago, but they continue to employ the treaty’s extensive verification regime to conduct inspections and exchange data on their deployed strategic nuclear forces. SORT lacks any verification measures, and the U.S. intelligence community reportedly has concluded that it will not have sufficient access to confidently assess Russia’s nuclear forces and compliance with SORT once START expires.

Nonetheless, neither capital has proposed exercising START’s five-year extension option. Instead, the two sides agreed in March to exchange post-START proposals. Russia provided an April draft agreement detailing future arms limits, while the Bush administration, which does not favor new legal caps, supplied a June draft of measures to maintain some nuclear transparency. U.S. and Russian experts are supposed to meet in September to discuss each other’s drafts.

Fearing that a new agreement might not be ready when START expires, some U.S. lawmakers are urging Bush to consider extending the treaty so the next administration will have time to conclude a new accord that “achieves greater, verifiable reductions.” In a July 24 letter, Chair of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) and 27 of her colleagues, including the chairs of the House armed services and foreign affairs panels, also warned that if START lapsed without a follow-on arrangement in place, there would be “greater strategic uncertainty.”

Missile Defense Discord

The Russian government sees another threat to strategic stability: U.S. plans to base 10 strategic missile interceptors in Poland and an associated radar in the Czech Republic.

U.S. officials contend that Moscow is overreacting to an intended defense against an evolving Iranian missile threat, not Russian ballistic missiles. The Kremlin counters that an Iranian long-range missile threat is up to 20 years away and is offering to share radar data and intelligence with the United States to prove that assessment. (See ACT, July/August 2007. )

During his two-day visit with Bush, Putin repeated the Russian ideas. He also volunteered that the two countries might move ahead with building a long-stalled Joint Data Exchange Center in Moscow, as well as a similar facility in Brussels. Originally agreed to in 1998, the Moscow center was envisioned to facilitate real-time information sharing on worldwide ballistic missile launches and flights. (See ACT, June 2006. )

Bush called Putin’s proposals “very sincere” and “innovative.” Yet, the administration shows no signs of shelving its plans. Hosting Poland’s president July 16 at the White House, Bush declared, “[T]here’s no better symbol of our desire to work for peace and security than working on a missile defense system.”

Led by Kislyak, a Russian delegation visiting Washington July 30 supplied a written copy of Moscow’s missile defense positions to U.S. officials. For its part, the U.S. side invited Russian experts to visit existing U.S. bases in Alaska and California where 20 interceptors in total are fielded. Moscow has previously passed on similar offers, although Russian military officials have visited several times the U.S. missile defense operations center in Colorado.

The interceptors slated for emplacement in Europe are a modified and untested version of those deployed in the United States. The current U.S. model had its first and last successful intercept trial in September 2006, although earlier predecessors scored five hits in eight rudimentary intercept tests between 1999 and 2002.

A September meeting is planned so that Washington can respond to the Russian missile defense position paper. That conference and another in early October are preludes to an Oct. 12 Moscow meeting between the U.S. secretaries of defense and state with their Russian counterparts. Missile defense figures to rank high on the agenda.

Russian offers to share radar data and intelligence are conditioned on the United States not deploying anti-missile systems in Europe. Moscow also warns it will militarily target any such capabilities and implies that Russia will feel compelled to burnish its offensive forces. Writing in the August issue of Global Affairs magazine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted “nobody can abolish the interrelation between defensive and offensive strategic weapons.”

The CFE Treaty Clash

In his article, Lavrov cited the proposed missile defense deployments as one element of a broader U.S. strategy to contain Russia. He contended that this goal also “clearly manifests itself” in the current impasse over the CFE Treaty.

Negotiated in 1990, the agreement restricts the amount and location of certain major weapon systems, such as tanks and armored combat vehicles, that NATO and the now-defunct Warsaw Pact could station between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. In 1999 the 30 states-parties to the treaty agreed to an “adapted” version of the accord establishing new arms caps for each country, including more lenient sublimits for Russia’s weapons deployments inside its borders. Moscow wants the sublimits scrapped entirely, but NATO objects.

The adapted treaty has yet to enter into force because not all of the original treaty states-parties have ratified the newer agreement. In fact, only Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine have taken this step. The United States and its fellow NATO members are tying their final approval of the adapted treaty to Russia withdrawing its military forces from Georgia and Moldova as Moscow vowed to do in 1999. Those pledges occurred in conjunction with conclusion of the adapted treaty, which stresses the necessity of host-party consent to any foreign deployed forces on its territory. (See ACT, November 1999. )

Moscow has repeatedly complained about the NATO linkage, and on July 14 Putin decreed Russia would suspend participation in the CFE Treaty in 150 days if NATO’s stance did not change. The possible suspension, for which there is no provision in the CFE Treaty, would begin Dec. 12.

NATO’s 26 members issued a July 16 press release criticizing the Russian move as “deeply disappointing.” Two days later, NATO spokesperson James Appathurai said the alliance did not intend to overreact, pointing out that Russia has indicated it does not plan “major troop movements” during any suspension. He also added that NATO remained “ready to meet whenever and wherever” with Russian officials to discuss their concerns.

Russia has a raft of complaints stemming largely from NATO’s expansion to include former Warsaw Pact members and U.S. plans to establish training bases in two of those countries, Bulgaria and Romania. But a key gripe is that the newest NATO members and Russian neighbors Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are not bound by the original CFE Treaty and therefore have no arms limits. The 1990 treaty lacks an accession clause, so the trio is waiting to join the adapted treaty once it enters into force.

NATO says Russia can speed up this process by accelerating its military withdrawal from Georgia and Moldova. Russian forces are departing Georgia, but the exit from Moldova halted in 2004, leaving approximately 1,300 Russian troops and a massive ammunition depot in the breakaway region of Transdniestria. NATO and Russia could not agree on steps to resume the withdrawal at a special June CFE Treaty meeting. (See ACT, July/August 2007. )

Notwithstanding its looming suspension, Russia has continued implementing the treaty since Putin’s announcement. It has hosted foreign inspections and provided routine reports on its forces.

Russian Military Developments

Russia’s escalating rifts with the United States and NATO coincide with a growing Kremlin military budget that is profiting from high global oil and gas prices. Moscow is using some of this revenue influx to revive strategic programs and practices that slowed or went dormant after many lean years following the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse.

One beneficiary is Russia’s effort to develop a new nuclear-armed submarine-launched ballistic missile, the Bulava. After a string of test failures last year, the missile reportedly had a successful flight June 28. That success occurred less than a month after the inaugural test of a multiple-warhead version of Russia’s most modern ICBM, the Topol-M.

On another strategic front, Putin announced Aug. 17 that, after a 15-year lull, Russia would resume regular long-range patrols of its strategic bombers. Putin contended that Russian pilots “have spent too long on the ground” and said he hoped that other countries would understand the move. The United States, which regularly conducts similar flights, expressed no concern.

U.S. Begins Trimming ICBM Fleet

Abby Doll

On July 12, Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, home to the largest ICBM force in the United States, began deactivating the first of 50 Minuteman III missiles slated for retirement. The United States will retain 450 Minuteman IIIs in service, with the missiles spread evenly between Malmstrom and Air Force bases in North Dakota and Wyoming.

Since the United States retired the last MX, or Peacekeeper, ICBM in September 2005, the Minuteman III has been the sole ICBM in the U.S. inventory. In addition to these ICBMs, current U.S. plans envision that nuclear weapons will also be deployed on 14 ballistic submarines, 21 B-2 bombers, and 56 B-52 bombers by 2012.

The Department of Defense announced its decision for the 50-missile reduction in its 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review. Because the reductions would affect 500 base personnel and reduce the funding allocated to Malmstrom, Montana legislators, in concert with other congressional delegations, delayed the action with an amendment requiring the Pentagon to justify the missile cuts first. (See ACT, May 2007. )  

A Pentagon report submitted March 18 defended the reduction, saying it would not weaken the U.S. strategic deterrent and would help to sustain the remaining missile force into 2030. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley then issued the final order for reduction on June 29.

The Air Force selected the 564th Missile Squadron at Malmstrom for deactivation because of its unique communications and launch control systems. Known as the “odd squad,” its decommissioning will trim $3 million from annual expenses and eliminate the need for additional training, personnel, and logistics support.

In a seven-and-a-half-hour procedure, two Malmstrom maintenance teams carefully removed both the missile’s booster stage and the re-entry vehicle containing the nuclear warheads. A security force squadron then escorted the components back to the nearby Malmstrom base. At some point, the National Nuclear Security Administration, a division of the Department of Energy that oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, will collect the warheads and transport them to an undisclosed location.

The teams will repeat this procedure for each remaining missile. If the process remains on schedule, Malmstrom will deactivate one missile a week and complete this first phase by August 2008.

In the second phase, crews will then remove all hazardous materials and reusable items from the launch-control facilities and missile silos. The Air Force will transfer useful missile components to Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, for storage, where they will be available for operational use or for flight-test programs at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  

Malmstrom plans to place the launch facilities under a “30 percent caretaker status” in which the Air Force will board up and lock all windows and doors and periodically inspect the sites for trespassing and vandalism. Unless directed, the sites will not be eliminated and will remain available for possible future use.

Although the Air Force Space Command has studied a future replacement or complement ICBM for the Minuteman III, its most recent analysis recommends retaining the existing Minuteman III arsenal through a series of gradual upgrades. These upgrades, including improvements on guidance components, command and control systems, and booster and re-entry vehicles, will begin in 2020.

U.S. Plans Major Middle East Arms Sales

David Houska

Citing threats from Iran, Syria, and various terrorist groups, the Bush administration is offering more than $60 billion in new weapons and military assistance to Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced the latest U.S. Middle East arms sales campaign July 30 just before she and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates traveled to the region. The specifics of the deals must still be negotiated, but the agreements are anticipated to be ready for formal congressional notification by mid-September.

Although Rice characterized the proposals as the continuation of long-standing U.S. policy, she said that the deals were intended to “help bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influences of al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran.” Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns underscored the threat from Iran, saying that the future sales will “provide a deterrence against Iranian expansionism and Iranian aggression in the future.”

Under the proposed agreements, the United States will supply $3 billion and $1.3 billion of military aid to Israel and Egypt, respectively, each year for 10 years starting in fiscal year 2009, which will begin Oct. 1, 2008. The United States has provided military assistance to Israel and Egypt since the 1970s. The new proposals represent a 25 percent increase in aid to Israel and a continuation of Egyptian aid at present levels. Burns signed the agreement with Israel on Aug. 16.

U.S. negotiators also are discussing major new arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the other five countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates). The sales have been widely reported to be worth around $20 billion with the lion’s share going to Saudi Arabia.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency catalogues almost $17 billion in U.S. arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia since fiscal year 1998. An October 2006 Congressional Research Service report says that Saudi Arabia has imported more than $50 billion of weapons over that general period, making it far and away the largest arms importer in the developing world.

Some U.S. lawmakers quickly denounced the Saudi arms sale and have said that they will attempt to block any sale of “high technology armaments” presented for congressional approval. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) had the harshest words for the proposed sale, citing lack of Saudi support for U.S. efforts in Iraq and in fighting terrorism. In an Aug. 2 press release, he called the deal “mind-bogglingly bad policy because the [Saudis] at every turn have been uncooperative. The idea that we are going to reward the [Saudis] with precision weaponry is a stunningly bad idea.”

The 1976 Arms Export Control Act mandates that Congress be notified of all proposed arms sales above $14 million, with a higher threshold for sales to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and NATO members. By law, Congress has 30 days after notification to stop proposed sales by passing a resolution with a majority vote in each house. However, a two-thirds majority would effectively be required in each house to override an expected presidential veto.

Weiner and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) have announced that they intend to introduce such a resolution when Congress is formally notified of the sales. In an Aug. 2 letter to President George W. Bush, a bipartisan group of 114 representatives questioned whether Saudi Arabia was a true U.S. ally. The letter noted that Saudi King Abdullah recently called the U.S. mission in Iraq an “illegitimate foreign occupation” and that more than 50 percent of all suicide bombers in Iraq were Saudis.

Other members of Congress were more ambivalent. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) has said that he is seeking a complete briefing once the sales are finalized and will “see where we are then.” Lantos said in a July 28 statement that although he was glad that U.S. allies had seen the danger of Iran, “we particularly want to ensure that these arrangements include only defensive systems.” The Saudi deal reportedly would include satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (J-DAMs), fighter aircraft upgrades, and new warships.

Israel historically has opposed U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and members of the Israeli media and political right have expressed concern that weapons sold to Saudi Arabia could be used against Israel or even the United States. The critics fear that the Saudi government could be overthrown and the weapons fall into the hands of Islamic extremists. Iran’s air force currently flies F-14 fighters that were sold to the pro-American shah just before the 1979 revolution that brought the current regime to power.

Still, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave tacit approval to the proposal. He told the Israeli Cabinet that “[w]e understand the need of the United States to support the Arab moderate states and there is a need for a united front between the U.S. and us regarding Iran.” State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey told reporters July 30 that the United States will abide by its long-standing policy of ensuring Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over its neighbors.

The U.S. arms effort coincides with several other confirmed and rumored arms sales to the Middle East. France announced Aug. 2 a $405 million arms deal with Libya in which it would provide Libya with anti-tank missiles and radio equipment. Israeli media have reported that Iran is preparing to place a massive order with Russia for fighters and airborne tankers, but these unconfirmed stories have been categorically denied in Moscow and Tehran.

Citing threats from Iran, Syria, and various terrorist groups, the Bush administration is offering more than $60 billion in new weapons and military assistance to Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other U.S. allies in the Middle East. (Continue)

U.S. and South Korea Reach Technology Pact

Peter Crail

On Aug. 12, the United States and South Korea agreed to cooperate on the development of “Generation IV” nuclear reactors and new reprocessing technologies aimed at supporting worldwide growth in the use of nuclear energy. The United States is also working closely with France, Japan, South Africa, and the United Kingdom on research and development in Generation IV technologies.

The agreement was reached between South Korean Minister of Science Kim Woo-sik and U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and is in line with the U.S.-initiated Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). That plan, unveiled by the Department of Energy in February 2006, envisions the use of fast-reactor technologies to reduce the amount of nuclear waste and of reprocessing facilities to recycle spent fuel for reuse in nuclear reactors. The specific designs subject to the U.S.-South Korean agreement involve a sodium-cooled fast reactor with improved safety features and the potential to use a wider range of fuel sources as well as a pyro-processing facilities that would limit the purity of separated plutonium.

GNEP’s approach, however, has come under criticism for its reliance on reprocessing and the substantial amounts of plutonium that would be separated in the process, which remains a proliferation risk for its potential use in nuclear weapons. South Korea’s involvement in the development of such technologies may also be controversial given the IAEA’s recent scrutiny into South Korean safeguards violations. In 2004, South Korea admitted to conducting undeclared experiments with uranium enrichment in 2000 and to working on plutonium separation and production of uranium metal during the 1980s, causing some concerns regarding the control and oversight of the country’s nuclear faculties and its commitment to transparency and the peaceful development of nuclear technology.

U.S. Cuts Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe

Oliver Meier

The United States may have quietly removed all 130 nuclear weapons from its air force base in Ramstein, Germany. Before the withdrawal, Ramstein had been the biggest U.S. nuclear base in Europe. If true, the withdrawal means that there are probably about 350 U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe, down from thousands at the height of the cold war.

In a July 9 report, Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists revealed that Ramstein is missing from a Jan. 27, 2007, list of NATO nuclear bases that are scheduled to receive a Nuclear Surety Staff Assistance Visit, a precursor for an inspection by a Nuclear Surety Inspection. Such an inspection must be passed every 18 month if nuclear bases want to remain certified for nuclear deployments.

If the weapons have been withdrawn, the German air force base at Büchel would be the only remaining U.S. nuclear base in Germany. Presumably, 20 U.S. B61 gravity bombs are deployed there under NATO nuclear-sharing arrangements. Under these arrangements, 140 weapons would still be assigned for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, none of which have their own nuclear arms. These weapons remain under U.S. custody during peacetime but can be released to U.S. allies for delivery in times of war.

Guy Roberts, NATO deputy assistant secretary-general for weapons of mass destruction policy and director for nuclear policy, told Arms Control Today Aug.1 that NATO “currently deploys a few hundred nuclear weapons in Europe.” In line with NATO custom, Roberts declined to provide any further information on NATO’s nuclear weapons practice or deployments.

The timing of a possible withdrawal and the reasons for it remain unclear. The German magazine Der Spiegel reported in 2005 that the weapons deployed in Ramstein may have been withdrawn for safety reasons during construction at the site. Kristensen now speculates that the bombs never returned.

NATO is currently conducting an internal debate on the future role of nuclear deterrence. A June 15 Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) communiqué welcomed discussions on “deterrence requirements for the twenty-first century.” Roberts explained that the alliance is reviewing its nuclear posture “as NATO goes through the process of agreeing on a new Strategic Concept possibly by 2009 or 2010.” Roberts expressed hope that a decision could be taken to report findings of those discussions during NATO’s Bucharest summit in April 2008 or no later than the 2009 spring defense ministerial. He said that the NATO secretariat would prefer an early agreement on a new nuclear doctrine.

Little detail about the scope or direction of those discussions is publicly available. Roberts said that, in ongoing discussions on NATO’s nuclear deterrence posture at the NPG and other NATO bodies, there was unanimity among NATO allies that nuclear deterrence, a U.S. nuclear presence in Europe, and burden sharing will remain vital. The NPG communiqué reiterates alliance doctrine that “NATO’s nuclear forces are maintained at the minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability” and that the purpose of NATO nuclear weapons is “to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.” NATO member states, according to the statement, continue to view nuclear sharing as an “essential political and military link between the European and North American members” of the alliance. Roberts, however, conceded that there were different perceptions among allies on a range of other issues related to NATO’s nuclear posture.

Mixed Reactions

German officials declined to comment on the reports about a possible withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ramstein, citing the government’s policy of not confirming or denying details of NATO nuclear deployments.

The two ruling parties of Germany’s governing coalition, the left-of-center Social Democrats and conservative Christian Democrats, reacted differently to the news. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, arms control spokesperson for the Christian Democrats, told the German online magazine stern.de July 13 that a partial withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons would not contribute necessarily “to departure of others, such as Iran, from their nuclear ambitions.”

Uta Zapf, Social Democrat and chair of the Bundestag’s subcommittee on disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation, told Arms Control Today Aug. 10 that the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ramstein is good news but “by itself does not signify a change in policy” because U.S. nuclear weapons remain deployed at Büchel and in five other European countries. “I think we should use the opportunity to push for a more fundamental debate about nuclear deterrence,” Zapf said.

German opposition parties are going further and are demanding a quick withdrawal of the remaining nuclear weapons. This debate is taking place against the background of persistent differences between the governing parties on the role of nuclear weapons. (See ACT, July/August 2006. )

U.S. Renews Fighter Exports to Pakistan

Zachary Ginsburg

The United States recently delivered two used F-16B jets to Pakistan and announced plans to donate another two dozen. In a deal announced last September, the United States is also set to sell Pakistan 18 new F-16C/D fighters for delivery in 2010 and upgrades for its current fleet of 34 F-16 combat aircraft.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson said at a July 10 transfer ceremony at Pakistan’s Sargodha Air Force Base that the planes are “symbolic of our commitment to assist Pakistan in improving its ability to secure its territory.” Pakistani Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mehmood Ahmed has told news agencies that he expects 10 more used jets to be delivered by the end of 2008.

A Department of Defense spokesperson told Arms Control Today July 25 that Pakistan will not pay for the used, older model F-16s, whose flying conditions vary, but will assume the costs for refurbishing and modernizing them. The U.S. government cleared Islamabad last year for about $2.1 billion of new weapons, avionics, engines, and other equipment for F-16 fighters. (See ACT, November 2006. )

In late 2005, the United States donated two F-16A fighters to Pakistan in the first transfer of fighter aircraft to that state since 1990. That year, President George H.W. Bush blocked arms sales to Pakistan because his administration would not certify under U.S. law that Islamabad did not possess a nuclear device. Seeking Pakistan’s allegiance after the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush waived the prohibitions. (See ACT, October 2001. )

Pakistan is supposed to begin receiving the 18 new, top-of-the-line F-16C/Ds in three years and has the option to purchase 18 more. Under U.S. law, Congress was notified of the possible sales, and the House International Relations Committee subsequently convened a hearing in July 2006 in which members blasted the Bush administration for not sufficiently consulting them about the deal. Legislators did not block the transaction—that would require a two-thirds supermajority—but some strongly rebuked the administration. (See ACT, September 2006. )

At the hearing, lawmakers such as Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) and ranking member Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who is currently chairman, expressed concerns about the potential for unauthorized dissemination of sensitive technologies and for modification of the F-16s to carry nuclear weapons. Broad speculation exists that Pakistan modified previously delivered U.S. F-16s for nuclear delivery missions.

Administration officials assured Congress that the planes would be subject to more strict security measures by Pakistan and more robust U.S. oversight than in previous transfers between the two countries. “We’ve put into the deal that [Pakistan] must comply with the approved security plans before we’ll release any systems in a sale,” then-Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs John Hillen testified. These “security plans,” according to Hillen, would include “a very enhanced end-use monitoring program [and] semiannual inventories of all F-16 aircraft, equipment, and munitions, including related technical data.”

In recent interviews, neither U.S. nor Pakistani officials would provide any further details to Arms Control Today on the security arrangements.

President Bush signed into law Aug. 3 legislation that could block future F-16 transfers. The Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act prohibits the sale of military equipment to Pakistan if it is not “committed to eliminating the Taliban” within its borders. However, the determination of whether Pakistan is progressing aggressively enough against the Taliban will be left up to the president, who has said he views Pakistan as a key ally.

Pakistan’s neighbor and rival, India, has publicly worried about the U.S. F-16 transfers. The Pentagon, however, noted in June 2006 that the exports “would not significantly reduce India’s quantitative or qualitative military advantage.”

Still, New Delhi is exploring the purchase of U.S. combat aircraft to fill an Indian procurement goal of 126 planes. India is eyeing both F-16s and newer F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, but it may instead opt for Russian MiG-35s.

U.S., UK Sign Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty

Daniel Arnaudo

On June 26, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush signed the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty (DTCT). If ratified by both countries, the treaty would create a streamlined system for defense trade within a community encompassing the two governments and approved British and U.S. arms manufacturers. The agreement comes after years of discussion and numerous proposals to reduce the amount of paperwork involved for arms companies to gain export licenses to friendly nations. As a treaty, it would need to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. It also needs to avoid scrutiny in the House, which has stymied previous efforts at modifying export control laws.

According to Department of State officials who have seen drafts of the treaty, it would create an “approved community” of defense firms in the United Kingdom and the United States that would be pre-approved by both governments and authorized to export material into and within the community. In an Aug. 10 press release, the State Department explained that authorized end uses would fall under four major categories: “Combined U.S.-UK military or counterterrorism operations; joint U.S.-UK cooperative security and defense research, development, production, and support programs; specific security and defense projects that are for UK Government use only; and U.S. Government end-use.”

All transfers to the United Kingdom would be covered by its Official Secrets Act and would be considered classified, whatever the level of security designated in the United States. Therefore, companies that violated the rules would be subject to tougher prosecutions. Re-exports outside of the community would require a company to obtain a license, but the details of how the United States or the United Kingdom could directly block exports to a third party are still being worked out in the implementing arrangements.

Further specifics of these arrangements, contained in 21 articles of the treaty, remain to be seen. Senate members and their aides are withholding judgment until they are given the full and final text.

A senior Senate aide told Arms Control Today that Senate reaction to the treaty had been mixed. Lawmakers would be reluctant to stop a deal for a close ally such as the United Kingdom but are also intent on defending their constitutional authority and complying with pre-existing law. The aide also questioned the administration’s tactic of signing the treaty without prior consultation with key senators or their staff, leaving many past questions unaddressed.

Items that are still to be decided include which exports on the U.S. Munitions List will be exempt from the treaty and which will still require licenses, how companies will be approved for entrance into the community, how they will be monitored, and what criteria would constitute cause for expulsion.

Much of this effort stems from an earlier agreement, the Defense Trade Security Initiative (DTSI), forged under President Bill Clinton in 2000. (See ACT, June 2000.) The DTSI also sought to cut down the amount of paperwork required by the Departments of State and Defense for export licenses to NATO allies, Australia, and Japan.

The DTSI consisted of 17 separate initiatives to expedite arms exports to allies, relax or waive licenses for countries that signed bilateral agreements, and reduce in general the amount of paperwork in the process. Bilateral agreements were slow in coming, however, and an attempt to amend the Arms Export Control Act for Australia and the United Kingdom failed after opposition in the House in 2004. It remains unclear if the act would have to be amended to facilitate the new treaty.

Despite streamlining under the DTSI, the United States still struggles to keep pace with an increasing number of export license requests from allies. The State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls reported that it reviewed more than 70,000 cases in 2006. In testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on July 26, Stephen Mull, acting assistant secretary of state for political military affairs, said that this number was up from 66,000 in 2005 and was anticipated to rise to 80,000 in the current fiscal year.

The new treaty appears to address many of the concerns that brought down the more far-reaching elements of the DTSI, including concerns about re-exportation to third parties and the legal standards of the United Kingdom, according to sources who have seen drafts of the treaty.

John Rood, assistant U.S. secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, remained positive in comments to the press. “We are still in the process of consulting and briefing and informing the relevant staff and members about the treaty,” he stated, “but I’d say based on our initial conversations that we’re optimistic this is something that can get the advice and consent of the Senate,” adding that he would expect action on the treaty by the end of the year.

Rood also confirmed that Congress would still have to approve the sale of individual items worth more than $25 million and of batches of items or services worth more than $100 million.

Still, the State Department is emphasizing the special relationship with the United Kingdom and appears unsure whether to extend or replicate the treaty to other countries. Rood said the treaty with the United Kingdom “is fitting” and that “[i]f other countries approach us we’d have to ask, ‘Do they have the same close relationship?’ I don’t know if we’ll do anything like that or not.”

Canada can already obtain waivers on licenses to export items on the U.S. Munitions List but not technology, so the treaty would be unique. The U.S. government is also hoping for easier access to counterterrorism methods and materials that the British have developed.

Although the DTCT would not have to be approved by the House, Senate aides said they would consult closely with their congressional counterparts. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, expressed some misgivings at the July 26 hearing. He said that he would withhold judgment until the details of the treaty were worked out but that “these types of agreements are not a panacea for reducing [the State Department’s] licensing workload…. I strongly advise the administration to reflect on past experiences and to consult with Congress this time around, especially the foreign affairs committees of the House and the Senate, before finalizing these changes.”

Uncertainty in the British defense industry may also cause problems. The premier British defense contractor, BAE Systems, is currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for corruption in dealings with Saudi Arabia.

The United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office started, but did not conclude, an investigation into BAE’s al-Yamamah deal with Saudi Arabia. According to reports in The Guardian newspaper, the British government under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher allegedly facilitated a bribe of more than a billion dollars from BAE to Saudi Arabian officials to close a multibillion-dollar aircraft contract to Riyadh. Blair’s government halted inquiry into the deal on national security grounds last December.

France, Libya Sign Nuclear Desalination Deal

Alex Bollfrass

On his state visit to Libya, French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy cooperation with long-time Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. The July 25 memorandum clears the way for French access to Libyan uranium and outlines an agreement on the eventual construction of a nuclear desalination plant to provide drinking water to the littoral desert country.

Press reports indicate that Areva, a French company, would be building the reactor for the facility. Although the desalination plant is not an immediate project, the memorandum might give an advantage to Areva in the bidding competition for 1,600 metric tons of yellowcake in Libyan possession. Several foreign nuclear energy entities have expressed interest in acquiring it. Although obligated to dispose of it after ending a clandestine nuclear weapons program, Libya’s plans for the yellowcake are not known.

Areva’s reactor would power the energy-intensive process of making salt water potable. According to the World Nuclear Association, an industry group, 30 million cubic meters of seawater are desalinated every day worldwide. About one-half of this amount is processed in the Middle East, mostly in hydrocarbon-powered plants.

The type of reactor to be used in the facility has yet to be decided. Sarkozy disputed a recent announcement that Libya was purchasing a European Pressurized Water Reactor from Areva.

Libya’s acquisition of the Milan anti-tank missile system and communication equipment was also announced during Sarkozy’s visit. French opposition leaders, among them Socialist leader François Hollande, have called for a parliamentary probe, suspecting that this sale was improperly linked to the release of six medics from Libyan captivity. The missile supplier maintains that the deal had been under discussion for 18 months.

Preparations for the French-Libyan nuclear cooperation agreement started in 2005. Its conclusion marks another milestone in Libya’s normalization of relations with the West. As recently as 2003, the North African country was working to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

The United Kingdom and the United States choreographed Libya’s return to the international mainstream, but France has most actively taken commercial advantage of the end of sanctions. Both the United Kingdom and Russia have pledged to cooperate with Libya on medical applications of nuclear technology.

Later this year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to visit Libya to further cooperation between Washington and Tripoli. According to Department of State spokesperson Sean McCormack, Rice wishes to “mark the fact that this is a very changed relationship” since she first joined the Bush administration as national security adviser.

On his state visit to Libya, French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy cooperation with long-time Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. The July 25 memorandum clears the way for French access to Libyan uranium and outlines an agreement on the eventual construction of a nuclear desalination plant to provide drinking water to the littoral desert country. (Continue)

Israel, Neighbors Mull Nuclear Power Programs

Miles A. Pomper

Soon after the United States and India concluded negotiations on a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement, Israeli officials announced in August that they too may be seeking U.S. help in furthering a civilian nuclear power program. The move comes at a time when Israel is pressuring the international community to clamp down on Iran’s nuclear program and as several other Middle Eastern states have declared their interest in civilian nuclear power programs.

Officials at Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission and Ministry of National Infrastructure confirmed Aug. 1 that the government would be conducting a preliminary feasibility study on constructing a nuclear power reactor. If built, the 1,200-1,500-megawatt reactor at Shivta, in the Negev desert near Egypt, would be the first power reactor to be built in the country. It would meet as much as one-tenth of Israel’s electricity demand, according to the Aug. 16 edition of Nucleonics Week. The publication reported that Israel would be looking to a U.S. vendor to supply the reactor.

Israeli officials said they would subject any new reactor to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, which aim to prevent the diversion of fissile material from peaceful uses to military ones. An Israeli research reactor at Soreq is already subject to facility-specific safeguards.

Nonetheless, Israel has a widely acknowledged nuclear weapons program using plutonium from an unsafeguarded reactor at Dimona in the Negev desert but has never publicly confirmed that it possesses a nuclear weapons arsenal. Like India and Pakistan, Israel has not signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which would bar it from possessing nuclear arms as a non-nuclear-weapon state.

If Israel moves forward with its plans, it could pose a dilemma for the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The voluntary group, in which nuclear suppliers seek to coordinate their export controls on nuclear transfers to non-nuclear-weapon states, must give its consent to rule changes to allow the pending U.S.-Indian deal to go forward. The United States has proposed a one-time India-specific exception to NSG rules prohibiting nuclear trade with non-nuclear-weapon states that do not subject all of their nuclear facilities to IAEA safeguards (see page 22 ).

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns reiterated that approach at a July 27 briefing on the U.S.-Indian deal. “I can assure you that the United States is not going to suggest a similar deal with any other country in the world,” Burns said. Current Pakistani and former senior Israeli officials have argued that cooperation with NPT outliers should not be decided on a country-by-country basis but by a set of common criteria.

Israel is not the only Middle Eastern state indicating an interest in advancing a civil nuclear power program. About a dozen nations in the region have declared their interest in such programs in the past year.

“The rules governing the nuclear issue have changed in the entire region,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in January.

Some states have hinted at the need to develop a hedge against Iran’s nuclear program. Officials have also cited environmental and economic reasons, saying they need a source of power other than fossil fuels for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation and desalination.

Among the leaders are Egypt and Turkey. Officials in Egypt, which abandoned a previous nuclear program after the 1986 Chernobyl accident, have proposed building a 1,000-megawatt reactor on its Mediterranean coast in the next decade with plans for more. Turkey wants to build at least a pair of power reactors along its Mediterranean or Black Sea coasts within the next five to six years.

In addition, Libya, which abandoned a fledgling nuclear weapons program in December 2003, has signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with France under which Paris would provide a reactor to power a Libyan desalination plant (see below). Algeria and Russia signed a nuclear development agreement in January 2007 as the North African nation, which has operated two research reactors for well more than a decade, aims to produce nuclear power. More controversially, Iran has also offered to share nuclear expertise with Algeria.

At the end of 2006, Saudi Arabia and the five other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates [UAE]) commissioned a year-long joint study on “the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.” Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed nuclear cooperation with Riyadh, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has agreed to help the UAE launch its own nuclear program.

Not to be left out, Jordan’s Abdullah discussed the possibility of purchasing Canadian reactors with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in July. In March, Jordanian Energy Minister Khaled Sharida said Amman wants to build its first reactor by 2015.

Morocco, Tunisia, and Syria have also indicated interest in peaceful nuclear power programs.

It is not clear how many of these proposals will come to fruition. Previous plans to build such plants in the region never went forward due to lack of financing or because of drops in the price of oil.

Soon after the United States and India concluded negotiations on a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement, Israeli officials announced in August that they too may be seeking U.S. help in furthering a civilian nuclear power program. The move comes at a time when Israel is pressuring the international community to clamp down on Iran’s nuclear program and as several other Middle Eastern states have declared their interest in civilian nuclear power programs. By Miles A. Pomper (Continue)

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