“I also want to thank Daryl Kimball and the Arms Control Association for allowing me to address all of you today and for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war.”

– Joseph Biden, Jr.
January 28, 2004

Repairing U.S.-Russian Strategic Relations after Bush and Putin



Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Friday, April 11, 2008, 9:30 - 11:00 A.M.

National Press Club, The Murrow Room on the 13th Floor
529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC

Please click here for the transcript.

Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin are seeking to burnish their legacies by touting a raft of U.S.-Russian accomplishments completed on their watch. But the two leaders are leaving U.S.-Russian strategic relations at arguably their lowest point since the Cold War. The two governments are deeply divided on future nuclear arms limits and missile defenses, particularly U.S. plans to deploy anti-missile systems in Europe. The panelists will discuss steps to put the U.S.-Russian strategic relationship on a more stable footing, reduce the two countries’ excessive nuclear arsenals, and craft a more sensible approach to dealing with missile threats and missile defenses.


Ambassador James E. Goodby, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Goodby has held many U.S. government positions, including Deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Special Representative for the security and dismantlement of nuclear weapons, and chief negotiator for nuclear threat reduction agreements. He recently co-edited with George Shultz and Sidney Drell Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons. Also with Drell, Goodby co-authored the Arms Control Association report What are Nuclear Weapons For? Recommendations for Restructuring U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces.

Ambassador Avis T. Bohlen, Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University. A former career Foreign Service Officer, Bohlen retired in 2002 from the Department of State after serving in a variety of top positions, including Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. Much of her Foreign Service career focused on European security issues, arms control, and Soviet affairs. She is a member of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors.

George N. Lewis, Senior Research Associate and Associate Director of the Peace Studies Program at Cornell University. Lewis, who holds a PhD in physics, is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He received that society’s Joseph A. Burton Forum Award. An associate editor of the journal Science and Global Security, Lewis has co-authored two extensive reports on missile defense: Countermeasures: A Technical Evaluation of the Operational Effectiveness of the Planned U.S. National Missile Defense System (2000) and Technical Realities: An Analysis of the 2004 Deployment of a U.S. National Missile Defense System (2004).

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.
Arms Control Association Press Briefing

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Iran’s Nuclear Program and Diplomatic Options to Contain It



Arms Control Association Press Briefing
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
9:30-11:00 A.M.

Henry L. Stimson Center Conference Room
1111 19th st. NW 12th Floor, Washington, D.C.

Space is limited: RSVP to Peter Crail (202-863-8270 x102 or [email protected])

Daryl Kimball's Introduction

Partial Transcript of Event With Questions And Answers

After two Security Council sanctions resolutions and the prospects for a third looming, Iran continues to expand its nuclear program. A recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s program declared that its knowledge of Iran’s nuclear activities is “diminishing,” although Tehran may be providing enough cooperation with the agency to delay tougher UN sanctions. Meanwhile, Washington says it will only engage in talks with Iran if it suspends its sensitive nuclear activities. The panel will describe the state of Iran’s nuclear program and the diplomatic options that should be explored in order to contain Tehran’s nuclear capabilities. Panelists are:

David Albright, President, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) and a leading independent authority on the Iranian nuclear program and its history. From 1992 until 1997, he also cooperated actively with the IAEA Action Team focusing on analyses of Iraqi documents and past procurement activities. Albright will report on the status and capabilities of Iran’s uranium enrichment program and discuss the perils of military strikes against Iran’s facilities.

Dr. Hans-Peter Hinrichsen, First Secretary, Political Affairs, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Washington D.C. Dr. Hinrichsen has worked for the German diplomatic service for 13 years, including four years covering nuclear nonproliferation for the federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Dr. Hinrichsen will discuss Germany’s perspective on options to address Iran's nuclear program and, in the context of Berlin’s role in consultations with the EU-3 and the Security Council, the prospects for additional sanctions.

Joseph Cirincione, Senior Fellow and Director for Nuclear Policy, Center for American Progress. Prior to joining the Center in May 2006, he served as director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, worked on the professional staff of the House Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations, and served as staff director of the Military Reform Caucus. Cirincione will outline the potential for direct diplomatic engagement with Iran without preconditions.

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.

Arms Control Association Press Briefing

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The Curious Incident in Northern Syria and Its Potential Proliferation Implications



Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association

For the Korea Economic Institute Forum, “What If They Did It? North Korea, Syria, and Nuclear Proliferation,” November 1, 2007

Nearly two months after Israel’s Sept. 6, 2007 raid on a facility in Northern Syria, there is suggestive but ultimately inconclusive evidence that it may have been a small reactor still under construction. Opponents of the six-party process toward the verifiable denuclearization of North Korea are suggesting that possible North Korean involvement may provide reason for a shift in policy regarding the six-party talks and the implementation of the steps outlined in the October 3 joint statement.

Indeed, any North Korean assistance involving the export or technical training, advice, services, or assistance related to items on the trigger list of the Nuclear Suppliers Group would violate North Korea’s and the recipient state’s obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1718 of October 14, 2006 “to cease the export” of items “which could contribute to DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related, or other weapons of mass destruction related programmes.”

Furthermore, in the recent six-party talks statement of October 3, 2007: “The DPRK reaffirmed its commitment not to transfer nuclear materials, technology, or know-how.” While North Korean assistance may have predated the October 3 statement and even the October 2006 Security Council resolution, it would clearly violate the spirit of its commitments.

The reports citing unnamed sources alleging that the facility was a nuclear reactor and that North Korea might have provided assistance raise extremely troubling questions about Syrian and North Korean behavior. However, I believe that even if there is strong evidence of North Korean complicity, it would be imprudent for the administration or the Congress to take actions or make statements that might scuttle the six party process.

We must recall that in the fall of 2002, the administration accused North Korea of pursuing a uranium enrichment program on the basis of preliminary intelligence assessments that were later revised to reflect that the program was not as advanced as previously believed. Nevertheless, the United States decided at the time to cut-off heavy fuel oil shipments that were part of the Agreed Framework – an agreement some in the Bush administration were only too eager to rip apart. As a result, North Korea kicked out IAEA inspectors, restarted plutonium operations, produced enough fissile material for about 10 bombs, and, in 2006, engaged in an orgy of missile flight testing, and set off a nuclear test explosion.

In the final analysis, U.S. policymakers must weigh whether the risk posed by the possible construction of a Syrian research reactor and possible North Korean assistance warrants the possible delay in verifiably dismantling a known and greater threat: North Korea’s own research reactor; reprocessing plant, and accounting for and taking out of circulation whatever nuclear bombs, nuclear bomb material, and uranium enrichment equipment North Korea may have.

This does not mean that the U.S. policymakers cannot be “tactically tough” as John Bolton argues they should, it just means that their response needs to be carefully calibrated and must amount to more than overheated rhetoric and name-calling.

If Syria was indeed building a reactor and if North Korea was involved, there are other steps the United States could – and should – take to hold the DPRK accountable and ensure that Pyongyang provides no further nuclear assistance to other states without derailing the prospects of verifiably dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program and risking the possibility of further North Korean proliferation transgressions. I’ll go into further detail about this in a few minutes.

In addition, if there is or was credible U.S. or foreign intelligence information or other evidence that Syria was engaged in building a reactor, I believe it should have been presented to the IAEA and/or the Security Council for evaluation so that a collective response – and follow up investigation -- could be undertaken.

As a signatory to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty under comprehensive IAEA safeguards, Syria is obligated under the current interpretation of paragraph 42 of its comprehensive IAEA safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/153) to provide design information on new facilities to the Agency as soon as the decision to construct or authorize construction of a new facility is taken (i.e. well before construction actually begins) in order to create confidence in the peaceful purpose of the facility and to provide adequate lead-time for safeguards preparations.(1)

If Israel or the United States had information suggesting Syria was building a reactor or some other prohibited item, it could have informed the IAEA and/or the Security Council, which could then – and could still -- call upon on Syria to clarify the purpose of the facility and possibly lead to an IAEA investigation and visit to the site.

This is essentially what the United States did in 2002 with information that surfaced about Iran’s unreported nuclear activities at the Natanz site.

Such an investigation could have been and could still be immensely useful not only in understanding the nature of the facility but also the sources of assistance. We must consider that North Korea may not have been the main or sole supplier of nuclear technology and components. Syria is of course suspected of having received assistance from the A.Q. Khan network.(2)

Utilizing the Agency to draw attention to a possible Syrian violation of safeguards would put Syria on the defensive and strengthen the credibility of the institution as an effective and legitimate instrument in monitoring and enforcing compliance at a time when the Security Council and the IAEA are at odds with Iran.

Such a message might also have been more helpful in persuading Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, come clean about its nuclear program, and agree to a diplomatic resolution.

In addition, the failure of any state to report any information to the IAEA about possible nuclear safeguards violations, and Israel’s “strike first, ask questions later approach” are also worrisome and unwise and undermine the authority of the IAEA in sifting out the truth in Iran and elsewhere.

Knowns and Unknowns

While there are still more questions than answers at this point, it is important to sift out the “knowns” from the “unknowns.”

Based on that, we might draw some preliminary conclusions, formulate some reasonable hypotheses that might help explain events that have unfolded to date, and consider what should and should not be done in response to these possibilities.

What we “know” is this:

  • Syria and Israel have acknowledged there was a strike on a “military facility” in Syria.
  • Satellite imagery suggests the facility could have been a small research reactor similar in design to the 5 megawatt North Korean reactor at Yongbyon. Such a facility by itself would not constitute a clear and imminent danger to either Israel or the United States given that Syria would also need to have a plutonium reprocessing facility to harvest plutonium for a weapon. Syria already possesses a very small research reactor under IAEA safeguards.
  • We know from commercial satellite imagery that Syria cleared the site after the raid. By itself, this proves little, though it certainly raises suspicions that Syria is trying to remove evidence that the structure could have been used to house a reactor or something else it doesn’t want others to see. The raid itself and Syria’s clearing of the site clearly would complicate any on site investigation by the IAEA or others to determine whether a reactor was under construction.
  • Commercial satellite photos also indicate that construction on the main building was well underway in Sept. 2003, which means Syria may have received assistance sometime before that date. This also likely means that the site has been under Western satellite surveillance for some time and it suggests that U.S. intelligence analysts did not believe that it was a reactor or some other missile or WMD-related facility.
  • Some press reports quote unnamed officials saying that North Korean nationals were present at the site. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nuclear Nonproliferation Andrew Semmel also told reporters on Sept. 14: “There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that,” adding “[j]ust as there are a lot of North Koreans in Iraq and Iran.” Semmel did not clarify what sort of activities the North Koreans were conducting in Syria. This suggests that any information about North Koreans at the site would most likely have come from a human intelligence source or sources, which are not always reliable or precise.
  • This is not the first time there has been a controversy over intelligence assessments concerning the Syrian nuclear program. You might recall that Knight Ridder newspapers, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others reported that in 2003, Undersecretary of State John Bolton was forced to call off congressional testimony because members of the intelligence community were concerned that Bolton was prepared to assert stronger claims regarding concerns over Syria’s pursuit of nuclear weapons than was warranted by the intelligence.(3)
  • We know that only the top Congressional intelligence and foreign affairs committee members have been briefed by the U.S. intelligence community on the incident. And two of them, Reps. Hoekstra and Ros-Lehtinen, complained bitterly in an Oct. 21 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that “until Congress is fully briefed, it would be imprudent for the administration to move forward with agreements with state proliferators.”
  • We also know that Administration officials, while declining to publicly comment on the incident itself, have said that the six-party disarmament deal with North Korea would not go ahead if North Korea was found to be smuggling nuclear arms, equipment or know-how abroad.

Asked at a Capitol Hill hearing on Oct. 25 by Democratic Representative David Scott of Georgia if the issue of the Syrian facility had been brought up in disarmament talks with North Korea, Assistant Secretary of Sate for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Christopher Hill said: "Yes, I have raised this issue."

During a Sept. 20 press conference, President Bush was asked a question about the Syrian raid and reports of North Korean involvement to which he said: “to the extent that they are proliferating, we expect them to stop that proliferation, if they want the six-party talks to be successful.”

What May Explain the Events That have Unfolded to Date: Two Theories

So, what actually might have gone on and why is the administration maintaining official silence on the matter?

If Syria was building a nuclear reactor or some other nuclear facility and if North Korea was involved, what is the appropriate course of action to prevent further proliferation of the kind, while simultaneously ensuring that North Korea’s current commitments under the October 3 implementation agreement for the disablement of its nuclear facilities and full declaration of its nuclear program go forward?

Should Congress be fully briefed? What should be done to uncover what Syria was up to and who might have provided illicit equipment and know-how?

Based on what is in the public domain there seem to be two plausible theories:

Theory 1. Given that the Syrian facility was under surveillance and construction for some time and given that the U.S. intelligence community apparently did not believe that it was a nuclear-related project, senior U.S. officials were not confident enough to confront Syria publicly with the charge. Recall the 2003 debate about how to characterize the Syrian nuclear program. Likewise, given that the information suggesting a North Korean presence at the site would likely have come from a human intelligence source or sources, senior U.S. officials might not have had high enough confidence in the information to publicly accuse North Korea of violating its nuclear non-assistance pledges.

Still, based on statements by Christopher Hill and President Bush, it is clear that the matter has been pursued with the North Koreans privately and that the Bush administration has probably already made it clear that if North Korea wants to see the six-party agreement implemented, including removing the DPRK from the state sponsors of terrorism list, North Korea cannot be engaged in any proliferation activity.

If the administration has not already done so, it should demand that the “complete and correct declaration of all of North Korea’s nuclear programs” -- as called for in the Feb. 13 2007 and Oct. 3 six-party statements -- must include a full accounting of all North Korean nuclear-related commerce or technical assistance to other states or non-state actors.

Theory 2. It is also possible that the United States government has information that more clearly demonstrates Syrian nuclear activity at the site and direct involvement by the North Koreans. Even if this is the case, the administration may be forging ahead with the six-party process and taking the matter up with North Korea privately because they correctly understand the value of using the six-party process to verifiably dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program and snuff-out its proliferation activities rather than publicly taking issue with North Korea on the matter and risking the possibility that they will deny their involvement, if only to save face.

As Christopher Hill told reporters Sept. 14: “The reason we have the six-party process and the reason we have put together a number of pretty serious countries in this process is to make sure that the North Koreans get out of the nuclear business.”

Congress’ Role
Under either scenario, it is important that the administration brief relevant Congressional members and committees sooner than later. While there are clearly some members of Congress who will seek to use this incident to undercut support for the appropriation of funds to provide North Korea with heavy fuel oil as called for in the six-party agreement, Congressional support for the administration’s policy and the six-party process will likely erode if they are kept in the dark.

Eventually, Congress and possibly the rest of us will find out more about the events surrounding the Israeli raid and the target – either through official channels or from someone like Glenn Kessler. It is important to note that when there are lives at stake, sources to protect, or ongoing intelligence activities underway, there may good reason to delay providing Congress with a full accounting. However, we are now almost two months beyond the Sept. 6 raid and it is difficult to understand why other members of Congress have not yet been briefed.

Furthermore, even if North Korea was engaged in ongoing proliferation activity, it is likely that the administration could persuade Congress that they should not jeopardize the larger aims of the six-party process by withholding support for heavy fuel oil shipments. Rather, the administration could future “benefits,” such as removal of North Korea from the state sponsor of terrorism list, if it does not fully account for its nuclear program and cease all foreign nuclear and missile assistance.

So in conclusion, what if North Korea and Syria were colluding on a secret nuclear project?

  1. It should be condemned and the IAEA should request access to the site and be provided relevant information from other states as part of an investigation.
  2. The Bush administration and Congress should agree to use – not abandon the six party process to ensure that North Korea is no longer engaged in such activities.
  3. The Bush administration should brief Congress about the episode in order to solidify support for the six party denuclearization agreement and any actions the administration may pursue through the IAEA Board of Governors and/or the Security Council regarding possible Syrian nuclear activities.

Thank you.

1. Prior to 1992, the phrase in para 42 of the IAEA’s comprehensive safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/153), which reads "as early as possible before nuclear material is introduced into a new facility" was translated into meaning that design information for new nuclear facilities needed to be provided to the Agency "no later than 6 months before the introduction of nuclear material into a new facility". This interpretation was included in the General Parts of the Subsidiary Arrangements that are attached to each comprehensive safeguards agreement.
As a safeguards strengthening measure, the Board agreed to a new interpretation of paragraph 42 proposed by the Secretariat in February 1992 (GOV/2554/Att.2/Rev. 2), which requires that design information on new facilities be provided to the Agency as soon as the decision to construct or authorize construction of a new facility is taken (i.e. well before construction actually begins) in order to create confidence in the peaceful purpose of the facility and to provide adequate lead-time for safeguards preparations.  All non-nuclear weapon state NPT parties under comprehensive safeguards were also required to adapt their related Subsidiary Arrangements to take into account the new interpretation.

2. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nuclear Nonproliferation Andy Semmel stated on Sept. 14 that “[w]e do know that there may have been contact between Syria and some secret suppliers for nuclear equipment. Whether anything transpired remains to be seen,” further noting that “[w]e’re watching very closely.”
Semmel’s comments mirror a 2004 declassified report to Congress by the director of national intelligence on weapons of mass destruction proliferation. The report, released last year, discusses potential Syrian contacts with the A.Q. Khan network. It indicates that “Pakistani investigators in late January 2004 said they had ‘confirmation’ of an IAEA allegation that [Abdul Qadeer] Khan offered nuclear technology and hardware to Syria, according to Pakistani press, and we are concerned that expertise or technology could have been transferred. We continue to monitor Syrian nuclear intentions with concern.”

3. According to a July 15, Knight Ridder report (“CIA: Assessment of Syria's WMD exaggerated,” by Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay), “U.S. officials told Knight Ridder that Bolton was prepared to tell members of a House of Representatives International Relations subcommittee that Syria's development of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons had progressed to such a point that they posed a threat to stability in the region. The CIA and other intelligence agencies said that assessment was exaggerated.”

Presentation by Daryl G. Kimball for the Korea Economic Institute

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The CTBT: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities



Lunchtime Semiar by ACA and The Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
1:00 – 3:00 P.M.

Kleiner Redoutensaal, Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria

A decade after the conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the establishment of the Provisional Technical Secretariat, global support for the treaty has grown and the verification system and its capabilities have grown. Yet, substantial political, budgetary, and technical challenges still lie ahead. This seminar will outline strategies to deal with these obstacles and discuss how the U.S. presidential election may affect the politics of ratification in Washington. Following the opening presentations, there will be an opportunity to pose questions to the panelists.

Mr. Andreas Persbo
Nuclear Law and Policy Researcher, VERTIC, London

CTBT Verification: A Decade of Achievement
Prof. David Hafemeister
Professor of Physics (Emeritus), California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Progress Towards Entry Into Force
Amb. Jaap Ramaker
Special representative to promote the ratification process of the CTBT

Prospects of U.S. Ratification
Mr. Daryl G. Kimball
Executive Director, Arms Control Association, Washington DC

ACA and VERTIC would like to thank the Governments of the Republic of Ireland, the Kingdom of Norway and the Federal Republic of Germany for their generous support for this seminar.

For further information, contact Jane Awford, Information Officer and Networker:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7065 0880 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7065 0890 E-mail: [email protected]
Charlotte Spencer-Smith, Intern:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7065 0880 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7065 0890
E-mail: [email protected]

Lunchtime Semiar by ACA and The Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC)

Avoiding Renewed U.S.-Russian Strategic Competition



Arms Control Association Press Briefing
Monday, June 11, 2007
9:30 – 11:00 A.M.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC

Click Here for the Transcript

U.S. and Russian leaders are clashing over missile defenses, nuclear forces, missiles, and conventional arms in Europe. This has induced growing anxiety that the former foes might again slip into a revived arms race. Indeed, Kremlin officials increasingly invoke the possibility. In addition, the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is due to expire in December 2009 and neither side, at this time, intends to extend it in its current form. The panelists discussed what steps the two countries should take to put their relationship on a more stable footing and how they could effectively and verifiably reduce their still massive nuclear weapons arsenals and the lingering distrust they engender.


Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), Chair, House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee. Congresswoman Tauscher is serving her sixth term representing California’s 10th District, which is home to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She is a leading proponent of reducing global nuclear dangers and recently urged the Bush administration to “bridge the gaps between the United States and Russia on missile defense.” Congresswoman Tauscher is only the third woman in history to chair a House Armed Services subcommittee.

PDF fileClick here for Rep. Tauscher's remarks

Edward Ifft, Foreign Affairs Officer, Department of State. Over his long government career, Dr. Ifft was part of several arms control negotiating delegations, including a stint as Deputy U.S. Negotiator to START. He also served as Deputy Director of the On-Site Inspection Agency and Senior Advisor to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Dr. Ifft is an adjunct professor of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.

PDF fileClick here for Edward Ifft's remarks

John Steinbruner, Director, Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. Prior to his current position, Dr. Steinbruner served for nearly two decades as Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. Currently Co-Chair of the Committee on International Security Studies of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Steinbruner is also Chairman of the Arms Control Association Board of Directors. A prolific writer, he most recently authored Principles of Global Security.

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.






Event with Ellen Tauscher, Edward Ifft, John Steinbruner and Daryl G. Kimball

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The Accomplishments of Conventional Arms Control


Berlin Seminars on Conventional Arms Control, June 5-7, 2007

Prepared Remarks by Wade Boese, Research Director, Arms Control Association

Controlling conventional arms is a small slice of the issues covered by my organization, but I think it is one of the more critical and important ones even if it does not frequently capture the headlines or captivate the public's imagination so much as efforts to stem the proliferation of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s April 26 speech threatening a possible Russian moratorium or suspension of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty changed that, at least for a day. Then, the media’s, as well as the world’s, focus quickly returned to the U.S.-Russian sparring over the United States’ poorly handled and premature plan to base strategic missile interceptors in Europe. I fear the issue of conventional arms control will only reemerge again if next week’s extraordinary CFE Treaty meeting fails spectacularly. For example, if Russia announces its intention to move ahead with suspending implementation of the accord. Perhaps, the old adage that “no news is good news” applies to conventional arms control.

Still, it is unfortunate that conventional arms control issues receive such relatively slim attention compared to that trio of armaments collectively known as weapons of mass destruction. By no means am I suggesting that those three types of arms do not warrant significant consideration. Rather, conventional arms issues are deserving of more attention than they currently receive. To be sure, biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons have the potential to cause mass destruction, inflict widespread human death and suffering, and impose severe economic costs upon society. But conventional arms have been used to do all of these terrible things for centuries and continue to spread misery on a daily basis in some parts of the world.

Indeed, that is why conventional arms control has such a long history. It stretches as far back as reported attempts to limit the use crossbows in the 12th Century up through the naval treaties of the 1920s to today's Norwegian-led initiative to regulate the use of cluster munitions. I will spare you a comprehensive accounting and assessments of all these past efforts. Instead, I will focus my remarks on more modern era agreements.

When assessing these modern agreements, I think they can be divided into two general categories. There were those negotiated for primarily political-military reasons and those driven more by humanitarian and moral considerations.

The first category encompasses those agreements that we have been focusing on for the past few days: the 1990 CFE Treaty and the 1999 Adapted CFE Treaty (which has yet to enter into force), the 1996 Sub-Regional Agreement, the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, and the Vienna documents. One could also include the 40-member Wassenaar Arrangement on dual-use and conventional export controls and the UN Register of Conventional Arms, which asks countries to volunteer information on their annual imports and exports of tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs), large-caliber artillery, attack helicopters, combat aircraft, warships, and missiles and missile systems. Countries inclined to do so may also submit data on their trade in small arms and light weapons.

The second category includes the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and its five protocols dealing with such arms as blinding lasers, booby-traps, incendiary weapons, and explosive remnants of war. This category also includes the 1997 Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines, the 1998 EU Code of Conduct on arms transfers, the 2001 UN Program of Action on illicit small arms and light weapons, and the current so-called Oslo Process on cluster munitions.

This conference has primarily focused on the first category so my remarks generally will as well. But this is not to diminish the value of the second category or to suggest they lack achievements. Both categories have quantifiable accomplishments:

Implementation of the CFE Treaty led to the destruction of more than 70,000 pieces of treaty limited equipment: battle tanks, ACVs, heavy artillery, combat aircraft, and attack helicopters. This total reflects recent NATO statements that more than 60,000 arms have been destroyed under the treaty, as well as the fact that Russia unilaterally destroyed some 14,500 arms moved out of the treaty’s area of application (between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains) before the CFE Treaty’s entry into force. (All told, Moscow moved some 57,000 weapons out of the treaty’s area of application before the accord entered into force. It also claimed unilaterally to have destroyed 10,000 weapons and converted another 7,000 weapons.)

Similarly, the Sub-Regional Agreement has resulted in the destruction of nearly 9,000 heavy weapons. Modeled on the CFE Treaty, this agreement caps the battle tanks, ACVs, heavy artillery, attack helicopters, and combat aircraft holdings of Croatia, the former Republic of Yugoslavia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina (comprised of the Muslim-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska).

The Ottawa Convention, or Mine Ban Treaty, has resulted in the destruction of more than 38 million anti-personnel landmines. This total is still growing with the help of international demining funding that has surpassed $2 billion since the treaty’s negotiation. I would be remiss if I did not note that the United States, even though it has declined to join the treaty, has been the largest spender on mine action worldwide. Since 1992, Washington has provided some $1.1 billion in “humanitarian mine action” funding, according to the Department of State.

The destruction of millions of weapons that might have otherwise injured, maimed, or killed is, therefore, one of the most significant accomplishments of conventional arms control.

But this is not the end in and of itself of conventional arms control. Conventional arms control (and I’m referring to both categories of modern agreements) ultimately is not about the machines, metal, or hardware, but about the human dimension. Specifically, human emotions. Conventional arms control is about making people feel safe and secure by helping to reduce tensions and threats while building confidence and trust. For those who might object that we live in a world of states or what we are speaking about is national security or military power, I would argue that states, governments, and militaries are comprised of people. And it’s their ambitions, concerns, interests, and fears that drive policy.

In addition to the actual destruction or limitation of armaments, I would identify at least a half-dozen ways that conventional arms control helps make people feel safer and more secure:

    1. increases transparency (approximately 5,000 inspections have been conducted under the CFE Treaty regime, while approximately 1,000 have been carried out under the Sub-Regional Agreement)
    2. fosters predictability
    3. establishes norms of behavior
    4. creates accountability
    5. reallocates spending from the military to the civil sector
    6. humanizes adversaries

All of these help to minimize worst-case decision-making and planning, while also creating mechanisms that provide warning time to detect and respond to developments that could jeopardize security.

Moving from the theoretical to the practical, what has conventional arms control accomplished in the real world?

Most notably, the Vienna Documents and the CFE Treaty, in particular, helped ease Europe, and I would say the world, through a dramatic time of transition. Within a year of the CFE Treaty’s signature, the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union disintegrated. Yet, the framework of limits helped manage the breakup and reallocation of these huge military machines. These limits, which not only applied to how much weaponry could be stationed in the treaty area but also where it could be deployed, all but eliminated the possibility of a large-scale, surprise attack in Europe by preventing the concentration or massing of forces in the continent’s center and its northern and southern flanks. This regime further impeded the possibility of any rapid reconstitution of forces by a country in a way that would threaten its neighbors.

It also helped provide reassurance that a united Germany would not become a destabilizing military powerhouse in the future. Specifically, East Germany and West Germany agreed that their combined forces would not exceed the limits previously allocated to West Germany.

Other positive effects of the CFE regime include allowing the United States to significantly reduce its military presence on the continent. U.S. forces have declined from some 304,000 troops in the early 1990s to approximately 89,000 today. Lessening the armaments (and tensions) in Europe also enabled billions of dollars to be shifted from the military realm to other government spending. In the 1990s, U.S. officials frequently referred to the “peace dividend” that was enabled, in part, by agreements such as the CFE Treaty. (It should not be forgotten that a key factor motivating Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev to negotiate the CFE Treaty in the first place was to reduce the military burden on the stressed Soviet economy.)

So it was not without good reason that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently praised the CFE Treaty as “one of the most important treaties of the 20th Century.” I would say this is particularly noteworthy given the Bush administration’s general disdain for treaties and legally-binding agreements.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Sub-Regional Agreement has helped reduce tensions in the Balkans and prevented another conflict from breaking out between the warring parties. It has also helped initiate the grudging, albeit incomplete, merger of the armed forces of the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska into a single military for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Ottawa Convention has committed 153 countries to forswear anti-personnel landmines.

I could go on for each agreement that I have previously noted, but perhaps the largest success is that conventional arms control has made or helped millions of people feel safer. The prospect of another large-scale conventional war with clashing armies of tanks and fighter jets in the heart of Europe would probably strike most Europeans today as an absurd impossibility. On a smaller, yet no less important, scale, families seeking clean water in Africa or farmers working their fields in Southeast Asia may no longer have to fear triggering a landmine because of international humanitarian demining activities.

How these accomplishments have been made possible is best summed by a quote about the CFE Treaty, although I think it applies to all conventional arms control efforts. Joseph P. Harahan, a historian with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, wrote in the book, On-Site Inspections Under the CFE Treaty, “A rule of law was replacing the rule of force.” I think it is worth repeating, “A rule of law was replacing the rule of force.”


Despite these notable achievements, conventional arms control in practice is imperfect and has its limitations. It’s important to remember that conventional arms control does not happen in a vacuum and cannot alone solve underlying political problems or tensions. Arms control is just one tool to help manage competing or uneasy military relationships, and its affect on deeper sources of conflict or distrust should not be overestimated. Although this may be an obvious point, it also should be noted that arms control agreements are designed primarily to benefit those who are party to any agreement and advantages may not necessarily spill over to others.

Still, it should be readily apparent to all that the current European security regime has not made all countries feel secure or integrated, particularly Russia. Moscow’s recent rhetoric about targeting Europe with missiles again were the United States to proceed with its missile defense basing plans for Poland and the Czech Republic could be chalked up partially to domestic politics. Talk of suspending CFE Treaty implementation and abrogating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty could also be seen in the same light. But this explanation would ignore a chain of developments that Moscow sees as eroding its influence and hemming it in: two rounds of NATO expansion encompassing 10 new countries, including former republics of the Soviet Union; the U.S. Desert Fox strikes in Iraq; NATO’s intervention in Kosovo; U.S. abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; new U.S. relations with Central Asian states; U.S. plans for bases in Bulgaria and Romania; U.S. disinterest in additional legally-binding strategic nuclear reduction agreements; continued deployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe; and expansive U.S. missile defense plans. To be sure, the 10 missile interceptors planned for Poland pose no threat to Russia’s nuclear deterrent, but Moscow perceives this deployment as just the tip of the iceberg. With regard to the CFE regime, the Kremlin could complete the withdrawal of its residual forces in Georgia and Moldova and pave the way for the Adapted CFE Treaty to enter into force, which would address many of Moscow’s current complaints about the regime’s unfairness. (I personally believe that NATO member’s should not sacrifice the principle of host-nation consent or the sovereignty of Georgia and Moldova for the sake of the Adapted CFE Treaty, but I think there must be some creative way for NATO members to start their ratification processes for the Adapted CFE Treaty to show progress to Russia, while also making clear that the deposit of instruments of ratification would still hinge upon Russia’s completion of its pledged withdrawals.)

Nevertheless, the perspective from Moscow is one of encirclement and exclusion. Western countries hold some responsibility for helping to change this view. In his 1995 book on the CFE Treaty, Shaping Europe’s Military Order, former Bush administration National Security Council official Richard Falkenrath wrote, “in the long run, European security depends not on maximizing Russian military vulnerability, but minimizing Russian insecurity.”

Another shortcoming of the current European security architecture was its failure to prevent intrastate conflicts, including the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, Russia’s war in Chechnya, and the secessionist movements in Georgia and Moldova. Certainly, Yugoslavia was not party to the CFE Treaty, but it was a member of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the predecessor of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). The Sub-Regional Agreement has prevented new hostilities from breaking out in the Balkans, but the CFE Treaty and Vienna Documents have had little affect on resolving the outstanding territorial conflicts in Europe, including the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

A broader failure of conventional arms control is the inability of countries to rein in the global arms trade. Although the annual value of arms transfers totals about half that of the Cold War period, business in the global weapons bazaar remains brisk and robust. Actually, it is growing. An authoritative annual arms sales report published by the Congressional Research Service reported that arms sales in 2005 reached their highest tally ($44 billion) in the past eight years. In addition, last year’s UN Register data for 2005 revealed one of the highest weapons trade totals (nearly 12,000 weapons exports) in the register’s history. These sums are likely to continue climbing when data for 2006 is released later this year. I feel confident in making such a prediction because the United States posted more than $20 billion in proposed Foreign Military Sales in 2006, easily surpassing totals over the last several years.

The grim reality is that arms continue to flow to undemocratic regimes with poor human rights record, excessive military spending, and little civilian control over the military. Often, recipients are located in regions of tensions. Such accumulations could have severe consequences for future international peace and stability.

The world supposedly had learned this lesson before. It should be recalled that the United States and the other four permanent members of the Security Council launched global arms trade talks soon after conclusion of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The motivation for this effort stemmed from Iraq’s importation of some $40 billion dollars worth of foreign weaponry in the decade prior to its invasion of Kuwait. Yet, these talks soon collapsed when the United States announced the sale of 150 F-16 combat aircraft to Taiwan, upsetting China. And global arms sellers, including the United States, continued with business as usual. Now, 15 years after countries claimed to have seen the danger of letting Iraq procure huge amounts of arms, its Middle Eastern neighbor (and current Western ally in the region) Saudi Arabia has acquired more than $100 billion in foreign armaments.

Future Steps

Although my remarks were supposed to focus on the accomplishments of conventional arms control, I feel obligated to also talk about its shortcomings. In that same vein, I want to briefly touch upon what some of the future priorities in conventional arms control should be.

First and foremost, CFE states-parties need to work to bring the Adapted Treaty into force. Easier said than done, but clearly the existing regime with its bloc-to-bloc structure no longer reflects today’s realities and the sooner the Adapted Treaty is brought into force, the better. As alluded to before, I believe NATO members should be creative in starting ratification of the Adapted Treaty without finalizing their national processes until Russia fulfills its withdrawal commitments. NATO members should also be creative in trying to find ways to help speed up and ease Russia’s withdrawal from Georgia and Moldova, including paying for the destruction of the 20,000 metric ton stockpile of ammunition currently guarded by Russian troops in Moldova’s Transdniestria region and providing international peacekeepers to Georgia and Moldova to replace Russian forces.

Taking the optimistic view that the Adapted Treaty will one day enter into force, enabling additional countries to join the regime, I would also urge CFE states-parties to make room under the existing cumulative weapons ceilings for additional members rather than increasing the overall weapon ceilings to accommodate new states-parties. This should be entirely possible. All told, current cumulative CFE states-parties’ holdings are 42,000 weapons below the cumulative national entitlements under the Adapted Treaty. In other words, states-parties with existing headroom should agree to reduce their entitlements to better mirror their actual holdings and new members should make use of the “spare” weapon allocations without leading to an increase in the cumulative national entitlements under the Adapted Treaty.

Another top priority should be the negotiation of an Arms Trade Treaty. The United Kingdom spearheaded adoption last year of a UN General Assembly resolution to initiate talks on such an instrument in 2008. The United States publicly opposed this effort and some other major arms sellers, such as China and Russia, and key arms buyers, such as states in the Middle East, abstained from the vote. Yet, a group of governmental experts will be convened in 2008 to begin exploring options for establishing a common set of criteria or standards for international arms transfers. Although, the United States warns that the best that can result will be standards of the lowest common denominator, those would still be a step up from today’s unregulated arms market where just about anything goes with little shame. For example, Russia acknowledged in its submission to the UN Register of Conventional Arms last year that it supplied a dozen attack helicopters to Sudan the previous year. Any standards or criteria established through an Arms Trade Treaty should be treated as a floor and not a ceiling.

Conclusion of an instrument restricting or banning the use of cluster munitions would also be a welcome step. It appears that countries might have two options in proceeding on the cluster munitions issue: the Oslo Process and an emerging effort, spurred in part by Germany, through the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Governments should be careful to avoid having these two efforts compete with and detract from each other. They must keep their attention focused on the overarching objective which is diminishing the danger of cluster munitions to civilians and noncombatants.

Within the CCW, governments should also work to complete a protocol limiting the use of anti-vehicle mines. Similar to anti-personnel landmines, anti-vehicle landmines can also have harmful humanitarian consequences. China, Russia, Pakistan, and a few other countries should stop blocking negotiation of this worthwhile measure.

All countries need to be more aggressive in curbing missile proliferation. Although many associate missiles with biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, missiles themselves are conventional weapons. However, the 34-member Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is derided by many as a supplier cartel, while adherence to and implementation of the more inclusive Hague Code of Conduct has been lackluster. Countries should seek to reinvigorate both regimes. A necessary step will be for the United States to exercise restraint in its own missile developments. For example, the Bush administration’s strong support for missile defense has led it to consider carving out exemptions under the MTCR for transfers of “defensive” interceptors. Yet, missile interceptors from a technical standpoint are essentially the same as the “offensive” missiles that they are designed to stop. U.S. officials should be careful that their solution (promoting and sharing missile defenses) does not contribute to the problem (the spread of missile technologies).

A more modest, but certainly achievable, step is to broaden participation in the UN Register of Conventional Arms. Many Arab and African countries do not provide annual submissions to the register. This is unfortunate because this basic act of transparency could be very helpful in mitigating tensions between neighbors and can serve as a starting point for dialogue between governments about their military purchases and requirements.

Another recommendation is actually a call for nonaction. EU countries should refrain from lifting their current arms and dual-use trade restrictions on China. Beijing is a growing and important power, but it also shrouds its domestic military plans and programs in secrecy, which is troublesome and disconcerting for many of its neighbors throughout the Asia-Pacific region, not to mention the United States. Moreover, China itself has not been a responsible exporter of military technologies and weapons. For example, Beijing is a current weapons supplier to Sudan.

Finally, countries in different regions of the world should look at the current European security architecture and see if there are any elements that might be applicable to enhancing security and building trust in their regions. To be sure, the European model cannot be one that is adopted wholesale by other regions because conditions, cultures, experiences, and capabilities vary greatly. Still, there might be some mechanisms or principles of European security that could benefit countries outside Europe.

Key Challenges

Making progress on the conventional arms control measures above will require overcoming some key challenges.

A major test will be for countries to reach mutual understandings of what constitutes acceptable and sufficient levels of weapons holdings that make one secure, while not threatening others in return. Governments should keep in mind that arms levels do not have to be equal for mutual security and benefits. The unequal national arms limits of the CFE Treaty and the Sub-Regional Agreement serve as good examples.

Also looming large are the hurdles created by the use of arms transfers as tools of diplomacy and alliance building, not to mention as a source of profit. Fostering military-to-military relationships or closer political ties are certainly worthwhile goals but arms do not have to be the glue that seals the bond. Greater focus should be placed on military training and humanitarian assistance because values and goodwill have more enduring value than a piece of military hardware which typically has a lifespan measured in years.

Another key challenge is overcoming the secrecy that cloaks security and military matters worldwide. Although many governments see secrecy as a way to protect their security, it can be a double-edged sword. Potential adversaries unsure about one another’s capabilities and intentions risk getting caught up in spiraling worst-case assumptions and decisionmaking. The dangers of miscalculation, particularly in crisis situations, also grow with secrecy. Therefore, promoting and universalizing transparency, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, should be a top priority.


When initially asked to deliver this speech in Berlin I wanted to draw a useful analogy between conventional arms control and this city’s history, particularly the experience of the Berlin Wall. Certainly, countries build up their militaries and acquire weapons to keep others out, which is very much the purpose of building walls. But the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in. So I shied away from this analogy for a while.

Yet, I thought about it a little more and construction of the Berlin Wall was also very much about the East German government seeking to address its insecurity by isolating itself, keeping out ideas, and wrapping itself in secrecy instead of pursuing cooperation and openness. And it failed.

So, in the end, I think it is very appropriate to be holding this conference in Berlin because conventional arms control is all about overcoming walls and preventing new ones from being built. Thank you.

Prepared Remarks by Wade Boese, Research Director, Arms Control Association

The Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Weapons Complex and the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW)



Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Thursday, April 19, 2007
9:00 – 10:30 A.M.

Old Ebbitt Grill, Cabinet Room (downstairs)
675 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC


For the first time in two decades, the Bush administration recently selected the prototype design of a new U.S. nuclear warhead. Managers of the U.S. nuclear complex say the program, the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW), will lead to safer warheads that are more reliable and easier to maintain than existing warheads. Yet, U.S. officials affirm that the current U.S. stockpile is safe and reliable. Critics of RRW assert the program is unnecessary and could lead to a resumption of nuclear testing, which the United States halted in 1992. They also contend that if the United States renewed nuclear testing or developed warheads designed for new military missions, other countries might follow suit. The panelists discussed ongoing efforts to maintain the existing stockpile and the potential pitfalls of pursuing new warheads, including the adverse impacts on global nonproliferation efforts.


Sidney D. Drell, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Stanford University’s Linear Accelerator Center and a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. A longtime technical advisor to the U.S. government, Dr. Drell previously served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and Science Advisory Committee. He has been honored with many awards, including the Enrico Fermi Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and election to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2005, Dr. Drell co-authored What Are Nuclear Weapons For? Recommendations for Restructuring U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces, and, most recently, published a collection of his writings, Nuclear Weapons, Scientists, and the Post-Cold War Challenge.

Steve Fetter, Dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. A fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Fetter previously was Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy and received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He has served on several National Academy of Sciences committees, including as co-chair of the Monitoring Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Explosive Materials study. Dr. Fetter, an Arms Control Association Board Member, has contributed to numerous journals and authored Toward a Comprehensive Test Ban (August 1988).

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.

Transcript with remarks from Sidney Drell, Steve Fetter and Daryl G. Kimball

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Subject Resources:

Regulating Global Arms Sales and Cluster Munitions



Arms Control Association Press Briefing
Registration is closed for this event
Friday, February 9, 2007
9:30 – 11:00 A.M.

National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Murrow and White Rooms

Contact Wade Boese at (202) 463-8270 x104 for more information.

Click here for the transcript

Although biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons dominate media headlines and public fears about safety and security in the United States, conventional arms inflict numerous deaths and untold suffering throughout the world every day. The global arms trade is unregulated and civilians are often the victims. Seeking to address this problem, the United Kingdom last year spearheaded a UN resolution to begin exploring this year universal standards for the global arms trade. Meanwhile, the Norwegian government will host this month the inaugural meeting of its initiative to ban cluster munitions, which spread up to hundreds of small bombs over a broad area, that have “unacceptable humanitarian consequences.” The U.S. government opposed both these efforts. Still, Washington reportedly found recently that Israel might have violated U.S. rules on using U.S.-origin cluster munitions in Lebanon last year. The ambassadors will discuss the respective initiatives of their countries and the other panel experts will discuss what international and U.S. policy should be on these crucial issues.


Amb. John S. Duncan, Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament. Ambassador Duncan joined the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1980 and has served in many posts, including as Deputy International Advisor to General Wesley Clark, the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, during the Kosovo conflict. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1993.

Amb. Roald Naess, Representative of Norway to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Ambassador Naess led the Norwegian delegation to the 2006 review conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and served as the rotating chairman of the NSG in 2005-2006. His worked has focused on multilateral security issues related to the United Nations, NATO, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Stephen Goose, Executive Director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. Goose leads delegations of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines to diplomatic conferences and is chairman of that coalition’s Treaty Working Group. Human Rights Watch was a founder of the nongovernmental Cluster Munition Coalition that is dedicated to stopping the use of that type of weapon. Goose is the co-chair of the Coalition's steering committee.

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association.


Transcript with remarks from Ambassador John S. Duncan, Ambassador Roald Naess, Stephen Goose and Daryl G. Kimball

ACA Annual Membership Meeting and Luncheon



ACA Panel Discussion:
"The Future of Nuclear Arms Control"

January 19, 2007
9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Two of ACA’s distinguished Board members and two leading experts provided an in-depth examination of today’s nuclear security challenges and practical recommendations for how U.S. policymakers can more effectively tackle them. The panelists were:

Steve Andreasen, Lecturer, Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He served as Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council at the White House from February 1993 – January 2001. During the Bush Sr. and Reagan Administrations, Andreasen served in the State Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, dealing with a wide-range of defense policy, arms control, nuclear weapons and intelligence issues.

Matthew Bunn, Senior Research Associate at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He was an adviser to the Office of Science and Technology Policy on the control and disposal of fissile materials in the U.S. and the former USSR.

Joseph Cirincione, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining the center, Cirincione was director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Cirincione’s latest book is the forthcoming Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons.

Jack Mendelsohn, Adjunct professor at George Washington University and American University. A former ACA Deputy Director, he was also a member of the U.S. SALT II and START I delegations.

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (Moderator).

Rep. Howard Berman Addresses the Arms Control Association on
"Strengthening U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy"

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.), is a senior member of the House International Relations Committee. Berman addressed the subject of how the United States should tackle the multiple challenges now facing the global nuclear nonproliferation effort. "There are few House members who have made such an imprint on legislation in so many areas as Howard Berman," says The Almanac of American Politics. Berman was among the leading critics of the recently approved U.S.-India nuclear trade bill. Berman crafted alternative legislation that would have established tougher nonproliferation criteria for trade with states, including India, that do not allow nuclear safeguards on all their facilities. Elements of the Berman bill were incorporated in the final legislation. In 2005, Berman was also a cosponsor of bipartisan resolution (H. Con. 133) aimed at making the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty more effective.

Keynote by Rep. Howard Berman, with a panel featuring Robert Gallucci, Matthew Bunn and Jack Mendelsohn

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Time for Collective Action to Tackle the Threat of Biological Weapons



Statement by Oliver Meier, International Representative of the Arms Control Association, to the Sixth Review Conference of the States-Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention

At a time when multilateral arms control is in deep crisis, the Sixth Review Conference faces the important challenge of agreeing on concrete actions to help prevent the deliberate use of disease as a weapon of war and terror.

During the ten years since the last full review of the BWC, the prohibition of biological weapons has come under increasing pressure from several directions. The growing threat of bioterrorism, the rapid developments in the biosciences that could be misused for hostile purposes, and the growth of opaque biodefense programs have all undermined trust in the effectiveness of the Convention.

Unfortunately, collective efforts to respond to these challenges have been lacking. National measures, which have been the focus of recent efforts to strengthen the norm against biological warfare, are important. But they are not sufficient to counter the new threats to the BWC.

Vitally needed are uniform and binding guidelines to manage dual-use technologies, closing loopholes that could be exploited by those seeking to use biotechnology for hostile purposes. Transparency must be increased on the basis of universal rules, so that trust in the compliance of all relevant actors is increased. And the universal rules must be legally binding on states-parties, so that those countries in breach of their obligations can be singled out.

No state is capable of tackling these challenges to the BWC alone.

The intersessional process that many of you have been involved in over the past three years proved useful by increasing the number of stakeholders in the BWC and creating a greater sense of ownership. Important issues were discussed and states-parties were reminded of their responsibility to implement fully the provisions of the Convention.

From the outset, however, the new process was hampered by an artificially limited agenda and a narrow mandate that precluded joint action. A new series of intersessional meetings prior to the Seventh Review Conference should be empowered to address all issues of importance to the Convention and to take decisions binding on all states-parties. Five more years of discussions without decisions will do little to strengthen the BWC.

The Arms Control Association believes that states-parties can and should agree on a number of collective measures to strengthen the Convention. Decisions on these topics should be taken at this Review Conference wherever possible, or during meetings of states-parties prior to the next conference if consensus cannot be reached in the coming three weeks.

What collective measures should be addressed? First, more transparency is needed for activities that could be misconstrued as being violations of the BWC. Biodefense programs, for example, often lack sufficient public or international scrutiny. Improved Confidence-Building Measures can be one way to improve openness and expose countries that have something to hide.

Second, five years after the collapse of the Ad Hoc Group negotiations, it is time to establish a new dialogue among scientific and political experts on the verifiability of the Convention. A fresh look at ways to monitor compliance could pave the way for the eventual resumption of talks on a BWC verification mechanism.

Third, the Convention lacks instruments to follow-up compliance concerns. A universal and legally-binding compliance protocol would be the best approach to address this gap. But while waiting for a protocol, BWC member states should strengthen the instruments available today. Preserving UNMOVIC’s core competencies in the biological sector and revitalizing the United Nations Secretary-General’s mechanism for investigating the alleged use of biological weapons are two concrete measures that can be taken by states-parties at this meeting.

Fourth, the lack of common standards for ensuring the physical security of dangerous pathogens risks creating a patchwork quilt of inconsistent national regulations, containing gaps that bioterrorists could exploit as targets of opportunity. Establishing universal biosafety and biosecurity standards is worthwhile and achievable goal.

Fifth, this Review Conference should state clearly that all new types of biological weapons are prohibited, including so-called “non-lethal” biochemical weapons that are under development in the United States and have already been used by Russia.

Last but not least, strong institutional support for the Convention can facilitate discussions on these issues, improve the exchange of information among states-parties, and help to implement follow-up actions. Establishing a permanent institutional support unit for the Convention that that serves as a focal point and a clearing-house for information is a long-overdue step that should be taken at this meeting.

The Sixth Review Conference must do more than simply avoid failure. States-parties have offered a lengthy menu of constructive proposals for collective action, both here in Geneva and over the next five years.

It is to be hoped that the new middle ground that has emerged among states-parties from all regional groups during the preparations for this Review Conference will open the way to a number of concrete accomplishments during the next three weeks. The Arms Control Association wishes you much success in achieving a successful outcome.

# # #

The statement was written by Oliver Meier, international representative of the Arms Control Association, and Jonathan Tucker, Arms Control Association board member.

Statement by Oliver Meier, International Representative of the Arms Control Association, to the Sixth Review Conference of the States-Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention

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