"...the Arms Control Association [does] so much to keep the focus on the issues so important to everyone here, to hold our leaders accountable to inspire creative thinking and to press for change. So we are grateful for your leadership and for the unyielding dedication to global nuclear security."

– Lord Des Browne
Vice Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
October 20, 2014

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

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

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

Country Resources:

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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The Senate and the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal: Issues and Alternatives



Arms Control Association Press Briefing
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
9:00 – 10:30 A.M.

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

President George W. Bush has said that one of his top priorities for Congress when it returns to work November 13 is approval of legislation to lift restrictions on U.S.-Indian civilian nuclear cooperation. The measure calls for changing U.S. law and waiving international rules that have restricted nuclear-armed India exports that might aid its nuclear weapons program. The expert speakers will suggest what steps the Senate could take to strengthen the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and U.S. security interests.


Michael Krepon, President Emeritus and Co-Founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center. Mr. Krepon currently divides his time between the center’s space security and South Asia projects, the latter of which focuses on nuclear risk reduction and peace making between India and Pakistan. He previously worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the House of Representatives. A prolific writer and editor of 11 books and more than 350 articles, Mr. Krepon recently co-authored the September 2006 report U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia’s Twin Peaks Crisis.

Zia Mian, Research Scientist at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security. He directs the program’s Project on Peace and Security in South Asia and is a staff member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials. As part of the international panel, Mr. Mian recently co-authored the September 2006 research report Fissile Materials in South Asia: The Implications of the U.S.-India Nuclear Deal.

Ambassador Norman Wulf, Former President’s Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation, 1999-2002. Ambassador Wulf served for 14 years as Deputy Assistant Director for Nonproliferation and Regional Arms Control at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and as Senior Advisor for Nuclear Nonproliferation at the State Department. During his long government career, he led the first U.S. delegation to visit North Korea’s nuclear facilities and headed the U.S. delegation to the 2000 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

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

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting effective arms control policies. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.






Arms Control Association Press Briefing

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North Korea: What Next?


Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball to the ICAS 2006 Fall Symposium on Korean Peninsula Issues, October 11, 2006

Good afternoon. I want to thank ICAS (Institute for Corean-American Studies) for the invitation to address its fall symposium. ICAS has a reputation for bringing together a wide variety of perspectives on inter-Korean relations and there is no better time than now for such a dialogue.

I have been asked to offer my perspectives on what steps should be taken to address the most recent and extremely troubling twist in the latest episode of recurring crises surrounding the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program: the October 9 announcement by the North that it has conducted a nuclear weapon test explosion.

Before I begin, I want to preface my remarks by clarifying that the Arms Control Association is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization concerned about the security risks and dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons proliferation. We have been carefully reporting on and providing analysis on the North Korean nuclear program consistently since the early 1990s through our journal Arms Control Today, through our press briefings, and informal networks of experts and policymakers. While my views are based in large part on those of my Board of Directors, they are my own.

Events are fast moving and the situation is delicate. There are no simple and quick solutions. But there are some things that I believe all of us must come to grips with if the situation is to improve:

  • Pyongyang’s test announcement and statements this morning that it is prepared for “confrontation” if necessary are out of bounds and extremely counterproductive.
  • The test underscores that current U.S., Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and South Korean policies have failed to halt and reverse the North Korean program and advance the step-for-step, action-for-action implementation of the September 2005 Joint Statement. A reiteration of previous calls for North Korea to return to the six-party talks “or else” will not work, are not credible, and will not be effective.
  • North Korea’s apparent test and defiance of the international community merits appropriate and measured penalties authorized by the Security Council that are designed to increase the incentives for North Korea to return to the negotiating table and refrain from further nuclear or missile tests, and to increase the penalties of not doing so.

To sort out where we go from here, I think it is important to come to a common understanding about the answers to three fundamental questions:

First, what went wrong and what went right with the six-party process and what seems to have prompted the DPRK to announce and then conduct the test?

Second, what are the political and military implications of the test and of North Korea’s nuclear program? And what are the most serious nuclear-related security dangers that can and must be averted?

Third, what strategic objectives should the United States and the rest of the international community be seeking to achieve in order to mitigate the risks and help lead the DPRK to implement the obligations it agreed to in the September 2005 Joint Statement?

After addressing those issues, I’ll outline what I believe are some common sense “dos” and “don’ts” and describe several possible specific steps that could help break the current cycle of crisis escalation.

How Did We Get To This Stage?

Just over one year ago, on September 19, 2005, the fourth round of six-party talks yielded a Joint Statement, which was hailed as a significant diplomatic breakthrough. It was a product of 25 months of on-again, off-again talks, in the context of which the United States engaged in “direct” discussions with North Korean officials.

In the six-point September 2005 Joint Statement, Pyongyang agreed to abandon verifiably its existing plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) nuclear programs. The United States specifically reiterated that is has no intention to attack or invade North Korea. All parties agreed to respect North Korea’s sovereignty, work toward the normalization of relations, and help provide energy assistance. The statement even said that, at some future point, the five parties would consider allowing Pyongyang to acquire light-water nuclear reactors. The agreement unfortunately did not oblige Pyongyang to suspend plutonium separation operations, allowing it to continue to produce additional fissile material for nuclear weapons.

The September 2005 meeting was followed by another that was intended to work out how the step-by-step, action-for-action process should unfold. However, disagreements over the sequencing of the steps emerged. U.S. officials such as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made statements suggesting that the United States did not support the language regarding the light-water nuclear reactors. Those remarks were followed by a North Korean statement suggesting that Pyongyang would not meet its disarmament obligations until much later than implied by the joint statement.

The effort was further complicated by the U.S. Treasury Department designation in September 2005 of North Korean assets at a bank in Macau (Banco Delta Asia) as a "money laundering concern." The United States asserts that the bank provided financial services to North Korean government agencies and front companies engaged in illicit activities, such as drug trafficking and distribution of counterfeit U.S. currency. Since the U.S. designation, the bank has frozen North Korea’s accounts. Under U.S. pressure, other financial institutions have also reportedly curtailed their dealings both with the bank and North Korea.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry later described the "financial sanctions" as “a stumbling-block lying in the way” of Pyongyang returning to the talks, as well as a “barometer judging whether the U.S. is willing” to alter its North Korea policy. Pyongyang has sought an end to the U.S. investigation of Banco Delta Asia so as to unfreeze approximately $24 million in North Korean funds.

North Korean and U.S. officials met in March 2006 to discuss the Banco Delta Asia matter, but no further discussions have taken place since then. At the time, North Korean officials made several suggestions for resolving U.S. concerns about the country’s illicit activities. South Korean and Chinese diplomats have publicly and privately urged the United States and North Korea to quickly resolve the issue.

The United States says that the financial measures were not imposed as a negotiating tactic but to prevent money laundering for illegal activities. Bush administration officials have dismissed Pyongyang’s criticisms as diplomatic bluster, aimed at providing a convenient excuse to avoid discussing its September 2005 pledges to give up its nuclear weapons programs.

While U.S. officials have publicly claimed that the Treasury Department’s financial sanctions are a separate law enforcement action, senior administration officials have told Arms Control Today that they believe that, in the long run, constraining these illegitimate activities will encourage North Korea to return to the bargaining table and follow through on its commitments. U.S. officials continued to reject the notion of direct negotiations with North Korea on nuclear matters.

Apparently in response, North Korea conducted in early July a series of ballistic missile launches, including a failed test of its Taepo Dong-2. This produced a clear negative response July 15 from the international community in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 1695, which condemned the missile tests and paves the way for other countries to put restrictions on North Korea’s weapons programs and financial transactions.

However, the limited response by China and South Korea to the missile tests may have signaled to Pyongyang that the costs of a nuclear test would be limited. The missile tests may also have been a sign that the “center of gravity” within Pyongyang has shifted to more hard-line elements increasingly skeptical of engagement with the United States. If this is the case, then it is not all that surprising that Pyongyang took the next step in the escalation ladder: declaring and probably conducting a nuclear test explosion.

What do we know about the apparent nuclear test explosion of October 9 and what are its political, diplomatic, and military implications?

Any nuclear test detonation allows a state to test the performance of its nuclear weapons technology against design goals and make adjustments. The fact that North Korea could explode a nuclear device was not surprising, given longtime suspicions about the advanced state of Pyongyang's nuclear program. It also was not all that surprising given the fact that North Korea has previously implied that it may do so. For example, its Foreign Ministry stated July 16 that Pyongyang intends to “bolster its war deterrent for self-defense in every way by all means and methods.”

Reports indicate that the U.S. intelligence community believes the test was below 1 kiloton in size and probably closer to .5 kilotons; far less than what one might expect from a first time test from an emerging nuclear-weapon state. Seismic data and air analysis aren't enough to determine whether North Korea is able to miniaturize a nuclear device to fit into a warhead on a missile, but it is highly unlikely that North Korea can do so. It is not clear at this point whether the test was nuclear, though I believe it probably was. The test's low yield could be the result of impure plutonium, a flawed design, or poor execution of a design.

Of the seven missiles tested by North Korea in July, one was previously believed to be a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States. It is not. That missile, the Taepo Dong-2, failed within a minute. So the good news is that North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities are not as advanced as they might be. But that could change over time and will unless a new and more effective approach is fashioned by the United States, its allies, and China.

What Should the Strategic Goals of the United States and the International Community be at this Stage in the Crisis?

The answer to this question may seem self evident, but given the differing concerns and priorities of the five parties involved in the talks with North Korea, as well as their differences on tactics, I think it is important for these states to reaffirm and reiterate common goals and agree to prioritize which are most important.

The starting point must be the September 2005 Joint Statement and Resolution 1695, which essentially means no further North Korean missile tests or nuclear tests and a resumption of the diplomatic process to implement the general goals outlined in the Joint Statement. Other matters should, for now, be pushed aside or dealt with in a manner that does not further complicate the task of addressing the nuclear and missile problems.

Furthermore, it is at this stage essential to recognize that time is on the side of North Korea in the sense that further delay toward the implementation of the Joint Framework allows Pyongyang to amass more plutonium and possibly highly enriched uranium for weapons. Stopping further nuclear testing and further fissile material production should now become the first priority for the international community in order to cap the size of North Korea’s arsenal and guard against the possible future transfer of fissile material to other states or non-state actors.

The test underscores the importance of halting further advances by pursuing a stepwise approach, rather than the current all or nothing approach that has allowed North Korea to continue to improve its arsenal.

Observations and Recommendations

So what conclusions can we draw about what should and should not be done to address the worsening situation?

First, the North Korean nuclear test is a setback from every angle that you look at it. It is a watershed moment in the long running crisis that underscores the failure of the current approach. Although it may be of some comfort to some policymakers that Security Council members now violently agree that the North Korean test and its nuclear problem represent a serious threat to international security, such agreement does not constitute success in dealing with the threat. In the world of nuclear proliferation, the right results matter more than being justifiably righteous.

While the apparent test is politically and diplomatically significant, it does not, for now, provide North Korea with a significant new military capability that it did not have a year or so ago. The test appears to have been something of a failure, though North Korea could test a nuclear device again. North Korea is highly unlikely to have the ability to mate a workable warhead on a ballistic missile. Nuclear-armed missiles are not about to start flying because North Korea does not have them and understands that doing so would likely unleash the full military might of U.S. and allied forces.

However, the continued production of plutonium by North Korea and possible additional nuclear test explosions could give it significant new capabilities to produce additional and more reliable nuclear devices and possibly more easily deliverable nuclear weapons.

We must recognize that no single set of tactics will by itself be effective. The proper combination must be developed and consistently pursued by key parties. It is also essential at this delicate moment to consider some practical but possibly dramatic steps that are designed simply for the purpose of diminishing the increasingly strident rhetoric from Pyongyang and similarly strong responses from Washington and other capitals.

Given the heated climate, leaders in Washington and Beijing must establish a direct line of communication with leaders in Pyongyang in order to clearly communicate official government positions and responses. It is vital to guard against misinterpretations or miscommunications that could lead to unintended consequences. Diplomacy conducted via press conferences, live CNN interviews, and hyperbolic KCNA news bulletins are a recipe for trouble.

In addition, a firm but measured response from the international community to the apparent nuclear test is now, for better or worse, essential to communicate that testing of nuclear weapons by North Korea (or any other state) carries a high cost. Punitive measures should be communicated and implemented in ways by Washington and other leading capitals so they can not be interpreted by North Korea as “acts of war” or “aggression.”

While further steps to prevent North Korean imports or exports of nuclear and missile related items should be explored, it must be recognized that there is no conceivable way to hermetically seal-off North Korea. But North Korea and other potential proliferators should think twice about providing terrorists with nuclear materials. In the event of a terrorist nuclear attack, nuclear forensics would enable the United States and the international community to trace the origin of the nuclear bomb or material to its source and hold the supplier accountable.

If punitive measures are implemented by all states, including China and South Korea, they may help persuade North Korea that it is in its own self interest to return to negotiations. Yet, they will not by themselves reverse North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions and programs.

Therefore, as difficult as it may be to do so, getting North Korea back to the negotiating table—no matter what the shape of that table might need to be—is essential. While there may be advantages to the six-party format (and there are advantages), it is clear that the Bush administration’s stubborn insistence on talking with North Korea only through the six-party process has not led to positive results. Bilateral talks with North Korea are not a concession or reward for North Korea but are in the vital U.S. national security interest.

New Mexico's Governor Bill Richardson has endorsed new, direct talks in which the United States would promise not to attack North Korea and give Pyongyang aid in exchange for its agreement to end its nuclear program. Former Secretary of State James Baker, in a television interview Sunday, said, "It's not appeasement to talk to your enemies."

Ambassador Robert Gallucci, an ACA Board member and former U.S. negotiator with North Korea during the 1990s recently said:

“The six-party negotiations have not worked because there have been no real negotiations. Bilateral talks were a good idea before North Korea's test threat and they could still help jumpstart the process and lead to a de-escalation of tensions. Concerns that this approach would undermine the role and influence of regional players, including South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia, are misplaced because these states would be regularly consulted by Washington.”

The initiation of a strong bilateral dialogue between North Korea and the United States would strengthen what goes for moderates within North Korea and ease the situation in general. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that President Bush will agree to this approach. Why? Because the Bush administration incorrectly sees bilateral diplomacy as rewarding bad behavior and having failed in the past.

Finally, breaking the action-reaction cycle of escalation and actually making progress through negotiations—six party or two party—will not likely happen unless the United States is willing to further clarify the aims of U.S. policy and demonstrate its good faith intentions to fulfill its commitments in the September 2005 Joint Statement through tangible actions and specific negotiating proposals. At the same time, negotiations cannot succeed if North Korea maintains its threat to conduct additional tests. Further talks absent a willingness to negotiate through give and take will not produce results but lead to further frustration and escalation.

Policy Options and Tactics

Now, just as was the case before the North Korean test, the right combination of diplomacy and negotiations remain the only viable option. These would be the immediate next steps that I would recommend:

I. All concerned parties must agree to seek to halt further advances by North Korea by pursuing a stepwise, rather than all or nothing, approach.

II. Given that the situation could easily escalate through miscalculation or a lack of coordination, the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia must coordinate and calibrate their response in a way that does not provoke hardliners in Pyongyang to take even more bellicose and provocative actions, but instead increases the incentives to return to the negotiating table, while increasing the penalties for not doing so.

III. Offer bilateral talks to resolve problems relating to North Korean counterfeiting and money laundering in a business-like manner.

IV. To communicate the displeasure of the international community and signal that nuclear testing is inconsistent with near-universal norms, the UN Security Council should authorize “appropriate” punitive sanctions to go into effect if North Korea formally refuses to rejoin the six-party talks by a certain date or makes further statements threatening nuclear tests or ballistic missile launches. A number of ideas have been discussed at the Security Council, ranging from a trade ban on military and luxury items, the power to inspect all cargo entering or leaving North Korea, and freezing assets connected to its weapons program.

Such actions alone will not reverse North Korea’s course and could even harden its position, especially if China, South Korea, and Japan do not support and implement the proscribed actions and if the United States does not, in some other way, appear to try to meet North Korea half-way.

V. To change the tone for the better and show U.S. willingness to address North Korea’s concerns, President Bush should announce that senior U.S. officials are prepared to meet anywhere, anytime in a bilateral setting with North Korean officials to resolve issues of concern, including “financial sanctions,” so long as North Korea also agrees to return to the six-party talks and refrains from further nuclear or missile tests.

VI. To clarify the benefits of cooperation, a coordinated and detailed proposal should be jointly developed by the United States, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea outlining which actions they would be prepared to take with respect to implementation of the September 2005 Joint Statement if North Korea agrees to verifiably suspend plutonium production.

VII. Because the current U.S. policy is flawed and not supported by both political parties, the president should form a bipartisan review panel on U.S. policy on North Korea led by a senior former official, such as Brent Scowcroft or Zbigniew Brzezinski.

U.S. lawmakers must also try to refrain from purely partisan bickering about whether the Bush or Clinton administration is at fault for the North Korean situation. Fact-based critiques of current policy are certainly useful and allowable. However, Senator John McCain’s broadside on the Clinton administration and the 1994 Agreed Framework yesterday was unbecoming of a Senator and incorrect on the facts.

It also doesn’t help the president or the cause of denuclearization to say that negotiating with North Korea to create the Agreed Framework “didn’t work.” While that agreement was imperfect and not comprehensive, it did succeed in preventing North Korea from producing additional plutonium for eight years. That plutonium production cap was real. It was a success. It is something worth achieving again before the current situation worsens.


Finally, let me close with a few words about what the North Korean test and the crisis over its nuclear program means for the broader global nuclear nonproliferation effort and what must be done in response.

Some suggest the North Korean test is a failure of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). In a way it is, but that is a narrow and improper way to think about how we successfully deal with nonproliferation and disarmament.

The NPT and the other elements of the nonproliferation system are tools that only work if all nations agree to comply with them. They also are not substitutes for effective regional diplomacy to address the tensions and fears that drive states to pursue the nuclear weapons options. The North Korean test is not an event that warrants a reconsideration of Japan’s or South Korea’s current non-nuclear weapon policies.

The North Korean nuclear situation is just one of several developments that make it clear that NPT needs to be strengthened and updated, not abandoned or ignored. Steps that could be taken include a global agreement to implement tougher international safeguards on civilian nuclear programs, better controls on the spread of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing, a global halt to the production of fissile material for weapons purposes, entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and tangible steps to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons.

For more information on the Arms Control Association’s plan to strengthen the nonproliferation system, please see our special Web site at www.NPT2005.org.

Thank you.

Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball to the ICAS 2006 Fall Symposium on Korean Peninsula Issues

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Next Steps on the North Korean Nuclear Challenge



Arms Control Association Press Briefing
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
2:00 – 3:30 P.M.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW

Since North Korea expelled international nuclear inspectors in late 2002, the international community has sought to persuade Pyongyang to halt and eliminate its nuclear weapons activities, which pose a serious threat to regional and international peace and stability. Although five countries (China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States) reached a September 2005 agreement with North Korea committing it to abandon its nuclear programs of concern, there has been little progress toward this goal. Indeed, Pyongyang has continued to operate its nuclear facilities and launched a round of ballistic missile tests in early July. The distinguished panel will make recommendations on what can be done to revitalize the deteriorating diplomatic process and make progress toward denuclearization in North Korea.


Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa), Chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. First elected to Congress in 1976, Congressman Leach began his government service on the staff of then-Representative Donald Rumsfeld. Afterward, he became a Foreign Service Officer, during which time he worked at the former Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

James A. Kelly, Senior Advisor and Distinguished Alumni at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). From 2001 through 2004, Kelly served as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, where he was directly involved in talks with North Korea. His government career also included stints as Special Assistant for National Security Affairs to President Ronald Reagan, Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (East Asia and the Pacific).

Daniel Poneman, Principal at The Scowcroft Group. Mr. Poneman is a former National Security Council (NSC) staff director. He first joined the NSC in 1990 as Director of Defense Policy and Arms Control and was then promoted to Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Nonproliferation and Export Controls from 1993 through 1996. Mr. Poneman is the author or co-author of several books, including Going Critical: The First North Korean Nuclear Crisis.

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

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting effective arms control policies. ACA publishes the monthly journal Arms Control Today.



Since North Korea expelled international nuclear inspectors in late 2002, the international community has sought to persuade Pyongyang to halt and eliminate its nuclear weapons activities, which pose a serious threat to regional and international peace and stability. Although five countries (China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States) reached a September 2005 agreement with North Korea committing it to abandon its nuclear programs of concern, there has been little progress toward this goal. Indeed, Pyongyang has continued to operate its nuclear facilities and launched a round of ballistic missile tests in early July. The distinguished panel will make recommendations on what can be done to revitalize the deteriorating diplomatic process and make progress toward denuclearization in North Korea. (Continue)

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